The Drive for Taierzhuang

The Purist

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Last year I picked up SK 2 and 3 since a colleague expressed interest in learning the system. Gun'r had played SL-GIAoV but was mainly a Napoleonic and Roman era miniature gamer. He liked SL as it had the "miniature feel". Over most of the past year he read the rules, pushed some pieces around the map and we played about 4 SK scenarios.

Gun'r's free time is limited as he works away from home on a 14/7 rotation but on his way back to the pipeline project he swung by this week and wanted to play a full rules game. We settled on China 1938 as my own experience with the Japanese is somewhat limited and it would 'level the field' a bit.

What followed was one of the more exciting games I've ever played.

The Chinese set up

I couldn't tell much from the map but suspected the right was more heavily defended and with three 37L AT guns and a 37* Inf gun, the Chinese had the means to seriously slap around the Japanese armour. Since I could enter "Turn 1 or later" I decided to send a probe force on my right. Two Type-91 ACs with two 447 each would skirt the western board edge while the two 51* mortars and 2 MMG w/ a 9-1 set up a fire base to engage anything that opened fire.

I didn't have long to wait.

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The Chinese left opened fire with two 37L and the 37* along with a reinforced platoon of infantry, the two ACs were dispatched in record time, thankfully one of the guns Malf'd. The surviving infantry and crews plus the mortars were to spend most of the game struggling to push the Chinese back and only just made it onto Board 11 by Game end. The MMGs did make their way east to join the main attack but had trouble doing so.

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On the Chinese right I should have lost the game but for some bad luck on the defender's side. My main attack came on the left and I drove hard for the wooden building in 19C3 only to find it held by a 337 w/ LMG and 37L AT. The gun had to pivot and missed its first shot while losing rate (lucky me). The intensive fire shot broke the gun when a Type94 went in for the VBF. The 8 FP attack wounded a leader, pinned one squad and flipped a second, leaving one in intact.

The last of my forces to enter were the 10-1, an MMG team and a 237 HS running (CX-ing) up hex row A headed for 19A2. Then the trap is sprung.

A Chinese 337 is HIP in 19A4 and Mr 10-1and his crowd bounce and are hit by a 6 -2 FP attack for a 2MC.

Gun'r let a full platoon and two tanks go running by and didn't even blink. Who is this guy and what have you done with mild mannered Gun'r? :eek:

Thankfully, only the 237 HS breaks. I break the gun crew and squad in C3 and they rout away but all the FP I throw at A4 fails to break the 337 forcing me to send in the 10-1, MMG team and the reduced squad in B3. Then the HtH combat costs me the squad and 10-1 (arggghh).

In the meantime the Chinese fall back while reserves begin streaming from the centre of the map heading for the 11Z4 hill.


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The Purist

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By the start of turn 4 I am stalled on the right but have the broken the forward defences of the Chinese on my left and I am moving to take the 11Z4 hill. The Chinese have reinforced the hill an I suspect the 45* mortar is up there with at least one LMG.

The Japanese ACs are truck chasis so they are slow going off road. That said, they are well armed with MGs and can make pretty good overruns as long the target is close to the road. I lost one of the Type 92 when I pressed for 1 extra MP and the thing broke an axle. Stupid me, 6 FP and 5 Exit VP lost.


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By the start of turn 5 I am ready to charge up the hill, conscience that time is slipping through my fingers. The Chinese blaze away, forcing me to deploy across the hill to avoid stacking and making the best speed. While delaying me with the screen other troops are moving to block the exit hexes. I can't win with just the surviving vehicles (7) exiting and my fear is DFF and residual FP may pin or break my infantry as they try to leave the map (especially as a number of squads are already reduced). I also make the mistake of moving the two Type 94 tanks too close to the Chines on the hill and only two failed 1PAATC saves me from the potential loss of another 5 Exit VP (for now).


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Thankfully the Chinese fail to do much damage as I lead with the armour. The game is pretty much over at this point (Turn 6) and I ask Gun'r if he wants to continue.

"Hell ya", he replies. He then proceeds to ask a few questions confirming the DFF principles and residual FP (my fear). I confirm that there is a chance that if he can get his remaining troops in place and covering the exit hexes there is the chance to pin or kill/reduce the infantry before it can exit for full points.

Onwards we go.

One Type 94 breaks down and my vehicle count is now down to six. I find it necessary to throw away machine guns to get extra hexes out of the crews.

It all comes down to the squad in 11Y10,... he tried to dash across the road to get to Z10 and then adv to AA10 in the previous turn but was pinned. If he breaks the path will be open.

Or will it? By the time my turn 6 is done the road is clear, yes, but in order to do so I have two vehicles that can be CC'd by two remaining Chinese 337s in his turn 6. I have only 56 Exit VP available so if one vehicle is immobilised and one squad pinned I'm done.

The dice Gawds smile and both 1PAATC fail,... I slip off the map in Japanese Turn 7 and make 56 Exit VP.

Hats off to Gun'r in his first full ASL game. Now if I could only convince him that ASL is better than Roman Legions or Prussian Guards. 🤔

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waltu

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Hi Gerry, Thanks for the detailed AAR, nicely done. I'm considering playing this scenario, but I have the older A101 version from ASL Annual 96. I don't have a copy of the update (ASL 146) from Rising Sun. I do have ASL Journal 10, in which they describe the changes from A101 to 146 in the "Debriefing Section". The only changes they mention in J#10 are: In the VC, change "50" to "55". In the Chinese balance, change "50" to "55", and "58" to "60".

There are a few things in your photos that are throwing me for a loop:

First, my original A101 says that only hex rows A-Y on board 11 and I-GG on board 19 are playable. Your photos show that you are using the entire boards. Did this change in ASL #146, or did you miss that in your playing? Not a criticism, just wondering. (Personally, I think scenario designs should use more real estate rather than less, and adjust the OoB's accordingly).

Also, A101 calls for overlay X11 placed at 19AA5-Z4 (the overlay has two stone buildings). I don't see the overlay on your setup, so I'm wondering if that was changed for Scenario 146.

Let me know, thanks.
 

The Purist

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Ermmm,....well, now (hee-hee).... that certainly was a foul up on my part wasn't it. Not quite sure how I missed all that print about the playable area and overlay but I surely did. :whistle: This tells me I need to give the win to Mr Hern.

We used the A101 from Annual 96, my not possessing Rising Sun either (but I do have an extra CoB still in the shrink wrap).

That narrow frontage and lack of the road network on the eastern end certainly changes the complexion of this scenario.

I may just have to set this up on VASL to give it another go - this time with all the SSRs 😉

Thanks for the post.
 
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