BoF16 Saluting a General
Series Replay: Andy Bagley (Russian) vs Jim Bishop (German)
|BoF16 GT1 end of CCPh
German Turn 1
|BoF16 GT1 MPh Board 85
|BoF16 GT1 MPh Board 42
|BoF16 GT1 MPh Board 85
Moving the 8-0 stack to 85Y1 was an unnecessary risk. It may well have been a gaffe on Jim’s part and not deliberate. Whatever the case, the end result underlines the point I made earlier about the vulnerability of a three-pronged attack. [Jim: As I alluded to, this was a huge mistake. I wrote those units off on Turn 2.]
|BoF16 RT1 End APh
Russian Turn 1
I don’t understand why the “mortar” stack in 85N10 withdrew, unless the stack doesn’t contain a mortar after all. If any stack needed to withdraw this turn, it was the HMG stack. With eight tanks coming on next turn, this stack could come under a lot of pressure. Otherwise, the withdrawal of Russian Infantry was to be expected.
It appears that Andy (and Jim) overlooked the fact that Russian tanks have five less MP on their turn of entry. [Andy: Oops, you’re right! But I think I could have got my tanks where they were going on Turn 2 anyway.] [Jim: I did miss it. I don’t think this affected the outcome any. Andy was more than able to get where he needed to be.] Moving what I suspect is a Stuart so far along the woods road on board 5 serves little purpose in my view. German armour does not have enough MP to reach 5R6, let alone 5P4, on Turn 2. Considering that the Russians have a turn to react to any drive in this direction, the Stuart could have parked in 85I10 from where it can target 5H3 in a pinch. Alternatively, the Russians could have sent this tank to provide support for what I gather is another Stuart in 42W5. Although isolated and unsupported, the southernmost tank should be able to get two shots off at any panzers brazen enough to rush this HD position.
|BoF16 GT2 End APh
German Turn 2
|BoF16 GT2 MPh Board 42
Placing 4 “resid” in 42N4 was a good play given Andy’s decision to keep his HMG in 42V1. Starting the Lee in 85J2 not so much. The Lee would have had a minimum of two shots on the Pz IIIG in 42S2 during the DFPh, and another two shots in the Russian PFPh. Moreover, the panzer was at optimal range, which gave the Lee a base To-Hit of 10. It’s a missed opportunity that Andy is bound to regret. More on missed opportunities in a moment.
|BoF16 GT2 MPh Board 42
Jim’s aggressive use of armour is admirable, although I would have preferred to see him commit a second tank to board 85. He had an opportunity to create a BFF sandwich and potentially break and eliminate the unit in 85R6 for failure to rout. As it was, I believe the Pz IIIH used one MP too many when it changed Vehicle Covered Arc (VCA) before stopping to Bounding First Fire (BFF). Because the attack proved ineffective, the incorrectly added BMG FP was not a factor. [Jim: The dice know when you have made a mistake and sort that all out for you. :) In hindsight, I agree a second tank on board 85 would have been better. I eventually correct this but it was too little, too late.]
|BoF16 GT2 MPh Board 85
With a Morale Level of 8, Russian tankers should be CE in order to maximize their potential for hits. Case in point: the first shot (1,2) by the Stuart in 85J3 missed the Pz IIIG in 42S2 by one pip. However, the second shot did hit, which neither player realized at the time. On a Hull Hit, the Stuart needed a seven or less to destroy the panzer, and had two kicks at this baby cat as a result of scoring Multiple Hits with double twos! [Jim: This was arguably the largest mistake in the game and should have cost me a tank there more than 75% of the time. In my defence, I was looking at the rules at the time and Andy said never mind, it’s a miss. Still, in the long run, I have to catch that so mea culpa Andy.]
|BoF16 GT2 AFPh
The drama that unfolded in 5R1 must have surprised Jim as much as it surprised me. [Andy: Surprised me too!] That Russian 4-4-7 is charmed. It was able to extricate itself from the trap by surviving two Interdiction rolls. It may be in one piece, but its now farther away from a leader and the VC area for no gain.
|BoF16 RT2 End APh
Russian Turn 2
|BoF16 RT2 MPh Board 42
A number of German AFV took advantage of the Lees jockeying for position to gain Motion and change VCA. In addition to making them harder to hit, Motion status saves them one or more MP in their next MPh.
Not happy about the Stuart making a half-hearted flanking move up north. It’s going to be out of position again, meaning that it won’t have any impact on play again. I am happy to see some Russian Infantry enter the VC area. I wonder if they intend to entrench. I’m dismayed that Russian tankers are passing up shots in order to reposition.
|BoF16 RT2 MPh Board 85
The Stuart in 85J3 was HD, and had a -2 acquisition on the panzer in 42S2. Even though it was BU, it had more than a 70 percent chance of hitting its target, while the panzer needed to roll seven or less, and a turret hit. Moreover, it was guaranteed a shot if the Stuart moved. Abandoning the HD position in order to move to 42X7 with his other Stuart is likewise questionable, leaving the Lee in 42Y1 isolated and without flank protection. I expect Jim to make the most of this. [Jim: I tried and failed, but more on this later.]
|BoF16 RT2 DFPh Board 85
Russian Infantry continue to fall back, but not all are successful. Concealment doesn’t save the Russian 4-4-7 that Assault Moves from 85R6 to Q7. The Pz IIIH fails to leave an impression, but the German ATR squad manages to Pin the Russian unit. The 9-1 stack finishes the job.
|BoF16 GT3 End CCPh
German Turn 3
We took the game break at this point. I see a tank battle coming up, and if I can knock out a couple of his tanks without further loss I think I may be in with a chance. Otherwise, I worry that his tanks will surround the victory hexes and break my infantry there, allowing his infantry to walk in.
|BoF16 GT3 PFPh Board 42
|BoF16 GT3 MPh Board 85
The sideshow that is 42J1 heats up as the Russian Sniper takes out a second 8-0 leader that entered the hex earlier in the MPh. The attack puts the broken units under DM again, further reducing their chances of rallying. Meanwhile when the pesky Pz IIIH busts up a Russian squad in 85P8, a Lee fires on it from 85J5 using its SA. The players determine that the panzer is Immobilized. However, the LOS is blocked in L6 and M7. [The result stands, just as the failure to resolve the Multiple Hits on the Pz IIIG a turn earlier stands.]
|BoF16 GT3 MPh Board 85
More serious is the failure of the Lee in 42Y1 to hit a Pz IIIG when it stops in Y3. The Main Armament (MA) of the Lee misses by one pip! Again, should have been CE! And in retrospect, should have fired the SA, keeping the turreted MA free to fire at other tanks approaching from outside the Lee’s VCA. It came as no surprise when a Pz IIIJ with a 9-1 Armour Leader entered 42U1 in Bypass and stopped to shoot. The first shot hit and failed to penetrate. The panzer nonetheless retained ROF. The Lee could have turned to face the threat by firing its BMG. It didn’t. It could have traversed its turret and Intensive Fired its MA. It didn’t. The panzer fired again and scored a CH. The Lee went up in flames!
|BoF16 GT3 MPh Board 42
Across the road to the south, three panzers ganged up on the lone Stuart. The Russian tank failed to land a hit. The German tankers were also unsuccessful. However, the situation looks grim for the Stuart as two Pz IIIJ are HD to it. The Stuart should be able to hit the Pz IIIG in 42W6, but whether it succeeds in knocking it out is another question. I’d be surprised if the Stuart survives Russian Turn 3. [Jim: I didn’t either. Be prepared to be surprised. Sigh.]
|BoF16 GT3 MPh Board 42
In spite of my reservations regarding the three separate lines of advance, Jim’s Infantry has largely coalesced into two groups. The southern force is finally making progress along the lateral road on board 42, with some units are far east as the V row. A reinforced platoon of largely Elite squads is making steady progress on board 85, but has yet to pass the Q row. The erroneous Immobilization result strips this force of its Pz IIIH cover. Smoke discharged in the 85O6/O7 followed by some BFF would have helped get 4-6-8s across the O-row in one piece. Depending on how Andy reacts, the Russians may be able to keep the Germans from gaining the 85N5 woods on Turn 4. What Andy does with his armour next is critical. He’s lost a Lee tank and two-and-a-half squads in one turn. [Jim: The immobilized tank here was probably far worse for me than a dead tank in the grain field. Given the choice, I would have preferred we get this correct. Sadly, we didn’t. I am just happy I didn’t cheese a win here with a mistake (or in this case, mistakes).]
|BoF16 GT3 MPh - DFPh Board 42
In return, I have lost an 8-0 leader and a HS. I have one other squad which is broken and out of the fight but he could still play a part. My Infantry is lagging but running forward as fast as they can. They are knotted up in two groups around a leader. The southern group is going to struggle to make the battle and may be part of some last turn rush. I have also had my PzIIIH Immobilized.
I have some concerns at this point. Andy has one Stuart in 5W6, which is a threat to my Infantry in the center. As my Infantry is lagging, they are kind of on their own. The only real Anti-Tank (AT) asset they have up there is the ATR and a Demolition Charge (DC). My immobilized PzIII is also there but he moves next and gets to take the first shot. I don’t think the PzIII will be there to defend. The Stuart in 85L3 is also concerning. There is really not much I can do if he pushes that into my Infantry in the center.
His Stuart in 42X7 has about a 40% chance to kill my PzIIIG in 42W6. If he gets rate or IF’s, he could get lucky and kill 1-2 more. That would be a disaster. As long as he doesn’t kill more than two, I can trade with him 1-for-1. If he doesn’t make a move to collapse his tanks into mutually supporting positions, I will continue to isolate a small portion and bite off more of his armor. The problem for me is going to be control and I need to get some Infantry to the VC area to do that. Breaking these units is not going to be enough.
Looking back on Turn 2, I think the PzIIIG to 42S2 was a hit on the 2,2 and not a miss. The DRM’s were different. Since it was doubles, it would be multiple hits and immobilized on a 8. Odds are, I would have lost that tank right there. In my defense, I did not look at the DR as Andy said miss. In addition, the shot from 85J5 which Immobilized my PzIIIH in 85P8 was blocked. Looking at the board again, I still don’t think that LOS should be blocked. I wonder if it would be on the actual boards. Alas, I guess I am still looking for the perfect game of ASL. [Chris: turns out that the LOS on the VASL board doesn’t match the physical board.]
|BoF16 RT3 End CCPh
Russian Turn 3
|BoF16 RT3 PFPh - DFPh Board 42
The Stuart on board 85 plays a dangerous game baiting the Immobile Pz IIIH, especially when it reentered the acquired hex. But the gambit worked and the light tank ended its MPh safely HD in 85J3. The last Stuart inched forward to take up a position from which it can frustrate German efforts to get Infantry forward quickly. I still feel that Andy is under utilizing his armour, and this tank in particular.
|BoF16 RT3 MPh Board 85
I expected the Stuart on board 42 to be destroyed, Shocked, or Immobilized in the DFPh. Aside from the obvious loss in combat strength and effectiveness (three panzers are effectively out of the armour battle: one Immobilized, one destroyed, and one with a malfunctioned, long-barrel MA), this leaves the Germans in a predicament. Prep Fire next turn, or move and risk being hit by the Stuart. Even if they successfully disengage, the panzers are left with the problem of how to counter this threat to their flank. I think Jim needs to bite the bullet and accept that one of his tanks is not moving next turn. The Germans need to destroy this pesky Stuart, and sooner rather than later.
Part 3 is here!