AP101 WHEN I CALL ROLL

Michael R

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Magnus and I continue on our seaborne assault journey. Our latest match was a newish scenario, AP101 WHEN I CALL ROLL, one of the few D-Day seaborne assault scenarios and a design by Ken Dunn. The assault happens on Omaha beach.

At first glance, one might think the Germans do not have a chance. They have only ten half squads (half of them second line) and two 8-0 leaders with one 50mm AT gun, a HMG and a LMG and some fortifications to fight off 19 American squads, nevermind their support weapons.

The Americans arrive in two waves. The first wave has eight squads in three landing craft. The second wave has eleven squads in four landing craft. The Americans are well led, having five leaders; all have eight or nine morale and -1 or -2 leadership.

Once you've played any seaborne assault, however, you know the landing side can suffer a lot of casualties when they hit the beach.

The German player must take some time with the defensive setup. The Americans have two ways to win: exit 5 VP through one hex or by having no Good Order non-hidden German MMC in any building or fortification hex. The German player must also keep in mind SSR 3. As the Germans lose trenches, pillboxes and building hexes to the Americans the German ELR drops one per loss. When the German ELR reaches zero, the German MMC take a one-time TC. Failing that TC eliminates the MMC. This is huge. The German player could suddenly lose most of the remaing troops at one fell swoop. When I set up my Germans, I did not give that SSR enough consideration; I believe I should have had two more MMC in fortifications close to the beach to hold them a little longer. My setup had two German HS remain HIP for much of the game, protecting the buildings that the Americans did not seriously threaten. The Germans can HIP all units that set up in buildings, trenches, and pillboxes.

I made one serious mistake as the German defender; I placed the 50mm AT gun in a pillbox. I think I may have been influenced by my recent playing of MIKE RED, in which the AT gun must be in a pillbox. The gun absolutely needs to be in a trench so that it can pivot if necessary to cover the entire beach. Unlike MIKE RED, the Germans do not have enough fortifications to cover every landing hex. Using the tetrahedrons, mines and wire the Germans cover seven of eleven beach landing hexes to varying degrees of lethality. I put my beach fortifications to deny the Americans a long string of easy landing hexes. If I played this again, I might try putting them at one end, for better focus; the German player hopes the American player will not risk landing through a tetrahedron hex. Of course, the German player needs to remember to keep the fortifications HIP until the Americans enter the board. While writing this, I decided the HMG should be in a level one building location, despite the lower TEM compared to a pillbox. The Germans need to keep it in the game longer than I did.

The Americans must cross four beach hexes to reach the hinterland and the Germans. This is where the Germans want to inflict the maximum damage because units on the beach do not break, they casualty reduce. Magnus brought the first wave in along the west edge. My AT gun took a few ineffectual shots before the LC moved out of its CA. On turn two, the first wave landed. Having seen the error of my AT gun placement, Magnus brought the second wave in on the same west edge. The first wave landed on turn two. Here is an image after American turn two.

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Magnus wisely unloaded half squads first. Despite preferring squads as targets, I feel it behooves the German to shoot everything as soon as it lands on the beach, and count on the residual to hurt the rest. Trouble is, the HS leave only one point of residual and none if they cower. The Americans lost 2.5 squad equivalents out of 4.5 that landed on turn two. During German turns one and two, I move everyone from the east edge to the west edge.

At the end of American turn three, however, the American numbers are beginning to tell. Several squads have been able to move enough forward to be out of the CA of the HMG pillbox. The Americans have now lost 4.5 SE and one leader, but they have 9 SE and three leaders on the beach. That is a fair bit of firepower. There is still 5 SE and one leader on the LC.

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The Germans inflict a few more casualties, but at the end of American turn four, the Americans have troops in hinterland hexes and are engaging in close combat with the pillbox. I was lucky in the CC; the Germans lasted three phases and were not tied up in melee, so they still did some damage. Unfortunately, there was no way for them to escape. Quite a few German units broke, but there is a little bit of firepower in position to harass a mad dash for the exit. The Americans have taken 7.5 SE and one leader in losses and the first German HS casualty also occurred. The German ELR is still unaffected.

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Turns five and six go mostly in the Americans' favour. They win the CC in the pillbox and push the German units out of the nearby trenches. In turn six, the German ELR hits zero during the American movement phase. Eight German MMC roll the SSR3 TC. ONLY ONE FAILS! I can't believe I was that lucky. On the plus side for the Germans, the Americans are out of position to obtain the buildings part of the VC. On the negative side for the Germans, there are more than enough American units that can reach the exit hex FF5.

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On the last German turn, I move one HS with a leader to cover hex FF5 with fire. On the last American turn, Magnus moves the 9-2 with a squad (enough points to win) towards that hex. I wait until the units are in that hex because I need residual there even if I stop those units. Magnus smokes the hex before getting there, but he didn't need to; I rolled an 11 on my shot against them, which meant the Americans won.

I enjoyed the scenario. I understand why the designer put in SSR3 historically. I am not sure, however, the Americans need that SSR in play in order to win the scenario. ROAR shows this favouring the American, but who knows how much that SSR influenced the American victories.
 

jrv

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Although it is tempting to set the pillboxes facing out to sea, I think it may be better to have them facing along the beach. One in V9 (CA U8) and one in V1 (CA U3) perhaps. You might also consider something like V3 and V4, facing each other with a trench in W4 to allow movement between them. Either setup covers the center very strongly. The hexes with blocked LOS (V0, V10) can be covered with mines (use all twelve FP in one hex?) or wire. The 50L might set up in a pillbox, or it might set up outside (W4? But not in the trench) to allow 360° fire. Use boresight, but especially to check LOSes.

Note that if passengers unload from a vehicle (e.g. LC) as multiple different stacks, the vehicle has to make separate MP expenditures.

JR
 
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jrv

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If the LC decide to unload single halfsquads first, they have to drop their ramps to do so and expend a MP to unload. While the defenders can fire at the unloading halfsquad, it's also possible to fire at the LC instead. Because the ramp is down the Passengers are vulnerable to attacks through the front VCA as if in an unarmored LC [G12.674; the LC itself is still considered armored, G12.6]. Even if the fire can't affect the LC (e.g. small arms), the Passengers can still be attacked by the collateral attack (albeit without the -2 DRM for FFMO/FFNAM). The 50L effects would also be at full FP on a hull hit. It's probably better to wait for the units to get on the beach to get FFMO/FFNAM, but if your opponent leaves units on the LC with the ramp down during your turn, think about attacking them instead of the units on the beach.

JR
 

Michael R

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The mines were not legal where placed [G14.54].

JR
Good catch; I appreciate the information because we are seriously trying to get all the relevant rules correct. Reading G14.54 led me to ask myself, how do I know if the sand is soft or hard. I found the answer in

G13.3 SAND: Each Beach hex is Sand (F7.) that is either Hard or Soft, A Beach hex is considered Hard Sand if it contains a Beach-OCEAN hexside and is not Steeply Sloped. In addition, all Beach hexes are Hard if EC currently are Wet, Mud or Snow. Hard Sand is treated as per rules Section F7 but as if EC were Wet or Mud. All sand that is not Hard is considered Soft.
 

jrv

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Good catch; I appreciate the information because we are seriously trying to get all the relevant rules correct. Reading G14.54 led me to ask myself, how do I know if the sand is soft or hard. I found the answer in

G13.3 SAND: Each Beach hex is Sand (F7.) that is either Hard or Soft, A Beach hex is considered Hard Sand if it contains a Beach-OCEAN hexside and is not Steeply Sloped. In addition, all Beach hexes are Hard if EC currently are Wet, Mud or Snow. Hard Sand is treated as per rules Section F7 but as if EC were Wet or Mud. All sand that is not Hard is considered Soft.
Historically I am going to guess that all the land up to the seawall was often flooded and so not suitable for anything but anti-boat mines. But that is my guess, and by the rules as written only the Ocean edge hexes are illegal. As an aside EC are not considered for deciding whether sand is hard or soft for purposes of placing mines.

To me picking random hexes out on the beach and hoping that a ginormous stack wanders in is not the best way to use the mines. If you place the two pillboxes as I suggested in V3 & V4 facing each other and on down the shoreline, they can't fire on two hexes on the V hexrow, V0 & V10. My current thinking is twelve FP of mines in V0 and wire in V9 & V10, with two halfsquads in W10. Or you could put the two wires in W9-W10 or Y9-Y10 and let the Americans into V10 if they really want it so bad. I haven't come to a decision on that part. The nice thing about Y9-Y10 is that it it forces the Americans either to get under the wire or turn toward the center, all while under fire from the X9 area woods and hedge and from the upper level of the Y7 building. It puts an attack on that flank into a bottle. On that flank you might even put one wire in V10 and one in Y9, forcing the Americans to choose between slower but less vulnerable terrain vs faster but more vulnerable terrain. The HMG in pillbox V3 might boresight V9.

JR
 

jrv

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Something I just remembered: against soft sand the 50L HE would have its FP halved [EXC: CH] [F7.4], making it less useful when firing at units running across the beach. Of course critical hits are not unlikely, and on a CH the FP is doubled not halved with FFMO and FFNAM used on the effects.

JR
 
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lightspeed

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Something I just remembered: against soft sand the 50L HE would have its FP halved [EXC: CH] [F7.4], making it less useful when firing at units running across the beach. Of course critical hits are not unlikely, and on a CH the FP is doubled not halved with FFMO and FFNAM used on the effects.

JR
Gents,

Just (mis)played this scenario yesterday. I want to play it again, but correctly. My opponent and I
gave the Germans the balance (an MMG).

The way I read G13.3 (quoted above) makes all beach hexes hard, since the EC are wet and the
beach is slightly sloped.

Does that seem right?

Thanks in advance.

indy
 

Matt Romey

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I notice that none of the LC went Aground. Did the US roll for Bog in the Shallow Ocean hexes? He'd bog (i.e. go Aground) on a DR of 11+.
 
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