Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ASL: Back to the Barricades (Pt. VI)

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.

Aftermath of Day 3: Russian concession

And thus, it ends.  In spite of having his best day of the campaign to date, Dave concedes as the Russian player after Day 3.  Here is the final perimeter:

Ring out, balalaikas!  Play your sad dirges! Weep for the Motherland's lost sons.

It came about thusly:  my plan, again, was to drive for the Power Station in the west, to seize and hold building GG21 and to advance cautiously southward within the factories.

In the east, I quickly seized building GG21 with a platoon of battle-hardened rifle squads and two supporting StugIIIBs.  But, in so doing, I discovered that Dave had purchased a platoon of dug-in T-34 tanks, which dispatched my StugIIIBs.  I clung to the building, by the merest of margins, mostly by skulking away from the T-34s.  (I question Dave's placement of the T-34s.  Although they did succeed in anchoring his right flank, they were out of position for the final fight which would necessarily occur in the factory complexes to the west.)

Ironically, by the end of the day, the Commissar's House ended up within my perimeter even though I had had no plans to capture it.  Dave kindled it to deny me the upper level vantages.  As I stated in a previous post, having that building in my perimeter, even though it was rubble, left me in a strong position for future attacks.

In the center, I proceeded as planned, advancing southward through the O6 factory with a rifle company.  Nasty fighting occurred in the northern end of the O10 factory as I made contact with the Russian militia.  Casualties in that area came out about even, which, of course, favors the Russian.

In the west, my much anticipated southward thrust to capture the Power Station failed utterly.  I annihilated the Russians in the F16 factory as expected, but then things fell apart.

Dave had set up a platoon of infantry in the C23 building which managed to destroy two of my PzIIIHs in short order.  And he had a kill stack in the Power Station itself which neutralized my kill stack before I could get any momentum.  But the real surprise came when a full company of Russian militia conducted a human wave attack westward out of the J16 factory into the flank of my attacking Sturm company.  Their insolence was punished severely, but they succeeded in disrupting my attack.  I was forced to turn south down the E through G hex rows to try to approach the Power Station from the flank.  It was a bloody business that cost me the better part of my Sturm company and left me short of my goal by the end of the day.

When we made the final tally, the Germans had lost 63 CVP, while the Russians had lost 57 CVP.  By any measure, that is a tactical Russian victory.  Such a result should have any German commander chewing his nails and agonizing over how to reverse the trend.

But the death knell for Dave came when his ELR dropped again, from 2 to 1.  My German ELR remained at 4.  Dave thought it over for a day, and then emailed me his concession.

Final analysis

This campaign game reinforced my opinion that the Russian player simply must keep the Germans off the river.  I know Dave will share my views on the matter.  We've discussed it many times.  If the Jerrys dip their helmets in the icy Volga, Uncle Joe is gonna have a bad winter.

Using that reasoning, the heavy artillery barrage on Day 1 was nearly decisive in itself.  I was in the Chemist's Shop at the end of that day.  And that spells disaster for the Russian.

Also, I am now convinced that the best way to play the Germans is to stick to buying one company per day, mostly alternating between Rifle and Sturm.  Remaining CPP expenditure is to support the company:  tanks, heavy weapons, artillery.  Germans will always be racing to keep up numerically with the multiplying Red Hordes, but they will always be better equipped and supported.

Another big lesson, this time from the Russian perspective:  To the extent possible, guard that ELR!  Does this mean the Russian should buy tanks early in the campaign, to provide that negative modifier to the Battlefield Integrity roll?  Elite infantry instead of militia?  I honestly don't know.  In retrospect, though, I think Dave's decision, on Day 2, to buy 3 companies of infantry was a mistake.  I think the Russian needs to stay on a 2 company per day pace, and use any remaining CPP to purchase support (artillery, fortifications, tanks, etcetera).

A good game, as always.  I immensely enjoyed all the thought and planning that went into the game.  In my humble opinion, Dave was a little bit quick to concede.  I think, had I been in his situation, I might have given it at least another day, just to see what happens.  But, c'est la guerre.

I don't get to try my Grand Killing Strike, which is a bit of a bummer.  But I sure have enjoyed this campaign game.  I hope you have enjoyed following along with us.  Who knows?  We might try it again some day.

Thanks for reading, ASL friends!  Hopefully, I'll see some of you at Enfilade 2010.

Read Part I here.
Read Part II here.
Read Part III here.
Read Part IV here.
Read Part V here.

Read Dave's blog here.


Stewart King said...


I think Dave could have fought on with a 1 ELR. A day's rest might have done him some good though. Tough luck about the ELR rolls. I have always felt that this is one of the weaknesses of the RB system.

Brandon Minton said...

Thanks for sharing your game. It was interesting to see how a campaign game works. Some of it was over my head but seeing you guys play and reading about it helped my understanding of the game a little better. Congrats on the victory!