MAY 14TH 1985 EISENBACH GAP
LOCK ‘N LOAD – HEROES OF THE GAP, played by Brad [Soviets] & Kevin [US]
It was a quiet warm late afternoon in May. Almost a lazy day.
Except for the smell of cordite, shit and blood.
It hung over the battle field. The war was hours old. The boys had become men already. War does that to a person.
But now both sides had elected to take some downtime. Almost as though it was a natural rhythm. Then Felice the LAW guy from A Co. 3rd platoon, heard him moaning in the rubble across the street. He went to see who it was in particular. Could it be one of the MIA’s they had already on the list in this new war?
Across the square Yuri wearily noticed the young US soldier running across the square in the open with a LAW on his back. “Dam” he muttered. ” Captain a anti tank soldier is moving out with a LAW!” Don’t these bastards ever rest he thought?
The Captain ordered Yuri to shoot him before he circled to their last remaining tank….
As shots kicked up chips of pavement, Sgt York opened his red eyes and took in the situation quickly. “To your guns, get Felice some cover, suppressing fire NOW, NOW!!”…………There would be no downtime for either side, a tanks engine rumbled into life in the distance.
Soviet Setup: I decided to go with the same setup as our last game. My idea is to just push the Soviet forces in all directions and see where Kev’s line breaks. It worked last time to great success so why change things?
US Setup: After the last debacle I needed a different game plan. Having the M60 at the end of the row (L9) was not as effective as I thought. I brought it down to opposite his Tripod PKM. There was a fair amount of pride on the line, after talking so much smack about a rematch, I really need to get a good start here.
Soviet Turn 1: The first thing I do is tell myself not to get too distracted by the US hero sitting out in the open. Yes, it’s worth victory points (2VPs) but there are still lots of time and there are bigger fish to fry in those buildings. I decide to focus on the northern buildings first. I send my squads out just to see what Kev does. They get hit pretty hard but now that they’re spotted, I can try to shake them. The T-62 and the PKM work to great effect at shaking and eliminating Kev’s squads. This is going to go my way. I can feel it.
The great gods of gaming are on my side when my 2-3-4 squad moves to S12, passes a defensive fire result and I get a hero. When the hero and squad enter the building, I roll a “Weapons Cache” on the Random Events Table and assign a support weapon (RPK with +1 melee modifier) to my hero, Yuri. I simply can’t believe the amazing luck I’ve had this turn.
US Turn 1: Ok, this is good, here he comes with the same plan as last time. I start with initiative, and try to pop smoke for Felice in the square. Dud…grrr. It was worth a try. This time however no coy waiting for him to move, I will not pass much in this game. I open up on his squad in the open (P9), shaking them. This is good, alone in the hex, they are now combat ineffective. With the Slayer card I’ll likely get a freebie on him again. He moves another squad on top!!! Sweet. At this point I open up with the squad way north (M8), that kills squad 1 and shakes the other.
His PKM opens up and shakes my squad with Boone in M10. I am spotted from all my aggressive fire, that is the price I pay….Oh no here comes the T-62. He unloads the main gun on M8 where I have one squad reducing them and they cower waiting for the follow on MG fire. Which never comes! That was a lucky break.
We dodge a bullet there. Seems we are both playing aggressive. So at the mid way mark of Turn 1 I have a reduced squad and a shaken one. In hind sight the Medic should have been up North. Oh well.
This could get ugly. I use the Medic to tempt some fire from the rest of his forces, to no avail.
Brad now brings forces to bear in the South, I easily shake another squad, I hold back one squad with Sgt York to fire on the last stack of two that will surely approach. He brings them forward, I miss, he gets a Hero, with a Veteran card…oh come on, its never good being the guy watching Heroes spawn! They happily roll into the S13 building and pick up a weapon cache on random events. Hmm. This is gunna be tough next turn.
Soviet Turn 2: I decide to tie up Kevin’s southern forces in melee while the rest of my guys take out the pockets of resistance in the north. I move my new hero, Yuri along with my 2-3-4 squad into R13 and start the party. Yuri proves to be useful by eliminating an American squad before I lose a squad too.
When the German territorials arrive, I start to realize that my luck might not hold out. I start to play it safe for the rest of the turn and kill the US medic in O11. The tank and the PKM in P10 keep up the pressure on the Americans in the north. All I need to do is start moving a unit or two in there to mop up and it’s over.
US Turn 2: Brads first action is to Melee my anchor stack in building R13. Oh boy. Yuri takes out one of my Squads, I kill his squad, now its Yuri versus my men, if I can hold out there and avoid him reinforcing that building we might be ok.
Felice has plans of his own! He takes off down the street avoiding fire from R11 and captures T12, the random event generates Territorialheers (sweet). I place them in Q13 to support Sgt York. (I make a mistake and move the Hero 6 MPs instead of 4. This wipes to squad that was in T13. In hindsight not a big deal as it was not going to effect the game in its current shaken state). Brad returns the favor by killing the wounded Medic.
So that is how it’s going to be! Game On! I pile my West Germans into the battle for the R-S building. All in, all or nothing.
Brad’s PKM reduces and shakes both of Boones squads. in M10. Oh boy things look grim now. With all my forces north of the square shaken, I am in trouble, the rest are tied up in Melee, South, and he has units to spare. Of course that dam T-62 opens up and finishes of my squads. Now even Boone is shaken and alone. The only good news is he cant bum rush that hex and wipe it out.
Brad is in a good position to win this one.
US Turn 3: Ok, I have initiative, Boone quickly recovers and grabs the M60. He will go down fighting at least! With initiative Felice moves into U12 picking up another building hex, in an attempt to even up the VP count which is close while he is alive and kicking, plus it may help divert Brads forces from my weakened guys.
The Random even allows the US to mark one hex fired. I shut that dam Tank down! Brad then moves his Squad in R11 to Q13, I guess he wants me to shoot them and reveal Boone? I thought they were coming for my melee! Phew. Thankfully he is on the VP point hunt. But ignoring Felice, not sure how I feel about that!
I decide its time to know what I will have to fight with for the last 2 turns. Activating York we finish off the melee in R13. Boom! Finally a bit of luck. We toast Yuri and don’t lose any more forces! I now have 2 squads and a bunch of weapons with York, while the Center of town is empty! If I can get to Sarukin and avoid that darn tripod machine gun we have a chance.
Sarukin spots Boone and unloads all hell on him, I decide caution is the better part of valor and low crawl to the shaken squad in L10. Boone survives. This allows Brad to capture M10. But it is also one less squad with Sarukin in the big building! If Brad Melees my men south of town I have limited options, so I have to get initiative next turn!
Turn 3 Soviets: I start the turn off with some bad decisions. The first one is moving my infantry from R11 to Q13. I’m not sure what I was really thinking here but what I should have done is let the infantry sit there and take out any NATO infantry that tried to advance north.
To my own great frustration, the remnants of the northern forces are rallying and regrouping together. This has completely ruined my plans to grab that part of the map early on. I send out some infantry to try and take care of the problem once and for all. Another fatal error.
The icing on the cake is the loss of Yuri in melee down in R13. This frees up the Americans. I kind of hope he’ll try to move everything into Q13 so I can prevent him again from linking up with the shattered remains of the US squads in L10 and M10.