AAR - Blood On The Tracks - RO1

Major Issues

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I took some time off from applying to join the cast of "Empire" to play Blood On The Tracks with Rockford.

7695

Contains his monster hit, "Tangled Up In Wire."
We played with the optional Dylan counter. This causes all enemy units within earshot to have their morale lowered by one, due to having to listen to his nasal voice. It also causes all friendly units within earshot to have THEIR morale lowered by one, due to having to listen to his nasal voice.

Rockford had the Soviets.
7697


Almost all of his troops were in the E-K hexrows. Wire and mines were in the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

The limit as to how many counters can be set up per hexrow limits the German setup. I made two giant kill stacks on the front line to Prep Fire. I broke one squad, the other passed his MC. Not a stellar start.

My assault went badly. I had a lot of 10, 11, 12 rolls when firing big FGs. One 8-0 was lost to a sniper early. An attempt to go through the wire on the right ended badly, with a 9-1 wounded, a squad reduced and broken, and one squad broken. I couldn't get these guys off the wire. The Soviet sniper continued to pick at them, eventually killing the 9-1 and the HS.

I did kill a HMG crew that was on the roof of a factory. The Stukas were of limited use - the sighting TCs are tough. They reduced a squad and pinned a squad that was trying to get to the abandoned HMG on the roof.

I took a chance and moved a squad into the Flame location to DM one of his squads. For the next spread roll, we roll snakes and the flame goes out!!! "Okay, I need all of you guys to whip them out and pee right here!!!" Ah, the well-trained German army...


Photo available upon request.

I ended up initiating several close combats to try to make something happen. I don't like to do this against stealthy troops who can declare hand-to-hand. It generally worked for me, but I did take some losses. But a couple times I was punished for my success, as the next layer of Soviets would shoot me out of the newly occupied location.

Due to Rockford's fall-back defense, I didn't have a good opportunity to try for OBA until turn 4. And pulled a red card. My next card was black, the SR was on target, then my radioman was broken.

This is not tank country, and it took a while for the StuGs to pick their way forward. I seized an opportunity to overrun a 628 in open ground with the StuG with the armor leader. I have no MGs, so this is on the mighty mighty 4 column. I roll a "3" and kill them!

A 45LL opens up on the StuG from a factory, until Rockford realizes that the railroad in front of him is elevated and blocks LOS.

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He has a tunnel going from I29 back into the factory, which he uses a couple times to successfully extricate broken units.

I call it after 5 turns. His 16 FP firegroup in the factory keeps breaking my squads, I hadn't cleared the J32 building yet, and there were still squads holding out on the left in the J and K hexrows. I may have been able to clear through row K by game end; there was no way I was going to clear a factory.

No OBA and lots of really high attack rolls hurt me. But this could have been far, far worse. He forgot 6 factors of mines and the 8-1 in his setup. His AT guns didn't get any action in the game. Also, a misinterpretation of the Commissar rules, which he read in their original Cyrillic, meant that he did not exchange the 8-0 for a 9-0.

Not a fan of this one. Time is going to be a big problem for the Germans. But I think that it is too easy for the Soviets to get a sleaze win with the "clear on/west of hexrow K" part of the VC. The Soviets have 5 HIP MMCs. It would be worth scattering them around and hoping one doesn't get found. Also, the J32 building has both Level 1 and Cellar locations. Even if you find a HIP 628 in the Cellar, it won't be easy to get them out.

But the big problem is the potential use of tunnels. The Soviets get 4 fortified buildings, which can be exchanged for tunnels. Rockford had the one in the center to use to rout guys. But he could have also used it to move squads back up. There are 8 potential locations, if you include the building J32 cellars, that a tunnel from the factory could go to. You cannot find tunnels by searching, so you have no way of knowing that one exists until it is actually used. The only defense is that they can't be used if the target location is enemy occupied. But that's a lot of locations to occupy, with troops that are badly needed assaulting a factory.

Interestingly, there is an SSR to keep the Soviets from doing the sleaze move forward at the end of the game via the sewers. But not tunnels.

The one tunnel was the only fortification I found. So maybe Rockford did have others to try such a move. Who knows what is going on in that devious, twisted giant brain of his???

He definitely outplayed me, and deserves the win. Which is why I am hardly even going to mention his missing testicle.

FYI - there is Perry Sez errata on this already. For the VC, building M30 counts, partial buildings count. Hex R33 is Rubbled.

 

xenovin

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Seems like a lot of these scenarios are tough on the Germans and/or there is a new learning curve:
 

Justiciar

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Seems like a lot of these scenarios are tough on the Germans and/or there is a new learning curve:
There are no learning curves...and it is not the Germans...the scenarios are hard on the attacker. You can find AAR elsewhere on this topic from MajorDad... No relation to Major Issue. ;)
 

wrongway149

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I took some time off from applying to join the cast of "Empire" to play Blood On The Tracks with Rockford.

View attachment 7695

Contains his monster hit, "Tangled Up In Wire."
We played with the optional Dylan counter. This causes all enemy units within earshot to have their morale lowered by one, due to having to listen to his nasal voice. It also causes all friendly units within earshot to have THEIR morale lowered by one, due to having to listen to his nasal voice.



He has a tunnel going from I29 back into the factory, which he uses a couple times to successfully extricate broken units.

But the big problem is the potential use of tunnels. The Soviets get 4 fortified buildings, which can be exchanged for tunnels. Rockford had the one in the center to use to rout guys. But he could have also used it to move squads back up. There are 8 potential locations, if you include the building J32 cellars, that a tunnel from the factory could go to. You cannot find tunnels by searching, so you have no way of knowing that one exists until it is actually used. The only defense is that they can't be used if the target location is enemy occupied. But that's a lot of locations to occupy, with troops that are badly needed assaulting a factory.

Interestingly, there is an SSR to keep the Soviets from doing the sleaze move forward at the end of the game via the sewers. But not tunnels.
Tunnels can be quite useful. More players should take advantage of them. HINT: When as designer allows fortified buildings, you should always think about a tunnel instead.

BTW, I was going to use the scenario title 'Blood on the Tracks" for one of the Slaughter at Ponyri scenarios. Guess that will be delayed another five years now, while I think of a new title.
 

Justiciar

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...
BTW, I was going to use the scenario title 'Blood on the Tracks" for one of the Slaughter at Ponyri scenarios. Guess that will be delayed another five years now, while I think of a new title.
"Blood on the Rails." So now it can come out on a Monday instead of 5 years. :)
 

xenovin

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Or bloody rails and crazy trains sung by Hauptmann Osborn
 

jrv

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Just finished playing this one. My German dice were red-hot, and it was a catastrophe for the Germans. The Soviets put wire in I31, I32, I33, J30, K30, and mines in H31, H33, I32 & I33. The 9-2 was in J32 along with several squads & MGs. There was a trench in K33. This "fanatic strongpoint" could not be cleared. In fact I was going to accomplish neither victory condition.

As two quick ideas to give the Germans a chance: 1) add three game turns or 2) the Soviets remove one-quarter of the counters in their OB (their choice of at-start and/or reinforcements), excluding "?" and counting six AP mine factors as one counter and one fortified building as one counter. By my quick count the Soviets have seventy-two counters with those equivalents, so one-quarter would be eighteen counters.

I am not so sure three game turns would help the Germans, as I think they might be repulsed entirely, but if they are strong enough to achieve their goal, they will need several turns more to do it. I think three, but that is only my guess. The second suggestion is also a rough guess as to what might be necessary.

JR
 
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I was doing the washing up some years back while listening to a Dylan album (quite likely Blood on the Tracks) when my daughter, who was about four at the time, walked into the kitchen. She stood there quietly for a moment and then turned to me and said, "Daddy, didn't this boy's friends tell him he's not a very good singer?".
 

Rockford

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Just finished playing this one. My German dice were red-hot, and it was a catastrophe for the Germans. The Soviets put wire in I31, I32, I33, J30, K30, and mines in H31, H33, I32 & I33. The 9-2 was in J32 along with several squads & MGs. There was a trench in K33. This "fanatic strongpoint" could not be cleared. In fact I was going to accomplish neither victory condition.

As two quick ideas to give the Germans a chance: 1) add three game turns or 2) the Soviets remove one-quarter of the counters in their OB
JR
Have to say I agree. In my playing, I can’t say that Major Issues should have done anything substantially different as the attacker, but it was clear pretty early on that the Germans were not going to get close.
 
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Justiciar

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Just finished playing this one. My German dice were red-hot, and it was a catastrophe for the Germans. The Soviets put wire in I31, I32, I33, J30, K30, and mines in H31, H33, I32 & I33. The 9-2 was in J32 along with several squads & MGs. There was a trench in K33. This "fanatic strongpoint" could not be cleared. In fact I was going to accomplish neither victory condition.

As two quick ideas to give the Germans a chance: 1) add three game turns or 2) the Soviets remove one-quarter of the counters in their OB (their choice of at-start and/or reinforcements), excluding "?" and counting six AP mine factors as one counter and one fortified building as one counter. By my quick count the Soviets have seventy-two counters with those equivalents, so one-quarter would be eighteen counters.

I am not so sure three game turns would help the Germans, as I think they might be repulsed entirely, but if they are strong enough to achieve their goal, they will need several turns more to do it. I think three, but that is only my guess. The second suggestion is also a rough guess as to what might be necessary.

JR
I played this (as the Germans), with the MMP Balance for the Germans AND a 7-0, and did not have red hot dice. I was on my way to reducing the strongpoint and did have token MMC in a VC building (but crazily outnumbered). I think if I had 3 more turns (and the German balance as I had it), the attack pace can thus be adjusted, and could have made a better scenario. Also would have given my OBA more chances to work, at game end I had 3 missions fired and 1 red card drawn...so still had some deck to use.

Your removal idea might work too, as it causes more "think" on how much to invest in the strongpoint idea, if at all, and so forth.

But at present I agree "neither victory condition" will haunt the Germans.
 

'Ol Fezziwig

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Just finished playing this one. My German dice were red-hot, and it was a catastrophe for the Germans. The Soviets put wire in I31, I32, I33, J30, K30, and mines in H31, H33, I32 & I33. The 9-2 was in J32 along with several squads & MGs. There was a trench in K33. This "fanatic strongpoint" could not be cleared. In fact I was going to accomplish neither victory condition.

As two quick ideas to give the Germans a chance: 1) add three game turns or 2) ...
JR
What about removing the hexrow K clause?
 

jrv

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What about removing the hexrow K clause?
The J32 building flanks the open area before the factories. My opponent put the trench behind it with one of the 45mm ATGs. An HMG was in J31. With that outerwork able to cover the open-ish ground the Germans have a hard time crossing to the tracks. The building and trench might be screened by Smoke from the OBA, but the OBA has to work just so. Then too units from the outerwork can drop back across the tracks and reenter the battle that way. One think my opponent did not do was put units on the rooftop of the factory, and I think the Soviets are so rich in resources that they could probably put two MGs on the rooftop for stopping the crossing as well. If it takes three turns to move across the street and the wooden buildings, then on turn four gain the tracks, that leaves only three turns to clear a building. My opponent set trenches from the back buildings to the N29 factory, allowing it to be reinforced pretty much without interference from Stukas. The Militia also sent units to hold the buildings farther back, which could then delay the seizure of any of them. My gut feeling is that removing the requirement to clear the Soviets from west of hex row K would probably allow the Germans to get into the east-of-M buildings but probably not give them enough time to take one.

Another point: my opponent had a tunnel into the I hex row. If he doesn't have to use a tunnel to get back to the K hex row, he can use a tunnel to get into the rear of Hall 5a, which is the obvious building for the Germans to take. So now the Germans have to fight for the building and on the last turn perhaps turn around because they have concealed infiltrators in the rear. My thinking: it helps but not enough to make a German victory more than improbable.

JR
 

jrv

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You may use a tunnel when th exit location is enemy-occupied
Yes, there is that too. And the unit coming out of the tunnel is concealed, there's no discovery or getting lost foolishness like with Sewers, and the Soviet elite and first-line are stealthy. Since the two likely buildings are factories, it is less likely that the Germans can gain concealment in them. I was thinking a tunnel from, for example, N28 to M31. Depending on which building is in danger the tunnel can be used in the appropriate direction.

JR
 

Justiciar

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This scenario as it stands is broken...utterly pro-Russian. Far too many ways to defeat the VC as set for the Germans to achieve.

The balance, and I have played with it as the Germans and a 7-0, still does not help the cause. See upstream and other AAR. The suggestion JRV offers are good ground to start from and might even be the ground. But as is broken.
 
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