Game 3 -- G44 - Abandon Ship! [Americans vs Al Salzman]
This is a basic Bulge scenario. The Americans start with a company, supported by a couple MMGs and 4 bazookas against a reinforced company from Panzer Lehr supported by 4 tanks. Unlike the Italian ones from the previous day, where a modern Volvo probably has better armor, those are real AFVs - Panzer IVs & Vs. The Americans have to do a fighting withdrawal where they receive VPs for getting off the map, while the Germans get VPs for getting to the last fifth of the map
The second challenge is more subtle. The Americans have to withdraw off the board to win the game. Given the decent terrain they set up in, the Americans can hold the Germans out of the village for several turns. so many turns, in fact, that they won't be able to withdraw off the board fast enough.
As for this particular game, it was fairly close throughout. I held the Germans close to their entry side through turn three, then started to pull back through the village. It wasn't the best withdrawal by any stretch, but I'm not embarrassed by it either. Throughout the game, Al did a masterful job of managing his tanks, offering me only one side shot the entire game [it, of course, missed]
By Turn 6, I had one stack ready to move off board, and could still win if I could keep those tanks tied up for one more turn. Unfortunately, the entire stack broke to a long range MMG shot [at 2 -2] and the two leaders leading two separate half-squads into close combat with the Jagdpanther became the two leaders ineffectively CCing by themselves [the 10-2 leading the 8-0]. My exit stack routed into the gully, the tanks crossed over the gully, and the rest was history.
Still, it was a good scenario, and Al is a great person to play with. If a couple of die rolls went my way, the results could have been quite different. Sometimes, that is all you can ask for.
Game 4 -- RPT 73 - Sausage Hill [British [Indians] vs Hayes Wofford]
Remember how terrible my dice were in my first scenario? Well, this game made up for it. In spades.
Sausage Hill sees a mixed British force of roughly a company supported by two mortars and some machine guns defending two hills against an equivalent Japanese force supported by two guns [an INF and a MTR] and a flamethrower. The Japanese have five turns to drive the British off Hill 501 and Hill 505 on Board 61. [the top half of this map]
One of the keys of the game for me was being able to neutralize the Japanese guns early on. Hayes decided to shoot at infantry on Turn 1, so I could reply by shooting smoke at the guns. For much of the rest of the game, those guns were shooting out of smoke, which made them pretty ineffective [plus one of them broke on Turn 3, which didn't hurt a bit]. Not that I did a great job with my guns either, but the defense can be more forgiving.
Hayes did a pretty good job of moving his squads up and quickly breaking my right flank with fire. I was bracing for the inevitable banzai charge to drive me off Hill 501 - which never came. Instead, the Japanese moved towards the center trying to work their way through the jungle to get into the saddle between the two hills. That ended up taking far too long and allowed me shots at his leaders, which are crucial to a Japanese attack.
Still, the Japanese were close to victory. Hill 501 became undefendable after Turn 3, but I was able to get most of my forces over to Hill 505 in somewhat good order. Turn 5 was the, now leaderless, Japanese needing to break/kill MMCs in 5 different hexes including the woods in 61CC4 and the gully in 61BB5. He got three of them, but the fourth and fifth were pretty much out of reach, so the British squeaked out a win.
As I end this Bitter Ender report, I wanted to thank Mr. Sheppard and his crew for putting on a great event. They did a great job of ensuring that everyone was actually playing, especially new people like me who didn't know anyone on the tournament circuit. Definitely looking forward to the 2015 event when I have some more games under my belt.