For centuries Transylvania had been fought over by Hungarians and Romanians. Having switched sides to join the Allies, the Romanians now saw their chance to recover this territory. After some initial setbacks, and now bolstered by Russian support, the Romanians went on the offensive to clear Transylvania of Hungarian opposition.
This scenario, from the module Armies of Oblivion, pits two bitter Axis Minor nations feuding over territorial rights. Our first glance at the scenario sheet was a bit misleading. It looked reasonably sized and was a change of pace from the typical 1940s powers battling in Europe. We were wrong, on the size part. On paper, the scenario looks medium but definitely plays large. As most of us know, vehicles slow down ASL play significantly, and Ancient Feud is no exception … it has 23 of them! Add to that 36 squad equivalents with 8 pieces of ordnance and it falls squarely in the large category.
That will teach us to actually count up the OB before choosing a scenario! Probably not.
Ancient Feud is a bit of a tricky play. There are quite a few special considerations to keep track of other than the normal SSRs. For example, make sure you read A25.8, especially the parts about Panzerfaust use/availability that’s slightly different than normal, Romanian ATMM use, and the hatred between these combatants that affects their broken side morale. No Quarter (A20.3) and Hand-to-Hand CC (J2.31) are also on the table. Neither nationality had much of its own armor. Most of what’s being employed here is either of German or Russian make. Ensure you read all the vehicle notes as some use red TH#s, some use black TH# (German equipment used by Axis Minors, see A25.83), and some have special TK#s that differ from the ones based on gun size.
Let’s go over our initial setup perspectives before rolling the (fairly long) video.
Scenario: Ancient Feud (119)
Date: October 11, 1944
Location: Clug, Transylvania
Defender: Hungarian (Elements of 25th Infantry Division & 10th Assault Artillery Battalion)
The Hungarians set up first, their main task is to defend the buildings from the approaching Romanians. They have the advantage here. Digging well-setup defenders out of a large stone building complex is no easy task. There are 12 stone buildings on board 49, and per the VCs the Romanians have to capture 10 or more of them to win. So from the Hungarian perspective, they do not have to defend all 12 buildings … they only have to delay the Romanians and defend 3 of the stone buildings to win the scenario. This is the key. Focus on 3-5 buildings, not all 12.
I set up the main Hungarian force in the core area of the 12 buildings, planning on slowly retreating to the cluster of 5 “fallback” buildings for a final defense. My forces on the flanks were extremely light in hopes that it will force Scott to commit units and spread out his attack, thus delaying him further.
Let’s talk about the 40L AT Guns. I set them up on the hills but they were mostly ineffective due to range and LOS restrictions. In hindsight, I would not set them up on the hills if I had to do it over again. It would be difficult to hit any approaching Romanian vehicles and LOS opportunities into the village center were very limited. The Guns/crews were relegated to being absolutely pounded by Romanian mortar fire until they broke and/or were eliminated after a few turns. I would perhaps place the 40Ls HIP in buildings pointing down the east-west main road and wait for the Stug IIIGs to enter later in the game. This would take advantage of the 40L’s special Stielgranate 41 H7 ammo, which is deadly at close range. It has a Basic TK# of 26 versus the normal 40L TK# of 10 using AP ammo. Wow.
AFV reinforcements are going to come in on the flanks and pincher move into the area of the “fallback” buildings, hoping to give my planned retreat some support. I just need to keep them away from the Romanian StuG IIIGs … not too worried about the Russian TACAMs.
Attacker: Romanian (Elements of Armored Group Nicolescu/Matel)
Hmmm, this looks like a tough nut to crack. The scenario is 8 turns long, but I still need to hustle to capture 10 of the 12 buildings (basically all of them!). Neal’s right, assaulting stone buildings is like trying to put socks on a rooster. Difficult and unpleasant!
My plan is to do an armored assault with some of my units right up the gut of the village, then fan out from there if all goes well (famous last words!). I also planned to bring a force up the left side. My initial setup mostly ignored the right side, but my plan was to support that with halftrack/infantry reinforcements that enter on turn 2.
The rest of my AFV reinforcements I brought across the bridge and split to both sides. But it didn’t take long for this scenario to turn into a chaotic struggle as both sides adapted to using inferior quality units, especially some really crappy Russian tanks. No wonder the Russians let the Romanians have them, the TACAM R-2s are junk!
Neal has a lot of pesky 40/40L tanks that enter on Turn 3. I need to make sure they don’t flank me to get in rear shots or cut off rout paths. Beyond Turn one I have no real plans because the best-laid plans are always derailed by the dice. The only way to survive in ASL is to adapt … and adapt quickly!
The Video AAR (1:27:35):
.END OF BRIEFING.
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