HazMo 3 Seaside Retreat - 2021 Albany Tournament Round 1

J. R. Tracy

Elder Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
1,107
Reaction score
524
Location
New York, NY
Country
llUnited States
At this year's New York State ASL Championship in Albany, I decided to try to play only scenarios from Hazardous Movement - these are big, interesting cards and I looked forward to trying as many as possible.

Scenario


HazMo 3 Seaside Retreat

Opponent

Vic Rosso

19844
Deep in thought

Situation


It’s August 1944, and the war has arrived in the south of France. Vic’s Free French have thirty squads supported by four Shermans, a pair of Stuarts, and seven halftracks (six are transport-only M5 battle taxis) on the attack in Operation Dragoon. I’m defending boards 51 and 78 with twenty-two squads backed by a 37L ATG, an 81mm mortar, a 150mm infantry gun, a StuG IIIB that’s been under a tarp since Barbarossa, and a pair of GSW 39H open-topped TDs, basically Marders on Hotchkiss chassis. This is a garrison formation, reflected in the vehicles as well as the preponderance of second-liners and conscripts; even my LMGs are war-booty French FM 24/29s.

19845
Vengeance on their minds

I also have eighteen mine factors, two roadblocks, two trenches, five wire counters, and three fortified locations to help me create a warm welcome for Vic’s understandably angry Frenchmen. Orchards are shellholes by SSR, greatly opening lines of sight while providing a bit of cover for cautious infantry. Vic has to take three SSR-designated factories in nine turns without losing 60 CVP (his unarmed halftracks are worth zero after unloading). Besides the 1re Division Française Libre, a bunch of locals have formed up to provide a platoon of sewer-dwelling Partisans that enter in my backfield. I bid 0 for the Germans while Vic bid 1 for the French, so with the aid of an extra roadblock, I prepared my defense.

Plan

Though the victory objectives are all on board 51, the long ridge of board 78 is definitely a factor. The Level 3 peak has been shaved off by SSR but there are still plenty of good lines of sight into town from L2. The fight through the city would be a manageable grind, but my fear was a mounted flanking movement along or behind the ridge. Vic could deploy up to five squads at the outset, making his 15PP halftracks much more efficient. I decided to meet this threat head on, loading the leading edge of the spur with both GSWs (78W4 and W5) and the 37L (W4), supported by infantry in trenches (X4 and W5) armed with LMGs and led by an ambitious 7-0. An ATR (yes, an ATR in 1944 – these guys weren’t in the front of the procurement queue) lurked in the 78AA4 brush for good measure.

19846
Vacation is over

In town, the designated factories were buildings 51C2, O2, and U2. A pregame random rubble distribution didn’t change the landscape too dramatically, but I used my wire and roadblocks as best I could to channel Vic’s approach. Vic could set up on a narrow board edge strip or enter on/after T1 on the east and south edges as far west as 51Y10. I placed RBs in 51X8/Y9, O9/P9, and O7/P7, and wire in P10, Y10, P2, P4, and O4. My fortified locations were 51P1 (to allow my INF gun to set up there), V3, and E2. I could HIP a Set DC by SSR, so I put one in the ground level of 51W4, with an 8-0 (with my second DC) manning the plunger in S4. I converted some of my mines to AT mines in 51X1 (allowable by SSR) and put 6 factors of AP mines in both 51F1 and F2.

19847
Tiptoeing around my DC

Infantry-wise, a thin screen of halfsquads manned the 51CC hexrow to slow Vic’s opening. I lightly defended the U2 factory, and began defending in earnest along the P hexrow with three squads, two lights, a medium and an 8-1 in the P5 building, and two squads, the heavy, and my 9-1 in the O2 factory. The U2 factory would be the last stand position, receiving three squads in the factory proper with an 8-1 directing an MMG/467 in the second level of 51H1. A screen of three squads set up in the L6 and G7 rowhouses to deny the Partisans an easy approach.

Besides the 37L and the GSWs, I had the 150 INF in 51P1, the mortar in 51U2 (I could designate one factory as roofless), and the StuG IIIB in 78I9 looking down the road. I placed my HIPster allocation as halfsquads in an upper level of 51G2 (hoping to deny rout to anyone breaking in the F1/F2 mines) and in the upper level of of 51E1, packing a PSK to deal with any backdoor Sherman shenanigans.

Last but not least, an inflatable tank and some helmets on sticks occupied 51X9 and W9 respectively to deter any Frenchmen that got past the wire, while a pseudo kill stack sat in S7 looking down the road. I don’t expect much more from dummies than to give my opponent pause, and I felt these positions were good value and should eat up a few of Vic’s brain cycles before succumbing.

Overall I felt it was a strong D but over a third of my troops were conscripts; with an ELR of 2, that proportion would only rise with play. This one is all about space/time tradeoffs and my goal was to disrupt Vic’s timetable and never let him get back on schedule.

Early Going

Vic’s opening shot saw a pair of MMGs break my HIP 37L crew – chillaxing in Provence obviously did not prepare these guys for action and they promptly topped themselves on their first rally attempt. Vic followed up with a flurry of relentless searching – my HIP potential and the possibility of a Set DC put a couple bees in his bonnet. My little DC ambush was unlikely to survive his paranoia but I didn’t mind the impact the searching had on his pace of advance.

Vic rapidly overran my pickets but was understandably cautious when approaching my dummies – it took him a couple turns to engage the U2 factory by which time the Set DC had indeed been discovered. A Sherman found the hulldown 51X1 position irresistible but sadly failed to trigger my mines. However, the 150 INF knocked it out with an HE round, after dispatching the armor leader-directed Sherman the previous player turn. After three turns the U2 factory fell, but a squad with an ATR persevered in 51S2/L2 for a bit longer, cramping Vic’s style by threatening the flank of any halftracks scooting down the near side of the ridge. This was important because Vic continued to keep the bulk of his HTs and passengers out of play through the first third of the game.

Uh-Oh!

Besides his MMGs, Vic had a 9-2 directing a pair of HMGs from a Level 2 building location. Together they tormented my board 78 ridge defenders, ultimately stunning the 78W5 GSW and breaking the 7-0 and his squad. This opened up the southern board 78 road for exploitation and he launched a wave of halftracks with some Stuart and Sherman support, heading for my rear area. With my main anti-armor position suppressed or outmaneuvered, my StuG broke cover and relocated to 78A5 to meet the anticipated onslaught spilling off the west end of the ridge. Up to this point I was comfortable with the French rate of advance but suddenly Vic had an opportunity to break things open.

19849
On to the next bound

Big Moment


Vic dedicated his surviving Shermans to eliminating my GSWs; the 78W5 GSW was still buttoned up from the stun, and its partner in 78W4 couldn’t cover the south side of the ridge, effectively leaving me vulnerable to the point of helplessness. However, his M4s whiffed on their bounding fire shots, forcing him to bring over a Stuart from town in an attempt to kill my buttoned-up TD. However, the Stuart’s long approach allowed me to make an automatic motion attempt and re-orient the TD toward an escape route. The Stuart also missed, and on my next player turn both GSWs scooted away, ultimately into positions guarding the end of the ridge and the back side of the 51C2 factory. Had Vic even killed just one of them, the endgame might have been a different story.

19855
Down goes Frazier!

Endgame


After overwhelming the 51O2 factory, Vic’s infantry found themselves struggling to clear the L4 rowhouse area. With the final factory in the distance, he hoped to bring some pressure from the rear. A Sherman came down off the ridge to challenge a GSW – despite Intensive Fire by both sides, both vehicles remained intact, but I had the first crack in the upcoming player turn. Vic wasn’t done yet, however, and raced a CE Stuart through a hail of small arms fire to finish the job. Vic now had at least a hope of winning the armor battle as a prelude to his final assault. On my player turn, however, I rolled snake-eyes on an 8-1-directed shot against the CE Sherman, already under the effect of a light stun. The second stun sent it home. I had my surviving GSW covering the rear of the factory (supported by the still-hidden PSK team) and the StuG sat hulldown in 51B3 covering the front. With five and a half squads in or adjacent to the building, a further two in the buildings just beyond, Vic felt even the prospect of victory was out of reach. We played a further half turn without any French progress, and Vic called it a day.

MVP

The fortune was pretty even but a couple units seemed to get the best of it in nearly every encounter. My INF gun accounted for two tanks and killed a squad outright, and attracted a host of French resources to assure its demise. The ATR squad in 51S2 claimed a laden halftrack and proved hard to kill, slowing Vic’s advance. Both proved instrumental in delaying the assault on the final factory until it was too late for the French.


19853
C.H.U.D. alert

Lessons Learned


If I were to play this again I would pull my AT assets way back, with trenches, the mortar, and the GSWs maybe in 78N6 and M7. Someone suggested triple-fortifying 51H1 to put the 37L at Level 2, commanding the ridge to keep the halftracks at bay. I like that idea, though that’s a huge commitment in resources. Also, Vic pointed out 51S10 isn’t bypassable on the board edge, making R9/S9 a great spot for a roadblock, particularly with our game’s rubble in Q8 and R8.

19854
Heading into the final third

As the French, I would do everything I could to get infantry to the far end of board 78 ASAP – I think you need to be attacking the 51U2 factory by turn five at the latest, regardless of the action elsewhere. As factories the objectives are easier to take than regular multihex buildings, but they’re still big with plenty of supporting positions, and each one is essentially a scenario unto itself. I’ll add that the CVP cap shouldn’t affect your decisions – it’s so high that if you hit it you were losing anyway. The sacrifice of a noble halftrack or Stuart may be a cheap price for an overwhelming rush down the ridge.

Scenario Impressions

Vic played a solid game but I think I won this scenario in the side selection phase. The Free French are powerful, with ample mobility, firepower, leadership, and support weapons, but the combination of terrain and time pressure is just too much to overcome. With the bidding system used at Albany, I think I’d go as high as three or four to play the Germans – this would probably mean losing a wire counter and a squad. That would get it closer to square, but even that might not be enough. I love the situation, with a second-line formation with cast-off weapons facing a well-equipped juggernaut; building an elaborate defense was fun. However, if you take this one for a spin, be sure to give the French a little help so both sides can enjoy the action.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

JoeArthur

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
984
Reaction score
919
Location
Broadstairs
Country
llUnited Kingdom
No offense to Chuck - I do wonder if this pack is balanced.............

Hopefully you played Hazmo 1 Born Again JR. If you did please tell us all how the Brits can win that one............
 

J. R. Tracy

Elder Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
1,107
Reaction score
524
Location
New York, NY
Country
llUnited States
No offense to Chuck - I do wonder if this pack is balanced.............

Hopefully you played Hazmo 1 Born Again JR. If you did please tell us all how the Brits can win that one............
The ones I played were all pretty ambitious in terms of situation and scope. I think all would benefit from multiple playings, more so than more run of the mill cards. For instance, I’d like to try the Free French in this one now that I have an idea how aggressive they need to be.
 

commissar1969

Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
510
Reaction score
177
Location
Martin, TN
Country
llUnited States
No offense to Chuck - I do wonder if this pack is balanced.............

Hopefully you played Hazmo 1 Born Again JR. If you did please tell us all how the Brits can win that one............
Similarly no offense whatsoever intended, Joe . . . :) . . . but I feel obligated to point out: the ROAR (to which neither Chad nor I ever submit results - just getting that out there) has 3 German wins to 4 British wins.

https://www.jrvdev.com/ROAR/VER1/RecordByPub.asp
 

PS NJ

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
33
Reaction score
156
Country
llUnited States
Balance is a tricky thing. Valid discussions can be held for any scenario about balance for beginning players, experienced players, cautious or aggressive players, a learning curve for 2nd or 3rd playings, replay predictability, and balance when playing with some sort of provisions on or off the card.

I played Hazmo's great vengeance in Albany and enjoyed it. I think it's a good tournament scenario. I'm not sure about replay value though as I think there will turn out to be a best/standard attack and defense. Maybe that evolves into, "since that spot is the best for an AT gun it's going to get smoked, so maybe I don't set up the AT gun there" kind of guessing game. shrug :unsure:

I played Hazmo's Seaside Resort last weekend as the french against an experienced defender. I'd say I'm an experienced and aggressive attacker. IMO it's a fun design with lots of toys and options for both sides; and excellent replay value. As is, I find it very pro-german. I'd play it again as either side; but with the mines and set DC removed and no CVP cap. YMMV

I'm thankful for interesting scenarios/packs like Hazmo's 1st and 2nd packs. Nothing is perfect. I try to help with some playtesting each year, but admit to being more a consumer than a producer.

-Paul
 

JoeArthur

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
984
Reaction score
919
Location
Broadstairs
Country
llUnited Kingdom
Similarly no offense whatsoever intended, Joe . . . :) . . . but I feel obligated to point out: the ROAR (to which neither Chad nor I ever submit results - just getting that out there) has 3 German wins to 4 British wins.

https://www.jrvdev.com/ROAR/VER1/RecordByPub.asp
I'm not a great player Chas so it might be the way I'm playing it 🙄

Plus the fact when you suffer a bad loss it is human nature to blame everything but yourself 😁
 
Last edited:

commissar1969

Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
510
Reaction score
177
Location
Martin, TN
Country
llUnited States
Balance is a tricky thing. Valid discussions can be held for any scenario about balance for beginning players, experienced players, cautious or aggressive players, a learning curve for 2nd or 3rd playings, replay predictability, and balance when playing with some sort of provisions on or off the card.

I played Hazmo's great vengeance in Albany and enjoyed it. I think it's a good tournament scenario. I'm not sure about replay value though as I think there will turn out to be a best/standard attack and defense. Maybe that evolves into, "since that spot is the best for an AT gun it's going to get smoked, so maybe I don't set up the AT gun there" kind of guessing game. shrug :unsure:

I played Hazmo's Seaside Resort last weekend as the french against an experienced defender. I'd say I'm an experienced and aggressive attacker. IMO it's a fun design with lots of toys and options for both sides; and excellent replay value. As is, I find it very pro-german. I'd play it again as either side; but with the mines and set DC removed and no CVP cap. YMMV

I'm thankful for interesting scenarios/packs like Hazmo's 1st and 2nd packs. Nothing is perfect. I try to help with some playtesting each year, but admit to being more a consumer than a producer.

-Paul
Hey Paul, thanks so much for your comments. We really appreciate them. Question: Would you (and your main opponent) be interested in playtesting Pack 3? :) If so, shoot me an email: hazardousmovement [AT] yahoo [DotCom] !
 
Top