Pierce Mason seemingly had my number. Six games of TAC scenarios, six losses including an extremely frustrating armor clash in TAC8. ASL was still treating me badly on the luck side, and while this scenario started off with a bang for me it would frustrate me to no end as Pierce seemed to always get what he needed, my 8 morale troops couldn’t pass a normal morale check, his Canadians would shrug off my shots and when I would put together a nice firegroup, the dice were unkind.
My whining approached epic levels, I said snarky things about the game in my mailings (and asked Pierce to ignore them) and Pierce was cool about it all. It is very uncharacteristic of me playing ASL on-line to act in such a fashion, but the string of crap coming my way from ASL in a four game span was really starting to grind on me.
Despite it all, the scenario played out to the end, with me getting my first victory over Pierce in seven tries, with a single squad left, in melee, in a victory building.
Kudos to Pierce for not telling me to shove off without a paddle and seeing my crybaby act for what it was. A huge pile of frustration.
This is the rundown
TAC 7 is a larger scenario. I wouldn’t say “big” necessarily, but on the larger side of what most people play nowadays. It is long (11 turns), three boards, with plenty of infantry and some super fun armor. It was my turn to defend, so I got the eleven 658 infantry squads of the SS Hitlerjugend prepared to defend the board 12 village or the board 14 airstrip with anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, an 88L AA gun and two VERY important Panthers.
Why were the Panthers so important? To keep the six Shermans, one Firefly and one Crocodile of the Canadian Royal Winnipeg Rifles and 10th Armored Regiment from running amok…… there’s a lot of tank country in this scenario. The Canadian infantry more than doubled the number of my German squads with a mix of elite and 1st line troopers and five leaders including a 10-2.
The board 12 buildings get some pre-game random rubble and bocage is in play. Pierce has to choose between taking all of the multi-hex stone buildings (even if rubbled) on board 12 or all of the buildings adjacent to the airfield before all setup.
I set up mostly in the board 12 village, with the 88 on board 4, midway back overlooking an open field. The Panthers were on the flanks, way back and ready to react to Canadian entry. I put a fake Panther on board 14 and mined the board 4 field. The AT mines went on 14 to prevent a Sherman play from that way.
Boards 14 and 12:
Pierce made a tank move on both boards 14 and 12, but the bulk of his forces entered on the far side of board 4, about as far away from the airfield as he could get. Normally I would assume that the play was for the board 12 village, but Pierce has done some out of the ordinary things to me in the past, and the small group of infantry entering board 14 kept me honest for a while.
His first move was an attempt to flank my forces with a run down the board 4 edge with a couple of Shermans. When they stopped, they were sitting ducks for the 88, and in my turn 1 prep, I knocked them both out. Then I moved the Panther up to support the Gun.
Pierce hesitated behind the bocage line for a turn or so, before finally just moving out and trying to see what would happen. I’m feeling pretty fat and happy at this point, but the feeling would abandon me shortly. The Crocodile managed to get past my gun, and Pierce started dropping mortar rounds on it. Eventually getting the critical hit with a deuce, eliminating it. I shifted units to the edge of board 4 to get some fire on the mass of Canadians now moving toward the town. He also attempted to get some infantry with a PIAT down the same board edge, approaching the Panther. I (for once in my life) somewhat foresaw this event and got my HMG and -1 leader in position to get fire on them, breaking them in the same area as the dead Shermans.
In the center and East, Pierce moved up cautiously using smoke and a very sneaky LOS to suppress my front line units.
It was time to re-position the Panthers, as without the gun the west end was going to get too hot to stick around. I moved it into town to support my now stretched out infantry. I realized too late that I left an opening in the west / center for Pierce to squeeze some infantry in, with eyes to cutting off my (now) board 4 infantry.
On board 14, in the East, Pierce was starting to get a bit frisky with the two Shermans and infantry, so I moved the other Panther behind a row of bocage, hull down, looking for some trouble. Burning one Shermie and sending the other packing.
At this point I was convinced the play was for the town, but I had to leave a sentry by the airstrip just in case. I really needed that unit in the town as the pressure was starting to build.
Pierce took a drive by shot at my Western Panther. He needed some low numbers even from the side. Naturally he came up with a 3 on the To Hit, and a 4 on the Kill. I had to step away from the keyboard for a few minutes……. this was the very thing that happened to me repeatedly for a couple of months.
The Crocodile was now free to push into the town and he did so. Pierce then broke my HMG unit and leader in an upstairs location with NMCs that my 9 morale leader and 8 morale squads failed miserably. He then took an advancing fire shot at my leader and squad in the back building with his Croc from long range and broke them.
I managed to get my airstrip unit back from board 17 after I was sure there was no threat to those buildings. Pierce broke all units in the center rowhouse with ease. The only thing that was really working for me at this point was my last Panther, as he left plenty of dead Sherman hulks strewn around the battlefield. Unfortunately for me, tanks weren’t going to win or lose this game, it was the grunts…
As we approached the end, deuces started showing up with regularity. I had a melee that was not in my favor, so elected to fight only one enemy squad and rolled a 2, of course… leaving a very important unit stuck in a melee……… naturally, a Canadian sniper broke that unit forcing a painful melee withdrawal. Seeing an opportunity to lay a whoopin’ on the remaining Canuck squad, I took the 24fp point blank shot and got diddly squat… yep, zero, nada, nothing, nil…… Pierce’s remark to me at that point was “if not for bad luck, you’d have no luck at all”.
With only a couple of good order units left, and time running out for Pierce, I drove my Panther into the marketplace ring of buildings and parked it, forcing him to go around it or through it.
He killed the Panther in CC, and got my only remaining 658 pinned in CC. My squad needed to survive a bottom of 11, 1-2 close combat attack to maintain control of the marketplace. Pierce came up short and secured the win for me.
I really like this scenario and would play it again. It is just the right size for me. It has a lot of good things going for it and despite only 19 playings listed on ROAR appears to be fairly even.
Again, my thanks to Pierce for putting up with my crap. I think he understood what I was going through. Our next game, TAC9 started off much the same and I grumbled about it for a while, but things seem to have started evening out for me now. There will be no more snarkiness on my end and I think my track record with opponents over the years can back me up when I say I am not generally like that..
If you have the time to play a bit longer, bit bigger scenario, I don’t think you can go wrong with TAC7.
Thanks for reading.