A25 Cold Crocodiles - AAR

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A25 Cold Crocodiles - AAR

18116

Scenario Overview:

Well, 'Cold Crocs' is one of the classics of the classics I suppose. As of May 2021, ROAR has it at 188 British wins vs. 162 German ones, so it has seen a lot of play. The Excitement Rating is an incredible 7.61, which ranks it at no less than 4th place of the all-time best ROAR ratings for scenarios with 100+ playings.

As my opponent, who had somehow never played it, poposed this one, I jumped at the opportunity. Myself, I have played it once a very loooong time ago but all that I remember of that playing was that I had the Germans and the position of one of my 88LL ATGs. Needless to say, I had but the highest expectations for this game. This time, I would try my hand as the attacking British.

The action is set in Holland in January 1945, so the Germans are so full ASL-wise of inherent AT capability in the form of PF and ATMM, that it is hard to imagine them to move borne down by that 'burden'.

To reflect the winter and possibly historically frozen ground, Entrechment attempts are NA and all Water Obstacles are Frigid, which means that there is no trickery Swimming through the Canal to grab some buildings. All buildings are Ground Level only, the Board 24 valley does not exist (nicely reflected in VASL) but other Terrain stays normally (including the 24F6 Bridge, which might be of some importance). The only Bridge crossing the Canal is 23P6.

Besides that, the British get 80mm OBA directed by an Offboard Observer at Level 3 along the playing area's south edge (left) west (above) the Canal, which is secretly recorded prior to setup. The Offboard Observer frees the British from the fear of not establishing/maintaining Radio Contact, as this is automatic for Offboard non-Aerial Observers. The Germans can HIP one squad-equivalent plus SMC/SW stacked with it. The two reinforcing German Jagdpanzers have Schürzen - by the way, it is supposed to be Schürzen, not Schuerzen. I am German, believe me...

The objective for the British is to amass more VP than the Germans, while CVP are collected in the normal manner but additionally for each side, the Control of each Stone Buildings yields a certain number of VP. As the British enter from offboard, the Germans are initially in Control of all Stone Buildings of which there are 21.


Preliminary Assessment:

Yay! It gots lots of goodies: A 10-2 vs. a 9-2 Leader, a pair of bad-ass long range 'Crocodile' FT tanks with an X# of 12 for this SA. A British 9-2 AL for good measure. An Offboard Observer for the OBA, a pair of 88LL 'ultimate punch' ATGs that can put a hole in any of the opposing armor several times over and also rocks vs. Infantry.

For the details of the OoB's just refer to the first picture, no need to reiterate here. It should be mentioned, that all British AFV have sM8 and sD7 and the Crocodiles and Cromwells can fire s8 and WP6 as Ordnance on top of that. With a SAN of 5, the German Sniper is to be reckoned with. A maybe important detail on the Challengers, which only have HE7: Acquisition can not be gained with AP ammo while using the Area Target Type, so there is no zeroing in on empty hexes except if you would risk your valuable HE7 for the purpose.

While the playing area consists of two boards (23 and 24), the area east of (below) the Canal will likely see not much action. As aforementioned, there's no antics of swimming through the Canal and grabbing buildings with unarmed units because the water is Frigid. Merely the pair of German Jagdpanzers enter from that area. Depending on the deployment of the Challengers, they might be more or less be pinned down there forever. On the other hand, it seems rather unlikely for the British to get on the eastern (bottom) side of the Canal, which means that consequently the four Stone Buildings in the area will probably always remain under German Control.

As the value of Stone Building Control is high, the British cannot afford to bypass areas where numbers of Stone Buildings are located. Depending on how the game plays or maybe even with his HIP units, the Germans might get the opportunity for a counter-grabbing attack.

The initial forces of Infantry are roughly equal in number (8 British squad-equivalents vs. 9 German ones), but the Germans have an edge in Firepower, Morale and TEM. Furthermore as the British will have to assign some of his initial forces to Board 23, he will feel short of Infantry for his Board 24 push, which will likely be his initial Schwerpunkt. Of course, he has the Cromwell tanks, which are fine for support vs. enemy Infantry and the OBA to help him out. Still, I deem the Germans perfectly capable to slow down or hold up the British on Board 24 until the reinforcements arrive.

Talking about the 80mm OBA. The Draw Pile is normal (i.e. 8 Black / 2 Red), Accuracy on a 1 or 2. As nothing else is specified, HE Concentration, SMOKE, and Harassing Fire are all possible. Each are viable options: A HE Concentration is strong enough to make an impression on the Germans or to take out the fearful 88LL AT-Guns once located and provided they can be reached by OBA. SMOKE can be used to blind these very AT-Guns or the area close to the Bridge crossing the Canal to help the British attackers across that difficult patch of ground. Harassing Fire is just fine to impede the repositioning of the German forces and to pin them in place - especially, if Woods are involved. Best of all, since the British have an Offboard Observer, they do not need to roll for Radio Contact, the failure of which is otherwise a frequent cause of frustration with OBA. Here you will likely see it coming down (unlike in a recent game where it took me no less than 14 (!) Fire Phases to bring down an FFE for the first time - which did win me the game, though, because it killed a HS which advanced into the blast area...).

What might become a problem for the Germans and a chance for the British is that the Jerries only have three leaders. If any one of these is taken out or cut off from retreat or reaching his brokies for rallying them, things will get difficult. And the chances for this to happen certainly exist.
Another tricky question for the German is just where to place his 88LL AT-Guns. They pack an awesome punch against anything, but they are so cumbersome that it is unlikely to see them being pushed around. Obviously, their prime targets appear to be the Crocodiles. These hellish British contraptions are a serious psychological weapon by themselves even if they don't fire a shot. If they get to bring their flamethrowers to bear, then the Germans will be - literally - roasted. So the Germans need to get rid of them and the pair of ATGs is by far the best means at hand. Hitting a moving Crocodile with a Panzerfaust at range 3 (i.e. the range of the beast's FT) needs a DR of 3 (if seen long enough) even despite being a Large target. If stopped, at that range this goes up to a TH of 5, which is still only a 27.8% chance - after previously finding a PF. The Jagdpanzers are not of immediate help, because they would need a minimum of two, more likely three turns to come to grips with them. And this means they first have to cross the single Bridge across the Canal that the British have likely covered by at least one Challenger tank.

On the other hand, the British have to think about how best to deploy the Crocodiles as well. The main problem will be to bring their awesome weapons to bear without being shot up before they can do anything. These Crocodiles are about just as fast as a Dodge Ram 3500 with half a dozen flat tyres pushed by a granny. Basically, the British have three theoretical areas where they could enter them. The first is South of (left) of hexrow V. There, they will be very likely safe from the German ATGs as he will be reluctant to set them up that far up front. However, doing so would mean that they have to spend a couple of turns reaching a place where they could have an effect - taking them effectively out of the game. The British could still select that option by disconnecting the trailer at the price of disabling that powerful exciting FT at the benefit of increased MPs. Even without the FT, the Crocodiles are useful and powerful. But as they are 'the attraction' of the game, I do not see many British players contemplating that. The second option would be to enter in 'the center', i.e. on/between hexrows S and N. This has the benefit that they would quickly reach terrain in which some Germans are still likely to hang on in Turn 4 and that the British OBA has some opportunity to find/clear up some potential AT-gun positions by fire before. Taking this path, the Crocodiles might be able to pry open the area around the Bridge across the Canal or be occupied with 'something' useful getting there. The third option is to enter via the I10 road. If the Crocodile punks are feelin' lucky, they could get as far as 24D2 if CE, posing a serious PITA in Turn 4 already. That is if they contrieve to reach that area in one piece. Needless to say, it is highly likely that the Germans will take at least some precautions against such a move. Maybe it is a good idea to set up the Crododiles in a way that the second one can switch from the 'central' area to one of the others in case the first one gets shot up right after entry.

One thing I like are the British PIATs. Since they don't have a Backblast, they can be pretty useful being fired from buildings vs. Infantry in ADJACENT buildings - despite deductions for TEM to the TH roll, chances for a Hit and a subsequent 8FP flat effects roll are something worth to be considered.

It becomes apparent that this scenario is quite old: The at minimum the first Turn will be spent by the British moving forward without the Germans being able to do anything - except if the latter would elect to set up in absurdly unfavorable positions. Basically, you could have made the Y or X hexrow the board edge, deduct a turn from the scenario length and rule by SSR that the Offboard Observer would still have to be setup at the GG hexrow (as not do decrease potential Blind Hexes to his LOS).


Situation at the Start of British Turn 1 - Game Start:

18120

The Battle Plan:

The German defensive setup was more or less what I expected: The board 24 village would be defended by some troops to fight a delaying action. Some Germans (or Dummies posing as such) would guard the 'rear door' in the 24L6 area. Then the 23O10 area had some defenders to prevent any quick push into the board 23 town to the North-East (bottom-right) to it with its valuable and numerous Stone Buildings. The big question was - where were the German AT-Guns? But this question would unlikely be solved during the first Turn.

The red arrows show the intended paths for Infantry, the green arrows those for armor. The areas encircled in blue had been earmarked as options for the initial British OBA. I settled to try for 24R7 for a Spotting Round, provided LOS existed which seemed to be the case after some eye-balling. My Offboard Observer was located in 24GG7.

In the East (bottom), I would attempt to deploy and then Double time to 23Z5 with the foot-sloggers. A Challenger would carry a squad with the assembled MTR and unload in the same spot, thus reaching it without being CX nor slowed down by that heavy SW.
Later, tanks would take up positions in Y9, X8, and/or W8 to shoot at the Woods area of 24N1 (where an AT-Gun might hide) or the Building of 23O10 from a HD position. From W8, I'd keep watch for the Jagdpanzers due later and pop a sM to cover further Infantry progress to 23U9. This building was important as it had an excellent field of fire all the way to 24K4 which could cut off paths of retreat from the board 24 village towards the area of the board 23 town West of (above) the Canal. The 23S9 building would be secured for the same purpose and to paste 23O10. I'd try to reach 23R8 or 23Q9 with a PIAT vs. the crossing of the Jagdpanzers and those buildings would be a jumping-off point to get into the 23O10 building after having smoked the gap in between that could be covered by the Jagdpanzers East of (below) the Canal or from the board 24 village. Once the crucial 23O10 building was secured, the British would pour in the town beyond to take the Stone Buildings there up for grabs. Possibly aided by Crocodiles and Infantry reinforcements coming in from behind.

In the West (top) I would use the fastest route along the road with foot-sloggers and tanks with riders to reach the area around 24X5 in force. Advancing Infantry would screen the tanks from PFs while the tanks would cover the Infantry if the Germans decided to get close & personal. The OBA would hopefully see and bring down a Harrassing Mission in 24R7 to fix the forward German defenders between the FFE and my Infantry/Tanks closing in from the other side. Any enemy brokies would have a difficult time getting back and thus taking them Prisoner would get me some extra CVP.
With the first line of defence overcome, the OBA would switch targets to the 24M9 area or 24P7 in an attempt to flush out any enemy AT-Gun as to pave the way for my Crocodiles entering in the center from the western (top) board edge. The Crocs would be supported by most of the reinforcing Infantry entering from the West edge (top) through the L10 Woods area, while some foot-sloggers would flesh up my Infantry attacking towards the center of the Board 24 village.
The Crocodiles would mop up what remained of the Germans in the village center, while the Cromwells would swing around 24V3 into the village with Infantry support to cut off any retreats and gobble up the Germans caught between them and the Crocodiles. That done, additional points would be earned by taking Control of the board 24 village Stone Buildings. Meanwhile, the OBA would switch its attentions elsewhere, either to suppress any Germans posing an issue, or, preferrably, SMOKING the 23O10 area to get my Infantry from board 23 safely aross the Open Ground.


Situation at the End of British Turn 1:

18121

British Turn 1 went almost exactly according to plan. No wonder, because the Germans really couldn't do anything yet. Unfortunately, I did not manage to Deploy as planned and I drew a Red Chit for the OBA (LOS to 24R7 was fine, though, which was good to know). And I made one stupid mistake: In all their dash, the board 23 Infantry forgot to let one unit enter the 23CC7 building while passing, so I would have to send back some men to amend for that later.


Situation at the End of German Turn 1:

18122

German Turn 1 was a very quick one. The enemy merely shuffled some units around the 24U6 area and the 23U9 area. My Observer brought down a Spotting Round in 24O9, somewhat off the intended target hex of 24R7, but nevertheless well suited to threaten the Germans in the 24M9 area.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of British Turn 2:

18123

For my British Turn 2, I intended to follow through with my plan.

During Prep Fire, I announced a correction of the Spotting Round to 24S8 and conversion to a Harrassing Fire Mission. Alas, the fire mission was inaccurate and wandered off to the almost empty center of the village, hitting not a single one of the four enemy stacks intended despite of the larger radius of Harassing Fire. Thus, my idea of squeezing the up-front Germans between rock and a hard place was foiled for the time being.

As I could not be sure at this point, if the German up-front strength in Infantry was up to par with mine or even exceeding it, I felt that I could afford to move ADJACENT and to expose myself to enemy Point Blank fire and possible disadvantage at CC odds. Thus, I positioned my force in the Woods as to cut off retreat of the Germans back towards the center of the village and to maintain the Infantry screen for my tanks. Since no AT-fire occurred, I could be pretty sure that no enemy Gun was lurking in the 24U2 area.

In the East (bottom) everything went according to plan. I hastened back a squad to make good my neglecting to gain Control of the CC7 building. The MTR squad moved into position in 23X8, ready to lay down some fire on 24N1, which seemed to be a possible spot for a German 88LL hideout. The Challenger pulled up next to the wall in 23W8, popping Smoke into ADJACENT V8 in order to create some cover against possible German hipsters for my 9-1, 458+MMG(dm) taking up position in the 23U9 building with its excellent field of fire.

The Germans held their fire. My opponent remarked, that up to now, for the Germans there was not much excitement in this scenario at all, contrary to ROAR's rating. In part, I had to agree. So far, things had not been really exciting for the British either but at last, they had more things to do and were fueled by the anticipation of their plan to unfold.


Situation at the End of German Turn 2:

18125

German Turn 2 saw some minor shuffling around of his units in the backfield but the important stuff was going on up-front.

The German 548 cornered in 24U4 opened up against my ADJACENT 10-2, 458+LMG with no effect. I was lucky that what I correctly anticipated to be a 548+LMG in 24U6 gacked his roll against an ADJACENT concealed squad of mine, too.

In turn, however, I did not achieve anything either but causing Heat of Battle to that said 548+LMG turning it into Fanatics. The correction of the Harassing Fire was now down in the perfect place but it didn't do anything with the notable and important exception of killing a German 548+MMG by Critical Hit in 24R1, causing a Flame in the process (which would haunt me later...).

The German 548 cornered in 24U4 advanced into CC with my 10-2, 458+LMG in ADJACENT V3, but I ambushed them and infiltrated out to U4. Better safe than sorry. Besides, that 548 was now pretty much surrounded and set up for demise in my upcoming Turn.


Situation at the End of British Turn 3:

18129

The most imminent problem in my German Turn 3 was the enemy Fanatic 548+LMG holed up in the Wooden Building of 24U6 and its buddy in 24U7. These two were so powerful that I could not really afford to move my precious Infantry ADJACENT an expose it to Point Blank fire. At the same time, these two enemy squads made any attempt of crossing over into the 24S5 Stone Building in the center of the village , which was the stepping stone for further progress, extremely hazardous. On top my progress to 24S8 was blocked by them as well. Since both these enemy squads - and what I suspected to be a concealed Leader behind them - sat in blind hexes to my Offboard Observer, just could not get at them. Driving one of my precious tanks into the village, say to 24R2 to get at them from behind, appeared too dangerous to me as I had not yet found the German hipsters.

So, for the time being, in Prep Fire I called down a Spotting Round to 24M9 where some Germans lurked but which was inaccurate and landed in P8. This was next to the suspicious Woods hex of P7, so I was content with it. It left me with three viable options for the next half-turn: Blasting P7, correcting to M9 or correcting to the T7 area to get at the effective German blocking force which began to delay me.
Furthermore, I poured a hailstorm of Fire onto the hapless 548 in 24V2 by which it was Casualty Reduced. The surviving half-squad had guts and survived all the vicious fire by my 10-2 and tanks at Point Blank range. Luckily, it failed to find a Panzerfaust and finally died being Ambushed by my 10-2 and 1.5 squad equivalents.
I called down spotted MTR fire on the German Fanatics in 24U6 but forseeably this had no effect with their being holed up in a Wooden Building. Their returnfire then broke my MTR Spotter.

I was kind of at a loss what to do in the MPh. I dared not moving my tanks on board 24 as I had neither located the AT-Guns nor the Germans hipsters and I could not support them or scout ahead with Infantry because of the effective German blocking force. The two squads effectively stalled my entire force on board 24.
In the East (bottom) the situation was similar. To safeguard against any surprises by an AT-Gun, I needed one squad (which I originally had intended to deploy but failed to roll low enough at game start) to fire the MTR at 24N9, establishing that this hex was 'clean'. Due to my original mistake of forgetting to take Control of the 23CC7 Building, I was now lacking the PIAT squad to scout ahead - it reached W8 beneath my Challenger tank. This one I did not dare to move to the 23S10 area, where it might have been useful, because if any hipster was lurking in the area, it would be easy game. If a hipster sat in 23S9, I might stand the chance of putting my sole Leader in the area at an undue risk in moving to S9. Furthermore, I wanted to maintain the line of fire to 24K4 to prevent Germans falling back from the board 24 village. I suspected either the German HMG or at least the MMG to sit in 23O10.

At least in part, I have probably been too cautious. On the other hand, I was positioned to prevent the German blocking force around 24U6 from falling back and I felt that in my next turn, after the OBA had been corrected in German Turn 3 and with powerful reinforcements coming in, it would be able to squash them, which would then up the German losses to 4 out of 9 squads thus weakening the Germans so significantly that they would not be able to stand up vs. the growing British momentum. For sure, the incurred delay was not 'according to plan'.


Situation at the End of German Turn 3:

18130

In German Turn 3, the enemy fell back on board 24 towards the East (bottom) with the exception of his blocking force. The units of the blocking force moved away from easily accessible fringes of the Woods, probably in anticipation of my soon due to arrive Crocodiles - the psychology began to kick in...

In the DFPh, I corrected the OBA, converting it to a HE Concentration with the intention of hitting the German blocking force which caused me so much trouble. Alas, it came down in a place where it did nothing except verifying that a couple of improbable Locations were free of German hipsters.

That was pretty much it for this half-turn.

The setup of the British reinforcements can already be viewed in the above picture. My plan was to have both Crocodiles enter in the center. The reasoning behind this was that I was convinced that at least one AT-Gun would cover the areaof the 24I10 road, where the Crocs could move using the road rate if CE. This left only one other AT-Gun for the center. This second Gun might be found before by recce of the 2.5 British squad equivalents plus 9-1 Leader entering around the 24M10 area. One half-squad would make a run to grab the 24 S8 building, the other one would be the 'volunteer' to run into 24P7, which was one likely Gun position. Because I was very concerned about one German 548 of the blocking force running to 24Z9 in my backfield thus forcing me to despatch a force greater than that to deal with it, I reluctantly despatched on squad to enter in 24Y10 to block that route.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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Situation at the End of British Turn 4:

18131

Alas it would show that I was behind schedule with my plan in my British Turn 4.

As I had not reduced the German blocking force by now, I needed the OBA to engage it, which would have - according to the original plan - been shifted onto likely AT-Gun positions by now otherwise. Again, the correction of the FFE was in accurate and this time in a bad way. It came down centered on 24V7, once again missing the most important Location of 24U6. Worse, the 548 in 24V6 remained totally unharmed despite Airbursts. This had a series of irritating consequences: My Infantry could not move ADJACENT to V6 in multiple Locations because these were either blocked by OBA or ADJACENT to the still Concealed Fanatic 548+LMG which I had hoped to at least unconceal by OBA to then put the heat of my 10-2, 458+LMG, 458+MTR on it. Now, I had to fire the 10-2 & friends at half firepower due to Concealment and hope for the best. I stripped Concealment, broke the 8-0 Leader but the Fanatics still remained unharmed. The friggin German blocking force was almost unharmed yet another turn, which was turning into a serious problem, because still the Fanatics could shoot up my Infantry pressing to cross the street into the center of the village.

Now came the interesting Movement Phase that would likely reveal the German AT-Guns.
First, I ran in a half-squad from offboard, grabbing Control of the 24S8 building and continuing on to R6, ready to advance into the 24S5 Building to grab the next one. A second half-squad Dashed across T4 for good measure as I correctly guessed that the German Fanatics would reserve their fire for my 10-2 & company instead.
Next, the 'volunteer' half-squad entered from offboard to rush into 24P7. It was stopped and Pinned in 24P9 by no less than a HIP German half-squad with a HMG and led by the 9-2! This really surprised me because I thought these valuable assets would have seen better use elsewhere.
Then, a squad moved from offboard to 24L8, conducting a Search there, duly exposing the first AT-Gun in L7 with CA to N7. Bad for my that I had intended to enter in the center. I followed up with the 9-1, 457+LMG to L8 with the objective of shooting up the AT-Gun in the AFPh and then to take out any survivors in CC.
With this in mind, I entered the first Crocodile to 24P10, spending just two MP there for entry and stopping while remaining Concealed and protected behind a Wooden Building from the revealed AT-Gun. The idea was to hose P7 with the FT in the AFPh for good measure an then proceed into the village after the revealed Gun in L7 would be taken out by my Infantry.
The second Crocodile had a problem,though. Waltzing onboard in the center would likely be met by instant death meted out by the 88LL Gun in L7. Putting a second Croc into P10 seemed a bit over the top. Slow as these things were, I could not reach 24K10 for entry with those paltry 7MP. So the only viable option to get onboard at all and live was to enter via 24U10. However, alive I might be, but the Croc would be totally out of place. It would have to make numerous turns which would mean a hurtful waste of the scarce MPs desperately needed to get anywhere meaningful. Yet, there we were...
I don't know what made me move one of the Cromwells to 24X7 - in any case, it was a useless and stupid move.
The other Cromwell with the 9-2 AL went to 23Y9 with the intention of putting fire or SMOKE onto 23O10 later in preparation of my crossing the open ground there.
The second Challenger moved East (bottom) as well - the pair of them would be pretty much in control of the situation regardless of where the tow German Jagdpanzers elected to make their appearance. The PIAT squad moved towards the Bridge across the Canal, threatening (well, a small bit...) the Bridge entry hex with their AT-asset.

In the Defensive Fire Phase, the shit really hit the fan...
It started off innocuous with the Fanatic blocking squad not having any effect on my 10-2 & company which I took with considerable relief.
But then, the AT-Gun in 24L7 turned to fire at my ADJACENT Infantry - the 9-1, 457+LMG and a TI 457. I should have realized the danger before but I was distracted by the 9-2, 238+HMG, which would have probably used Sustained Fire if I had entered K8 with my 9-1, 457+LMG insread with comparable risk for me. Anyway, the beast turned and missed - but kept ROF. Gulp! Now it needed a 10 to hit my guys, which it did, breaking everybody. So noone would take it out in the AFPh nor in CC. Much worse, the 9-2 and his half-squad would be able to encirle my stack of brokies in combination with the Gun crew in his upcoming Turn no matter what I did - unless I contrieved to rally immediately. This would eliminate the core of my Infantry reinforcements before they could fire a shot and eliminate a significant threat to his rear, gaining a significant number of CVP to top it off.
This was not enough. 24P7 did hold the second AT-Gun. Now I understood clearly why my opponent had exposed his HIP 9-2, 238+HMG to stop a measly half-squad of mine. The Gun needed a 9TH for my Croc which I had thought to be safe behind the Wooden Building. It went up in a blaze without having done anything except to move a single hex onto the board. The second AT-Gun kept ROF, turned to fire at my HS still on the road in R6 but missed, as was to be expected. But it kept ROF again with a cdr of 1. Thankfully, it missed again. Still, the cursed Gun was now set perfectly to prevent my use of 24U5 and thereby another hex I might have used to come to grips with the German blocking force.

For added drama, the Flame in 24R4 spread to a Terrain Blaze.

In short: More than half of my reinforcements had to be written of as total losses before they'd fired a shot. And all the rest of them with the exception of a single half-squad, were dreadfully out of place, the second Croc before all. The friggin German blocking force was still fine and an extreme PITA. It was a disaster...


Situation at the End of German Turn 4:

18132

German Turn 4 did not see much Prep Fire. The blocking Fanatics must have fired again vs. my 10-2 & company without effect, which was pretty much it.

During Movement, the second blocking 548 attempted to assault move back probably because it feared things might get a bit too hot. I was eager to comply to this concern hosing it with the FT of the Croc and managing to break it. But besides that there was not much which I could do to impede his movement. As forseen, the 9-2 & company along with the AT-Gun crew encircled my stack of brokies in L9 which had failed to rally. They were toast.
With the threat of the Crocs for the center of the village eliminated, German Infantry took up residence in the center again against which my two half-squads in the 24S5 building would stand no chance.
There was a bit of shuffling around 23O10 to avoid British fire.
Finally, the pair of Jagdpanzers moved in but elected to stay out of LOS and not to challenge my Challengers. One of the Jagdpanzers had a nice field of fire across the Brigde over the Canal, which could cause me great difficulties.

At the end of the AFPh, the Terrain Blaze contrieved to spread into ALL ADJACENT Locations with burnable terrain. Trouble brewing...


Situation at the End of British Turn 5:

18135

I can't deny that I was a bit disappointed at the start of my British Turn 5 because it was clear the Crocodiles - the name-giving main attraction of the scenario - would not be playing any role. The first one had been taken out after moving one hex on board without firing a shot. To avoid the same fate, the second one was horribly out of place. At best, I might be able to use it vs. the German blocking squads. Otherwise, if I cornered around towards the village center, both 88LL AT-Guns were awaiting it. Else if I avoided them passing through the brush, it would take until the end of the scenario until they arrived anywhere where they could have an effect. Meh!

I called down a Spotting Round on one of the AT-Guns in 24P7, but it veered off two hexes to the West (top).
My attempt to get at the broken blocking squad in 24U7 resulted in boxcars and a malfed MA of the second Croc. Just fine! My 10-2 & company and the MTR failed for the umpteenth time to make an impression on the Fanatic blocking squad. This was getting tedious.

During Movement, my half-squad managed to creep up to the AT-Gun in 24P7 without being harmed. So there was hope of taking it out in CC or at least to neutralize it for a while. On board 23, I pulled up the Cromwell with my 9-2 AL to put pressure on the 23O10 building and to position it in order to fire its sM or SMOKE in preparation of crossing over into the 23O10 building with Infantry in my next Turn. The Challengers left their cover and moved up to the Canal. One of them would be able to try its sM to obscure the view of the Jagdpanzer across the Canal. If any of the German vehicles would venture into LOS, the two Challengers would be up to the task of taking them out.

The AFPh presented another strain for my composure: After last turn the Terrain Blaze in the central village Stone Building had spread Flames to THREE Locations, now on the first opportunity ALL these THREE Flames spread to blazes with two of my half-squads stranded within. You gotta be kiddin'... To avoid being eliminated, one half-squad had to rout back taking Interdiction (it managed to escape), the other one had to Low Crawl ADJACENT to an unknown German unit. So four Terrain Blazes were now completely blocking my approach into the central village. The roads right and left of it were stared down by an 88LL AT-Gun and a 9-1, 548. Meanwhile the accursed Fanatic 548+LMG blocking squad was fat and happy as ever. Just excellent!

Determined to get rid of the German blocking force, I advanced ADJACENT to them in four Locations AND kept covering them with the 10-2 & company AND the MTR. The Germans might shoot some of them, but they would not be able to get all of them. With some likelyhood, the Germans were to be encircled and with more likelyhood going to be despatched once and for all at the next opportunity.

My half-squad had advanced in on the AT-Gun for CC. To boost my morale, it was Ambushed and killed by the Gun crew.

Oh, what a thoroughly enjoyable turn! Blast this friggin' game...


Situation at the End of German Turn 5:

18138

German Turn 5. Gusts. Since there were already too many Blazes in my way it just seemed to be the right time for more... One new Flame was blown across the street, another one was started beneath my broken half-squad ADJACENT to unknown German units and Terrain Blazes and in Point Blank Range of the 88LL AT-Gun. Talk about misery.

The German broken blocking squad which was surrounded by just about the entire British Infantry force on board 24 rolled boxcars for Rally, eliminating them. It took the Germans themselves to take care of that - my British couldn't do it.

For Prep Fire, the German Fanatic 548+LMG maybe wanted a bit too much. It decided to spray fire two ADJACENT hexes with a Concealed squad of mine in each of them. This didn't work out. Next, the remaining HIP German 238 popped up just ADJACENT to the rear of my Cromwell with the 9-2 AL in it. I threw up my hands from the keyboard in exasperation. It found its PF, it hit the tank needing a comfortable 8TH. I was toast - except that the PF was a Dud. This had my opponent cursing for a change. Otherwise, the Germans mainly skulked out of view.

Now, in this here Defensive Fire Phase, the stalemate that held me up for so long, would be broken. OBA, convert to HE Concentration, correct two hexes to center on the 24P7 AT-Gun! Inaccurate, the Gun crew shrugs off the the Airburst without any effect at all. But that OBA is there for something - it killed my broken, flamed, totally screwed up half-squad in the center of the village for good measure. I erased this from memory and carried on. Finally, I would now put a bloody end to the blocking Fanatics and their Leader. First, two 4FP @+2 Building TEM Shots for Encirclement. Then a 20FP @+2TEM. Then a 10FP @ 0. Then fire and hits by the MTR. Target killed? Target reduced? Target broken? Target Pinned? Not anything of these. Target laughing? Yes.

By now, I hated this scenario.

The only consolation was that my other MTR broke the German HS that failed to eliminate my precious tank. Its 9-2 AL swung around the turret, sniped a 75mm round right in its face and turned the turret back towards the original direction while the red mist settled.

The Fanatic blocking squad advanced out of its encircled building into CC, which it could do without becoming CX because a path existed. Gratefully, my opposing squad was not killed but both units were locked in Melee.

At this point, the CVP Tally was 7 to 14 in German favor. I had captured 7 Stone Buildings while the Germans still held 14. The fulfilment of the Victory Conditions was as far away for the British as the moon.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of British Turn 6:

18140

British Turn 6. I was running out of time - more likely, time had run out.

That accursed Fanatic 548+LMG was still at large in Melee at an advantage vs. my squad, binding forces out of proportion. From the village, the Germans could even counter-attack to grab back some of the buildings I had gained Control of there. With the forces at hand, there was not the slightest chance to successfully engage the Germans still holed up in the village.
Consequently, I had to immediately abandon any plans to do so but instead to restrict myself preventing a German counter-attack to regain Control of Stone Buildings I controlled with the interdicting help of the OBA, while all other units were 'ordered and instructed to proceed with the utmost despatch' towards the 23O10 area with the objective of a timely breakthrough into the town beyond.

But first things first. There was the OBA concentration. For once it was accurately corrected to hammer the 24P7 AT-Gun position again and an unknown German unit in the village. The effect was exactly zero. I really can't complain about the OBA not coming down - the Offboard Observer went a long way to assure that. Except for the very first draw, all my chit draws and extra chit draws had been Black. But so far, it its only enemy casualty had been a single German squad with a lucky Critical Hit.

Movement. Three squads including the 10-2 rushed towards 23O10, where they would arrive on my Turn 7 to overwhelm any defenders. In Turn 8, they would break through into town, grab Stone Buildings and the British would win this damn thing by a narrow margin. My tanks successfully popped sM's to create +4 Hindrances vs. the Jagdpanzer. The PIAT squad Assault Moved into the thusly created ADJACENT Smoke later to advance into 23O10 for a foothold. They were to be reinforced by the 9-1, 458+MMG making this a force to be reckoned with. But no - the German 9-2 with the HMG rolled low, both the 9-1, 458+MMG rolled high - Leader broken, squad Pinned. Thank you, next one. It was just frustrating.

The Melee with the Fanatic Blocking squad continued. I had sent in an additional half-squad to get at least 1:1 odds, but no luck.

Remember my original plan? According to it, by now I would have been capturing the remnants of the German forces kettled in the board 24 village. As it was, I was still battling a Fanatic blocking squad in a Location I was ADJACENT to on my first half-turn of entry. The board 24 village was still solid with Terrains Blazes and German troops. With some British understatement, one might say there had been a bit of delay.


Situation at the End of German Turn 6:

18144

German Turn 6. No rallies for the British - instead, I rolled boxcars for my 9-1 which left him wounded and thus almost worthless for the very purpose I needed him, which was to speed up movement.

The Germans remained firmly in control of the central board 24 village. Some of them shifted East (to the bottom) a bit, but I had the Open Ground well covered that they would have to cross to help our their buddies in the 23O10 area. I felt that there were likely some Dummies among the latter, so with a bit of luck and a mad push during my last Turn, maybe I could still pull this off.

Because my opponent knew, that I had only a concealed 457+PIAT squad in 23O10, he advanced in with his concealed 8-1, 548. A sensible move, because he would have an Ambush advantage and a CC advantage. If the CC would turn into Melee, this would block my progress across the gap and put an end to British aspirations. No Ambush occurred. I forfeited my CC-Attack to retain Concealment and to avoid placement of a Melee Marker. This paid off - my squad survived unharmed, only a CC counter was in place. This would allow me TPBF in my upcoming Turn, a PIAT shot needing a 8TH plus I could fire from the outside onto these Germans without hitting my own guys in the hex. Taken together, this should prise open that position for my assault.
The CCPh was not over yet. There was that well known Fanatic 548+LMG blocking squad... I had a 457 and a 247 against him. He attacked the 457 but failed. I rolled boxcars, so the infernal bugger slipped away - again! This German squad just gave me the creeps. It had tied down British units out of all proportion throughout this game. Would it ever end?!


Situation at the End of British Turn 7 - Game End:

18147

British Turn 7, my penultimate one. There was no room for screw ups any more if I wanted to maintain but the slightest chance of winning this one.

My wounded 9-1 Leader did not rally.

Prep Fire. To my relief a MTR found SMOKE to obscure the LOF fo the Jagdpanzer across the Canal. Then I decided to attempt bringing down the OBA on the German 9-2 & company in 24M4 and the unknown Germans in 24N3. All help would be needed to get my Infantry across into 23O10 and beyond. The correction was accurate. I gacked my roll on the 9-2 & company, but the the effects roll on their ADJACENT buddies was good. I learned that the 9-2 had no friends - I had blasted a Dummy.
Up in the Woods, there were not many British units left to take the fight to the eternal menace - the Fanatic 548+LMG blocking squad. One had a PIAT, though, and just needed to hit the ADJACENT bugger. It seemed doable requiring a Final 7TH for a subsequent 8FP flat attack. I rolled a 10 missing and malfing the PIAT. I just turned away from that infernal German squad in disgust.
On to 23O10. My 457+PIAT was in CC with a German 8-1, 548. my Cromwell with the 9-2 AL was in Point Blank range, and I scored a hit. 14FP flat. Effects: Nil. Intensive Fire. 14FP flat. Effects: Nil. The PIAT fired from within the hex needing an 8TH. Got a hit. 8FP flat. Effects: Nil. Fired TBPF 12FP @ +3TEM. Effects: Nil. It was just unbearable.

Movement. A Challenger popped a sM for an additional +2 Smoke hindrance against the Jagdpanzer. During the MPh, I brought up the 10-2, 3x 458 with 2x LMG and 1x MMG to 23P10. I might yet blast the German buggers in 23O10 with 16FP @+1 in the AFPh... They could not fire at me during the approach as they still had my 457 in their hex. If they were killed or broken, my killer-stack could advance into 23P10, if my 457 in there survived, it could engage the 548+LMG in N9 in CC, and maybe, just maybe I could still break through into the town beyond in my last Turn.

Defensive Fire. The German 8-1, 548 in 23O10 broke my 457 in their hex. The Jagdpanzer across the Canal had held its fire so far. The obvious target was the most juicy one it would ever get: 10-2, 458+MMG, 458+LMG, 458+LMG at 6 hex range and being CE. However, there were 5 Smoke Hindrances to be reckoned with, so he first needed to find HE7 and then roll a TH of 3 or less and then get a decent IFT effects roll against the 10 Morale Leader and the 8 Morale squads. He found HE. He rolled Snakes for the TH DR, but I was 'lucky' that the subsequent DR did not yield a Crit. He rolled low on the IFT effects. My 10-2 Leader rolled a 10 on his MC breaking. Another squad broke, the rest Pinned.

End of story.

18148

These are the dice stats for the last session. They round off the picture.

I conceded. German win.


To be continued in a subsequent post.

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Review:

18149

18150



What shall I say - the scenario developed into a game that was just extremely frustrating.

Throughout seven Turns I managed to inflict losses of 3.5 squad equivalents and a Leader. Of these, one squad was killed by sheer luck - a Harassing Fire OBA Crit. Another squad the Germans killed themselves by rolling Boxcars/Fate. That left my efforts at 1.5 squad equivalents and a Leader for these seven Turns.

The main attraction of the scenario, the Crocodiles - they just didn't happen.

Roughly half of my reinforcements were immediately taken out of action before firing a single shot.

The OBA was always around. But except for that early Crit, it harmed me more than it helped, ultimately setting the village on fire blocking my assault, killing half the number of friendly units compared to enemy ones and beyond that just did no damage.

By all means, my Cromwell with the 9-2 should have gone down to the PF shot.

The Fanatic 548+LMG blocking squad that I could not overcome in seven turns with despite being forced to assign means out of all proportion to the purpose.

And as the last straw the fight for 23O10 and the story about my 10-2 with his three Elite squads and three MGs.

One of those games, I reckon...

So at least for my playing, I could not attest an Excitement Rating approaching 7.61. My opponent found, that the Germans did not have much to do and was more critical of the scenario than me. I still believe it is a good scenario in general, though. Playing the British is likely more fun than the Germans.


von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Sometimes you got game, sometimes the game's got you.
Looking forward to your next AAR, though.
Truth told!

You'll get one in the forseeable future.

One ongoing scenario is close to conclusion.
Another one is ready to commence with setups by both sides completed.
A third one has the defensive setup completed and awaits my offensive setup.
A fourth one awaits the defensive setup by my opponent.
And I have been fed with proposals for two further scenarios for which I have yet to create VASL files.

In between I pretend to have a life besides ASL... ;)

von Marwitz
 

Eagle4ty

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One of your very best AARs to date. You did a great job presenting your plan, the opponents probable plan and your intent on how you were going to approach the mission. An excellent job was done in conveying your appreciation of changing events/fortunes and how it affected you mentally as well as in the fight. I really enjoyed this AAR!👍
 

Tuomo

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It's the pathos. The hate you feel for that supremely annoying enemy unit that JUST WILL NOT DIE. The absolute stumblebum IDIOTS on your side who can't manage the simplest thing without self-immolating in spectacular fashion. The Iron Will you show to be flexible and roll with the punches, even being a Good Sport, despite the outrageousness of the dice, only to have your faith rewarded with YET MORE outrageous fortune that NO ONE could POSSIBLY overcome, but even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then, and finally your opponent manages to actively screw something up himself instead of sitting back and watching Fate do Number Two all over you, and just as you suspected, he's not half as good as he THINKS he is, and Gawd his little chuckle when you roll boxcars is irritating but if your halfsquad over here gets a Panzerfaust and your squad over THERE can throw some Smoke and your tank rolls low enough to un-Bog and can get APCR on this Bounding Fire side shot... YOU HAVE A CHANCE, and as it turns out, A Chance is all you need.
 
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Cpl Uhl

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This is one of those scenarios where one side just does ALL the work. The Germans sit back, defend, fall back, ok, it's tough, but the Brits, in order to get anywhere, have to coordinate the combined arms perfectly, use smoke out the wazoo, don't make any mistakes or it's -2 shots, and it just gets exhausting - and frustrating when it doesn't work.
 

Actionjick

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"By now, I hated this scenario " 😂

Great AAR. This is one of the scenarios I'd like to play soon.
Which side? Just curiosity, not an offer to play. 😉

That being said I would take the British. I liked a challenge and they have some cool stuff. 🤗
 

Actionjick

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This is one of those scenarios where one side just does ALL the work. The Germans sit back, defend, fall back, ok, it's tough, but the Brits, in order to get anywhere, have to coordinate the combined arms perfectly, use smoke out the wazoo, don't make any mistakes or it's -2 shots, and it just gets exhausting - and frustrating when it doesn't work.
Sounds like a fair assessment but what about if you can make it work?
 

Actionjick

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It's the pathos. The hate you feel for that supremely annoying enemy unit that JUST WILL NOT DIE. The absolute stumblebum IDIOTS on your side who can't manage the simplest thing without self-immolating in spectacular fashion. The Iron Will you show to be flexible and roll with the punches, even being a Good Sport, despite the outrageousness of the dice, only to have your faith rewarded with YET MORE outrageous fortune that NO ONE could POSSIBLY overcome, but even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then, and finally your opponent manages to actively screw something up himself instead of sitting back and watching Fate do Number Two all over you, and just as you suspected, he's not half as good as he THINKS he is, and Gawd his little chuckle when you roll boxcars is irritating but if your halfsquad over here gets a Panzerfaust and your squad over THERE can throw some Smoke and your tank rolls low enough to un-Bog and can get APCR on this Bounding Fire side shot... YOU HAVE A CHANCE, and it turns out, A Chance is all you need.
Seems as if it's a typical game of ASL. 😉🤣🤣🤔
 

Cpl Uhl

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Sounds like a fair assessment but what about if you can make it work?
Oh, that's some good ASL for sure. Playing Counterstroke at Stonne right now and it's similar, except the French have fewer smoke assets.

But when you lose those scenarios it is more frustrating than usual having put aaaaalllll that effort in.

But it's ASL , it's all good!
 

Actionjick

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Lol IF you can make it work!😉🤣

Very fond of Counterstroke at Stonne. Hope you guys have a good time with it.🤗
 
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