Friday, November 01, 2019

RB/RO CG: Fire on the Volga (Pt. 2)

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.

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 moniker "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.

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 (nor vice-versa).

Aftermath of CG Day 1

I'm very satisfied with the results of the day. Behold, the perimeter!

Perimeter, end of CG Day 1.
Not so impressive, eh? Yes, I did destroy his trench-and-wire fortifications, got across the V hexrow and, made progress toward the Chemist's Shop, but that's barely hitting par as the Germans on Day 1.

The real story of the day was the destruction visited upon the Russian forces. As I stated in my previous post, I thought the Reds were set up too far forward. Between that and Stewart's natural tenacity and stubbornness on defense (I've been playing him for years) CG Day 1 was a Russian disaster.

The CVP totals tell the tale. Germans suffered 20 CVP. Russians suffered 63 CVP. The Reds got tripled up! Despite their numerical superiority in the overall CG, that ratio is unsustainable. Stewart will have to find a way to adjust.

In a more or less textbook blitzkrieg manuever, I was able to use my armor to bust through his line at several points (the Workshop Warehouse and his wire and trench line in the U-W hexrows) and follow up with my infantry, cleaning up behind the maurauding AFVs. In that way, I destroyed a lot of his troops for failure to route. My MG kill stack swept his mortar and ATR troops off the rooftops, and I captured a Russian HMG in L5. Stewart mounted a successful minor counterattack from building Z1 and drove me back a couple hexes, and he threw me out of Building K10 in another. But his losses were severe.

The day was punctuated by a 7 CVP score on the last turn of the game, when my Sturm squad placed a DC, rubbling hex F13 which contained 3 squads and a 9-0 commie.

German losses consisted of a PzIIIL and roughly 2 platoons of infantry.

My triumph was somewhat mitigated when I rolled boxcars to have both of my armored platoons recalled. But, as per SSR #6 for this CG (see Prelude) I'm compensated 4 CPP for the next CG day, since the recall involved 4 fully-functional AFV. 

The Reds lost about 2 companies of infantry and a 45LL ATG.

The day that is to come

Although my perimeter does not extend as far into the board as I might have expected, I'm nonetheless pleased that I have established my entry area to the east of hexrow V, which opens up the approach to the riverbank.

As I see it, I've got 3 avenues of attack.

  1. Chemist's Shop and river bank.  This is my default choice. I've mostly destroyed his fortifications by the river and it makes little sense to lay off now and let him regain his strength. And while Stewart may well predict this attack, he's so weak right now that there is not much he can do to stop me from gaining the riverbank and probably even the Chemist's Shop. This will be my primary attack for the coming day.

    But I have enough strength to also mount a secondary attack as well, which will be either of the following two options, depending on how I perceive Russian strength to be deployed.
  2. Bust my way down the railroad tracks and make a grab for the Power Station. This is a safe attack. Reinforcements can join the battle immediately, entering from the western board edge, and any Russians any the area will be overwhelmed quickly.
  3. Into the factories. I don't want to fight in the factories unless I must. The Russian fanatic bonus makes even conscripts (which are sure to be there) dangerous. There is nothing worse than losing a Sturm squad to a Conscript in factory close combat. However, if I perceive the center to be overly weak, I will charge into the factories, if for no other reason than to stretch the perimeter.
My retained forces from Day 1 are these:
  • 10-2, 9-1 x 2, 8-1, 8-0, 8-0 (wnd), 7-0 x 2
  • 548 x 18
  • 468 x 2
  • 467 x 4
  • 447 x 2 
  • HMG, MMG x 3, LMG x 5, Atr, DC x 3
I've got 1.5 companies of Sturm troops, which means the German spear point is still honed and lethal. This bodes well for Day 2.

I'm awarded 17 CPP (remember, in this CG, Stewart and I are ignoring all CPP replenishment modifiers other than the historical modifiers), plus the 4 CPP I received for my recalled AFV, which yields 21 CPP for the day! My purchases are these:

  • I1 Rifle Company
    467 x 12
    HMG, MMG, LMG, Lt. Mtr. Atr
    8-1, 8-0
  • I1 Rifle Company
    467 x 12
    HMG, MMG, LMG, Lt. Mtr. Atr
    10-2, 8-1, 7-0
  • A5 PzIIIL Platoon
    9-1 AL
    PzIIIL x 3
  • O5 Offboard Observer (Hex Q1)
  • O2 80mm Mtr OBA
    Normal Ammo
Two Rifle companies for the day. I'll buy them now, while I can. In my experience, the Germans are rarely afforded such a luxury, and since I have it, I'm going to use it. In the later game, my purchases will be constrained by competing demands for support and manpower.

My AFV withdrawal reimbursement of 4 CPP goes directly to buying another PzIIIL platoon. The net effect of our new SSR, then, is that I came out more-or-less with a wash. Four AFV withdrawn, 3 purchased with the resulting CVP.

The tactics for Day 2 will be much the same as Day 1. Schwerpunkt, aimed at the Chemist's Shop. I'm hoping the momentum of my attack will carry me beyond my primary objective and on to the approaches of the Commissar's House.

And away we go!

Stewart is discouraged after the whipping he took on Day 1. But the Reds can recover from disaster. As the German advances across the board, he moves beyond the effective range of his offboard observers and increases the distance his reinforcements must travel to reach the action. That is, he becomes vulnerable.

When I play the Russians, I find it useful to think of the German forces as a vicious dog tethered to the western and northern board edges. Don't fight the dog inside his tether. Just stay in front of him, back up and nick him where you can. When he reaches the end of the line, which in my experience seems to be at about hex row V on the southern half of the RB board, lay into him with everything you've got.

And know that he still might shred you.

That's life in the Barricades, baby.

To be continued... 

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