Had Jason over yesterday for our first one-on-one game in a while. I decided to introduce him to the Grand Tactical System with the intro scenario of Strike-Counter Strike in this year’s issue of Briefings (and at this rate, I do hope we’ll see more).

It’s been a while, so it took a while for me to get back into the swing of things. Jason took the Americans, who are defending Schalbach for three turns. He set up with the 106 Cav  defending Veckerswiller, the mortar battery near the west woods, the TDs near the observation post, and two companies forward in the forest, while the third and AT battery covered the town from the adjacent orchard. The Germans start on the north edge of the active map, and I weighted towards the west, away from the 106 Cav, with the Panthers anchoring the end of the line.

At Start, 0700. I hurried enough pulling counters that I didn’t see the fact the American infantry should be in improved positions.

The start chit is the Panzer Lehr divisional activation (I forgot to roll for command points until much later; I might have done more at the time if I’d realized I had more command points). Then came all three American chits (division activation, 114 Rgt formation, and direct activation… I think in that order), which let Jason pound two exposed companies, doing a step loss to one, and supressing and and doing two cohesion hits to the other. My formation chit let me resolve the supression on one and pull both out of LOS. The remaining motorized company and the engineers managed to suppress the two forward American companies however, while the Panthers shot up the armored cars, and moved to take on the TDs.

Start of 0900.

My direct command was the first chit of the second turn, I started earning off the cohesion hits… and I don’t properly remember how much more I did. Certainly, over the course of the turn, there were several assaults on 28.18, and I put barrages down on other units. The Panthers did a step to the TDs, and I knocked the American defenders down to one step with cohesion hits before they used a division activation to clear the suppression and pull out of the hex. I started to follow, but needed some time to sort myself out (having taken a cohesion hit in the assaults, and tripping over routes as I didn’t want to go in and out of column).

Start of 1100.

So, for the final turn of the game, I needed to go four+ hexes, and assault the town, now defended by a single-step infantry, and the one that had been in the adjacent orchards had now shifted over to it. But, the road was clear, and I had the first chit again (division activation… I think). Between that and my direct activation I was able to mask everything with barrages, and get up close and personal with the defenders, starting with the Panthers moving to 31.22.

It became obvious that the last two chits were the formation activation chits. If Jason got his, the game was over, as PzGr Rgt 902 would not go this turn. But instead, that one came out, and I got to launch two assaults on the town. The first one went decent, causing a cohesion hit, a suppression, and a step loss. (If I had been smart, I would have fired, and then assaulted… I did think of that in time for the Panthers.) So, it came down to the last assault, with me needing to get a couple of step losses (on one unit, a cohesion hit would be enough), but I couldn’t quite manage it, so the Americans held on for a win.

End of 1100. Just short.


So, some first game (in a while) goofs, but we came down to the final rolls, with me having reasonable odds of success, though the -2 town TEM saved Jason from a lot of damage. Overall, it’s a nice, tight scenario, and a good introduction.

It’s interesting to contrast this with “Storming the Kastelli” in Operation Mercury. Thanks to the distances involved there, it gives good practice in going in and out of column. That’s less important here, but artillery becomes very important. In fact, I generally haven’t seen artillery parks in action before, and this did a lot to give those rules a workout. I didn’t really use mine at the start of the game, which meant more damage from American fire than I needed… and probably helps make up for the lack of IPs.

Jason liked the system in general, and I’ve encouraged him to get Briefings if he’s interested, since it has some nice articles in it (which I obviously need to read again). He, of course, is already into a number of games and systems, so I don’t know if he’ll decide he has time and energy or not. But, I’m now eager to get back to it… until the next bright shiny distracts me.