Advanced Squad Leader: S18 Baking Bread

Michael and I played through another of the Operations Magazine scenarios today, the first to combine two different starter kits. This game was set in Stalingrad, during the battle of 1942-3. It was quite a surprise to be back in the heavy industrial centre – and with the Russians – after playing through nine straight scenarios without them, as SK#2 has no Russian troops in it at all. However, it does have Russian Guns, and so this scenario uses the maps and squads from SK#1, while adding in one Russian AT gun and attendant crew.

The battle would centre around buildings P2 and P3. My Germans had to control both of them to win. Michael had the option in setting up in those buildings, but seeing that I could also set up there – if we’re both in the same set-up hex, is that an immediate Close Combat? – he chose to instead encircle the objective as much as possible and let me have it… for now. Here’s the initial set-up; Michael chose not to have his AT gun in HIP.

Michael had one basic problem: I had a lot of German reinforcements arriving on the first turn! Most of them took up position on the west side (the right) in the large buildings at the top-right of the map, prepared to engage in force the Russian defenders. My attempt to take out his medium machine gun with my demolition charges met with failure, as did my attempt to sneak a unit into the southern (top) group of buildings, but I was able to break the units in R2. Michael’s 6+1 leader moved up to help them rally. But what’s that? By SSR, it’s actually a 10-0 Commissar!

I also set-up troops in N1-M2, well able to fire at both the commissar’s men and any Russians foolish enough to try for the victory locations of P2 & P3.

Michael’s commissar worked his magic, and his two broken troops rallied. I had some big kill-stacks over in M6 and M7, and their good leaders were making things very difficult for anyone daring think they could man the MMG in O5 – Michael would move in, and I’d break them. He’d then retreat back, but the portage cost of the machine gun meant it had to be abandoned. He tried moving his leader up, but the sustained fire from my troops made the position untenable.

His Anti-Tank Gun was also attacking my troops in P2 over and over again, but to little effect. Michael’s rolling this game was in fact quite poor, and when he hit, it rarely had much of an effect on the German defenders.

Michael finally gained some reinforcements, but as they were mostly conscripts, they were unlikely to be much use. Michael finally got some good hits on the units in P2, breaking them and forcing them to flee! He advanced his men into the building in response; if he could keep me from recapturing it, I’d win the game.

Unfortunately, my troops up the top of the map were now beginning to exert more effective power into their threatened zone; being able to break the troops in that building gave me a huge advantage, and Michael’s attempt to break my kill-stacks were feeble, with a lot of high rolling or just inadequate rolling being made by him.

I was able to come in through the south of that cluster of buildings, and Michael’s lack of numbers really began to show.

Michael’s units were now breaking all around the place, and his attacks were rarely effective. I crept into melee in P2 – although my leader was pinned before it could go further – and my kill stacks continued to do their thing.

At this point, Michael was extremely pessimistic about his chances. He’d surprised me with his capturing of P2-P3, but my men were swarming back now,

The last straw for Michael was when I managed to win those two melees. Being able to bring up my own HMG (heavy machine gun) just sealed the game. Michael was driven out of the victory objectives, and my men flooded forward.

Michael looked at the situation and his few remaining men (mostly conscripts) and conceded.

It had been a comprehensive win; the combined fire of the German troops was just too much for the Germans!

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