Today we take Chicago, or, "Please Don't Throw Me In That Cactus Patch" (AAR)
I played my first match and won my first victory on North American soil against Jim Serafin at an undisclosed
location deep in the suburbs of the City Of Broad Shoulders. Gave Jim a short list of three scenarios I liked
and he picked J50, "The Cactus Farm" from Journal 3. It depicts elements of Division Hermann Goering
trying to delay the inevitable 8th Army advance on Tunis. We diced for sides and I drew the defending Jerries.
This scenario is set on the upper half of board 43 (to the north) and the lower half of board 11. VC require the
Tommies by game end to both grab at least 6 building locations in a 2-hex perimeter around 43M8 (making up
what is commonly known as the Koresh Compound - the O10 stone building outside the wall is not one of these,
however) and prevent the Germans from accumulating >14 VP, awarded as 1 VP per above building location
controlled, and also Exit VP for units on an L2 plateau created from SSR by the grain depiction around 11Z5
on the L1 hill mass. Thus the British must press the attack broadly across both boards and prevail in two
different areas to win, a fairly high bar at the outset.
This is not a desert scenario, but several not-too-obtrusive SSRs give it a distinct flavor. The Germans
have ATMM and 100mm OBA (offboard observer), but the British have FB support (albeit not bombed-up). The
British are required to move their vehicles through three specified trail breaks in a line of 3AT
minefield hexes stretching across the front of most of their entry area (NOTE: The SSR does not specify the
hex sides the trail breaks cross; we agreed that the British could position them at will). Grain is open ground.
The most notable SSR substitutes cactus hedges (hedge TEM, but Min Move, Low Crawl or Adv vs Difficult
Terrain to cross) for walls and hedges, and cactus patches (3x MF/MP, +1 TEM, inherent 1/2 level LOS
obstacle like rubble) for orchards. This denied the Germans the +2 Wall TEM benefit but provided a few more
interesting places for them to hide, and made British capture of the renamed Kaktus Kompound a more
prickly proposition, if you will.
OBs at first glance suggest the Fritzes will have a tough go of things given that they face 9 Churchills (2
with unlimited smoke ammunition, plus an 8-1 AL), but a closer look reveals the British infantry to be
inferior, possessing less than a 2:1 squad advantage (64FP:44FP), which is not really offset by MGs
(24FP: 20FP when adjusted for rate). They do receive two 2-inch MTRs, however, and although German
leaders are tough (9-2 & 8-1), there are only two so they are busy and brittle. The PaK 40 (APCR only) have but