Monday, September 08, 2008

August Bank Holiday Offensive #1. I take a tanking

So, Badger and I had our bank holiday Combat Commander session as announced. I cooked a meatball lasagne (Millefoglie alla 'guardiese'- pasta layers the guardia way- from the Abruzzi region) which was really good if I say so myself, and we got 5 games in, all using the Random Scenario Generator.

France, 1939
I chose the map, Badger orientation. Nationality and OB rolls pitted my line French against Badger's line Germans. A minor setback. Then Badger's objective chit draw turned up chit R, which made objective 5 worth 10VP. Oh look, there's objective 5 right in Badger's deployment zone. A major setback. And sure enough, I ended up forced to counterattack across little or no cover against a German rifle company with artillery support (naturally enough). That's the French. Attacking. With a 4-card hand... Setback upon setback!

I actually had the inklings of a decent plan: pin and break Badger's units on his startline for the sake of rout exit VP while developing an attack on objective 5, whose 10VP I figured would decide the game. There was a viable strategy here, especially since I nabbed an extra HMG with my support roll, leaving me 10VP to spend on fortifications.

With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I'd bought:
  • Wire OB- 3VP.
  • Strongpoint- 2VP
  • Trenchline- 2VP
  • Entrenchments x2- 2VP.
Then I wish I'd set up my units something like this. (The C+1 and C+2 notations on the map refer to where I'd've put the leaders I generated during that game.) For readers who've not played the CC RSG, I should here point out that I'd be setting up my fortifications (9 wires, 6 foxholes, 4 trenches and 1 bunker) after Badger'd set up his units. Where would you set up in your 2-hex deep deployment zone in that situation dear readers? How far could you risk setting up right under the guns of that mass of French infantry massing by the primary objective? Might you be tempted by the prospect of making an end run against my weak flank for exit VP?

So anyway, one way or another, there'd be a German comany strung out along its narrow deployment zone with a French company about to kick off up close and in its face. And the fortifications? Well, the situation required the French to attack, forcefully and quickly. The position shown here seems more or less to fit the bill. The assault platoon and the base of fire are right in the line, able to bring their squad FP to bear immediately against the objective and/or its supporting units. The assault units have trenches to cover their move up. And the right flank should be secure with that wire and the covering platoon.

All of which would've been very nice, perhaps. But of course I didn't work all that out on the night. I bought myself 2 lots of wire, for 18, and some foxholes for extra cover. I set up firegroups around the buildings, woods and buildings features across the middle of the board. Considering my main objective I added extra men on my left for the assault. I wired extensively on each flank. I was confident that Badger wasn't going to get forward off his startline, so I was hoping that I'd have time to break him and rout him before he could get clear.

Of course, Badger was going nowhere. And neither was I. There wasn't enough cover to risk much running about in front of all that German firepower, and I'd wired the area in front of my primary objective to boot! And the odds are against the French winning a firefight against the Germans all things being equal, and all things weren't equal here: I was playing the worst hand and cardplay in the game against the best and with most of my units out of range too. Oh yes, and don't forget the artillery! Badger didn't, and neither could I as it rained down on my men with dreadful frequency.

So the game was a painful defeat for me, and just painful for Badger, because I couldn't help myself: I bitched and moaned. I did actually talk myself out of it before the game was finished. And I wasn't totally slaughtered in the end. The result was close enough that I wouldn't've needed all that much luck to swing my way after the glorious good fortune of Badger's scenario generation and early turns of the game, and I was more or less in with a shout (and yes, a bit more of a whinge again, I must confess) to the end.

Italy, 1943
Facing the next game, I had to pull myself together quickly I knew. I didn't want to whinge my way out of another potential victory. Badger's choice of map gave us #5. I pondered my choice of sides as carefully as I could. I decided that putting the marsh and that pond in the middle of Badger's deployment zone couldn't work against me, and that's how he got the long edge at the top there.

It was downhill all the way after that, and certainly not worth the effort of a cut and paste session with the GIMP. I got green Italians against line Americans, which left me defending with my Blackshirts company against Badger's rifle detachment, with artillery support, naturally enough. I bungled my defensive setup a bit again. I'd bought wire again, as is my wont. I had originally planned to put a row of 5 across the woods just above the stream. But I had some kind of brainstorm instead, and put it all on the right, to pin Badger's units there in the brush. This turned out to be exactly as pointless as my use of wire in the previous game. On top of all that I made the mistake of trying to hold a forward firing line with the worst troops in the game, troops who should be lurking out of sight waiting to take pot shots at enemies incautious enough to move into sight.

And so Badger's firegroups and artillery spotters were able to inflict a steady steam of casualties giving them healthy increases in VP without pressing need to worry about objectives or exiting. I tried to hold on, but my line was crumbling in short order and no mistake. I resigned when even Badger realised that he was down to mopping up. I was well and truly stuffed by any measure.

Badger. 2
Me. 0

Ouch! ;-\

That's it for now. I hope to write more about the other games in time to get something posted this week. ;)

- August Bank Holiday Offensive #2. Revenge on the steppes
- August Bank Holiday Offensive #3. And punishment in Stalingrad

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