At the moment, Patch and I seem to be alternating between Budapest and the desert for ASL scenarios. We decided to give ASL Annual ’92‘s “…And Here We Damned Well Stay” a spin. I had the Brits again, but at least I had a static defense this time. The scenario is a bit controversial, with a debate between playtest groups being printed in the Annual.

Certainly, with the British defense resting heavily on a number of ROF 3 guns vs a large number of German tanks, there is no way for it not to depend on the dice. The British are a small force of six squads (with a MTR, ATR and three MGs) and three 57mm ATGs directly in the path of an advance by fifteen PzIIIs (a mix of III Ls, III Js and III Hs; presumably because of counter limits) with two armor leaders. The Germans need to get past the British positions, and several patches of sand and sand dunes, and end a Game Turn with two operational tanks there per surviving British gun. Complicating the defense, the Brits are under Ammo Shortage and moderate dust is in effect, which adds an extra 1d3 DRM to each attack. On the other hand, all the infantry gets to set up in foxholes and HIP as long as they’re in sand hexes.

We both looked at the article, and my defense was largely patterned off of it—I reshuffled the troops, but left the three 57mm guns in place, as the positions are just so logical. I was generally thinking in terms of Patch taking a southerly route through what seemed the biggest gaps in the sand. The ATR went down there, with one of the ATG boresights at the entrance to that path, with another placed a bit south of the hillock. The third went just north of the hillock, with the MTR boresighted on the hillock to aid in getting smoke in there if anyone tried engaging Hull Down behind the hillock.

Naturally, Patch lined everyone up along the extreme north end of the board.

Once the initial wave was on, I decided to start taking ranging shots to try and get a lucky hit that would park a wreck in the middle of his line of advance. But my second shot malfunctioned the southernmost gun. Not only was this bad for me, but Patch suddenly was tempted to go for the south route, away from the still-functioning guns. This sent a tank right over the boresight for my northern gun, but even with that aid, I couldn’t hit with poor dice and lots of dust hindrance.

A50 1G
Situation, German Turn 1, full board. My HIP units and boresighting are visible to show the general defenses. The purple line is the German goal.

I tried to put some Smoke down in front of the German force at the north edge, only to find out that my MTR hadn’t brought any Smoke rounds. The two good ATGs each killed a tank, putting the lead section of the the force headed south out of action. I had been planning on pulling everyone but the northernmost guys out of the foxholes to race towards his advance, but with the swing to the south, I left them where they were.

Patch’s second turn was more dramatic since he was actually reaching my defensive positions, and the sand, now. I wish I knew just how surprised Patch was to find out that his first tank was moving right by one of my positions, but while the LMG could hit at 1-hex range, it couldn’t penetrate even on a rear shot. His second move was along the north edge, and the tank bogged in the first hex of sand. The next one down went forward, got behind the sand dune, where the north ATG swiveled and fired (Patch Gun Dueled, but with the mods for being in Motion, the AT Gun won handily).

’12’. One gun permanently gone, and Patch’s victory that much easier.

Next, he moved forward a tank that had got separated from the two packs, and it bogged itself in sand near the end of its move. My MTR got a CH on the next one (in the north), but still couldn’t affect it. He returned the favor by driving adjacent and breaking the crew with the MGs as he went by. The rest of the north group moved up without incident, but the second tank from the south group bogged itself.

A50 2G
Situation, German Turn 2.

With things getting bad, I started Intensive Firing on my second turn, and immediately malfunctioned the middle ATG, though the southern one took out the lead PzIII. The two LMGs were the only other things even remotely in range, and while one got a hit, it couldn’t penetrate. Meanwhile, I raced the ATR, MMG and the one squad without any SW north and towards the line of advance. This was technically out in the open, but with all the dust, he couldn’t touch them.

I managed PAATCs with two out of two units to go into CC with his tanks, but couldn’t connect, while Patch eliminated my gun crew.

A50 2B
Situation, British Turn 2.

The good news is that I repaired my ATG in Patch’s rally. And then his first move was to Mire one of his Bogged tanks (two of the three Mired, actually, and the third used more MP than it had unBogging). The middle gun had a fair rate-tear, and manged to kill a tank after several shots (sadly, losing rate at that point). The southern gun barely missed its acquired target on the first shot, and then malfunctioned on the IF shot, putting me back down to one operational gun. I also malfunctioned the MMG on an adjacent side shot, but the ATR got a CH to kill another tank (the only brew up of the game).

He also tried sending one of his surviving crews after the remaining gun, but a good shot from one of my squads caused a NMC, which killed them on a ’12’.

A50 3G
Situation, German Turn 3.

This left Patch with seven tanks in the victory area, all with fairly good cover thanks to dust and one of the sand dunes. Since I did not repair my ATG in my RPh (I did get the MMG), he only needed two of them to survive the turn for a win. I wasn’t able to get any hits in my prep (nor any rate), so that was that.

While my luck could have been far worse, losing one gun on the second shot, and then permanently losing another on the second turn really hurt a lot. In fact, I saw more Ammo Shortage here than in most of the FB scenarios I’ve played, where it’s a lot more likely to happen (one gun lost instead of malfunctioning, one gun malfunction and the MMG malfunction were all because of Ammo Shortage; the other gun malfunction would have happened anyway thanks to IF). I also should have re-worked the defense some more, since I knew Patch was looking at the same article I was.

Patch’s luck could have been better, but with that many tanks taking that many bog rolls, something’s going to happen. The odds are probably closer to two bogs than three though (especially since it was the 11+ rolls for being in, rather than adjacent to, sand that got him on two of those).

It’s a very dicey scenario, but it makes up for it by being fast playing. It’s not going on the ‘to play again’ pile, but it is a nice intro to the sand rules.