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This is an AAR of ASL scenario FT97 "Rout on the Riviera", published by Le Franc Tireur. I've played this scenario live on VASSAL with Ramón from July to December 2012 (very few sessions).
"Rout on the Riviera" is set on Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a small stretch of land between Monaco and Italy that was fortified in 1940. The Italians have attacked France and this is the third day of attacks against this fortified position, under a heavy rain that hinders operations. Infantry and sappers try to destroy a number of French pillboxes in high ground.
In order to win, the Italians must control the French pillboxes and dislodge the French infantry from the high ground.
This scenario is interesting for a number of reasons:
- it features Italians against French in 1940, quite unusual.
- there is rain with heavy mist enforced during all the scenario.
- there are wire and mines but also sappers.
The heavy mist rule makes long distance shots nearly useless (+1 LV hindrance every 3 hexes, FRU including 0) and the matter has to be settled from close ranks. Also, urban terrain makes it difficult for the French to make a good defense line and have to rely in delaying forces, which will one by one fall to the Italians.
The Italians, on their part, have number and good weaponry but they have very bad morale once broken and the momentum of the attack can be easily broken by a few unlucky rolls.
This is our setup:
Ramón took the Italians and I the French. I placed my first line troops in a kind of "chain of ZOCs" trying to cover the main roads, with the 8-0 leader there to recover broken troops.
The elite troops were in second line ready to fill a hole or to withdraw to the high ground to avoid the Italian victory conditions. The three pillboxes lodged two MGs and a gun, with varying field arcs. My left flank was a little undermanned on the low ground but I put mines and wire on the side to make for it, and also the units would have to cross some open ground under the sights of the MG with the 9-1 leader.
My center and right had no leader nor wire and would have to make do with the retreating troops, if they were in good order.
Against this defense Ramón massed all his units on his left flank, creating a big kill stack with the MGs and leader and with the rest of units ready to push hard against the French.
This is the Italian advance:
During the first two turns the Italians were nearly unstoppable. My defensive fire was not quite good and the Italians broke four French squads that were unable to rout and captured by the Italians, who kept quarter in order to avoid my units low crawling.
There was some fire from the pillboxes but the heavy rain meant there were LV hindrances of +4 or +5 and it was ineffective.
I tried to slow down the Italian advance as a total pull back would mean a disaster, with the whole of the Italian troops on the foot of the hills, but as I moved units around to look for good defending spots, my extreme right was totally smashed and the Italians poured in.
More, on the Italian right the sappers entered the battle and advanced without opposition until the open ground that led to the hills were the mines were. I had to retreat the defenders I had there to avoid being overrun.
Only good thing for the French, a number of Italian squads were broken, with low morale and with no leaders near them. They would have to miss the rest of the battle.
This is the end of the game:
And when I was planning the defense of the hills, things made a sudden twist of fate. In the third Italian turn, after breaking another of my squads using the kill stack, almost all Italian units broke under D1F from the French units on the low ground and from fire from the pillboxes.
My MGs kept ROF and there was residual fire everywhere, with only a couple of squads unbroken in the Italian front left. Even a French sniper broke a squad before it started moving!
And after checking the Italian left, Ramón advanced his sappers on the right: first unit up to a French squad, br and elr. Second unit up, br from the MGs and ROF.
And that was it. Ramón felt that the dice Gods had turned their back on him and he would be unable to rally all the units to redo his attack on time, so he resigned.
Nice AAR Marti!
Le Franc Tireur designs very interesting scenarios.
I think this was my first LFT. I hope it won't be the last.