The French ASL zine Tactiques was responsible for a huge number of ASL scenarios and I have always wanted to dip my toe into them but with so many purchased scenarios waiting to be played I was always finding something else to play but after another successful game with Jon and a look on his play list with a note saying I really want to have a go at this Tac scenario......
Well it was not a big jump to playing it, especially as RAW had it dead even on a rather large sample of plays. I was the defender and immediately I was drawn to a few points. Lots of turns (well it was on Jon's play list after all) the Canadians had a lot of legs AND a 10-2 leader. They also had a good supply of support weapons AND a 10-2 leader. OK I may have mentioned that leader twice but he does rather go with both points rather well.
On the other hand I was SS and was using the black counters so whilst I may not have the numbers I was SS AND Black. I also had stone buildings and a dug in tank which was set to dominate the approach.
Weak points for the Canadians was that they would have to cross the open ground though their high numbers and 8 Morale was going to negate this a little but no matter what morale you have, KIA has no respect.
Weak points for the Germans is just the lack of troops, high morale is good but when you have only a few weapons with rate you can quickly run out of things to go bang, especially if the rate monkey is out to lunch.
I set up to defend forward of the victory buildings but also set up a fairly strong side force to force the Canadian's to either attack direct or waste time tacking on the side position or swinging even wider. Though 11 turns is plenty of time even if Jon did this.
Right fro the start Jon was whittling away at my troops, the +3 cover and 8 morale seemed not to be the barrier I needed it to be. Not that Jon cut swaths through my troops, just a little cut here and a knock there. In return I was causing far to small a loss as a soon to be familiar story of not even causing Jon to rely on that 8 morale.
Not that it was all down to high rolls, no Jon certainly deserves credit for making good use of the terrain but more so the use of smoke. His mortars were dropping so much smoke it was like London in the sixties. Here the fatal flaw in my plans started to show through. The smoke made the need to go round rather redundant but the area between his flank and my flanking force was as clear as a bell and rather than threatening his flank this force was stuck unable to reposition for the defence of the victory locations. Sure they did break a few units but did not kill any units and was eventually wiped out having not added a single turn to the game.
By turn five Jon was in position to attack my main line in front of the VC locations, my flank force was gone and Jon still had far to many troops still alive. At this point the clouds seemed to part some, the choking smoke was somewhat reduced as the odd tubes was either out of smoke or the crews were broken and the Turret and supporting infantry was doing just enough to keep throwing back the half squads that tried to line up with the PIATS hoping to take out the turret.
However the sun did not shine so long as come turn seven when I needed to be hot and Jon cold I was in refrigerator heaven and Jon came back at me with so much punishment he asked for me to capitulate. Now I don't want you to read this as I had bad luck Jon had good luck, that's not quite the case. Jon had to have average luck to grind me down over the next couple of turns whilst I needed to have a stellar run of turns to cut back his force that a chance of victory could be held onto.
Indeed Jon really had to be very unlucky by this point for him to loose the game, his 10-2 leader had a kill stack that had suffered the loss of a MMG when the crew broke against the odds but this then got a good dig back and I responded with boxcars of the morale check though simple breaking at that point would have been the same thing as it had no flank support.
If anything I got lucky on turn 7 as I could have hung around for another two or three turns as Jon just blasted me steadily to bits. No my problems were delivered turn two to five where I failed to get the kills in part to positioning and the desire to keep some units concealed and in part to smoke and poor rolls.
End result I would say was 75% poor tactical play and 25% bad luck. You know you have gone wrong when you hope for good luck and curse the lack of it.
The flanking position is marked by the malf'ed LMG at the bottom middle of the image. At this point I had lost more troops than the Canadians, not a good place to be when your already out numbered. Jon on turn 7 would have been able to run past the last few squads I had in good order snatching the victory locations off me. Or if he had a mind simply flank my last resistance and move behind me, either way he had the win wrapped up within two turns so well played.
Regardless of result what was my feeling? First up don't follow my example, the idea that I could slowly work back to the victory area on the right flank was fatally flawed as they were always under threat of being cut off. The failure to do much damage on the run in did effect the enjoyment to an extent as each phase of each turn clicked by I knew I had less and less chance of winning. On the other hand part of me enjoyed the fact that Jon was moving ever more comfortably towards that win as he took the few chances he needed to whilst watching me subject myself to the dice gods.
It was my tie to take it on the chin and hopefully I did it with good grace, I am not sure I would choose to play again as either side but again with so many scenarios to play I can say that about a lot of them. It's enough that Jon will have had a right old time and as anyone who has played Jon would tell you, win or loose Jon is a joy to play against laughing at your misfortune or gains as hard as he does his own.