Sunday, 7 October 2012

ASL SK Scenario #S42 - One More Hedgerow

Beyond The Beaches
Another war room archive and one of my favourite ASL Starter Kit scenarios to date.

One More Hedgerow
Attacker: American (1st Battalion, 116th Regiment, 29th Infantry Division) (ANDREW)
Defender: German (Infanterie Division 352) (GARY)
Turns: 5.5 Players: 2 OBA: None Night: No
Couvains, France 1944-06-13

RESULT: Germans (GARY) win on final turn.

Both sides believed that St. Lo, a key crossroads astride the Vire River, was crucial to the defence of Normandy. The Germans were committed to defending the approaches to Hill 192 which commanded the Bayeux-St. Lo road. Despite heavy casualties on D-Day, the 29th Infantry Division remained at the forefront of the American drive from Omaha to St. Lo and was charged with crossing the Elle River and protecting the right flank of the 2nd Division as it advanced on Hill 192. The Elle was a small, fordable stream, only 10 feet wide, but the very steep and wooded southern bank gave good ground for well-concealed emplacements. Its crossing would involve a number of bitterly contested actions. The American V Corps had advanced rapidly since getting off of Omaha Beach on June 7th, but that was about to stop as the battle for the hedgerows had begun.

Victory Conditions: The Americans win at game end by controlling building hexes G5, J5 and J7 (Highlighted on map below)

Turn #1

With the Germans setting up with hidden initial placement the Americans would have to tread carefully (but quickly) through the Normandy bocage.

During their first turn the Americans pushed along from the southern edge of the map, electing to move through the slowing grain instead of the orchards to the North. This surprised me as in previous games speed had always been an issue for the attacker. Needless to say my (hidden) units were protecting a more northern attack ... but Andy didn't know that. The picture below is a snapshot at the end of American turn one - the Americans were spraying bullets into selected hexes to try and weed out any hidden German units. This worked and a defending 2-3-7 was uncovered and eliminated in close combat. The yellow circles are the target (victory buildings)

End of turn 1
Turn #2

The Germans, wishing to remain hidden to maximise their advantage (and not betray their lack of forces on the southern flank) held fire, so we moved onto American turn 2, which saw the strong American squads push along the southern edge of the map and trying to weed out more German units. The Germans during their second turn move a 2-3-7 Half-squad / LMG to cover the advance of the Americans.

End of turn 2
Turn #3

Entering turn 3 and things were beginning to heat up, the Americans using smoke to reach their first objective at J7. I was fairly confident here a the building held my strongest single force 4-6-7 / HMG / 2-3-7. This confidence wasn't to last long as I rolled a 6,6 only pinning the American unit (I had a massive 24 fire-power) and malfunctioning my HMG on it's first shot! Self donk Things were looking bleak as Andy moved more units into close combat range, threatening to take the first building with relative ease ... not so however as his approaching 6-6-6 unit was broken from J7 and more defensive fire from H3 broke his already pinned unit and he would be unable to enter close combat. Result!

Mid turn 3
The German turn 3 was no less eventful, especially now that the Americans had a juicy stack of units in I9 for us to shoot at. I successfully repaired my broken HMG and fired on I9 from three different hexes (see map) resulting in one broken American squad (importantly the one with the MMG). In the American defensive fire they broke my full squad 4-6-7 in J7 and I routed them back towards the leader in J5. This would later turn out to be an important move for me.

End of turn 3
Turn #4

With only a 2-4-7 in J7 I attempted (and failed) to recover the HMG there. Given the amount of American fire-power pushing towards J7, the building was all but lost. 6-6-6 moved from I9 to I8 and was pinned there and a 9-1 leader and 6-6-6 moved from I9 to J8 under smoke cover. The 2-4-7 defender in J7 rolled 1,1 but only managed to pin the leader. A final 6-6-6 also moved into J8 (from the trees at H10). Remaining fire from both sides was ineffective, leaving the Americans a fairly straight-forward close combat to take their first objective building J7, killing the 2-4-7 in the process.

End of American turn 4
Onto German turn 4 and the Americans fail to recover the German HMG left in J7. The Germans rally the broken 4-6-7 in J5 and ready themselves for the attempt to regain J7! During Prep Fire from J5 to J7 both American 6-6-6s are broken (this was probably the most critical engagement for both sides0, swinging the initiative back to the Germans following a sustained period of American progress. Further Prep Fire from H3 also broke the 5-4-6 in I8. The broken American units (2 x 6-6-6s and 1 x 5-4-6) rout to the 9-1 leader in J8.

End of German turn 4
Turn #5

The broken American units in J8 ALL fail to rally, but a 5-4-6 in I9 returns and moves into I8 only to be broken there by German defensive fire from J5. A 7-0 leader / MMG / 6-6-6 from I4 moves through cover to E4 attempting to put pressure on the hidden unit in building G5. 6-6-6 in G8 also moves on G5 moving right up to the building, taking point blank fire from the 2-4-7 / 7-0 leader / LMG in there. The Germans roll a 6,6 and another machine gun malfunctions! Are things starting to shift back to the Americans?

The Americans move into close combat in G5, but fail to make their ambush count and the battle moves into melee.

End of American turn 5
Two American units rally in J8, a 6-6-6 and a 5-4-6 (leaving one broken 6-6-6). The Germans then prep fired from H3 into the broken 5-4-6 in I8 reducing them to a 2-3-6. The Germans then take the opportunity to regain J7 by assault moving a 2-4-7 from J5 and then moving into J7 during APh. Unnecessary advancing fire from the remaining units in J5 against the already broken I8 malfunctions the German MMG in J5 (the 3rd of the game). I could have kicked myself at this point as the attack wasn't needed and I had now left myself weaker in what could end up being my last building.

Close combat in G5 results in the loss of a German 2-4-7, leaving only a weak leader defending the building.

The broken American unit routs from I8 into J8 with the 9-1 leader.

End of German turn 5
 Turn #6

The last turn of the game. It looked like the Americans would have just too much to do in their last turn to take back building J7, close off combat in G5 and take the German held J5 and this proved to be true, especially when the German 2-4-7 in J7 successfully recovered the HMG there.

Prep Fire into J7 only pinned the German unit there. A 9-1 leader from J8 attempted to draw fire by moving beside J5, but the Germans held-fire waiting for the movement of the American 7-0 leader / MMG / 6-6-6 in E4. As it turned out this unit's movement was cut shot at H6 as it broke under fire from H3. The game was effectively over as German defensive fire J7 > J8 and J5 > K6 broke the last effective American units. Objective buildings j5 and J7 were held and the Germans came out on top.

End of American turn 6 (and game end)

Final thoughts on this scenario...

I had set-up for an American attack along the northern edge as I thought this would be the quickest path for the Allies (bar coming straight up the middle!). Andy's set-up therefore was quite worrying as I had few forces in the south. (see German set-up positions below)

My Initial Set-Up For The Germans

At this point I decided that my best strategy was to stay hidden for as long as possible (Andy didn't know that I was weak in the south) and hope that it would slow him down. it didn't slow him as much as I would have liked but it did serve to make his movement a little more cautious (therefore a little slower). I really bemoaned my luck early on as I lost my first unit quite easily and then had my HMG malfunction on it's first use!

As the scenario progressed the luck would balance itself though first swinging one way then back the other leading to an exciting, if very stressful, finale. Obviously delighted to finish on top, but this one could easily have gone to the Americans.

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