Skip to main content

Delaying the Devil Dogs: A Wargame: AirLand Battle War Story

Well, this continues to be embarrassing.  After just swearing off video games, I am suffering from quite the addiction to Eugen System's Wargame: AirLand Battle.  I really have to say how impressed I am with the amount of polish that Eugen has applied to the game over the last few months.  And they are clearly not stopping, what with the news that another patch and the "Magna Carta" DLC (free!) were released today!  I might have my gripes with a big portion of the industry, but I think Eugen is one of the good guys of 2013.

Anyway, to celebrate my new addiction, I'd thought I do another AAR, this time with me playing as the East Germans against the AI-controlled United States Marine Corps!  Can I stop the famed Devil Dogs?  Check and see.  And to just switch things up a bit for this AAR, I will be using touched-up screenshots for a more realistic effect.  Enjoy!

Much of this fight revolved around what appeared to be some sort of shipping center, probably related to the local agricultural industry:

I decided to call it Oslo Freight and Distribution Center.    I am not sure why the USMC wanted it - it wasn't even a capturable zone - but want it they did.  Maybe they heard there was a lifetime supply of Leatherneck Magazine in there?

I started out with a cautious probe by a recon team up the central Oslo highway.  A few klicks up the road I found a nice, little family farm that looked to be a nice vantage point to keep an eye on the highway:

I feel sorry for the family who lived there.  This battle appeared to be taking place in the early morning, so I fear that farmer probably woke to someone banging on his door and demanding entry, only to be told that his house was being commandeered by the Warsaw Pact.  The good news is that this little farmstead was largely untouched by the war - a Super Cobra did spot and destroy my recon team's vehicle (but not the tractor!) parked out front, but the house and all within were safe during the entire battle.  Win - win!

Intersecting the main North-South Oslo Highway was a secondary highway that ran West - East, right to Oslo Freight and Distribution Center.  It was clear that the USMC intended to use this road as the main axis of their advance.  They came loaded for bear with lots of choppers, M60 tanks, LAVs and more:

The West - East highway with ample USMC activity

I decided to kick things off with a healthy pasting of artillery.  I had some SP arty hidden in a patch of woods (conveniently near a trail) that kicked off the festivities:



The arty did disrupt a USMC staging area, but not much damage was done.  The leathernecks quickly reformed and pushed down the highway with a purpose.  I had to bring in a platoon of KPz T-72Ms to halt them.  It was bloody fighting, albeit, I think my T-72's outperformed the M60A1s:

Smoke from all the wrecks really hindered visibility
If the T-72s did as well against the M60s as it appeared in the game, that might indicate that the USMC would have had a hard time in the event that WWIII did break out sometime in the '80s.

Both sides brought up reinforcements.  The AI primarily brought in more armor, and interestingly enough, decided to form them up at a refilling station!

Reminds me of that scene from Red Dawn where a T-72 tank crew gets ambushed at a gas station
I, on the other hand, brought in some ATGM infantry teams.  We were having an effect against the USMC when he unleashed his M61A1 Zippo:

That thing started quite the blaze!  It burned and burned, releasing black smoke into the sky.

Seeing how my poor infantry was now crisped, I brought in some 9P137 AT-5B Konkurs-M ATGM units that continued to take a toll on the M60s:

You can see the conflagration continuing to burn in the far distance

This fight for the midsection of the West - East highway allowed me time to bring in a bunch of commando teams to fortify the Oslo Freight and Distribution Center.  Fortunately for me, I brought along a healthy selection of commando teams with air defense weaponry, seeing how the Marines were throwing every chopper they had at me:

A BTR hides in the shrubs while my commandos fire two Strela surface to air missiles at a AH-1 for a kill
It was at this point that the Marines made a weak push for the OFDC using one or two M60s, a few LAVs, and a bunch of jeep-mounted TOWs.  Those TOWs were deadly, but fortunately for the East Germans, we had a sufficient number of T-55A's on rear guard to break up the attack:

By this time my special forces in OFDC, along with my supporting tanks, were running low on missiles, general ammo, and fuel.  I had to risk a supply delivery:

A V-LKV T813 supply truck makes a hasty run while a T-55A advances in parallel across a field
Fortunately the Marines paused just long enough for my supply truck to distribute the goods to the desperate troops.  But it wasn't long before they made another attack.  Everybody got thrown into the meat grinder.  My Special Forces inside of the OFDC launched their wire-guided FAGOT missiles at targets along Death's Highway...

...while my T-55As went toe-to-toe with M60s at point blank range (interesting story:  while the Marine armor was busy blasting away at the OSDC, my T-55s used a smoke screen to maneuver right on top of the M60s unseen!  By the time the Marines knew what was happening, they were dead!):

It was brutal fighting, as summed up by this lone Marine who seems to stagger amidst the carnage at an intersection on Death's Highway:

Trying a different tack, the Marines decided to abandon Death's Highway and instead attacked across open country to the north-facing side of the OFDC.  They came on hard and fast with choppers and LAVs:

I had to call in some of my precious few air assets to chase off the gunships:

But the USMC called in some of its assets, too.  Like this F/A-18 that dropped some cluster munitions on a platoon of  T-72 tanks that were in an ambush position in a patch of woods:

The inevitable Marine charge assaulted the north side of the complex, but met heavy resistance:

A missile team took out their vehicle, but the leathernecks kept on coming
The battle got so heavy - boy, those Marines are a determined lot!  - that I had to bring in some commando reinforcements!

And then some air mobile reinforcements!

Gunships in a parking lot - never a good sign

Those leathernecks weren't giving up without a fight!

Finally, I assembled a strike team of GDR Motor Schutzen (can't let the commandos have all the glory!) and launched an assault through the south gate.  The Marines poured on heavy fire but the schutzen got through the gate an began assaulting the Marine position:

Forward into the breach!

The battle was amazingly fierce, with both sides fighting bitterly for every building on the north side of the OFDC, all in the impossibly thick and choking smoke.  The fighting hung in the balance, so I finally needed to bring in one last gunship as added support for my Schutzen, as well as to keep more Marines from reinforcing their comrades:

If was enough!  We won!  The Oslo Freight and Distribution Center was ours again!

It was at that point that the battle timer ran out, with the game ending in a draw.   Those Marines were tough, but, in the final analysis, we stymied them.  Take that, Devil Dogs!

Here is a BDA of the OFDC after the battle:

With the exceptions of what appeared to be a covered trailer garage that was burned out (the black patch in the bottom left corner of the center), and what appears to be roof damage of the two administrative buildings where the infantry fighting was so hot, the damage wasn't all that bad. You can see the mess made of the Death's Highway, though!


  1. Dude, a flamethrower tank? Now that's awesome! Reading this makes me want to finally play European Escalation, which I've owned for quite a while and not played yet.

  2. The Wargame series is a click-fest, but it is a fun click-fest, particularly if you use the replay viewer to go back and watch all the action in detail (that is how I made this AAR). I am looking forward to next year's Dragon Rising. I wish Eugen had stayed with WWIII in Europe, but the edition of China and the Koreas to the mix should be fun, too!

    Merry Christmas! Hope you had a good one!

  3. Heads up: Steam has Wargame: ALB on sale for 75% off today!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Gamer's Review: Hellsing Ultimate

Is it too early to start queuing up some entertainment for Halloween?  Just a bit.  Regardless, I find myself doing just that.  Part of the reason is that summer for my region never really arrived.  Instead of the requisite heat and humidity, we were treated to largely cool, dry days.  Really, it has felt like little more than an extended late spring or early autumn.  As a result I have found myself yearning to get autumn underway as there isn't any point of continuing this useless summer.  This is why I have been looking forward to Halloween: it is THE holiday of autumn!

But in addition to that, two games have recently awakened in me a love for the horror of "urban fantasy":  Shadowrun Returns, and The Secret World.  As I detailed here, those two games have hit a home run with me, and made me reconsider the whole horror genre - a genre I never particularly cared for seeing the low budget "torture porn" tripe coming out of Hollywood these days.   And that is p…

The Catholic Sensibilities of Shadowrun Returns

"Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body." – Lawrence Person
It has often been observed that Christ did not associate with the rich and powerful, but rather with the downtrodden, the rejected, the disreputable.  This is no small thing to consider, especially in a world where the glitterati continue to dominate popular culture.  Oh sure, the have-nots are often feted, sometimes even by the glittering class itself, but only ever so briefly.   Very quickly they are ushered off the stage, usually when the celebri tire of the spectacle, and are promptly forgotten until the next round of self-hating guilt bubbles to the surface of the rich and powerful's collective psyche.  Alas, such is the way of the world.

Be that as it may, it is …

Board Game Glory: Ogre

Yes, I am enjoying my time away from PC gaming!  It feels good to get involved with a fresh game genre again.  And I couldn't have picked a better time: board games and miniatures seem to be going through an veritable explosion of creativity, something that is, coincidentally, being fueled through Kickstarter and other crowd-sourced methods that are also popular with the PC gaming crowd (but I think with better results).

To be honest, I have begun to believe that not all of the problems that are plaguing PC gaming is due entirely to shoddy business practices.  Rather, I think video games have hit a brick wall of realistic possibility.  That is, while the technology to make a super-realistic, super-immersive games might now exist, the programming skills to take advantage of that possibility don't exist.  Or, perhaps more accurately, those skills do exist, but the task of programming such monstrously complex games requires more time and money than any game developer has availab…