ASL SK S25: Early Battles

It’s June 1941. The Germans are attacking Russia as part of Operation Barbarossa. 112 Russians, two Russian tanks and one gun must protect a small Lithuanian village from 122 Germans soldiers and six tanks…

Continuing with my run of ASL Starter Kit scenarios played solo, I’ve reached the sixth scenario of SK#3. So, of the 22 scenarios included in the kits, I’ve now finished 20 of them. I guess after then I can go onto “full” ASL and the 60 odd scenarios I have for that… although it’s probably not as good for solo play.

Oh well, to cheer me up there is the news of the ASL SK Action Pack, which will have more scenarios for lovers of the basic game. Good news, I think. Assuming it ever gets produced!

As we go through the SK scenarios, they get more and more complex and take longer to play. This scenario, with about 50 counters starting on the map, took about 3 hours to play, although I think there was a break in there somewhere. Round times got quicker and quicker towards the end, though, as the number of actual units that could act got smaller and smaller.

Here’s the set-up of the game:

The Russians need to protect the buildings on the top map from the German assault, however a few units are placed to (hopefully) slow the German attack and (again hopefully) take out a few tanks. The INF gun really should be hidden and not on the board, but that’s the price of playing games solo – hidden information really doesn’t work that well!

Turn 1:
The Germans advanced, and their tanks made very, very short work of the lone Russian squad in the woods. Indeed, most of the forward Russian units were having a horrible time – the Mortar crew was eliminated, and their Anti-Tank Rifles couldn’t hit anything! The less said about the effectiveness of their LMG squad the better.

However, it wasn’t all bad for the Russians – they managed to destroy two German tanks, as the INF gun and the BT-7 M37 tank were effective. Unfortunately, return fire broke the INF gun’s crew. The BT-7 tank managed to avoid becoming bogged in the woods and avoid initial fire. Tank movement was very stop-start, as mobile tanks are woefully inaccurate.

The Russians were also able to break a couple of German squads before being overrun.

Turn 2

Now the initiative was really with the Germans, and they pressed forward through the woods. Mind you, they still had to be wary of Russian tanks, but – disaster for the Russians! – the BT-7 developed a fault in its Main Armament. The left-flank German tanks moved in for the kill and soon it was a smoking ruin. The LMG squad in the south-east building was neutralized, the INF crew was forced to rout, and the Germans took possession of the Russian mortar. Could things get worse for the Russians?

Turn 3

At this point the Germans approaching through the woods discovered exactly how bad it was to get in the way of the Russian behemoth of a tank. The KV-2 “Dreadnought” scored a hit on a poor infantry unit that made the mistake of coming into its LOS and obliterated it. (I had thought that perhaps, just perhaps, infantry was hard to hit… guess not!)

The same fate awaited the German tank that moved around the building and attempted to take on the Dreadnought on its own. Hmm. Poor tactics? Almost certainly, although it was enjoyable to see the Dreadnought in action.

Otherwise the Germans continued their advance, neutralising the Russian forward positions, and making good use of their tanks’ machine guns. The north-most tank suffered a bow MG malfunction, but you can’t have everything…

Turn 4

By this point, the Germans were down to only two active tanks, but their infantry was happily pressing ahead. Again, disaster for the Germans as the Dreadnought targeted a squad and its leader that approached the forest line… a Critical Hit, and there was nothing left. Losing this leader was dreadful timing for the Germans, as the closefighting that would shortly ensue left several German units broken and unable to rally… if only they had their leader!

One of the remaining German tanks rolled northwards and eliminated the Russian unit that was in the lone building on the north-west side of the hills; German units came in behind and moved towards capturing it.

The other German tank, keeping just out of LOS of the Dreadnought, was causing great havoc for the Russian squads in the houses; it had repaired its Bow MG, and the Russians were breaking and losing control of the village.

..

Turn 5

Turns were going a lot quicker now as the number of units on the map decreased. Doubletiming German squads moved up to take the north-west building, and the Russian MMG team broke under repeated fire. The German units that had made it through the forest took possession of the southernmost building, and engaged in further firefights with the remaining Russian units.

A large Russian stack developed in the north building… mostly of broken units, huddling around a leader, and hoping to be rallied. Unfortunately, their were kept under Desperation Morale (DM) counters due to ongoing fire from the Germans, and rallying was not something they were good at doing! Finally, the Dreadnought moved out to engage the German tank that had caused so much trouble for the Russian defenders…

Turn 6

The German infantry approached the town from the south and the west, with their second tank now attacking from the north-west and out of view of the Dreadnought. The Russian Dreadnought lumbered up to destroy the other German tank, and then turned its MG onto the German units, but there were too many for it to destroy them easily. The defenders of the northern building broke, leaving victory for the Germans to take… if only they could get their men into the buildings to control them!

Turn 7

The Russians tried to defend the town, but unsuccessfully. Most of the Russian units were eliminated for failure to rout, but one lone leader rallied and then had the horror of trying to survive a 4:1 melee… it didn’t! A German squad and its leader came all the way around the north of the village to take control of the north-east building, and the victory target was reached… all they needed was to hold it against the Dreadnought and the one remaining Russian squad.

The Dreadnought was able to break one of the German squads, so if the Russians could just cross the line of death and take the building, victory would be snatched from the jaws of defeat! Alas for the Russians, the German squads were still on the ball and completely eliminated that squad as it tried to cross the street.

Battle over, and the Germans (just) victorious in a very closely fought battle. The Russian Dreadnought, still undefeated, looked upon the remnants of the Soviet forces and the celebrating Germans, and lumbered slowly to the west, hoping to fight another day…

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