Saturday, 11 March 2017

ASL Replay: LASSH 12 Contact!

Today I got to play another game of Advanced Squad Leader.  This tactical war game is considered the gold standard of such games.  It is rather complex, but in its complexity one will find its genius. As I stated previously, it is by playing ASL that I have gained a better understanding of the events of the Second World War.  

So, today I set out to my friend Monty's place for a match that pitted members of the SS-Division (mot.) Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler against defenders from the Soviet 51st Army. Crimea would be the setting for the battle as the elements of II. Battalion.  This was the ASL Scenario "Contact!" by Lone Canuck Publishing, part of a series of scenarios focused on this Waffen SS division.

The Scenario

As the Soviet, it was up to me to defend.  With my meagre force of ten first line squads, augmented by four machine guns, I was hoping to hold off a total of 11 elite SS squads augmented by a variety of support weapons, including eight machine guns. My leader to squad ratio was to be 1:5, while Monty had 1:2.4.  Quite an advantage!

I had a plan, fairly simple. I would develop a forward force that would conduct a delay to buy time and then fight the main defensive battle on the objective hills on the near side of my board.  I would face an initial force of 7 squads and then a reinforcing group of 4 squads with 4 (!) machine guns!

Monty's SS about to enter the playing area

So, we had our sides set and away we went.  As he moved up, I had a machine gun open up at long range with good effect.  I broke a squad and then another and the initial feeling was that I was going to be able to keep Monty's forces at arm's length for a few precious turns.  

Inevitably, however, Monty was able to get enough forces up in order to get the massed firepower to start to chip away at my troops.  With a paltry morale level of 7 with an ELR of only 2, it was inevitable that my troops would break.  And often.  As such, I had plenty of space for routing back; however, Monty played his SS troops quite aggressively and was able to close the gap quickly and by the end of the game had captured 3 of my ten squads.

Waffen SS gain the base of fire

As the game progressed into turn 2, I was soon to realize that I would be unable to stand toe to toe with the Waffen SS.  Their base morale of 8 proved to be just too tough to crack as the game went on.  My machine guns had the range, but failed to achieve any rate tears. The closest I came was in one turn when a forward-positioned MMG (with a rate of fire of 2) was able to get 4 shots in against the enemy in one phase. My HMG was sited with my 9-1 way at the back and was able to bring effective fire to bear; however, not once was it able to get its rate of fire (his rate is 3).  Conversely, Monty was able to fire back at long range into the machine gun nest and break the manning squad.  

Typical sight: my troops unable to withstand low IFT +2 TEM attacks

On turn 6, the bubble burst from my defense.  I had the HMG manned with fresh troops and my commissar was rallying the broken troops, hoping to hold back the Waffen SS troops for one more turn.  That was all I would need to keep the enemy at bay.  It was not to be. Monty's forces were just too much for me.  The final nail in the coffin was two-fold.  First he broke my HMG squad with long range fire (again) and then, to add insult to injury, an IFT 2 DRM +2 shot against a concealed squad ended up with a 1 MC and broke my lads.

With that, it was all over. I had one good order squad left, leaving Monty to rush me at double time speed and take the objectives unopposed.  Had I even had a chance to conduct a miracle rally, I would not have been able to even challenge his control of the hills.

"This way, lads.  For you, the war is over."

In the end, a great game. Once again I was able to see why the Germans were able to dominate the Soviets early in the war.  They had superior leadership at the company level and below, they had much better and more mobile support weapons and their troops were better trained.

No comments:

Post a Comment