Wednesday, March 30, 2005

SASL AAR - Mission 2: Pockets (Part 4 - Turns 3 & 4) 

British Turn 3, Wind Change DR is an 11 which results in (meaningless) Gusts.

During the Rally Phase, nothing significant happens as a British HS fails to self-rally and the wounded German leader in 12L4 also fails to rally, thus preventing the other units in his hex from making rally attempts. During Prep Fire, my squad in O5 takes a shot at the German conscripts in K3 but without effect. My mortars along the west edge fire at the Germans in L4 but without effect.

During my MPh, my units on the southern end make tracks for board 5, ending in 5Y10. At the northern end, I take advantage of his lack of good order units and run my squads up to surround his stack of broken units. I send the HS up to K5 and the 9-1 leader with his three squads up to M5. Defensive Fire from the conscript HS in K3 is ineffective, allowing me to bring the last squad to M3. During my Advance Fire, a lucky shot KIAs the HS in K3.

So we reach the Rout Phase with his stack of broken units surrounded and unable to rout away. They surrender to the HS in K5, giving me 5 CVP worth of units (an 8-1 leader, a squad, and a HS). At game end, of course, they'll be worth double CVP, so with this one move I've made tremendous progress.

So, my units start towards board 5 during the APh, and with no active Germans in LOS, many of my units are able to claim concealment. Remember that the S? counters are considered (as per S3.1) to be "non-Activated, Good Order, unbroken Enemy unit(s)" and thus even though no activated German units remain on the map, the S? counters still serve to limit concealment gain.

At the end of two and a half turns, I've completely cleared out the units on board 12. Capturing the prisoners has also garnered me enough VP to start thinking about how much progress I've made towards victory. Right now, 14 S? counters remain (all in the board 5 woods), which are worth 2 VP each at game end. Combined with my squad eliminated on the first turn, my opponent has 30 VP if the game ended now. I've eliminated four HS and one squad for a total of 6 VP. My prisoners add another 10 VP (in game-end terms) for 16 VP total. Obviously I've still got a lot of work to do, but with at least 8 full game turns left to play, I've got lots of time to do it.

Of course, not much happens during the German 3rd turn. The Wind Change DR is a ten, providing more Gusts, but no reinforcements for the beleaguered defenders. The only other event is a successful rally of my broken HS in 12L10.

So on to turn 4. The Wind Change DR is a 5, giving me another Random Event. This time I get Infantry Reinforcements (RE #35), which prove to be four squads (4-5-7) with an LMG and an 8-1 leader. This is a nice bonus, but the player has to be a bit careful in how they are used. The units are considered "temporarily attached" since they won't stay with my company for the next mission in my campaign game. However, I can't just throw them into the front line either. As per S17.1321, these units are worth 1.5 times the normal CVP if they are eliminated or captured, a nice way to keep them from being used unrealistically. I mark them accordingly to remember that they are not part of my regular forces.

During the MPh, I move out towards board 5. The mortar crews along the west edge pack up their weapons and head out. The new leader and one of the reinforcing squads panic, but the other three squads get on board successfully. The majority of my forces head for the board 5 woods, stopping one hex short of making contact with the first line of S? counters. This will allow the concealed units to advance into contact without losing that concealment.

During the APh, my units advance into the woods, activating all three S? in the first line. They'll get first shot at my units, but the concealment should help reduce the effectiveness of their fire.

My turn 4 ends, then with my troops already having engaged the first line of German defense on board 5. So far, I've been lucky. I haven't activated any fortifications, vehicles or exceptionally strong positions. I've been left with plenty of time to accomplish my task.

The Wind Change DR for the German 4th turn is a 7 with no effect. His Prep Fire is ineffective, thanks to my concealment. During my Defensive Fire, a number of things happen. His squad in 5M9 battle hardens. His squad in O9 gets KIA'd, with the resulting sniper check breaking my HS double-timing through the village, the only casualty I suffer this turn. Finally, my concentrated fire on N9 breaks his 8-0 leader and causes his conscript squad to surrender, leaving his MMG behind.

The leader routs back to N7 in the second line. The remaining 4-6-8 squad has the opportunity to advance into CC but fails his required NTC.

So ends the 4th turn. The British juggernaut continues, smashing through the first line of defense with the only casualty coming from a sniper. I also took another prisoner, adding another 2 CVP to my game-end total. Can anything stop me?

Somehow I think the answer will likely be yes. Such is (S)ASL.

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