AAR by: Vincent Maresca
Advanced Squad Leader AAR: In Deadly Combat (J187)
Here’s the historical situation:
Date: December 30, 1941
Location: Mekensievy-Gory, Crimea
Attacker: Russian (241st Rifle Division)
Defender: German (Infanterie-Regiment 437, Infanterie-Division 132 with Scratch Reinforcements)
After heavy fighting, Infanterie-Division 132 took the strategic town of Mekensievy-Gory, north of Sevastopol. Gefreiter Bidermann’s PaK platoon, reduced to only two guns, set up near the railway station. On the morning of 30 December, red flares sizzled skyward – the signal that a Soviet attack was imminent.
John and I played Journal 12’s J187 In Deadly Combat from the deadly designers Mazzei & Struiff. This one has a horde of Russians with T-28s attacking the poor Germans defending a village in December 1941 (using a bunch of overlays for factories and other buildings). The VC requires the capture of 4 of 7 VC buildings – with a catch. If the Russians take a force of 2 KV-1s, they need 5 buildings to win but if the Germans take 3xStuG Bs, the VC goes back down to four buildings (or down to 3 buildings if the Russians don’t take the KVs!). As I had the attacking Russians, I did take the KVs as their side armor of 8 is superior to the T-28s side armor of 4 and figured the extra armor would help me vehicle bypass freeze key defensive buildings against the Germans 2x37L AT guns and a single 105 ART piece.
I sent six 447 squads, 7-0, and 2x KV-1 up the right flank on Board u as a minor wing attack to capture one of the 3 VC buildings and prevent the Germans from repositioning forces against my main leftwing attack on Board 71. My main assault was my left wing with the bulk of my forces (six 628, twelve 447, 9-2, 10-0, 4xT-28) against Board 71 and its 4 VC buildings. My initial attack went very well gaining the first VC building by Turn 2 and a lone 628 flanker stumbling into the 105 gun position after revealed by a skulker taking a Pin Check (the German squad and gun both subsequently died in CC). Turn 3, I sent in the T-28s freezing a bunch of key buildings followed up by a Russian Human Wave attack smashing open the German center (a HIP 37L AT and 2x MMGs all taken out). My right flank attack made slow progress as a well-placed fire lane slowed down my advance and a HIP 37L AT declared deliberate Immobilization and stopped one of the KVs. I shifted the main thrust towards a VC factory building at uL8 as it only had a 7-0, 467 and a concealed unit that was acting to me like a dummy stack.
Turn 3 John’s critically needed reinforcements arrived (3×548, a halftrack, and a 20L PSW 231) and converged on the final uL8 VC factory building. It took me until the end Turn 4 to reduce the 4 VC buildings on Board 71 leaving me only two more turns to capture the last factory building (I think John was only able to get a squad or two off Board 71 to help defend his left flank). Both German APCs drove into the factory to help with the defense as John knew a stairwell in a Factory building was a vehicle sized opening (a key piece of information as it turned out). The next turn and half I assaulted the last factory (the Germans get to move last and counterattack!) and I managed to drive out all the German infantry units (included two successful DC attacks – a rarity), prevented a bottom of the 6th break in, but it was the lone halftrack that survived both my CCV attacks holding out and won this scenario for John in the final CC phase. Talk about down to the wire!
We both had a great time and a really fun scenario with tough choices on both sides including if the extra armor is taken increasing the number of VC buildings. I’ve now played this as the Germans and Russians and would take either side. The ROAR rating is somewhat misleading (60% pro-German right now) as it does not record which AVF options were taking by the players to fully understand the win-loss ratio. So, I do not recommend the scenario balance removing the German 105mm ART piece. The Germans needed this gun to be competitive vs the Russian armor (even if it was a non-factor in this game! Although it still slows down any armor advance while HIP). Finally, both games I’ve played hinged on the uL8 factory as it controls the movement of forces between the two boards even though it does not stand out as a particularly key building when you set up the scenario. My second face to face game since the pandemic began and worth the wait!
.END OF BRIEFING.
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