After our last FtF session of Up Front, Patch and I decided to come back to it on Vassal after we’d had a chance to study the vehicle rules some. So for the last couple of weeks, we’ve been playing scenario E “Armored Recon Patrol”, with me as the attacking Germans and Patch as the defending Russians. We have three decks to get four people into protective terrain at Range 4, though the defenders win by default if that doesn’t happen. (I’m still figuring out how I want to report this game, and have gone overly-verbose this time, giving all the fire attack values and concealment, and the final effects numbers, but not the modified fire strength.)

I set up in three groups; two four-man sections with the Sdkfz 251/1 halftrack in between, figuring to use it for the defense bonus to adjacent groups as much as I could. Patch set up his 15(!) men in three groups with four on each flank and seven men including the ASL/LMG in the center. For initial terrain, I placed a Stream on Patch’s Group B.

Some turns passed before there was any activity. I tried a Sniper to no effect (and no effect from Patch’s subsequent Sniper Check), and finally a Fire 1 (Conceal -1) at his big group for no effect (-1, -3, 2, 0, 0, -4, 1). Right after that, Patch Forded with Group B, and I hit with another Fire 1 (Conceal -3) to pin one person (1, 1, 0, -2, 5, -1, -2). Patch then moved into Woods and Rallied the pinned man.

I then got my Group C into motion, drawing a Fire 2 (Concealed -1) from Patch’s B, pinning two (0, 3, 2, 1), before they could get into some Buildings (my earlier fire had burned through 3 of the 4 ‘removed’ cards, and Patch had tossed one earlier).

Patch moved up Group A, and I hit them with Fire 3+2 (Concealed -3) from the HT to pin two of them (3, 3, 5, -1) while Rallying group C. Patch got his men behind a Wall, but the HT hit them again before they could rally with Fire 2 for no effect (-3, 1, 0, 3). A couple turns later, he Rallied All in Group A, and then started Group B forward again. With everyone else under cover, the HT Fired 1 on Patch’s Group C for no damage (1, -3, 0, -1).

His Group B moved into some Brush and then Fired 4+1 (Concealed -2) on my Group C, pinning one (-1, 1, 3, -5). I put Smoke on my own Group A before moving them up, and Patch’s Group B moved up again. The HT Fired 2 on them, but did no damage (3, 1, 2, 0, 0, 1, -1), and they went on top of a Hill while my Group A ducked into a Gully. With both of my infantry groups advanced to Range 1, the HT followed suit, but was forced back to 0 by a Marsh from Patch. My Group A Fired 1 on his B (gully -> hill) to pin two men (-4, 4, 0, 0, 1, 5, -4). Patch Rallied 1 of them and the HT moved up to Range 1 again, while my Group C finally Rallied. Patch Fired 4 (Conceal -2) from the hill at the approaching HT, but couldn’t affect it (1).

Patch moved Group C up to Range 1 (now everyone was at 1 except his B at 2), and my HT parked in some Brush. Group C Fired 1 (Concealed -1) at his C to pin one person (-1, 1, 2, 7) just before they ducked into a Gully. The last pinned man in Patch’s Group B finally Rallied, and my Group A moved up, drawing Fire 5 from the hill to pin the entire section (7, 4, 5, 5). Rally 6 was sufficient for that, and the HT returned Fire 5 (Concealed -1-1) to pin three men (2, -2, 4, 2, 0, 3, 2). Patch put some Wire on Group A, which they immediately Moved out of, and the HT continued Fire 3 at the hill, routing one man, and pinning another (2, 3, 1, 2/6, 5, 2, 1).

That fire round finished off the first deck, and the next turn Group A (finally) moved onto a Hill. Patch Rallied Group C while I placed some Wire on his Group B. Group A then Fired 3 along the hill, pinning the LMG assistant gunner, but also malfunctioning my SL’s SMG (3, 6, -3, 1, 0, 0). The HT followed up with Fire 3+1 pinning the rest of the group, including the LMG/ASL (6, 4, 0, 1, 4, 1).

Patch’s Group A Fired 3 at my A, pinning one (2, 2, 4, 7) while his C started moving out of the gully. My SL desperately tried to repair his SMG with no luck, while being Fired 3 (Concealed -1) on again from his Group A, which pinned him (6, 0, 4, 0). Patch’s group C moved into Buildings. I Rallied Group A before I took a card hit, and then failed to repair the SMG a third time before Firing 1+1 (Concealed -3) at Group B panic/kill one person (2, 1, 0, 0, -2, 2/1).

Patch responded with Fire 2 at my Group A for no effect (-3, -4, 2, -1). I failed to repair the SMG again, and Patch rallied his ASL/SMG. Finally getting another movement card, my Group C moved up to Range 2 as I finally repaired the SMG in Group A. (Patch: Huzzah! –I mean, crap!) Patch then pinned the HT with a Sniper and put a Stream on my Group C. I was able instantly Rally the HT.

Patch Fired 2 at my Group C to pin two men(5, 5, 0, -2). I Rallied that as well, followed by Patch Rallying two of his Group B. My Group C tried to go around the stream, but failed, following that up with Fire 4 (Conceal -2) from the HT at Patch’s Group B, which malfed the MG on the second resolution (-1, -4). I had hoped to do more before following up with Fire 1 from Group B, but tried it anyway and pinned the LMG again (6, 3, 1, 0, 0).

I got going again with a Ford on Group C and a successful repair of the HT’s MG, and Fired 2 with Group A at Group B to rout one man and kill another (-1, -1, 7/8, 3/5, 0). That trimmed his big group down to three people, and the ASL/LMG was still pinned, and the entire group was still under the wire. It was getting pretty obvious that I’d win, since there was still over a deck to go before the end, but since he was at range 2 on group C, and my Group B was the HT (and unable to win on it’s own), only Group A was capable of maneuvering to a win. Which left shooting Patch’s squad to pieces.

But it wasn’t going to be easy, as Patch put a Marsh on by Group C, leaving me the choice of accepting terrain that required two move cards to get out of, or going back to the stream that I had to ford. I figured taking my chances one card at a time was better than seeing if I could get up to two move cards at a time and went back to the stream. The HT Fired 4 (Concealed -2) on Group B again routing the ASL and killing the third man outright (6/6, 3, 8).

Needing two more kills/routs to break his squad, I switched to picking on his Group A at this point, with the HT pinning one man on a Fire 2+1 (2, 3, 2, -2), who immediately Rallied. Meanwhile Patch’s man in Group B went out of assistant crewman status and recovered the LMG. My Group C attempted to re-ford the stream and failed, while the HT Fired 5 (Concealed -1) at B for no effect (4), ending the second deck.

I put some Wire on Patch’s Group A, and a Sniper took a shot at my HT for no effect. Instead of using another Move card to attempt to move C off the stream, I moved the HT forward and parked it on a Hill (with everyone now Range 2) before making another attempt with C, which failed to ford the stream again. Patch then Fired 3 at them with his Group C, pinned one person, and killed another (2, 3, -1, 8). The pinned man felt Heroic enough to rally, and the HT Fired 3 (Concealed -1) at A again for no damage (2, 2, 2, 1). My Group C then forded the stream again, and finally got into a Gully.

Patch moved Group A off the wire, and a Sniper attempt on my HT failed. He then put Wire on my Group A, but they moved off it immediately. The HT Fired 3 at A, killing the SL and one other (8, 7, 4, 8) to end the game as Patch’s squad routed with 8 out of 15 men gone.

Afterword: The MG on the halftrack is just nasty. 8 firepower at RR 0 allows for a lot of effective long-range shooting. I had a hard time moving up, as I didn’t see much in the way of Move cards, and Patch managed to gum up Group C’s efforts for a long time. The large Range 2 group on the hill was set to do a lot of punishment, and apparently the first big break on them came right before they fired, and Patch had to discard the Fire cards in a quest for Rally cards. Worse, I got that Wire on them, which he never got rid of, and it negated the Hill (and gave a bonus to my Group A once they got on their Hill).

I was disappointed with the results of a lot of early attacks. I figured with seven targets one result would be high, and get a result, but I kept getting low RNCs. The pair of malfunctions came right after Patch’s situation started going south, and could have been a lot more serious but for that.