Well, I have been AWOL from my blog for the entire month of February. Bunch of stuff going on. Work stuff, home stuff, random stuff. But now I’ve got to get back to it, four reports, plus another one imminent……… they’re starting to pile up.
My old Squad Leader online buddy Jason Wert is playing the Axis side in my ‘Road to Berlin’ series against my Allies. Next on our list was a Best of Friends scenario called “Second Thoughts”. This is a nice sized scenario, 7 turns, 4 vehicles, with average American GIs against elite German SS. January 4, 1945, France is the setting. Ground snow with a cold initial American force of four squads from 1st line to green hunkered down in a board 49 town on the lookout for a German push to take the town. The SS attack to try to control at least one multi-hex building by game end. My Americans however, get three very nice Shermans. Two with the stock 75 and one with a 76L gun. If I can manage to get two of them across the stream and off the board then I score an automatic victory.
I decided to keep my small initial force to the far left, occupying those multi-hex buildings, essentially surrendering the buildings closer to the stream so as not to get cut off. My 6 morale troops wouldn’t fare well isolated against Jason’s 8 morale SS. The German attack would come from the top of the map, my reinforcements from the left and the single German armor unit (a captured M8) would have to cross the railroad on turn 5 to block the American armor.
The SS came on and headed for the unoccupied multi-hex buildings as expected, gotta pick the low hanging fruit when it presents itself, Jason also made a short lived attempt to get to my occupied building furthest to the left but my stalwart GIs prevented that. I would be bolstered by the Shermans on turn 2, but my reinforcing infantry would not arrive until turn 4. One thing you learn quickly playing the Allies in late war Squad Leader is that you don’t get too frisky with your tanks. The Germans have an abundance of Panzerfausts, and have no qualms about using them. The tanks stay with the infantry unless the situation calls for a sacrifice.
Keep our heads down and don’t lose control of the buildings we already own is the plan for the initial Ami force. This is a typical quality vs. quantity scenario. The German has the quality, and I have the quantity. The wild card would be the Shermans. The captured M8 would have a difficult time stopping the American tanks at best. My plan was to weather the initial German assault then attack with the support of the tanks. Even a Squad Leader hack like me could figure that out. The Shermans entered and Jason had to call off any attempt at getting to the buildings I already owned. Trying to make things difficult for him to get to the other buildings was now the mission of my force.
Jason’s SS made it to the building in good shape, but he had to leave a presence at the top of the map to discourage me from simply running the tanks off the board. Bah!, nothing has ever stopped me from doing something stupid in ASL before, why allow it to stop me now?
My infantry came on and it was counterattack time.
The turn marker in this picture is wrong, it is actually Allied 5, we corrected it, but after this screen shot.
The Germans, while not in dire straights are taking the brunt of the damage done. I moved a Sherman unsupported to the top of the map. Yes, two hexes from an assault engineer and Mr. 9-2……….alone…………..in 1945. Brilliant!! Somehow, it would survive. If nothing else, it gave the 9-2 and company something to think about other than my infantry. The broken German unit in the back building would rally, meaning I had to root out two 8 morale units in 3 moves, or exit my tanks. Jason had parked the M8 where it really has the only chance to stop any of the Shermans, and he would have to be lucky to do so.
I took some pretty significant casualties assaulting the last two buildings and things didn’t look good for a bit. I pushed a Sherman through the M8, Jason couldn’t find a HEAT round and I just drove through him and off the board. I had left the upper Sherman short of movement points to get off the board and the one on the left would have to get through some German grunts adjacent to the road. Trying to extricate the Sherman at the top, I CX’d a 666 squad and ran him at the 9-2 who was looking to ambush my tank. Jason thought I was going to bump him to remove his concealment and entice a shot, but I dropped a smoke round on him instead. Surprise! (I almost never think of cool stuff like that, so I was pretty happy). Not leaving anything to chance after failing to break the 838 in the wooden building, we finally got him with a Bazooka shot, taking him prisoner. Now it was just the half-squad and leader in the stone building.
We got the break on the 338 we were looking for and sealed the victory for the Allies.
Nice little scenario. It’s got some unique stuff to it, the entry areas are different, the attack / counterattack element is nice. It’s got some nice toys and units to play with, the difference in unit quality creates problems for the GIs, but the Shermans make it difficult for the SS to move around, so they have to get to their objectives quickly. I really like scenarios that offer more than one way to win, challenging a tough group of defenders to do something other than hole up, stacked like sardines in a stone building.
Jason had some bad luck, but not overwhelmingly so and it turned out fairly close in the end. I don’t know the best way to play the captured M8, like described in the scenario description, it was no match for the Shermans. Outnumbered, and dead if it moves in front of the M4A376W, it has to be played carefully. There is not a lot of maneuver room and I think Jason did what he could with it. Ideas are welcome.
Next up, an absolute disastrous ass-whoopin’ of my Japanese by Jeff Sewell in BFP26 Armored Samurai.
Thanks for reading.