J44 / ASL238 Audacity - AAR

von Marwitz

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J44 / ASL238 Audacity - AAR

16961


Just finished playing this old classic which happened to be featuring recently in a tournament and has thus seen a number of playings on VASL.

When I came across this scenario a while ago, I wondered why I have not played it before as it has a nice little size and appears to be very balanced according to ROAR with 76 French wins vs. 82 German ones. The reason was probably that the SSR eliminate one of the hills and I dislike to imagine things away that are printed on the map. VASL solves that problem, even providing a scenario specific overlay for the purpose which makes it visually appealing.

The action is set in Norway in late May 1940, but it features no Norwegian troops. Instead it is a number of Germans defending a village which is attacked by the French, some of which start on board while the rest trickle in throughout Turns 1 to 3. The objective for the French is to Control a number of building hexes at game end while avoiding to suffer a certain number of CVP which would result in an instant French win.

The German force of 8.5 squad equivalents is partly elite, partly 2nd line with some light SW (part of them French MG) at their disposal and a 37L PaK along with 4 AT mines, not to forget a powerful 9-2 Leader. The French start onboard with 6 Elite squads and a 7-0 but these are prescribed to set up in locations that can be put under fire by the Germans or are even ADJACENT to them, which is a bad thing as the Germans move first. 11 more squads, most of them elite. A platoon of two H39 tanks back up these reinforcements, some of which have to enter as passengers of three trucks.

EC are Mud, which slows down the French movement considerably. The one road moving towards the village is considered paved for movement purposes and is thus free of the risk of Bog which can occur elsewhere. One strange tidbit is that French Infantry suffer Captured Use penalties when using any MG (even their own French MGs, which effectively reduces their Breakage number to 9), while the Germans can use French MG without such a penalty. Important is furthermore, that Alpine Hills (B10.211) are in effect, i.e. equal elevation hill hexes block LOS through but not into them. All buildings are single story.

Setup is sequential with the 'village' Germans setting up first, followed by the on-board French, succeeded by the 'hill' Germans, and finally the French Turn 1 reinforcements. But remember - the Germans move first. A fact which I promptly forgot as it seems counterintuitive with the French attacking.


Situation at Game Start:

16969

The good thing is that the French know AT Mines can only be 'within' the village i.e. on hexrow M and eastwards. The bad thing is that the onboard French forces can be shot up and pushed around royally by the Germans. One Group of French is limited to a short stretch of muddy road. The rest is limited to hexes I1, K1, and L4. All of these can be pasted by the 'hill' Germans - which happen to be the most nasty ones: 9-2, 2x468, 2xLMG, for which my opponent has selected the best spot IMHO with K7. That said, the French 'options' before the start of the game are extremely limited - to shitty options on top of that...

Nevertheless, here follows my French 'battle plan' (which has the one fault being based on the premise that I thought the French rather than the Germans would move first...). Analyzing the battlefield, I quickly realized that from the hill, the Germans can elect to see any of my French units. My French start in Control of three building hexes (I1, K1, and L4). The question is - how long can they maintain it? L4 is extremely exposed as the Germans can set up ADJACENT with the advantage of being concealed. So putting any French into L4 is a gamble. I reasoned that if my French shoot first, it would become a gamble for the Germans to set up in M5, too, because a lucky shot could reduce a key position as the opening move. This is the only reason why I placed 1.5 squads there. When I realized that the Germans moved first, this positioning was, of course, total folly, as my French were not concealed and exposed to Point Blank fire with no place to rout to. The Germans, on top, had all reasons to man M5 strongly as this is a very important building. If their opening shot from M5 to L4 proved insufficient, they could still 'finish off' any unbroken French by fire from the hill. Having said that, putting any French in L4 is a total waste as they are likely to go down immediately. This leaves K1 and I1. Both hexes can house three squads each and the 7-0 leader in of of the Buildings. However, from the hill, the Germans can attack K1 with a 14 @0 shot which will likely reduce some of them. It might not be obvious, but I1 has a TEM of 3 (cumulative terrain Woods/Building), so it is a marginally safer position.

It dawned on me that the at start French 'in buildings' force of respectable 3 elite squads and their 7-0 might find themselved eradicated more quickly than you can say 'baguette'. From the German perspective, I would shoot up any L4 Germans from M5 right from the start, then to capture any surrendering brokies. The 'hill' Germans would shoot up K1 not unlikely breaking some of the French in there. From M1 and M2 the Germans Assault Move up Concealed to L0 and L1 threatening K1 by either advancing fire or going into CC with any survivors Concealed while any French brokies would be pushed to the west with not much space to go and hide. In the second German Turn, the 'hill' Germans would take care of I1, while the L4/M5 Germansfrom their building cover the flank of the 'hill' Germans. From K1 the Germans push further west where the French would be in deep trouble with many brokies and surrenders would soon follow. That way the French would lose 3 Building hexes and the Germans would gain a number of CVP early while the French wade through the sticky mud across open ground into a hapless attempt to avoid general disaster. Now wait - unfortunately, I was commanding the French here, not the Germans...

Erm, all right. So 'somehow' I needed to avoid the above disaster. So I developed the 'plan' to roll low on my morale checks. The road, offering the sole opportunity for quick movement, would probably have to be avoided because the Germans would take precautions in their first Turn to cover it. Thus most French Turn 1 reinforcements would likely skirt the southern edge of the C6 Woods trying to gain the hill. At the same time, the onboard French beginning on the road could only attempt to stay out of harm's way for the time being because neither suitable rally terrain nor a leader were around. Maybe my French should have left this damn place to the Norwegians...


Situation at the End of German Turn 1:

16970

German Turn 1 began with my being shocked that it was indeed German Turn 1 and not French Turn 1. The French fired away with a 28 @+2 shot from M5 to L4. Surprisingly, only my 458 there broke and was subsequently taken Prisoner while the 248 HS survived unscathed. K1 was duly shot up by the 'hill' Germans. In the DFPh, my valiant surviving HS in L4 improbably even managed to break the German 7-0 and 447+LMG(f) in M5. My broken squad in K1 by some artistic routing (knowing the Germans in M1 to be Dummies) contrieved to avoid capture by the Germans for the moment. The Germans had moved a considerable number of unit forward onto Hill 543. Luckily, I could be quite sure that at least some of them were Dummies.


Situation at the End of French Turn 1:

16971

In my French Turn 1 my valiant HS in L4 tried to shoot the Germans in M5 but to no effect. It would be broken by German Defensive Fire and surrender soon thereafter. In I1, a rather intimidated 7-0 with 248 held on, not feeling positive about their future fate. The three French squads in the Shellholes on the road moved onto Hill 534 as there was basically no where else to go and taking pains to stay out of LOS of any Germans. The reinforcements entered from the west, being slowed down by the Mud. the one attempt I had made for movement on the road was thwarted by a well aimed MTR round despite the muffling effects of Mud on its effects DR. My French had no real clue at this point, how they were supposed to ever even reach the village.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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Situation at the End of German Turn 2:

16972

In German Turn 2, the broken squad with LMG(f) in O5 rallied. There was no significant amount of Prep Fire as my French had attempted to stay out of sight. Instead of firing, the 'hill' Germans pulled back from K7 to M5. Maybe this was one turn too early as they might have otherwise been able to reduce the French toehold in I1. Now, the Germans attempted to take it out with a HS in Melee only half-heartedly. Adding the squad in J0 might have decided the matter but as it was, my French held on in Melee. My French HS ending up in P0 hat managed to delay the inevitable surrender for yet one more half-turn.


Situation at the End of French Turn 2:

16973

In my French Turn 2, the second group of reinforcements consisting of the tank platoon, a 9-1, 2x458, 2x457, dm MMG, and LMG was due to arrive. As the Germans had pulled back from Hill 534 and did not cover the road, I jumped at the chance to move forward as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, I had quite a good idea of which of the German units were Dummies. Nothing ill happened to my Pouilous in their MPh. However, I still had no real clue how to tackle the German positions without being beaten up and losing time which I could not afford to lose. the L4 building was held very strongly by a 447+MMG(f), the 9-2, 468+LMG plus at least another HS. M7 was guarded by a 468+LMG, P6 by a447+LMG(f). The northern part of the village was not held that strongly by the Germans, but I had no way to apporach it. On the bright side, in the CCPh, the French killed a German HS in Melee in I1 and another one on Hill 534 where it had been left as a rearguard. Building I10 was now under French Control with the Dummies 'holding' it having been ghosted away.

My French troops in the south had something worthwhile to do addressing the M7 and O10 buildings in my next turn. I was much more at loss on what to do in the center: I desparately needed French Infantry to get across to J2, but the attempt seemed suicidal for the moment. In fact anything approaching the area around the L4 building seemed to be. The Germans were in better TEM and moving ADJACENT to get them into my LOS would mean exposing my French to deadly Point Blank fire with no real place to rout to. Likely, I would have to draw on the tank platoon to gain the initiative, but as of yet, the German ATG had not made its appearance. I was surprised not to find it emplaced in M3.


Situation at the End of German Turn 3:

16975

German Turn 3 saw my opponent take a defensive stand. His broken 8-1 and 7-0 Leaders had rallied by now. The Germans apparently decided not to press the issue for I1 which they could have now likely had cleared and under Control had they not hesitated to commit the 468 earlier, which now stood guard in K1.

With the German defence set up to await me, it was now up to the French to find a way to pierce the German positions.


Situation at the End of French Turn 3:

16977

I have the feeling that I have been quite lucky in my French Turn 3 overall because I managed to close in losing only one squad equivalent in the process. Offboard, the Infantry laden trucks set up. Usually, trucks can move about as quick as lightning, but with Shellholes on the road they could not get as far as one might have expected. Moving offroad would have been even slower, chancing Bog in the muddy conditions on top. As the Germans had still not covered the road strongly, I decided to move the trucks with 'Audacity!'.

First, though, I had to neutralize at least some of the firepower of the L4 building to crack open avenues of approach for my Infantry. The only means at hand was the platoon of H39 tanks so I decided to risk them moving one them into bypass of L4 for 'freezing' the German 9-2, 237+MMG(f) and the other to L3 likely bringing the yet hidden German ATG into action. Graciously, this move worked well with the 'freeze' succeeding and surviving and the ATG surprisingly not springing into action. Next, it was time for the trucks: They braved the German MTR fire and escaped unharmed with one of them unloading and going into motion again and the two others remaining loaded with their passengers. Now, hex K5 was as 'safe' as it ever would become, exposed merely to a shot by the 468 in K1 and the 447+ATR (not a 468+LMG after all) from M5. In the end, I succeeded in bringing a 9-1 and 2.5 squad equivalents unharmed into K5 and K4 with a bit of luck, ready to advance in on the German 9-2, 237+MMG(f), which would still be tricky business.

Next, I moved French Infantry on the hill ADJACENT to M7 to draw fire with the intention of opening the approaches for my Infantry further south into the patch of Woods. My opponent took the bait, CR'ing a Squad with the surviving HS remaining unharmed and thus imposing Target Selection limits. Immediately, the French Infantry in the area rushed into the Woods towards O10 and N8.

Advancing Fire was unsuccessful everywhere, unfortunately, but I had 1.5 squad equivalents ready to Advance into the 468 in M7 and the prospect of 2.5 squad equivalents with a 9-1 and the bypass tank vs. the German 9-2 with his 237+MMG(f). Despite having more French troops, this was a very risky proposition, because the Germans had an excellent chance for Ambushing my French with the possibility to withdraw unharmed to M5 into a very strong position to retaliate in their next PFPh. Maybe my opponent has overlooked this possibility or he was sufficiently intimidated to prefer voluntarily breaking the 237 in L4 for a guaranteed pull-out of his 9-2 at the cost of the their French MMG being left behind for its weight. I was quite relieved due to this voluntary break.

I advanced into L4 with 2.5 squad equivalents and the 9-1 being poised to retrieve the French MMG in the upcoming RPh. In case the German 9-2 would not be able to rally the broken 237, he would only be able to muster a 'mere' 10FP @0 vs my French during the next German PFPh - a dangerous choice which could work fine or fail just as miserably.

Other advances went into K5 with a 458+LMG, into I7 with the HS+MTR, uphill to H6 with the previously unloaded 9-1, 458+LMG, into CC with the German 468+LMG in M8 with 1.5 French squad equivalents, to M8 just south of that new CC with a 8-1, 2x458 + 1xLMG to put up the pressure regardless of the outcome of that CC, and to N9 towards the O10 building.

In CC, I could not overcome M7 but I casualty reduced his 468, so the ensuing future Melee would now be at 3:1 odds in favor of the French.

Finally, I had the Germans under pressure...


To be continued in a subsequent post.

von Marwitz
 
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Matt Book

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The reinforcements entered from the west, being slowed down by the Mud. the one attempt I had made for movement on the road was thwarted by a well aimed MTR round despite the muffling effects of Mud on its effects DR. My French had no real clue at this point, how they were supposed to ever even reach the village.


To be continued in a subsequent post...

von Marwitz
I think if I am right that since you were using the road and it was paved the muffling effects (+1 DRM to the HE IFT) of mud don't apply.
 

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Situation at the End of German Turn 4:

16978

In German Turn 4, Herr 9-2 decided that prudence was the better part of valor and successfully pulled out of M5 to O5, making it a very strong position with the 468+LMG already present there. The 447+ATR which started out with him got Pinned in the process remaining behind in the road in N5. Har har... The important L4 building was now in the clutches of the French.

At long last, the German ATG popped up in O6. I should have seen it there earlier but then again it had elected not to fire before then and for unknown reasons it did not do so now. In any case, I knew it was time now for my valuable tanks to pull out of harm's way.

For the love of gawd I could not manage to break the German MTR HS in L2. I must have attacked it more than half a dozen times by now. It was not exactly powerful, but in combination with the 8-1, 468 in N2 and the 9-2, 468+LMG in O5 any attempt for me to cross with some Infantry into the northern part of the village where I definitively needed some, remained very hazardous.

On the bright side, during the CCPh I could resolve the 3:1 Melee in M7 in favor of the French disposing of the remaining German HS. So the Germans were now pushed back to the two areas around O6 and M2 where they would be difficult to root out. Looking at the disposition of my French troops, I knew that with three French Movement Phases left, this would be no piece of cake.


Situation at the End of French Turn 4:

16981

In French Turn 4, my objective was to get as many of my Poilous closer to the action as possible. I was painfully aware that I would need at least two Movement Phases to reach some of the Locations I would need to win. Then, probably some Close Combats would have to be fought - and we all know that these can drag along sometimes. So there was no time to be lost.

At first, I attempted to neutralize German firing positions or draw some fire to open movement opportunities for the French Infantry. The broken 447+LMG(f) in P4 I fired at to keep it under DM. For the umpteenth time, I could not harm the accursed German MTR with its HS. Nor could I affect the formerly Pinned 447+ATR out in the open street. This meant that I basically had to move into awaiting opposition.

Prudently, I had not ventured into the German setup area make sure not to expose my vehicles to AT-Mines. Now was the time to assign a Truck to the task after unloading its Passengers. Maybe I could get it blown up to create a burning Wreck for cover or to draw some fire - it was worth 1 CVP after all. In the event, I learned a bit about trucks which I had not been aware of: Unarmed and unarmored, they pose no Hindrance as long as they are not a Wreck. Nor do they impose Target Selection Limits, the latter having been my plan. Well, anyway... Sure enough I 'found' an expected AT Minefield in M4 but my truck didn't blow up. I was hesitant about moving out of the Minefield again because if I ended up in N4, I might create cover for a German counter-thrust to retake the M5 building. So the truckers stopped and remained in M4, apprehensively cursing their commander... Next, I tried to extract my tank platoon. Since moving forward would have meant to drive into M4 and its AT Minefield with the bypassing tank and into the LOS of the ATG to boot, I stopped with the intention of starting in reverse to move out backwards. Finally the PaK opened up and unfortunately succeeded in killing the tank in L3, costing me 6 VP that really hurt my tally. Later, the Germans also destroyed the truck as well by Infantry fire for another CVP. At least, the wrecks would now create cover for the road from the RtPh onwards...

Now it was time for the other trucks to move, unload, and to get out of sight. Around J4 and J1 I gathered Infantry in numbers that would take on the M2 building in my two upcoming turns. To avoid any unlucky catastrophes, I resisted the temptation to Assault Move Sorrel & friends from L4 to M5 but rather opted to advance only HS in there. I knew that there was only a lone German 7-0 Leader in P6, so I moved up a squad next to him to advance into CC and brought up some more squads as well for a push from the south.

My Advancing Fire was a disappointment. Still I could not harm the 447+ATR in N5. Still the freaking 237+MTR in L2 continued with its charmed life. Advances prepared my general assault for the coming turn. The cowardly German 7-0 Leader hid in a closet, forfeiting its attack thus retaining Concealment und surviving the CCPh.

At this point, the Germans had inflicted 12 of 19 CVP for an instant win while I had 7 out of 9 of the required Building hexes under French Control.


Situation at the End of German Turn 5:

16992

German Turn 5 saw the enemy falling back onto the M2 building. Even the pesky 237 dropped its MTR to do so. I fired at it with the French MTR to score a Critical Hit hoping to finally ridding the world of its nuisance. Not so! It rolled Snakes on its MC, battle hardening and creating a friggin' Hero. I couldn't believe it! Well, I had kept ROF with my MTR, so I fired again - to score a Critical Hit again. This time, Random Selection hit both the HS and the Hero, eliminating the former and lethally wounding the latter. The German 447+ATR was successful in retreating into the O5 building and to the guidance of the 9-2 because I did not have a lot with what I could fire at them and my little Snap Shot trickery did not yield any results. To prolong or turn the Melee in P6, the Germans reinforced it with a 468+LMG. Since my defensive fire had no effect on the brokies in P4, these could retreat to P5 (Actually, it escaped us that this Rout was illegal as I had a French squad in P6 in Melee.). Said Melee in P6 remained undecided and the Germans were as prepared for the final French assault as they could be.


Situation at the End of French Turn 5:

16993

In my French Turn 5, I would have to make the decisive moves. By now I had plenty of Infantry for the purpose at hand, but unfortunately, I would be obliged to expose myself to Point Blank shots of 8FP which would be mostly directed by the German 8-1 and 9-2 Leaders. Then, there was a Melee to be won in P6.

I had no choice but to send out some 'volunteer' halfsquads to draw German fire. First to go was the HS from M5, double-timing for a suicidal attempt to reach O3 and later to advance into P2. Under the most optimistic expectations that is... The Germans could not ignore that. They didn't. But miraculously, my valiant HS survived a 8FP @-3 shot unpinned in N3. Maybe I should have just stopped moving there, but I wanted the Germans in N2 Final Fired to reduce the risk of moving into the building from the North (or rather force FPF on the German defenders if they elected to counter such a move). So the HS continued to O3 where it was duly riddled with bullets for a 2KIA. Next, two French HS and a squad Assault Moved/Moved to M1, L1, and N1 to grab another building hex and to engage the German 468 in M2. These French survived unharmed. So far, so good.

Next, the German 9-2 posed a serious problem. I needed to strongly protect M5 to preclude any German antics of the 9-2, his 447+ATR and possibly a rallied 447+LMG(f) (which would rout to O5 from P5 if I could not prevent it) in their last MPh. To safeguard vs. a good shot by the said 9-2, 447+ATR while moving into M5, I had to draw its fire first and hopefully impose target selection limits, maybe even preventing the coming rout of the 447+LMG(f) into O5. But his would mean braving a 10FP @-4 shot... This is the last thing a recently deployed HS from L4 did when it went down in N4 to a K/3. Observing this was not exactly encouraging for its counterpart, but it was finally waved off with the usual empty words of 'gloire' and 'honneur' as of time immemorial to die a K/2 unsung and forgotten in N5. Having lost three halfsquads was very hurtful and dangerous, as it upped my CVP tally to 17. I had hoped that at least someone would survived broken and likely sending off the third HS was a mistake. In any case, for this high price, the 9-2 & friends along with all Good Order German Infantry were now Final Fired giving my remaining units freedom of movement.

I garrisoned M5 strongly with a 458+MMG and 458+LMG which should suffice to deter the 9-2 from moving out of his abode in the last German turn. Two 458s plus 8-1 were poised to reinforce the Melee in P6 where one of my 458s struggled with a German 7-0, 468+LMG. The German 468 in M2 was surrounded by French, put under Encirclement but alas I could merely Pin it and not break it. One of my 9-1s along with a 458 and a 248 would engage it in Melee. The attentive reader will notice, that these Melees had the inherent risk of busting the CV-cap. I had sustained 15 CVP so far and if I lost a bit more, the Germans would have 19 CVP for an instant win. Yet, I was forced to take that risk since I only controlled 8 of the 9 needed Building hexes before the CCPh. So if I did nothing, I would gain nothing and merely lose time along with providing the Germans with a 'free' PFPh in which to attack me. So I was merely optimizing the odds.

The CCPh came. In M2 my mods for Ambush were -1 Leadership vs. his +1 Pinned. No Ambush. I now needed an 7 to reduce and a 6 to eliminate the Germans while he needed a 5 to eliminate the HS which he attacked. The French did no harm, while losing a HS, upping the CVP to 16. In P6 on the French side there were now an 8-1 and 3x458 vs the German 7-0 and 1x468+LMG. In that Melee, the French prevailed, gaining the 9th building hex.

I almost forgot to add an interesting episode: To avoid CC in N1, a German 237 Guarding 1.5 squad equivalents of Prisoners voluntarily broke to rout into N2 to their 8-1, 468 German friends. As the Guards were broken and not Good Order, they could not Transfer the Prisoners just like a SW in the APh. This allowed the Prisoners to attempt Escape in the CCPh. One of the Prisoners actually made its TC, attacked and killed the guarding 237 (Prisoners always attacking first in CC, the odds being 1:1 for two Prisoner units vs. one HS @-2 vs. broken -2 vs withdrawing (their former Guard) +2 for two covering units i.e. the 8-1, 468). They enjoyed a few seconds of liberté before being killed by the German 8-1, 468. I hope we did this correctly.

Well, for the last German Turn I had to make it without busting the CVP cap and to attempt preventing the Germans from recapturing Building hexes under French control...


To be continued in a subsequent post.

von Marwitz
 
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von Marwitz

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I think if I am right that since you were using the road and it was paved the muffling effects (+1 DRM to the HE IFT) of mud don't apply.
That is not correct as the SSR states:

"For movement purposes (only) roads are considered paved [EXC: the minimum cost for crossing a road hexside is 1 MP and Road Bonus (B3.4) is NA]."

von Marwitz
 

von Marwitz

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Ońe aspect to grasp in this scenarios is the alpine hill thing. We played that the rules also apply to the continuous slope rules, which I find difficult to visualize.
Indeed. The Alpine Hill rules allow you to 'creep up' on the vicious Germans atop the hill without being vaporized outright during the approach. Doing so will finally put him under increased risk not being able to retreat if he stays for too long. On the other hand, it means that the approaching French might have to move ADJACENT to the Germans into their LOS and into Point Blank Fire. Maybe, the 9-2 with the two 468+LMG combos could risk FPF with a morale of 10 when swarmed. In any case, their position atop Hill 534 is very strong initially.

von Marwitz
 

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That is not correct as the SSR states:

"For movement purposes (only) roads are considered paved [EXC: the minimum cost for crossing a road hexside is 1 MP and Road Bonus (B3.4) is NA]."

von Marwitz
Ahh, sorry, didn't know there was an SSR dealing with mud, don't have the card in front of me, was just reading your AAR. Was just trying to help your opponent
 

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Situation at the End of German Turn 6:

16994

German Turn 6 was a short one as there were not many German units left which could act.

Unnervingly, the German 9-2 managed to rally the broken 447+LMG(f). The enemy now had one stack with the 9-2, 447+LMG(f), 447+ATR in O5 and a 8-1, 468 in N2 along with the ongoing Melee in M2 with one German (now unpinned) 468 vs. my French 9-1, 458.

During Prep Fire, the 8-1, 468 broke the ADJACENT French HS in N1.

During Movement, the German led 9-2 stack Assault Moved from O5 to P5 with the intention of recapturing P6. All Germans broke by the French 28FP @0 and 14 @0 shots, which broke the captured German LMG in the process. Basically, this was kind of a desperate move, because the Germans would not only have needed to break all French in P6 and/or to overcome them in CC but also guard a French move vs the exposed O5, P4, and P2 buildings at the same time in the Final French upcoming turn. This was moot now, as the German threat had vanished in this part of the village.

In the DFPh, my French could break the German squad in N2 but not its 8-1 Leader.

The German 8-1 Leader advanced in to reinforce the Melee in M2 which was now 1:1 @-1 for both sides. The Germans rolled a 6 for a Casualty Reduction result. Random Selection hit my French Leader which upped my CVP Tally to an agonizing 18! Alas, my French once again failed to do any damage in their return attack.

So the situation at the end of the last German Turn was as follows:
The Germans had inflicted 18 of the 19 required CVP for an instant win.
The French had Control of 9 out of 9 required Building hexes for a French win at the end of the game.

The final French turn would boil down to whether they could avoid taking a single additional CVP...


Situation at the End of French Turn 6 - Game End:

16995

In the last French Turn 6, all that was left to do for my French was to gobble up extra building hexes to preclude some freakish CC result costing me the game by losing Control of a Location if the Germans contrieved to withdraw from CC.

So I moved to capture 14 of the 15 existing Building hexes, the last one being contested in CC and thus safely exceeding the French requirement of 9 Building hexes. For good measure, I captured every German unit still alive except the German 8-1, 468 locked in Melee. I moved plenty of French Infantry including two Leaders ADJACENT to the encircled Melee Location so that I could advance in an extra four or five squads at will.

The question now was whether I should dare to fire into the Melee. I decided against it, as the Location was Encircled, effectively reducing the Morale of my squad within to 7 as well as that of the German Leader. If the German Leader would survive unpinned, then the German squad would have a reduced morale of 8 due to the leadership DRM. So the chances of affecting myself were higher than affecting the Germans. Even if I could reinforce the Melee while the Germans were unbroken, they could concentrate their CC attack on a single German squad at 1:1 odds. If that German squad was broken, then I would likely be toast. Or, if I rolled too low, I might CR or kill my own guys, handing the Germans the win. Thus I finally decided not to fire into the Melee.

I advanced in with two more squads and a leader Leaving the second extra Leader outside to avoid a CX DRM. Practically, these reinforcements would not make any difference at all because the Germans would get to attack back unless I rolled Snakes (which would be sufficient even without reinforcements). My odds in CC were 14:5 i.e. 2:1 @-1 Leadership for a 7 or less to totally eradicate the entire German OoB and to control every last building hex. The Germans, attacking a single squad had 1:1 @-1 Leadership needing a 6 which would be sufficient to CR me and make me bust the CVP cap of 19 CVP.

For the third time in a row, my CC DR at favorable odds had no effect. By this, the Germans had upped their chances for a win from 40.5% to 41.7%. They rolled Snake Eyes.


Review:

This was an interesting scenario. At first glance, the French seem to have an awful lot of squads to overcome the Germans. But soon, you will realize that at least half of the French at-start onboard force is in great danger to be gobbled up by the Germans for some initial CVPs and making it more difficult for the French to maintain/regain a toehold in the northern part of the village. By overlooking that the Germans move first, I needlessly exposed 1.5 squad equivalents in L4 to an even greater danger than they would have been in either K1 or I1. My other mistakes were the following: I should not have moved one of the tanks into L3 where I could count on it likely to be seen by the German PaK. Risking 6 CVP without some serious gain was not a good idea - I could have instead moved the tank into K4. Then I probably risked one HS too many to exhaust the 9-2's fire options in French Turn 5. I also misplayed the Truck which I deliberatly drove into the (correctly) suspected AT-Minefield in M5 with the intention to create a Burning Wreck for cover. Instead of stopping there after surviving entry, I should have turned to drive out into the direction I came from to trigger another chance for an AT-Mine attack.

The increased Movement cost for Infantry due to Mud does hurt. This is especially true for Infantry which is moving about without a Leader. Due to the Shellholes on the road, even the trucks cannot move as fast as would be expected. The platoon of tanks provides the opportunity to bypass freeze some dangerous position, but this needs to be very carefully considered. Losing a tank will cost 6CVP, which is a lot considering the endangered position that some of the at-start French Infantry finds itself in and the dangerous ground the French reinforcements have to cover before they reach the village and its protective cover. I believe if you lose both tanks, than you will almost certainly lose the game. That said, it might be a bad idea to move the tanks into the village at all to avoid the AT-Mines.

The German 'hill' force consisting of the 9-2, 2x 468, and 2xLMG is extremely powerful and can wreak horrible damage. The key point is to have them cause the maxium damage while still on the hill while not missing the right time to fall back into the village proper.

Quite likely, the French will be forced into CC to meet their objective. CC is always a fickle thing - as witnessed in this game. It might screw up your CVP cap as it ultimately did in my case. It might also screw up your time-table on the offence as well as on the defence.

This scenario seems to have featured recently in some tournament as I have observed it being played on VASL by three or four pairs of opponents while my game was ongoing (outside the tournament). Especially in the initial turns, it seems to be difficult for the French. The French player had better not let his PMC be affected by that and to hold on until he gets into the village.


von Marwitz
 
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Matt Book

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The question now was whether I should dare to fire into the Melee. I decided against it, as the Location was Encircled, effectively reducing the Morale of my squad within to 7 as well as that of the German Leader. If the German Leader would survive unpinned, then the German squad would have a reduced morale of 8 due to the leadership DRM. So the chances of affecting myself were higher than affecting the Germans. Even if I could reinforce the Melee while the Germans were unbroken, they could concentrate their CC attack on a single German squad at 1:1 odds. If that German squad was broken, then I would likely be toast. Or, if I rolled too low, I might CR or kill my own guys, handing the Germans the win. Thus I finally decided not to fire into the Melee.
Did the Germans encircle this melee hex or did you?
A7.7 Line 16: A qualifying target Location is thereafter marked with an Encirclement counter and every non-beserk, non-heroic enemy Personnel unit therein suffers an immediate one level drop in Morale.....

Good AAR
 

von Marwitz

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Did the Germans encircle this melee hex or did you?
A7.7 Line 16: A qualifying target Location is thereafter marked with an Encirclement counter and every non-beserk, non-heroic enemy Personnel unit therein suffers an immediate one level drop in Morale.....

Good AAR
It was me that did the encircling. Hm. I have to delve into this - it might have made a difference because actually contrary to my AAR, the Germans fired into it breaking my leader just by one - he would have otherwise merely been Pinned and might have survived.

I dimly remember an erratum that added "Melee Personnel" or some such, so we thought it would apply to both.

Edit:

I believe we did it correctly. Here is the rule including the erratum (highlighted in red):

A7.7 ENCIRCLEMENT: Any non-Aerial Infantry, or Vulnerable PRC of an Immobile vehicle, fired upon consecutively during the same PFPh, DFPh (not MPh), or AFPh by two or more non-Aerial units using their inherent-FP/SW/ordnance at ≤ Normal Range (1.22, 10.532) is subject to possible Encirclement [EXC: pillbox; B30.32]. The attack(s) constituting an Encirclement must be resolved consecutively; if a player fires at a different target in the interim, he cannot use previous attacks as the basis for his claim to Encirclement. Encirclement occurs if the firer's LOS enters the target Location either: a) through opposite hexspines; b) with exactly three target-hex vertices between them in both clockwise and counter clockwise directions; or c) through any three non-contiguous hexsides. An Encirclement can also be created by a LOF from both the Location directly above and below it in a building hex. To be considered valid fire, ordnance weapons must secure a hit on the target, and other firers must exert enough FP (taking the possibility of Cowering into account) to possibly inflict at least a NMC result on the target. A qualifying target Location is thereafter marked with an Encirclement counter and every non-berserk, non-heroic enemy/Melee Personnel unit therein suffers an immediate one level drop in morale to both the attack that sealed its Encirclement and any other attacks made against that Location as long as it is so marked. All fire by an Encircled unit is subject to a +1 DRM on the IFT (or To Hit DR if ordnance). The MF cost of the first Location entered (regardless of phase) by an Encircled unit is doubled (after all modification). Should other enemy units enter an Encirclement Location they are immediately Encircled. Regardless of the Encircler's subsequent actions, the Encircled counter remains on the Location to affect all enemy/Melee Infantry units, and Vulnerable PRC of an Immobile vehicle, in that Location until they all leave the Location (even if they all leave it only momentarily), become berserk/heroic, are eliminated, or are captured. Being Encircled has adverse effects on a unit's ability to avoid capture (20.21). A unit Encircled more than once does not suffer additional penalties for multiple Encirclement.

I can't tell you in which place the erratum is published, but it is noted as such in the eASLRB which I use.

von Marwitz
 
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Matt Book

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Good to know, I don't have the e-rulebook with the erratum, I thought all non-enemy was immune to this in melee, now it's just the Japanese.
Thanks
 

ScottRomanowski

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That change is in pages A15-16vB that you can download from MMP's website. Those errata pages came out around 2000-2001.
 
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BattleSchool

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Ońe aspect to grasp in this scenarios is the alpine hill thing. We played that the rules also apply to the continuous slope rules, which I find difficult to visualize.
Intriguing. Thanks for raising this.

Am I correct in thinking that you played it that LOS between non-adjacent hexes of a Continuous Slope was blocked? For example, there was no LOS between 3H5 (level 0) and 3J6 (level 2)? If so, this is a game changer for the French.

I don't recall seeing others play it that way in the recent Alberta Assault tourney, however. My understanding is that the rules for Alpine Hills are limited to blocking LOS through equal-elevation hill hexes.

(Note also that the rule for Alpine Hills is specific to hill hexes. Therefore, Alpine Hills would have no effect [i.e., not be blocked] on an LOS traced along a Continuous Slope from a Level 1 Alpine Hill through a Level 0 hex to a valley hex.)

While I'm sympathetic to the case for Alpine Hills having some impact on the rules for a Continuous Slope, there's nothing in the B10.211 illustrated EX to suggest that Apline Hills do have an effect.

I'd like to hear what others have to say on the matter.

B.5 CONTINUOUS SLOPE:
A Continuous Slope is a change in elevation such that, in each hex successively crossed by the LOS, the elevation changes by one level in a continuous gradient. All rules pertaining to same-level LOS also apply to Continuous Slope LOS [EXC: walls/ hedges and AFV/wrecks (D9.4)] even though the latter term is not mentioned, although Height Advantage is unaffected.

*10.211 ALPINE HILL OPTION: The previous rule treats hills as a series of plateaus rather than constantly rising and rolling terrain. Those wishing to simulate the latter style of terrain can invoke a SSR for Alpine Hills by allowing equal-elevation hill hexes to block LOS through (not into) them.
 
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von Marwitz

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Intriguing. Thanks for raising this.

Am I correct in thinking that you played it that LOS between non-adjacent hexes of a Continuous Slope was blocked? For example, there was no LOS between 3H5 (level 0) and 3J6 (level 2)? If so, this is a game changer for the French.

I don't recall seeing others play it that way in the recent Alberta Assault tourney, however. My understanding is that the rules for Alpine Hills are limited to blocking LOS through equal-elevation hill hexes.

(Note also that the rule for Alpine Hills is specific to hill hexes. Therefore, Alpine Hills would have no effect on an LOS traced along a Continuous Slope from a Level 1 Alpine Hill through a Level 0 hex to a valley hex would not be blocked.)

While I'm sympathetic to the case for Alpine Hills having some impact on the rules for a Continuous Slope, there's nothing in the B10.211 illustrated EX to suggest that Apline Hills do have an effect.

I'd like to hear what others have to say on the matter.
Despite @bendizoid having raised this early, I only now realize the implications!
I'd be surprised if many would have thought of it because the B.5 / B10.211 connection is not exactly obvious.

An interesting point is also the limitation to hill hexes in this context.
It does feel strange, though, that the continuous slope effect described from a Level 1 Alpine Hill through a Level 0 hex to a valley hex would not be blocked despite that being the situation with the rules as written.

I agree, that this would be a game changer for the French.

I mirror the interest of @BattleSchool to hear other's opinions and their handling of this.

von Marwitz
 

The Purist

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‘All rules pertaining to same-level LOS also apply to Continuous Slope LOS. ‘
This.

I can see the application of the Alpine Hills rules to continuous slopes. Mountainous terrain is not always smooth drops containing scree and deadfall (usually near the edges of the tree line).
 
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BattleSchool

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‘All rules pertaining to same-level LOS also apply to Continuous Slope LOS. ‘
But...

...there's nothing in the B10.211 illustrated EX to suggest that Apline Hills do have an effect.
on a Continuous Slope LOS.

IOW, the only effect demonstrated by the EX is that LOS through a same-level elevation is blocked.

This is not to say that you don't raise a good point, or that you may well be right. Only that I can see nothing in the RAW to explain how these two rules are meant to interact.
 

The Purist

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Being in the chapter header, would B.5 not cover all rules that it pertains to within said chapter?

Certainly we are aware that the examples provided throughout the RB do not cover every possible case.
 
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