Monday, January 25, 2010

A Rare Victory

Aftermath: Day Two (October 18, 1942)

I was expecting either a barrage of rockets into the factory complex or the 150mm heavy artillery treatment on the riverbank defenses. Neither materialized, and instead the German pushed eastward from the O6 Manufacturing Hall and brought on a Sturm Company along the northeast board edge. He had purchased a platoon of StugIII G, presumably hoping that their 75L main armament could cope with the dug-in KV1 M42s.

Advancing behind a concentration of smoke, the storm troopers crept toward the Russian defenders. The dummy cloaking counters raised enough doubt with my opponent so that he did not charge forward aggressively. A cat-and-mouse game ensued as the German probed the Russian line. The AP mines in W1 and W2 held up the advance along the board edge, and when the Russian battalion mortar was finally brought to bear the Germans were bottled up. Although I only got one fire mission from the artillery, it proved very effective in halting the advance of German infantry and immobilizing two German AFV.

The German assault was dogged, and on two occasions managed a toe-hold in the Chemist's Shop. In both instances the toe hold was eradicated. Stukas appeared in the skies and destroyed the KV1 M42 in U11. Building X1 was held, as were the pillboxes in Y7 and AA4. However, all of the T60 M42s were destroyed.

Over in the factories a stalemate ensued in the L14 Foundry Hall and the German thrust entered the O10 Assembly Hall. The Russian conscripts in these two factories made frequent use of Sewer Movement to harass the German advance and to cross the street between. The Germans were able to clear the northernmost hexes of the Assembly Hall but made no headway into the Foundry Hall.

Along the west edge, a few platoons of German riflemen pushed forward into building B18 and the F16 Warehouse. This advance was disrupted, and the forces in building B23 pushed back and re-captured building B18.

The most dominating factor in this game was the Russian's blisteringly hot dice. I have never, in my 20 years of playing ASL, ever enjoyed such monstrous luck. In one fire phase, I think I never rolled higher than a 5 and had probably four or five snake eyes. It was uncanny. The dice are the reason for the high German CVP total, not any miscues on the part of my opponent. I prevented the German from capturing 24 stone locations, and won that ever-so-rare Russian scenario victory.

At the end of the day, the perimeter looked thusly:

The dilemma with which I am faced is this: to select the "Attack" Initiative chit, or continue with my defensive effort?

The German must be reeling right now from the casualties absorbed on Day Two. My gut instinct tells me that he will choose the "Idle" chit in order to build up an assault force (possibly including Pioniers) and to open up the west edge entry area to A22 (which would provide a flanking avenue for an attack on the Power Station). Were I to select "Attack", then the Russian side could prosecute a Night Attack - something that we have yet to experience in Red Barricades. For my part, such an attack would consist primarily of Conscripts, which would be very limited at night. One small, overlooked rule from Chapter E: at Night, concealment terrain costs +1 MF to enter. This means that 1st line troops advancing into Rubble, or Conscripts advancing into just about anything, would be Advancing Vs. Difficult Terrain and hence would enter Close Combat with CX and Pinned penalties. Yikes! Were I to elect to make a Night attack, I would have to use a lot of Sewer Movement and focus on surrounding rather than destroying German troops. I'm not sure how that would go down.

If I'm wrong, and the German selects the "Attack" chit as well, then a Dual Attack would result. This could possibly give me no benefit and actually hurt me when the ELR Adjustment portion of the Refit Phase rolls around.

On the other hand, if I select "Idle" then I am choosing the safest path. Sure, the German might get a turn to muster his assault force...but I would be able to build my defense in depth. Casualties in the subsequent day's fighting would be astronomical (probably nearing 80-100 CVP), but I would expect to be able to extract my own pound of flesh.

I will have to consider these options for a bit before deciding.

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