Friday, November 24, 2006

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : Turn 5

German Turn 5

This time the broken troops rally and sensing victory the Germans move in for the kill. With Germans closing in on the J7 building the Russians fire to little effect and break their LMG as the leader and engineers place a Demolition Charge on top of them! Advancing from L6 to K6 a squad takes heavy casualties and breaks as it encounters Russian Assault Engineers, the remainder dying as moredefensive fire pours into them. Expecting the Russians to have withdrawn to the buildings the squad from K10 encounters Russians on the edge of the wood and breaks in J9. And finally, their task done, the last squad in the building abandons the LMG and rushes to join the battle.

The Demo charge explodes, breaking the elite troops in the building. Meanwhile, in L6 the flamethrower is finally brought into play and the Russian Assault Engineers in J5 cannot take the heat and break.

End of German Turn 5

Russian Turn 5

Again, German troops seem reluctant to rally in the north and the Russians begin their defence of the southern buildings, eliminating the HS in K3. While in the north, the Russians in the G8 woods break under fire forcing them further back into the woods. The Russians juggle their defences and prepare for the final stand.

End of Russian Turn 5

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : Turn 4

German Turn 4

With time pressing it's finally time for the Germans to make a more aggressive move and force the Russian hand a little. First the outer Russian defences are probed in the woods with the HS ending broken in M8. Then the HS in the south makes a dash for the abandoned Russian MMG.

In the south, seeing a chance to move and realising they may miss out on the action the leader of the firebase take 2 of his squads and rushes towards the enemy. In the main woods the Germans begin to close on the Russians who surely now must stand and fight. Trying to push troops through the centre and drive a wedge between the northern and southern Russian forces the Germans move into the brush only to be ambushed by hidden Russians in M5!

Sheltered by the treet the troops go to ground and as the HMG fire stops they realise they have taken no casualties! Although the advance into the brush has stalled the remaining troops close in and try to loop round the northern flank of the Russians. However as the troops in N5 prepare to take on the newly revealed target the HMG barks out again and both squads scatter in panic!

Advancing fire from the only adjacent squad has no effect. Meanwhile, in the woods the newly revealed troops in L7, incensed by the incoming fire, go Berserk!

The broken troops pull back to P7 to await a leader to bring them to order while seeing their first real targets, and not wishing to endure a HMG at so close arrange, the engineer squad moves into Close Combat, the leader in M7 leads his troops against the Berserk Russians and the suspected Russians in L8 are shown to be phantoms!

The close combats are short and very bloody. The berserk troops are cut down and eliminated before they can attack the hated enemy. While the engineers, although greater in numbers, are wary facing the HMG crew, leader and hero. But the Russains seem scared to close (rolled a 12) and the engineers, although only inflicting minimal casualties (CR) are please to see all fall before them! (Random Selection. Three 1s!).

Things begin to look bad for the Russians as Fate has dealt them a terrible blow!

End of German Turn 4

Russian Turn 4

The broken German troops seem reluctant to rally but others search out and take over the abandoned Russian MMG and HMG.

Once again, in the woods, the Russians pull back to make a final stand and defend the village. Some get caught running through the orchards and break under fire.

End of Russian Turn 4.

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : Turn 3

German Turn 3

As Turn 3 commenced the Germans again fail to repair their MMG although the scouting HS in the north returns to the fray. The broken Russian squad, running back to the safety of the buildings are rallied by the ministrations of the commisar.

The firebase in the building decide to hold fire until a target appears and so opt for Opportunity Fire. The advance then continues as the recovered HS charges down the woodland path straight into the hidden Russians in M8 only to be pinned in the N7 brush as the wood line erupts with fire.

In an attempt to pressure the troops on the hedge line a squads breaks from the woods on the southern edge and charges towards the enemy. As they reach the edge of the small woods they are subjected to sudden and deadly mortar fire from directly ahead and half of them succumb to a Critical Hit whilethe remainder, exhausted hit the ground behind the woods.

In the north the main advance then continues. As the first troops approach the MLR in the north they face heavy fire and break under the pressure [Above]. As the remaining troops followed up behind the Advancing Fire they poured in was ineffective and before they could close on N9 for some Close Combat the Russians fled in disarray! Attempts to supress the mortar failed miserably.

The Germans then advance to face the Russian line and try and draw them into combat. In the building the firebase moves together with a clear line
of site to the open spaces between the woods and the building to try and interdict any Russians fleeing back from the woods.

End of German Turn 3

Russian Turn 3

At last the right spanner was found and the MMG was repaired! The broken troops in the north obviously need more encouragement and refuse to return to action.

Yet again the Russians pull back, denying the Germans attempt to come to grips. With no real target the Defensive is ineffectual and minimal.

End of Russian Turn 3.

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : Russian Turn 2

Yet again the Russians fell back, although too rapidly in one case losing dummies moving in LOS. The firebase, despite having failed to find the right spanner for the MMG, managed to rattle the Russians im M3 revealing a MMG. Seeing this, Germans on the edge of the woods opened up on this new target, breaking them.

End of Russian Turn 2.

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : Russian Turn 1

...only for the Russian cowards to melt away. The MMG tries to seek out targets on the edge of the woods but to no avail

End of Russian Turn 1

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : German Turn 1

The Germans send out scouts to probe the Russian defences. Moving into the woods in strength they prepare to come to contact. While in the South the machine gun teams move into the upper level of the building and prepare to seek out Russian targets...

End of German Turn 1.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

AAR - J103 Lenin's Sons : the setup and the plan

Between the 14th and 22nd November I played J103 Lenin's Sons from Journal 7 against Aaron Sibley. This was our follow up game to my stunning victory in Burn Gurkha Burn where my master plan relied on him rolling a 12 onthe very last roll of the game - which he happily obliged.

So, he chose the scenario and took the Russian defenders against a solid SS attack. Looking at the setup it was obvious to me that trying to cross the open ground was a recipe for disaster, even with a few Engineers and their smoke. The defenders in the woods looked pretty substantial - even though I knew some would be dummies - so I settled for a slow grind forward.

The plan was to place a firebase in Building Level 1 of V1/V2 to suppress the defenders on the hedge line and also to force the defenders on the edge of the wood back so that my main force could push through the southern part of the woods making use of the path. The remainder would push through the north hoping to hit the dummies and then forge ahead.

I kept a single squad in the very south ready to make a dash for the hedge line if chance allowed to hopefully open that part of the board for my firebase to join the final fight.

That was the plan.

This was the setup.

With the German forces as follows:

This is what happened...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

ASL Storage

I managed to put together a decent travel kit when I attended the recent Intensive Fire tournament in Bournemouth. Here's the current setup:

The whole core system fits in this one bag, a Ralph Lauren Polo Sport bought for £50 at the local TKMAX!

The main bag

All of the core nationality boxes plus my dice tower sit tightly packed in the bottom.

Bottom of the bag

And the two Raaco boxes storing game markers, dice, pens etc., the folders with laminated maps, scenarios and my rulebooks all fit in the top.

Bottom of the bag

Basically the whole kit looks like this.

The whole kit

Last year I decided to go for the spiral bound rulebooks. I have Chapters A-E in one, F-G and the HASL stuf in another and Chapter H in the third.

Bottom of the bag

However, this year I decided to get a reduced version of the rules for handy travel use. At first I just did the main rulebook but then decided to do Chapter H and a small supplement with Chapters F and G and all the charts. Size was reduced by half and done justin blacl and white. This seems to work fine. The text is a wee bit small, especially the Examples, but it's still readable.

See what you think.

Bottom of the bag

Bottom of the bag

Bottom of the bag

Counter Storage

The ideal counter storage system for ASL is really a dream. There are so many options, so many little tweaks you can make that it's a never ending process.

I looked long and hard at different options and finally settle on a range of tackle boxes done by Ron Thompson. I think they're UK only and the ones I have were bought from Billy's Tackle SHop in North Shields. Fortunately, I bought loads as I went back a couple of weeks ago and the manufacturer has withdrawn my model and replaced it with a different size. Billy's trying to get hold of some for me but I've still a few spare and so should be OK.

Basically, I have one box for infantry and another for vehicles for each nationality. Some, like the British, German and Americans need two boxes for vehicles. Others, like Chinese and Italians only need one box for both.


Squads are usually mixed in with half-squads excepts where there are a lot of that counter e.g. German 4-6-7s when I split them up. I've recently had a bit of a reorganise and split a few more types down to make use a bit easier.

Vehicles - I first started sorting them by movement type, then movement points, and then gun size. What I found was that if you're looking for a particular counter and they're all 76mm 15MP then what you're looking for is the really small text on the counter. So I changed to roughly Chapter H number order. I made sure similar types were grouped together and grouped some of the odds and ends but the general idea holds. I'll try and post a few examples when I can sort out some images.

Counter Clipping

Two years ago I decided to start clipping my counters. I'd always swore I never would but I tried it on a few old SL counters and decided I liked the look and feel. It has been a long and slow process and will form the basis of another blog entry when I have time and images...

Friday, November 10, 2006

SP95 Burn Gurkha Burn - AAR

Well, last night I completed my first LIVE VASL game. I've done a couple if email games before but never had the time to sit down for a long session.

I played SP95 Burn Gurkha Burn vs. Aaron Sibley. We actually started this game at the UK Heroes Tournament in Blackpool two and half years ago. We'd only got to Turn 4 when we ran out of time and the game was adjudicated in my favour. To be honest, it was a close call but the judges felt that in the time available it would be very tight for the Japanese to win.

We wrote the game up intending to finish it by email and then for various reasons lost touch. Last week I popped in to VASL for the first time in ages and spotted Aaron logged in. We agreed to finally finish the game this week. Is two and half years a record for a single scenario?

Anyway, here's how it went. SP95 sees a mixed force of Gurkhas and Indian troops defending three hills on half of Board 36 as a strong Japanese force including engineers come from Board 37 and the Allied flank to take the hills.

I can't remember too many details from the first part of the game (it was a while back!) but what does come back was Aaaron's appalling dice and my rather more successfull dice. He ran out of WP for both mortars and broke both flamethrowers early on. Despite this he'd effectively pushed me off the large hill to the north (526), was threatening the large southern hill (507) and closing on the small hill (502) to the east. As he moved troops southwards my reinforcements had arrived and my last ditch defence of the hill (526) succeeded against the odds leaving a squad and half squad holding it and meaning he would now need to come back and clear them off.

That's the situation as we re-started with Allied Turn 4.

Allied Turn 4

SP95 Allied Turn 4. Board 36 only. N-->

My defence of hill 507 was looking bad and the H-t-H vs. my encircled troops looked grim as more squads moved in to kill the supporting Indian troops and leader. I could only really try and pour fire at anything near by and hope for success. I did some damage but not enough and the DFPH saw the Indian troops in BB4 break and die and the leader charge into the H-t-H only to die with everyone there.

In the Japenese turn his main stack in Z1 (Mtr, HMG, MMG) dropped smoke in CC3 and the Japanese moved in for the kill. Other troops moved against Hill 502 and despite a MMG and 9-2 I didn't get the casualties I wanted, only step reducing the attacking squads.. Hill 507 fell in CC and things were looking grim.

Allied Turn 5

SP95 Allied Turn 5. Board 36 only. N-->

Next turn saw the Gurkhas on 502 struggle as the leader had broken in the DFPh and I decided to pull off the crest in the hope of rallying the leader and then advancing back on and hoping for a successfull CC.

Japanese Turn 6 saw the Japanese move on to the top of hill 502 and the Gurkhas (with a still broken leader) pour fire onto the hill.This seriously upset them as a squad went berserk and charged down the other side and into the Gurkhas hex. Desperately firing the MMG to try and cut them down the Gurkha drew their Kukris and prepared to fight to the bitter end which was not long in coming.

Japanese now closed in on the last troops on hill 526. I moved the squad into the foxhole and the half-squad into the jungle in V5. The Japanese poured smoke in their hex and moved in for the kill as more troops moved across for a final assault bringing a recovered Demo Charge with them. The Indian troops in the smoke filled Jungle fought valiantly, killing all who came at them (well, a half-squad anyway!)

With only two units to move there was little to do for my final turn but I moved the HS back in to the foxholes and the Gurkhas ran down the back of the hill and emerged in W8 to await the final attack. As the assault began the first half-squad broke adjacent and then a second toting the DC moved adjacent as well and survived all fire.

Over in the foxholes the Indian troops broke the first half-squad but could do nothing to stop another squad and half-squad moving into the smoke ready for the kill. In the AdvFPh the DC was tossed in to the open and although only causing a 1MC the Gurkhas panicked and broke.

The Japanese moved into the foxholes outnumbering the Indians 3-1 and began the last deadly hand to hand combat of the game. I needed to be in GOOD ORDER to win so I had to kill him at 1-4 and survive his 3-1 at -1 attack. My last comment before the dice fell was 'Roll that 12!'. And he did! My Indians crawled out of the foxholes and withdrew back into the jungle to stand victorious still holding hill 526!

End of Game

SP95 End of Game. N-->

It was an outlandish victory and not really deserved. My troops had been systematically wiped from each hill in turn and the same should have happened at the end. Aaron was 'gutted' and I would have been too. It was a classic last turn, last dice roll game and I would recommend this scenario highly. It was also good to finally finish the game after sooo long. I'd been carrying the piece of paper with the writeup on to each subsequent Tournament hoping to bump in to Aaron again.

We'll be playing another game in a couple of weeks. Live VASL was surprisingly tense and fun if a little slow at times. Maybe I need to type faster!

All in all a great experience. Thanks Aaaron (and Rodney!)


A Beginning...

And so I finally succumb to the whole blog thing. Well, second attempt really but seeing as the last only had one post it doesn't really count. We'll see if this one fares better...

[EDIT - added a bit more personal info to save going to the profile]

Been playing ASL on and off since the original SL in 1978. Sold all my stuff in the early '90s and then started buying a few bits again a few years later. Then, in 2003, after venturing back into figure gaming (15mm American Revolution) a friend tried to convince me to try 15mm WW2. I thought, I can't face painting a whole new period from scratch and if I want to wargame WW2 why don't I dig out my ASL stuff? Started playing a bit then and was lucky to pick up most of the later modules to Gung Ho cheap at a UK wargames show Bring and Buy.

After contacting an old opponent really got back into playing. Since then I've acquired all the official stuff and most if not all of the Critical Hit, Heat of Battle, Kinetic Energy, and other TPP stuff. Luckily I got most on eBay before prices went silly.

Now try and play once a week and have recently discovered the joys of VASL. Hopefully this blog will chronicle my ASL exploits!