Singling American advise

rdw5150

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Hi!

in another thread Jim wrote:

It is. It is one which will require the American player to get everything he possibly can from his AFV's. You win this as the American, you can call yourself a tanker.
I was wondering if any of the playtesters (or anyone else) has any advise for the Americans. I am playing this FtF against someone who has just gotten better than me. I am the Americans. I am not great with tanks, OK, but not great, I am only a so-so attacker, so this just seems like a recipe for disaster. But it sure looks like its gonna be fun!

(I always worry when I need to get the most out of my tanks)

anyway, any thoughts from anyone..... Though reading through the USA Vehicle notes is a must. I also need to re-read the Gyro rules and think about how to get the most out of them!

Peace

Roger
 
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J. R. Tracy

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I was wondering if any of the playtesters (or anyone else) has any advise for the Americans. I am playing this FtF against someone who has just gotten better than me. I am the Americans. I am not great with tanks, OK, but not great, I am only a so-so attacker, so this just seems like a recipe for disaster. But it sure looks like its gonna be fun!

(I always worry when I need to the most out of my tanks)
Hey Roger!

This might prove to be a bit of a learning experience for you - the key to American success is solid armor play. They don't have much infantry so the Shermans have to do a lot of the heavy lifting, putting themselves at risk in the process.

Keep in mind how many ways your Shermans can die - your opponent has five tubes (I think - no scenario card handy): two Panthers, two assault guns/TDs, and a 76L ATG. Other than the 75LLs, they aren't quite hit-kill but close enough to force you to be careful. He also has a PSK out there somewhere plus the usual fireworks display of panzerfausts. Finally, he has his OBA, which must be respected. All that adds up to two major rules: first, don't bunch up! If you do, you'll offer a sweet OBA target where he can guarantee catching a couple M4s in the blast area even with a bit of drift. Second, don't offer a single (potential) tube more than a couple targets - in fact, one exposed Sherman per possible German gun/AFV is the ideal. With the ATG still HIP, you'll have to make some educated guesses, but by all means avoid setting up a shooting gallery. The terrain can be channelling, but given walls, buildings, crests, etc, this is possible with careful planning.

With the dangers discussed, what are your advantages? Smoke, numbers, and speed. Smoke is the big one here; you have four ways of generating it. OBA, 75/76L smoke rounds from the Shermans, sMs, and infantry smoke grenades. The OBA should be covering your infantry's approach. A couple Shermans should be sitting back and laying down Smoke and/or WP to cover both infantry and armor movement. Smoke mortars are vital for scooting across open spaces and setting up some dances o' death; don't be afraid to go CE to avoid that extra +1, a killer here in the sweet spot of the 2d6 distribution. Finally the infantry grenades are reasonably reliable with that sweet 3 exponent. You have no single 100% reliable smoke delivery system, but you do have enough options you should be able to get at least a little when you need it. On any given turn it should look like The Weather Channel out there with the map littered with clouds of smoke. If not, you'll have a different kind of cover: burning wrecks.

Now, numbers: if you're not careful, this particular advantage will decay to nothing with each TK DR. You can afford to be aggressive with your armor but don't equate aggressiveness with mindlessly throwing your tanks around to see what happens. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs, but every Sherman that burns has to be part of a plan - don't let them die in vain. With 13 AFVs, they should be operating in teams of two or three - a 75 tube supporting a 76L with smoke, etc. There's no excuse for a Sherman left on its own and vulnerable to an opportunistic German counterattack. The infantry is another story - you cannot afford to lose much, if any. Always move in terrain or behind/through smoke - you need to control buildings and if you don't take care of your dogfaces you *will* lose the campaign.

Finally, speed. This is a campaign in which the Sherman really shines in all its glory. I mentioned the smoke and sMs, but now we get to discuss Gyros! You have five to distribute across your fleet of finely crafted fighting vehicles. The obvious choices are the three M4A3(76)Ws and a couple of the M4A1(76)Ws, but a case could be made for throwing one of the latter into a (faster) 75-armed M4A3 instead. Your Gyro'd vehicles will be your hunter-killers, keeping the German AFVs honest and ultimately dispatching them. They should hang back, particulary the armor leader vehicles, until you've sorted out the dummies from the real stuff. Now the fun begins. With the armor team concept in mind, use a combination of smoke, sMs, and the occasional sacrificial Sherman to set up a kill shot with one of your Gyro'd vehicles. Here's where one of the 75s can die an honorable death. The German player has to respect its killing ability from the flank and with luck will burn a VCA spin and ROF to deal with the threat. Then a Gyro'd vehicle can swing in and go for a BFF shot, almost certainly winning a gun duel. From six hexes away, a *buttoned up* Gyro-equipped Sherman hits a Panther on an eight! Go CE, add in an armor leader, throw in point blank, and you are almost certain to hit. It can be tricky, one of the hardest elements of ASL to get the hang of, but it's exciting, rewarding, and very satisfying if and when you pull it off.

That should get you started. You might be shaky with your armor game, but you gotta learn by doing, and this is a great situation to do so. I anticipate a wide range of results for the this campaign, with blowout wins for both sides. It's short enough that you can't let yourself get too frustrated - just formulate a plan and dive in. If disaster strikes, reset and try again. It's a cool map, a good attack/counterattack situation, and does a nice job of highlighting the strengths and vulnerabilities of the mainstay of the American armored divisions. Have fun, and be sure to let us know how it goes.

JR
 
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SamB

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"You might be shaky with your armor game, but you gotta learn by doing..."

Translation: You are no good with armor, but the only way you'll learn is over the cold dead bodies of your tank crews.
 

Bret Hildebran

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JR posted a great summary of what to do as the Amis - not sure there's much for me to add other than to agree with it. JR touched on "force preservation", but I'll say it overtly - I think it's key for the Americans to not give away any Shermans, particularly early. But the same is true with the infantry as while the Ami infantry kicks butt, there's precious little of it.

I'll be interested what the perceived balance is on this one going forward. Playtest wise it had some of the widest variation in opinion that I've ever seen...
 

Sparafucil3

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As someone who could never win as the American's in playtesting, let me say this: JR's post is the key. I have said it elsewhere, if you can win Singling as the Americans, your AFV play is solid. -- jim
 

'Ol Fezziwig

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As someone who could never win as the American's in playtesting, let me say this: JR's post is the key. I have said it elsewhere, if you can win Singling as the Americans, your AFV play is solid. -- jim
I think playing the Americans-in general-tends to be having to walk that fine line all the time; it requires more finesse than other nationalities. I think a smaller, intense CG like Singling will help Ami players in learning to handle them...and that's a good thing.
 

Chas Argent

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I'll be interested what the perceived balance is on this one going forward.
You and me both :D

Playtest wise it had some of the widest variation in opinion that I've ever seen...
One thing was clear - the armor studs (like Bret) were convinced the Americans were favored; others loved the situation for the Germans. Time will tell, but this is one setting where highly competent armor play can really make the difference.

Ultimately I think the onus is still on the Americans. The VP total needed for the Americans to win Abrams' Charge is towards the high end of our play tests.
 

wlewisiii

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Just remember to use your smoke, gyros & HVAP and you should do well. "Wingman" your tanks & keep the grunts close to hand.

The original assault used OBA smoke & he to cover the advance to the village across that big as*ed plain.

J. R.'s post is as good as it gets for what to do.

In the end, the real battle was described by the CG of Panzer Lehr as "an outstanding tank attack, such as I have rarely seen, over ideal tank terrain." Casualties were quite low, considering, with 6 kia, 16 wia & 5 Sherman destroyed for the Americans for 2 Panthers & 56 POW. If I, as player, can do half as well as Col. Abrams' I'd be happy. I'm looking forward to getting the magazine so I can give it a try.

William
 

asler

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The only thing I'll add as someone who played the US in the playtesting - is be aware of what the German options to enter are when they get the reinforcements. I made the mistake of swinging too far around the back/left-flank of the German lines only to have the German reinforcements basically enter right on top of me. Wasn't pretty...

Chris
 

Bret Hildebran

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The only thing I'll add as someone who played the US in the playtesting - is be aware of what the German options to enter are when they get the reinforcements. I made the mistake of swinging too far around the back/left-flank of the German lines only to have the German reinforcements basically enter right on top of me. Wasn't pretty...
'Course we had pretty much the opposite experience where if the Ami could setup for the German reinforcements, it wasn't pretty either. The Ami will be in trouble if he gets encircled by the reinforcements, but if he can carve out enough open spots on either end of the hill, the German reinforcement entry can be a death defying experience...

It's a fun little CG that should challenge both sides, but I'd suggest giving the more experienced player the Americans as they're significantly more difficult to play correctly it would seem.
 

Sparafucil3

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Hey Roger!

This might prove to be a bit of a learning experience for you - the key to American success is solid armor play. They don't have much infantry so the Shermans have to do a lot of the heavy lifting, putting themselves at risk in the process.
I snipped this for brevity. This is one of the best posts, if not the best, I have ever seen on the ASL forums. I appreciate your comments--much like I appreciated them after my demoralizing defeat at the hand of that dastardly Fortenberry. I wish you posted here more often. -- jim
 

rdw5150

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I snipped this for brevity. This is one of the best posts, if not the best, I have ever seen on the ASL forums. I appreciate your comments--much like I appreciated them after my demoralizing defeat at the hand of that dastardly Fortenberry. I wish you posted here more often. -- jim

Agreed, as I stated elsewhere, a great post! Definately one of the best ever

Peace

Roger
 

Sparafucil3

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I was wondering if any of the playtesters (or anyone else) has any advise for the Americans. I am playing this FtF against someone who has just gotten better than me. I am the Americans. I am not great with tanks, OK, but not great, I am only a so-so attacker, so this just seems like a recipe for disaster. But it sure looks like its gonna be fun!
Roger,
My thoughts will not be anywhere as good as JR's since I never really "firgured it out" but here are my .02.

-- Learn your BFF numbers and have a good idea what they are.
-- You are going to lose tanks, accept it.
-- Remember, it is an infantry game. Any that you lose, even if it is a measly half-squad, is a huge setback. You are attacking and out numbered on squads. Your tanks have to be there to support the infantry, not to hunt tanks. But.....
-- You have get the Panthers when an opportunity presents itself. You will likely not get it right the first time. Accept it. Do you know how many times a Panther can change facing in a single fire-phase? If not, you should have a look because I bet it is a bigger number than you think.
-- Did I say to protect your infantry? If you don't you will pay for it. Respect his OBA.

(I always worry when I need to get the most out of my tanks)

anyway, any thoughts from anyone..... Though reading through the USA Vehicle notes is a must. I also need to re-read the Gyro rules and think about how to get the most out of them!

Peace

Roger
My biggest advice is to play it against someone better than you with them as the Americans. See how they work. It is fun to watch (even as you are getting your butt kicked). Then flip sides and try it with or without the balance. If you are not a tank master, and if the balance is the same I saw on the last version of the cards, it is significant (in terms of VP needed) and still a challenge (as I recall, I barely acheived the balance victory against Fortenberry in my last playing as the Ami. That guy is a tank guru from where I stand :) ) All in all, it is a really fun situation. We (the playtesters) debated how to balance it. In the end, I think Brett summed it up best (and I paraphrase): "Balance it for the best ASL players and make everyone else raise their game." As someone who needed to raise his game, I personally thought this was the best idea. My apolagies to the other shlubs out there like me who didn't get a vote and are disappointed I didn't vote differently. -- jim
 

Mehl

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All the things that JR, Jim and others have said are spot on. One other thing you need to understand completely is the gun duel rule section and how dangerous a CE Sherman with a white ROF box can be.

As far as taking enough buildings to win, there is more than one way to skin a cat. One of the beauties of this CG is that the US can come up with a successful plan going left, right or center, but you need to pick one and carry it out with alacrity. There is not enough US infantry to try a wide front advance and if you do, you'll regret it very quickly.
 

Eagle4ty

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:thumup::thumup: JR had a great post, had to copy it and save it in my "Things to remember to do" file for ASL. Expound upon this a little and submit it to MMP, it's good enough for inclusion into a Journal! Great job J.R.!!:smoke:
 

Richard Weiley

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I'm not sure if this was mentioned elsewhere but remember that all Shermans with a 75 MA and any gyro equipped tank has an automatic advantage over the German's vehicles in gun duels.

For example, while I can't quote the exact modifiers I think any sherman that takes on a SPG from outside its covered arc is virtually assured to get the first shot (against the weaker side/rear armour) barring the presence of armour leaders, stuns etc.
 
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