ASL 125 - First Crisis Army Group North

Originally published April 2013 this game was part of a series against FargoGamer from Scotland. Both of us were learning the games so they often took a while, usually more time being spent working through rules than playing, but good fun all the same. This one has also 'lost' all the game photos.

Not in strict order as my next game was ‘Into the Fray’ – which will be uploaded but after VFTT gets first shot and some time for it to settle. So here is an AAR that I originally put on game squad. Published in parts each separate section has my name at the end
My next scenario (in a forlorn attempt to learn the armour rules) is the BV 3 First Crisis scenario. Apparently it is a dog and heavily imbalanced in the Germans favour yet I feel fairly certain that my own lack of practical skills with the armour rules will provide a healthy counter to any imbalance.
Considering the Russian infantry would spend around 8 years sprinting across the board in an attempt to be useful my plan was to spread my infantry over the clear middle ground on board 4 and slowly fall back delaying my enemy giving me time to deal with the tanks. I was highly reliant on him not taking the single road through the big wood on map 5. I kept 2 panzers back to almost the west edge so they could ‘follow the armour’ and react to the Russian deployment.
Russian Turn One
On Russian start it became blindingly obvious that he was indeed going to send 70% of his armour through the single road in the wood on board 5, oh well the best laid plans of mice and men. The infantry valiantly CX’d. The three KV1′s though were retained on board 4 and rumbled forward chucking some ineffective HE shots at some of my infantry that missed in a most appalling fashion. At the end of the Russian first turn the 2 scout tanks were half way up board 5 in the wood with a large concealed stack (5 – so an officer, mmg and 3 squads) trying to keep up behind. The platoon movement tanks were about a quarter of the way up the board on the same road. The rest of the Russian infantry was, hell somewhere ineffective in the middle of nowhere and the three KV1′s were a third up board 4.
German Turn One
On my turn I promptly started ‘trying’ stuff. I wont learn the rules unless I cock it up and that I can do in style. The first thing I did was to move my valiant 9-1 officer with a DC from the middle of 4 into the woods right next to the scout tanks in 5. Since they were in motion and I positioned myself right at its side he had to move TCA to get his BMG to shoot and miss twice with BMG and MA. Now was my chance to place the DC. Up to this point the game had gone quickly taking probably around 15 minutes. Now we faced almost 45 minutes of trying to work out the DC chart. Our problem was around 3 of the adjustments. Was the officer allowed to use his -1 (result no, due to the triangle on the DC and relevant rule), what was case B and was it relevant (we think it is an adjustment post die roll depending on where you hit) and finally whether I was able to take a rear shot (since I was standing on the hex immediately to the side was it front armour or rear armour). We decided just to roll and if it was close to investigate so I rolled a 10 which promptly needed the investigate. In the end I missed by one though we are still uncertain about the rear armour validity even with that negative. Now I was able to think – if only I had left a squad with that officer and I could advance into CC. Since I did not this meant that the entire left flank which had relied on Russian fear was now completely open and both those tanks could probably exit next turn.
It was time for desperate measures. I moved the Panzer I had on board 5 onto the road and towards the tank. Cue another 45 minutes trying to work out how to use gun duels. After exhaustive attempts to work out what was what the Russian won and blew my tank up. Oh.. Good…
Past the time for desperate measures it was now time for heroic efforts attached with calls for heavenly assistance. Attempting to be subtle I moved an empty (concealed) half track to take a firing position at the Westerly exit point of the woods. My hope here was that my dastardly opponent would assume it was a tank and slow his advance allowing me to get something resembling a tank/anti-tank capability over to the left flank. I then moved the concealed half track with the gun to a position a quarter way in from the west edge of board 5. If the first half track slowed my opponents advance it would give me time to unlimber.
Looking at it again it seemed a bit of a hail Mary so I finally moved my armour leader panzer all the way at the rear of board 4 over to close to the west edge on the road (mainly to avoid crossing the sunken ditch thing) it ended up at the border of the two board almost next to the bridge so it could reinforce if all went wrong in the Russian turn.
Not much else occurred to report except the Russian took several more motion shots at my infantry with his KV-1′s which spectacularly missed.
Russian Turn Two
My opponent got straight down to business and rolled straight out of the wood to reveal my half track gambit, laugh at it and then roll on, seeing my anti-tank gun half track unlimbered, laughs at that too and rolls on to the edge of board 5. Here my Panzer at the edge got a clear shot. He would probably have been safe without the presence of the 9-2 armour leader who moved things from – ‘you’ll be lucky’ to ‘wince’ and who promptly blew it up.
He then followed it with his other tank but did not risk taking it off board and parked it by a wood pointing at my tank – I had decided not to shoot there as it was only in my LOS for 1 hex so with the intensive against a motion tank whilst being in motion would have been a bit of a reach to get.
His amazing sprinting leader infantry stack now reached my brewed up Panzer and the rest of the Russian infantry could be vaguely seen in the distance.
Things started looking bad though as he rolled his KV-1′s forward ignoring my infantry. I had moved the 88 (limbered) to around a quarter length into board 4 so it again was utterly useless (note to self unlimbering guns are a smidgen more useful than ones moving). The first KV-1 kept close to the south edge. I took a shot with one of my stopped panzers changing TCA by 2 and missed. He was actually within reach of leaving the board next turn. The next KV1 then rumbled forward now in front of my first fired Panzer, this then intensive fired changing TCA back to what it was before and promptly malfunctioned its main armament. Oh great. Wondering whether the heavenly intervention had been mis-delivered to my opponent who looked like he would be able to win on turn 3 with no less than 4 tanks within reach of their target edge and me with only 1 tank available next turn to do anything and a tank at that which had a minimal chance of affecting the three giants behind it.
Fortunately the supreme being suddenly realised his mistake and smiting started to occur. My opponent, looking at the board saw that I had nothing which could stop him except the 88 (when it was deployed) and that this 88 was a few squares away from his tank and stopped. Nice fat juicy target, take that out and no blocks to victory at all. So he stopped and shot it. I say shot it when I actually mean missed by a country mile. No matter, he went for the intensive fire shot and rolled an 11 malfunctioning his main armament.
The idea was good only let down by bad die rolling so up came the third KV-1 waving cheerily at the German infantry as it passed. It also stopped and missed the first shot. Taking an intensive fire shot he rolled a 12 and malfunctioned his main armament.
From utter disaster to potential disaster in one phase. The turn finished with me taking a defensive fire shot at the scout tank by my armour leader. It was a long shot and it worked. Even with the doubled lower die I rolled a 1 and a 4 eventually coming in at 9 and hit then blew it up.
No doubt somewhere armour experts were rolling in their graves at how the tanks were being used but the game was a blast. Since we had spent probably around 2 and a half hours pouring over the rules and 1 hour actually playing we had to stop at this point. Next week would be my turn where I would attempt to get the anti-tank guns out and sprint some infantry over to hopefully put some close combat pain on the KV-1′s. My armour leader would turn around and attempt to park right next to one of the disabled KV-1s and hit it repeatedly with a big stick.
Allowing that none of the guns managed to get repaired.
Except mine of course.
Then all things would be going swimmingly.
If this situation carried on (and my infantry failed to dent his tanks) then we faced the prospect of the KV-1′s charging around the board unable to exit as their Malf’d armament prevented it whilst trying desperately to repair as I chased after them. The Russian infantry might actually get a chance to get engaged, presumably knackered and dribbling from running miles but engaged all the same.

Managed to finish the game (with some magical waving of ‘nothing to see here’ going on).
First up the dice gods instantly decided I was not a worthy recipient of good news and then went ‘meh’ at my opponent as well with one of his tanks fixed its armament followed by the other rolling a 12 and recalling. My tank natural failed to fix anything. I then attempted to stop towing the 88 which allowed the Russians to shoot at the truck with its KV1 MMg blowing it up – resulting in much rule searching to see if the gun was auto destroyed or not. Eventually we logged on here and found a post which said yes so 45 minutes later we moved on. MY infantry passed enough task checks to assault two of the KV’s and failed to dent them (that does bring up a rule query – when the truck was destroyed the crew got out and I moved them forward to attack the closest tank – we could not decide whether they counted for a motion start attempt or not (basically do they count as in or out of LOS – the tank could see the hex they were in but do they count as out of LOS as they were in the truck?), as it stands we allowed a motion role which passed for both tanks and was probably the reason I failed to destroy them in combat).
In the meantime I had set up a strong screen outside the wood with the armour leader tank, the two half trucks CE (so to permit their machine guns to be used) and the 37 anti-tank gun. This apparently provided strong dis-incentive for the Russians to leave the wood.
The following Russian movements (the speed of the Russian exit for the wood indicated the word ‘movement’ may have been more than appropriate) were to get the two remaining KV-1′s with working armament off the board. The remaining two Russian tanks turned around and sped (ha ha ha, platoon movement and the word ‘sped’ I crack myself up sometimes) out of the wood as the Russian infantry, very confused now tried to assault the remaining anti-tank gun and screen the tanks at the same time by moving to the South edge of the wood. Finally the huge concealed officer stack exited the West end of the wood and seemed prepared to take on my strong screen there.
All seemed to be going well for the red hoards when on my next turn
I attempted to repair my broken MA and also rolled a 12 and so lost a second tank. When I followed this by breaking the machine gun on a half truck AND then malfunctioning my main armament on my armour leader tank when trying to blow up the super infantry stack with HE things started to look bad, especially with the 88 gone.
A certain amount of infantry skirmishing now resulted as the two Russian tanks swung out of the wood and dropped South onto board 4. I was attempting to position my infantry to force him to come close and at the same time keep the Russian infantry away. At one point I had a close shot at the rear of the tank with the LMG, took the shot and it was SO not worth it even against 1 armour. As a reward for making a shot which required super human die rolling to do anything that squad was then demoralised by some Russian infantry with an LMG no doubt shouting – “don’t use that against a tank Nazi scum doofuses THIS is what an LMG is good for”
As the two remaining Russian tanks moved up board 4 I proved to be notably unsuccessful at destroying any Russian tank in combat and the game started speeding up as the infantry were left doing little. On board 5 I eventually managed to repair my last tanks main weapon and rushed it to the bridge to try and stop the last two tanks escaping. We practically gave up on most of the infantry at this point as they could not impact the decision in any way and waved in the distance whilst mystically intoning – ‘infantry stuff happening here’. The Russian tanks pummelled forward managing a lucky 3 roll on a 2 mg shot against my only close infantry (with a DC and officer) killing the officer and breaking the dc squad meaning only my Panzer had a chance of stopping them. Not bothering with the motion bounding shot (didn’t want a 12) I staked everything on the last turn. I moved my Panzer (in my turn) up right behind the two Russian tanks and stopped. Took a bounding fire shot which missed. On the Russian turn the first tank moved. I shot, hit (just) and (just) managed to blow it up. Unfortunately I did not rate. The other Russian tank moved a square and I took an intensive fire shot and missed. Now revelling in its lack of need to platoon move it rolled of the board and the Russians had won.
This has possibly been my most bizarre game yet but great fun for all that and I seem to be starting to get some idea of the tank rules. Congrats to my opponent and now I plan my revenge! Platoon movement seems to suck big time. My biggest mistake in retrospect was not setting the 88 up immediately as it was doomed as soon as the Russians arrived whilst still being towed.

Anyway apologies for the disjointed nature of the update as it is late now so it is much less coherent than the initial description.


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