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Subject: Cautious Advance - August 1944 France rss

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E Henry Thripshaw
United States
Pacific NW
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I chose the Americans and faced the Germans in SASL Mission 1 Cautious Advance. I've played it before, but I wanted to get back into it slowly since it has been several years since I played SASL. Here is a lengthy recap:

The random board determination yielded board 16 as the terrain, lots of open country, wheat fields in season and few buildings for the Germans. I got 130 BPV to buy units. I chose 11 1st line US squads and 2 1st line HS. My Leader and SW allotment were average. An 8-1, 8-0, and 7-0. I chose one MMG and a '44 Bazooka in case of German armor. Turns out I didn't need it.


After entering with my main force on the right,

I promptly blundered into a 6 factor minefield exiting some woods (random event #1). Broke 2 squads (ELR'd the bazooka squad) so the 8-0 and the squads went backwards.

The left flank sagged all game, with the 7-0 suffering Panic on a couple occasions and the recon squads out on their own outside the command radius also suffering the occasional panic. It is frustrating, but nice in a way to plan a move and then not have all your units available at the same time to execute.

The 8-1 with the MMG in a kill stack moved behind the wheat and setup a fire base that quickly broke a German squad. The first lines of pickets for the Germans were all single squads and HS and allowed the superior US firepower to overwhelm them.

Without leadership present, the routed back to the main German line. The assault fire bonus for the Americans is impressive. Two squads firing in the advance phase fire at 8FP! That’s the same as two German squads firing in Prep or DF!

One German HS dug foxholes in the woods on the board edge and prevented the stuttering 7-0 and his force from advancing for a couple turns before falling to the 8-1 kill stack as they moved to the center building (middle of the board) after clearing it out.

On US turn 5, the battle changed from a cautious advance to an aggressive attack as the Americans rolled a random event (#2) and were quickly reinforced by 3 M10 GMC Tank Destroyers.

One took each flank and the third suffered panic and could not enter. The two flankers supported by infantry quickly exposed the minimal forces in the mid area of the German lines, more squads and HS without leadership! It was looking like a rout.

There was a brief worry on the US right flank as the 8-1 stack and supporting squads were moving in on the one Victory building on the US right flank. The M10 got too close to the building which housed a 1st line German squad and the squad decided to go into the alley when they discovered they had a panzerfaust. It was a tough decision risking backblast versus stepping outside (additional +2) but since it was a victory building, they decided on the more cautious firing from outside the building. The faust barely missed and their fate was sealed (it appeared).

The latecomer 3rd M10 headed up the center road into some wheat to probe a German strongpoint near victory location #2 (staying outside 2-hex panzerfaust range!) but was surprised when a German 75* Infantry gun (with HEAT - H7) appeared in the woods. The gun crew failed to bring along any HEAT ammo, but proved deadly with the HE as they rolled a critical hit! The M10 was left flaming in the wheatfield and the 7-0 leader and his 2.5 squads shat their pants and suffered Panic yet again!

The 2nd victory location (the woods with a 5-4-8 squad and the Gun) had another half-squad on it's board edge flank and was going to be too much for the M10 and the 7-0 smaller group. They would need the 8-1 and the main US force to clear it out.

At this point (German turn 6) the battle got interesting as a German random event (#3) introduced additional S? suspect counters in/adjacent to all victory locations in concealment terrain. The lone squad in the victory building about to be overwhelmed on the US right was now reinforced. The Gun and 5-4-8 were now surrounded by S? counters. The final victory location added a few as well.

On the US right, the 8-1 kill stack had wall advantage at a hedge line overlooking the victory building. The presence of the US forces activated an 8-0 leader and a 2nd line squad in the building to go with the 1st line squad activated earlier. They were effective in their prep fire, breaking 2 US squads, but unfortunately for them, there were 7 (3 with the 8-1, the 2 that broke, and 2 others with the 8-0 including the bazooka squad).

Unfortunately for these Germans, the US dice got hot in their turn 7 and after prep fire and advancing fire, the result was a wounded leader with a broken 1st line and a broken 2nd line HS. They were forced to rout away and the US had their first victory location. The cursed bazooka squad got a bit overzealous and got out ahead of the M10 on the right to try and prevent routing and was broken by another 8-0 leader and squad on the far hedge line. He ELRd again and was now a 5-4-6 squad. He routed under the M10 to attempt rally.

On the US left, a M10 was hugging the board edge to stay out of LOS from the gun. The 7-0 and his 2.5 squads had visibility to the HS and quickly took it out. It was here that the battle shifted again on a crucial roll that caused the German collapse. On the HS morale check he rolled the US sniper and the sniper killed the gun crew! The M10 was now free to move up and did so, blasting the 5-4-8 point blank with his MG and main armament. The 5-4-8 survived the first two attacks, but again rolled the US sniper who promptly broke the 5-4-8. The new S? counters from German random event failed to activate, as the strongpoint turned out to be merely a gun and 1.5 squads. The US now had 2 of the 3 victory locations.

The US defensive fire and advancing fire with the assault fire bonus were too much for the Germans. The last position in the woods near the north edge of board 16 (EE2) was shielded by some brush and surrounded by S? counters. Yet another half-squad appeared in the brush as the 7-0 and his squads moved through the woods and were visible enough to cause an activation check. Again, no leader, no SW, and no chance against the superior US firepower.

The M10 moved up on US turn 9 but the HS could not get a faust. By then, the 8-1 and kill stack had done away with the lone Germans on the right flank. They were all pulverized and ELRd into non-existence (although the 8-0 took 2 wounds before perishing) and they double-timed through the large grain field to get at the last victory location. The 2nd M10 approached from the right and stayed out of Panzerfaust range to see what activated. Three of the five S? failed to activate and the only Germans present were another measly 1st line HS and a 2nd line squad. The left M10 overran a HS (again, no faust and the previously pinned squad in the victory hex tried for a faust (the M10 was now adjacent overrunning) and rolled a 6 to break! The Americans moved in and mopped up for an easy victory.

One final note, the 5-4-6 bazooka squad had remained back in the 1st victory building to guard against a random event bringing in new forces to retake the building. On the final turn 10, they were guarding the building when the German sniper activated and promptly killed the stragglers! Their day consisted of ELR failure in the minefield, ELR failure when trying to cutoff rout paths, and finally ignominious death at the hands of a lone German sniper in the backfield.

Final CVP score: US 36 German 9.

In the mid-game after the Germans were reinforced with extra S? and the gun crew was intact, it looked like it was going to be a tough little nut to crack, especially with the poor armor on the M10s and the HE kill number being high (even without HEAT). As it was, the Germans crumbled after the US sniper killed the gun crew and it turned into a rout.

Fun stuff. It took me about 4 hours from setup to cleanup. Lots of lookups early as I had to remember everything, but then it started moving fast. It's a fun system and for once, the random events favored me. I seem to remember most of my previous games going against me as the enemy side would always get armor and I'd be helpless.
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J.F. Van Natta
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Oregon
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I like the AAR. Thanks for posting it. It makes me want to play some SASL. One thing I noticed is that it appears that you have M18 TD's on board rather than M10's.
 
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E Henry Thripshaw
United States
Pacific NW
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Haha, classic. I just missed one minor setup rule for the board edge whistle

Oh well, it was still fun and exactly what I was looking for after several years, a nice revisit that had several memorable moments.

I'll proabably play through some more when necessary, but I prefer to play ASL face to face (see the Sacrifice of Polish Armor session report in Turning the Tide).

Thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to read the mission card a little more carefully next time!

*Edit for Ripwil's comment* Well crap, it looks like there were all sorts of mistakes made (keep 'em coming!). Oh well, thankfully it wasn't a solitaire tournament or I would be DQ'd.
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Thanks for the AAR.
About the delayed tank, I don´t think you have to roll for Panic when entering the board, all units are automatically in command when entering, aren´t they?
 
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Gerson Monteiro Jr.
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro-RJ
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Great Post! But tell me... Why did you entered your forces by flank, not by the front of boards? The card of Cautious Advance Mission (I´ve played it lots of times) state that you must enter by West or east, depending of Historic situation, don´t?
Regards!
 
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