Friday, 22 June 2012

Norway 1940 - Take the Highway (a Solitaire ASL mission)

Many moons ago I got into Advanced Squad Leader (ASL). It is an awesome game in every sense of the word, but I do not get to play it enough these days. The problem with ASL is that you need to play it regularly to stay on top of the rules or every game becomes more about making sure you have the rules right than thinking about tactics and the best way to beat your opponent. Worse yet, the only ASLer that I get the chance to play against these days is so much better than me now that it is positively disheartening to play him. I remember when I beat him more often than he beat me. Oh, happy days! :-) So, what is the answer to my lack of game play? That's easy. Solitaire ASL (SASL). Every so often I dig out SASL and have a go. Some time back I decided to try playing the entire war out with it. The idea is that you follow the career of a company through the campaigns and see if they can survive. The answer is usually no, because SASL can be brutal. Anyway, My most recent attempt to do this lasted two scenarios before I had to pack it all away again. That's the real problem: packing it all away after each session. The other problem is keeping it safe from the cats. Feline On-Board Artillery is a known ASL problem and has its own rules section (honest!). Anyway, after a bit of reorganisation of my office/games room, I now have a desk with doors on so that the FOBA can be kept out and the game can be left set up. It's not perfect but it has afforded me the opportunity to see how my company fares in its next mission without having to finish the mission in one sitting.

Through the war with a German infantry company
My German infantry company conquered Poland easily enough (first scenario). Then they invaded Norway in April 1940 and broke through the Norwegian defences (second scenario). It is now May 1940 and they have been told to Take the Highway. They must secure a road network and clear the enemy from it. The road network is defended by French troops in this instance, but British and/or Norwegian reinforcements could turn up and support them. I reckon we are advancing up Gudbrandsdal in this scenario because it fits the Norwegian campaign history.

The situation: The sky is overcast and the ground is muddy due to the first melting of the winter snow. I have only my company under my command at the moment. Before us lies an open valley with stands of trees and villages providing cover for the enemy. "Vorwarts!"
Part-way through Turn 1
My left flank has advanced into position and encountered poor quality enemy troops. They are using the woods as cover to advance around the flank of the village to their right, which is our initial target. Sgt Linden on the right flank and most of his men are not happy and have not advanced. Fortunately some troops have taken the initiative and moved forwards anyway. My scouts, who are not on the map now, have identified a French Foreign Legion strongpoint in the first village the hard way. As we push forwards it suddenly begins to rain. Now it is not only muddy but we are soaked to the bone. On the other hand, the rain can help conceal our advance from the rear echelon enemy troops, so it is a mixed blessing.
End of Turn 2
As we advance, more and more of the suspected enemy positions prove to be empty. We are relatively fortunate. The 50mm mortars are shelling the woods just in case of enemies there. The enemy on the left flank are broken and we just need to put them in the bag. We should soon be able to concentrate our force on the village. Sgt Linden has found his courage from somewhere too. Unfortunately, there is a French sniper kicking around here, causing havoc with our discipline. Still, it looks promising for establishing a bridgehead here from which to launch our assault across the open ground to the easy (top of the map). Let us hope that it remains that way.

To be continued as and when I find the time.

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