|Publication: Beyond Valor|
|Location: the Warsaw Ghetto, Poland|
|Scenario Date: 18 January 1943|
|# of Turns: 8.5|
|# of Maps: 1|
|Maps Used: 20|
|Attacker: German (SS)|
|Defender: Partisan (ZOB)|
Starting in 1940, the Nazis began concentrating Poland's population of over 3 million Jews in a number of extremely overcrowded ghettos in various Polish cities. The largest of these, the Warsaw Ghetto, held 380,000 people in a densely-packed area in the middle of the city. Thousands of Jews died due to rampant disease or starvation even before the Nazis began massive deportations of the Jews from the ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp. In the 52 days before September 12, 1942, about 300,000 Ghetto residents were sent to the extermination camps and killed.
At the start of the deportations, members of the Jewish resistance movement met, but decided not to fight, believing that the Jews were really being sent to labor camps rather than to their death. By the end of 1942, it was clear that the deportations were to death camps, and many of the remaining Jews decided to fight.
On January 18, 1943, the first instance of armed insurgency occurred when the Germans started the second expulsion of the Jews. The expulsion stopped after four days and the ŻOB and ŻZW insurgent organizations took control of the Ghetto, building dozens of fighting posts and killing Jews they considered to be Nazi collaborators, including Jewish police officers and Gestapo agents.
The German player can choose to earn twice as many Casualty Points (A26.2) or mop up (A12.153) most of the buildings in the setup area of the ZOB player. Furthermore Sewer movement (B8.4) and MOL (A22.6) are in effect for the ZOB, but they suffer from Ammo Shortage (A19.131).
Errata (1st Edition)
The Germans must perform the Mop-Up procedure in a building in order to claim it for Victory Condition purposes, even if they Control all its Locations. MMP
- Steve & Robert & Tom (ASLML). Original Link on Coastalfortress no longer available. ASL.NET provides Local Download
- Pete Palmer and John Knowles. Original Link on Coastalfortress no longer available. Link on SoCalAsl website. ASL.NET provides Local Download.
After Action Reports
- Steve Svare vs. Scott Faulk. Original Link on Coastalfortress no longer available. ASL.NET provides Local Download
- Ted Bleck vs. Peter Jablonski on Geocities (link down)
I get the luck of the draw and select the German side. Peter has already studied the scenario and has preplotted his setup. It's a strange feeling confronting an empty board. I decide to make a run at mopping up the required 27 of 33 buildings without taking moer casualty VP's than the ZOB. The other option is to cause twice as many CVP's to the ZOB than I incur.
Peter has set up the ZOB in the following locations: V4 W4 W5 U5 U8 R5 T3 S4-2nd LEVEL U7 T2-2nd LEVEL W9 V9 X8 His setup is going to give me lots of building locations early on, but make the last few buildings rather tough to obtain.
I deploy my allowed 10% (FRU) of half squads, and attempt to deploy an additional 3 squads during the initial rally phase. I need as many MMC's as I can get to do the mopping up. I'm going to hit the eastern rowhouses by turn 3 and lots of 1- and 2-hex buildings. If I am not deployed, they will take forever to secure. The cost, however, Fire Power and rallying ability.
Turns 1 & 2
The Germans enter by GG5 in sequential stacks. Half squads are sent out CX'd to draw fire. The units stay on the roads at this point to gain Road Bonus. The advance splits off into three axis along the three streets that penetrate the eastern part of the Ghetto.
Turns 3 thru 5
My plan of attack is working well. The production of mopped up buildings is on schedule with 14 secured by the end of turn 5. It's obvious that Peter has setup well back in the Ghetto. The only contact I've had was minor fire from 3 ZOB squads that has been only nominally effective with the Germans loosing a half squad. What has been a killer, however, has been Close Combat. I've traded a squad for two of Peter's, but there's still 9 squads out there somewhere.
Turns 6 thru 8
These turns are almost as productive as the previous three turns. I manage to secure another 11 buildings, but at a cost. Peter's given up a leader and another squad in Close Combat, but it's tied down too much of my force digging them out of building S4. I've managed to hem the ZOB in by dividing my force and taking S4, N2, O2, Q2, W1, T2 on the South, N6 and R6 and U8 in the center, and X9, and N9 to the North. The bulk of my force in to the South so I attempt a push across the street and tie up in Close Combat with the ZOB. Peter somehow locks me in to Melee for both CC Phases of turn 8 inspite of my 3:1 and 4:1 odds. I can't mop up the needed building since it has to be declared during my Prep Fire Phase on turn 9.
Turn 9a - Hopes Dashed
My only hope at this point it to eliminate enough ZOB units. Peter has managed to capture a leader and half squad which he promptly retreated in turn 8 to his headquarters... Fortified building location which thwarts my attempt to enter and engage in Close Comabt. The net results is a ZOB Victory.
CVP: Germans Lost 14; ZOB Lost 12
Buildings mopped up: 26
Buildings controlled by the German but not Mopped Up: 4
- ANZACON 2006 AAR Original Link (link down)
ROUND 2: Mila 18.
From nothing but tanks we go to nothing but infantry as we delve into the Warsaw ghetto. I had played this before but it was many years ago, before I had developed any ASL skills of any significance, so this was essentially a new game for me. My opponent is my chum Gordon Stokes. Looking at the scenario critically I felt that the Germans have the tougher job and so I bid aggressively for the ZOB, risking a severe reduction in the ZOB Sniper. (All the scenarios for the weekend had new ABS bidding options chosen by Jamie.) Gordon bid for the Germans though and so we play straight up. My general strategy was to stay hidden as much as possible and only shoot at Germans when I could catch them in the open. Gordon advanced on slowly and tried, I think, to develop a methodical advance to flush me out, but got a little flustered and lost his way after the first couple of turns, when I had a little luck in getting a KIA on an SS squad and sending units into the sewers to pop up behind him. This essentially wrecked his whole schedule and from that point he was struggling to beat the clock. This sort of behaviour continued all game and towards the end he was attempting some very risky moves indeed simply to get the opportunity to put some CVP hurt on me, but I had pulled back with the bulk of my units, some were threatening his rear and flanks and a couple were still HIP. Just as he was beginning to regain the CVP lead he sends two squads into the open right where my still-HIP 8-1 and a squad can see him and I proceed to turn them into a bloody smear on the road; Gordon fails his personal MC and concedes with only a turn or two to go. I found this to be a fascinating tactical puzzle and good fun. 2-0.
- AAR on EC are Moderate blog
Yes, I know. This scenario isn't cool. You aren't supposed to play it, or enjoy it. If you do, you should feel dirty. It's pure evil, and disrespectful!
The only problem is that it turns out, as I discovered a few days ago, that Mila 18 is also well-balanced and a lot of fun. Sure, it felt a little weird playing the Nazi SS fighting against a Jewish resistance force in the Warsaw Ghetto, but let's be honest. This is a war game. Every scenario represents some people trying to kill other people. Have you ever invoked No Quarter in a scenario? Well there you go, you're massacring some poor guys trying to surrender.
Of course, we could just remind ourselves that this is only a game. Each scenario is a (hopefully) fun tactical situation to explore. I'll admit that I often don't even read the historical background and aftermath information on the scenario card (although I probably should--I've noticed that they often include subtle hints on what you need to do).
So anyway, I played this scenario the other day, as my first ASL Ladder game. I gave my opponent, Ryan (who turned out to be a really cool guy), the choice of sides--and I ended up as the fucking Nazis. Oh well. I was still going to try to win, regardless. I'm just following orders, you know? And it was, like, my first ladder game.
Anyway, enough trying to be funny. Here's how the game went. I planned to pretty much advance into the town along three axes:
The idea was to barrel down these roads and set up some fire bases--one in the wooden building at the end of the rowhouse, and another behind the wall in the middle--then scout the area out carefully with half-squads. I was pretty worried going into this scenario, I'll admit. The ZOB has a lot of advantages and tricks to use.
For one, the SS units are Lax while the ZOB is stealthy. Depending on how the ZOB are played, that pretty much guarantees that they will always get an ambush against SS units moving into the buildings, provided they don't drop HIP to fire on the Germans in the streets (-1 Stealthy, -2 Concealed vs. +1 Lax). So, in thinking about my plan, I was reticent to try going into the buildings early. Of course, another difficulty is the victory conditions: I have to mop up 27 buildings, or inflict a lot of casualties. I'm therefore forced, pretty much, to go into the buildings at some point. So basically, I decided on having HSs move in and reveal any ZOB units, then blast away at them with 12 to 16 + 2 shots, then hopefully encircling and killing off the ZOB.
Things went moderately well in the first two turns, although I did adjust my plan a bit. After some exploratory moves, I decided it would be safer to hook around the northern flank through the woods, and either keep pushing West or circle back Southwards. A few ZOB squads popped out of hiding to fire on my half-squads and I lost two of them to K or KIA results. However, the awesome snake-eyes Ryan rolled also woke up my sniper, which broke his squad in the North. This only made my Northern approach all the more tempting.
Motivated by the fact that Ryan wasn't taking any shots at my moves across the street up North, and by the fact that the ZOB squad in Level 1 of the central building could be handled by either fire-group, I abandoned the firing position in J7 (the spot next to the rowhouse) and instead continued to reinforce my flank. Plus, the ZOB sniper targeted J7 and broke one of my squads there. Sure, he rallied back up, but I felt bad juju coming on. My Southern flank, on the other hand, wasn't getting anywhere. I began to realise that my efforts there were completely wasted...a mere squad and a half wasn't enough force to move into the rowhouses across the street, and it wasn't enough firepower to be effective. I had pretty much taken them out of the war. They were so ineffective, in fact, that a ZOB squad was able to walk calmly out into the street, secure the weapons from the HS they'd shot down, and go back inside their building, while my troops fired blindly into the sky, or something.
In the meantime, as I advanced, Ryan revealed another squad and his 8-1 leader to take a shot at me, but to no effect. His sniper, at least, broke another unit. I was able, however, to steadily advance into his building, daring to risk the presence of other HIP squads. I realised that, even if I were ambushed, the likely odds were going to be 1-2 anyway. A kill # of 4 isn't that great, even with the -1 modifier. And if I stacked two 6-5-8s together, then I'd get to fire 2-1 back, even if I lost a squad. But thankfully it didn't come to that. I simply moved in, upper-level encircled the guys, who later advanced downstairs to CC me, but were killed.
The big problem for me, even though I was making some progress, is that I wasn't making enough. At the start of turn 5, I'd mopped up only one building, and was leading in CVP 4-3. I needed to start taking the ZOB out fast, while preserving my forces! I realised that by this point it would be impossible to mop up 27 buildings.
So I rushed after that broken squad, which had been broken since the first turn. I just couldn't catch him, though. I nearly surrounded him, but a ZOB unit popped up, in crest status in the gully, and broke one of my squads, which left an escape route for him. Also, feeling the crunch, I dashed a squad southward toward the wooden building. I figured it was empty, but to my chagrin another squad popped up and fired point blank, forcing a 1MC on me.
That's when I rolled snakes. Heat of Battle! The squad went Fanatic and created a Hero. They made it into the building next to the ZOB--when another ZOB popped up and fired on them, to no effect. Then my Fanatics closed into CC and killed the "insurgents," suffering CR and a wound to the Hero in the process. Things were getting very bloody and very exciting at this point, with a Melee developing, and more of my units breaking. The ZOB units in the South began to fall back, leaving an open path for me to fully infiltrate the central building in force, and I advanced upstairs, ready to take out the one ZOB squad up there. Ryan decided to Defensively fire, and the ZOB readied their Molotovs...only to drop them on themselves and die (he rolled a 6,6, suffering Ammunition Shortage and failing a MC at the same time).
Things looked up for me at at this point, really. I was up 11-4 on CVP, so the game was in the bag. My forces were scattered more than I wanted them to be, so I decided to focus on consolidation and preparation for a counterattack. So that's what I did...no more moving forward for me! And that was game, pretty much. The ZOB didn't have the resources to attack me anywhere and inflict casualties, so we pretty much looked at each other from across the street. A Mild Breeze picked up and smoke drifted through the Ghetto, while the Blaze began to spread....
This was a pretty fun time. I think Ryan might have done better by hiding more and only popping out when I entered his hex, during the CCPh. He could have inflicted a lot more pain on me, I think. I'd be curious to find out if anyone has won this by mopping up 27 buildings, though. That seems like it would be much harder to accomplish.Another bonus of playing Ryan was that we are close in age! We talked about how it seems that everyone we play is MUCH older than we are, or they've been playing for 15, 20 years...which means that, while we learn a lot, we also get stomped a lot. It's actually not easy to find opponents who are neither complete noobs or grizzled veterans. I like to be challenged but also give my opponent a challenge. I guess the best thing to do is keep playing.