Since getting ASL module Armies of Oblivion, I’ve had an interest on quite few scenarios, one of them being Extracurricular Activity which pits Hungarian fanatics against Russian defenders. A small area, quick paced city fight including four Hungarian Zrinyi II assault guns and two T34/85’s and civilian interrogation. There is only six and a half turns to accomplish the feat – to have more squad equivalents than my opponent in the hospital building. I had the honors to be the Hungarian fanatics while my opposition had studied his defensive system ahead of time and made setup ready.
Initial analysis showed that the Zrinyi II is not the best for dispatching enemy tanks, unlike the T34/85’s that incidentally excels in the task. In fact, a side shot with AT-rifle can kill Zrinyi. However, I reasoned that in the terrain we had to fight, a street fighting would be most likely cause of death for the Russian tanks – assuming I would not feel like committing a suicide by firing PF from a building.
Only role of Zrinyi II would then be to dislodge the Russian strong points, while being closely supported by infantry. I did not seriously thought that my opponent would linger under -1 acquisition for a too long, but nevertheless, there was liberal application of intensive fire – which incidentally did not contribute to any of the malfunctions, nor any actual hits. In an afterthought I could have used the tanks for bypass sleaze but thought that while effective, it would not be the best way to go about it. Enemy armors were far too potent to catch tanks attempting it.
After simple calculation, my plan was to concentrate and push very aggressively towards the hospital. Because of ample defensive options, and strong buildings (almost all buildings are stone row houses and narrow streets) I had to balance between caution and expenditure of men and material while overwhelming of enemy positions. I could not take risk that my assault guns were caught in street fighting, or nasty shots from a rear and therefore had to keep good infantry cover around all times, including armored assault.
I had to make sure that Russians keep some forces on their flank, and I pushed a minor detachment there. Naturally I was also hoping to cut some of the retreating options but that was secondary. In the main assault, I did methodically work out one position at the time and it was mostly by close quarter fighting and close combat. While going was slow, I managed to overwhelm and wear the enemy position one city block at the time. After initial success, advance became easier as the resistance crumbled and withdrew. I did lose one Zrinyi II early on mostly due to untimely move. Luckily my opponent did not seize the opportunity and use the T34/85’s superior mobility and armor to full advantage.
Fighting in stone city is hard business in ASL, especially when time is short of supply. Task is very tough when board filled with row-houses and attacking units are Hungarian 3-4-7’s with limited number of leaders and only light support weapons. Even if the broken morale is two higher than normal. Of course having 16 squads against ten helps a lot, but there is still a lot of ground to cover, especially when opponent can, and will use concealment and steady within withdrawal to full extend.
Defender could not just try to hold the hospital, but he needed to wear down the attack, and retreat smallest convenient amount every time forces become too much to take head on. Task which my opponent did admirably. In fact I was quite convinced by a start of turn 5 that I could not get enough troops through. While scenario is only half a board, it is quite lot about maneuvering on both sides.
A destruction of one T34/85 in street fighting created an opening that I could use, and move one of my threat inducing Zrinyi’s to the flank accompanied by few squads. As a result, remaining Russian T34/85 started to fear for survival and retreated further back. Something I might consider unnecessary force preservation so late of the game. By doing so it was no longer able to contribute much to the final battle. After malfunctioning it’s main armament on last turn, it was boiling down to a dice game. All mistakes on both sides were done before that moment, culminating soon in the hospital.
Loss of T34/85 gun was, balanced out by two of my three remaining Zrinyi’s being recalled due to gun malfunction. Luckily it happened when time was past their prime usefulness. Overall, Zrinyi’s acted better as a threat than actual assault vehicles, since none of the HE shots actually hit anything (BU+TEM+(Case C||Concealment) did not make it easy…). This was mostly because my opponent did not wish to take his chances. I did manage to get in a few shots of smoke, and I think it did help in few points.
At the end, the final assault to the hospital building was a broiling close combat. Hungarians won the game by a half squad difference which made the game extremely close call, and very, very good scenario. I had lost ten squads, one Zrinyi and two leaders as total losses, and two Zrinyis as recalled against around five Russian squads and a single tank. That is a lot of casualties!