Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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

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 4

Day 4 was hard-fought, with both sides suffering a few disasters and achieving a few triumphs.  Heavy winds were blowing and the flames were spreading all over.  I did accomplish my goal of stretching the perimeter, and the casualty ratio was acceptable, so that's good enough.  Here's the perimeter.

Perimeter, end of Day 4
Dave had purchased two Medium Artillery modules which he deployed on either flank, like two big fists to hammer me as I attacked.  And, although he might complain otherwise, I think they were largely effective.  The module in the west disrupted my attack south toward the B23 Building which knocked my timetable off by a turn or two.  But then the module crapped out when the phone line went dead and he wasn't able to hammer home a follow up barrage to inflict casualties.  Once I broke through, it was off to the races, grabbing as much western map edge as time allowed.

In the east, along the riverbank, his artillery fell on my rifle squads defending the area and softened them up enough for Dave to launch a small counterattack with a platoon of 628 squads that succeeded in recapturing his AT Ditch and the pillbox in Y7.

My rocket barrage drifted to the south, where it destroyed some of his reserve 527s and set a fire which ultimately claimed his dug-in T-34 in hex I25.  I got 2 Stukas as reinforcements and each of them claimed one of his two remaining non-dug-in T-34s, which means that I have now accounted for all the T-34s he has available to him for the entire campaign.  That's good news.

The bad news is that my ELR dropped at the end of the day to 3.  That more or less necessitates an Idle day for Day 5.  I think (fingers-crossed) that Dave is unlikely to choose an Attack chit for Day 5, since his forces are pretty beat up.  I really don't want to face a Russian night assault at this point.  

The Russians suffered 54 CVP, the Germans, 32 CVP. That's still an acceptable ratio.  I think I destroyed close to 1.5 companies of infantry, plus a platoon of his best tanks.

I choose the Idle chit for Day 5.  My retained forces for the day:
  • 9-2, 9-1 x 4, 8-0 x 2, 7-0 x 2
  • 127
  • 468 x 12
  • 548 x 7.5
  • 467 x 13
  • 447 x 3.5
  • HMG x 3, MMG x 5, LMG x 6, Lt. Mtr. x 2, Atr x 2
  • PzIIIH
  • PzIVF1
I am allotted 15 CPP for the day. My purchases:
  • Rifle Coy (reserve) 6 CPP
    467 x 12
    8-1, 8-0, 7-0
    HMG, MMG, LMG, Atr, Lt. Mtr.
  • Sturm Coy (reserve) 8 CPP
    548 x 12
    9-1, 8-0
    MMG, LMG x 2, DC x 2
I have 1 extra CPP which I will save for Day 6.  I bought two companies in reserve, hoping that Dave will choose the Idle chit.  That will save me 2 CPP and allow me to spend my entire CPP allotment for Day 6 on support groups (artillery, armor, or maybe a heavy-weapons platoon). 

Day 5:  Idle day

Rest up for the next big push.  Dave did, in fact, take an Idle chit which means my gamble of buying two infantry companies in reserve paid off.  During the refit phase, I rolled a snake-eyes for my ELR roll, which brings my ELR back up to 4!  That's the good news.  The bad news is that Dave rolled a 3, and his ELR went up to 4 as well. And then, to make up for my snake-eyes roll, I rolled boxcars for my two depleted tank platoon witdrawal rolls!  So, both of my retained tanks are gone.

Alas, that's the problem for the Germans:  as the campaign wears on, the Russians get stronger, while the Germans struggle to keep up.  But, c'est le guerre, as say those guys over on the other side of Europe.  (You know?  Those guys over whom we ran roughshod a mere two years previous?)  My retained forces for Day 6 are these:
  • 9-2, 9-1 x 5, 8-1, 8-0 x 4, 7-0 x 3
  • 127
  • 468 x 12
  • 548 x 19.5
  • 467 x 25
  • 447 x 3.5
  • HMG x 4, MMG x 7, LMG x 9, Lt. Mtr. x 3, Atr x 3, DC x 2
I am again allotted 15 CPP for the coming day.  Plus I have 1 CPP left from Day 5, giving me a total of 16 CPP. My purchases:
  • Heavy Artillery module  8 CPP
    Offboard Observer: A27
    Pre-registered hex:  K24
  • PzIVF1 Pltn 5 CPP
    PzIVF1 x 3
  • 80mm Mtr Battery with pre-registered hex  3 CPP
    Pre-registered hex: P21
Pre-registered hexes

The objective for the day is to capture or clear the area to the west of  the N hexrow, south of Arbalovskaya Boulevard.  An ambitious goal, to be sure.  But I've had an Idle Day so I'm coiled up for another big strike.  In support of my objective, I've pre-registered the heavy artillery to hammer the Power Station and Building L24.  It would be nice to capture the Power Station intact, so I might use it as an over-watch position in future scenarios, but if it is rubbled so be it.  I've already captured some high ground with the G22 and F21 buildings that will afford me a nice view down the equator.  I pre-registered the 80mm to smoke up the T34 in O22 and hinder the line of sight for any Russian artillery observers back in the Commissar's House.  Now, I await Dave's setup to see how I will make my approach.

Day 6 setup

And here it is...

Day 6:  Big Picture
My first observation, upon seeing Dave's setup, is that the number of Russian counters on board seems rather paltry, given that we're coming off on Idle day.  There are a few new fortifications in the northeast sector near the river, but no reserve counters and none too many small concealment counters.  So, either he spent a lot on artillery or he has an inordinate number of hidden units or both.  Probably both.

Be that as it may, my objectives remain the same.  I'm going to push hard and expect that I'll encounter some nasty surprises.  To quote General Buck Turgidson from Kubrik's classic, Dr. Strangelove, "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed."

Northeast sector
In this sector, I'm not looking to gain ground, but will content myself with containing any Russian aggression.  And, I do expect that Dave will mount some kind of attack in this area.  He's made a few initiatives over here in the last couple campaign days.  Well, let him come, I say.  I'm willing to give ground here.  But not too much.  I've got a depleted Sturm company guarding the O10 factory, and a rifle company guarding the cliffs above the river.  That'll have to be enough.

 Southwest sector
In this sector, I've deployed an elite rifle company.  They're charged with capturing buildings F32 and G33, primarily.  But, if they can get as far as building J38, so much the better.  I won't push too hard down here though.  F32 and G33 will suffice, since they can provide high ground across the debris field.

Central sector
This is where the action will be.  My 80mm mortar, directed by the phone in C20, will drop smoke on its pre-registered hex P21, which will hopefully neutralize any artillery observers in the Commissar's House.  Meanwhile, the heavy artillery will start doing its crazy thing on the units defending the Power Station and Building L24.  In addition, the rifle company in the K15 factory will provide flanking pressure from the north.

I've got a full company of Sturm troops, supported by a kill stack in F21, that will charge in behind the artillery barrage.  And my reinforcing Panzers will come in as support. 

Big day coming up.  Big day, indeed!

To be continued...

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