ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin)

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ASL-132 “Hill 253.5” (John vs Robin)

Last Friday (6/21), Robin and I finished our VASL game of ASL-132 “Hill 253.5”. Completion of this scenario now means that Robin has completed ALL the scenarios of ASL Module 1 Beyond Valor, which is an impressive and rare achievement out here in the Southeast Asia region (I suspect that he may be the first local player to do so). In this scenario, Robin played the defending Russians, whilst I played the attacking Germans. Russian balance (1 HIP squad) was in effect.

This scenario (originally T-07, which was an ASL adaption of SL-B published in 1979) is played on board 2 and depicts a German assault on a hill during the battle of Kursk. It is an all-out combined arms affair with both sides getting heavy tanks, OBA, and Air Support. The Russians defend with 8 (2x 628, 6x 447) squads, 3 leaders, 8 SWs, and 3 crewed guns (45L AT, 2x 76L ART). The Russians also get 40 factors of mines, 6 wire counters, entrenchments for all those in suitable terrain, and may use MOL. On turn 4, the Russians are reinforced with 3 (628) squads, 1 leader, 3 SWs, a KV-1M42, a KV-1M41, and a Gaz MM truck. The Germans attack with 12 (4x 838, 8x 467) squads, 5 leaders, 9 SWs, 2 PzVDs, a PzJg Tiger, and 2 SPW251/1 half-tracks. Both sides also get one module of 80mm OBA (via SW radio, normal ammo) and get random Air support (E7) (‘42 DBs with bombs for the Germans, ‘42 FBs without bombs for the Russians). To win at the end of 8 full turns, the Germans must control 4+ level 3 hexes and ensure that no GO Russian MMCs or AFVs (with some functioning armament) are at level 3.

Neither side receives any dummy counters, and with both sides possessing considerable firepower, the Russians need to establish a reverse-slope defense to survive the initial German onslaught. The 40 mines give the Russian considerable options, including the opportunity to use Booby Traps (B28.9), and along with the wire can really channel the German attack. The Germans have 3 powerful tanks, but moving them around is a serious liability (especially for the PzVDs) with their red MPs. In order to keep the reinforcing Russian AFVs in check, the German tanks must survive, which means careful movement with MOL armed squads and 3 HIP guns waiting to ambush them. I haven’t even got to the OBA and Air Support yet !!! AS one can see, there is a lot going on in this scenario, and it will likely be a savage, confused fight to the death. One can only hope so…..

Robin set up the wire in row Q (1-2, 7-10), with a HMG squad in O8 and a MMG nest in M5. The rest of the Russians were placed in reverse-slope positions. Wit only limited targets to fire upon, I prepared most of my units to move. I thought it important to minimize casualties, since the Germans really don’t enjoy much of a numerical superiority over the Russians (especially if you consider a crewed gun to be the equivalent of a ‘squad’, as I do). When moving the vehicles, I would only stop them when in great tactical positions. A vehicle throwing a track (or worse in the case of the PzVD) would be a serious setback. The large sizes of the German vehicles also leave them vulnerable to Deliberate Immobilization (Case G; C5.7), even when in motion.

On turn 1, I managed to break the HMG squad and my infantry managed to get across the road that divides the respective setup areas, but one PzVD immobilizes on its first Mechanical Reliability DR (D2.51), the other bogs in the wire, as does a half-track, the other half-track is RECALLED (D5.341) by the Russian SAN, the German OBA observer breaks, and a stack of infantry with my best leader gets stuck in wire also. Not a great start at all.


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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1333


In turn 2, I manage to repair many of the turn 1 setbacks, the Stukas arrive (but only 1, sadly), and I try to get my attack energized once again. Turn 2 is a better one for me, as I surround and wipe out 2 Russians squads cheaply, but just as I am about to break past the wire barrier, a 76L ART gun starts a ROF tear which gives my squads all sorts of trouble. But by the end of turn 2, I have killed 2.5 Russian squads for the loss of 1 of my own. A most acceptable ratio.


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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1334




In turn 3, my engineers use DCs to blast a hole in the wire, but my attempts to exploit my advantage do not go well. Many squads break, my only Stuka malfunctions its MGs, and the Russian SAN kills my OBA radio operator. I do flush out another Russian gun (the 45L AT), but overall, the returns were well below my expectations. After several failed attempts to re-man the HMG (the immobilized PzVD has been a crack shot, breaking each unit attempting to recover it), Robin drops OBA smoke, and finally gets someone there. I need to stage another recovery now.




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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1335





In turn 4, I manage to get my only mobile PzVD to H3, where it can greatly interdict the Russian reinforcements. My infantry are slowly clearing the west side of the hill, but many are breaking to low FP attacks, which is slowing down the German progress. Robin’s reinforcements arrive, and have to hope that I will get enough coverage to keep the Russians off J4/K5. I should be able to clear out M5-Q6 without too much difficulty. It will come down to keeping the Russians off the heights.




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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1336





In turn 5, the PzJr Tiger (finally) arrives at level 3 in Q6. From there, it can see all of the level 3 hexes. My infantry recover, but I lose the PzVD in H3 to a MOL. My infantry close in on the J4/K5 hill, but now the Russian FBs arrive……. 3 of them !!! My only Stuka drops its bombs, getting a direct hit on the KV-1M41, but with a FTK14 rolls a dud (12 DR). Thanks for nothing Luftwaffe !!! My PzJr Tiger will likely need to knock out BOTH KV tanks now…..




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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1337





In turn 6, the PzJr Tiger knocks out 1 KV, but the FBs tear into my infantry, which is again helped by some pretty ordinary MC DRs by me. Things are not looking good here. I have virtually no AA capability. Nonetheless, I will still have a chance to win, I control 3 level 3 hexes (need 4), and I have a new OBA observer with the radio in a good position.




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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1338





In turn 7, the Russian FBs continue to torment my infantry. I hide in the woods in hope that they will botch some sighting TCs, but Robin’s rolls favor him well, and progress is modest. Worse yet, I malfunction my radio, which I was depending on to land a FFE around J4/K5. The game looks to be slipping away from me.




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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1339





In turn 8, (the last turn), I manage to take the 4th level 3 location that I need, but nearly all of my infantry are broken…. 3 unopposed FBs are simply too much to stand up to. I manage to fix the radio and so have a chance to rain fire on the far hill. The PzJr Tiger does its part by wrecking the last Russian tank, but when the OBA falls off-target, I cannot prevent the Russians from re-entering J4/K5 in the final APh of the game. A last turn Russian victory to Robin !!!!




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ASL-132 "Hill 253.5" (John vs Robin) Asl-1340





This is a great scenario to play with a LOT going on. It’s pretty dicey, and in the end, 3 FBs were too much for my Germans to handle. I’d certainly like to take another shot at this as the Germans. Although a ton of things went wrong for me, I still had a decent chance of it in the end. But came up short this time.




Also, I would once again like to congratulate Robin on his completion of Beyond Valor (ASL scenarios 1-10 and 123-136), a great accomplishment in his ASL journey !!!!







John.
 
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