The next round of VASLeague matched me up with Jonathan Kapleau of New Jersey. We chose A59 Death at Carentan for our game, I got the Germans in this attack / counterattack scenario.
A59 is one of those scenarios that you have either played or have had on your list to play and just haven’t gotten to it yet. Eight turns, but played in a small area with little to no chrome to bog you down. Bocage, buildings and grunts, pretty much meat and potatoes ASL on a partial board 17, it moves right along. A battle of airborne infantry from both sides.
My German force starts as 2.5 squad equivalents of Fallschirmjager occupying the victory buildings as three American paratroop squads attack. The Amis are led by Mr. 9-2. Even this small force can put together 20 firepower factors. Usually the German troops would enjoy a range advantage, but my Paras have the same range as the Amis. Standing toe to toe with them is a losing bet for me.
Well, my plan was to try to stuff the initial American attack before the large force of Ami reinforcements came in on turn 2. Jonathan gets an automatic FFE smoke mission in prep of turn 1 and my plan didn’t survive contact with the enemy.
The reinforcing Paras came on and pushed me to the back of the victory buildings, waiting for my reinforcing Fallschirmjagers to come their rescue.
Now, this is a formidable force. Not including the support weapons, there is 76 factors of American firepower which are all going to be focused in a very small area. By the time my Paras come to the rescue, Jonathan already has what he needs to win. He needs 5 building points. Each small building is worth 1, and the two hex building is 3. My guys have their work cut out for them…….. oh, and the Amis have a 100mm artillery module to boot.
There’s nothing left but to get in there and get dirty. My boys come on through the woods, hoping to get out of the trees before the 20fp -1 airbursts of death start dropping out of the sky.
Fortunately, my ground pounders are no slouches and where Jonathan has the firepower advantage, I have the morale advantage. Spread out, avoid stacking and move forward. There’s plenty of time. Oh, and it helps when your opponent can’t pass a morale check to save his life.
Something I forget to do ALL THE TIME is to use my HEAT weapons against grunts, but my Panzerschrek was almost the MVP of this game. The first shot I took with it busted a hole in the American front, sending those Paras scurrying off to find a medic.
Jonathan was accumulating quite the packed hospital back in the big building but what makes the American GIs and Paras so great to play is they are never down for long and they kept cycling back into the fight.
The American OBA had abandoned them, Jonathan was never able to get it where he wanted it and when it was close, he lost it again. I managed to push the American Paras out of the front buildings, and needed only to take one more single hex house to get the victory.
The building in S4 was the most accessible one for my troops in my last move. Jonathan was occupying it with two SMC, one heroic. But he had a TON of firepower in the big building, so for me it was going to be attempts at infantry smoke then assault moving. But first, try to draw some fire from the other way.
My smoke attempts failed and I had to enter the street bare-ass naked and Jonathan got his firelane down. Actually, he got two firelanes down.
I came up short, all I needed was one squad to get there for CC but the only unit that was good order at the end of the movement phase was pinned in the street.
Jonathan played a good game, and overcame some serious adversity. He literally couldn’t pass a morale check for about 4 turns, and his Artillery never materialized.
In the end, I was in position to win, but just couldn’t get across the street. My Paras left their smoke in the plane and never lived to regret it.
A59 is a classic that gets a ton of play and for good reason. My guess is it comes down to the last turn in the majority of playings. ROAR currently has it at 109 wins for the Americans to 103 for the Germans. For 212 contests, that’s pretty tight.
Thanks for reading.