ASL119 - Showdown in Syria
For the third time in a row I have a strongish infantry force defending against a combined arms attacking force. This time I am representing the Indian army with a mixed force of the 3/1 Punjab and 4/6 Rajpunta Rifles being attacked by the Vichy French 7eme Chasseurs de Africa in Syria.
Setup was challenging mainly because I seem to have lost my Croix de Guerre overlay sheets and this game uses an enormous stream from them and due to me utterly misreading and cocking up the entire thing. The overlay was dealt with thanks to the TexasASL site and printed around 15 times until I managed to get the size correct (it's a bugger with such a big item).
The setup cock ups weren't of course. Anyway
Assuming two crossings over the river I blocked both with wire to make it extra difficult for vehicles to cross (the French vehicles cannot enter any of the other stream hexes) with the final wire blocking the semi-concealed approach to a risky outbuilding against the victory hex. The fortified building was in a rear corner where it might be a last ditch defense location and the foxholes were planted (badly) to allow potential retirement paths from the forward lines. The rest of the formation was setup to cover the upper road and bridge as I wanted the French to enter at the bottom of the map. First turn they get a small force with two armoured cars that can enter on either the left of bottom roads basically mimicking an advance guard cautiously advancing but with less freedom to move than a designated 'attacking' force.
Anyway that all seems very sensible but A) the bridge at the top does not exist by AAR so there is zero need to cover that road and that wire was totally wasted and B) The bottom wire was out of deployment limits so was instantly removed on reveal. I suspect all the wire should surround approaches to the building. Double meh. So don't copy that setup as it sucks. It's not all my mistakes though as my opponents initial setup was spread over five hexes on the left of the map so I wonderingly emailed saying,'not sure why your doing this though if you are CX you might get the lowest unit on board turn 1' as he had not realised it was an 'on' and thought it was a 'between'. That could have proved embarrassing especially against some of the more competitive ASL players.
Concealment in place with French startup locations. One thing to remember is that that ford is an utter b**tard to get across with a +3 to the bog roll so making it even harder especially if dragging artillery.
Those armoured cars are thin-skinned and I almost destroyed both turn one. Note the 'almost' as I had a weak defensive turn managing to break one half squad and just immobilising the Southern armoured car. The one coming from the west too interdict the road (apparently trying to prevent me moving back from my forward positions) I hit with the ATR but failed to damage by one point. Same turn the Eastern Dodge had a low odds shot that broke my ATR squad in return. Great.
So my ATR squad is down which I would have been less sad about had I realised the Bridge wasn't there.
On the second turn the great mass of Vichy reinforcements arrive but they all have to enter on the East edge meaning the artillery can either take low odds pot shots through the Olive groves or endeavour to breach the ford of doom. I can't say I did much to delay the swarm of French as I didn't do bugger all plus I was starting to get nervous about pulling my lads South of the road back safely.
the swarm of Chasseurs piles in. Now that's a lot of blue.
To assist I used the mortar to drop smoke on the road allowing my forward officer with bren gun squad to pull back (which worked). My forward left defence by the stream didn't as I double one'd a morale check and promptly berserked a half squad which charged to it's doom costing me a victory point.
unfortunately the two maps strangely separated and the two olive grove overlays started moving in mysterious ways.
By turn four and the French were really applying the pressure. They were across the stream in strength to the North and had equally strong forces in the centre and south coming up. Apparently not bothered by my shooting at all. Two events only assisted when the Vichy commander tried to move one of the artillery guns through the ford to have it bog (as I said that ford is evil) and more usefully when the single lead French half squad across the stream at the top left advanced into combat with my lonely unsupported half squad (the problem here was the three full French squads right behind and the potential for 'capture' and double victory points). But after the French failed to kill me in 1 to 1 combat I managed my second double one of the game and battle hardened the half squad and generated an 8-1 leader also killing the French and allowing me to withdraw a hex. So from 'at risk of capture, the North is crumbling', turned into 'the french have to make an approach move again'.