FrF68 A Hasty Farewell - AAR

von Marwitz

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FrF68 A Hasty Farewell - AAR

15957

When leafing through my Friendly Fire scenario collection, I came across this one which looked quite appealing. Neither board 53 nor board q were too familiar to me. Set in the last days of the war - 28. April 1945 - it pits the Yugoslav army (represented by Russian infantry) with a number of very interesting AFV which are quite powerful. The Germans have a brittle force of 2nd line Infantry with an ELR of 2 supported by two 'German' T-34 M43. The whole affair is a falling-back option with a twist: By SSR, the Germans can't just make a run for it, but they have to hold a certain building until the end of Turn 2, another until the end of Turn 7 to prevent a Yugoslav win. After that, they have to exit a number of squad equivalents with a T-34 counting as one squad equivalent. This makes it very tricky for the German to weigh how many units to leave behind to hold the buildings, possibly using them in the process, and with how many to fall back when. The Yugoslavs have to be careful with their infantry as well, as they begin the game with only a single 9-1 Leader for their 8 squads, which makes attacks on two flanks a risky proposition. At least until in Turn 3 another 8-0 enters as reinforcements along with a platoon of infantry and two evil AFVs, one of them being a Stewart III Chassis with a FlakVierling on it that can potentially raise the living hell on the brittle German infantry.

As of 5. January 2021, ROAR has this quite balanced at 14 Yugoslav vs. 15 German wins with a good Excitement Rating of 6.54 (out of 9).

I had the defending Germans in this game.


Situation at Game Start:

15962

The first possibility for the Yugoslavs to win by the end of Turn 2 is to capture the qR2 building. So the Germans have no choice but to cover it strongly to prevent a quick Yugoslav victory. Yet, it is not guaranteed that the Yugoslavs opt to head for that building. They could also attempt to flank the Germans in an attempt to reach the village with the stone building TEM and try to set themselves up to Control the 53P5 building by the end of Turn 7. Once the Yugoslavs are in Stone Building TEM, they are much harder to stop and deal with.

Thus my plan of defence was to protect the qR2 building mostly from the outside rather then the inside, as I was also concerned that I would not be able to get out if broken. Both the wooded areas around qL1 and qU3 were strongly held - or at least appeared to be so. From each of these wooded areas I could fire into the center or on one of the flanks and had good paths of retreat into the village. In addition, I guarded all three roads into the village to ward of a possible 'lightning strike' into my back by the Yugoslaw vehicles.

The inital two M3A3(a) tanks are good tanks vs. Infantry as they have plenty of MGs and their 37LL Gun with 4FP for HE shots is enough cause of concern for German 447 Second Line squads with an ELR of 2. They are fast and small and even if hit by the German T-34s, the latter's AP TK of 13 does not guarantee a kill vs. the M3A3(a)'s frontal AF of 6. At the same time, their 37LL has an AP TK of 11, which the German T-34's cannot ignore with a side AF of 6. The fine German PaK 40 mounted on a M3A3(a) chassis is a much more dangerous beast for the T-34s. The two German T-34s are obviously key units for the defence, so the German is well advised to protect them.

My objective was - of course - to hold the qR2 building until the end of Turn 2, to cause as much Yugoslav infantry to break because with only a single Leader in the first turns this would slow down the attack and buy me time for later. My armor would attempt to dispose of one or two of the Yugoslav AFVs before their reinforcements arrived so as to prevent the Yugoslav a clear armored superiority and thus impede his movement - especially of that evil beast of M3A3(a) chassis with a German FlaK-Vierling mounted on it which would arrive in Turn 3.

Then, from stone building cover of the village, I would fire at the Yugoslav Infantry while still in inferior TEM, conduct a fallback defence within the village preventing to be cut off by AFV in my back, hold the 53P5 building just as long as needed and finally make a run for it, attempting to move everything offboard required to deny a Yugoslav victory in a single turn.

The Yugoslavs opted for the most likely 'central approach' towards the first victory building along the route that provided the most cover. One M3A3(a) was set up for a flanking move in the East (right), while the second one could choose the East or the center.


Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 1:

15963

In their initial turn, the Yugoslavs moved up into the wooden buildings and into the Eastern woods, mostly retaining Concealment. I could only break a single Yugoslav squad. One tank hooked around in the East (right), staying well out of PF range. The other tank remained put, retaining all movement options, while the TD fired to acquire on my concealed squad in the first victory building.


Situation at the End of German Turn 1:

15964

As the direction of the main thrust of the Yugoslavs had become clear, I redeployed my forces in both the eastern and western patches of the woods to cover the approaches to the first victory building, so that I could throw out three fire lanes and was further backed up by the firepower of both T-34s. Although it pained me to do so, I reinforced the first victory building with a second squad to be able to occupy both Levels.

Almost all my units were concealed, so my opponent could not yet be sure of my exact disposition. He could now try an 'all out' attack to capture the first victory building, but this would mean wading through a hail of fire and Residual FP and the risks that lie in CC. If an 'all out' attack would fail, then the Yugoslavs would probably be so battered that they would lose plenty of time to recover. If they would not opt for the 'all out' attack, then they would not grab the first victory building.

At this point, I was much concerned that the M3A3(a) in the East (right) might take the opportunity to infiltrate into the village to mess up my rout paths.


To be continued in subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 2:

15965

In Yugoslav Turn 2, the 'all out' attack did not come. Probably, I would not have risked it either. Instead, the Yugoslaws pushed forward rather cautiously into positions that were intended to force me to fall back in the eastern (right) woods. As holding and covering the qR2 victory building longer than the end of Turn 2 was not required, I would happily oblige. My defensive fire broke two squads of which one was interdicted and reduced to a Conscript HS.

Both tanks committed themselves to the Eastern (right) flank, but they did not push forward to interfere with my falling back as I had feared. To my surprise, the Yugoslav TD moved to the western flank (left) all by himself, probably with the intention to impede the movement of my T-34 on the hill. It remained in Motion unsupported, making it quite vulnerable.


Situation at the End of German Turn 2:

15966

In my German Turn 2, first and foremost I jumped at the opportunity to fall back to the village more or less unmolested. I could even evacuate the first, now worthless victory building.

Next, I saw the opportunity to gain armored superiority.
In the West (left), I tried to dispose of the Yugoslav TD. As it was in Motion, my chances to avoid casualties in the approach would never be better. If I could take out the TD, then the life of my T-34s would become significantly safer, so I committed 2.5 squads, one of them with the PSK, to the purpose. The first squad was shot up by a low DR of the BMG for an K/1 and an ELR. However, my 447+PSK and a CX HS moved ADJACENT unscathed. Regrettably, they were incapable of doing any damage in the AFPh and both failed their PAATC to Advance into CC. This way quite a disappointment.
In the East (right), I felt that I had to block the entry of the M3A3(a)s into the village and into my back. My T-34s being superior if pitted one on one vs a M3A3(a). I boldly moved up one T-34 ADJACENT to the M3A3(a) in 53Y10 and stopped. The Yugo-tank got cold feet and made a successful Motion attempt while I missed my Bounding Fire shot. My second T-34 also moved over to the East, stopped and fired on the second M3A4(a), which had also made a successful Motion attempt. So far so good.
Alas, in the Defensive Fire Phase, the M3A3(a) in 53Y10 fired at my T-34. My opponent remarked: "Well, I guess I need snakes or something." He got them and to my dismay, my T-34 was wrecked. At least its crew survived.
This was not how I had my attempt at 'armor superiority' wished to develop. I would be sorely missing my T-34 for sure. But at least I had decent chances to kill the enemy armor by Defensive Fire in the upcoming Yugoslav turn.


Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 3:

15967
Yugoslav Turn 3 saw the entry of the enemy reinforcements: A Platoon of Infantry led by a 7-0, the M3A3(a) with the mounted Flak-Vierling and an AEC II(b) with a quite potent 57L Gun and a respectable frontal turret AF of 8.

My opponent moved these reinforcements to the western flank (left) but could have done this better, because for the given purpose more favorable entry hexes might have been found. I was not to complain, though, especially as the TD had escaped all efforts of my ADJACENT CX HS and 447+PSK to terminate its existance. Then luck came my way in the West (left), as the reinforcing infantry stack moved in the open in long range of my 447+PSK, which rolled low enough to K/1 and ELR one squad, break another and the Leader. Furthermore, most importantly the evil FlaK-Vierling malfed on its first shot, as did the 75L of the TD.

As the in the East (right) both tanks had escaped the attention of my ADJACENT vehicular crew, which could not find a PF and my T-34 that missed its shot, I was happy for the reprieve, because I was all too well aware that with a single T-34 against all the Yugoslav armor, I would have a very tough time. One of the Yugoslav tanks had at long last entered my rear area in a place where I could not at all wish to have it. On the bright side, the two most powerful Yugoslav MA's were malfed for the moment, 3 squad equivalents broken and 1 squad equivalent eliminated. So currently, the Yugoslavs had only 7 GO squads at hand with their 9-1 to take on my defenders that had made it mostly back to the village.


Situation at the End of German Turn 3:

15968

In my German Turn 3, I completed the retreat to the village with my infantry and in the West (left) pulled back my infantry left in the Open after the futile attempt to destroy the enemy tank destroyer to form a semblance of a screen to guard the western approaches into the village. The MA of the TD had been immediately repaired but more importantly, the FlaK-Vierling remained out of commission.

On the eastern flank (right) I moved my remaining T-34 into position to dish it out with the M3A3(a) in my backfield, which I felt an urgent need to eliminate. Infantry also moved close to the vehicle into positions to threaten it in the upcoming turn.

Not many Yugoslavs had rallied or were not yet in position to threaten me, so it seemed that my Infantry would be in a pretty safe postition during the upcoming Yugoslav Turn 4.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 4:

15970

In Yugoslav Turn 4, hardly anyone rallied, which was fine with me. My opponent had moved back his 9-1 to qR6, while his other leader was in qM6 - both far from the frontlines. In the eastern (right) woods, the Yugoslav Infantry moved to the edge of the Woods and got their first squad into the village proper. Due to the Orchard hindrances, I felt that my chances to causing damage were too slim, thus I opted to keep Concealment.

When the Yugoslav tank in 53U4 attempted to move out of the dangerous position in which he was, my T-34 missed his shot. However, the vengeful Vehicular Crew of my destroyed T-34 passed its PAATC and went in for Street Fighting. Despite being CX, it found an ATMM and slammed it onto the M3A3(a) wrecking it - with no Crew Survival. The Loader of the German Vehicular Crew was overheard mumbling something like: "I don't get mad. I get even." In any case, the very irritating enemy tank in my rear area was disposed of thus opening again a path of retreat for my Infantry across the street.

In the West (left), my opponent was kind of careful with the two AFVs there. Luckily for my Germans, the FlaK-Vierling had not been repaired. But being where they were, I thought that the enemy AFV could not effect much in their current position.


Situation at the End of German Turn 4:

15971

In my German Turn 4 there was not overly much for me to do. I shifted my forces a bit to await the Russian attack, exchanging the positions of the MMG and LMG in 53M5 and 53P5 to prepare for a stronger Fire Lane across the Russian line of attack. My sole T-34 rolled forward again securely flanked by infantry.

While the Yugoslav FlaK-Vierling still did not repair, the Russian brokies were slowly recovering.


Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 5:

15972

In their Turn 5, the Yugoslavs resumed the advance. Almost all their brokies had recovered and the Leaders moved forward again with their men. More enemy infantry entered the village proper into stone buildings. I did not fire at them, because I reckoned Concealment of my brittle Infantry to be more valuable that rather low odds attacks. However, I did break one enemy squad.

In the East (right), some Yugoslav Infantry apparently began a flanking move.

In the West (left), the Yugo AFVs were apparently quite fearful of my Concealed HS in 53I7 and did either not go too near or took a long detour. My HS was eventually broken, though, and routed towards the center of the village.

I felt with enemy Infantry now becoming quite numerous within the village, it was the time to evacuate the 53O3 area rather than be stuck there after the Yugoslavs would cover the streets.


Situation at the End of German Turn 5:

15973

To my relief, the Flak-Vierling remained out of commission.

Falling back from the 53O8 area went without issue. Probably at this point I have made the mistake not to pull back a squad or so from the 53T6 area as the empty part of the village surely looked inviting to the Yugoslavs and once there, they could cover the street behind the 53T6 block of buildings, which would make it difficult for my Infantry to get back. On the other hand, to get there, the Yugoslavs would have to cross an open street. 53M5 was somewhat overcrowded by German troops, but it was the only place on the far side of the streets which I could safely reach. As not to make this Location too juicy a target, I pulled out the MMG squad to 53O5 which I would have preferred in 53M5 for the powerful Fire Lane. My T-34 tried to harm a concealed Yugoslav squad but had no effect.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 6:

15974

Finally in Yugoslav Turn 6, the dreaded Flak-Vierling was fixed to my chagrin. And with 53K2 it moved right into an area where I feared it most, because it could interfere with my exit area.

In strength, the Yugolavs moved and dashed across the street from the 53R9 area of the village inot the 53O8 area of it and unfortunately, my defending Germans seemed so surprised that the managed but to break a single squad in the process. As I should have more clearly forseen, the enemy 9-1 with 447+LMG now covered the 53P6-U4 street, cutting off my retreat from the 53T6 area, and I was cursing myself for having left too many German squads there. To make matters worse, I malfed the MA of my remaining T-34, which I had earmarked to engage enemy AFV in my exit-area - but now, it was a beast with no teeth to chew up armor. In the East (right), a pesky Russian squad had moved into my rear area with the potential to interfere with my evacuation towards the board edge. From 53M5, I fired no less than three PFs and the PSK at the M3A3(a) in bypass of 53N6, but as these were all low odds shots and I could not affort to take the Backblast, they all missed. Meanwhile, the Yugo AFV began acquiring and pounding German positions. Real pressure had built up on my defence at last.

I resolved to move my T-34 to 53R5 in my next turn with the intention to create some cover for my Infantry in the 53T6 area to fall back across the street.


Situation at the End of German Turn 6:

15975

In German Turn 6 I had to take precautions to make sure that the Yugoslavs would be unable to capture and Control the second victory building of 53P5 in their upcoming Turn, because if they would manage to do so, they would win at the end of game Turn 7.

So despite it pained me, I moved a 447+LMG into the 1st Level of 53P5 and the 447+MMG into Ground Level, the other two hexes were also occupied with units (the broken HS in 53Q5 should be at Ground Level).

My T-34 moved into the planned position and I braved to move a squad across the street - with my tank not providing cover yet. That squad was duly shot up. So was my Vehicular Crew by the TC in qQ1. I did get 1.5 squads back to 53T3 and U3, aware that this would leave 53T5 and U5 open to be occupied by the Yugoslavs in their next Turn.


To be continued...

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Situation at the End of Yugoslav Turn 7:

15989

In his 7th Turn, the Yugoslav could win the game by Controlling building 53P5.

The Yugoslavs did try but did not bring it about. In their approach they malfed the Gun of the AEC II(b) and the Prep Fire of the 9-1 with 2x 447+LMG in 53O7 did not have a significant effect. Two squads trying to get ADJACENT to 53P5 broke. The Germans had not yet exhausted their fire options, when the Yugoslavs broke off their assault. To my great surprise and maybe a bit at a loss what to do, my opponent moved his FlaK-Vierling tank from 53K2 to 53P10, where it would be of much less use. On the contrary, this eliminated my gravest concern about this AFV severly messing up my exit area in my upcoming turn, in which I planned to make a run for it.

With things as they were, I was pretty sure I would be able to exit 3 squad equivalents without the Yugoslavs being able to prevent it - but I needed 4 squad equivalents (while my T-34 would count as one squad equivalent).


Situation during the Movement Phase of German Turn 7 - Game End:

15990

For my 7th Turn, I had to make my exit with enough forces to prevent a Yugoslav victory. I did not think that spreading this out over two turns (Germans moving last in Turn 8) would have had much chance of success because with some Germans exited in Turn 7 and only a few left would have allowed the Yugoslavs to storm my exit area or at least to position their units in a way to lay a lot of fire there.

My vehicular crew rallied, so I was pretty sure to get off 3.5 squad equivalents unhindered. One HS equivalent was missing...

Two Russian squads had moved to 53T5 and 53T6, so they could overlook part of the street. First, I CX'ed my squad beneath my T-34. To make it offboard, I had to use Bypass and was shot up there. Next, I tried to CX offboard with my 447 which held the MMG in 53P3 which it dropped, however, the coax MG of the AEC II(b) turned its turret and shot at me on a vertex of 53O5, so the squad escaped. With this, I had exited 3 squad equivalents and another 1.5 squad equivalents could Advance offboard without any possibilty for the Yugoslav to prevent it. I did not neet my T-34 any more, which could have been taken out by Street Fighting by the Russian squad in 53T5.

At this point, my opponent conceded for a German win.


Review:

While a fall back defence is generally not the easiest challenge in ASL, it does come up quite often. What is unusual here is that the defender only has limited control about his 'schedule' of falling back as he has to maintain Control of two buildings until a certain time which can put him in dire straits if maintaining Control of these buildings comes at the cost of losing units or fixing them in positions, from which they have no chance to exit any more. Having an ELR of 2 makes the German force a brittle one - it makes a big difference to rally a broken 2nd Line Squad with a broken Morale of 7 or a broken Conscript Squad with a broken Morale of 5. And even in Good Order, Conscripts only have 3MF, which might just be the one you might be lacking in the end for the exit.

The Yugoslav AFVs are suprisingly powerful. The mounted FlaK-Vierling is a true menace for the German Infantry and I was very lucky that it was malfuctioned for some time of the game and then left the area where it could have screwed up my exit. The mounted PaK 40 can take out the German T-34s even frontally as well as the 57L of the AEC II(b), the latter needing a bit of luck for a kill or to get special ammo. All Yugoslav AFV are a risk for the German T-34s vs its side armor - and if the Yugoslavs maintain a numerical advantage over the German AFV, this risk is very real. That said, it becomes obvious, that both German T-34s are key units for the defence. They need to cover each other and losing one means that the other one will almost certainly be outnumbered and at risk or contained for conservative use.

As I lost my fist T-34 to a CH early without a single Yugoslav AFV to show for it, I felt in trouble. This was partly alleviated by the FlaK-Vierling being malfunctioned for a while. But effectively, both my T-34s did not do much in this playing, the second one even malfing its MA later in the game. As the T-34s are highly likely to be the units that the Germans can most easily exit for one squad equivalent's worth, attempting to repair the MA and risking Recall would be a veery tricky thing to do...

The Yugoslavs on the other hand must be extremely wary not to lose their leaders. They have only two and one of them enters only in Turn 3. This means that attacking on two flanks is a risky affair because broken units might not come back (fast enough) taking out the steam of the Yugoslav attack. Another challenge for the Yugoslavs are the decisions to go 'all out' for an early win by gaining Building Control by the end of Turn 2 or Turn 7. It might be doable - however if things go awry in the attempt, then the Yugoslavs probably have not enough time to recover fast enough from the bashing they will have had to expose themselves to for a later win.

Probably, this game has rather good replay value as I could imagine several approaches to it. One of them might be for the Yugoslavs to forfeit the chance for an early Turn 2 win in order to storm forward in force where the Germans are not. The initial path of attack chosen by my opponent seems the most likely though.

Anyhow, it was an interesting tactical situation with nice toys. As mentioned in my first post, ROAR has it quite balanced after roughly 30 playings. You might want to give it a shot.


Bonus:

A VASL setup-file without pictures, VC and SSR to maintain copyright (version v6.6.1) is available on the ASL Scenario Archive website.


von Marwitz
 
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asloser

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Great AAR! Just added this one to my playlist couple of weeks ago, seems to be an interesting scenario!
 

WAMedic

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As a new player I LOVE looking/reading through these types of AARs. Wish players (especially veteran players) would record entire VASL logs and have a place to post them for others . Would love to "walk through" some experienced player's games just to try and learn more.
 

RandyT0001

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As a new player I LOVE looking/reading through these types of AARs. Wish players (especially veteran players) would record entire VASL logs and have a place to post them for others . Would love to "walk through" some experienced player's games just to try and learn more.
Have you seen this?
 

von Marwitz

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As a new player I LOVE looking/reading through these types of AARs. Wish players (especially veteran players) would record entire VASL logs and have a place to post them for others . Would love to "walk through" some experienced player's games just to try and learn more.
It is possible to upload VASL Logs to the 'ASL Scenario Archive' Website in under the 'User Files' Tab of a given scenario.

Personally, I have never worked with logfiles, as I do not play PBEM. I do not know if it is possible to 'connect' several logfiles into one. Usually, a scenario takes various sessions for me to finish via VASL, which would thus probably require several logfiles. Others will be more familiar with logfiles.

von Marwitz
 

Orphan76

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there is a VASL tutorial on youtube that shows how to combine log files.
 
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