ARNHEM 2006
Bo Siemsen, Denmark.

This is just another After Action Report from the most enjoyable ASL-event in Europe. Granted, I haven’t been to all the tournaments in Europe and I may be a bit biased but for me the Arnhem event is the highlight of the ASL calender year.

The after action report with include several pictures taken at the event. In advance I will apologize for the somewhat fuzzy quality of some of the pictures – I just got a new camera phone and I am still trying to figure it out. The pictures are still useful though. The first part of the AAR will focus on the tournament, after that there’ll be a bit about the rest of the event.

Please allow time for the pictures to load



ROUND 1 vs. Pär Nilsson, Bofors Bashing as Germans


Look at those flying trucks I can shoot at with AA Guns
The scenario was pro-British so there was a bit of balancing from the tournament director. My glider landing wasn’t exactly a smashing success as one glider was pulverized by AA fire and 2 gliders crashed – total losses 2½ squads, 7-0 leader, LMG. I gathered my forces for the initial assault and advanced in while the dust was still providing me with good cover – but I still had to move in to point blank fire to pile on the pressure. At this stage the British were firing blanks which enabled my firegroups to start breaking down the defenders piecemeal. Once my attack had gained a strong hold of some good positions the Brits were stuck in their defensive positions and once they broke they were as good as out of it. My final assault on the last gun ran into some difficulty as I had to charge across a couple of runways … suffice to say there were plenty of dead Germans. But, the survivors managed to get the job done as they recovered the last Bofors-gun in the last rally phase.

The British defenders had 51mm MTR’s in their OB. Pär had set them up in building so they’d look like MG’s while concealed. It worked to a certain extend as one of my squads ended up standing point blank to an LMG rather than a mortar.
Personally I wouldn’t have given up the mortars firepower against an attack that was likely to attack through the woods. The scenario appeared to be a bit rigid for the British defenders as they couldn’t do much except hold their positions and hope to repel the attack.

WIN 1-0

 

ROUND 2 vs. Tomas Davidsson, No respite as Brits


My flanking attacks look good … too bad everything else is stuck in the sand
My british troops had to defend a small village in the desert against some unusually well-trained and well equipped Italians. Demolition charges, Flamethowers, mortars, medium machine-guns, tanks (well - not really "tanks"), several nice leaders and 7 morale squads ... what more can you get from the Italians.

The Italians tried strong and aggressive flanking attacks with the infantry while the heavy weapons would apply pressure through the centre. Unfortunately all the Italian leaders where away from the centre of the front – so as the Italian centre collapsed quickly my defenders could focus the firepower on repelling the flanking attacks.

It didn’t take long before the Italians were crumbling and withered away - the Italian heavy weapons (MMG, FT, Mortar, AT-Guns) were never a factor. After that started to happen Tomas changed his objective from trying to win the scenario to try and destroy some tanks. He managed to get 2 – 1 in close combat and one with a thrown DC as my Armoured Car drove adjacent.

It was a very nice scenario. Even it wasn't particularly close.

WIN 2-0

 

ROUND 3 vs. Andreas Carlsson, Last Roundup as US


So that’s how gun duels work. Damn. I wont forget that one in the future
In round 3 I faced yet another Swedish player from the infamous Swedish ASL-Mafia – Andreas Carlsson. Andreas and I seem to play exciting scenarios against each other so I was very happy with this match-up.

Faced with the objective to take control of a village against a german defending force relying heavily on their one JagdPanther TankDestroyer and a 75mm AT Gun I decided to move around the bulk of the defenders with my mobile force.

This plan meant I had to go through a bottleneck area … as it turned out that’s where he kept his Tank Destroyer (and well hidden AT Gun) … and that cost me my best tank quickly and put me into a position where my attack was stuck in that bottleneck. Next turn I decided to be very aggressive in an effort to break out of that position – my first Sherman (Tankdozer) set into high gear and drove directly towards the German Tank Destroyer … Andreas took out his AT Gun and fired a couple of rounds at my Sherman as I am trying to move into a position to shoot the German TD in the side, failing to destroy it with first fire and intensive fire. At this point I get to tell Andreas about the rules for gun duels … when the ROF square on the counter is white the Gun Duelling modifier is halved … which meant my Sherman shot first and there was no more German Tanks.
Short after the AT Gun crew was eliminated by my infantry and just like that my position changed from bad to very good. After that turn of events his infantry was taken apart piecemeal as my remaining vehicles dominated the remaining battle.

The Germans didn’t have much in the town to begin the scenario and I cut off the retreat pretty well but the remaining germans defended the town valiantly taking out 3 tanks. One German heroic leader particularly showed courage under fire dashing through a hailstorm of bullets and 3 direct hits from the US 90mm Tank. He was eventually killed in close combat as I advanced in with superior numbers.

Andreas conceded the game as his forces where as good as eliminated and with plenty of time left for me.

WIN 3-0

 

ROUND 4 vs. Mel Falk, Slow and Steady as Chinese


Pitiful chinese, I'll deal with them in a hurry
In Round 4 I had the pleasure of playing against Melvin Falk for the first time.

Even after a night on the town looking a bit … tired … Melvin is a superb player. My objective was to exit a big part of my force. I decided to try and squeeze down the left side of the map.

My attack wasn’t well enough thought through as it should have been and I quickly got stuck in tight quarters with nowhere to go. Melvin set up a strong line and I couldn't push through.

The decisive moment was when one of his squads went beserk and charged into my position where I had 2 squads with MG’s and a Stuart tank.

The squad survived the hailstorm of fire, broke both squads in advancing fire (democharge targeting the tank) and then in the close combat phase destroy the tank – with a bit of help from the concealed leader he ambushed and destroyed it ... then proceeded to withdraw into a position giving 2 of my squads failure to rout.
That was pretty much the end of the game. A desperate attempt to make a breakthrough failed and I conceded.

LOSS 3-1

 

ROUND 5 vs. Boudewijn Van Schalkwijk, Canicatti as the Germans


Even while watching his Shermans popping like popcorn Boudewijn took it with a smile
We both tried to get the Americans but he ‘won’ the dice-roll. Looking at the OB we quickly agreed that it was the more interesting side to play ... lots of squads and lots of tanks ... that should be sufficient to run over that small group of germans ... right ... right ... right ?

My setup wasn’t anything fancy. The 2 50L AT Guns were set up in positions where they could see as much as possible. The rest of my units didn’t seem to matter. The plan was to start firing as soon as they saw the US Tanks.

The plan was simple and my dice executed it well.

I started firing and didn’t stop until most of the tanks were destroyed and the game was won. Didn’t take very long. 50L’s with ROF 3 shooting against Shermans will get plenty of hits and statistically the Shermans will be destroyed one by one unless they stay outside line of sight. That’s what happened in our game and from what I saw around the gameroom the same thing happened in for the other guys playing this scenario.

Boudewijn took it well and we agreed it was not a good scenario for a tournament.

WIN 4-1

 

ROUND 6 vs. Eric Bongiovanni , Setting the stage as Germans


Now where did I put all the HIP guys ? why didn’t I have more defending units where he’s attacking.
I went for the attackers as usual and luckily Erick already had a setup prepared.

Looking at the boards the most obvious way to attack would be to try and secure the two buildings on the left flank and the single building in the centre. So, I assumed that was what the Russians would be defending against and I decided to make a right-hook attack directing enough forces to try and gain control of the building in the centre – and sending the rest deep into enemy territory to take control of the two buildings at the rear OR drive enough vehicles out to meet the exit victory objectives.

It turned out that my assumption about the Russian defence was correct and Erick had pretty much built a fort on the left flank and with a solid defence in the centre too.

The initial approach suffered a setback when Erick’s 9-2 leader directed the .50 caliber HMG to kill 2 squads and a leader. My boys quickly struck back eliminating the only Russian AT-Gun and put a big layer of smoke on the HMG guy.

Halfway through the game the Russian received 4 medium tanks in support.
Erick acted aggressively with the tanks, but they were all acting along and without much supporting each other. In my turn 3 I sent my tanks out to take them out. One was destroyed my bounding fire, another was completely surrounded and Shocked, the third was face-to-face with one of my Tiger Tanks and the 4th was pretty much unsupported and I suspect I could take it pretty easily.

It quickly became obvious that the Russian defence was well out of position, but considering the fact that most of the Russians were HIP I couldn’t really know for sure so I think I played a bit slow. We only got to play 2½ turns of the 5 full turns.

Erick conceded the game for tournament purposes, but in our mindset it was still a completely undecided game. I still had plenty of potential exit VP in mobile vehicles (tanks and halftracks) to fulfil the exit victory conditions – and as a backup plan I could still win by controlling 3 of the buildings. He had 2 squads in the buildings in the rear and only one un-broken squad in the building in the centre against my 2 squads with a leader with a FT in support. With half the game to go it could have gone either way.

"WIN" 5-1

 

 

CONCLUSION

The tournament was enjoyable as always. The scenarios were interesting – with the odd exception of Canicatti and got to play against 4 new opponents which is always nice. Finishing the tournament in 4th place with a 5-1 record was not unfortunate. Nice though. As always the tournament is very well organized and everything runs smoothly. Huge thanks should go out to the Tournament organizers Peter and Liz Struijf. They did an out standing job once again. Congratulations to Mel for winning,

To the Left Tournament Directors Mr. and Mrs. Struijf have just a few seconds ago congratulated Melvin Falk on winning the Arnhem 2006 event. Notice the shadowy figure storming out of the picture - that's Melvin Falk carrying his 17th copy of Beyond Valor (prize for winning)

To the right The prettiest ASL player on the AREA rating list. I took a couple of other pictures of Liz while she was playing – but she gave me stern orders to delete those pictures. Have to do what the tournament director says. Notice in the background Mr. Struijf's trademark Stalingrad mousepad and his dice cup. He's a bad influence on you Liz !

 

BATTLEFIELD TOUR

The Battlefield tour this year went to the Belgian Fortress Eben Emal. The structure was formidable with a 2-level tunnel system below and several cupolas with 75mm or 120mm guns supposed to cover most of the expected front in case of a war breaking out. Unfortunately it was not at all prepared to defend against mobile modern warfare. Built inside a mountain overlooking the lowlands below.

The pictures I took weren't very good. The only ones that were reasonable were taken atop the Eben Emal.

To the Left a couple of Swedish ASL'ers are trying to come up with new Rules for "Human Pedestrian Stroll attack" a variation of the "Human Wave" ... in the background the formiddable Cupola 120 can be seen.

To the right the ASL'ers have conquered the Cupola 120 and is considering how to deal with it. To the left is Dutch pathfinder Struijf gazing into the distance while Danish ASL Hero Touvdal is trying to decide whether to use a Demo charge or to attack in the Close Combat Phase.