A short vacation on Walcheren island has brought me into contact with a countryside similar to the polder land we encounter in the ASLSK historical module Decision at Elst. This low-lying land is comparable to the area south of Arnhem that was fought over during the Market-Garden opertion in Sept 1944. When you travel between towns the first you get to know about the settlement ahead is its church. The towers are clearly visible from kilometres away and its easy to understand their importance as observation posts.
Having played the first introductory scenario I wanted to find out how the game plays solo. Would it be interesting and tense? How much would the game support solo-play? Would the result be a forgone conclusion with the Germans standing no chance to fend of the mighty US forces?
Planning for the Battle of Aachen
With the preset VPs it is quite obvious that the Americans need to attack with their point of main effort south of the Aachen Forest. The 3rd Armored Division is to attack on an axis from RAEREN towards KORNELIMÜNSTER. 1st Infantry Division will support this attack by covering the left flank of the 3rd Armored by attacking the enemy in the Westwall positions south-west of AACHEN. 9th will support the attack by advancing towards Vennwegen to cover the right flank of the 3rd Armored.
When I got notice of this game I ordered it right away. Why, you ask? Well, first its one of the first wargames from a German publisher. I was curious to learn what design idea the developers might follow. Second Aachen 1944 offers an interesting subject seldom treated in wargames. The only other campaign game that I know of addressing the Stolberg Sector comes with the Command Decision miniature rules. Last and by no means least I live in Aachen.
Historical wargames on historical maps are much of my liking. Therefore I always am interested to obtain a copy when a new HASL gets published. One exception might be the HASLs that feature on island hopping in the Pacific. European, Russian, and North African fronts oriented HASL in contrast will most likely make it into my ASL collection.
Playing this scenario solo is probably not the the optimal way to tackle this tactical situation. On the other hand I want to try a variant of the SASL rules. I use red counters to mark possible hotspots. When German units come close I check for units and draw from a pile of counters from the US order of battle. Once US units are placed on the board I will use them at my discretion.
Living at Aachen I have ready access to some of the most famous battle grounds of WW2. One is the Hürtgen Forest only 45 minutes from here by car. Thus BFP’s publication OBJECTIVE: SCHMIDT is a must for the ASL gamer in me. Here I will start off with a solo-play of the first scenario, a small all infantry scenario that will introduce me to the SSR and the terrain.
CONSCRIPT COUNTER [OS-1]
Looking for a manageable campaign game we came along this mini HASL published by MMP in Operations Special Issue #1. It looks interesting and has a fine map to play over, a single large play area of 31 hexes width (west – east) and 18 hexes depth (north – south). As the opposing forces are elements of two armored divisions the game offers a fair amount of AFV to work with on both sides.
This ASLSK scenario plays during the first day of the Battle of the Bulge. This specific action took place in Bleialf, a town located in the German Schnee-Eifel region. The 18th Volksgrenadier Division was one of the first German formations to infiltrate the American Defences. There is a very detailed account of the action of the 106th US Infantry Division in Bleialf at the C.R.I.B.A. site that I can very much recommend to read.
Again here I present you a game from the ongoing themed MARKET – GARDEN campaign that Uffe and I have been playing for a while. The unit I am playing tonight is A Company 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment / 82nd Airborne. DEVILL’S HILL is set near Nijmegen, Holland, 19 September 1944 on the third day of the Allied operation. The ROAR – the automated record of played ASL games – shows 30 German to 18 American wins. So I reccon this will be a tough one for the paratroopers.
Some years ago I went on holiday to Normandy. Of course I took the opportunity to visit the museums and to move around the various historic sites of the D Day landings. Our location was Chateau Bellenau which gave me daily access to the area where 101st AbnDiv was assigned its combat missions.
I followed a historical trail in and around Saint-Côme-Du-Mont / Carentan that guides visitors to various sites that saw combat during and shortly after D Day.