AAR by: John Knowles
Advanced Squad Leader AAR: The Bridge At Verdalsora (J36)
Here’s the historical situation:
Date: April 21, 1940
Location: Verdalsöra, Norway
Attacker: German (1st Battalion, 138th Gebirgsjäger Regiment)
Defender: Norwegian / British (Machine Gun Squadron, 2nd Dragoons/55th Field Company, Royal Engineers)
After landing at Namsos, the British goal was to make contact with the Norwegians at Verdalsöra where a strategic bridge crossed the Inna River. On the morning of 21 April, a German destroyer landed a company of Gebirgsjagers on the shore north of Verdalsöra while other elements coming from Trondheim attacked along the road. . .
Today we had a bit of a Taipei ASL meetup at my home, with Kang Yu, Robin, and Tou Mu. The goal was to experience a bit of OBA, so I chose the (ASL Journal #3) scenario J-036 “The Bridge At Verdalsora”. In this scenario ,the Germans win at game end by scoring 20 VPs, which consist of exit VPs (south edge, east of the river) and/or CVPs, provided that the Allies score no more than 12 CVPs.
The Germans have 2 groups, one of 12 468 squads, 4 leaders, an 81mm mtr and crew, plus a radio with 70mm OBA that sets up west of the river, and one of 7 468 squads, 3 leaders that enter on turn 2 along the north edge, east of the river. The Allies also have 2 groups, one Norwegian (Allied Minor) group of 8 458 squads, 3 leaders, and 4 MMGs that set up east of the river, and one British group of 4 447 squads, 2 leaders that enter on turn 1 along the east edge, adjacent to 20Y1.
We actually had 2 maps on the table, a printed out VASL map, which incorporated all the SSR terrain changes (all buildings wooden, orchards out of season, etc), and alongside were the actual ASL boards, which we could use for LOS checks without worry of counter clutter. Quite a convenient and enjoyable arrangement !!!!
No decisions were made beforehand about sides, but since Kang Yu and Robin arrived first, we decided that Robin would play the German group of 12 468 squads, Kang Yu would play the Norwegians, I would play the British, and Tou Mu would play the German turn 2 reinforcements. German balance (C1.21 extra chit draws are automatically black) would be in effect. I texted this arrangement to Tou Mu, and he seemed comfortable enough with it).
Whilst Kang Yu and Robin set up, I made myself useful by making coffee and preparing lunch. Robin Prep fired heavily on turn 1, removing a dummy stack, and breaking a MMG team in lvl 2 of 20Z7, then a couple of 248 halfsquads were able to scamper along the bridge. In Allied turn 1, Kang Yu recovered the Z6 MMG, and my British entered, with 3 of their 4 squads already deployed into halfsquads (by turn 3, [u]all[u] of my squads had deployed into halfsquads). The plan was for my British to form a ‘human wall’ late in the game to stop the Germans exiting, whilst the Norwegians used their MMGs to place fire lanes to both slow down the German advance, and hopefully cause a few casualties along the way.
Initially, the Allied plan went accordingly, and when one of Tou Mu’s 468 squads went berserk and charged directly down a fire lane, we even picked up some trophy CVPs as a bonus. But in turn 3, the OBA landed a smoke FFE in 20X6, and the previously unrevealed 81mm mtr placed more smoke in 20BB9 and 20CC9, and Robin’s Germans crossed the bridge with ease, whilst Tou Mu’s Germans acted somewhat as a pinning group; not quite having the strength to break through, but good enough to force the Allies to guard against them, and frustrate their efforts to react to the German breakout across the bridge. At the end of game turn 3, we took in a break for lunch (chicken fajitas).
Despite being a little bit stunned by the ease at which Robin’s Germans crossed the bridge, Kang Yu and I managed to get plenty of units (many deployed into halfsquads) in the path of the Germans, whist a MMG team and 9-1 leader made for GG7, with the goal in mind of placing a fire lane along row GG during the final German exit. In turn 5, Robin managed to give himself a bit of maneuver room, but I felt that the GG7 fire lane and supporting units could well be enough to prevent a German exit. However, in the last turn PFPh, Robin managed to pin the (fanatic HS) MMG team in GG7, and this along with some British cowering left a number of holes in our planned residual belt, and Robin exited a horde of German units in his final turn.
The final score was Allies 6 CVPs, Germans 8 CVPs. But the Germans also exited 24 VPs for a seemingly lop-sided win. But if not for the pin result on the MMG team, it could have been a much closer result.
It was a fun scenario, and I think plenty was learned (I saw Kang Yu following the OBA flowchart on his Rat Pack QRDCs, so I’ll try and throw a radio or field phone his way before too long). Kang Yu’s (USMC) Battle Dice served up some heroic results at times; he generated 2 fanatic halfsquads, a 149 hero, and created 2 leaders (8-1, 7-0) !!! Tou Mu took a more passive, and perhaps under-appreciated role, whilst Robin was irrepressible once he got his smoke down.
.END OF BRIEFING.
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FWIW, the VASL dicebot generated two Fanatic HS, two heroes, one berserk HS, and one 8-0 leader in my playing of this as the Germans on 6 March. (The Allies spawned a hero and a 6+1 leader.) The Germans won without the help of OBA, just. Only one German leader, an 8-0, was able to exit. The other 19 VP were Allied casualties, including a handful of British POWs. -Chris