Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review of Lone Canuck's ASL Pack Crossing the Moro

I just received Lone Canuck’s ASL pack Crossing the Moro the other day and thought I would write a short out-of-the-ziploc bag review.  

I have not played any of the scenarios or the campaign game but the whole package looks really nice.  It comes with a nice 22 inch x 32 inch map on good quality paper, 4 pages of background history and 16 pages of campaign game rules on high quality bright white paper, and 4 scenarios on light card stock.  Overall, a nice presentation of high quality materials.  And all for $23.00.  These new Lone Canuck tactical missions are a great value for the money.  This one, along with Bloody Buron, Ozerekya Breakout and Purple Heart Draw are all great values and should provide veteran and novice squad leaders lots of opportunity to engage in battle. 

The 4 scenarios are fairly small in terms of counter density, and are all played on sections of the map.  None of the scenarios are played on the full map, but that’s what the campaign game is for.  Two scenarios, CM1 and CM2 use night rules.  CM4 uses a full combined arms countermix on both sides, with infantry, mortars and OBA, and armor.  The Germans get 5 Panzer IVF2s and 4 Panzer IVHs.  Yikes!  This one looks like fun. 

I am not a big campaign game player (although I’d like to be…).  So if you are not a campaign game player, you may not get the most bang for the buck.  But just looking through the rules, these look like they would make a great introductory campaign game for those who haven’t yet jumped into this aspect of ASL. 

The map is printed on high quality paper that reminds me of the same quality that the MMP HASLs are printed on.  The colors are good and the terrain features are very sharp and clear.  While this map was probably not painted but done on a software program, it still looks great.  This one is littered with vineyard hexes printed on the map.  This is a “high ground” battle, with the Villa Rogatti village on a high hill.  The terrain on this map could be a butt-kicker. 

Canadians against the Germans in Italy.  This one looks like a blast! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Modern Squad Level Combat – Yes, it is possible!

I have always loved Advanced Squad Leader.  Critical Hit’s ATS system is also good, as are a couple of other systems such as Panzer, Fire Team and Firepower.  However, most of the squad level combat systems pretty much adhere to World War II.  There are some exceptions, Firepower and Fire Team come to mind, and Critical Hit has attempted to venture into uncharted territory with Genesis 48 and Dien Bien Phu modules for ASL and ATS.  The Panzer system had MBT and IDF, with reprints/updates on the way from GMT. 

But I have always wanted to take ASL in particular into the post-World War II era.  Right now, MMP is getting ready to roll out their KASL – Korean War ASL module.  This is awesome and I can’t wait for this to come out.

But what about other wars?  The majority of the Arab/Israeli Wars were fought with equipment that was not substantially different than its World War II predecessors.  Up until even 1973, the Israelis had modified Shermans, while the Arabs still had some T-34/85s.  Patton tanks, Centurions, T-55s and T-62s were not that much more advanced than their earlier counterparts.  RPG-2s and RPG-7s were only marginally better than the Bazooka or Panzerfaust.  Small arms were still similar. 

Basically, there is no real reason why gamers cannot reproduce engagements from the 1948, 1956, and 1967 Arab-Israeli Wars in ASL.  Or even engagements from the Korean War, the South African/Rhodesian Wars, the Indo-Pakistan Kashmir conflicts, the Sino-Vietnamese border wars, the Angolan Civil War and other African Civil Wars, etc.  You name it.  ASL should be able to accommodate it. 

Now, I will admit, once we get into the 21st century with increased lethality of the main gun armaments, body armor, increased accuracy of artillery and communications, air support by fast moving jet aircraft, things might get a little dicey. 

There was a move some time ago to bring ASL into the era of post-World War II combat.  MASL, modern ASL.  While some work has been done, my passion is to build on this and attempt to create an Arab-Israeli module that allows one to play scenarios from 1948, 1956 and 1967.  Critical Hit tried to do this with Genesis 48 and the new Genesis II, but I am not sure they captured the essence of either army, their respective quirks and the tactics and equipment used.  We’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime, take a peak at the DRAFT new counter for the RPG-7.  I'll probably wind up changing some of the values, but here you go.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

German Defense in the Normandy Hedgerows

In ASL, do you ever think about how you as the defender, perhaps the German defender in the Normandy hedgerow country, secure your position against those Americans assaulting your line?  In The Americans at Normandy, professor John C. McManus describes how the Germans set up defensive positions in the hedgerow country:

“The enemy defended a typical field in the following manner: They dug heavy machine guns into each corner of the hedgerow that bordered the field.  These machine guns could crisscross their fire and cover most of the field.  In between these two heavy guns, they placed riflemen, burp gunners and light machine-gun teams who only added to the volume of fire.  If there were hedgerows that bordered either flank of the field, they dug light machine-gun teams there, too.  Once these small arms had pinned down American attackers, the Germans called in artillery and mortar fire, which was normally quite accurate because German observers had presighted the entire field.  German soldiers with handheld Panzerfaust antitank weapons lay in deep fighting holes in or along the forward hedgerows.  If American tanks punched through the hedgerows or rolled through the small openings that led into each field, the Panzerfaust soldiers hit them at close range.  Booby traps and mines, sown into the vegetation at the top of the hedgerow or in ditches along them, only added to the dangers” (p177).

Think about all of the implications that relate to ASL.  Setting up boresighted HMGs and LMGs to cover fire lanes, with intersecting fields of fire.  Concealed or HIP half squads with Panzerfausts just waiting for that Sherman or Stuart to come crashing through the hedgerow at a 1 hex range.  Those light mortars that may seem like a waste targeting infantry in the open.  Sometimes ASL does mirror real life.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

ASL AAR Double Trouble, AP 84

Dave G and I played Double Trouble from the new Action Pack To the Bridge at the St. Louis Tournament.  I was the Brits and Dave took the Japanese. My mission was to either to take possession of all of the buildings in the play area, or inflict >= 5 VP more than the Japanese.  Each non-hut building counted as 1 VP. 

Dave set up a couple of squads in the buildings around 6BEE12, and a foxhole with a squad and a mortar in/around 6BGG13.  He also set up a majority of his troops in buildings 5AB7, 5AB9 and around the buildings in 5AC14 and D13 and D14 and around B12. 

I divided my force into two groups that would eventually converge in a pincer movement on both sides of the Japanese lines.  Group 1 would use cover provided by the jungle and the smoke created by the mortar and take the buildings on my right side of the map, around the 6BEE12 area. After taking these building and eliminating the Japanese defenders, this group would swing back around and attack the remaining Japanese force being held and assaulted by Group 2.  Group 2 of my force would move through the jungle as cover and hit the Japanese force occupying the buildings and positions along the 5A rows c and d.

My first mistake concerned my force distribution.  Group 1 was much heavier than Group 2.  I should have put additional units in Group 2 to order to inflict more casualties on the Japanese forces on board 5A. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

ASL Chapter F and G Alphabetized Terrain Charts

A couple of new and improved terrain charts, one for Chapter F (desert terrain) and the other for Chapter G (PTO) terrain.  I hope these help!

Chapter G (PTO) Alphabetized Terrain Chart

Chapter F (Desert) Alphabetized Terrain Chart