Sunday, November 08, 2009

ASL: Back to the Barricades! (Pt. I)

Note to readers: This post won't make a lick of sense to anyone who isn't familiar with the Advanced Squad Leader game system. 

Attention interested ASL players

I love the winter time! The cold and the rain are tiresome and constant companions here in Oregon, but so long as I've got my hobbies, they can be ignored.

So old friend and ex-roommate, Dave Hauth, and I are near to the eve of another big battle over the Barricades. ASL players, you know what I'm talking about. Dave and I have come to mutual agreement to each maintain a "blog correspondence" wherein we individually publish our thoughts on our game with the agreement that neither will read his competitor's posts until our campaign game is complete. So, I present to those interested ASL players out there my half of said correspondence.

You can read Dave's half of the correspondence here.

You're welcome (encouraged even!) to make comment on my thinking and my strategy. But please be sure not to reveal any information to me or to Dave about our respective plans. 

And so, I begin! Hope you enjoy!

"Once more into the breach, lads!"
I don't know how many Red Barricades campaign games Dave and I have played together.  Maybe a dozen?   I have played the Russians in all three of our most recent games, and so I called "player's privilege" this time in order to get the Germans.

Dave and I have come to the opinion that the "big" game, CG III:  The Barrikady, sets a pretty high hurdle for the Germans.  And, indeed, the Russians have won every campaign game we have played in the last several years.  Each game has played out similarly:  the Germans surge through the factories at a terrible price, absolutely mauling the Russians, but then finding themselves exhausted and at the uttermost end of their tether somewhere around hex row AA.

This has happened ever since Dave speculated and then proved (so far) that the key to Russian victory is to keep the German off the river!  This changes the axis of attack, for the Germans, from north-south to east-west, with no chance of isolating the factories.  In effect, the German must attack through the factories to achieve his objective.

So this time, we're playing CG I:  "Into the Factory" to see how the Germans fare in acheiving the relatively limited goal of capturing only the westernmost two-thirds of the map.

As my general strategy will reveal, I hope to make the name, "Into the Factory," --well, ironic.

My strategy

In a phrase:  Get to the river!

As I stated in the preamble, I think it is vital that the Germans deny the Russians a secure flank.  And, oh how bitterly have I learned that a German attack through the factories is folly?  The idea is to isolate the factories from the river.  If I can get to the Commissar's House and hold it, even if it is nothing but stone rubble, I'll be in a strong position.

But I'm not going to get there on Day 1; that is certain.  My goal for the day is simply this:  to get across the street that runs from V1 to V10.  Even if I don't get any further than hex row W or X.  I'll even accept a CG day loss if it means I can establish a foothold east of hex row V.

I'll ignore the west side of the map, for now.  That means that any forces the Russian has stationed over there (and I hope that includes the AT guns) will be out of position to meet my attack.  At least for the start of the scenario.

But I am fairly certain that Dave is going to guard hex row V strongly.  The past several of our campaign games have each started with a platoon of dug-in KV tanks, wire, mines and infantry in the vicinity, anchoring the Russian right flank.  I'm going to be punching into the face of some withering fire.  Dave could also have artillery trained on that area. 

 It's going to get pretty ugly over here.
Well, let him.  My initial forces are:
Rifle Coy
Sturm Coy
Pltn. PzIIIL
80mm Mtr OBA
Offboard observer:  M1
Pre-registered hexes:  M6, U4

My purchases for the day, no doubt, reveal my gamble:

Rifle Coy = 7CPP
O3 Heavy Artillery (Plentiful Ammo!) = 6CPP
Pre-registered hex:  X2  = 1CPP
Offboard Observer:  P0 = 1CPP

I've taken a risk, I think, by purchasing only 1 infantry company (and not even a Sturm company, at that). So I'm starting the campaign with only 3 infantry companies.  This could well leave me at a severe numeric disadvantage in the days to come. But I plan to crush whatever is in my way as I advance toward my objective for the day. So the Russian right flank is going to be pounded mercilessly by heavy artillery.  On turn 2, I hope to call down a smoke mission from the Battalion Mortar right around hex U4 to help cover the advancing infantry.  These will be my Sturm company.  A very slow advance behind smoke and artillery.  One hex at a time. 

Slowly, slowly turn the screw...
One rifle company , supported by tanks, will advance due south along hex rows K through Q.  My second rifle company, which enters on Turn 2 will move to reinforce one thrust or the other, according to the needs of the moment.

My infantry assault is going to be nearly glacial.  Advance no more than one or two hexes per turn; maintain concealment as much as possible, screen with smoke (both from the OBA mortars and from the PzIIIL tanks).  Blast any Russians that poke their heads out. 

In past game days, early on the German beat the hell out of the Russian, but then made the mistake of sprinting recklessly to gain ground in the last turn or two.  Many campaign days play out with the Germans punishing the Russians for the first 4 or 5 turns, maintaining a 2 to 1 casualty ratio, only to suffer some disastrous losses at the very end of the scenario and wrecking it all.  Not this time, if I can help it.

This is what I hope to see before I move a single unit.
 Our first game is scheduled for November 14th.  We'll see how it goes...

To be continued...

1 comment:

fly4ointment said...

This ought to be interesting to watch and see how you plan from scenario to scenario with purchses.

Couple of things about your intial points. ROAR has RB III in favor of the Germans. Recently with the last two that I have played the Germand have won.

The river being the the ultimate in stopping the germans I find only if the Germans make it that way. In my opinion the march south and west of the main railroad is more important it allows the the germans more manueverability and allows the german to pic when and where he breaks into the factory complex. It also allow the germans to isolate the facory blocks. Attacks down the U and V hexrows are easibly defendable and with a little fire make for a lot of open ground and no room to manuever.

Well let see how it works for you. I will be very interested in the progress.

Good Luck