SB03 "Outgunned but Not Outfought"

Cpl. Canfield

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I just got finished playing through this scenario tonight, and I am so impressed with it, and with my opponent, that I felt the need to post here (my first on this thread).

This scenario is one of Bill Wilder's ACW ASL variant. I had played through a couple of other scenarios from this module, and both were so badly balanced, I feared the entire ouvre might be second rate. I am pleased to say these fears were unfounded.

The scenario uses the 'high' halves of Boards 6 & 17. The Union attacks, with 13MMC (+ 6 later as reinforcements) and 2 heavy guns, starting from the back of board 6. Their objective is to get to row 4 on the other board, which is where the Confederates deploy - 5-8 MMC (+5-8 more) and 3 medium guns.
Counting out the counters for this one, I was pleased to note the Attacking Union was, for once, given enough units and leaders to get the job done. I also noted that the lack of hills would make LOS simple.

Wilder's variant adds some 'fog of war' features not found in standard ASL. You start the game, for example, by placing green "?" counters, alternately, defender first. These are flipped whenever a unit enters them for time. Most of them do nothing, some will make the moving unit pause, some reveal persistently soft ground, and one is effectively a sniper attack. Only that are placed down blind, so neither players knows which is which.
Then there are the Fire and Movement cards: Each time you Fire, or move a unit (with the exception of units moving onto the board, or units stacked with a -2 or -3 leader), you draw a card.
EDIT: Oh, this is seriously embarrassing – I just discovered the actual, written SSR for these cards, in an earlier module (Raiders) that I don't yet own, and it's Not "Each time", it's a result imposed on One unit (of the opponent's choice) per player turn, and then only on a DR of 11 or 12.
Most of these cards allow you to fire, or move, as you wished. Some will slow a unit down, or stop it in place completely, or impair its fire. There's even one that will make a a firing group, and all adjacent, go Berserk!


Roland, my usual local opponent, declined the choice of sides, so I picked the Confederates. Among other things, the Confederate player gets to set up Fences in his deployment area. In practice, I found these useless, as they are too far back to impede the Union from getting to his objective line, and they would probably just obstruct my own shifting of reserves. An SSR that has the two sides alternating the deployment of their artillery was also pointless, as we started well out of sight from one another, and in any case, none of his batteries ended up getting off a shot.
THe Union's obvious approach is right down the center, down a woods lined lane debauching into board 17 opposite a woods. I knew if he got into those woods, it would be all over, so I needed to cover the front of them. But that was outside of my deployment zone, and I felt short enough on MMCs that I did not want to commit that many so far forward, in case his thrust came elsewhere. I resolved instead to mostly cover the end of the lane with cannon I would have to scramble out into position.
The game started amusingly enough, as his very first two 'Move' cards caused havoc with his plans. In order to more efficiently use the road mentioned above, and due to his highly compressed deployment zone, he chose to set up an overstacked group on the road . . . and there it stood, frozen, waiting for orders! I was drooling - if I could just get one cannon to a position to bear down the road . . . ! The next card spooked an entire regiment, 3 stacks, breaking several units, including the overstack - which was now free to rout off the road. (*pout*) On my turn, the gun I had planned to point down the road refused to move.
I had some other freeze-ups to contend with, but his fist round misfortune gave me time to get most of my troops to the defense line I had originally planned. When his Turn 3 reinforcements came in, it was facing my left, so that's where I brought in mine.

This is where he got brilliant.
First, to draw my attention, he galloped one of his guns down the lane, right at the gun I had by now gotten deployed pointing straight down the road. This was too much to pass up, so I fired on it. First shot disabled the wagon, and broke the crew. Follow up shot eliminated them.
Ah, but this was but part of his fieeendish master plan. My cannon fire had effectively laid smoke across my line of fire down the lane. Over the course of the next two turns, he used his -2 leaders to redirect his entire advance back across the lane, across his backfield, over to my right, shielded everywhere but the lane by the line of woods on Board 17's edge.
I, too, had two -2 leaders on the board by now, but I had a great big woods athwart any lateral redeployment, and all my leaders were out of position. My largest reserve stack, with an 8-0, now unneeded on the left, simply froze, and the next turn, set out on its own, in the wrong direction, heading for the enemy's board edge!
That left my gun batteries. The complete release of pressure on my left gave me the opportunity to train my guns North, along my own front, towards the path of the looming Blue tide builiding behind the trees on my right.
But that, too, he had encompassed in his Fiendish Master Plan™ - the light wind was from the South, and by firing down wind, my first shots would mask subsequent fire, not with one hex of smoke, but with three! The nearest battery even smoked one of the strongpoints I was depending on to hold my right flank. :eek:
I had a moment's respite when another 'Move" card draw produced another 'spook' in the tightly packed mass of troops getting ready for the assault. What I failed to appreciate was that the most dangerous stacks in that area weathered this pretty well. The next turn, they came pouring out of the woods. My weapons were useless. :OHNO:My double line folded like a Presidential promise. One of his leader's even responded to a canister blast by by going Berserk, and convincing an MMC to follow him.
Too late, I tried to intervene with one of my 10-2's, and a stack that included an HoB created Hero, but as I brought them just outside of normal range, all but the Hero were vap'ed by a natural 3 during the Union DFPh.
Interestingly, the Union had an HoB created Hero by now, as well, Never seen that.

Can't wait to play this one again, as the Union. While I lost, it was due to my own mistakes - if I had recognized his plan sooner, and/or reacted more decisively, I might have yet saved the day. Well balanced.
 
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Gunner Scott

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Hi-

Next time lets see pics of WBW stuff being played. It would make it more believable that people are actually putting cardboard to maps and playing that guys stuff. Interesting AAR nonetheless.

Scott
 

Cpl. Canfield

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Hi-

Next time lets see pics of WBW stuff being played. It would make it more believable that people are actually putting cardboard to maps and playing that guys stuff. Interesting AAR nonetheless.

Scott
Can do! (I think . . . )

I actually Have a pic of this one, but the flash sort of washed out all the colors. I will eventually get it loaded into the computer, and then I will have to figure out how to attach photos to posts.
 

Cpl. Canfield

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Paging Gunner Scott,

Recently loaded a batch of photos into my computer, and here's a "The End" picture from this one, from behind my right flank.

View attachment 44516

My last couple of half squads have taken refuge in houses, and the right-most one avoiding encirclement, but Roland has plenty more on the way. I have a great leader, and a standard bearer, but no way to get them any troops lead in time.

Note the lone Hero. He was traveling with a large stack I moved into a flanking position of his thrust, just outside of normal range, only to have the entire stack (aside from the Hero) wiped out.
 
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