ASL 126 - Commando Schenke

My original site went down last year (2017) (after being hacked) and I thought I had lost a lot of the posts. Fortunately I have managed to find about 80% of them (some without images) with the newest and oldest ones being mainly missing. Rather than lose them forever I am going to re-post the ones I have recovered bit by bit. This game was the first blogged game and was originally posted April 13th 2013. This also appeared in a VFTT around that time. Additionally my replacement site was on a lifetime contract but decided to change that so I am switching again to Blogger and re-re-posting......

The Sun beaten down on the weathered, frowning face of Lieutenant Commander Schenke as he surveyed the rapidly disintegrating townscape of Liepaja. Beside him stood the two commanders of his small force. Captain Praxa of the Navy was tall, calm and competent and something of a practical joker. He had earned plaudits for his actions during the invasion of Poland. Beside him stood the somewhat corpulent face of Captain Konig. Schenke sighed inwardly as Konig threw his second ‘Nazi’ salute of the last two minutes in response to what appeared to be some inward glee   before barking out
“The Russian swine will never be able to stand against the will of the master race. We shall crush them and then annihilate them”
As he spoke Schenke could not help feeling that he resembled an excitable overfed pig. The infantry commander responsible for the assault on Liepaja had obviously not provided him with one of his ‘best’ men. But never judge a book by its cover even if this cover could grace ‘Porcine Thugs Monthly’
“Surely if we crush them then there would be nothing left to annihilate?” Praxa interjected smoothly. Konig blanched looked over and gesticulated furiously .
“Do not doubt the power of National Socialism!”
“Oh I don’t doubt the power my friend but the intelligence isn’t always there now is it?”
“You Navy types think you are so superior well you will learn that even their Father Christmas will not be able to save these Slavs”
“‘Father Christmas’ lives in Lapland you imbecile not Latvia”
“You DARE to lecture me on”
“Shut up both of you”, Schenke interjected foreseeing the argument degenerating towards politics, which he disliked, or fairy tale characters which would just be weird. “I will not have your petty rivalries affecting MY plan. You will work together and work together well. Look “- he pointed forward to where Russian units could be seen, perhaps, well something could be seen and it was wearing brown so would do.
“Scouts indicate that the Russians are attempting to defend both the outside zone and their little fortress. This will weaken them allowing us to defeat them in detail. THAT is un-intelligence “, he looked slightly at  Praxa in a silent reprimand at his successfully antagonising  Konig.  He needed Praxa and relied on him to cope with unexpected problems within the assault plan. Konig was an unknown quantity though not one in which he wished to take a chance on. Still it would not do to upset the army too much at this point as he needed them to distract fire from his marines. He looked back at the town and scowled. Once the Russians lost their fortified bolt hole then they would get no mercy from the Army of the North and probably no mercy from the native Latvians who still smarted from the communist invasion of the previous year. That would seal the victory and allow the Army Group to Sweep North towards Leningrad, their primary target.
“You both have your orders. Carry them out”
 As a newbie I feel my ramblings will have little use to anyone except the editor in perhaps filling up a strange L shaped section of the magazine which might otherwise have required a random picture of ‘tank porn’ inserted. So for those fool hardy enough to continue what follows is my account of one of my first games played over skype. The first section (containing the plan) was written before the game, which is good as otherwise it would have been a useless plan. It is then followed by a rambling description of the game itself.
I was provided with my opponents starting setup well in advance of the game. This allowed me the luxury to make many misguided assumptions about the Russian setup and how it would influence my plan.
So to follow a structure that may be recognisable to some of you out there here is my original analysis of the scenario and setups…
Situation Enemy Forces
The Russian forces are of equivalent quantity but not equal in quality. Both in their range and in the amount of support material they are badly lacking. Command and Control appears weak with the officer cadre appearing generally poor. Due to the politburo (translation the SSRs) the Russian commander also appears to have split his forces thus weakening his strength across the board until post combat operation actions could re-unite them. The Russians main advantage is time and the use of concealment to prevent and delay the German advance.
After the initial scout report was returned (translation: I was provided with his initial set up) More specific thoughts are as follows… Firstly he had not concealed some of the units in the target building. This was probably so he could utilize the counters more heavily for deception outside of the building and once the game had started use the standard concealment rules to cover those units in game.  There would then be no guarantee that the heavy stacking there would remain where it currently is.
Next the MMG, an LMG (and hence owning units) and his two officers were on display in the target building, neither a commissar so less chance of fanatics but equally less chance of the Russians massacring their own troops. Secondly he had stacked heavily around the most obvious screened entrance points to the building (at squares V4 & V5) but left the rest of the building unoccupied. Allowing I could move fast enough this could allow me to attempt to move towards the rear of the building forcing him to adjust his defensive structure to compensate thus weakening the defense across the board allowing me to punch through.
It looked like an obvious fire lane had been setup up at R7 which would presumably utilise one of the remaining machine guns. The supporting unit close behind made little sense unless it was an attempt to keep that fire lane in place or to run some units into the building at the end to deny my victory conditions.

I did not believe in the forward defensive line at all. They were far too exposed and without support. Therefore I concluded that they were dummies attempting to make me stop and shoot and thus delay before hitting the more serious second line defences. Plus the Russian only had around 6 4-4-7′s that had not already been setup and were visible. The likelihood was the intention was to fall back to the primary building delaying me with my own prep fires.
Looking at the map I could also see an obvious aggressive fire support location at building O2. This could attack the defenders in the Russian second line at T2 and perhaps U3 well before the moving units could get there. Considering the range of the German first line units I could also shoot with little potential fear of Russian return fire.
My guess on the Russian setup was therefore that he was pretending to hold the first line, holding the second line in some force and attempting to defend the Northward end of the target building. Therefore he was hoping that I would not have enough time to threaten the rear of the building.
Situation Friendly Forces
First up I generated my own RL Order Of Battle. So we have the following
505 Infantry Regiment/291 Division
1st Platoon/1Coy
2nd Platoon/1Coy
3rd Platoon/1Coy
530 Naval Storm Battalion
1st Platoon/3 Coy
2nd Platoon/3 Coy
With around 3 MMC’s per platoon therefore we the 505th had a company at full strength and the naval forces a couple of slightly under strength platoons.
I had plenty of support weapons and a decent officer cadre. No more forces could be expected but careful utilisation of what I do have should suffice to obtain my objectives. Since the Naval formation was comprised of assault engineers smoke would be plentiful and should be very useful.
The target was control of a very large fortified building. Annihilating the Russian defenders was one way to fulfil my aim but not necessarily the best way. Even once in a building time would be required to clear it out so the plan would need to take this into account.
The approach to the target is essentially across three roads. The first is right by the start line so can be dominated by German forces. The second and third should provide an increasing challenge in moving past them. The target building itself is so large that there could be opportunities to move to the rear and enter unprotected areas. There are two wooden buildings immediately next to it that could provide some cover when initiating any assault but there is the possibility of the Russian deliberately burning them down to prevent access and create better fire opportunities.(Well I would do so [NOTE the SSR’s exclude this and I did not notice this till after the game had started]). If this should occur then stone buildings across the street should provide more secure jumping off points. Spreading the defenders to prevent massed defensive fire could prove useful.
There appeared no reason to setup in depth. Lack of time would be the biggest problem and that could be obviated by aggressively pushing to both provide leeway in case of problems and to prevent the Russian opposition from contracting into a more coherent whole.
With all this I could now work on my plan. First up I wanted to take advantage of the range from O2. A platoon with both the heavy support weapons (HMG and MMG) plus the best officer from the 505th (Lt Freitag) would form a large fire group (I can almost hear the heavy intakes of breath now) at N2 It would advance to 02 and start harassing the Russian formations on the left flank before the primary assault force even got close.
Another platoon of the 505th would be tasked with subduing the presumed machine gun nest at R7 and protecting the flank of my forces. Preventing any units from falling back on the main building would be a secondary task should the first succeed. They would be joined with a section of the 2nd platoon 530th under the best officer (Cpt Praxa) to better allow them to dominate any Russian opposition on the right flank mainly because there was a slight chance of the majority of the six missing units being there and the right flank would need to be strong enough to cope.
The remaining platoon of the 505th and the majority of the 530th would be assaulting straight up the center. There would be no hanging about prep firing the first line but smoke and immediate assault. The flamethrowers would form a small mobile reserve in the hands of the 530th to both function as a small reserve and to retain them for the assault on the primary objective. The remaining leaders would follow closely behind the primary assault force to rally any troops falling back (Sqt Schurtz & Cpl Rae).
Due to the nature of the scenario my German forces should be strong enough to basically form a fist around the Russians and attack in all directions squeezing the Russians back. If the Russian was defending in force in the outlying buildings then my superior firepower and weaponry should deal with the similarity in numbers but in this case his forces were (at least initially) split and the attraction of the +4 TEM fortified building was undeniable. The politburo [SSR’s] obviously was preventing the Russian Commander from leaving all his forces in the fortified building which meant that he would have to attempt to contract his ring of defence building up forces in the target building at the last moment, this attempt to protect all the ‘sacred’ land of Mother Russia could be used against him.  If I could prevent this then I would have a good opportunity to win.  Allowing for the strength/weakness of the Russian defence the flanking forces could either A) Sweep around and enter the target building from the rear thus causing the Russian to weaken the forward defence or B) Provide fire support/assaulting forces to take pressure of the primary assault force moving up the center. Once there the flamethrowers would be my primary assault tool with the Demolition Charges as an emergency backup. Once inside the fortified building I could use its own defensive bonus against the Russian and storm and mop my way through.
The plan would have to be adjusted as circumstances demanded and the final building assault could be drastically different from the initial plan depending on forces remaining and locations at that point.
My only major worry was the Russian Left flank force. I would have to watch out for the Russians attempting to run an outside building into the fortified target in the last turn thus preventing victory conditions. Therefore the two flanking forces would have to be on ‘watch’ if either of the opposing Russian flank formations were hovering outside.
I could do little concerning the Russian sniper menace but for me own would place my sniper close to the rear of the target building. Any damage he could do there could both expose hidden units and weaken the ultimate target. The forces outside ‘should’ be easily containable by the forces I had available.
So that was the plan. Whether I could carry out would remain to be seen. My playing objectives were to utilise Smoke correctly and ‘dash’ as and when I could to reduce cross fire along those three roads. I would also set myself the easy target of only prep firing the two flanking platoons. Everyone else would assault fire/move to keep the momentum moving forwards. If I could get experience of that then the game was a winner even if I eventually lost.
Setup at the front lines
The Action
The start of the action occurred much as expected. The central assault force rolled forward covered by copious amounts of smoke and found the enemy front line to consist of dummies. Meanwhile the flanking forces both proved ineffective, but such are the risks in trusting to large kill stacks. The left merely managed to expose some of the hidden units whereas the right forced a morale check which the Russians passed with a double one initiating the German sniper who promptly executed their 8-0 officer in the fortress having been placed right at the rear of the building.
As the line crept forward more of the Russian line was revealed and the unit in S7 turned out not to contain the light machine gun which was situated in S9 instead.
Schenke ducked down as a stream of bullets pattered on the wall above him. The Nazi Konig for all his weaknesses had taken his command efficiently enough forward and he could be seen exhorting his men to advance further. He appeared impervious to bullets. On the left Schenke saw Freitag gesturing to his men to break cover and take an aggressive fire position but as he ran forward with a team carrying the heavy machine gun a spray of long distance gun fire cut them down. The lieutenant, injured, dragged himself into a neighbouring building while the squad ran off. Another fire team followed in behind.
At this point the flanks attempted to aggressively advance forward. The left (taking advantage of the Russian 4-4-7 in S7 having already first fired tried to sneak into the building at the end of the road but took a very low roll 2 on the firepower table which managed to wound the officer and break and casualty reduce the 4-6-7 with the Heavy machine gun due to a 12 morale check. The remaining Russians throughout this were steadily retreating back to the fortified building.
On the right flank more ineffective shots occurred and the Russians were tempted to stay longer to try and deny the movement forward. This turned out to change things as they firstly shot and killed the light machine gun group followed by advancing in two groups into the open right in front of the 4-6-7 in S7. Next turn the Russian decided to prep shoot the 2 4-6-7’s without the officer (as the officers high morale and bonus may cause the shot to be ineffective) but rolled so badly that both units were unharmed. The defensive fire phase saw the defender casualty reduced and broken and then destroyed through no quarter as the centre had moved far enough forward to deny rout routes.
At that German fortunes started to improve. On the left flank the reduced kill stack managed to destroy one of the Russian 5-2-7’s which had attempted to leave the shelter of the fortified building and move into one of the wooden ones in V4 leaving behind a light machine gun. During this in the centre the primary assault force had split into two forces. The central one with demolition charges was now waiting to cross the gap to the wooden v4 building and to draw fire whereas the other group with the two flamethrowers was moving to the stone building to the left of the fortified target.
The units in Q8 & Q7 are about to run forward drawing the Russians defensive firing allowing the units in the U3 building to get their more powerful firepower in play. The Russians have already spread out over the upper floor apart from the pinned 2 * 4-4-7 + HMG in W4 and a broken officer and unit in Y4 which is about to start burning soon enough.
The approaches to the building were now clear and the Russians attempt to remain on their left flank could have cost them dearly. The Germans at this point swarmed everyone forward. The 4-6-7’s of the right flank CX’d and advanced to the wooden buildings drawing a lot of defensive fire. One was broken then the other pinned but turned berserk. This was followed by the 10-2 and the other 4-6-7 with the Light machine gun, Final Protective fire pinned the officer and broke the 4-6-7. Though this effectively broke down the right flank force it allowed the centre force to advance almost unopposed.
Firstly an 8-3-8 under cover of smoke advanced to W3 and managed to place a DC on the pinned stack of 2 Russian units + HMG in W4, these units attempted to Protective final fire but failed the morale check, broke their HMG and demoralised the stack – the resultant Demolition charge attack was ineffectual. The flamethrowers then separated and swept in the undefended East end of the building at X2 and X3 placing a couple of broken units under dm. In the following assault fire phase one flamethrower destroyed the two units broken in the back in y4 but set a flame whereas the other did little of note.
Once inside the building the Germans rapidly formed kill groups and attempted to flow up the floors. Not all went the Germans way. One flamethrower was first broken whilst attempting to enter X4 then rallied and the next shot ran out of fuel, not before demoralising a further Russian though. The other flamethrower with the officer went to the top floor and on receiving fire promptly also went berserk persuading the 3-3-8 with the last (non-broken controlled) DC to do the same. The Germans now had 3 units berserk and unable to advance to combat due to the fortified building.
The building echoed to the sound of gunfire. Schenke stomped in coughing as he smelt the smoke from a fire that the flamers had started. Up ahead Sgt Schurtz could be seen foaming at the mouth and attempting to physically pull down the fortifications with his bare hands whilst screaming insults. “Use the bloody flamer!”, Schenke ordered as he passed the wide eyed  trembling soldiers, a few dead Russians on the floor showed by their wounds fighting was becoming vicious.

Close by Captain Praxa was efficiently organising two sections of his own company along with some infantry from his flanking force. “Watch out for” he started saying as the wall exploded and gunfire shot through a new hole. Two less responsive infantry to the warning fell back screaming as a burly storm trooper calmed matters with what appeared to be a non-issue personal shotgun. A grenade followed and after the heavy ‘clump’ and back blast had died down Praxa signalled three marines to move in. This they did firing short bursts from their sub machine guns. Praxa grinned cheerfully and waved to Schenke as he moved his squad onwards.
The fire now continued to spread but without effecting things too much. The main problem for the Russians was that the Germans having entered most ground floor hexes had blocked all the rout routes so anyone who became demoralised would get erased for failure to rout.  After a few newbie mistakes on my part (first turn in the building I decided not to prep anyone so I could assault then realised I could not assault due to fortified building rules so that was a waste of a turn) and I also forgot the berserk units could shoot in the assault phase. This was important as it allowed the flamethrower to shoot plus I could have thrown the DC rather than stand around doing nothing (as they did for two turns).
Fortunately I had managed to get together a further kill stack of 2 8-3-8’s a 4-6-7 and the 10-2 officer and this unit with its base 36 column +2 shot managed to steadily wear down the remaining Russians along with a change in my dice luck with no less than 3 double ones in the last two turns. The last Russian unit was demoralised and destroyed in the last turn with possible the last but one shot that could have taken him out.
It was a good close game and I had managed to achieve some of my aims (use of smoke, minimal prepping, using the 4-6-7’s to draw fire from the more useful combat engineers with their gear) but at the same time failed with others (bad organisation once the assault went in, bad rally routes plus a complete failure to self-rally anyone) . The Russians had gone for a spread out defence of the upper floor of the building which took the game to the last turn. The scenario is biased slightly towards the Germans as I feel you need a lot more skill to win with the Russians due to the disparity in the force and gear levels and the fact the Russian is forced to split their force allowing them to be potentially defeated in detail.
Schenke stomped through the gutted remains of the Russians last bastion. Scattered corpses lay where the Russians had died where they had fought. Very few prisoners had been taken.  A few members of the infantry seemed to be industriously searching the corpses for identification. Schenke suspected for loot but after the fight they had just had he was not in the mood for strict military discipline. He turned and left the room before he would forced to officially act. For the moment at least the German armies victorious advance could continue.


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