A112 Gift of Time

The Purist

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In my castle by the sea, Trochu, AB
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Gerry
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CASLO XXV Round One Match

Round One of the CASLO XXV Tournament had me paired with John G out of Texas. It appears both John and I were the only two who sought the desert action and were both quite pleased to get our first choice. We both had the Germans as our preferred side but decided to roll the die to see who would be German, waving off the balance provisions. I drew the Germans and decided to attack along the bottom of the map and see how things developed.

I had six Pz IVs with 75L guns and an 8-1 AL, three SPWs 251/1, a Kfz 1 and a company of infantry supported by 80+ battalion mortar OBA. The Italians join the fray with with four Semovente M/41 assault guns with HE, AP and HEAT ammunition. The British have three Valentine (40L models), two M3 GMCs, a 57L AT and a short company of infantry with which to delay the oncoming German armoured assault.

It came as no surprise to see the allied armour set up HD in the wadis but I did note than none were behind the hillocks. As per the scenario title time is the enemy of the Germans as they need to score 60 CVP to win. This can only realistically be done by exiting at least some of the force off the opposite side of the map,... and it's a long, long, lonnnggg way to go. The two M3 GMCs and 57L are a serious threat to the German armour but even the 40Ls on the Valentine tanks can shock or immobilise a Pz IV on a TK DR of 4 at ranges less than 19 hexes, so they can't be ignored.

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The opening shots killed only one Valentine and I lost a 75L to Malf'n in the first AFPh. At this point I expected the allied armour to pop Smoke and scamper down the wadis to new positions to shake off the ACQ markers. Thankfully for my gunners, John chose to stay and fight, gambling on the HD benefits helping him stay alive (when we chatted later we both agreed the risks outweighed the possible rewards). Unfortunately for John, my gunners had the range and between AF and the next Def Fire two more Valentine tanks and an M3 GMC were killed, although one more Pz IV lost its MA to a malf'n. With the last M3 learning the lesson and safely down in the wadi, my tanks and halftracks were crossing the first line of wadis be the end of Turn 2. The 57L joined the fray but was soon blinded by the German OBA Smoke concentration. The US M3 Medium tanks roll on the map and took position behind the hillocks as the 57L began moving into a new position to better ambush the approaching German and Italian armour (I never did get a Stuka but needing a dr of 1, was not surprised).

17918

By Turn 4 the attack was approaching the second wadi line, now occupied by most of the British infantry while a Lee shocked a Pz IVH. It wisely pulled back, buried under four German acquisition markers, rather than fight on alone. A third gun Malf'd (Italian Semovente) and I began to keep my eye on the clock. With two Lee tanks, an M3 GMC and the 57L, John still had some potent killing power. With three guns out of action I could not afford the lost time in leapfrogging the armour forward. If John engaged now that the range was more palatable for his red TH #s he had the possibility to do some real damage. Everything and everyone had to move forward as fast as possible.

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John kept out of sight and I feinted towards the centre and top of the map to try and scare off the M3 GMC skulking the gully. It appeared to work while at the same time giving me the option of striking across or around either hillock if need be. At this point my artillery decided to offer me a red chit which, combined with the location of the 57L, helped me make up my mind to go for the western (bottom) hillock. Turn 5 and 6 were a matter of shooting some smoke to cover the move over the wadi, and picking up a few extra CVP by overrunning some British infantry in the wadis (now with 36 of 60 CVP in the pot). Safely across I set up behind the hillock with a large enough group of vehicles to make for the exit and win, unless allied gunnery said otherwise. The move did cost a Pz IV and suddenly I was down four guns, leaving just six to face a like numbered US and British guns. If it came to a shoot out now I could still lose.

17920

I was not overly surprised that John did not engage on turn 5 but seeing no move to engage with the M3, now behind my main force, did seem like a missed opportunity. My turn 7 moves would need to ensure I pinned down or killed the remaining US/Brit guns and vehicles so I could exit at least two vehicles for the win. The Semovente, sans le canon, charged over the hillock and was engaged by the 57L that missed both attempts to hit. These brave Italians then overran the gun, pinning the crew and remaining in the hex in motion. If he died in the next turn he would hopefully become a true roman candle and blind the 57L's future shots. The halftracks moved next and were ignored as the US tanks had bigger fish to fry.

That said it may have been worth at least one shot from a Lee to kill one of these movers but John held his fire. What sealed the game for me was moving a Pz IV F2 w/ 8-1 AL up behind the western hillock where I declared a Bounding Fire APCR shot at range 10 against the western (bottom) M3 Lee. The base TH of 9 was modified to 5 for moving and back up to a 7 for the AL and large target size of the Lee. The APCR shot hit and the Lee died. This opened the flood gates in the west and everything on the western side of the map bolted to the north. With four tanks still available to hunt the last Lee (five once the bottom of turn 7 arrived) and little hope of stopping the sprinters, John conceded the game.

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After the game John and I both agreed that the allied armour needs to avoid the long range gun duel. Against 75L guns with black to hit numbers the US equipment with red TH#s can't compete while the Valentine's 40L guns, though using black TH#s, suffer range penalties beyond 12 hexes and TK penalties after 19 hexes. If they are going to try and slow some of the German armour down by trading their lives for time, they need to shoot-n-scoot or keep out of LOS until the range comes down. Time is on the allied side so anything/everything they can do to delay the Germans is worth the casualties.

A fun scenario and John G was a first class opponent and true gentleman at play.
 
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