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.
Interested ASL players take note! Dave Hauth, and I are are engaged in another big battle over the Barricades. We 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 can read my previous entry here.
Aftermath of Day 2: October 18, German victory
Grinding it out
This day, the momentous tides of war ebbed and surged, like a slow-motion tsunami, grinding everything in its path to nothing. Fortunately, there were more Russians than Germans in the breakwater.
My plan had been to execute two distinct attacks: a full-scale attack along the west side of the factory complexes and another smaller attack in the direction of the Red House on the east side of the factory. And as the game unfolded, I mostly adhered to the plan.
In the west, my rocket barrage was preregistered in hex G13. The extent of error dice roll caused it to drift one hex to F13 where it then fell on the platoon of Russians that Dave had set up to defend buildings F11 and F13. As one might expect, those Russians were mostly destroyed, including a Rubble result that took out Dave's 9-1 leader. My reinforcing Sturm company rushed on to clean up the remnants in the next couple turns.
Although my plan had specifically excluded building B12 from the list of targets, I was unable to resist the urge to creep my platoon of 2nd line units forward and attempt to capture it. Lo and behold, my pre-game surmise that Dave might have hidden units therein proved to be accurate. There were two Russian squads lying in ambush, who punished my probing infantry. In the end, I had to divert 2 Sturm squads to B12 to restore the situation. The day ended with B12 in my hands, but the price was steep.
At the end of the game, I had attained my goal for the west side, capturing buildings B12, F11, F13, H14, and K10. I even managed to step into the factory in hex J13. I resisted the urge to make a last ditch charge for territory.
Dave surprised me, in the center, by advancing his militia to the north, putting pressure on the thin line of German riflemen guarding my foothold in the O6 factory. A low density, but vicious fight ensued in that factory. It went back and forth with both sides getting punished. In the end, I still held the two northernmost hexes of that factory, but had lost about half a company of 1st line squads. Dave's losses were about the same, but he lost cheap militia units.
If there is one resource that the Russians have in abundance, it is cheap infantry units. Therefore, I judged the stalemate in the center to work to his advantage.
In the east, I had planned a modest advance toward the Red House. And here is where I got a nasty surprise.
I had thought that Dave's purchases for the day were 2 militia companies and some fortifications. I was right on that score. But I knew that there were still some CPP out there for which I couldn't account. It turns out that he bought a 1st line rifle company and paid the 2CPP penalty to set them up on board.
That caught me flat-footed.
As I attempted to advance south from the Chemist's Shop, Dave opened up with a hidden kill stack in the first level of X15. The stack consisted of a 10-2 leader, two squads, an HMG and an MMG. When this stack opened up, they destroyed my east side kill stack of 2 elite rifle squads and a 9-1 leader.
Further, Dave had laid an ambush just south of the Chemist's Shop. My advancing Sturm troopers ran square into two battle-hardened sub-machinegun squads led by a commissar. They sent me reeling backward and drove me completely out of the Chemist's Shop.
Meanwhile, along the riverbank, as I attempted to trap the stack of Russians in the FF11 building, Dave opened up with another kill stack. This stack was a 9-2 leader, 2 squads, and 2 MMGs, located in the first level of building FF12. They brought my advance along the riverbank to a dead halt.
Things looked rather grim at this point. But my reinforcing StuG tank destroyers saved the day. Two of them surrounded his 9-2 stack, and bombarded it into non-existence. The third StuG malfunctioned its main armament, then drove into the hex with the 10-2 kill stack. The Russian infantry dispatched that StuG, but the resulting burning wreck enshrouded the position in smoke. This allowed me to counterattack the Russians in the Chemist's Shop. In the end, after a bloody fight, I held the two northernmost hexes of that building, while the Russians held the southernmost hex.
On the riverbank, after the 9-2 kill stack was destroyed, I sprinted a half-squad all the way up to JJ22.
At the end of the day, I had created a salient along the riverbank and advanced modestly along the rest of the front (except in the center where Dave's militia had driven me back 3 hexes).
The casualty tally read thusly:
Russians suffered 57 CVP.
Germans suffered 34 CVP.
That's a little better than a 3 to 2 ratio. Not bad, but not good. Any German commander should feel slightly uneasy with this ratio, regardless of the gains of the day. The Germans can't sustain the fight if they don't maintain better than a 3 to 2 ratio.
On the other hand, if I consider only infantry losses, I calculate that Dave has lost 2 and three-quarters companies over the past two days, while I have lost 1 and one-quarter. That's a ratio I can live with.
My ephemeral squad advantage is now erased, with the Russians retaining 38.5 squads and the Germans retaining 33. However, troop quality favors the German. Of the remaining Russians approximately 60% are militia, while the remaining Germans are 55% elite.
The one development that iced the day as a German victory was the Russian decrease in Experience Level Rating. The Red Army went from ELR 3 to ELR 2. Bad news, Ivan!
Our next game is scheduled for December 12th, but Russian resolve is wavering. Dave was dispirited at the conclusion of the game. If he agrees to continue, I'll post my pre-game plans sometime between now and then.
Deutschland über alles!
To be continued...