I’ve fallen behind quite significantly in my ASL reports and in my ASL play, as both Michael and I have been busy and unable to set aside afternoons for two-player gaming as frequently. I’ve also been just a little distracted by the release of D&D 5E!
Michael and I played this game back on July 7th, 2014. Michael took charge of the Russian forces; meanwhile, I was running the Germans who had to gain control of ≥4 buildings on board v and preserve ≥2 of their AFVs! This meant that Michael got to set up his forces in a defensive position. By a special scenario rule, his BT-7 M37 tanks were radioless and needed dice rolls to move outside their hexes; I can’t remember us ever using this SSR, but it seems like Michael never actually moved his tanks, so that might be why I can’t remember us making the rolls!
Here’s how Michael set up his defensive position:
My troops would enter from the left side of the map. He also has an INF Gun set-up using Hidden Initial Placement. I’m not enamoured of his forces in the woods, as they allow me to cross the open ground easily. I suppose the thinking is to punish me when I move my troops into the cover of the woods as he gets some shots at point-blank, but I feel that they’re easily overwhelmed.
The other thought might be that a unit on the outer edge of the woods is easily defeated by massed fire in Prep Fire; however, in a defensive scenario like this one, every turn the attacker is spending firing units in the Prep Fire phase and not manoeuvring them is a major win as it slows down the advance. Michael’s defences in the village are a lot better, and they’d cause me a lot of trouble later on.
For now? I advanced in force, and Michael’s interior-wood troops weren’t particularly effective.
I had a lot of AFVs (Armoured Fighting Vehicles), and I was setting them up to primarily defeat Michael’s infantry and not engage his tanks for as long as possible; tank vs tank combat tends to be slightly random – in addition, Michael’s KV-2 was far superior to any tank on my side. In comparison, every other tank on the field had paper-thin armour!
I accidentally moved my forward tank just far enough forward to be in the KV-2’s firing arc, and it paid the penalty.
Michael moved up some of his troops to better engage my forces, whilst I had my massed tanks causing all sorts of problems for the troops he’d put in the wooden building near the treeline that I was approaching. I hadn’t been able to deal with his MMG yet, but it wouldn’t be long until I could drive off the forward defensive line and get into properly assaulting the village.
I lost another tank to the KV-2 as I pushed towards the village, and Michael’s defence crumpled as I’d hoped; well, perhaps not that well, as he moved some of his troops back to the relative safety of the buildings and moved out of positions that were taking heavy fire.
I was lucky that Michael’s MMG broke as it fired at me, which gave me the opportunity to move forward quicker than might have been the case. I now took up positions to assault the village from, and Michael revealed where he had put his INF gun. I’d got my troops forward, but now the hard part was about to begin!
The biggest thing on my mind was the KV-2: how was I to deal with it? It seemed that my best hope was to engage in in Vehicular Close Combat, but its gun was extremely dangerous to my infantry as they moved up.
Michael’s defence was working quite well, although his infantry defenders were having a tough time of it. Making sure a retreating Russian unit couldn’t rally had taken one of my squads and AFVs quite far out of the battle, which wasn’t good. Meanwhile, I needed to send a leader to a large pile of broken units in the woods. Or, rather, have the broken (and wounded) leader there rally!
Time pressures were really beginning to weigh on me now. I was able to advance a unit into close combat with the KV-2, and that proved sufficient to disable it. I moved my tanks in, and my infantry moved up likewise. Michael had very few active units left to oppose me with, but those he did still possessed a fair deal of firepower!
I really needed to gain control of the wooden building past the hills towards the top of the map, and double-timed a squad there with AFV back-up, as Michael also rushed to control it. Meanwhile, I sent another AFV around to flank Michael’s troops, but it suffered a machine-gun malfunction, limiting its effectiveness.
The final stages of the game were brutal – with several of my AFV weapons malfunctioning! However, I was able to overwhelm Michael’s defences, and a good hit on the building where the remaining defenders were holed up broke them all.
At this stage, there was still one full turn left, but Michael only had a lone, immobile AFV left. Seeing no chance of holding out, he conceded the game. The Germans were victorious!
Although I’d won the game, my forces had taken quite a pounding in the process. There were a couple of turns there when Michael was defending with the KV-2 and the building troops when I really wondered if I’d be able to take them; getting a successful CCV attack in on the KV-2 had allowed me to take the game. At seven turns long, this was one of the longer battles in the Starter Kit series.
However, the next battle would be even longer… so long, we weren’t able to complete it in one sitting!