This Scenario takes place on the very same day as previously played Scenario S9.
We return to Sicily in a location known as “Biscari Station”, about 65 miles in foot from Avola.
ROAR has the Germans winning 61% of the time. Even so, I’ll play the Scenario as intended without balance modifications. I’ve read through the 6 previously published AAR’s on this site (5 of them by MerricB!) and will use what they’ve learned to hopefully set the Americans in a fairly intelligent manner.
What is new to me in this Scenario:
• Bazooka. 2 of them. Opportunity to learn the rules for this SW and perhaps even try one out in a building just to learn the hard way about backblasting effects.
• Mortar. A ½” counter mortar, but just as well.
• Both above bring the world of “to hit” rolls to my arsenal.
• Butting two maps end-to-end and playing just the areas in the middle.
• Slightly more complicated VC determination.
Of course the below is overkill, but I was working on an unrelated flowchart for a work project and enjoyed the diversion:
Bazooka. The M1A1 unit was used in small numbers in Sicily, and it was a fairly new weapon to the battlefield. Overtime, both the reliability, range and accuracy would improve. For this Scenario, the Bazooka has an 8FP and range of 4, but the breakdown B# is reduced to 10.
Here’s a brief re-enactment video of a squad firing the 60mm M2: http://bit.ly/2qjAPdr
Another YouTube video showing assembly of the complete unit, plus some practice shots: http://bit.ly/2qpYUzp
ROF is 3. Range is from 3 to 45 hexes. It requires 5PP to lug around (i.e. squad has 2MF or squad+leader has 5MF). As a ½” counter, this is considered a light mortar (as such, it is a SW not Guns!) The Mortar has no Covered Arc (CA). It can be fired by any squad and does not require a special crew to use it without TH penalties. The line over the 60mm caliber means that Armor Piercing (AP) rounds are not available. Flipping over the counter I find the usual Repair and Elimination R1/X6 roll reminders. IR stands for Illuminating Rounds, but are not available ever in ASLSK. The final note is “WP7(5)” indicating that White Phosphorus rounds are available in 1945… and thus not for this scenario.
For this Scenario, the Area Target Type (ATT) to hit for this mortar will be ‘7’ from Range 3-24. Critical Hit (CH) on a ‘2’, and the FP Columns to use are ATT(4) and CH(16).
Mortars will be most effective against the enemy moving in open ground and (even better, -1TEM) in woods hexes. Cannot fire over LOS obstacles. Cannot use in building hex. They place the 5/8” Area Acquired Target counters. Cannot maintain acquisition on targets that move outside of hex. Don’t use TEM for TH, but consider TH for IFT DR adjustments.
Enough prep, on to the game. I may go into more detail (for some of you) on some of the individual attacks using the mortar and bazooka. This is for my own education and I am assuming it may prove somewhat useful to others who are reading this AAR and are learning the system as well.
For the initial US setup, not knowing any better, I’ve split the forces into two main groups. To the west, they’re positioned on high ground. To the East, they’ve settled into the buildings on the south side of the grain field. I’ve kept the Bazookas to the west (wU4 & wV4) , where there is the highest density of buildings (since they’re only good against building TEM). I’ve set up the mortar on the hill in wAA6 with clear vistas to the north and west.
Setup for beginning of game.
The Germans start the game by entering all units at the north end – a potential of 31VP.
After several half squads lead out try and draw cheap DF, the US waits until a stack enters the game at hex xD0. The mortar attacks! Range (though it doesn’t matter) is 10.
TH DRM (-1 ldr Case#6, +1 orchard C#12, -1 FFNAM C#13). TH 7(-1). DR is ‘6-3’ for miss and loss of ROF.
Several other German ½ squads probe in the west. The balance of Germans in the west enter, carefully avoiding (for now) any building hexes or clear LOS to the US defenders.
There is no DFPh, since all potential US shots occurred while the Germans entered in the MPh. All AFPh shots by the Germans are NE. After one German unit routs back to the woods (and a leader), the rest advance one hex and prepare for the American portion of Turn 1.
Situation at the end of GT1
The Americans don’t have a lot of units to work with in this Scenario.. they’ll need to make the most of this turn when the Germans are at their most exposed.
In the PFPh, the US mortar (in wAA6) fires on a squad in the woods (wBB2)
TH DRM (-1 C#6) 7(-1). DR is ‘5-5’ for miss and loss of ROF
The 6-6-6 squad in wAA6 also fires on wBB2 (@ 6FP/+1) and causes NMC. Both German squads pass
The US squad with Bazooka in wU4 fires on stack (in building) in wU3. Range is 1
TH DRM (+2 C#10, +3 C#11) TH 9(+5). DR is ‘2-1’ for Hit!
Resolved on IFT at 8FP/+0, DR is ‘2-2’. They cower to 6FP for 2MC. Stack is marked with PF counter (no inherent PBF with the 6-6-6 squad..). German leader breaks and German squad both breaks and is ELR’d.
US Bazooka in wV4 fires at building wX2. DRM (+1 C#12 orchard, +3 C#11) Range is 3.
TH 7(+4) is miss.
There is no MPh as all US squads/stacks fired during PFPh.
In the east, during the DFPh, the Germans form a 4 hex FG @ 19FP/+2 and still manage to miss. This is a huge, lost opportunity.
APh: US squad moves 1 hex into xB3 to engage CC: No ambush (they’re in a wheat field), 6FP/2FP. The US makes their roll, the Germans miss their roll.
End of Turn 1: Overall, good defensive turn for the Americans.
The Americans finish Turn 1 with 1VP German eliminated units.
In the Rally Phase, the Germans miss all attempts. The US self-rallies one leader but not any of its broken units.
The Germans need to move. Squads head for the woods in the east (hexes xE5 and E6). They suffer some DF, but survive unbroken and clear out of LOS. One German squad closes in to PBF as a distraction and draws fire. He does end up broken, but allows the rest of the units to sneak by without further attention.
In the west, a German squad in wZ2 moves up the hill to Y3. There is no LOS for the US in AA4, but now the mortar unit can see him and takes a shot. Range is 5
TH DRM (-1 C#6, -1 C#13, -1 C#14) for 7(-3). DR is ‘4-1’ for hit but not ROF.
On IFT, shot is at 4FP/+0 for NMC. Unit passes and continues to Y4. He receives another shot from the inherent 6-6-6 firepower in BB6. 6FP/-3 results in 2MC. The squad finally breaks and stops in his tracks.
The other German units in the west use the hill as cover and continue south, moving up to wX3, W4 and V4.
In the DFPh, the Americans in wAA4 fire at the broken units in Z1, score a hit, and cause 2 full squads to casualty reduce. This gives the Americans 2 more VP in German unit elimination.
The US Bazooka in U3 fires at V2. Range is 1. TH is 9 with DRM (+2 C#10, +3 C#11). DR is ‘6-5- for miss and the bazooka has run out of anti-tank rockets.
For the AFPh, Germans form a FG (wV4, W4, X3) and fire at U5. Total is 14.5FP/+3 for NMC. The US leader passes, but the already-broken half squad rolls a ‘6-6’ and is removed.
The Germans risk interdiction fire in the RtPh at two locations, but both pass and find safety in nearby buildings or woods. The most significant move in the APh are German units moving from wV4 to V5 to engage in CC. There is no ambush and with 6:1 odds, the Germans easily make their die roll, while the American leader misses his. He, too, disappears.
Map halfway through Turn 2.
The Americans need to fall back and give chase to the Germans making good progress at both edges of the map board. They’ve already tallied 4VP worth of German squads, but that’s less than half of their goal and it looks as if the Germans might be able to step on the gas and make it to the bottom (south) of the board before the US can get across the forest and building hexes near the center of the board.
No activity in the RPh. The only US PF comes from the mortar unit in AA6, firing across the valley to the other hill in W5. Range is 4. TH 7. DRM (-1 C#6). DR is ‘5-1’ for hit at 4FP/+0. DR is ‘3-5’ for no effect and loss of ROF.
During the MPh, the US unit in U3 can’t catch the German unit running to the south, but can try and mop up the broken German squads (in wV1 and V0) cornered at the north end of the map. The US squad in AA4 moves to AA2 to squeeze those same broken Germans from the east side.
The Germans enjoy some success in the DFPh by firing back on that annoying mortar unit. They attack wU5 – wAA6 at 8FP/+0. The result is a NMC, but both the US leader and mortar squad break.
The US eliminates another German half-squad in wAA1 as part of their AFPh. After the Rout phase, all American squads advance forward. The Germans in the north are running out of places they can rout. If they’re not able to rally and fight back in Turn 3, they may be pushed off the northern edge of the board and be eliminated.
Map at the end of Turn 2
0VP Germans exiting to the South. 5VP of German squads eliminated for the Americans.
None of the German nor US squads manage to rally.
The Germans in xE7 could make it across the border in this turn, but they have a US Firegroup waiting to take a 16FP/-1 (CX, FFMO, FFNAM) at anything that moves before them. The Germans have to stop and take a PFPh shot to break up the Americans before they proceed. They attack xE7 to XB8 (13FP/-1). They roll a 1MC, but the American squad passes their MC.
During the MPh, all German squads to the west declare CX and spring toward the southern edge.
In the American DFPh, the US FG fires back at xE7 with 16FP/+0. Their result is a 3MC; The leader passes but all 3 German squads break and ELR.
The Americans gain another German CR (due to breaking an already broken unit) in wY2. They repeat their success when firing into wV0 at PBF, wounding one German leader, 1CR of a full squad and elimination of another ½ squad. In all, 3 more VP are tallied for the Americans.
RtPh: Things finally conclude for the Germans. A ½ squad in wZ0 is eliminated for Failure To Rout (pushed off the board to the north..). In wV0, the wounded leader and another ½ squad suffer the same fate. That is another 4 VP for the Americans, bringing their total to 12.
The Americans win, eliminating 12VP worth of German units, whereas the Germans failed to get even 1VP across the southern edge of the map.
End of Turn 3 and the Game. US 12, Germany 0.
This was a quick match – perhaps a bit too quick. I suspect that I didn’t play the German strategy very well. I wasn’t able to make much use of the new American toys, but it doesn’t seem to have mattered. Once the German squads broke early in the northwest, the Americans could contain them and push the DM units back beyond the northern threshold. It is difficult to hit infantry with a Bazooka, even those in buildings. You can’t really have it both ways; avoiding backblast and enjoying the benefits of construction cover. Bring on a tank. Even if you manage to hit, you still have a fairly weak 8FP/+3 base shot. In this scenario, my mortar didn’t fare much better. I couldn’t get ROF even once.. I had a couple of 4FP shots that did hit, but didn’t make an impact. The next scenario (S12) introduces 3 large artillery pieces (and artillery crews) that the Germans must destroy during the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge. I’m looking forward to working through the mechanics of these new counters and concepts.
Very well done AAR. One thing about bazookas, though. Although it would not have made any difference in this case, the bazooka attack in Turn 1 that rolled 2-2 did not cower. LATW are classified as ordnance and are not affected by cowering. See 3.2.2 Fire Attacks (last sentence in first paragraph).
- Last edited Mon May 8, 2017 3:13 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon May 8, 2017 1:49 am
Great game, but it wasn't S11 A Long Way To Go.
In S11, the Germans enter from the north, which is board W hexrow U, and exit off the south, which is board X hexrow E. You seem to have switched east for north.
I am surprised the Americans did so well in this configuration.
One other mistake: ordinarily, the orchards in BB5, etc., are going to block LOS from the hill to ground level.
Good heavens, Perry, you're right. I set it all up correctly and then promptly forget my compass directions. Call it "Not Nearly So Far To Go". This deserves a replay, taking what I learned and hopefully applying it (closer to) correctly!
S11: A Long Way To Go (Replay)
It was through the review and comments posted based on my AAR of this Scenario that I learned two significant errors that affected style of play and the results:
• I set up the board correctly, but then forget that the Germans enter from the North (in this case, from the left-hand side as I have the boards oriented) and not from the “top” of the board.
• I was not playing the Bazookas correctly – I didn’t catch that, while they are SW, they are also Ordinance and as such do not cower.
Below is a brief review of a second play through, hopefully one step closer to the unachievable result of error-free ASL.
I began the game with a review of the proper use of Bazookas and the small mortars. Rules indicate any MMC counter can use these (doesn’t need to be full squad, doesn’t need to be Elite, etc).
Since the last play-through was such a commanding victory for the Americans, I decided to modify this Scenario balance by adding a suggested MMG to the German OOB.
The Americans have decided to set up nearly as far north as possible; they’re going to fire at the Germans as they enter the board during their MPh. The Bazookas are only good against squads in buildings – and most of the buildings are at the far north of the board.
During the German MPh, a first wave of German ½ squads enter to try and draw as much DF as possible. Once in position, a second wave of full squads enter and either survive RF or take DF from the Americans who chose to hold back until someone “meatier” entered their LOS.
The US Mortar in Z6 had 3 consecutive hits on the squad that entered V8, but at 4FP/+3, none of the IFT rolls were successful.
The third wave of Germans entered to the far west, where there is the most degree of cover (buildings, orchards) and could find permanent cover as well as a possible quick route to the southern edge of the board.
Finally, one US squad, using SFF (X1-U1) scored 1VP by a K/1 attack, both CR and ELR’ing a German unit.
Position near the end of the GT1 MPh.
In the APh, the Germans move U4-U5, going CX as it requires 4MF to get up the hill and into the building. They engage in CC: G6FP(CX):A3FP. No Ambush. G roll to CR the American – the half squad is eliminated. The US fails their roll.
During the American RPh, the Germans pick up the dropped American Bazooka and start figuring out how to use it. One German squad, despite DM, makes his roll and rallies.
The Americans do not plan to move, and so throw everything they have at the Germans during the PFPh. 3 more mortar “Hit”s but no effect at 4FP/+3 against the squad in V8.
The US gets one more VP when one German half squad rolls ‘6-6’ on his NMC in V6 and is eliminated. Overall, the Americans manage to pin squads both to the east and west.
For DF, the Germans break one American squad sitting on the hill in Y8. This is huge as there isn’t much other American squad support in the west. The Germans see an avenue open to head south quickly in Turn 2!
Turn 1 Impressions: Not much movement; most German squads entered the board in Assault movement and took immediate defensive fire. Both sides take turns with their shots and both have similar success. However, the Americans will ultimately lose this war of attrition and they’ve allowed an alley to the west that needs to be plugged. The American mortar unit does Advance to Z7 to have decent LOS at squads that start towards the wheat fields to the south.
End of Turn 1 VP: US 2, Germany 0.
Germans skip over PFPh and get moving. They take a general sweep to the west and south of the board. One German squad charges uphill to Y8 to draw the fire from the mortar squad. They’re only 2 hexes away, so the US half squad fires using inherent FP and does manage to break the German charge. However, this allows 3 other German stacks to use this cover, go CX, and make their sprint to the south.
During the AFPh, the Germans fire the stolen US Bazooka a PBF and manage to break it. All other attacks are not effective.
The US gets one more VP via CC (in W6) where they win a 3:1 battle handily.
The Germans end their Turn 2 with far too many broken squads huddled to the north in U3 and U4 (with only one 7-0 leader to try and rally them), but 3 stacks making a run along the west edge of the map. The US will have to change strategy and chase after them, because there are enough VP of Germans in those 3 stacks to claim victory.
Board position at end of GT2.
The Americans have success in the north during their PFPh, both with the Bazooka and with some PBF into hexes V5 and V6. The rest of the Americans hightail it to the south and west to try and cut off the German sprint before they can cross into hexrow xF.
At the end of Turn 2, VP score is now US 3, Germany 0.
RPh: The Germans are able to rally back two units to the north, but the balance remain broken and pinned along hexrow wU looking for relief.
Both the Germans and Americans trade fire in the north during the PFPh and DFPh. Meanwhile, the rest of the Germans pulled their CX counters and continued another 4 (or 6) hexes south. In the German APh, 4VP do cross (one MMC and 9-1 leader).
Positions at the end of GT3.
During the American MPh, they race units to C7 and draw DF from E8 (8FP/+1). The Germans roll well and break both the American leader and accompanying squad.
The American half squad lugging the mortar (only has 2MF) moves into the woods at xA7 and draws fire from the Germans in wFF9 (9FP/+1). The German roll is ‘1-1’ and even with cowering, get a K/2 result, eliminating the half squad.
And here is where the game is lost for the Americans. They needed to intervene and stop the Germans while sprinting in open ground. Instead, they are turned back and/or killed by defensive fire just as they clear the treeline.
At the end of Turn 3, VP score is US3, Germany 4.
RPh: The American leader in C7 must self-rally and bring his troops to bear, but they do not make their rolls.
During the PFPh, the Germans break another US unit (U5-U6) with 11FP/+3 attack that rolls a ‘1-2’. This is great news, but doesn’t make a big difference as we head into the MPh…
In the MPh, the Germans cross the southern line with 2 more MMC and one 8-1 leader – a total of 6VP. Add this to the 4 they’ve already earned and they meet the Scenario victory requirements.
This scenario introduces the concepts and tactics of LATW and light mortars; it was important to me to use and even set up situations where these could be employed. It is very tough to use Bazookas from good cover – shooting from building to building, you’ve set yourself up with a +5 DRM on the To Hit just to avoid backblast penalties. As such, they are not all that impressive a threat yet against SMC and MMC units.
The mortar did have multiple ROF rounds, but never managed to be effective at 4FP. With 5PP, the squad lugging it around could only manage 2MF.
Even though I gave the Germans an extra MMG, it didn’t make a difference to the outcome. Thinking over what the Americans should do differently, I believe I would have them set up further back and give another turn or two for the Germans to come at them, rather than force the clash in the first MPh of Turn 1 – for once one flank of the American line broke, it was easy to punch through and sprint to the south nearly unopposed.