Hill of Death
I'm not that impressed with the scenarios in 'For King and Country'. There's a lot of small scale infantry vs infantry clashes, and after playing a lot of ASL starter kit, I want a fair amount of tanks and other toys. Plus about half of the scenarios require boards I don't have. Of the ones I can play 'Hill of Death', 'Regalbuto ridge' and 'Kangaroo Hop' look very good.
When I looked at the scenario card for 'Hill of death', my first thought was how the $£%* do the British fight six Tigers? Particularly as the 6pdr anti-tank guns don't even start hidden in place....so probably no flank shots...and the biggest British tank gun is a 75mm, with no sherman fireflies....that can't possibly be fair. Of course the challenge instantly appealed,...and also the fact that I'd get to replay it as the bad guys.
The Brits do get a fair amount of boys and toys to set up on top of the hill. Nineteen squads, five leaders including a 9-2, and a fair sprinkling of support weapons. A HMG, two MMG's, three LMG's, two 2inch mortars, three Piat's and the two 6pdr's to be exact. You start dug in with 17 foxholes, the anti tank guns emplaced, and have a dozen concealment counters for dummy positions. The nice thing is you set up second after the attacking SS are placed, so they can't overload one portion of your defense. Plus there are only twelve attacking squads, so you outnumber them 3:2 in infantry. Of course in firepower terms, they are 6-5-8's and you are 4-5-7/8's so it's not that different (12x6 = 72, and 19x4 = 76).
The British get a sizeable wedge of reinforcements on turn two, four Churchill mkVII's, three Churchill mk IV's and two trucks with 17pounder anti tank guns. Obviously this is how you stop the Tigers, isn't it? But wait lets check some kill numbers...75mm AP is 14 - hmmm Tiger frontal armour is 14 for the turret and 11 for the hull. You can't penetrate the turret except by critical hit, and you need to be very lucky i.e 3's or less to take out the hull. So flank shots (against 8 armour factors) seem to be order of the day. Only problem is that although the Tiger is slow (12mf) the British tanks are positively arthritic (8or9mf) - they're more likely to get flank shots on you...and their main gun has a kill number of 20.
It's not all bad - the Churchills have decent frontal armour - 14AF (11 for the Churchill IV's ), and they have smoke mortars which you can chuck upto 3 hexes in front of you. But - the German infantry panzerfausts and one 'shrek will kill the Churchills barring duds, and the PIAT's generally need flank shots...sigh. The 17pdrs have a decent chance of taking out the Tigers frontally, but you have to unhook (2/3rds of MP) and unlimber (a fire phase), good luck with that. As one last shot in the locker you get a airborne observer with a 80mm+ OBA on turn5.
The SS infantry have a broken morale of 9, an ELR of 5 as opposed to the British ELR of 3, and proportionally more leaders (1:3 ratio as opposed to 1:4) so will rally a lot quicker than the Duke of Cornwalls boys. Assault fire capable, can massacre prisoners and just generally nasty. I immediately resolve to give no quarter as their ELR can't be increased and from a general feeling of righteousness.
Three boards from North to South, boards 33, 9 and 16. None of these come from FKAC or BV, 33 is from last hurrah, 9 is from doomed battalions and 16 is from Yanks. I got 9 and 33 from a convention (Heroes Blackpool) for £3 each and recently I got Yanks.
The northern and southern boards are pretty open, a bit of grain and hedges with a few patches of woods at the foot of the hill. The middle board is basically all hill with three equally sized level two hills, with level one hill valleys (re-entrants?) between them of varying width. By scenario rules all buildings are rubble, the level three and four hill contours become grain and there are liberal dottings of shellholes and wrecks. Also all hedges are bocage - a quick look at the rules means you can fire out of bocage and regain concealment even in enemy LOS - that's pretty cool. Each hill has one bit of bocage, but they are for the most part in the wrong place - only the one in the top-left corner of the centre hill may be of use with good fields of fire to the left hand hill and its forward slopes (and also blocking most of the other parts of the hill from each other).
There is not a lot of rally terrain, so I recheck the rout rules - if you are not in the open you don't have to rout away but you can - if you can't reach a building or woods with your 6mf then you are free to rout how you wish as long as its further away from known enemy units. All my ASL experience so far tells me you don't kill squads by firing at them, but by cutting off their rout paths. Somehow despite knowing this, my squads still get killed for failure to rout but it's important to acknowledge the problem as a first step.
The victory conditions are simple most stuff on top of the hill at game end (8 turns) wins.
Set Up: The Germans set up first, with the Tigers entering on map on turn1. They get a lot of concealment counters so plenty of dummy stacks. My long time opponent Ray sets up in two groups in the little concealment terrain available. Each group is opposite the flanking hill and re-entrant on the left or right hand sides. It looks as if he's going to push for the two flank hills, but he could go through the re-entrants and attempt to infiltrate the position if I just hold the hill tops, or slightly less likely advance diagonally onto the central hill.
If I try and defend the forward crest line, I will get swarmed as his set up area is right by mine and he gets to prep fire first. I therefore opt for a reverse slope defense, so I will get to shoot first as he comes over the hill. I decide to hold all three hills because if I don't and he gets Tigers to the north side of one, he will pick off my slow moving armour as it comes up. You can pretty much see everywhere on the northern board from the back edge of the hill (plateau?).
Each hill gets a 5 or 6 squad position, with one squad and foxhole per hex but adjacent to allow for firegrouping. The left and right hand hill positions have the foxholes on the grain line at the center of the hill to allow for easy routing. The centre position should also do this but I succumb to the temptation of having it slightly forward so two units can fire down the forward slope at a couple of units, but are out of LOS of the bulk of germans.
I weight the defense to the left and right hills, with the central position slightly weaker- six squads to five, more and better leaders and support weapons. They also get the real 6pounders while the central hill gets the dummy. (You can replace small ? OB provided concealment counters with 5/8 inch ones on a 1:1 basis). The guns point forward - I will attempt to hit the tracks for deliberate immobilisation as they come over the hill, with the -5 to hit, you don't want any additional negative modifiers for arc changes. If they do come over the centre hill, and I have LOS to a few areas, I'll turn to fire, and intensive fire if I don't get rate. Its +2 to Intensive fire but -1 for acquisition, and no +3 for turning, and I feel happy to risk the increased breakdown numbers as the guns probably won’t last that long anyway.
I should really plan a counterattack strategy but there are too many variables and I’m too lazy. Plus I have an unfair advantage over Ray as I have the rulebook, maps and scenario card and he doesn’t.
My positioning has surprised Ray, and he wastes some prep fire on some dummies and begins a cautious advance with about half his troops. The two squads I have on the crest line of the centre hill get a couple of -2 shots at 2fp (long range) but only achieve a pin and strip some concealment. A Tiger ambles up to return their fire and I realize the inherent foolishness of my plan. In my turn I assault move them away but it’s one movement factor just to get out of a foxhole into the same hex so I take some unnecessary shots (if they were just on the edge of the hill they could have spent the first movement factor moving out of LOS). The squads get away with it, but an 8-0 leader is pinned so can’t move away in the advance phase – oops - and will have to brave the german prep fire next turn. Elsewhere the Tigers don’t quite have the movement to get to the level 2 part of the hill but reach the forward level one slopes. The SS are concentrated in two groups with three Tigers each opposite the left hand and right hand hills and their respective re-entrants but don’t seem to be going for the centre hill.
The SS start to probe warily forward. A couple of squads inch over the top of the left hand hill and run into a barrage of British MG fire. Both squads break, and I continue to pour fire from everyone who can, casualty reducing one squad twice from failed morale checks and eliminating it. On the right hand hill only one squad pops its head over the parapet and it in it’s turn is broken by machine gun fire and routs away. The SS are hindered by the wind direction which stops them placing smoke in the three hexes they need to. This is fun – shoot down the filthy Nazi swine! A two inch mortar gets several shots at a squad advancing up the re-entrant but does nothing.
Aach – now the Tigers come over the hill. The centre hill has an spur in its top-right corner which the first Tiger bounds upto and then stops. This exposes its side to the right hand anti tank gun. I swivel round, fire and miss, the Tiger responds and misses (with all those helpful bounding fire modifiers) and then I intensive fire and miss. The other Tigers on this flank don’t come over the hill yet. On the left hand hill two tanks move forward and I break the track of one immobilising it. Luck is with me as the crew have an inherent morale of 9 so only bail out on a 10 or more, but run like girls with an 11. It gets better in my prep fire phase as my right hand 6pdr hits the stopped Tiger on the central hill in the flank and knocks it out (the crew also bail out).
In my movement phase, my seven Churchills and two 17 pounders come on. I could split them up more or less evenly to reinforce both flanks, but I opt for concentration of force. Both 17pdrs and one Churchill IV go to the left hand hill, four Churchill VII’s and two Churchill IV’s go to the right hand hill. I intend to delay the Tigers on the left, and swarm the two Tigers on the right, coming in from several angles at once so that somebody will get a flank shot. After these two Tigers are taken out I can then shift the surviving Churchills to the other flank.
The German attack has been a little tentative so far, but everything is thrown in this turn. On the left hand hill, one Tiger (A) moves adjacent to his knocked out brother, and uses the hulk for cover and stops. The 6pdr tries for another track shot but misses, Tiger (B) due to a wood hex stays out of the 6pdrs line of sight and parks 100 metres from part of the foxhole line (2-3 hexes) before starting to pump mg and cannon fire at the Brits. The broken SS squad has rallied (even under DM – a common occurance in the game) and the SS infantry advance with two squads with Tiger (A), one just behind Tiger (B) and one up the re-entrant. On the right hand hill Tigers (C) and (D) come up, three squads charge the Brit line frontally shouting ‘for you tommy ze war is over’, while another flanks through the re-entrant. I’ve set the foxhole line just a little bit too close to the reentrant and a SS squad moves adjacent to the leftmost foxhole under cover of woods. The frontal charge sees most of the germans break but one squad passes all the morale checks, reaches the centre of the line and kills its opposite number in close combat.
Up to this point the filthy huns are getting their comeuppance but things are about to go drastically wrong. On the left hand hill, I throw three squads forward at Tiger B, thinking that at least one will reach close combat, or get a flank shot with the Piat. I fail to notice the 6-5-8 hiding under the tiger that opens up at point blank. Two squads are broken and one is pinned. One has a rout path and runs away, the other surrenders and is gunned down in cold blood. (Actually Ray says “ I’ll take them prisoner – what do I do” – I say “you have to deploy a half squad and then they can guard upto five times their unit size in prisoners but can’t fire, and if they are broken, the prisoners can try and escape…” Ray “that sounds a bit complicated I’ll just shoot them”).
Moments later on the right hand hill, a broken brit squad is eliminated for failure to rout, (due to a broken german in the way!). It had been trying to sneak up on the Tigers but got blasted by their main armament, and now that hills Piat is lying in the open. The German brokies are gunned down when they try and surrender. Well there are no HIP units to reveal by interrogation and they started it! Tiger C takes out the right hand 6pdr with a direct hit (k result- malfunctioning the gun and killing the crew).
On the left hand hill Tiger A wins its duel with the 6pdr and breaks the crew with a near miss. The 6-5-8 under TigerB assault moves next to the British squad out in the open which was pinned by the Tigers machineguns in prep fire and eliminates it in close combat. In vengeance the 9-2 leader directs a squad with HMG Vickers fire which blots out the offending squad. With my anti tank assets limited I move up one of the 17pdrs to give some support to the left hand hill. I figure that with a couple of grain hindrances and the chance of infantry moving in for close combat, he won’t fire or will miss. I figure wrong, the 88mm barrel levels, sights and fires. my Quad FAT truck, 17pdr and crew are now wisps of smoke. Won’t try that again.
( We’ve avoided scenarios with towed guns upto this point as we’re fairly new, obviously some work on tactics is needed…)
On the right hand hill, a struggle has been going on for the Vickers post overlooking the reentrant. The SS advance into close combat and lose a half squad, I send a squad and a 8-1 leader in for reinforcements. The SS half squad kills a full squad and I miss, then another German squad and a leader comes up and kills the remaining Brits – ouch. My Churchills are moving very cautiously forward, one is flanking the hill on the extreme right on level one, two are advancing up the re-entrant and three are have ‘gone over the top’ but kept sufficient grain, smoke and motion hit modifiers to make shooting at them unproductive. I intend to make my swarming move next turn and am prepared to lose two or three tanks to take out the two Tigers on this side.
Halftime – we stop at this point and finish the game a week later, but we tot up the losses. To my surprise I’ve lost seven squads to Rays five even though it felt like I was hitting more often and doing more damage – probably because I was breaking more units which subsequently rallied but he was killing them in close combat. I have taken out two Tigers for one 17pdr destroyed and one 6pdr damaged and no tank losses so far, so I feel pretty confident. Anyway a week later…
Turn5 – the rally phase starts with my 6pdr crew rolling a 12 and disappearing in the direction of Southampton. TigerB blasts the foxhole line killing my 9-2 leader and a squad and breaking another squad. Theres a bit of vengeance when he loses a squad and a half to nothing heavier than Lee-enfields in the 4-5-7 I’d snuck up to the bocage on the centre hill. (A 1KIA with good random selection dice). This is now over 50% infantry casualties to him, so once I can knock out the Tigers should be plain sailing…My aerial observer comes on, passes a sighting check , makes radio contact, but I draw red so the 25 pdr crews have obviously stopped for a brew up. Then in my part of the turn the radio breaks and I am unable to fix it by the end of the game (and after reading four pages of Chapter E especially - sigh). I keep the Churchill IV on the level one (back) part of the hill as a distraction to Tiger A who’s come forward – I know as soon as I go over the top I’ll get killed. The 17pdr does go over the top, but using woods to block LOS and unhooks out of LOS too – I intend to push it through to a wood hex later on, but then I’ll have to limber it, taking a fire phase…hmmm, it’s not going to be terribly useful.
In the centre, I push a couple of squads forward off the hill at the german left hand forming up area towards some broken units. The most I do is put some more DM’s on to delay rallying and make a broken unit fanatic through a heat of battle result. I’m starting to move the remaining centre infantry towards the right hand hill down the re-entrant but the Germans have a fair amount of captured MG’s so I don’t achieve much and get a few units broken.
On the right hand hill I’m ready for my armoured push, but Ray was starting to feel the noose tightening and has pulled his tanks back. Tiger C retreats to the foot of the hill and moves right, ending in motion and bypass with a clump of woods to its left. Tiger D moves back a bit further to a line of Bocage that extends southwards from the hill – it is on the left hand side looking right. I think this is my chance – if I move forward, I can get a range 1 shot at the flank of Tiger C, and the two Churchills I have in the reentrant can advance and swing round take Tiger D in the rear. This is a big error on Rays part and should cost him the scenario….shouldn’t it? Somewhere the Gods of chance and death laugh….
Five of my Churchills advance, the remaining one had its crew ‘stunned’ by small arms (I take the risk and stay CE as I feel I need every possible edge over the Tigers) from a captured British MG position. One Churchill VII has to go within 2 hexes of a german squad to get the flank shot on the Tiger this turn – I calculate the odds as 4 or less (1 in 6) to get hit by a panzerfaust, with a 50% chance of having one handy making it 1 in12, and for the chance of nailing a Tiger decide to risk it. (This was before we fully understood the ‘use of support weapon’ – in fact a squad giving up its inherent firepower can have two checks for first fire, and possibly two more for final fire and in theory unlimited FPF). Anyway this is all academic as the SS infantryman in question wins an Iron cross 2nd class and toasts the tank. The other Churchill VII gets to the level one hex above the bypassed Tiger and goes hull down succesfully, the Tiger (C) fires and misses and I miss, but then intensive fire and get a shock result. The Tigers flank armour of 8, means the kill roll is 7 or less (+1 for range). Actually I’m not sure if this is legal with the elevation rules to fire at a same hex hexside with a level one height difference, but as it was down a crestline I’m assuming it is. Elsewhere my Churchill IV just gets a bead on Tiger D, stops for a better shot and becomes a wreck as the 88mm barrel swings round ( although the crew bail out) – ouch. The other Churchill VII on this side moves forward and stops, fires and misses, intensive fires and hits the bloody turret that is facing it - so bounces off harmlessly - crap.
On this turn I do my best to lose the game. In the German prep fire phase, Tiger D has it’s arse pointed at me, but I don’t get to fire and it does. The frontal armour of a Churchill VII is pretty good and even the Tigers 88mm will only penetrate on a 6or less (hull) or 9 or less ( turret). He hits something vital and it burns – a 3 is rolled. Tiger C is under the cosh, and is hit no less than five times in the flank (I see no reason not to pump an unconfirmed kill full of AP) but the dice are cursed and none penetrate. A Churchill IV moves up to take a pot shot but gets toasted by a panzershrek. Tiger C recovers from the stun, fires, misses (due to hull down), intensive fires, hits and knocks out the remaining Churchill VII. That’s five Churchills gone from six on the right hand hill, without taking out any german tanks.
I’m now left with one Churchill VII on the right hand hill. with a stun+1 marker ( commander with a minor flesh wound before he buttoned up), involved in a duel with a SS half squad who seems impervious to morale checks; and one Churchill IV on the back slope of the left hand hill who was waiting for the victorious right flank tanks to help. Oh,
I have a 17pdr with no field of fire on the left hand hill, an unoccupied 6pdr on the left hand hill, an unoccupied malfunctioned 6pdr on the right hand hill. Plus there are two Piats lying on the ground next to their dead owners, and one in use on the centre hill where there are no tanks. Ray has four Tigers which are impervious killing machines with death rays.
Its time for some stupid heroics, the Churchill IV comes over the left hand hill, I know its going to die, but it will occupy the Tigers main gun while two infantry squads move in for close combat. Ray doesn’t take the bait, so I move it into the Tigers side armour arc, - he must fire now…but doesn’t. I take a bounding fire shot, and even with the +4to hit and lower dice doubled for still moving, its still a stationary large vehicle target, and a hit. I checked for special ammo ( I don’t play the rule that gives you essentially a free shot every time you check for special ammo) and a discarding sabot round flies into the Tiger. I check the kill numbers, hang on a second…it’s 15 base and 18 for APDS – that’s better than the 75mm on the Churchill VII. The kill number is 10 or less which is pretty respectable and a 9 kills Tiger B – phew.
On the left hand hill, Tiger A’s main gun malfunctions and so does the remaining Churchill IV’s. For a brief moment they stare at each other at one hex range before they both drive off. Tiger A moves into the reentrant, while the Churchill fires at the SS infantry spearhead. One german squad takes five interdiction checks while routing but makes it to safety without loss. On the right hand side my Churchill VII finally blows away the half squad it was fighting, while the Tigers C & D move back up the hill. My squads on the centre hill reorganize and exchange long range fire with the stubble hoppers on the right hand hill. I’ve given up thoughts of a counterattack at this stage.
I think I should just snatch a win on points provided nothing too drastic happens, so I play fairly cautiously this turn. On the left hand hill Ray has one squad isolated who is locked in close combat with two and half British squads with a leader – this is not resolved before game end. Both of us have a squad and a half of brokies on our respective rear slopes and I have another squad on the hill. Tiger A turns left in the re-entrant and moves up the centre hill, giving the 17pdr a perfect shot at its rear armour and bang – another dead Tiger. (Actually the Tiger didn’t have enough MP’s to do this as it was pointing the wrong way but this was obscured by the turret counter. I invoked A.2 to make the kill stand – he could have used ESB to get the extra MP’s at the risk of throwing a track. Ray pointed out very correctly that I’d taken a kill off him when we played ‘Agony of Doom’ by remembering half a turn later the buttoned up penalty when A.2 says it should have counted…well yes but…anyway it was irrelevant to the victory, as if it didn’t get to a level two hex, it wouldn’t count for VP’s. We bickered for a while which is why we are such good friends .
Elsewhere the fighting kind of fizzled out as I was careful to keep +6 or better hindrances between my Churchill and the Tigers on the right hand hill.
The hill of death lived up to its name. I lost five of seven tanks, two of four anti tank guns eleven of nineteen infantry squads and four of five leaders. The squareheads lost seven out of twelve infantry squads and four of six Tigers. However the victory points on the hill count; Ray had two tanks (10) three and a half squads (7) and a 8-1 leader (2). I had two tanks (10), the 17pdr and bits (3), six squads (12) and a 8-1 leader (2). I’m not sure if the forces in close combat should have counted but still a narrow victory for the 2nd British Army – time to exploit the good tank country beyond the hedgerows. I’m glad it ended when it did as with only one leader I was starting to lose cohesion. I’m also annoyed with myself for nearly throwing away a commanding lead.
Lessons Learned and Ramblings
A pretty damn fine scenario it turned out to be, and although it looks harsh for the Brits, the Germans have a lot to do and not enough infantry to do it. It was also nice to be out in the countryside with no buildings, as I was starting to get a little bored with urban slugfests. It took two sessions of about five and a half hours at a fairly sedate pace, but I’m sure we could have done it in a day if we’d put our minds to it.
This was about my tenth game of ASL, and reinforced what an incredible game this is – I’m just bitter that I didn’t discover it years ago. The starter kit seemed good, but I wouldn’t go back to playing it now except to lure someone in. Already I’m planning my board collection strategy – now that’s sad!
What did I learn -
1) Check the victory conditions carefully – although this sounds obvious I was playing to kill germans, when I should have been playing to have more points on level 2 hill hexes at game end. I made a number of piecemeal counterattacks which cost me dearly, when I could have let the Germans come at me.
2) This was only about the fourth time we’d used vehicles, and we don’t seem to be very good at keeping them alive. If you make a mistake with infantry they generally end up broken and routing, whereas vehicles die straight away. It is suicide to stop in the LOS of an enemy unit that has a good chance of penetrating your frontal armour. In your movement phase, he will get to fire at a stationary vehicle ( 10 or less at 3-6 hex range), while you will have bounding fire modifiers (from +4 to +6). Then in his prep he gets a free shot to finish you off, and if he has the sense to intensive fire you have to survive four shots (assuming no rate) before you get to have your first decent chance of firing in the defensive final fire phase.
Don’t do it – keep moving, the doubling of the lower dice roll isn’t that important as to hit you need the lower dice to be 1’s or 2’s anyway….staying moving makes you a harder target (+2 at least) and make sure you don’t end the turn in their LOS, and try and get into their flank arc. Your chances of hitting are low but not impossible and more importantly you have a good chance of surviving.
3) Towed anti tank guns are easy targets – if the towing vehicle is unarmoured which it usually is, and it gets hit and turned to a burning wreck the gun is automatically destroyed. If a gun is unhooked, then you have to get a critical hit or a K/KIA result on the IFT, i.e much much harder. Move them to somewhere the opposition has to attack, but hasn’t arrived at yet – they can’t come to your infantry’s rescue by moving into an enemy LOS.
4) Check your kill numbers - I assumed the 57mm was worse than the 75mm gun when it was one pip better - I probably wouldn't have been as cavalier with my Churchill IV's if I'd realised this from the start.
5) Specifically to this scenario - I think the reverse slope defense with foxholes on the grain line is basically the right idea; I’m not sure if defending all three hills is a good idea though. If I did it again I might defend one hill with dummies, and have a refused flank in the middle. I wouldn’t make the two mistakes I did of having some of the central hill foxholes right on the forward slope, or having the foxhole line too close to the rentrant on the right hand hill. I might also have a two squad stack (normally I never stack) for close combat counterattacks. Six firepower vs four FP on the close combat table sucks. Also don’t attack German infantry with unsupported armour, panzerfausts don’t hit often but when they do its instant death – best to keep the german infantry well occupied with your own infantry.
As the attackers I would throw all six Tigers and the majority of infantry at one flank hill, with a feint at the opposite end. Then I would roll up the defences from left to right or vice versa.
Some smaller scenarios after this monster I think.
Thank you for an entertaining report. Makes me want to pick up ASL.
Ecellent session report. Makes me want to get ASL. Wait! I already have ASL.
"Of the ones I can play 'Hill of Death', 'Regalbuto ridge' and 'Kangaroo Hop' look very good."
I don't know about the others, but Kangaroo Hop does look interesting. But, IHMO, it isn't all that interesting. The Germans have a very interesting setting up period, but when the game start, I found that they have very limited mobility (They have to stay stuck in their fortifications.) and they don't have a lot of choices. The allies do have an interesting time though, especially with AVREs and Crocodiles, lots of nice toys.
Royal Leamington Spa
Wow. I didn't think that was possible.
Craig had tried to dragoon me into playing the Brits in this scenario, but I managed to weasel out of it using the 'Isn't that James coming through the door, looks like we will have to find a three player game' defence.
Hey Matt this was described as
"For a Session Report that does a great job of capturing the feel of a full ASL game, see:" on http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/124364 when the lords of SL and ASL went head to head ( chaired by David Seddon 52nd geek of the week no less ) ...fame, fame at last...and you could have been part of it...but we ended playing a game of Napoleonic wars that you don't even remember...
Anyway didn't you agree that we'd refight World in flames and instead of rolling dice for land battles choose a random ASL scenario for each battle (correct OOB for year and nationality of course)...you were pretty drunk at the time but a bets a bet.
Just a quick one re PF checks:
You mention "in fact a squad giving up its inherent firepower can have two checks for first fire, and possibly two more for final fire and in theory unlimited FPF)."
But the rules don't allow this. See midway through C13.31 USAGE:
"A unit may not make a PF Check in Subsequent First Fire or FPF (A8.3-.31) - regardless of whether it made a PF Check during First Fire."
I realise you posted this a while back and so probably know this already now.
Great AAR though!