AAR by: John Knowles
Advanced Squad Leader AAR: Commando Schenke (126/A80)
Here’s the historical situation:
Attacker: German (Infanterie Regiment 505, Infanterie Division 291/Kriegsmarine Sturmabteilung 530)
Defender: Russian (Liepaja Garrison)
The evening of June 24, Infantry-Regiment 505 was established within 12 km of Liepaja in Latvia. The following day, jointly with Kriegsmarine commandos led by Lieutenant-Commander Schenke, the 505th attempted to take the maritime fortress by surprise but the attack had failed. On the 27th, the men of the 505th got a foothold in the southern part of the fortress. The following day, a bloody street battle was engaged against the particularly combative Russian defenders.
Robin and I finished our scenario of ASL-126 last Friday evening. Robin played Russians (plus balance, and extra 527 squad), whilst I played the Germans. In this scenario, the Germans must capture a large (9 hex) building (1X4), in which every location is fortified (18 in total). Fortified Buildings (B23.9) are formidable obstacles – not only does the TEM increase by 1 (ie, +4 for a fortified stone building!!!), but if there is at least 1 unpinned squad-equivalent, no enemy infantry unit may advance into the location (exception: Breach – see B23.9221). For this reason, I decided to be very frugal, with my Demolition Charges (A23) and Flame Throwers (A22).
Robin has quickly learnt that in ASL, that it’s important to defend in depth. As I pointed out to him in our game (ASL-001 “Fighting Withdrawal”), when the attacker gets behind you, it’s big trouble !!! You need a few ‘speed-bumps’ to slow down the attacker, but the important assets should be at the back. It might mean that HMGs don’t necessarily have the best LOS to begin with, but that’s a price well worth paying for long term survivability.
Surviving is what it’s all about for the defending Russians; the Germans must solely occupy (the entire) building to gain control of it – so if there is ANY (real) Russian unit(s) at all in the building (even if broken), then the Germans do not solely occupy the building. So, the mission is simple for the Russians – keep something in the building at all times; the Germans will have to wipe out the Russians to the man in order to win. Not an easy task when every location of the building is fortified.
But it’s not all bad news for the Germans, the fortification benefits apply equally to each side – once the Germans take a fortified location, they will be in good shape to defend it against Russian counterattacks. The Germans also have a 10-2 leader, which coupled with 2 squads equipped with a HMG and MMG (gives then 20FP at range 6, and 16 FP to range 12) should be able to crack open some holes (and with ROF, maybe even attrition the Russians, too ). The 838 Assault Engineers have a smoke exponent of 5, which gives the Germans lots of Infantry Smoke (A24.1), which is an attacking side’s best friend. The DCs and FTs are the ideal weapon for breaking into fortified buildings – but the German needs to be careful not to consume them too early. Lastly, the low Russian ELR 2 will likely lead to a few cases of Unit Replacement (A19.13).
Here is the game set up and ready to go. A picket line of Russian units (most of whom look to be dummies), with the main force in the VC building.
As Germans, my plan was to mop up the outer Russian defenders, before launching a coordinated assault on the central building. Initially, things went to plan, but I got stung nastily by some hot dice, and lost a leader and 1.5 squads as a consequence. Stubborn Russian defense in t4 forced me into using a FT, which immediately ran out of fuel (uh-oh..), but by the end of turn 3 I had cleared out all of the outlying buildings, except for 1 LMG squad in z6 (which can place a nice Fire Lane (A9.22) through hexrow ‘6’).
Turns 4 and 5 were the key for me. Grabbing v4 and v5 on turn 4 allowed me to get a starting point of the VC building by turn 5. Breaking the squad in z6 (followed up by a halfsquad in Y8 Mopping Up (A12.153) allowed my squad to grab the Russian LMG, and acquire a good location from which to get Encirclement (A7.7) on X5. Note also the halfsquad in AA2; his 2 FP makes no impression whatsoever versus the +4 Fortified Building TEM, but by having LOS to hexes Y3/Y4/Y5, a lot of opportunities for (Russian) Concealment (A12) have been nullified. I lost the second FT on only its 2nd shot (so a total of 3 FT shots, a bad day really), which worried me a little, but at least I had a decent position with 1.5 turns to go. Still plenty to do……..
But turn 6 did not go well for Robin, with many of his squads breaking, and by the final turn (7), he had just 1 (concealed) squad left in the ground level of y5. However, the massive German firepower amassed against them was able to encircle and eventually break them, and after an 838 performed Mopping Up (A12.123), there were no Russian units left on the map anywhere.
Despite being eventually cleared off the map, Robin played a good game. The one thing that I might have done different as Russians would have been to replace the 8-0 leader with a 9-0 Commissar (A25.22). Robin had a tough time rallying late in the game, and the Commissar’s ability to ignore the +4 DM penalty (A25.222) might have made a big difference. But the game went to the final turn, and those games are always a blast to play.
.END OF BRIEFING.
Original Words/Video Content © 2021-2022, John Knowles. All rights reserved.
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