A while back, I proposed the first Annual scenario to have not been reprinted as my next game with Tom Arnold, but we went with the much shorter 195 “Rocket’s Red Glare” instead, as there was limited time before he was unavailable for a few months. We went back to A4 “Beyond the Blue Beach” after the break. With its record on ROAR, the original intent was to play it with the American balance, but that plan got lost in the delays.

Tom took the Americans, who are defending the Salerno landings against a German counterattack. They get fourteen first-line squads with pairs of HMG, MMG, and MTR, and four BAZ 43, with two 105 ART arriving by truck on the first turn. The Germans have six first-line squads with a HMG, two MMG, and three LMG (one MG per squad!), with four Pz IV Hs with an AL entering on turn 1. The Germans have 10 turns in which to exit two tanks off the opposite edge (or exit one and generate more CVP than the Americans). The area is three boards, with Americans setting up in the west on board 19, and the Germans setting up in the east on board 4. The catch is that any time a tank is eliminated, the AL must make a TC, or the surviving tanks must go back to board 4 to regroup before they can try again. Presumably the long time limit assumes that there may be one or two false starts on the German offensive.

The main American problem is that they have to guard an entire long board edge. They can concentrate once the Germans are underway, but have to be wary of the tanks using their good speed to try to just get around them. That and the fact that the ART has no AP and HEAT 6 means that killing tanks is going to be hard. I initially looked at advancing near the center, where board 16 has some walls and buildings to take as cover before pushing into a thin line of woods near the board 16/19 join. But Tom’s main defense seemed to be in that area (and if he’d had the American balance of three foxholes, where I’d expect some of them to be), so I eventually went for a north-edge approach. There was less immediate cover, but some woods and brush between his setup and mine, and I could use the long Y/Z wall to cut off LOS to my advance from most of the rest of the board. Both sides get some “?”, and I used mine to create a Dummy as well as cover everyone, but then I never had anything to do with the Dummy with all the open ground around.

I sent a squad and two HS forward as fast as I could, and sent a MMG squad forward, but two squads and the lesser of my two leaders stayed back to see how it went. On the edge of the board, the HMG and 8-1 moved forward to a woods half-hex, where it could see through some of the gap as Tom moved up. This last move was the only one to draw fire, a range 16 MMG shot that did nothing. The tanks entered as a group, and it was only after I started that I realized I should probably have set up CE to gain some distance from the initial road; I did put the last one CE so he could catch up (going BU during APh). The first tank halted to provide covering fire, while the others stayed in Motion to gain some distance (the AL was in the second tank entered, who ended up in the middle of the Motion group).

Tom’s DFPh had one effect: he malfunctioned the 60mm MTR in 19CC5 on its second shot; it had been trying to shell the stopped tank in 16AA10 (which could have turned into a problem, immobilizing tanks is a mission kill in this scenario with only four of them).

Situation, German Turn 1, showing the full board. North is to the left.
↓ Read the rest of this entry…