M St
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After the previous game, I was so fired up that within two days I played the second scenario again, solo, to see if the Germans could win. Arguably their horrible luck in the minefields and the misfortune of having all FO's killed deprived them of their chance at victory in the last game, so I thought it would be interesting to try again.

In the previous game, the Germans got Suppressive Missions and the French Destructive; this time both got Suppressive Missions, and it being 1915, both sides have only Drumfire barrages. The Allies have to use Shrapnel (as they did the last time).

A question that turned up this time: Does the German player have to roll on the FOT for the second round of gas attacks? We ruled that these are treated like First Turn attacks in this regard (no FOT roll), but that the FO still has to check for being in Communication. It is also clear that the IM rules forgot about scenarios such as this one when they claimed that ART guns never fire Indirect attacks and therefore *can* use FO's. If they didn't, the special rules and the FO's in the scenario would make no sense. So, do the ART guns here have to roll on the FOT at all?? Initially I decided yes, but later changed my mind.



The initial German gas barrage was quite effective, while there were only 11 out of 18 units eliminated (instead of 12 on average), they included four of the five frontline MG platoons. This time the Germans massed in the places where the trenches were closest (to minimize the minefield marching distance). The other two German suppressive barrages brought two more retreats (and therefore eliminations under the Gas rules). (TCS "suppressed" markers are great to indicate Suppressive Barrage effects by the way.)

This time, most the Germans did not run across the no-mans land. (TCS "paralyzed" markers are great for indicating fatigue, by the way.) The Allied MGs in the strongpoints behind the trenches held their fire (perhaps so as to not expose the forward observers stacked with them...) I tried running two machine guns so they would get into the protection of the trenches quickly, but one of them was among the (numerous) pinned units (the other one caught the edges of the suppressive barrage but escaped unharmed). Only one German platoon was eliminated in the minefield.

(Barrage effects last through a full player turn, and there are only four barrage markers - we use TCS smoke markers to indicate the previous turn's barrages.)

The Allied barrage was fairly ineffective, only pinning one unit. The Allied troops finally open up with their MGs and kill one of the German MGs out in the open.



Turn 2. The Germans manage to get permission for a barrage on one of the strongpoints (have to remember to keep that a standing barrage on the next turn) and one more hex in the front trenches! Amazing luck. A multiple Pin eliminates a gassed unit.

Another platoon is eliminated in crossing the minefields, but ten are now already in the Algerian trenches. One of the pinned Algerian platoons is eliminated in Close Assault.

The Allied MGs have the choice between shooting at a juicy four-platoon stack in the Allied trenches in the north and a FO in the open in the south, and split their fire. The stack in the trenches does not present a good target (and dissipates in the next FTMP). The FO is seen but not hit. One of the strongpoints is Pinned by German return MG fire.

The Allied side elects to keep Standing Fires going at the main crossing points. The nine dead inf Platoons are resurrected as reinforcements, together with three others. Defensive fire kills another survivor in the front trench (now 3 left), and with uncanny accuracy (2 to hit, 1 for elimination check) knocks out one of the Allied strongpoints. The other one is still Pinned, so no Offensive Fire. Interesting tactical tip: if you have fired during the Offensive Fire phase, you best also fire during your next Defensive Fire Phase - it won't make a difference for being spotted.



The first turn's Gas markers come off; the second gas barrage is fired. Six units are killed, six are pinned, a below average result, but these six units include everybody in the second strongpoint. No more artillery observation for the Allies; they will have to fire direct. Also, the last gas barrage blocks the route to the woods for the major reinforcement group. One FOT Suppression barrage goes through and eliminates another gassed unit through multiple Pinning.

Two more German MGs die in the minefield, only one has made it across. German fire kills two platoons in the trenches, pins another one.

There is no barrage phase. The Allied reinforcements choose to spread out. No chance for Allied Offensive fire, and the Germans have fired defensively anyway, so the Germans continue cleaning the remaining Algerians from the trenches. Two platoons remain.



Turn 4. The last unit exiting the German trenches (an FO) is merely Pinned in the minefield. The Germans now have to be careful as they are reaching the Direct Fire range of the Allied guns in the rear, which are spread along the eastern map edge. (Why do the Germans attack eastwards in this scenario from the western trenchline??) It suddenly becomes clear that as long as the Allied guns are not cleared out, the Germans do not want to engage in any Offensive or Defensive Fire at all.

The gas markers are removed.

Turn 5. One German FO is in range to actually observe one of the Allied guns, but he is not in communication. A standing barrage on one the Allied in the trenches keeps him Pinned without the Germans needing to fire. NB the Germans still have 13 Infantry Platoons left after 2 were lost - the margin of error is not large here!

Turn 6. All FO's are in communication, and they manage to plant two barrages on the Allied guns on the north and south edges of the map - with Suppressive missions that means no fires from these guns during this turn. Most of the Germans maneuver carefully so as to not come in the LOS of the remaining gun. A stack of two Allied units has reached the end of the woods at 3127 and will remain there. German fire against the stack is ineffective. The last Algerian platoon in the north is eliminated by several units firing. The MG tries to get a shot at one of the other guns (and will continue to do so but will never spot it).

Turn 7. The Germans keep up a Standing Barrage on the two guns, although that on the southern gun starts to scatter, it is still covered. They try to get more guns firing on them but fail. Some firing as the Germans maneuver towards the last Allied platoon in the trenches.

Turn 8. The Standing barrage on the southern gun does not come through, but a new barrage is placed on the hex. The barrage on the northern gun starts to scatter. (Does a Standing Barrage go for the scattered hex on the next turn? Presumably it goes back to the original hex.) The last platoon is taken out in a Close Assault with 4 German platoons. The Germans also maneuver to Close Assault the Allied units in the woods hex blocking the road.



Turn 9. An attempt to place smoke to block the remaining Allied gun's LOS fails. Another 4-platoon Close Assault goes in and eliminates the Allied units in 1327. The Allied gun's LOS is currently blocked by an Allied platoon moving back towards the south, but it moves out of the way, and spots for the gun. There is a clarification by Perry Moore that says that if friendly unit A spots an enemy unit, then other friendly units may also consider it as spotted. This is deadly when on-map guns are concerned. Whenever such a gun fires, a Pin result is guaranteed, and even in woods there is about a 50% chance of total elimination! In fact the situation is not much better in 1916-style trenches. Three ART guns firing direct at a 1916 style trench hex have about a 40% chance of killing everything that's in it within the space of a 5 minute turn. Did everyone historically simply overlook a critical tactical lesson here? I'm afraid that this situation shows the limits of Arnaud Bouis' CRT. On the other hand, using the original table would have made it literally impossible to kill anyone except if you hit them in the Offensive fire phase and then immediately again in the defensive fire phase. Arnaud's table still is clearly the preferable one.

Anyway, we now come to the situation where the question about using the FOT for German guns is critical. If they don't have to use it, by now the third Allied gun would be screened off by another Suppressive barrage or a smokescreen.

If they do have to use it, then the following happens: the attempt to barrage the gun failed (I tried and couldn't get the roll of '1'). The gun fires (spotted for by an infantry platoon that is 2 hexes away and thus has a 70% chance of seeing the Germans - if the Germans fire at it to Pin it and keep it from spotting, they will be spotted by the gun itself automatically!). Since the Germans had to take the last woods hex by assault and you can't move after an assault, there's still 4 platoons in the hex. I roll a 3;4 which with a fire strength of 14 results all four platoons being pinned. If they had been killed, the Germans would have had only 9 infantry platoons left (they lost 2 platoons taking the trenches, actually less than expected), and the game would be over.

If I assume the Germans do *not* have to roll on the FOT, then the Allied gun is kept suppressed by a Standing Barrage from one of the German ART guns. (Doesn't matter if I hit; the Suppressive mission is enough.) The main risk I run is that of the FO not remaining in communication. After some soul-searching I continued play under the assumption that FOT rolls were not necessary.



Turn 10. The standing barrage in the north fails and the FO in the north is not in communication, but the centre FO takes the job. The southern FO places a second barrage off the southern gun that will keep the road free, so that the Germans can move past. (Let's hope the fire doesn't scatter at the wrong moment.) All three guns remain suppressed though their crews are not Pinned. The Germans move out, and the Defensive Fire from the Allied platoon next to the woods kills one of the German units. As the Allied unit is in the open, German fire in the Offensive Fire phase predictably kills it as well. The Germans start moving quickly towards the map edge. Their margin of error remains very small, 3 more platoons gone and they have lost. The Allies start moving their last remaining platoons (dispersed close to the other possible exit locations) back into range, the closest one is Pinned by long range Defensive fire.



Turn 11. The Germans "turn off" the barrage centered on the southern gun, but keep the "off centre" one. It does not scatter, leaving the path free for the first five German units to run off the map. The Allied now fire, and are pinned by return fire from the German MG (now in 1327 finally in position to do something!). In the next defensive phase, all the infantry units just passing through join in the fire, and the Allied platoon is forced to retreat.

Turn 12: All German FO's fail their comm check and the northern Standing barrage fails. Thankfully, the closest enemy platoon is 6 hexes from the woods, and with a roll of 4 it fails to see much. Two more platoons exit, and the last group of 5 is ready for the dash. The Germans choose not to fire at the infantry platoon close enough to spot, and it spots them. The northern gun fires, and Pins everyone in the hex (4;5), which is undone quickly as this was Defensive fire. Phew!

Turn 13: All FO's are out of comm, and the standing barrages fail as well. Three platoons must be exited; five are on the map, but only two can exit without Running. Happily, I'm using the Running rule. No unit can exit in the 1st FTMP. So, I move one adjacent to the southern gun (in 3332), the others will run. The gun pivots and kills the adjacent unit. The two Allied inf platoons fire ineffectively, but the center gun kills another platoon. German MG return fire Pins the crew of the center gun. Three Running units reach the map edge, bringing the total to 12 - a German win.

(I inadvertently made things a bit harder on the Germans by initially misinterpreting the ART range on the French counters, and later giving them too high a fire strength till about turn 10. I could have taken slightly more risks with the Germans, but, as the narrow outcome shows, not too many more. On the other hand, if I had continued to require FOT rolls to German barrages throughout the game, they probably would not have made it in time.)

Some VP analysis: The German player has to exit 10 units by turn 13. The nearest exit hex is 6.5MP from the rear of the Allied trenchlines (the other one is 10MP away). Both of these used the sole road to the rear in the center of the map which of course will end up as a serious bottleneck. Trying to move along one map edge means 14 MP at the best (7 turns). However, the Allied guns have to be braved either way, so taking the road route is probably the best idea.

Given the expected losses in crossing the no-man's land, the error margin for the Germans is extremely small. If they had lost as many infantry units in the minefields as they lost MG's (and that's entirely up to the dice), they could not have lost a single platoon throughout the scenario if they wanted to win. Hm...

Great game overall, next scenario will have flamethrowers and then on to the gunboats.

AAR originally posted on consim-l and Web-Grognards in 2003:
https://grognard.com/reviews1/landships2.txt
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Terry Lewis
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"But first, the children ought to be fed." -- Virginia Held (1980) from "Property, Profits, and Economic Justice"
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Thanks for re-posting these AARs!
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M St
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You're welcome, Terry. May I ask, in that case, to give a thumbs up to the thread and not the post, as that's what will determine how long it shows up in the lists and whether other people think people are reading it. (You can give a thumbs up to both if you want but the thread is the more important one.)
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Brian McCue
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M St wrote:
You're welcome, Terry. May I ask, in that case, to give a thumbs up to the thread and not the post, as that's what will determine how long it shows up in the lists and whether other people think people are reading it.

I had no idea!
 
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M St
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No problem.
 
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Paolo Desalvo
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brianmccue wrote:
M St wrote:
You're welcome, Terry. May I ask, in that case, to give a thumbs up to the thread and not the post, as that's what will determine how long it shows up in the lists and whether other people think people are reading it.

I had no idea!

Now you filled a gap. The up-thumb is used to high-light anything. You like a file? Up-thumb it to show you consider good. You like a picture? The same.
The up-thumb is used to identify what people consider good.
 
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