This scenario sees six squads - including three reduced - of the 101st clearing a path through hedgerow country on June 6th, 1944. To win the game the Americans must exit four squads off the eastern portion of the board.
The Germans have only four squads of their own, but their possessing an equal number of decoy markers means that the American player is faced with a race against time to find which areas are defended and which aren't, and to then exploit the gaps in the defensive line. There are only five turns in this scenario, and as it takes three turns just to get from one end of the board to the other, there is no time to waste.
German set up:
The Germans deploy in two lines, and as this was a solo game I randomised the real and dummy units so that I (as the American player) would not know what I was facing.
The German defensive line looks forbidding - but there must be a way through! The Americans enter from the western edge, moving into cover behind the hedgerows and firing in an attempt to suppress the enemy.
A lucky shot suppresses one forward position...
...which turns out to be a dummy marker. There is an opening!
The lone German defender on the right responds to the American advance with a burst of fire, but does no harm.
The forward squad on the left is given an opportunity fire marker to discourage the Americans from racing too precipitately down the road (opportunity fire markers give defenders a better chance of shooting up enemy squads which enter their line of sight).
The Americans elect to press on their right to see what they are facing there, but as they do not manage any suppression hits it turns out that they are none the wiser.
Time is ticking, so the last American squad elects to do a hail Mary move forward down the road and try to hit the remaining defender on the German right. They move and cross the hedgerow but the Germans use their one command point (command points can be used to alter the normal turn sequence in particular ways) to attempt to activate their used unit and take a shot. The units shoots and hits, in so doing losing its conceal marker. The squad on opportunity fire duty now attempts to takes a shot of its own, but it does not react well to the pressure (it fails its proficiency test and cannot shoot. On the positive side, this means that it retains its concealed marker). The suppressed American squad fails its morale roll and stops in its tracks.
The Germans advance one of their rear squads to try to finish off the Americans, who hit the dirt, hold on to their helmets for dear life, and - for the moment - survive.
In the end of turn phase the forward American squad pulls back to the safety of the baseline, where it recovers to full morale.
The Americans try to suppress the squad facing their left, but have no success. The Germans place Op Fire markers in return. A shooting match ensues, which reveals the forward squad on the German left to be dummy.
The Americans now advance into the dead ground,taking a shot at the exposed flank of the German squad on the road. Their shooting is deadly: the Germans take a casualty hit and are left fully suppressed.
The German rearguard now attempts to shoot at the advanced American unit but only succeed in revealing itself to be a dummy marker. For the Americans, who now know where three of the enemy squads are, this is great news; but it is not so good for the Germans.
There is sporadic shooting, but no more damage is done.
In the rout phase the German squad that took casualties retreats to safer ground and regains a level of morale in due course.
The Americans open up on the forward squad on the German right, inflicting casualties and a double suppression. Seizing the moment, the Americans rush down the road, only for one unit to be suppressed by German opportunity fire.
This latest firefight has revealed the position of the fourth German squad, which makes the American tactics fairly obvious from this point on.
Accordingly, the Americans on the far left take the chance to scamper past the disoriented Germans in the front line and outflank the rear squad (the fully suppressed Germans will only have a one in ten chance of being able to fire at the Yanks as they pass). The Germans are in a panic and have no idea what to do as the squad sprints past them (they don't roll the 1 they need!).
Now in the German rear area, the plucky chaps open fire on the German squad overlooking the road, killing them all and clearing the roadway. The units on the German left are already used, and are unable to effectively react to the resultant American advance.
Another burst of fire sees the last of the German right cut down by fire from behind.
The end of the turn obliges the last two German squads - which now have their flanks turned and positions exposed - to take a voluntary retreat towards the south edge of the board.
With the road east open, the Americans hie themselves off. The Germans are unable or unwilling to do much about it (they fail their proficiency rolls and are unable to fire).
Thanks to a mixture of inexperience, bad luck, and the limitations of playing solitaire, the Germans managed to lose this one. A real German player would been able to keep his squads hidden longer and thereby force the Americans to take more risks in manoeuvre to get their men east before time was up.
I made what was in retrospect a bad decision in advancing the German second line squad on turn one to make a very low odds attack on the exposed Americans. This saw them in a hex which, although protected frontally, was vulnerable to attack from hex D3, and as the two German squads covering D3 turned out to be dummies, it left a gap in the line that the Americans were able to exploit to win the game.
The game was interesting and fast paced, and required some thought. I'm still assimilating the rules and did not play optimally, but I'm starting to see how fire and movement fit together, how important correct use of terrain is, and the kinds of things I'm going to need to learn to do to play well.
This is the third time I've mucked around with this scenario, and when playing the attacker I'm going to have to get past my unwillingness to take risks with my men. I've discovered that in this game I genuinely dislike exposing troops to unnecessary danger - why this is is perhaps an interesting question, if one for another time! - but clearly I'm going to have to get used to seeing friendly casualties if I'm going to be able to 'get the job done'.
As I come to understand it better, BoB is getting more interesting, and I haven't even got to the point of using MGs yet, much less mortars, bazooka teams, artillery, guns and armoured vehicles. There's a lot more to get to grips with. I'm looking forward to it!