Deep Dive: The Guards Counterattack

The Guards Counterattack

6th October 1942, Stalingrad, Soviet Union


Be warned this is my first Deep Dive (AAR). So before we get too far, who is this best going to help? Newly returned players to ASL or other Noob style players who are out to git gud. This Deep Dive is written for you.

What to take away from it for yourself? Remember a well written AAR by a subpar player isn’t going to teach you what to do, but it may just be helpful to teach you what not to do.

For Veterans, I get the feeling you have played this one before.

This scenario was the very first SL scenario and is the gateway drug to ASL via Jim’s Stahler 8 Steps to ASL.

Chris ( a fellow Aussie casual player) agreed to take me under his wing for first game back into ASL for me after 30 years. Thanks Chris.

Chris is attacking as the Russians and I am defending as the Germans. From here on out I will refer to Chris as (Christanov) for historical reasons. Yeah, you got that, I just made that bit up.

Lets Get At It!

Pre Game

Victory Conditions & SSR

So 5 Turns long. The Russians kickoff. The Russians need to …

  • push the Germans (me) out of 2 stone buildings that I own currently own, without me taking any more back
  • or wipe out 2/3’s of the force to have a 3:1 attacker ratio.

So simply, I need to stop them taking 2 buildings (or counterattack to grab 1 back), AND preserve enough force to keep below a 3:1 ratio. It’s a short game so Christanov, you need to get on with it.

The Terrain & Weather

Nothing fancy with the weather, we can burn these buildings to the ground if we want.

It’s a classic street fighting in this one. The roads are just bullet funnels. Getting across the roads intact without smoke is the Russians biggest challenge.

OB Analysis


  • Firelanes right up those streets
  • Good inherent FP range up those streets
  • Some good modified leaders
  • Strong positions for HMG, MMG
  • Multi-Level
  • Spraying Fire


  • 6-2-8 Enmasse. Monster Firegroup. High Morale
  • Good leaders for Russians
  • Assault Fire
  • Human Wave (Will he?)

The Plan

Plan A for my Germans

  • Group A
    • Delay/hold building F5 as long possible. Keep the 6-2-8 Guards at bay.
  • Group B
    • Interdict anything coming across the road to get into building J5.
  • Group C
    • Defend building J5.
    • Interdict anything coming across the road to get into building F5.
    • Interdict anything coming across the road to get into building L6.
  • Group D
    • Defend building L6.
    • Interdict anything coming across the road to get into building J5.
  • Group E
    • Interdict anything coming across the road to get into building L6.

Plan B

  • I am assuming I will lose building F5. If I loose a second building, I will attempt a possible push into building M5 if able.
The Setup & the Plan

Game On!

Get the VASL log file to walkthrough here: The Guards Counterattack

Situation at the start Russian Turn 1

The fight starts with a maelstrom of fire from the left flank, that send Group A into a broken mess. As the Russians advance to get across the firelanes that get thrown down the road to protect it, they start off badly with a squad KIA, another casualty reduced and another pinned.

The Russian sniper kicks into gear and kills two German leaders in both Group D & E on the right flank. Their troops panic and break. The Russians pepper L6 with ineffective fire, hoping to soften it up.

“Cpt Fritz you idiot, KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN! They can see us from here …”

Nikov adds a second notch on his barrel this day. His commissar will be pleased.

On the left flank, Christanov’s numbers tell as they assault to encircle Group A. They advance across the road, and expertly run the flank to encircle the broken Group A. All are taken prisoner, with the exception of their leader who outnumbered six to one, dies in close combat. Grenade into his room.

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 1

A tragically poor choice in positioning means building F5 is already close to being in Russian hands. The right flank is in peril. Leaderless, they await the inevitable Russian advance across the street to maintain the pressure.

Situation at the end of German Turn 1

Held in place, with so many broken units, the German lay down fire on those units exposed in the streets.

The final squad in F5 reliquishes control, dashes to fall back and help protect J5. Got out just in time. Then position themselves to provide support to L6, who are leaderless and protected by a single squad.

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 2

In the centre, Group C in J5 starts to crack under the weight of fire.

On the left Christanov’s guards press the attack to bring Group B under pressure. They move adjacent to in preparation for their advanced but are replused. It’s a hard choice for the defenders but the German prisoners with them must die, if they are to live. This distraction now leaves the road open to run across to J5.

Christanov’s guards push the attack

Prisoners taken in the south

Plan A is in tatters. Unable to lay down consistent firelanes. Now what? Cpt Fritz is dead. The men are despondant.

Group C in J5 is now being rushed from 3 directions, they stop what the can. But it isn’t enough to stop the Russian’s from getting into the building.

On the right flank, the Russian press their attack. The single quad of Group D in L6 cracks, this building is no longer able to be held and units begin to rout out of their locations. Following up the Russian’s sweep through on the extreme right to position themselves to take Group E prisoner.

Situation at the end of German Turn 2 of 5

This situation is dire. Christanov’s units are now boldly running across open spaces. The end is near.

The defence in J5 now collapses. The troops run.

But … as the Russians advance, focused on pushing into L6, and opening presents itself across the street. Damn the casualties. If we can get across the road into original position in M5 then I might be able to take back another stone building. Maybe just maybe we can hold out?

But the Sgt’s inexperience shows. Impusively and without checking for enemy units, they run across the road with a squad but instantly become pinned down in the middle of the street. One squad gets across.

Across the road. Go, go, go

Wait for it … Wait for it”

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 3 of 5

Situation: Russian Turn 3 of 5 – After Rout Phase (Defeat Conceded)

Chistanov’s men now run across open ground unmolested to retake M5.

At this point even Plan B is now a non-starter. Trapped in open ground, the with the right flank now hiding in the woods to the south, the inevitable happens. The Soviets have tired to taking prisoners and bring no quarter into effect. With nowhere to go, the troops in the woods are eliminated.

The final German units attempt to low crawl out of their hopelessly encirled open ground positions. It is over.

Result: Russian Win in 3 Turns.



Before And Aftermath

Use the slider in the middle.

Game Over Man! Game Over!

If I were to play this again what would I do diffferent?

  • Placing units further back in F5 building so they don’t cop the Prep fire malestrom of all those 6-2-8
  • Setup up stairs in F5, slow it down and make it harder to advance into CC with me. Hopefully get some confusion going in F5 that limits them from building a big firegroup in there.
  • Move upstairs in J5. Make them work for it.

What did other recommend that I should do if I play this again?

  • “What happened here was a good example of why stacking is not a good idea. It would have been much harder for the Russians to push you out of building F5 if all your units were in separate hexes and possibly different levels as well.” – Thanks A_T_Great (in discord)
  • “The Germans also need to use half-squads in that first building F5 that went down.” – Thanks MTRODGERS99 (in discord)

Did I enjoy this scenario?


Would I tell other people to play it?

  • Noobs, yes, definately (reduced options makes it a simpler match to comprehend. Lots of firing. Small board makes it easy to keep track of stuff).
  • Veterans for nostalgia mainly. Once you have gone Red Barricades with ASL you can’t go back to any other version of Stalingrad in my opinion.

What would I rate it?

7 Out of 10

If I had to give this scenario an alternative title based on this playing I would call it?

“What is to be done now Cpt Fritz is gone?”

Fun To Learning Ratio

1:10 Nothing educates like the ignominy of defeat. 🙂

[Deep Dive Complete]

PS: If you are a Noob and want to get more insight into some of the stuff going through my head then follow my progress from a 6+1 to 8-1 with my Progress Report: The Guards Counterattack.

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