Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ATS Berlin: A look at Scenario 1

Strange Defeat has gone up on the shelf for now. Next on the table: Scenario 1 “Moabit Mayhem” from ATS Berlin: Red Vengeance. I’ve poked around at a couple of the Berlin scenarios in the past, but this time I’m keeping score.

A digisnap from the pre-game appears below. It’s the German setup for the scenario before flipping the weapons to the their FOW sides and applying any Full Cover markers. The Germans also get some reinforcements in the form of a parachute infantry platoon on turn three. The big white tile spacers on the map mark the scenario boundaries.

The Soviets mob onto the map from the west. In eight turns, they have to control three of the four buildings where the Germans are setup in order to win the game. They’ve got a horde of infantry, some assault guns and a couple of pieces of direct-firing artillery to work with.

Even for experienced ATS hands, the Berlin scenarios present some very special challenges. The urban landforms are more peculiar than those found in the various Stalingrad scenarios, for example, which means a thorough reading of the battlefield walkaround in the scenario book is extremely important. In scenario 1, there’s also an SSR that subjects any Russian unit within four hexes of the Spree to possible sniper fire (depending on LOS conditions).

The Germans here have chosen to contest a couple of the buildings with only Volksturm squads, which are generally pretty iffy in their performance. Defense of the warehouse along the river has been given to a parachute platoon, supported by a MMG. Defense of the railway station has also been leavened with some paras.

The basic idea is for the Volksturm defenders of the prison and what I’ll call the “office building” (J12) to delay the Soviets and inflict as many casualties as possible. The Germans need to hold or contest two of the four buildings by game’s end, and the two buildings where they’ll make their stand are the rail station and the customs yard.

If the Volksturm guys do their jobs, they should absorb enough of the initial assault to give the German reinforcements time to get into position. The para platoon that arrives on turn 3 can enter anywhere on the east edge, so they have some flexibility on where they’ll commit. They can reinforce the rail station easiest, so that’s a likely course of action. If the Reds quickly clear the prison but then get sloppy, the paras can counter-attack to take or contest that location. They might even be able to reinforce the customs yard, but that might prove tricky depending on how the Soviets can cover the approaches with opportunity fire.

Although the Germans have no tanks in this scenario, the Russian tanks just can’t go charging around the map. Two Volksturm tank-killer teams lurk on the map, and the German OOB also includes two panzerschrecks and six panzerfaust single-shot weapons.

The Red Army of Workers and Peasants have their work cut out for them.

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