Toujours l'Audace

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Toujours l'Audace

Publication: The Last Hurrah, Doomed Battalions
Location: Witry, Belgium
Scenario Date: 10 May 1940
# of Turns: 7.5
# of Maps: 2
Maps Used: 2, 11
Attacker: German
Defender: Belgian


Conflict

Operatie Niwi had tot doel het bezet en open houden van belangrijke wegen ten oosten van de stad Neufchateau. Het oorspronkelijke plan was om een eenheid van 400 manschappen te laten landen op tijdelijke landingsbanen met behulp van Fieseler Fi 156 Storch toestellen aangezien er maar drie Junkers Ju 52/3m vliegtuigen konden worden vrijgemaakt voor de operatie. Deze totale luchtvloot stond onder leiding van Major Otto Förster. De 400 manschappen werden geselecteerd uit het Infanterie-Regiment “Gross Deutschland” en wel het derde bataljon. Het bevel over de operatie was in handen van Oberstleutnant Eugen Garski, de bevelhebber van het III.Bataillon. Als landingsgebieden werden enkele velden in de buurt van de plaatsjes Nives en Witry uitgekozen. Bij Witry moesten 56 toestellen met totaal 240 manschappen landen onder leiding van Garski zelf. Nabij Nives zouden circa 160 manschappen worden afgezet met 42 toestellen onder leiding van Hauptmann Walther Krüger.

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Op 10 mei op van Dockendorf en Pützhöhe, beide gelegen nabij Bitburg. Door een navigatiefout in de voorste groepen bleven maar vier toestellen van de groep richting Nives over terwijl de overige toestellen de groep naar Witry volgden. Deze fout werd echter later rechtgezet door enkele toestellen van de latere groepen naar Nives te dirigeren. Door de verwarring raakten echter diverse toestellen van koers en kwamen op de verkeerde plaatsen terecht. Het resultaat was dat maar liefst 93 toestellen op een andere plaats terechtkwamen dan bedoeld. De eenheden raakten zo ver uit elkaar terwijl bij de landing nog diverse Fieselers beschadigd werden. Krüger kwam met slechts vier man terecht in de buurt van het plaatsje Lèglise, 2 kilometer van de afgesproken plek. Uiteindelijk verzamelde hij rond de 180 man om zich heen, maar liefst twee keer zoveel als bedoeld. Ondanks al deze tegenslag begon men belangrijke kruispunten te bezetten, telefoonlijnen te saboteren en zichzelf transportmiddelen te verschaffen, om zo voldoende troepen naar Garski te kunnen zenden. Ondertussen was de verdediging in actie gekomen. De sector werd verdedigd door eenheden van de Belgische 1er Régiment de Chasseurs Ardennais en werd ondersteund door eenheden van de Franse 5ième Division Légère de Cavalerie. Deze laatste vormde een regelrechte bedreiging voor Krüger, die hierop besloot om aansluiting te zoeken met Garski. Toen om 10.30 uur de Belgische eenheden arriveerden in Lèglise, waren de Duitsers dan ook al weg.

Verder naar het noorden had Garski slechts 9 man tot zijn beschikking, maar begon toch met het uitvoeren van zijn opdrachten. Een tweede landing om 07.00 uur bracht hem wat versterkingen. Al snel volgde het eerste contact met de vijand, een Belgische patrouille met 10 man, een motorrijder en een T-13 Licht tank onder leiding van Lieutenant Emile Schweicher. Garski wist de aanval af te slaan en vervolgens Witry in te nemen. Tegen het middaguur bereikte ook Krüger hem en kon Garski een aanzienlijke strijdmacht van circa 300 man in gevecht brengen. Lieutenant Schweicher had ondertussen versterking gekregen van nog een T-13 tank en aan het eind van de middag liepen beide troepen elkaar tegen het lijf. De Duitse overmacht was echter te groot en na het verlies van een T-13 moesten de Belgen zich terugtrekken. Tegen de avond kon Garski contact maken met oprukkende eenheden van de 1.Panzer-Division. Wat was er ondertussen bij Nives gebeurd. Pas tegen 07.00 uur waren de eerste eenheden onder leiding van Leutnant Andreas Obermeier daar aanwezig. Na enige vervoersmiddelen te hebben gevorderd ging hij op weg om de omgeving te verkennen. Nabij Vaux kwamen ze in aanraking met de 5ième Division Légère de Cavalerie. Hoewel men een Panhard P-178 pantserwagen wist uit te schakelen werd Obermeier gedwongen terug te vallen op Nives. Daar kwamen beide eenheden in een patstelling te staan. Ook nabij Nives werden de Duitsers aangevallen door een Belgische patrouille. De Belgen wisten twee van de drie Junkers Ju 52/3m toestellen te vernielen die voorraden kwamen aanbrengen. Hierna trokken de Belgen zich terug, maar de Fransen vielen onverminderd aan. Onder de dekking van de invallende nacht wisten de Duitsers echter stand te houden tegen de Franse pantserwagens die zonder infanterie geen aanval op Nives konden ondernemen. Bij het aanbreken van de dag maakten de Duitsers in Nives contact met eenheden van de oprukkende 2.Panzer-Division. Operatie Niwi was op zich geslaagd, maar de zwakke verdediging had een grote tol geëist. Totaal werden 30 man gedood, gingen 16 Fieseler Fi 156 en twee Junkers Ju 52/3m toestellen verloren. Aan de aanval zelf werd verder weinig ruchtbaarheid gegeven. Toch werden 46 IJzeren Kruizen (1e en 2e Klasse) uitgereikt en ontving Oberstleutnant Eugen Garski voor deze actie het Ritterkreuz zum Eisernen Kreuz.

Source: Detailed Summary on the Operation (Dutch)


Versions


Victory Conditions

The German must eliminate Belgian units


Balance


Errata

  • In SSR 6, change "German … hostile" to "Germans are in a hostile, and the Belgians in a friendly"
  • Add two Belgian 4-5-8s (changes BI to 168).
  • Replace the 4-6-8s with SS 4-6-8s (chages BI to 256).
  • Replace SSR 4 with "All German units are SS (A25.110).

MMP


Analysis

  • "Early Victims; Early Victories: The Scenarios of LAST HURRAH" in ASL Annual '91
  • Check out Chapter H for the Belgian 50mm MTR: no generation of Air Bursts (Belgian Ordnance note 6)


After Action Reports

Avantage de l'allemand : le nombre de squad, meilleurs leaders Avantage du belge: Positionnement camouflé et caché, le terrain fortement boisé Je laisse tombé la règle consistant à mettre des SS dans ce scenario, comme déjà dit je ne vois pas la raison historique, il n'y avait pas de SS dans ce coin là, ils sont du côté hollandais.

Voici tout d'abord le contexte historique :

10 Mai 1940, 05h45 Ardennes belges, entre les villages de Nives et de Witry…. Depuis 01h45 du matin, l’armée belge est en alerte! Mais bon, l’alerte a été donnée combien de fois depuis septembre 1939 et toujours sans résultat….et tant mieux. Vers 02h30 du matin, le sergent-chef Decoin parcoure son dispositif de défense autour d’un nœud routier. Tous ses hommes du 6ème chasseur Ardennais sont prêts à le défendre. Encore une nuit blanche pour rien. pense t-il en passant d’une position à l’autre. Ses deux adjoints le sergent Debraal et le caporal Magnee sont en position en deuxieme ligne juste en arrière de la défense à l’orée des bois devant le carrefour qu’il doit défendre ainsi que ses approches. En réserve il a une vingtaine d’hommes prêt à agir aux points chauds. Une mitrailleuse est mise en batterie tenant en enfilade un chemin forestier situé à droite de son dispositif. Sur la gauche de la position de la mitrailleuse se trouve le mortier DBT de 50mm (le lance-patates comme disent ses hommes). Après avoir parcouru sa ligne de défense, le sergent-chef revient à son QG, discute avec les servants de la mitrailleuse. Fausse alerte se dit-il encore une fois. Et pourtant vers 04h00 du matin, cette partie des Ardennes est survolée par des dizaines de Fieseler Storch, atterrissant dans des clairieres et débarquant des hommes du regiment Grossdeutschland et des gars du Génie. L’opération Niwi est en cours. Au bruit que font ses petits avions de reconnaissance, le doute de « l’alerte pour rien » s’évanouit de la pensée du sergent-chef belge. L’aube annonçait une fois encore une belle journée de mai mais cette fois il se passe réellement quelque chose….

Le côté belge

La photo vous montre plus ou moins bien le placement. La flèche rouge représente le repositionnement du mortier dbt de 50mm (après la prise de la photo)

J'ai placé les belges sur 2 lignes de défense et deux officiers en retrait de la première ligne pour pouvoir rallier les éventuels gars en déroute. Le meilleur chef 8-1 (sergent-chef Decoin) dirigera le tir de la MMG. Au cas où la première ligne sera intenable à tenir, je pense reculer sur la deuxième ligne. Les 3 squads au-dessus de "OBJ+4 hexes autour" sont placé en HIP (caché). Les autres auront droit à un ? de camouflage vu que l'allemand commence son tour en rentrant sur la carte. La mitrailleuse peut effectuer une ligne de tir le long de la route forestière d'où sont emplacement à cet endroit. Le mortier lui pourra défendre l'approche nord qui est à decouvert. D'après les règles de scenario il n'y a pas de collines qui sont des bois, pas de haies, pas de murs, j'ai pourtant gardé les bâtiments , petite "house rule"

Scen48 AAR.jpg

Plan d'attaque allemand Tour 1

Côté allemand Je fais rentrer mes troupes en 4 colonnes (voir carte) Au nord du dispositif une partie de la colonne formera la pince nord en contournant le dispositif belge. L'autre moitié restera à couvert et servira de point d'appui de la pince nord face au terrain découvert du centre. Plus au sud, l'autre colonne servira tout d'abord de point d'appui à la colonne sud qui sera la deuxième pince de la tenaille devant se refermer sur le dispositif belge et ensuite comme force de réserve à la colonne sud. Néanmoins il me faudra plusieurs tour pour faire entrer mes troupes (19 squads + 1HMG + 2 LMG) 8 phases de mouvements devraient être suffisante pour atteindre le carrefour.


Côté Belge

Ce premier tour me laisse du répit, durant lequel j'essaie d'entrencher le mortier DBT mais bon c'est pas en 2 minutes que cela se fera et tel est le cas, il faudra patienter... sinon calme plat partout ailleurs.

Après avoir débarquer des Fieseler Storch , l'Obersleutnant Garski donne l'ordre au Leutenant Kuehler de prendre le noeud routier de Traimont. Les hommes de la Grossdeutschland renforcé par des hommes de la Sturmpioneerabteilung 43 se mettent en marchent à travers bois pour atteindre leur objectif. Le reste de la troupe suivra le mouvement sur Witri une fois toutes les troupes amenées sur place par le va et vient des petits avions.

Divisant ses hommes en 4 colonnes en arrivant sur l'objectif, le Leutnant Kuehler prend le commandement des colonnes sud. Il a assigné au Feldwebel Gabeler la mitrailleuse lourde et un peloton au centre et au Feldwebel Dietl le peleton devant former la pince nord de son dispositif en tenaille.

Le Leutnant en fermant les yeux revoit la maquette où l'ObersLeutnant Garski lui a expliqué son objectif. Les longues heures d'entrainement pour cette attaque lui seront utiles. Les Belges ne devraient pas trop résister et encore faut-il qu'il y en ait là du côté de Traimont.

Le tour 2

Côté allemand

La progression continue telle que planifiée. . La colonne centrale arrive sur ses bases d'appui feu, les autres groupes n'ont que les pointes avancées sur leurs bases de départ d'attaque. Rien à signaler pour l'instant. Le tour adverse sera plus chaud à mon avis.

Côté Belge

Cette fois ça y est Les premiers teutons sont en vue (même si camouflé) !!! En attendant que le groupe du mortier s'entrenche (ce qui n'est toujours pas fait ), je commence à tirer avec la mitrailleuse dirigée par le 9-1. Comme prévu il y a du monde là-bas au bout du chemin forestier. J'ai de la chance, la mitrailleuse a droit à 3 tirs mais bon les résultats ne sont guère probant, juste un resulat de PIN, si ce n'est que mon sniper peut tirer (je les avais oublié ceux-là) et réussit à mettre un autre squad en PIN (histoire d'empêcher une riposte à pleine puissance et d'ôter les pions "?") Sinon je n'envisage pas de bouger ce tour . Le seul tir défensif allemand est un bon jet de dés de 12 . Cela me met en confiance pour la suite.

Point de vue allemand sur le tour belge

Les premiers tirs belges s'effectuent sans trop de dégâts mais il faut bien reconnaître que ce ne sont que des tirs à faible puissance, pas de tir de stacking de la mort qui tue. Il n'empêche que cette mitrailleuse belge m'embête un peu. Mon sniper aussi a été actif mais bon pas trop de chance au dés pour l'instant, d'autant que mon seul tir avec une LMG en sus me la met hors d'usage

(note de l'auteur: malgré les ressemblances question chance, mon adversaire n'est pas Tyrex )

Le sergent-chef Decoin scrute à la jumelle les bois le long du chemin. Soudain, il entend le bruit d'une branche qui se casse. Il fixe l'endroit d'où est venu le son et reconnaît le casque caractéristique des allemands. Crénom, se dit-il, ils sont déjà là !!! Dans sa tête, il n'a qu'une seule pensée: la guerre a commencée. C'est presque machinalement que d'un chuchotement, il ordonne au servants de la mitrailleuse de tirer par courtes rafales.

Les premiers hommes du Leutnant Kuehler arrivent à la lisière d'un chemin forestier. Les soldats s'acroupissent en attendant les ordres de progression. Soudain des balles ricochent autour d'eux et le bruit caractéristique d'une mitrailleuse Browning se fait entendre. Pris par surprise, ils doivent se mettre à couvert immediatement. Le sergent-chef Decoin grommele un peu en voyant le manque de précision du tir de la Browning, mais il voit à la jumelle que les Allemands se planquent néanmoins. Ils sont stoppés pour l'instant.

Jules Lambotte à grimpé dans un arbre, il est considéré comme un tireur d'élite dans sa Cie des Chasseurs Ardennais. Les tirs sur cibles étaient pour lui très facile car son grand-père l'avait emmené très souvent, lorsqu'il était adolescent, à des parties de chasse aux cerfs. Son grand-père lui avait appris où se planquer dans la fôret en attendant qu'un gibier soit à portée. Et là il avait en ligne de mire une section d'allemands en progression dans les bois. Malgré tout son tir venu de nulle part ne fit qu'arreter la progression des ennemis.

Son homologue allemand lui eut moins de chance avec son premier tir. Sa lunette de visée, était faussée car mal fixée au fusil.... une honte car c'est une erreur de débutant. Otto Matik lança un " Teuffel" quand il vit qu'il ratait sa cible pourtant bien visible avec ce bérêt vert. Ne jamais tirer deux fois sur la même cible, se dit-il , quittant en rampant, le buisson qui lui servait de cachette.

Passé le premier moment de surprise, la section allemande se mit à tirer sur la position d'où venait les tirs de mitrailleuses. Armant sa MG 38, Gerhard Truddel bloqua malencontreusement la culasse. Tu l'as trop huilée hier soir, je te l'avais bien dit jura son ami le Gefreiter Hans Branschuswig. Que font les autres sections du groupe ? Schei....!!!

Le tour 3

Côté allemand

Ce tour ci mes troupes devraient être sur leurs positions de départ d'attaque, néanmoins en jouant le premier je perd tout de même une phase de tir. Au début du tour je n'ai seulement que mes gars de pointe en action ce qui est trop peu que pour lancer l'offensive, dès lors nous serons déjà au tour 4 et les chances d'obtenir le contrôle du secteur de victoire s'amenuise déjà. Coup de bol, j'ai droit à l'interrogatoire d'un civil qui me fournit la position des troupes belges cachées C'est très bien, je ne devrai pas me lancer à leurs recherches. Les quelques tirs échangés durant mon tour ne laisseront pas un souvenir impérissable. Quelques tests de moral à faire mais avec un moral 8 on peut voir venir que ce soit de mon côté ou celui des Chasseurs Ardennais. J'oubliais de dire que la LMG hors d'usage n'a pas été réparée...

Point de vue belge sur le tour allemand

Pas top l'interrogatoire du pecno qui dévoile tout, je commence à avoir des doutes sur le futur de la partie. Néanmoins, malgré ce coup au moral j'essaie de tirer au plus loin possible histoire de profiter des bonus au tir pendant le mouvement de l'adversaire. De bons jets de dés pour la faible puissance de tir, mais qui sait si les gars de la Grossdeutschland à découvert craqueraient.... Il est évident que l'allemand essaie de me contourner par les flancs.

Côté belge

Comme je ne compte pas encore bouger ce tour ci, j'essaie de tirer un max pendant la première phase de tir. D'abord sur mon flanc droit où je dois essayer de faire des miracles pour ne pas trop souffrir des tirs adverses en retour. La chance resourit et la section au fond du chemin forestier casse, pour les autres rien de bien concret..et mes gars du mortier continue à essayer de s'entrencher sans résultat. J'ai quand même une perte d'un demi-squad lors du tir défensif allemand, comme j'ai moins de troupe que lui chaque section est précieuse... Faut-il reculer le tour prochain ?

Point de vue allemand sur le tour belge

Hop une section casse de mon côté... Mes tirs ne donnent pas grand chose sauf que je parviens à éliminer quand même un demi-squad. L'espoir renaît un peu même si je perds mon camouflage. Le tour 4 sera trèèèèsss important.


André Pecno, s'interroge sur ces détonations qu'il entend depuis quelques minutes. C'est l'heure de la traite des vaches mais il a peur de sortir, on se croirait à l'ouverture de la chasse même si les bruits sont à répétitions. Vindiou Germaine, drôle de bruit venant des boués (NDLR: à lire phonétiquement svp), j'va aller voir skisss pass. Ouééé mais n'oublie pas ton sceau pour la traite crénom lui dit La Germaine en lui tendant le récipient. Sans doute les p'tits gars des Chasseurs Ardennais qui s'entrainent, mais vindiou sont ben matinaux maintenant les gars rajoute André en prenant le sceau. Soudain la porte de la ferme s'ouvrit avec fracas, le couple de fermiers furent surpris de voir 3 allemands brandissant leurs schmeissers en leur direction. Crénom les Boches !!! s'écria André Pecno. Vindiou c'est la guerre Germaine!!!!. Le p'tit moustachu nous attaque !!!!.

Le Feldwebel Dietl voyant qu'il ne s'agissait que de paysans, abaissa son arme. Néanmoins, d'un ton sec il demanda: Où se troufe les soldats de ton pays ? avec un accent à couteaux tirés. Crénom je ne vous dirai pas que les soldats sont cachés dans les bois plus loin ! réplique André Pecno sans réféchir. Quel pois dis-tu ? redemanda Dietl en prenant le paysan par le col de la chemise. Vorwarts, montre nous !!! dit-il en poussant André au-dehors. Par peur, André Pecno montra la direction des bois où devaient se trouver les Chasseurs Ardennais. Goed et maintenant prenez fos affaires et foutre le camp au plus fite. C'est la guerre ici ! dit Le Felwebel Dietl refermant ensuite la porte du logis. Die schweine belgiën sicht here continua Dietl à ses hommes. Vorwarts !!! Les sections allemandes nord reprirent leur chemin vers la position ennemie.

Au sud, la fusillade reprit de plus belle mais les tirs sont peu efficace de chaque côté. Hans Branschuwig arracha la MG 38 des mains de Truddel. Laisses tomber cette m... et filons. Je n'ai pas envie de me faire tuer ici sans soutien!! Une pluie de balles siffla aux oreilles de la section de Hans, et certains commencèrent à pleurer en appelant leurs mères. Cela va devenir intenable d'ici quelques instant. Replions nous maintenant !!. Des copeaux de bois arrachés des troncs d'arbre volèrent parmi les hommes rajoutant à la panique qui s'emparait de la section.

Un peu plus loin, malgré la pluie de balles qui s'abattait, d'autres allemands rispostèrent. Le combat était maintenant bien engagé et les premières victimes commencèrent à tomber du côté belge.

Hmmm 2:1 in favour of the Germans eh? Well, I like tough odds! I shall be playing the Belgians as our last game (ASL17 - Lost Opportunities) placed Col. Custard in the defenders role and he did extremely well, so we opted for a swap. He is learning the MTR rules so this will give us another chance to hone those skills and check to see what rules he has forgotten in the months since we last played.

Initial Thoughts

This is not a great scenario for a FTF game. All Hills and terrain on Hills are Woods (with the exception of Roads); without VASL this means there is a lot of constant adjustment that must happen in your mind. My opponent assures me that with his years of Battletech experience this is not a concern for him, he is used to that. Personally I am not overly impressed with such complicated SSR; 20+ years of SL/ASL have conditioned me too much to see a hill as a hill!

It is also a tough scenario for the Defenders. A Company of ELR 3 Belgians have to hold off 1.5 Companies of SS 468! Not only that, but all the Belgians have as SW are a B# 11 MMG (ROF 2) and a 50mm MTR (ROF 2). Against this the Germans have 3x LMG and a dm MMG. While we are talking about the SW I would also point out that while the MTR might be considered an excellent addition to the Belgian arsenal thanks to the heavily Wooded terrain, it has a minimum range of 4; thus it is almost totally useless except as the SS approach. As I look at places to put it for the beginning-middle-end game I quickly discover that none of these are interchangeable - moreover in the middle-end game the SS are only going to be viable targets in a few easily avoided and tactically useless hexes! My enthusiasm for this scenario is petering out rapidly.

Another disparity is the leadership. The Belgians have 3 leaders with a total mod of -1. The SS have 5 leaders with a total mod of -3, this includes a 9-2! There are some slight concessions to the difficult task faced by the Defenders. Since the SS start off-board then the Belgians can have Boresighting. Also SSR 3 & 5 allows the Belgians HIP and Assault Fire. However these are minor bonuses and as I am setting up I get the feeling that this is a tough ask.

To win the Germans must make sure that, at games end, there are no Belgians within 4 hexes (inclusive) of 2U3. This does give me the option to try and hide a HIP in a non-obvious place and hope the black tide swarms past him. I note that the Victory Conditions does NOT say that the Belgians have to be Good Order... thus Belgians in CC or even Broken will be enough to score a win

Belgian Setup

All units start Concealed due to German off-board entry

Board 2

P2 2x 458

Q2 50mm MTR 458, 8-0 (Boresighted: 11U6)

S1 458

S3 HIP 458, 7-0

T0 458

Y3 MMG 458, 8-1 (Boresighted: 11I3)

Z1 2x 458

Board 11

J1 HIP 458

K2 HIP 458

L1 458

The defence is limited to 6 hexes (inclusive) of 2U3 and with the Germans able to enter anywhere along the Eastern edge of Board 11 I will have to tinker with my dispositions once his intentions are clear. My plan is to collapse the defence back into itself and form hedgehogs once I have slowed him up a little.

I did not HIP the MTR or the MMG for 2 reasons: it is what I would be expected to do, and because the empty holes along the main line of approach (i.e. the 2 roads) would look pretty obvious. Also I need the MMG at least, and certainly both leaders to survive as long as possible so I want them in the back-line strengthening the Defence. The Game

Because of the nature of this battle I have decided to write about it in a single piece. Also, due to the nature of the battlefield it quickly because apparent that the battle centred around certain forests. For that reason I have placed a VASL screen shot here from the end of Turn 1. This shows not only the initial entry areas of the SS but also the 3 forest areas in which the fight took place. They are A, B and C

Forest A - I have a double Ambush site in here and should be able to slow his advance down with it. Forest B - From here I hope to hit him early and then pull back to a Hedgehog, or retreat to C Forest C - This is likely to be the last stand area. A Hedgehog will be formed here, first covering the roads, then deeper in the forest

The Yellow Area shows the Victory Area.

In the initial stages of the battle the SS attempted to make their way to the front line as quickly as possible. Due to the heavily wooded nature of the terrain this meant keeping to roads or Open Ground as much as possible. The Northernmost road led away from the battle, but in following it the SS actually came into the fray right on the Northern flank of the Belgians. Once this was combined with the few units who struck through the Woods and through the Open Ground of the centre of the map (though well hidden and protected by the Walls) it formed a potent enveloping attack against Forest B and also forced me to hold 2S1 in place to try and anchor Forest A against them. This Northern attack was the main weight of the attack, and it reached the front line almost totally un-molested. My MTR was Boresighted on 11U6 and this attack easily hit the 468 who strayed in here - the Airburst even caused a NMC but as happened so often in this game the 8ML of the SS held.

Balancing the Northern attack was one through the South-Eastern forest which hit Forest A squarely. I was expecting an attack here and was actually surprised when the Belgians did not send at least a squad or two right around the South of this battle to attack my forces in Forest C from the rear. Since I was expecting this attack I placed my main Ambush (2x 458 in separate hexes) right in the choke-point of Forest A, I then used the 1 visible 458 to draw the SS in. It worked like a dream as the SS firstly moved up to the initial HIP in a stack, and then the second HIP they triggered when they again moved in a stack through the Open Ground of 11J2 - I could only have been happier if the attacks I made hit! Both my Ambushes failed to so much as Pin the enemy, and in return they were hit and broken off of the first shot - this was, unfortunately the harbinger of things to come. My carefully designed and managed Ambush failed and instead of 5 Squads against 5 in Forest A to blunt this attack and save Forest C I was down to 3:5 with 1 of those 458 having to be kept in 2S1 to try and at least slow him down in the North and Centre.

I was in desperate shape and it was only Turn 3! I had been forced to pull back in Forest B and had re-grouped on the last HIPs location in 2S3. As there was a HIP Leader here I was able to move the 8-0 from the MTR Squad to Forest A where I had 2x Broken 458 in need of some Rallying. I had a minor line-of-defence set in Forest A, but a single bad result would see it crack irreparably. My MMG position in Forest C had been forced to move to 2W4 where it was successful in digging another Foxhole (3 successes from 5 attempts in this game - I would have preferred those dice for attacks or MC!) and was now covering the FL from 2W4 → 11T1.

The SS are pressing heavily on the Belgians and have thus far suffered only a single Broken 468 and Broken, Wounded 8-0

There is no denying that things are going poorly... literally this game could end in a turn or two if the SS continue to be so aggressive in their attack and successful in their DRs.

With the start of Turn 4 a glimmer of hope arises as the leader is able to rally a single 458 (the other scores a Fate Rally result to be CR) in Forest A and this places me at only a slight disadvantage. He Advances up all along this line of defenders and, knowing I am on the ropes also rushes all the men in the centre of the map across to here as well... Suddenly my shots are starting to find targets, and even more importantly he is also starting to break! By the end of his turn I have managed to CR an SS unit and break 4 others but in doing so I am surrounded by so much firepower that the few unbroken units in Forest A at the end of the Turn are Voluntarily Broken and Rout to Forest C (2X2) where they wait out their DM and hope to be returned to the battle by the 8-0.

In Forest B he again falls into a trap where my last HIP is able to reveal himself and score a 16FP +0 shot against his FFNAM 9-2, 2x 468, MMG stack. One of the Squads is Broken, the Leader is Pinned, but he also gains a Hero thanks to Heat of Battle and this guy allows a 20FP +0 shot in my Turn 4 which smashes my 2x Squads and the 7-0 here. Subsequent shots leave me with a Broken 7-0 and a sole HS as my men wither away under the enormous mass of fire. The only high point was the elimination of a 468 when he blundered in front of my MMG but that doesn't even slow the Germans down.

Forest A & B have fallen with negligible losses to the SS.

Of the 4 Squads and 2 HS I have left to face his 18 Squads, only 2 Squads are in Good Order.

The game is in its death-throes now. Even with a lot of luck (and I get a fair bit of it in Turn 5) the numbers are conclusive. The SS can afford to be suicidal with their attacks, and they are, and still be assured of victory.

My last men are in Forest C and thanks to the 8-0 leader I am again able to Rally the majority of the Squads, only the 2x HS remain Broken now, and one of them is still trying to escape Forest B. His attackers swarm all over me from Forest A & B, he also send men down to dispatch the guys still trying to Rout from 2U5. I am initially successful and he suffers a number of breaks and even a KIA, but it is ultimately futile, I cannot hold against the sheer numerical strength and once he shoots back then it ends quickly. As has been the pattern all game my 8ML units rarely pass a single MC and despite his losses I am left with no unBroken units by the end of my Turn 5. Hunting them down is a simple task.

The SS Wipe-out the Belgians

SS VICTORY

Conclusion Well, what a disaster! Even my opponent was gracious enough to admit that the scenario was poorly balanced, and I agree 100%. However, the SS commander played very well (for only his 3rd game!) and took the opportunities which were given him, so dog of a scenario or not credit must be given to Colonel Custard.

For the Defenders I see that 2 things MUST happen for them to have a chance in this scenario.

1 - They must get some early hits to slow the SS down as they make their approach. 2 - They must keep as many of their men alive long enough to pull back to either Forest B or C to make their last stand.

Unfortunately both of these are reliant of luck, and while ASL is a dice-based game and thus luck will always play a part in the result a Defence which is based on being lucky is not a defence at all. This scenario presents the Belgians with only one option... they score great dice (or the SS get bad dice)... or they lose. That is enough to make this a dog in my eyes.

As I noted above the SS do have a bit of a time issue to deal with, thus they will feel any losses to their advance units. In this game my opponent chose to not use a HS screen for his advance, I certainly would have HS out in front, especially considering the 3 HIP units. The HS can also be used to scour the forest for any HIP units trying to get a skulk win.

Because of the time issue the Belgians are forced to setup a forward screen with whatever they can afford, they MUST damage the SS early in the game. Any units held back can be used to dig Foxholes. For the SS the tactics are simple - Surround and Squeeze. In this game the SS presented a pretty 'frontal' style of approach, I would have favoured getting a few squads in behind the defenders and why not? The SS have leaders to spare, they have Squads to spare and the tighter the Belgians defend the more interlocking is the SS attack.

Our game was quick, mercifully so as it would not have been much fun if it were not for the chance to teach my FTF opponent some new rules and tactics... though I have the feeling that the days of baby-sitting him are nearly done. He is an excellent learner with an innate grasp of tactics which present me with all sorts of challenges.

Last night I played Toujours L'Audace with Pooch, All American Screaming Eagle. I was deeply skeptical about my chances in this one, being the Belgian Waffles- 19 SS squads with five leaders is a thundering horde by any standard, and my dozen 458s with assault fire (whoopee!), 50mm MTR, and MMG had their work cut out for them. First I did what anyone playing this must do: I read Nixon's Annual article on the Into The Fray scenarios. He isn't particularly encouraging, rating Toujours 55% German, but he does offer a Belgian setup which I used as a guide for my own.

I created a Modified Nixon Defense, changing only a few things from what's described in the Annual: (from memory) I moved the 8-0 from 11K4 to 11K1, seeing no reason why this guy should eat lead up front; I un-HIPped the squad in 2AA3, since as Nixon himself points out, this is an obvious location for a unit and will take fire anyway; and I removed the squad from 11H1 or thereabouts and HIPped it in 2P5. This last squad would (hopefully) advance into the VC area in the bottom of the seventh and survive for the victory. Pooch opened up in a straightforward up-the-gut attack, with a dozen squads pushing up the K-L-M-N hexrows, with four squads and the MMG on his right and three squads on his extreme left. The 9-2-led killstack contained 3xlmg/468, a little unfair from the Belgian perspective. He soon blew me out of the 11K1 woods mass, killing the defenders - I had some good shooting, but his own MCs were hot, generating two heros (a third would appear later), though both were wounded before the woods were cleared.

Pooch pushed hard, and quickly drove deep into my right-hand woods mass; I broke some guys as they approached, but my two squads covering the edge were quickly overwhelmed. I pulled the 8-1/mmg/458 team out of the line and back toward 2V5. On the left, I rotated concealed squads into the woods edge to give his MMG something to shoot at, and was holding well. By turn four Pooch was ready to plunge into the left-hand woods, and had only a HS and the MMG team on the right to worry about. At this point I realized I could surrender a hexrow per turn and be able to make a last stand on the very edge of the VC area. I dashed my mmg team across the road and into the lefthand woods, and awaited the assault.

The endgame went about as expected, with German squads surrounding my three hexes of remaining troops. I managed to survive the T7 CCs, however, and got my own hero in the bargain. Also, my sniper dropped the 9-2 when Pooch was doing recon by fire, a particularly satisfying moment. Being the Nazi scum that he is, Pooch fired into the melees, including a 24(+1) attack. The latter generated a 3MC, which my guys passed while his own broke. My HIPsters emerged in the bottom of the seventh, diving into the melees. The top of the 8th saw further cold-hearted machine gunning of melees, inducing a 4MC which I again passed. Finally, it came down to the last CCPh. Each hex had three German squads, while one included two heros and a leader as well. On my side, one hex had a squad, one a HS plus a leader, and the last, an 8-1, a hero, and a squad. Thus Pooch had two 3:1 attacks and one 2:1. He waxed two hexes, but boxed the third, and I was in with the win.

My win was based on hanging on and getting the right rolls at the right time (passing the 3MC and 4MC at game end). The Waffles must skulk or die - critics of this tactic had better avoid this scenario, because it's a complete hose job without it. There are so many Germans that the attacker can afford to push his luck - even the loss of the 9-2 wasn't such a blow given the number of squads on the board. Despite this, with three CCs to win on the last turn, Pooch had less than a 20% chance to win the scenario. Pooch made no obvious errors, but was denied by the dice in critical attacks. Thus the crushing German numbers are offset by pretty tough VCs. If he's facing a single CC, it's a different story, but if more than one location needs to be cleared, the Chasseurs are suddenly looking a lot better. I'll still pick something else for first choice at A-Con, and I'd prefer the Germans in this one, but I'm not as nervous about the Belgian chances as I was when we set up.

(the other) JR

Ian Carter and I got together last weekend and ran through #48 "Toujour L'Audace". This is a nice scenario, Belgian elites guarding a crossroads against early war SS - a straightforward pure infantry battle in mixed terrain. The boards are modified by SSR somewhat, but it's bearable (all hills are woods). I got choice of sides, and took the Germans (wanted to brush up on my attack skills). Balance wasn't used. A16 Battlefield Integrity and E2 Interrogation were in effect; we used the IFT.

Ian set up fairly spread out, considering he was tied to within six hexes of the crossroads (2U3). His lt MTR went into 2V3, where it caught me by surprise; I saw the ?'d stack and expected it to be his MMG, set to fire down th 2Y2-11I5 road. He placed almost half his infantry in the 11K2 woods area, with the rest scatter along a line in his setup area. The MMG with a squad and 7-0 went into 2O1 HIP to cover his left flank, and 2 HS were HIP'd way back in his rear to force a complete search. Another squad was HIP'd around 11J0, in the center.

I considered doing an end run, but realized that I'd have to clear the center sooner or later, and might as well do it through good cover. "Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle." Works for me.

With that in mind, I ran my boys in centered on 11K, stacked as much possible to use the leader bonus. I didn't bother creating any HS for searching, as I didn't expect to need them until later in the game, when they would likely have appeared as a result of casualties anyways. Cynical or what?

Things got off to a bad start for me. I'd run my 'firebase' (468/MMG, 468/LMG, 9-2) to cover the 2Y2-11I5 road, cutting off a few squads and giving me a shot at what I thought was his MMG. Ha. My boys advanced, ?'d, into 11I5. His first shot (of the game) was with the mortar, and - of course - was snake eyes. When the branches settled, he'd KIA'd one squad and broken the rest of the stack. Subsequent ROF shots (his mortar team had phenomonal luck, later becoming Fanatic) wounded the 9-2, and sort of slapped the rest of them around. So much for the first turn.

The firebase eventually rallied, although the wounded 9-2 spent the rest of the game limping along rallying stragglers. I applied steady pressure (sounds like a first aid course) to his center, pushing it back into 2T1. The 11M4-P2 wall was really useful; I moved 5 squads out behind it and poured fire into his exposed flank. Bayonets and grenades were the order of the day in the 11K2 woods area, with the SS assault moving by squad through residual FP to engage in CC. The Belgians gave as good as they got, getting the ambush several times, and his mortar continued to be a nuisance on the German left, until I moved within its four hex (!) minimum range. BTW this is a nice little weapon, very portable, but the min range is a real pain, especially in close confines. Happily for me, it malf'd early in the mid-game and never came back. Chapter A all the way from there.

The turning point of the game came when I'd pushed him back into the 2T1 building (2 HS (one broken), 2 squads and a leader). I assault moved adjacent with a squad and 8-1, and took a 20FP D1F shot for my troubles. Then, joy of joys, the 8-1 HoB'd but Ieee went berserk, taking the squad with him. At this point, Ian went for the gusto, taking an 8FP SFF shot (NE), and two 12FP TPBF FPF shots as the bersekers charged in. All to no avail. In the AFPh, the nuts returned fire and came up with a 2MC that shattered the Belgians. Interdiction played hell with them when they routed out. From there on it was just a matter of cleaning up.

I was able to keep the few squads on his left at bay, and deployed a chunk of my remaining troops to sweep the victory area for his HIP units. The MMG revealed itself, bagging a squad in the process, but they quickly fell to fire from several of my squads and a hero that had been created in the fighting for the 11K2 woods. I found one of his HIP HS the hard way, after a CX HS advanced on top of it. Classic ambush; they never saw it coming. Ian had placed his other HIP HS just outside the victory area, in the hopes of advancing in at the last minute. I cleared the whole area, and had a solid line of troops on the boundary of the VC area, leaving him no hope of surviving long enough if he did move in to contest control. With two turns left, he resigned.

All in all it was a good fight. I don't think either of us made any glaring errors. The success of my berskers was a major factor, as they wiped out close to a third of his remaining OB at the time, and saved me at least a game turn that would have been spent clearing the rest of the center. The resiliency of the SS was another factor; they just bounced right back, time after time. I don't think there was a single German unit out of the game broken for more than a player turn. German leadership took a beating, too: out of five SMCs, two were wounded and a third killed. Battlefield integrity didn't have too much impact, although the Belgian ELR did drop once (I think - it's been a week ;) ).

One thing I would have done in Ian's shoes (here we go with the hindsight thing ;) ) is put perhaps two squads along the 11M4-P2 wall, if only to discourage early movment in the open area it bounds around 11O4. As I mentioned earlier, I was able to move five squads into there and beat up his flank. The wall TEM is better than the woods, too. Admittedly, routing could get tricky if the Germans take 11L3, but I wouldn't hang around there too long anyway. Whatever the case, this is a really good meat and potatoes scenario; a good sized pure infantry fight. I'd play it again.

Ciao, Vic.

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