Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Tretten in Flames - BatRep

With game set up completed, victory conditions checked, and QRS in-hand, the scenario was ready for its initial trial.  As First Player, the German side acts first.

11:00 On the German left, the Germans begin their advance upon Tretten by moving on the two, unoccupied BUAs positioned between the two opposing deployment areas. The Germans lay smoke and then advance.
Germans in the south advance
Almost immediately, the German advance draws fire from the British held building at the base of the hill.  The Germans suffer no casualties as the British section is marked with Op Fire.  On the German right the mountain troops, on skis, advance toward the hills overlooking Tretten.  German support weapons deployed in the center add into the advancing fire.
Germans taking fire on the move
Before the advancing Germans can reach the BUAs, the British shuffle rifle sections into the house and garden to set up a defense to thwart this move. 
British take the house and walled garden

British reach the building first
11:06 Outnumbering the British holed up in the house, the Germans assault the somewhat isolated British section.  Fire bursts from the house as the Germans close.  As the assault goes in, the British remain defiant.  The German attack is repulsed with the attackers suffering one hit (Pin) and returning to their jumping off point.
Germans attack!
The British rifle section (with the second LMG) moves into and deploys in the adjacent garden.  It takes fire from the section to its front as well as from the machine gun in the woods in the center.  The cross fire pins the British within the garden walls.  Encouraged by the repulse of the attack upon the house, the British CO orders a second section into the house.  Perhaps this is a defensible position?
British defending walled garden
11:16 While the Germans (recently repulsed from their assault on the house) recover, one British section in the house is pinned by covering fire.  The mountain troops to the north make their way across the valley floor.  Realizing that being pinned in the garden is no safe place to linger, the British section falls back to safety under the covering fire of their comrades. Two German sections are pinned from this effective covering fire.  One of the ski troops is pinned as well.   
Firefight heats up
11:25 Recovered from their assault against the house, the two German sections are ordered back into the fray.  Under the cover of smoke, the Germans charge in.  With one British section pinned, the second attack is successful.  The British take two hits to one.  One Brit section is killed and a second is pinned.  The attackers take one hit resulting in pinning one German section within the building.  The surviving Brit falls back out of the house.   
Germans assault a second time

Fighting in the building

Germans throw the defenders out

Building held by Germans
11:31 Random Events. Germans roll a HQ Suppression result while the British roll Infiltration result.  With a HQ Suppression, each hex must roll to be in command.  Few German units manage to overcome this paralysis with the exception of the mountain troops in the north and a few rifle sections in the south.  On skis, the mountain troops continue their advance upon the Tretten Heights.  
Current situation
For the British, the infiltration roll allows them to move one unit into an adjacent, non-occupied hex. They move the section to the top of the hill covered in deep snow.  This stealthy move allows the British to take up position in the deep snow and bring fire down upon the German mountain troops in the valley below.  With some good marksmanship, one surprised German squad is destroyed.
Destruction of ski troop
11:38 Placing the southern sector back into command, the Germans move forward against the walled garden.  The sections in the adjacent house provide covering fire.  German units, having been held in reserve, begin shifting to the center.  The PzII is seen in the northern sector slowly crawling forward through the snow as the ski troops continue to glide toward the northernmost house.

The British unleash a wallop of firepower pinning several units and destroying a second mountain section as the Germans move up in the north and fall back from the open ground in the south. 
Cross fire hurricane
To open up a fire lane from the machine gun to the garden, German sections fall back to a safer position allowing the MG to open up.  The MG and supporting rifles do their job and eliminate the defenders in the garden.
Fallback to open a fire lane
While the Germans fall back to clear a fire lane in the south, the German center snaps into action.  Finally, the German reserves begin to advance in the center with support from the PZII.  Despite seeing the destruction of one of their sections in the walled garden, the British reinforce defeat.
Germans advance in the center
11:46 The German advance in the center continues but this late attack may be running out of time. MG fire from the woods pins a British section in the walled garden. 
Center push
After spending much of the last 30 minutes pinned inside a building, the British rifle section with the extra firepower of the LMG, sends a devastating burst into the German occupied building next to the garden.  One rifle section is destroyed.
Devastating fire
11:50 With the Germans advancing in the center, several defeats in the north and a seeming battle of attrition in the south, the German command reassesses what needs to be done to push through into Tretten.
Situation 11:50
With a clear fire lane into the walled garden, the MG and its supporting rifles pour withering fire, once again, into its defenders.  The heavy firepower from the MG position kills one rifle section. The remaining pinned rifle section is finished off by cross fire from nearby German infantry. 
Withering fire into walled garden
Under cover of smoke, the German center advances into the deep snow to threaten both of the buildings situated on the northern half of the battlefield.
Germans advance in deep snow under cover of smoke
As the Germans reoccupy the house adjoining the garden, British fire eliminates any defender unlucky enough to find itself there.
Another one bites the dust
11:56 The Germans in the center come down from the hill to assault the British occupied homes
Situation at 11:56
after the defenders are softened up by MG fire.
Assault goes in
The German attackers finish off the defenders and then occupy the house.
Success in taking one of the northern houses
With the loss of that unit, the British defenders' Morale Level reaches zero.  Each remaining unit must now test morale to either hold its ground or fall back.  Three of the remaining defenders break and fallback.  One unit retreats off table. 
British morale breaks!
12:00 With the noon turn being the last turn of play, the Germans advance to consolidate their gains and capture the spoils.  The circled objectives show the BUAs held by the Germans at game's end.  Having taken four of the five needed for victory, the Germans fall just short of a victory.  German casualties were kept under 50% but they needed to take one more BUA to secure a victory.  
Close but no cigar
Well!  This battle turned out much closer than I expected.  Action ebbed and flowed throughout the contested hour-long battle.  At times, I figured the Germans had little chance.  Then, my sense was that the Germans had little chance.  Finally, on the last turn, the Germans made great strides but fell one BUA short.  Some of the firefights were extremely bloody.  Assaulting is very chaotic and a high risk venture.

The British suffered heavy casualties but held on by the skin of their teeth to deny the Germans victory.  With one more turn, the Germans could have sealed the victory but it was not to be.  In hindsight, there are different tactics I would use for both.  For the Germans, they waited too long to launch their attack up the center.  Their MG was misplaced too.  For the British, their initial deployment could be better thought out to provide more crossfire opportunities with improved lines of sight.  I will give it another go and see if these adjustments make a difference to the outcome.

The victory conditions and game length seemed appropriate in offering both sides a fair chance at victory.  I will replay and see if my initial impressions change.  A few rules' questions came up during play as well as thoughts on tactics.  I need time to ponder these questions before reaching a conclusion.  For me, this was an interesting battle with more tension than expected.  Much more interesting than I thought after first finding and then converting this ASL scenario.

40 comments:

  1. A very enjoyable account and it looks like you got the scenario pretty well balanced from the outset. Nice to see a game coming out of ASL inspiration.

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    1. Thanks, Norm. Glad you enjoyed the battle account. Had the game been one turn longer, the Germans would have won. One turn shorter and the British would have held onto one more objective. If I find the Germans having too easy of a time, the number of German stands lost before triggering failure can be decreased. The IG and mortar did not hold much effect in this game. The PzII, no effect. Maybe next game?

      As for potential ASL scenarios, there are plenty of Norway scenarios in the issue of ASL Journal from which this one originated.

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    2. A replay would be great to see and maybe even try it with other rulesets, such as BKC? I always find it interesting how the same scenario play when used with other rulesets; sometimes better, sometimes worse.

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    3. Steve, I agree that it is very interesting to fight the same battle with different rules. Unfortunately, my stable of WWII rules is thin at this level. I might dust off "1943" and see if that would work.

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  2. Excellent Jonathan! Looking forward to more TaM action in Norway!

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  3. A nice job on the report there Jonathan, sounds like a good game.

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    1. Thank you, George! Not as handsome as your games but an interesting situation and it produced a good contest.

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  4. Sounds like a terrific game. I love the ones that come down to the wire.

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    1. For solo play, coming down to the wire is good!

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  5. Nice to see something slightly different, you are making me think I could do something with my 6mm eastern front figures....I will ponder this, it would require a suitable game mechanism 🤔

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    1. Different is good! I am sure you can think of a suitable game system...

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  6. Great knife-edge battle! Curious to know if the Brits had victory conditions of their own - I could only find German ones so I presume the British win if the German’s don’t get their five BUA’s & casualty percentage? I’m also intrigued by the ski troops. I presume they get a movement bonus. Anything else?

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    1. Thank you, Mike!

      The British win by not losing. That is, avoiding a German victory.

      All movement in TaM is either one or two hexes. I kept that same movement rate in place for ski troops too. Ski troops have the advantage of not making a "bog check" when exiting a deep snow hex. Many units can get stuck in deep snow and impassable to wheeled/halftracks.

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  7. Just came across your blog. Great game report. I've always though that the 1940 Norway campaign had a lot of potential for wargaming scenarios with some very close actions where it could have gone either way. Cheers Greg

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    1. Welcome, Greg, and thank you!

      I have long had a fascination with the Norway campaign. It is fun to finally a get miniatures' game in on the topic. There will be more.

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  8. What a great report Jonathon - small actions like this are often more fun than a huge battle where the table groans under the weight of lead and all you do is contend with traffic jams, trying to manouvre your troops around!

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    1. Thanks much, Keith! At only 9 hexes by 6 hexes, this is a very small wargame. A lot of action can be packed into this space. Playing the long way down the grid made the game feel much larger than it actually was.

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  9. Great report Jonathan! Not seen many WWII games set in Norway?

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    1. Thanks, Ray! No, not much interest in the 1940 Norway theater of operations on the gaming table.

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  10. That was a very close-run battle as you say, with some see-sawing between the two side. The PzII didn't have as great an influence as I was expecting.

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    1. The action was very close. It went down to the wire and the last turn. With a move of one hex, armor cannot get into the fight briskly. Coupled with the either move or fire constraint, armor, they are not a moving firing platform.

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  11. Jonathan,

    So happy to see this, thanks for posting! What a fight man, looks like the rules worked perfectly for Norway! I thought it would be pretty easy for the Germans, right up to that first close assault where they got pushed back, the Brits reinforced, and the Germans got cut up, and when the Brits caught the ski troops in the open I figured it was all over, but they made a valiant effort before coming up short on points.

    Looking forward to more, buddy!

    V/R,
    Jack

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    1. Jack! With your encouragements, I got the battle report up with little delay.

      This was quite a fight, for sure, and the rules worked well. It is surprising how quickly one can work through a turn in TaM. Also, a lot of action can be compressed into that single turn.

      Very pleased to see that you enjoyed the battle account. I am certain you will see this action at least one more time.

      Thanks for your support!

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  12. A great AAR and certainly a close game. I thought that with a mortar, IG and PzII, the Germans would have had a significant advantage in firepower. It's not often that you can say a PzII could be a game changer!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this action, Steve! While the PzII never became engaged, the fire from the mortar and IG proved ineffective. Next time, the mortar should be used in laying more smoke while the IG should focus on finding easier targets!

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  13. Nice looking game Jonathan!

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  14. Lovely tense game, with the Brits holding on! Nice size and the scenario seemed to transfer well!
    Best Iain

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    1. The game came down to the end before a victor was declared. A tense and hard fight. The ASL scenario transferred very well to the tabletop!

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  15. Nice AAR. The arrows really help to follow the sequence. Sounds like a good solo game. 😀
    Is there a reason why the hexes are grey?

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    1. Thanks, Stew! Arrows help me keep the narrative and sequencing straight too.

      The grey hexes don't evoke images of the Norewegian snow covered landscape in the low-light conditions of the arctic? Actually the hexes are green and the setting I had the camera on made them look greyish/green...

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    2. Well no... not exactly invoking images of snow... lol. 😀
      It’s always weird to me why some colors change in the camera. I had a cigar box mat that was a yellow green in real life but on the camera phone was a dull brown.

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    3. Well, that was my story and I’m sticking to it! If I keep on with Norway, I ought to paint the backside of these hexes white.

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  16. An enjoyable account of the game. It is interesting how the after game assessment identify possible changes to deployment. Possibly to do with a time limited game.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the battle report, Peter! I always learn from my mistakes. When setting up the terrain, deploying forces, and having a lack of intimate knowledge of the time/space interactions in the rules, there is typically a way to better deploy and optimize play. For me, this takes a few iterations...

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