There was – again – an opportunity to take up some ASL match. This time BoF took us to east of Grozny, to the all important and rich oil fields. I was given the Viking SS, and my opponent took the Russian defenders. Forces in the scenario are quite interesting mix of armor, artillery pieces, trenches, infantry and some Lend-Lease Valentines. Additionally, and somewhat unusually there was a wind.
All this made the prospect of attack an uneasy affair, even tough only one of the Russian guns was HIP. (and probably emplaced in some nasty corner). I was somewhat affraid that my opponent would have protected his right flank with gun emplaced on the high ground.
So, in the best of traditions of early war SS, I just planned to charge up the hill, take the key locations, then turn right and roll up the small hill on the side…. Or, well, I planned to do that – SS supposed to be, well, the best of the best.Russians had build defense in depth, all the neat and nice trench lines on the top of the hills, waiting for the attack to come about. Additionally, the small hill on my right had quite substantial defensive works.
That said, some forces went to the right to prepare the enemy positions while bulk of the forces, including armors went against the hill positions. My troops took quite a few casualties going against the hill positions. Only too late I realized what actually needed to be done – cut behind the enemy positions, overrun and freeze. Once I got this going the Hill positions surrendered (or would have, if I’d have any inclination to take prisoners) quickly and the defensive structures collapsed. Only the minor hill was then standing between my forces and victory.
Trouble was that I had spent significant portion of time and my troops combating the enemy in close quarters on the big hill and had lost nearly two thirds of my infantry forces by the time I got to the minor hill.
Interestingly I had not lost a single armor due to the enemy fire. AP rounds just appeared to bounce of the MkIV repeatedly. That soon changed and MkIII became a flaming wreck. After that I lost two more tanks for recall – something I could not really afford to lose.
My opponent packed pretty much all his remaining forces on the minor hill for the last turn and there was no way I could get them dislodged with the forces in my disposal. So I threw everything in and hoped for the best. Game ended with two inconclusive melees and heavy concentration of Valentines in the victory hill.
Given enough foresight to see earlier what needed to be done, the end result could have been different, and the casualties far less prominent. Moving armor up the hill and firing smoke dispensers to cover up the advance could have been far better idea than what I did.
On the other hand, my opponents placement of the gun around the small hill did create an massive opening to the left side, which I should have exploited more. Without gun coverage, it will be a highway to massive defensive casualties.
All in all, I like this one immensely.
Error correction section: AFV may, provided it has not fired, chance CA at the end of the fire phase.