AP8 - A Bloody Harvest

Moving on with the reposts this first went up July 28th 2014 and was another game versus my Czech opponent. In the original post someone commented that the trench was illegally set up. So yes, the trench was illegally set up..

‘A Bloody Harvest’ – a strong force of Germans (infantry only) has to overwhelm an almost equally strong force of Poles (also infantry only). Grain is in season and the German approach is blocked by several large grain fields. I have two preferred approaches to this game. The first would rely on the near parity in numbers and literally hide everyone in the destination village and wait for the Germans to approach. At the last moment the forward edge of the defence can be occupied and put a lot of -1 shots on any Germans trying to get through. Any squads prepping would have to take +4 shots if one square away (+3 stone, +1 grain los modifier). Perhaps deploying one squad as a speed bump to distract them as they move forward. Though tempting I have plumped for the possibly more adventurous fall back defence. The machine gun will be in the west hoping for a sneaky long range shot along the road and four squads and an officer will be much further forward. The intention is to do ‘some’ damage to the Germans and slow them down early. They have a lot of ground to cover in eight turns so will have to use the roads and avoid the grain if they are not to succumb to extra time pressure. That way hopefully at least an officer will spend some time rallying and the enemy will be less concentrated. These forward forces are not intended as a suicide speed bump (though they could end up that way) and I hope that either the officer will run them out with the grain providing cover or they can rout the same way. That will be stage one. Stage two should hopefully have the machine gun on the first floor ready to stop the Germans using the grain as cover and keeping the German machine gun prep firing with almost all the other squads concealed and hidden in the objective village.
Setup. The Germans actually approached straight through the grain field to the right avoiding the roads so the fortifications did their job though the defences soon crumbled.
Fortification wise I have place three to help out the forward defences in a triangle. The forward facing two trenches holding two squads and the rear the officer – if the forward two squads rout they can rout back to the rear trench (whereas otherwise they would have to go for the nearest wood). The other trench is behind the objective village to again provide an eventual out of sight rally point for broken defenders of the rear line of buildings.
In the worst case scenario I will lost the two forward squads as they will be taking the Germans on at point blank/one hex range (so even with the best intentions I may lose them) – I really do not want to lose the officer so he will bug out the instant any threat looks even slightly like coming closer. The other flanking forces are more a paper defence that will crumple back after some long range shots.
 Turn 1-4
Well as usual my plan failed to ascertain the intentions of the enemy and a large portion of the German force stomped through the south most grain field approaching my trenches and avoiding taking any fire. A largeish flanking force also set off down the east edge. When contact was made assault fire broke one of my trench troops and I failed to do anything in return. Alarmingly I had 4 sniper activations in the first two turns and none of them hit – both bad dice on my part and good dice on his. Rather than stay for the obvious assault I pulled one squad and the officer out of the trenches and ran the machine gun back. This was leaving two squads to cover them pulling back and hopefully do some damage. It did not work out as well as I hoped. When the Machine gun arrived in the building it promptly took a shot from the German MG34 and both officer and squad broke. Then the Germans broke the remaining trench squad leaving me with no forward units. Bugger.
As with most things ASL wise though a sudden swing in my favour counteracted it the following turn. Firstly the Eastern German flankers lost one broken squad to the sniper then no less than two German squads and the 8-1 officer tried to enter the trenches and my two first floor squads in the village (Chateau?)  hit them at long range with both the officer and a squad breaking. This was not enough to stop the Germans moving forward but did mean I had forced at least some units further back and allowed me to rescue the majority of my troops bar a left and right flank squad on suicide duty. The Germans feeling the time pressure started to swarm forward. This did not help them on their right where they managed to wake the sniper again and lost another broken squad who then got killed initiating no quarter. Another German broke and ELR’d when the newly picked up medium machine gun broke them along with the inherent squad fire power doing over another squad in the grain. This left a fair amount of brokies  (two!) on the German right along with an officer and squad on hex row BB2 so around 2-3 turns from getting involved in the main complex assault. On the German left though my other suicide squad was steadily surrounded and laid down a storm of fire (first, final, fpf, fpf) but failed to hurt the enemy whose dice nonchalantly ignored any damage and with their last roll managing to battle harden (fanatic) and create a hero. Oh good that’s just lovely. That squad was also then destroyed for failure to rout.
The ‘failing’ wall of residual can be seen to the right.Not enough to stop the dastardly hun though..
We stopped here for the week. The village complex is nicely garrisoned and as it will take the Germans at least two turns to get into combat there (taking them to turn 6) it will produce a fairly hectic last two turns to see who comes out on top. We gave the Germans the balance before we started so they gain an extra turn to complete their mission. Anyway if the medium machine gun carries on prepping at the 1st floor gun then the Germans will have around 5 squads arriving facing six defenders (not including the medium machine gun squad and officer who could well be broken by a strong prep) . They can get another three squads there the turn after but it would still be close…
On re-start (somewhat haphazardly considering the gap between play) I was fairly happy the hero was promptly killed and no less than four German squads (including a fanatic) broken in fire attempting to get forward to the Chateau wall. Hurrah for point blank and residual fire in the open. At the end of this I shifted all my troops to the lower floors to avoid fire and prepare for the end game.
The Germans arrive at the village and have a remarkably efficient Assault Fire Phase..
The Germans moved strong forces to the brush and eventually overwhelmed the single flank squad in the main grain field before they flung themselves forward attempting to break through the main entrance to the ‘complex’ and were surprisingly lucky breaking both the 8-1 officer and then two squads. In return I took some SS prisoner! and managed to get them back to my last officer who was busy doing sterling service rallying squads over the next two turns. After some truly lamentable shooting the Germans moved into several close combats where they were constrained by a couple of cx’s. These lasted the last two turns and ended with one half squad fighting versus a German half squad plus officer, a loss of two squad in a building and another squad in the other. Fortunately these combats all ended in the German players last turn and I was able to skulk my last two units out of the way and back into the victory hexes to gain the win. All in all my opponent was probably right to look at his initial slow advance through the grain as the main deciding factor as with another turn he would have been much more likely to have wiped me out.
The Germans eventually win the Close combat on the left and almost win  both the right and bottom right one. The officer and prisoners eventually scuttle to N10 advancing back in to claim victory.

As it stands it is an interesting tactical scenario where the German players resistance to risk is potentially key to the time left at the end of the scenario.


  1. Great AAR! Could you explain what's offsides about the trench placements? I think the one in the read is ok as it's on an unpaved road. Thanks!

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