Thursday, October 03, 2019

RB/RO CG: Fire on the Volga (Pt. 1)

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.

It has been a while. But, now that fall is rushing like a wave upon us here in the Pacific Northwest, there is no better time for taking up another of those endeavors that both torment and delight its practitioners: an ASL Campaign Game.

Specifically, Stewart King and I are undertaking to play a modified CG that combines the Red Barricades and Red October boards and OBs to become a massive, all-encompassing campaign that runs for 30 CG days! I attached the monikor "Fire on the Volga" and undertake here to maintain a blog of the CG as we progress. Stewart is an old friend and has agreed to refrain from reading my blog until such time as I give him permission.

You can get the specifics of our CG in the Prelude blog post.

Feel free to leave comments. Let me know if you think my setup is crazy, or if you find my strategy hopelessly flawed. Just be sure not to reveal anything about my game to Stewart (or vice-versa).

Back, once again, to the Barricades. For the umpteenth time. It's testimony to the success of the Red Barricades campaign game that, all these years later, and after multiple playings, I still look forward to this all-engrossing, mental tormenter of a game. And this time there is the added twist of incorporating the entire RO module into the bargain. Please refer to the Prelude for the specifics about how we plan to accomplish this.  

Fate has dictated that for this game, I am to play the Fascist aggressors, while Stewart has the part of the Communists. 

So, without further ado, let's get to it.

In past AARs, I have explained my thinking about the importance, in Red Barricades, of the riverbank for the Soviets. It's critical to keep the Germans off the river and out of important strategic locations like the Chemist's Shop and the Commissar's House. (I refer you, dear reader, to "A litany of Red Barricades truths" from a previous AAR.)

Does that mean I should push for the river on Day 1? I'm not sure. First, let's have a look at my given forces.

  • Rifle Coy
    467 x 12
    9-1, 8-0, 7-0
    HMG, MMG, LMG, Atr, Lt. Mtr.
  • Sturm Coy
    548 x 12
    9-1, 8-0, 7-0
    MMG, LMGx2, DCx2
  • PzIIL Platoon
    PzIIIL x 3
    8-1 Armor leader
  • 80mm OBA
    Pre-registered hexes x 2
I have 15CCP for the day. The big choice is whether to buy a Sturm Coy or Rifle Coy as my 3rd company. And, since it's always good to open with a Big Punch, I'll opt for the Sturm company.  These, therefore are my purchases.

  • Sturm Coy (9CPP)548 x 12
    10-2, 8-1, 7-0
    MMG, LMGx2, DCx2

  • StuGIIIB Platoon (4CPP)
    StuGIIIB x 3
  • Stukas (early entry) 2 CPP

80mm Mortar pre-registered hexes
The 80mm OBA pre-registered hexes are set to smoke up the northern approach. Beyond this I cannot go until I see the Russian setup.

And here it is.

Reds are ready
The combined RB/RO map looks impossibly big when it's all laid out. How in the hell are the Germans supposed to conquer all of that?

A closer inspection reveals that Stewart has set up to defend the riverbank in force. But he looks strong all the way across the line. My first instinct is to think that the Russians are too far forward and ripe to be destroyed. But wherever I choose to attack, the fighting will be fierce right from the get-go.

A moment to consider...

And I think the rule of the day is audacity. An aggressive push for the river.

Hier kommen wir, Russen!
Pretty straightforward. My rifle company will enter on the northern board edge between hexrows G and Q. Very slowly, one hex at a time. Their turn 1 objective will be to get setup to engage the Russians on the upper levels and the rooftops. I notice that  Stewart has some Russians on the rooftops. Artillery spotter and light mortar teams, no doubt. My MG kill stack, which I hope to establish in G1, will soon be sited in on them. The PzIIILs will accompany the rifles across the debris field, laying smoke as necessary.

My Sturm company will enter strong on the west edge and push straight for Building F5. They will feint at Building B12, and if the going seems easy, they might send a platoon to take it. But I won't fight hard for B12. I'm pushing straight for the river with these guys. Under no circumstances will I activate the reserves that Stewart has placed to the south across the railroad tracks.

On turn 2, my reinforcing Sturm company will come in full bore at the river fortifications. I hope to maybe catch Stewart flat-footed. My turn 1 attack might suggest that my goal is the Manufacturing Hall or the string of buildings just east of the railroad tracks. But while my Rifles start shooting up his long range teams, and my Sturm company driving eastward, the Reds will suddenly be confronted by an armor-and-Stuka-supported Sturm company busting straight for his fortified area around V5!

I don't necessarily want to reach the riverbank on this day (and it's doubtful I could anyway), but if I can destroy that fortified area and establish my perimeter east of hexrow V, drive the Russians in the center to the south, and maintain a good CVP ratio, I'll count the day as successful.

That's an awful lot to ask, though.

Hey, man. Nobody said Stalingrad was gonna be easy.

Let's see how it goes...

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