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ROW II - LAB RATS Do Not Enter The LAB - Spoliers within

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As this cost me the finals, here is my AAR.


AAR – Lab Rats

Holien vs Ali

The mission is to take a company of Elite Commando’s represented by Para’s into a lab and free some rats.

At first glance, the map looks like an interesting one with plenty of places to land the boats and approach the Lab. The lab area itself is like an old Roman fort with large earth banks and buildings around the edge. The three large flags are positioned at two corners and in the middle of the rear. Two are closer together than one.

I decide on trying to sneak up the far side with all my force I then split into four teams. One with the Co HQ and a couple of squads and the three HMG’s to act as a diversion. The other three will storm the two flags close together.

The first phase of the game is boring as it takes a long time to land the boats and get into position. My first use of boats and I discover that one you need men in them to move them and two they have to be on land for the men to dismount. There are still two boats with crew floating about the lake, which I had planned to use as a diversion.

My decoy group run across a sniper and in the process of taking him out on the earth bank cause more causalities to themselves than the sniper. One squad panics (does not show as panicked) and runs for the nearest cover which is a building beyond the barbwire. These 7 men get strung up in the wire and massacred by some Germans in the buildings below.

This pisses me off big time. Not only do I have my own men killing each other the AI then wipes out a 10 man Elite unit for no gain. I now know that there are several German units below but my men behind the wall on the earthwork can not fire at those below as they are just out of sight. The only way to get in LOS is to go through the wire. What a naff design.

Well thinking that I have the attention of a small garrison on the right side I send my men over the wire to the top and hope that they can run through the wire before being cut to bits. I use my smoke to try and block off LOS to the buildings I expect the enemy to be in.

This move costs me two HQ units, and most of my squads. My opponent had men in most of the buildings (1/2 squads) and LOS to my men in the wire. The two platoons on the far left manage after some HTH fighting dispatch the few Germans there. The reduced platoon on the right is wiped out.

At this stage I lose interest in the scenario and wish to give up. The situation is absolute crap and all I can do is try and hold onto the one flag I have. This nearly gets taken from me by a good counter attack, which a gammon bomb manages to blow up the building with the attackers in. At one point one reduced squad of mine throws down its weapons while the two men left in the other squad in the building fight on.

I really disliked this game as a test of skill. It was lost through bad luck and poor judgement on my behalf. I did not find the wire until it was too late to change my plan. To have won this I would have had to do one of the following.

1. Attack through the front gate where there was no wire. This was fraught with danger as my opponent had men in the only cover and would have caused massive casualties as my men were stuck in the open. This however would have been better than being stuck in the wire.

2. Charged my men over the wire in only one location. This would have meant that I might have gained a foothold in some buildings with enough of a force to make a difference.

As it was by rushing three different locations close together I ended up being nailed at those three places by split squads covering the wire. My opponent knew where I was coming from sound contacts and use of his snipers. This meant I was on a hiding to nothing.

Of course I am sure that some Allied players might have won this. I hope not as it will vindicate my views.

My opponent found the game boring and lacked any real challenge, well that is what he said at the time. He just had to sit inside the box and make sure he moved units to where he heard the enemy approach, what skill does that take?

For a game in the final this has to be one of the worst I have ever played. Even in ROW I, I had some serious choices to make and a chance of controlling my destiny. I felt cheated by this game and was bloody lucky to not have auto surrender kick in.

Result a Tactical victory to the Germans.


71 (20)

2 Mortars

Men OK





124 (32)

1 Captured

2 Vehicles

Men OK





[ December 15, 2002, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: Holien ]

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My opponent found the game boring and lacked any real challenge, well that is what he said at the time. He just had to sit inside the box and make sure he moved units to where he heard the enemy approach, what skill does that take?
As the Germans, my opinion is exactly the same as your opponent. I thought the scenario well designed, but I did not think it appropriate to be included in a tournament.


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I was the Allies, and I won a moderate victory. I approached with widely separated platoons, figuring to try to spread the anticipated-few defenders. I was surprised to find nothing in the woods, I thought there would be a ton of mines or wire or whatever. So my approach was quite slow and my opponent (White4) was justifiably bored. Approached the berm with my mortars, found some gaps through the mines and got all my forces onto the berm. Scouted around and found the wire barrier complete. Tried to push through the wire with mortars or half squads, got shot up in a few places. Lost quite a few paras when they decide the buildings are better cover than behind the wall, and try to get through the wire in the face of defenders.

Finding opposition in two of the three locations I tried to breach the wire, I left a Vickers to area fire just short of visible range, trying to pin the enemy. Moved my squads around to find the gaps where there were no defenders (mostly around the back, as his forces were strong in the big building and corners but could not cover the gaps. Got into the buildings with about 2 platoons total, one full platoon and two half-platoons in two other spots. Started moving along the row of buildings, concentrating on the big building and the flag that was in the corner next to it. Took the corner buidling with one of the half platoons (losing a squad to the HMG and shots in the back from my friends), then turned and attacked the main building. White4 made a motorized counterattack with about 20 guys, including his company commander, but lost them all. This attracted attenstion to that side of the big building, then I assaulted the other side with the full platoon that had infiltrated relatively unseen.

After this (approx turn 26) I had the majority of the flags and played defence. Moved the best remaining squads out into the open to intercept White4's counterattacking squads which were coming in piecemeal. Elites against greens in open was a turkey shoot for me. In the end game I also moved the CompanyHQ and a Piat in the front gate (slap on the head when I found it undefended) and got close enough to the front flag to take out the sharpshooter defender (the others having been pulled to counterattack), and take the flag.

It was a tough one for the German I thought, if the Brits can get through the wire coherently (and I think they can given the large perimeter). Especially since the wire can't be covered from the buildings. Put the wire within visibility of the buildings and it would be much tougher to get in.

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I played this as Allies, took over the whole camp at the price of heavy casualties, and would have had a German surrender with one more turn. I had had a good time because I never knew what was going to happen next turn. As it's a night battle, I never knew what might be lurking just out of LOS.

But I don't think it's well-designed as a CM scenario. The map is far too symmetrical and even to be real, and the challenge is not one of finding military tactics that would work in the real world - it's more of an abstract strategy game, can you fake out your opponent, etc. In other words, the scenario's gamey.

I tried misdirection to get through the wire - very loudly and obviously approaching from the front with one platoon, sneaking up to the side with the others. I could hear trucks driving around, making me think I was being successful. A land mine gave me away though, my opponent later said.

At the front gate, I put units just behind the wall to provide suppressing fire, then rushed through the gap in the wire. Successful, but heavy casualties. My opponent later described it as a "debacle" for him, and said he pulled back to the rear flags afterward.

Then I headed through the wire on the side at two different places. There wasn't much there, but again I took casualties. Probably the main reason there wasn't much there was because of my opponent pulling back to the flags, not so much because of successful misdirection.

Then I worked my way around house-to-house. Coming to the big building, I tried to rush it from several sides at once, got wiped out mostly as it was well-defended. Fortunately, one of my squads in the house next to it set it on fire with a gammon bomb, and all those squads ran out and were totally massacred.

Then I proceeded to the rear corner. That flag was still neutral I think at the end, as I hadn't completely finished wiping out one unit there. The trucks were hiding in the corner.

I woulda done better to leave the PIATs, MGs, and mortars behind - they didn't do much but die, although I tried to use the mortars for smoke and the MGs for suppression going through the wire and the front gate.

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After doing some analysis, it is interesting that this scenario won the tourney for all three players in the play offs.

Not sure what it says about it but this is the one that decided who was the overall winner in each group.

2 played the Germans and one was the Allied player.

I would be interested in their take on this game and how it worked in a tourney environment.


[ December 16, 2002, 02:42 PM: Message edited by: Holien ]

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This was far from my favorite scenario, just on the basis of scenario design. And, like Holien, I was one of the finalists who lost the tourney because of the outcome in this scenario. I'm probably too biased against this to evaluate it fairly. Still, I've been waiting to bitch and moan about it for some time, and this is the first chance I've gotten to do it, so here goes.

Please keep in mind that I'm not questioning the outcome of the tourney at all and it's perfectly possible that KR would have handed me my head in any scenario we might have played. He also played extremely well in this scenario and deserves to win based on that performance. It's simply the scenario itself that I'm venting about.

Anyway, here are some gripes, offered in the true spirit of the betrodden infantry, who were asked to undertake this perilous mission.

1. It's a commando mission but the attacker benefits from virtually no advance recon. Typically, a commano mission is planned out in meticulous detail based on solid local information from partisans or spies or from photo recon or both. Here, the attacker has little or no information about enemy forces or dispositions and just has to guess about his attack. The fact that it's night and the compound is surrounded by a steep embankment cuts down on the possibility of on site recon by the Allied player. You more less have to take your guess as to the best route or routes in, and live or die by it.

2. The scenario tests few skills that we have been able to develop in our previous CMBO play. We aren't typically given a mission like "invade a fortified compound with a purely infantry force and no recon," so again we simply have to guess what the right procedure might be. Combined arms teamwork is at a minimum here. My prior experience with night battles suggested that I needed to keep my force together to maximize firepower. With that in mind, I went in as a company sized force. I'm not sure that was a wise choice but it was my best guess (pure guess) based on the scant info.

3. Night scenarios inherently emphasize luck. The lack of any useful info in the briefing also stressed luck to the max, since we simply have to guess about a possible winning approach.

4. A really skillful defender is simply going to win this one most of the time. Finalists in the ROWII tourney are by definition skillful defenders. In fact, there was only one attacker's win out of six in the finals. On the other hand, a less experienced defender might leave a crease in his defense that could be exploited, hence perhaps the more common Allied wins outside the finals. Arguably, this penalized the finalists stuck with the attacker's task.

5. Aside from tourney results, which are really secondary, this was my chance to play KR in a well designed scenario and test my skill against an outstanding player. I really would have enjoyed the chance to play him in a more "normal" scenario. We both agreed that this scenario didn't provide the chance for such a test and are looking forward to the chance to play again when time permits. Wish it could have happened during the tourney itself.

OK. I have now fully vented re "Rat Labs." The unbiased part of the discussion may now proceed.

[ December 16, 2002, 08:34 PM: Message edited by: CombinedArms ]

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I didn't write an AAR as the game was progressing, so this account will be to the best of my memory.

I decided to keep my force massed together as my limited experience with night games has been that they are quick and messy affairs. My main plan was to avoid contact with the enemy until I had my company inside the perimeter, and then march around the houses clearing out defenders as I found them.

I figured that there was no way U8led could have enough forces to hold the entire wall in strength, so I made my landing on the coastline facing the flag-less side of the compound. Hopefully if my opponent was going to deprive one of his flanks it would be the one without victory locations. The first 15-something turns were complete boredom, the only excitement was the loss of a couple men due to mines.

A complete wall of wire popping up at 50 meters was certainly a rude surprise, I didn't want to fight my way through that in the teeth of occupied houses. I finally decided to shift my entire force down to the very corner of the compound, the one near the big house but without the flag. At this point the wire curved away from the wall, providing a small area where I could rest between barriers. Additionally, at the corner I was able to cross almost all of the wire before I would be in LOS range of the nearest house.

The entrance went seamlessly, my entire force was through the wire before sighting any enemy and it was a cakewalk after that. There was no way the German player could win fights against a massed company of elite Para's.

Whether my opponent's poor luck in not guarding that corner or my good guess, it seems like a clean breach of the perimeter was key to the allied attack. I can certainly understand why others would feel this game was not suited to a tournament environment, but it did earn me the movies ;) . Thanks for the games U8led, and all my other opponents in this tourney. If we meet again in RoW III you'll most likely have your revenge, luck tends to run out eventually.

Jon L

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Actually, my plan was just like JonL's except that KR had spread out his force so that he had my chosen point of entry guarded. I wish I'd thought to move down to the corner, but he had that guarded too. I think the Allies can be beaten if they leave a chink in their defense. If you get your company through the wire intact, you should be able to win.

On the other hand, a defender who spreads out to cover the perimeter, lets the wire catch the attacker, then concentrates on the point of attack, is going to be awfully hard to beat. At least, I found it to be so. Trying to make a concentrated attack on the point least likely to be guarded still led to my demise.

[ December 16, 2002, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: CombinedArms ]

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The ones where the attacker won shows how they came up against a poor defence IMO. The key being to spot the enemy on the wire and have a mobile defence force to plug the gap.

I tried three seperate places and in the end I should have just stormed the gate.

It is a real pity this game was the joker in the pack (IMO) and used to resolve the final.

If I had the defenders in this game would Ali have been able to do any better?

Luck is like that and is part of the tourney. It could be that in other games previous to this there have been similar situations and we have benefited.

It would be interesting to hear Ali's own words on this?


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I will make my AAR's later, but here are my thoughts about Lab Rats.

I agree with Holien that it was a pity that this night fight decided the victory ...Though I would have whipped you in another scenario anyway H tongue.gif Just kidding :D

Coming through the front gate wouldn't have worked against me (atleast I think so). I though you were coming from that direction and I had MG + platoon leader + squad + half squad guarding that entrance.

Main thing for defender is to know where attacker is coming. There was too few troops to cover all the area so I had to split troops and try find out where the enemy is coming. I managed to do that pretty good, but still few attackers did get inside...

Scenario was really boring as a defender. First 12 turns nothing happened!

Holien did try to bluff me with MG's supress fire on the other side and REAL attackers on the other. I did think that he is coming from MG's direction but kept my cool and left my upper guards at their place and drove in one MG to help (truck that brought MG was shot down by something (my own troops?), I thought it could be that MG area fire (over 200 metres away), dunno?.

Then came the attack and it failed and that was the game...really boring, sigh.

2 Gammon bombs did more damage to my troops than entire platoon of elite troops...Other Gammon bomb was throwed at the big building that got fire and my squad + MG's run out and were butchered.

At the end I attacked with Platoon hq + 9 men squad (all in tiptop shape). I was against 1 man squad + 3 man squad. 3 men squad throw a Gammon Bomb and immediatly after that they surrendered. Gammon bomb (Or was it satchel charge?) landed and took out building + platoon HQ + 7 men from my squad. Sigh...This scenario tested players luck, not skill :(

If I would have attacked I would have used splitted squads to find out a weak spot and ram with massive force through the cap using small mortars smoke...maybe :confused: Or I would have used same bluff tactics that H did. Maybe a bit differently, I wouldn't have attacked the big building which is easy to defend even if enemy gets inside (check the vision range and you see that it is ideal place to defend). but it's all speculation and easy to say now...

Btw, defender did got nice places in buildings. You could but troops in, so that they only see barbwire and enemy couldn't use wall as their cover.



(edit: I added an attacking style...)

[ December 17, 2002, 10:05 AM: Message edited by: Ali ]

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Originally posted by Ali:

Coming through the front gate wouldn't have worked against me (atleast I think so). I though you were coming from that direction and I had MG + platoon leader + squad + half squad guarding that entrance.

I don't think that's enough to hold the front gate. I forced it with one platoon against more than that, including the German company HQ. I had an MG on one side and a squad on another, using the wall as cover to fire on the buildings (it's close enough on that side to do it.) Then I rushed the house on the right side of the gate (my right.) Pricey but effective.

Possibly the best way to do this scenario would be to send your whole force through the front gate - there's only enough cover there for a limited number of defenders anyway. But like CombinedArms said no amount of CM experience would let you know that. I sure didn't, the front gate attack was intended as a diversion.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing (regarding the Gate) and I thank Ali for backing me up on the comments about this game.

"I agree with Holien that it was a pity that this night fight decided the victory ..."

"This scenario tested players luck, not skill"

When you get CMBB please let me know and we shall have a real contest...

Then we shall see who whips who!!!



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A lot of players have commented on that "wide open" gate and how that was the (hindsight-enabled) way in.

I don't think so.

I think most of the successful defenders followed an operational plan similar to mine; hold the main body in reserve, detect the enemy on the perimeter and react to his attack(s).

I put both of my reaction platoons in the center "construction areas" with the MG's on trucks close by. I was prepared for an attack on the gate and was watching it closely with the "guards". I don't think an attack through the gate was necessarily as viable as it seems in hindsight. Easier to get in, sure, but then a long way from 2 flags. The ambush possibilities for the defender are endless.

In the end, the problem with using this scenario in a tournament is that commando ops by their very nature depend on operational surprise. Operational surprise is impossible to achieve in a CM scenario. All of the guards are going to be wide awake, the garrison commander is going to be on his toes and is certain an attack is coming that night. *That*, and not some inherent design flaw, is why this was a poor choice as a tournament scenario.

My $0.02 (again).


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Actually, interestingly enough Vadr, I disagree. I believe if the Allied player had the balls to charge through the main gate it would pretty much seal victory. From my perspective as the defender there was no way I could cover the entire perimeter with my force so I simply hoped the Allied player would not take the most obvious place to enter due an assumption it would be well defended.

In my case the main entrance was simply picketed by a lonely green sharpshooter that would never have fired even if a force did appear. In my opinion it is not an easy spot to defend due to the speed with which enemy troops could pour through the non wired gap and reach nearby buildings. Once in the compound, the ability to choose which direction to attack by either going down the middle, to the left or to the right makes it almost impossible to defend with any real force due to the relatively meagre defending troops. The other thing to consider is that the Allies could switch direction quickly with their elite force while the ability for the Germans to react is very limited with their relatively green inexperienced squads. I simply thanked my lucky stars that C.A. didn't take the so called obvious route and chose his entry point at a spot where I had at least an HQ unit to fire at his troops as they breached the wire.


Jim R.

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Well, that explains it--how KR was able to cover the whole perimeter well enough to stop me as I tried to cross the wire. His decision was very shrewd and took guts.

As KR assumed, I figured the scenario designer would naturally make that front gate the strongest point of defense. I was, honestly, flabbergasted to discover when the game ended that the designer hadn't locked some strong fixed defenses there. At least some wire and pillboxes and a couple of MGs. Nothing? Nothing? Arrgh...Obviously, if I'd run through that wide open gate, I'd have won a great victory. Would that have provided proof of my great tactical skill? I wonder.

More generally, I don't think CMBO simulates night combat very well. And, as has been suggested by Vadr, it can't really simulate the surprise of a commando raid. (In CMBB you could probably make the defenders weakend to slow them down a bit.) So unless the goal was to simply flummox the players with a particularly problematic scenario and see what they could make of it, I have to wonder about the choice of this one for the finals.

Still a fun tourney, though. I'm not really complaining, just bitchin' and moanin' :D

[ December 17, 2002, 11:31 PM: Message edited by: CombinedArms ]

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I agree, night fights are pain! Outcome is always a mystery. Still I don't believe that front gate would have worked or would be a best choice.

I had foxholes placed near the gate and MG placed on the building so that it couldn't be seen from the wall, deep inside the building only facing the gate IIRC. Wise defender can place troops so that wall don't help. Suppress fire from attacking MG may still rattle the defender inside the building, but odds are still on defenders side IMO. I've seen what defending splitted squad can do in the dark. And MG can be protected with more troops inside a building (inside enough) that they can't be seen from the wall.

Another thing. Defender had couple of sharpshooters far out, near the trail (don't remember could they be moved in setup?). Those sharpshooters surely see if enemy is coming. Other snipers were browsing the corners.

If enemy gets inside through the gate, it surely will get enough casualties that you can keep the big house and atleast contest one little flag...Unless somebody sets fire on your big building :(

IMO, gate can be defended good, but outcome is still determined by random factors of night fight.



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Yeah, the defender did have sharpshooters out and knew I was coming - I wanted him to, since the front gate attack was intended as a diversion.

Foxholes! Didn't think about that. All the defenders at the front gate were in the buildings. By putting foxholes in the open, the gate could be defended better, yeah.

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Hmmm thinking about how this scenario might be improved what would people do differently.

It is all well and good saying we did not like it but how would we have liked it?

For myself I would change the following.

1. Better briefing about the existence of wire and mines.

2. Smaller map so less time spent getting to attacking position.

3. Better cover for attackers to attack from.

4. Some VP's outside the main compound. Perhaps a pumping house or some other such device which allows the defender some choices as well as the attacker.

5. Do it during day light. (I am not so sure on this?)

The idea of the compound is good and the opportunity to choose ones landing zones were good. What was bad was that in making that choice it had no real impact on the game, so make the map smaller.

This is just thinking aloud and I hope others out there might have some constructive comments to make on the design.



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AAR as the Germans v Combined Arms as the Poms

It occured to me that the scenario I was playing against Combined Arms was somewhat ironic as I realised this was going to be one battle where my opponent would not be able to display his prowess in manipulating his forces utilising the very combined arms tactics his namesake indicated. Clearly this was going to be an infantry only battle throughout.

My basic setup was to pretty much leave the wide open entrance unguarded as I felt it too difficult to properly defend in any meaningful way without utilising most of my force to do so. Once deciding on this plan of action I placed a full Sicherung platoon (the one with the Green leader but who had some decent bonuses) around the Machine Shop area with the one regular squad split and placed in the open to the north west of the Machine Shop to create some foxholes within view of the wire on that north western corner. The other Sicherung platoon was divided up with the 2 green unsplit squads placed in the light buildings either side of the Scientific HQ with the Coy. HQ in command of them within the heavy building. This left just the regular squad to guard the Military HQ building on the south eastern corner but I split it with a half squad near the top of the parapet but behind the wire to see if anything approached while the other half squad was placed outside of the HQ building (where its non bonused veteran HQ hid) to the south east to create a foxhole within sight of the wire.

All that remained was to place my 3 HMG's since the sharpshooters were locked in position so I decided to put one in the upper floor of the Main Lab Complex facing the wall while a veteran MG was situated in the one heavy building on the southern perimeter roughly half way along with the third placed in rubble just east of the 2 storey building to act as my mobile reserve once I brought my Kubelwagen around from its locked position.

My plan was to have the sharpshooters as pickets patrolling the top of the berm so I could determine where the enemy would attempt to breach the complex then react quickly to such an attempt without commiting everything to such an attempt in case it was an initial diversion. I decided that I could afford to lose a truck with these patrolling efforts so out it went to patrol the northern approaches as this was where I suspected the enmy would come from. The second truck was driven to the entrance of the compound to act as a trip wire by parking it hidden across the gap in the berm so if anything tried to come through there, at least I would know about it.

Nothing happened for the first 9 turns until my truck, on its magical mystery tour, ran into at least 1 enemy squad roughly half way up the slope to the berm on the northern side. Suffice to say it didn't put up much resistance (one burst & it was very dead inc. the crew) however at least I had my warning and I could react to it in sufficient time. Turn 10 saw a green sharpshooter of mine wander into a hail of lead along the northern wall roughly one third the length of the wall away from the north western corner. Clearly, this told me the attack seemed to be a major breach so I rushed my Kubelwagen ensconsed HMG to a point in front of the northern section of rubble while the spare, highly credentialed 4 man veteran HQ also rushed into a light building south of where the enemy firing had come from the previous turn to destroy the hapless truck.

Turn 11 proved interesting with an enemy squad, attempting to rush through wire north east of the Machine Shop, being unmercifully gunned down as it kept rushing forward to attempt to gain acces to a light building 2 spots east of the Machine Shop. My lonely 4 man HQ in a light building just north of the "Construction" rubble took on 2 full squads as they charged the wire and managed to inflict casualties on both squads as they were each reduced to 2 man figures after the 60 second turn. Unfortunately, in the process he also was severely crippled, being reduced to a paltry 1 man HQ armed with a pistol. Their survival later proved very telling as I was able to withdraw this highly bonused HQ the very next turn without it losing its one remaining man which allowed it to assist in a "last man standing" defence of the 2 storey building towards the end of the game.

Turn 14 saw me pull back my 2 regular half squads at the north western corner into the Machine Shop heavy building to help the HQ's defence of it while a green squad in a light building just to the east were to attempt to hold off the horde of enemy squads that I just knew were going to come swarming through any minute. A foolish move on my part was to split the remaining Green squad guarding that corner so I could rush one part into a light building 2 spots east of the Machinery Shop. Little did I know that the British were already there in force (my Green squad in situ obviously had the observation powers of a myopic sea slug) so I basically ran it across the open into the waiting arms of 2 elite squads which promptly gunned it down. That same turn my resident Green squad suffering from night blindness attempted to take on the 2 elite squads one house away and promptly succumbed in less than a turn of firing, although I did note it managed to reduce one squad from memory to 2 figures in the process.

Turns 15 to 18 saw Combined Arms troops go through my remaining forces at the Machine Shop like a knife through butter although I suspect my Green Platoon HQ & the remains of the regular squad situated in the heavy building exacted a toll of his troops, but to what extent it was hard to tell. While this was going on I had managed to rush one Green squad from the area around the Scientific HQ to the rubble just east of the 2 storey building, accompanied by the Coy. HQ a tad behind it. The HMG that was already in the upper storey was relocated to the north western corner to face the threat coming from that direction while a second HMG that I had guarding the southern wall had been picked up by my Kubelwagen and rushed to the defence of the main building. It was pretty much touch & go but the 2nd HMG arrived and moved to the north eastern corner of the building on the 2nd floor and setup just before a rush of enemy squads appeared from the north. The final piece to the defence was the previously shot-up "bonus-laden" Platoon HQ arriving from a quick sprint across the park to place both HMG's under his double morale & firepower bonuses.

Turns 19 to 23 proved pretty decisive in the battle as this was when C.A. rushed all his forces from the north into the heavy building alongside the Main Lab Complex as well as the Complex itself. Because I had realised by then that this was probably the one and only force of any size to contend with I had also rushed my one remaining Green Sicherung squad from the area of the Scientific HQ building into the bottom floor of the Main Lab building just in from the southern wall, accompanied by its Veteran, bonus-less platoon HQ. All hell broke loose as squad after squad rushed across the open to reach the small heavy building to then use as a stepping stone into the Main Lab. My 2 HMG's posted on the upper level at each corner must have taken a toll as squads were reduced while running the gauntlet with the occasional one that had already taken some casualties in prior fire-fights, succumbing to the deadly crossfire. Two enemy squads managed to break into the ground floor of the complex and gunned down my north western corner HMG from below but paid the price when my Green squad located next to the southern wall plucked up enough corage to fire back and gunned down both these squads over a period of 2 turns.

At least three satchel charges were thrown in the direction of my remaining HMG but only one managed to reach the top floor, causing 1 casualty, while the other two exploded harmlessly on the ground alongside the building. Eventually however, weight of numbers firing at the HMG reduced it to 1 man remaining and by the end of turn 22, it had also succumbed but not before firing most of its ammunition at extremely close range. By the end of turn 23 I counted 7 enemy dead body figures in and around the Main Lab building due to fire from the HMG's, the green squad within the building and some crossfire (when within range) from my other Green squad and the Coy. HQ unit located in the rubble to the east of the Main Lab. Furthermore, I could see that the remains of C.A.'s force could not be in tip top shape as at least two other units had been reduced to single figure squads although it was hard to tell whether the dead were HQ units, Vickers MG's or possibly even 2 inch mortars.

From turns 23 through to 30 I tried to hang on to a foothold within and around the Main Lab but there were still at least 4 or 5 enemy units either within the building or nearby and my Green squad within was beginning to break due to running low on ammo and being fired on from multiple angles. I ended up losing the squad once it became broken so all I had left was its Veteran HQ reduced to 2 men trying to hold onto the heavy building lust to the south of the Main Lab. It didn't take too long before a 2 person squad arrived within the building and gunned down the HQ, but not before it also extracted its pound of flesh. By around turn 28 I figured that I could not afford to attempt to charge into the Main Lab with my remaining force of a reduced Coy. HQ, a 6 man Green squad and 2 Regular half squads guarding the 2 remaining victory locations so I deliberately conceded the V.L. to Combined Arms as whatever force he had left was by now, well entrenched wihin the building and its surroundings.

At the end of the game the results were as follows:

Axis 63 against Allies 37.

72 casualties versus 121 casualties

1 Truck & Kubelwagen K.O.'d (although the bloody Kubelwagen bogged then immobilised while trying to move across the railway line and then abondoned. :(

Men O.K. 29 versus 33 for the Allies although I noted that of these 33, only 7 were combat effective as the rest were either ammoless 2 inch mortars, PIAT teams or the 15 boat crew waiting by the beach. :eek:

As for the game in general being one that helped decide the 2nd round of a tournament, I'd have to concur with my fellow players that this style of scenario is subject to way too many luck factors rather than skill factors. If the Axis are lucky enough to be where the Allies attempt to break in, it would more than likely become a bloodbath for them and be most disheartening for that player. I personally don't think I was overly lucky in my game against C.A. but taking the risk of leaving the main entrance undefended allowed me to have forces in the general area that C.A. chose to breach the embankment which then allowed me to re-arrange my defences in time to face his main assault. The thing that I'm sure most dissappointed C.A. was the fact that he wasn't able to display his array of Combat Mission skills when all one is given is an infantry only force fighting in night conditions where brute force is often the only effective tactic when fighting at such close range. Not an ideal way to show ones mastery of the game IMHO.


Jim R.

[ December 20, 2002, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: Kanonier Reichmann ]

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Lab Rats in Norway AAR - Chuck "vadr" Grimes (German)

Setup -

Well! Isn't this interesting? I'm guarding a Lab site against a commando raid. I'm a little surprised to see a scenario like this in a tournament, but I'm certainly willing to take a crack at it.

I have a number of guards (sharpshooters) and minefields which I cannot place, 2 platoons of security troops, and 3 HMGs. Since by definition I surrender the initiative here, I've elected to place the 2 platoons in the north and south construction areas, 1 MG in each truck, and one MG on top of the main lab complex. I expect to detect the enemy hitting the wire, and will then attempt to counterattack him out.

The guard at the northwest corner is late reporting in. I've sent Leutnant Bertram to investigate (placed him near the machine shop), and I've decided to take a stroll around the perimeter myself. It's quite foggy out tonight...

Turn 1 -

Nothing to report. I've put the guards in motion, and Lt. Bertram and myself will also patrol the perimeter.

Turn 3 -

The guards patrol. I moved my Kubelwagon up near the gate as another observer. I've withdrawn the guard from the water's edge to the woodline. My plan now is to mount a 2-man patrol through the woods in a counter-clockwise direction, see if I can detect his assualt inbound.

Turn 9 -

Something has triggered the mines at the SE corner of the compound. Thankfully, I'm close to the scene and have an MG42 crew handy. I will commit one platoon of the reaction force. Time to see if the plan will work...

Turn 10 -

So far, one platoon of British Commandos have been identified at the southeast corner. I don't think this is the full attack, there may be more of them out there.

Turn 13 -

A relatively inconclusive sparring match still goes on at the SE corner. He's killed a team of my guards, but I can't detect that he's penetrated the wire yet. I continue to fight him here with one platoon while actively patrolling the rest of the perimeter and holding one platoon in reserve.

Turn 15 -

I killed a mortar team at the SE corner. Things have gone strangely quiet...

Turn 16 -

The Sentry patrolling the west perimeter seems to have disappeared. I am rushing the other platoon to the main lab, and am preparing to follow them myself.

Turn 17 -

Well, here comes the main attack: 2 platoons of British Commandos hitting the west wall directly opposite the main lab. My Security platoon arrived in the nick of time, he has gotten 2 squads past the wire. I am sending 3 teams from the other platoon and my last MG in support. I'll try to hold the SE corner with 1 team and an MG42.

Turn 18 -

Well, It's hand-to-hand in the main lab complex. My Green troops are doing as well as can be expected vs Elite Paratroopers. Reinforcements are on the way. He hasn't yet renewed his attack at the SE corner and he really should. It would give me more to worry about.

Turn 19 -

I've turned back the first wave of his assault, but he has more troops out there. The reinforcement teams have arrived at the lab and are engaged. I have thinned the rest of the defense beyond the point of prudence: it's up to the troops now.

Turn 25 -

Nothing of real interest to report. There has been a bloody hand-to-hand fight in the main lab and both sides have taken horrific casualties. As the Company Commander I have moved to the western construction area to rally my broken troops for a late-game counterattack. I still hold a small force at the SE corner and and outpost at the SW corner to guard against any late-game rush by my opponent. Not much of a tactical fight, albeit quite bloody. I left the remaining guards at the main gate to protect against a late-game rush.

Outcome: Axis Tactical Victory: 58-27

Conclusion -

I didn't bother to continue a turn-by-turn description because there wasn't much worth describing. His troops and mine fought at close range in the main lab, and we both took heavy casualties. The remnant of his first assault on the military HQ crept up to the perimeter fence on the last turn and so threw that VL into question, but in the end it didn't matter: his casualties were just too high.

I think this scenario was well-designed. It portrays a Commando raid against a heavily defended objective quite well. However, I question the decision to use it in tournament play. By their very nature, Commando operations require the element of surprise to succeed, and *operational* surprise is of course impossible to obtain in a CM scenario. I thought my opponent had a good plan and played well, I'm just glad I didn't have to play the Allies in this one.

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Hi. Kevin here the designer of "Lab Rats"

I wanted to post a message before traveling

the next 7 days.

First. Happy Holidays!

Second. Many thanks for the comments and AARs. Outside of our internal testers, you guys provide the best feedback anywhere. That is a key reason I

submitted two tournament battles this year .. the great feedback.

We thought this type of battle (a raid on a camp) would be controversial. But we did not know exactly how everyone would react. So chalk this up to "nothing ventured nothing gained”.

But the consumer (you guys) is always right and in

this case players seem to prefer a more standard type battle for a tournament - especially the

finals. That is important to know moving forward.

The main thing is to give both players lots of options in the set-up and as the battle unfolds.

This is a lesson learned.

I will check in after Jan 5th.

Thanks again.

Here are some stats for "Lab Rats" based on 17 two-player contests.

Average Score

Allied: 40

Axis: 57

“Wins” (one side gets > than 50 points)

Allied: 7

Axis: 8

Draw: 2

Lopsided (> 40 point difference)

5 (all Axis wins)

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This is a short one:

landed two groups, one platoon on the NW corner and 2 platoons heading for the SE corner.

both are discovered before they hit the wall, one by a sharpie, the 2 group by running into mine and sharpie.

the 2 platoon group hits the wall, tries to go thru the wire, and is slaughtered by an enemy platoon.

the 1 platoon group slides down the wall to the gate, merely to die 50 feet in the compound.

Over and out. I think the total was 80 or 88 for the german in this one.

Felt like being in Vegas and the house getting 21 all the time. Had two good ones for this one to balance out.

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