Jim Thompson and I played J179 Resignation Supermen over VASL PBEM. It was short, fast and brutal to my German troopers.
Set on board 51, this is 6 turns in 1945. The end of the war is nigh and a mixed bag of Germans are trying to occupy three of four factories or making sure there are no good order Americans in any factory. A seemingly tall task. Digging the high powered American 666’s out of stone buildings is never an easy task. The sheer firepower and range can make getting close enough to get the job done very difficult despite their low morale.
When I say I had a “mixed bag” of Germans, it was an apt description. Naturally, late in the war the troop quality is going to vary and in this one I had them all. 658 SS fighting alongside 436 Conscripts. Reinforced on turn two by first line and second line Landsers. My first group is supported by a StuG, and the second by a Mk IV J.
My strategy broke down to this. (emphasis on “strategy broke down”) The factory on the far left counted as two factories. I decided I wanted that one the most, leaving only one factory to win. I would send my SS studs for the important one on the left, and everyone else to the right. I wanted to prevent him from moving units over to reinforce the left factory so I placed a HS/LMG to setup a possible firelane to prevent just that. Oh, Jim would get 2.5 reinforcing squads accompanied by a pair of Jacksons…. very nasty.
Unfortunately for me, my plan would take a literal “hit” on the first shot of the game. After moving my SS and conscripts onboard I drove the StuG up to gain acquisition on one of the nearest American stacks. Jim proceeded to unveil a half squad with a bazooka, firing at 4 hex range and lit up my StuG with snake eyes on the first combat roll of the action. He ate the backblast and lost his HS. Getting rid of one of my two smoke machines really put a crimp in my style, but I decided to proceed as planned.
Jim fell back nicely to the Factory as I moved up to engage. The two point factory on the left had to be taken. Without it the task for the rest of my force would be too much for them to handle. He never made an effort to reinforce the left and my firelane was not needed. My 658’s still had infantry smoke, and I decided to move the Mk IV to support them since I had put so much importance on that factory.
Six turns was starting to tick away and it looked like I was only going to get one crack at the factories on the right, and maybe two shots on the left.
My first advancing fire, I got the results I was looking for. The assault fire of the 658’s inflicted 1mc on Jim’s 6 morale troops. The door was swinging open. Both of the GI units passed, and the door slammed shut. After the untimely demise of my StuG, I also sent the 467’s to the left and moved them into the street first, to see if they could survive the American firepower before my tank could get his smoke down at the start of my turn 4. The results were not good.
Those two squads surviving the 1 checks really hurt my effort. The American reinforcements were due to come in and I could guess where they were going to end up. My prospects for a victory were growing dim. I tried to get to the left of the factory, but the new arrivals put paid to that idea. I was going to get one more try on the left and only one on the right. Unfortunately, the American firepower and my low quality troops did not go together well.
I got a toe hold in the left factory, but between the Jackson and the 12 and 20 and 24 fp shots, it bogged down. The tank had done his job with the smoke round, but it simply didn’t matter. I moved out my brave but apparently stupid conscripts. Standing in the street, hoping to survive and advance.
You can see the results. Dead Germans everywhere. The second Jackson got one shot and broke a 447. The Conscripts had no shot at surviving the American firepower and my attack was finally, totally stopped. At the end of American turn 4 prep I submitted my surrender papers. I may have recovered on the left enough to make one more effort, but on the right, the conscripts were not going to rally in time for a second push and quite frankly, with no smoke I was weary of facing high firepower shots. It was fairly demoralizing.
I’m not sure what to think of this scenario. The first shot loss of one of my two smoke makers was difficult to swallow. The lack of ANY result on the 1mc’s against 6 morale troops was also tough. With American skulking, you only get a couple of chances to put fire on them and if it doesn’t work it’s harder to move out. I got the smoke I needed on the left, but sometimes the sheer firepower can overcome those obstacles….. they did.
I’m starting to really dislike scenarios where time is a huge factor. It took me three turns just to get to a jump off point. If my first assault attempt didn’t work (it didn’t) I have to rally and try again with only three moves left. Pete Shelling is a great designer and rarely makes a bad one, so I assume I made some glaring mistakes in my attack, which would fit with my M/O. The nice thing about this scenario is that it IS short and it IS a Pete scenario so it will be played plenty and will therefore get a good record on ROAR and I can see where my experience stands. My expectation is that, based on my ASL career, it will end up being Pro-German.