Thursday, January 21, 2010

ASL: Bustin' the Barrikady yet again (Pt. II)

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.

My old friend and ASL nemesis, Dave Hauth, is back!  Fresh off our recent Red Barricades game, in which I finally seem to have found an effective counter for his "fortify the riverbank" strategy, Dave is ready to give it another go.  This time the game is RBCGIII:  the Barrikady, with yours truly in the role of General Von Paulus and Dave doing his best impression of grandfatherly Marshal Zhukov.  

For your vicarious ASL enjoyment, both players will once again maintain a blog correspondence as the game progresses with the agreement that neither will read his opponent's blog until given express permission to do so.  Dave and I have faced off in so many ASL campaigns and scenarios that a Gentleman's Game is both assumed and assured.

Readers are encouraged to comment!  Got a problem with where I placed my AT gun?  Speak your piece!  Just be sure not to inadvertently reveal any information about Dave's plan to me or vice-versa.  You can read Dave's blog here.  You can read my previous entry here.

Aftermath of Day 1

It is difficult to assess my success after Day 1.  I exceeded my goals for penetrating Russian territory, but the casualty ratio was not ideal.  Judge for yourself.

At the end of the day, the perimeter was as shown.

Perimeter for Day 2
I had a few bad breaks vis-a-vis my artillery early on.  My 80mm mortar module drew two consecutive red chits, making it unavailable.  And my 100mm artillery was largely ineffective.  I played it poorly.  I could never really find any targets with it.  At least the mortar module will be available for Day 2.

The casualty ratio is the least satisfactory result for the day.  The Russians suffered 28 CVP; the Germans 27 CVP.  That is a danger sign for the German commander, and no two ways about it.  However, it is somewhat mitigated by the fact that 18 of the CVP that the Germans suffered came from the loss of two tanks (12 CVP) and four leaders (8-1 x 2, 7-0 x 2).  My infantry losses were less than 2 platoons.  The Russians, on the other hand, suffered 24 CVP from infantry losses, plus 4 CVP for the two AT guns that I destroyed.  So the Russians lost nearly a full company and go into Day 2 with no AT guns.

I'm certainly glad I didn't make a stab for the river on Day 1.  As the perimeter map shows, Dave had dug-in platoons of T60s and KVs to guard against such a contingency.  Plus he had artillery trained on the area.  He still has his artillery module, which I suspect is 70mm.

Day 2 status and purchases

My retained forces from Day 1 are these:
  • 548 x 9.5
  • 468 x 8
  • 467 x 13.5
  • 237
  • 9-2 x 2, 9-1 x 2, 8-1, 7-0 x 2
  • HMG x 2, MMG x 3, LMG x 5, Atr x 2, Lt. Mtr. x 2, DC
  • PzKwIIIL (9-1 AL) 
  • PzKwIIIH x 3
  • 80mm Mtr. OBA, Offboard Obs. (Hex:  M1) (Pre-registered hexes: G11, M5)
Thirty-one and a half squads, and four tanks!  One can't reasonably ask for more than that. 

I am allotted 16 CPP for the day. My purchases are these:
  • Sturm Coy 9 CPP
    548 x 12
    9-1, 8-1, 7-0
    MMG, LMG x 2, DC x 2

  • Stukas (early entry) 2 CPP
    1-3 Stukas with bombs

  • StuG G Pltn (Depleted) 5 CPP
    StuG G x 2
I rolled boxcars for my StuG G Platoon: a depleted result! Sucky, in the extreme!  Ah, well.

My plan

I'm weighing three different options: 

Option #1:  Strike for the Power Plant.  I could make a grab for Building J21 in conjunction with a general southward thrust to expand the entry area for future campaign days.  Building J21 offers vantages all along the east-west equator of Arbalovskaya Boulevard.  If I can capture that building intact, I can effectively isolate the northern factories from any reinforcements that might come from the south.  This option, it seems to me is predictable, but poses few risks.  I think Dave will expect me to do some variation of this option, and will set up to defend against it.

Option #2:  Stab for the heart.  Specifically, Building O18.  If I were to successfully capture that building intact and extend my perimeter to include it, the entire northern factory complex and the P21 factory become untenable for the Russians, maybe even necessitating abandonment.  But the risks on this option are huge.  I'd have to fight through the factories against Militia troops that Dave would gladly sacrifice in exchange for Sturm troopers.  And my Stuka reinforcements wouldn't be much help against workers lurking in the factories.

Option #3:  Drive for the river!  The end of Campaign Day 1 revealed that Dave had setup a dastardly defense of the river, with dug-in tanks and pillboxes.  I'm very glad I didn't attack that way on Day 1.  But now that I know the lay of the land a bit more, I think it might be time to make the strike that I must at some point make.  I will have to pay the piper over there around Building Z1 eventually.  And the longer I wait, the higher the price I must pay.  My retained 80mm Mortar module can provide smoke cover, the Stukas can assist in suppressing the dug-in tanks.  I can hold off my Sturm reinforcements for the first turn, until the smoke gets laid down.  At the same time, I can crash into the O6 Factory from the west.  The risks here are considerable.  I'm putting my armor and all my assault troops at risk.  But the payoff could be big.

I want to see Dave's setup before I choose an option.  But right now, I favor Option #3.

And so it shall be...

And now, seeing Dave's setup, Option #3 it is.

Get to the river, lads!
It looks to me as if Dave has purchased three companies:  a militia company for the factories, a reserve rifle company, which he has set up to defend the approach to the river, and a reserve SMG company (probably elite) and fortifications to defend the Power Station.  Judging from his setup, it seems that Dave is expecting some variation of Option #1.  But I won't be pushing very hard in the west.  Now is the time to confront his network of dug-in tanks and pillboxes.

I've got a kill stack directed by a 9-2 leader in level 1 of hex N5 which will hinder any conscripts running back and forth between the factories.  But this kill stack can also shoot at those reserve counters up by the river.  Too bad for them!  The Russians up there will have to deal not only with the kill stack, but with my entering Sturm troops, the StuG Gs, the 80mm Mortar from Day 1, and the Stukas.  I'm throwing the kitchen sink at Building Z1.  Let's see what happens...

Meanwhile, my depleted Sturm company will bust into the L5 factory and break for the Chemist's Shop.  I don't know if I'll be able to capture it, but I'll drive for it.  As I move east across the debris field, his KV in hex U11 will be forced to turn and meet the threat, rather than fire at the flank of my Sturm company to the north.  The T60 in V8 will get a visit from a Stuka.

My rifle companies in the factory will hold their ground and try to avoid close combat with the militia.  Dave appears to be ceding Building B18 to me, so I will move some rifle squads up to occupy it.  But cautiously!  Cautiously!  There could be Russians lurking in the cellars.

I'll also take what Dave has given me with the F16 factory.  But no pressing south beyond that.

The big worry is the artillery module that I know Dave retained from Day 1.  There is no telling where his observer is hiding, but, if I am lucky, Dave moved the observer over to the west to help defend the Power Station where he will be unable to hinder my attack for the river.

Well, we'll see.

To be continued...


Stewart King said...

I expect that he will be using sewer movement to get back and forth between the factories. No stopping that. If I were him, I'd have at least one arty module ready to put harassing fire on that big open area north of the factories. You know I'm suspicious of the attack for the river...have to see.

Anonymous said...

I think I still would have gone with option 1 after seeing the set up and the fact that Dave probably thinks that you will break for the River at sometime. This based upon your opinion that the German has to get the Russian away from the river. I migh have even attacked just down the board edge for multi level buildings. Could set up a half track run into the burbs. Let see how it goes.