ASL AAR: The Streets of Stalingrad (C)

The Siege of Stalingrad, October 6, 1942

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ASL AAR: The Streets of Stalingrad (C)
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Historical Prelude

The Battle of Stalingrad, one of the most pivotal and brutal battles in human history, unfolded over the course of six harrowing months during World War II, from August 23, 1942, to February 2, 1943.

It began with the German Army, under the command of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, launching a massive offensive, Operation Blue, against the city of Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd. The city bore the name of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, making it a symbolic target for Adolf Hitler’s forces.

The German Luftwaffe unleashed a rain of destruction, reducing much of the city to rubble. Yet, the Soviet Red Army, under the command of General Vasily Chuikov, held on, fighting for every inch of the city in a brutal urban warfare. The city’s ruins provided a complex battleground, with factories, apartment blocks, and sewers all becoming sites of fierce combat.

As winter set in, the situation grew increasingly dire for the German 6th Army. The Soviets launched Operation Uranus, a strategic encirclement that trapped the German forces within the city. Cut off from supplies and reinforcements, the German soldiers faced not only the relentless Soviet forces but also the harsh Russian winter.

Siege of Stalingrad
Soviet/Russian Soldiers Dash Through The Ruins

Despite Hitler’s orders to fight to the last man, Field Marshal Paulus eventually surrendered on February 2, 1943. The German 6th Army, once a formidable force, was decimated. The Battle of Stalingrad marked a turning point in World War II, shattering the myth of German invincibility and giving the Soviet Union a significant morale boost.

The cost, however, was staggering. It is estimated that nearly 2 million people, including soldiers and civilians, lost their lives in this battle, making it one of the deadliest battles in history. The city of Stalingrad was left in ruins, a haunting testament to the horrors of war. Yet, its name would forever symbolize the resilience and sacrifice of the Soviet people in the face of overwhelming odds.


AAR By Peyton & BrandonMay 21, 2024

ASL AAR: The Streets of Stalingrad (C)

You can download this scenario for free HERE.

Module: Squad Leader, re-designed for ASL
Scenario Publisher: Avalon Hill/MMP
Designer: unknown
Date: October 6, 1942
Location:
Stalingrad, Russia
Attacker (Brandon): Russians – Company H, 389th Infantry Regiment (Assault Engineer Battalion, Kampfgruppe Stahler, Kampfgruppe Teinham)
Defender (Peyton): Germans – 308th Rifle Division; 2nd Battalion, 37th Guards Division; 295th Rifle Division

The setup was pretty much laid out between Scenarios A and B. The only choice given to the players was how to set up within the specified buildings. It was agreed at the start that in the event of a draw, the Russian player would lose if they did not meet the 3:1 ratio of unbroken squads on the map.

Scenario A: The Guards Counterattack

The Guards Riflemen started their counterattack with a human wave across the street from building F3 to building F5. However, they were met by the teeth of an LMG and the human wave was costly – killing the Russian 10-2 leader and breaking a majority of the squads. A handful of Guards Riflemen successfully entered their objective and quickly took control of the building. The Russian commissars ended up killing more Russian squads than the Germans did in the apartments, but it was not enough to give the Germans the edge. Attacks from all sides of the area constricted the German defenses. HMG and MMG German squads were eliminated for failure to rout (no quarter was given). In the end, there was only one German squad remaining in the central building, clutching their LMG for dear life. Russian armor entered on Turn 2, with one tank supporting the guards and the rest heading east to ensnare the Germans preoccupied with trying to take the Tractor Works.

Scenario B – The Tractor Works

The Russians stacked the Tractor Works with a perimeter of HMGs, MMGs, and LMGs. Another detachment was set up to the west, preparing for a flank on the Germans. The German Assault Engineers with their DCs and FTs were set up and ready to enter the Tractor Works – to take it at any cost. They tried to break the enemy’s concealment for a couple of turns and ultimately silenced a number of the outer perimeter defenses in the factory. However, an HMG broke twice and ultimately was eliminated in the process. German tanks were on their way to support, but the German High Command became anxious as they saw Russians moving from the apartments to the west to encircle them. The Russian armor also came to the aid of those in the Tractor Works. It was decided that a charge was needed to try and take the Tractor Works and to play for a draw. The charge did not turn out in the German’s favor. Some units broke during the charge and others were decimated by large stacks of Russian squads defending the factory. The Russian tanks further cleaned up stragglers outside the Tractor Works, nearly obliterating the German infantry squads (only 6 German squads remained unbroken on board). This led to the surrender of the Germans to the Russians at the start of German Turn 3.

Aftermath: The Streets of Stalingrad

My thoughts (Peyton):

This was probably one of my top scenarios that we have played together since we started our ASL journey together back in the Fall of 2023. Since the beginning, we have played a ton of scenarios – different theaters, different eras in WWII, and even the Korean War. But this scenario really takes the cake. The combination of Scenario A and Scenario B into Scenario C led to an engaging and often chaotic game that really made me feel the grit of street fighting. I remember loudly bemoaning the loss of leaders and HMG squads to rout failures, knowing it was inevitable. There was joy, heartbreak, and fury, all in one neat little package. I also found that simultaneously defending and attacking was a new challenge – how do you make sure you are doing both well? I think that the quick loss of the apartments to the Russian guards got me antsy to take the factory. This, ultimately, led to my downfall. The tank support would have been beneficial, especially for the smoke capabilities. It definitely would have made the approach to the factory a lot easier.

This was our first big jump into VASL (Thanks to Neal for the awesome video series and scenario builder!), and I feel more comfortable using the VASSAL/VASL system to play ASL. We plan on playing in person still (the benefit of living with your ASL partner ;), but VASL is perfect for scenarios like these with large counter numbers. I hope to figure out how to record the turns for a better AAR from VASL. Maybe on our next VASL scenario…

Final Verdict:

10/10, would recommend downloading this from MMP’s website and I would play again (as the Russians…)

GET TO THE CHOPPA…!!! Get To The Choppa...!!!


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