AAR for SCS Bastogne
Tom Zombek and I completed our game of Bastogne and this AAR covers that game. We did play a second game with sides reversed, but I will not be reporting that game. For this game, I played the Germans and Tom played the Americans. It was the first time either of us had played Bastogne, so there was a bit of a learning curve, but not a bad one.There is no American Turn 1 in this scenario, so we go straight to the German Turn.
German Turn 1:
The victory conditions are simple enough to understand, but achieving them is another matter. The three target towns (Bizory, Mageret, and Neffe) are behind the American blocking force, but lightly defended at the start of the game. The Germans need to get there before the American paratroopers arrive on Turn 2.
I distributed my starting units a little, with one group of infantry to the NE of Longvilly, one group due east, and the majority of the units due south at the lower edge of the playable area. From there, they can take the southern road to head straight into the target area.
No Road March on Turn 1, so straight to Movement. The units to the NE of Longvilly move to cut the road out. They move into Moinet. The second group moves forward and covers the east and SE sides of Longvilly. Then the fun begins. The 5/130 of KG902 advances on Mageret and conducts an overrun against unit D of Comb stationed there. The odds are 5:1 and the DR is a 12, a rather spectacular bit of overkill with a D2R6 result. For advance after combat, I moved the unit a couple of hexes north as a blocking unit. This was probably not the optimal use of this result, but I didn’t really know what was needed at this time. In retrospect, it probably should have advanced next to Neffe.
Next, the 1/I of KG902 came down the same road and hit unit C of Comb in Bizory with an overrun. The odds were “only” 3:1, but the DR of 7 was enough to give a D1R2 result. I advanced the unit down adjacent to Neffe. 2/I of KG902 advances along the same road and also ends adjacent to Neffe.
The rest of the slow infantry forms a screen around the south of Longvilly while the fast units occupy Bizory, Mageret and the adjacent area. See Picture 1 for a view of the map at the end of the German movement.
At this point, I turned it over to Tom for his bombardments, but before I saw his results, I already realized I had made a couple of mistakes. First, while moving my units, I had realized that the artillery couldn’t bombard me unless I was adjacent to the US units, so I carefully avoided getting adjacent to the US units. The exception was over at Neffe, where I wanted to try a quick attack. So I set myself up so that the only targets for the US barrages are my two 6-6-6 armor units. I should have pushed a few more units into contact to spread around his targets. I could have even had a unit in contact with the Longvilly artillery. My second error was that I did not do a good job of setting up for Road March on Turn 2. At a minimum, I should have gotten the long range artillery off the road.
The US barrages are split between the two German units and both produce the same results: Disruption and 1 step loss to each unit. The Germans only have one artillery unit in range, and it misses. Based on these results, further combat for this turn is not indicated. Since there is no Exploitation phase this turn, the German turn is over.
Not a bad first turn. I control two of the three victory towns, and I believe I have the Longvilly units fairly well contained. Neffe is going to be a problem, however.
US Turn 2:
Tom drops his reinforcements, and immediately shows me my next error in the Road March phase. While I carefully cut all the roads around Longvilly to the North, East and South, I managed to overlook the road to the west. All of his units stream out of the pocket without a care in the world. So much for containment.
During movement, the US proceeds to build a solid line of units from north to south running for Neffe to just west of Bizory. During the combat phase, he hits both of the disrupted and damaged armor units and manages to eliminate them both. He does not, however, choose to advance past Neffe. This will turn out to be one of Tom’s mistakes as it leaves me with access to the last town I need for victory.
Tom reallocates a couple of units during Exploitation, then it is back to the Germans.
Here is what the situation looks like at the end of the US Turn 2.
German Turn 2:
No reinforcements this turn so on to Road March. The Germans use Road March to bring up the artillery and the slow infantry, forming a pocket between Bizory and Mageret. During movement, the 5/130 of KG902 overruns the exposed A/3 Cherry unit at 3:1 odds. The DR of 10 gives a D1R3, which takes some of the pressure off of Bizory. The unit than “advances” back into the reserves. Beyond that, all of the exploitation cable units withdraw from the front line so they are available for exploitation, and one of the 3-4-10 units manages to move adjacent to one of the US “yellow” artillery units, ensuring that it will not be able to target the valuable front line troops.
There are a lot more targets for Barrage this turn and Tom spreads them around liberally. He manages to disrupt the unit in Bizory and the units adjacent to Neffe, as well as causing a couple of step loses. The German barrages concentrate on the units next to Bizory, still trying to relieve the pressure, plus one shot at a unit adjacent to Neffe. They get a couple of disruptions, but no step loses.
Regular Combat is conducted against one of the units near Neffe. The odds are 1:1 and the DR of 8 gives a result of A1D1. Good enough to open things up for exploitation.
During the exploitation phase, the reserve units make their move. The 7/130 hits the US unit which just took a step loss in combat, so the odds are 3:1. An 8 gives a D1R2, which eliminates the damaged defender and gives the Germans a hole to move through. The 7/130 advances NW behind the DG unit next to Bizory. So the 3/I comes over and overruns that unit, also at 3:1 odds. But a DR of 4 gives a result of A1. No joy there. The 5/130 unit tries against the full strength unit NW of Bizory at 2:1. A DR of 10 gives a D1R2, opening up another hole. Bizory is definitely feeling more secure.
Finally, 10 of KG902 comes through the hole near Neffe and hits D/3 Cherry of the US reserves with an overrun. At 2:1, the DR of 7 gives a D1R1, eliminating the unit.
Here is the situation at the end of the German turn.
US Turn 3:
The US has no Road March this turn, so during regular Movement, they reform their wall of units as best they can. However, they can’t get sufficient units next to Bizory to affect it, and they are unable to reinforce the area around Neffe.
During combat, they kill one of the rear guard German units, which is going to cause a problem for the German artillery this turn. The attack against 7/130 of KG902 near Neffe is spoiled by a bad roll. The 2:1 attack gets a 5, causing the attackers to lose a step. The attack on the exposed 5/130 fairs even worse. At 1:1 odds, the DR of 4 causes an A1R1, which does not help the US cause at all.
The US exploitation phase goes a little better. Using the hole created when they killed the rearguard unit, the US C/482 CCR unit moves into the southern Mageret hex which had been left open. Besides forcing the Germans to remove them if they want victory, this will also prevent the German artillery from helping the assault on Neffe. The US C/609 Cherry also comes in the back way at overruns an artillery unit. Both units die in the result.
Here is the situation at the end of the US Turn 3.
German Turn 3:
The Germans have to clear Mageret again as well as take Neffe if I want to win, but fortunately I still have all my large units intact. During the Movement phase, the primary push is to surround Neffe and Mageret with as much firepower as possible. The secondary effort is to put units adjacent to the US artillery to keep them from targeting the main combat units. With several high movement value units, this is not too difficult because of the holes the Germans punched in the lines last turn.
Here is the situation after all the movement and before the last US Barrage phase. Note that all US artillery will be hitting sub-optimal targets due to adjacent units.
During the US Barrage phase, the only result of significance is that the 3/I of KG902 gets disrupted. The German Barrage is much more effective, almost too effective. The US unit in Mageret gets disrupted, and the unit Neffe gets eliminated as both yellow artillery units hit and score step loses.
For the Combat phase, all the German units around Mageret gang up on the poor disrupted US unit at 4:1. The result of 6 is a D1R2, enough to kill the unit due to inability to retreat. The Germans advance in.
Ironically, since the artillery killed the unit in Neffe, there is no combat, so the Germans are unable to advance into the town. Thank god for the Exploitation phase! The 7/130 rolls in to take Neffe, resulting in a German victory.
This scenario is short and sweet, so there was not a big investment of time. It makes an excellent training vehicle for players new to the SCS, and Bastogne specifically. I have played several SCS games in the past and the Road March and artillery spotting rules threw me for a loop. So this was a great learning experience.
I made several mistakes, but Tom got bad die rolls at some critical junctures, so that sort of balanced out. I think the scenario is a bit slanted towards the Germans. I would expect the most common result to be a draw, with German wins being the next most likely result. I don’t foresee many US victories in this scenario.
All in all, a good time was had by all.