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Friday, March 04, 2016

Combined Arms, Take Two, turn two

Now that the second pincer of the German attack has entered the map, this is how the battlefield stood after the German Turn 2. The first turn.


The Soviet commander divided his tanks into two squadrons, sending four to deal with the Tigers from the 23rd Panzer Division shielding my assault on the village in the west (top) and three to bolster the infantry preparing to meet the company-sized assault from the east (bottom).

The Panther on the northern hill was destroyed right away; in retrospect this position was a foolish decision on my part. However, the Soviets lost the T-34 defending the approach to the village in an exchange of fire with one of the Tigers, and more crucially, a Stalin to a timely critical hit as it charged past a Panther in an attempt to get a shot at close range on the exposed side of the engaged Tiger. Despite being buttoned up and having to swivel its turret, the Panther managed to take out the heavier tank at a range of 120 meters.

However despite the assistance of the other Tiger delivering suppressive fire, the Panzergrenadiers were unable to dislodge the platoon of Soviet Guards from the building near the hills. And in the west, the T-34s and Stalins wreaked havoc on the 1st Panzer Division.

I'd set up a death star of a platoon with both medium machine guns under my best leader, a 9-2, and advanced them into the stone building at the bottom of the map, thinking to use them to suppress the Soviet infantry and permit the other two platoons to advance. A single shell from a Stalin's 122L killed most of them and broke the survivors. That allowed the Soviets to concentrate their fire on my second-best platoon, who also broke under the pressure.

My only success was rushing one squad of engineers armed with a demolition charge into position where they would be able to claim the first of the nine buildings the Germans require for victory. Also, a pair of squads managed to make their way towards the village on the south side of the map, although it will be another two turns before they are able to reach it.

At this point, I have to admit that it doesn't look good for the attacking Germans. I needed to break that Guards platoon to give me access to the village before the carnage in the west permits him to start falling back and reinforcing the troops he's got there. Also, I made a serious mistake in exposing the side of one Tiger to the anti-tank gun in the village, which is quite capable of punching through the monster's relatively light side armor. I am going to need some luck to stay in this one.

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16 Comments:

Blogger frenchy March 04, 2016 9:15 AM  

Vox,

I understand that you are playing the board game, or at least have it. However, are you using VASL when you post the graphics here? Those pictures just look too clean for a board game picture. So I went to Google and found VASL: http://vasl.info/download.htm

Is it the same thing? Thanks.

Blogger VD March 04, 2016 9:18 AM  

Yes. We are playing on VASL because the Ridgeback puppy took the side of the Soviets and devoured a pair of German tanks.

Blogger mistaben March 04, 2016 9:26 AM  

In Soviet Russia, pooch screws YOU!

Blogger frenchy March 04, 2016 9:47 AM  

@ Vox,

Thanks. Aahh, Ridgebacks. Not only can their mouths ruin your day, but also their tails. Especially when they're happy.

Blogger Chris Ritchie March 04, 2016 10:22 AM  

Not a big time gamer, but I love this series you're doing. I started out majoring in Military History. Very interesting topic. Thanks again for this.

Blogger Ingot9455 March 04, 2016 10:58 AM  

I can see this opening scene as the set-up for a 'false protagonist' in a movie opening. The trim, well-disciplined troops, the encouraging shouts of the coldly efficient but strangely personable German leader, the diving into the optimum reinforced building...

And a shell blows them up. Cut to the chaos of war, find a new protagonist, lather, rinse, repeat if necessary.

Blogger Thomas Davidsmeier March 04, 2016 11:26 AM  

I second @5. I am enjoying the series.

Blogger Panzerdude March 04, 2016 11:37 AM  

Great report. Observations: Why no Panthers on the J4 hill? With the LL guns, they would have controlled the northern hill access and much of the town, while being fairly safe from return fire, due to the ranges.

The Tigers on the west side are "screaming" to be on the east side, with all that open ground.

Those squads on the east side are trapped. They need armored assault cover, either via Smoke or Movement to have a chance at crossing the open ground.

Note: not sure if SK rules have smoke or armored assault.

I've been schooled by some very good players about the mistake of getting the armor too close to the action (having made it many times). Those guns do the same job at 3 hexes or 15 hexes, especially the Germans. So the Panther to the north was way too close to the Soviet entry points and the armor a couple hexes from the Soviet squads is way too close, might be gone this turn if they can get into CC with the tank.

To the east, Soviets are "in position", so now the Germans are forced to do the moving in an attempt to get a flank...very tough to do.

Love the game.

Anonymous Jack Amok March 04, 2016 11:41 AM  

Do you have any more reinforcements coming? Looks like your infantry at the bottom of the map will be hard-pressed to deal with the Soviet tanks and all that open ground. At this point, looks like victory will come from the top of the map, if it comes.

This weekend will be the grand unboxing of Beyond Valor for my son.

Are

Blogger Panzerdude March 04, 2016 11:43 AM  

Did you consider entering the town by coming from the south side of the J4 and J7 hills? Hills cover the flanks and covered access to the town.

I have the best success on the attack with a very focused use of the forces. Spreading out usually evens the odds in any one area, and provides no redundancy in the event of a disaster, i.e. death star breaking...

Thanks again.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab March 04, 2016 12:17 PM  

What skill sets are different between this and say playing Close Combat? I know you have more time to make your decisions what else is there?

Blogger VD March 04, 2016 12:48 PM  

Do you have any more reinforcements coming? Looks like your infantry at the bottom of the map will be hard-pressed to deal with the Soviet tanks and all that open ground. At this point, looks like victory will come from the top of the map, if it comes.

No, that's all I've got. Yes, at this point, I'll be doing well if the eastern forces can simply keep them occupied. I really need some rallies; we have a bit of a standoff going in the northeast.

Did you consider entering the town by coming from the south side of the J4 and J7 hills? Hills cover the flanks and covered access to the town.

That would take more time and I'd still face the problem of digging a platoon out of a building, only a stone building instead of a wooden one. And I wouldn't have the option of using the tanks as mobile artillery.

The Tigers on the west side are "screaming" to be on the east side, with all that open ground.

Irrelevant. They enter from the west, per the scenario rules.

Those squads on the east side are trapped. They need armored assault cover, either via Smoke or Movement to have a chance at crossing the open ground.

Neither of which exist in the ASL Starter Kit.

Blogger VD March 04, 2016 12:49 PM  

What skill sets are different between this and say playing Close Combat?

It's just more complicated and you have to remember the rules yourself.

OpenID sigbouncer March 04, 2016 12:55 PM  

"It's just more complicated and you have to remember the rules yourself."

Is this one of those games where you are not allowed to reference the rules (book) whilst playing?

I'm seriously considering picking this game up within the week. Vox, do you have any other tips to offer beginners that you haven't already addressed in previous blogs? TIA.

Blogger VD March 04, 2016 2:28 PM  

Is this one of those games where you are not allowed to reference the rules (book) whilst playing?

No. Although the size of it does tend to deter the casual look-up.

Blogger Panzerdude March 04, 2016 5:59 PM  

As a beginner, you'll be in the rules A LOT, but that's okay. To avoid this, work with someone willing to teach.

The very best thing to do is the training chapter (chapter K, I think) before playing anyone else. It will take several sessions, but you'll have many of the basic rules down. Besides, its written in a fun way.

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