Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

FrF73 Sledgehammers AAR

Normandy France 6th of June 1944. British commando's held the village of Lion-Sur-Mer early in the day on D-Day when they heard the sound of engines and clatter of tank tracks. Typical of many Normandy villages the buildings were made of stone and were formidable defensive locations. Just as well as a mixed force of infantry and self propelled guns had been ordered to take the village back.

British advantages, High firepower and morale troops, Hidden troops until three hexes away, PIAT v thin armoured vehicles. Good cover and open ground to fire through.

British disadvantages, Greatly outnumbered, only one MMG, facing 150MM HE SPG's

German Advantages, numbers, nearly three times the British at start force, three 150mm SPG's with ammo lorries to keep the guns supplied.

German disadvantages, Poor ELR with second line troops with too much open ground to cover. No clue what or where the British are positioned.

German's win with multi hex building control, set to a timetable that forces them to attack fairly quickly.

I set up as the British and actually made a fairly large mistake in not adequately covering the Northern (top) flank. However I had loaded the most isolated location with two and a half squads and the MMG. I figured this would be attacked in force and if it fell the buildings to the rear would be easy pickings as I would have nothing behind to stop them.

Showing no troops at the start of the game is not common, indeed it actually had both of us in fairly uncharted waters and it was to have grim consequences for one of us.

As expected Duncan went in heavy against the isolated southern building whilst trying to pin me in the middle with a second large force and the smallest force went for the northern flank. This attack was playing to my strengths whilst allowing my set up mistake to possibly amount to nothing serious.

Whilst the first shot from a half squad failed to effect the first troops in the south the MMG when it opened up caused a great deal of harm. A rate tear saw one and a half squads and the only leader in the area killed another two broken and one squad sent berserk. This squad in the following turn was reduced to a half squad and killed in close combat. The SPG was a real danger but I managed to destroy the ammo truck that was following behind stunning the crew of the SPG. Without the ammo truck the 150mm gun was bound to run out of ammo which happened before it was able to do any damage. The attack in the south first stalled then was turned away with no loss to my troops.

In the middle the Germans were making some progress and forcing me back towards the victory buildings and I had a a few breaks but even with two working SPG's Duncan was unable to get decent shots and again he was waiting for the loss of this support when I forced the last ammo truck to be recalled do to SSR. I was confident that I could hold the centre till at least mid-game, all depended on that northern flank.

I had accidentally given a route into the outskirts of the village that was not directly covered. Duncan being unaware of the position of my troops was not aware that this route was open and so was attacking slower than he needed. My only available unit in position was only able to pin one squad but fortunately Duncan was to move towards this unit rather than run round him. This allowed me to start to reposition a squad from within the village towards the threatened flank. I did not dare risking breaking the one covering unit so rather than risk moving through several hexes just assault moved with the plan to advance into a better location in the advance phase. That was put paid too when the squad was pinned in defensive fire. However even that worked out for me as the unit was only in a wooden building and as such drew more German troops towards it rather than moving away and behind. By the time it became clear it was my flanking unit I had managed to get a second squad in position to fire on the advancing German's in the open. 

At this point Duncan conceded as he had few troops in good order whilst I was due reinforcements that would finally close the door on the flanking move and the centre was firm enough to hold off the Germans until reinforced. A mix of bad luck on where Duncan attacked and ridiculous lucky rolls by me handed me the victory. On checking after the game 25% of my rolls was 4 on two D6, in a game where rolling low is a good thing and you are often firing with -1 and -2 shots due to open ground (-3 for the leader lead MMG) it was going to slant the game my way far more than skill could ever do.

The Germans lost seven squads so 50% KIA whilst I just ended the game with a half squad and a leader broken. 

End positions, Duncan tried moving a squad through the grain on the southern flank but even that was cut down. The map shows me about to advance into the two hex building next to the CX German squad. By the following turn I would have another three squads and leader in that area as reinforcements making sure the single squad would not be able to get further.

Converting to a figure battle. Plenty of open ground would be needed as the attackers need to suffer on the way in. Balance the troops so that the Germans have quite a few more than the defenders but have them of low quality and low on leadership. You may have to have special rules for the SPG's these are PzALrS(f) a 150mm gun on a old French chassis and should be slightly slower than a PzIV. Again special rules that allow the trucks to be ammo trucks and if they receive shooting that has any effect at all they drive back off the table unless destroyed. If the truck is destroyed it needs a chance to explode causing damage to any adjacent units, treat as a Goliath going off if you have rules for these.

The commandos need to be hidden until the Germans are within close range then they can be placed on table, this should make the German player to have to plan without the information most needed and if you have enough terrain on the table allow for some fun situations where the British pop up and start blazing away.

6 comments:

  1. Nice report! ASL sounds like a great game to get into.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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    1. It's a great game, expensive if you want to collect all core mods and hellishly expensive if you want the out of print stuff, glad I got into it when it was still new.

      The main issue is complexity, you have to play fairly regular or start to forget the rules, but well worth it if you get really into it

      Ian

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  2. Enjoyable ASL report, Ian!

    You mention converting to a miniatures game. What rules would you use? I have been on the hunt for a good squad level game and have often thought a conversion from SL would be a good start.

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    1. I really don't have a set in mind as I as yet have not got into WWII minis again after a long lay off but I think TTG did a set of rules called something like Combat Commander that I used to play, I rated them at the time and will have to look them out.

      SL worked well for 6mm, we used them a lot years ago.

      Ian

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  3. ASL...so many souvenirs for me! Nice report...

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    1. I used to play a lot more than I do these days. Around 100 games a year with one tournament every year (about 8-10 games a tournament). Last year was about 30 games which was the lowest in 6 years. This year looks to beat it but still under 50 I would guess as no tournament this year.

      Ian

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