We played I think 5 turns in about 2 hours tonight, so we’re getting the turns down to something pretty reasonable. Ron was unavailable, so I got to run the main assault on the city of Leros this time. We made a little more progress towards clearly the city and the critical pier, but the advance did stall to some degree. We control now some 75% of the town, but there is still a Bofors AA gun in Castle Leros causing us immense difficulties, and a platoon of Brits who stubbornly refuse to abandon their position by the pier. We managed to eliminate just a single British platoon while clearing another chunk of the city, but at the same time German losses are mounting steadily and the pioneers, so critical to the offensive operations, are being slowly bled. The Luftwaffe forces are doing their job – the paratroopers have dug in Portolago and should be a major nuisance to attempts to reinforce Leros, and the luftwaffe ground units, despite their appalling morale, have successfully eliminated the coastal guns that threaten the pier we hope to use and have held up against the admittedly minimal forces the Brits have thrown at them. The first heavy weapons will be arriving soon, in the form of some recoilless rifles and bigger mortars for the Fallschrimjaegers.
The lesson learned today was something I knew, but which is good to reinforce – things can take a while, and TCS is very attritional. Unlike SL, a position can hold out for a turn or two even against determined assault with firepower, and assault combat (the only way to rapidly force the issue) is risky and deadly for the attacker. So often you just have to be patient, especially when you lack any serious heavy weapons or armor as we do. Also, this is not (alas for us) 1941 anymore, the Germans don’t field any decisively superior troops, and an average of 4 morale makes assaults hard to press home.
I’ve been looking over the TCS 4.0 rules posted in beta format, and they look very nice, a significant improvement over 3.1. The Battalion Morale rules especially may actually work now, and I like the fact that Fired markers are now removed at the beginning of your action phase instead of the end of the turn – should force some more choices. I’m thinking about doing a Screaming Eagles or Objective Schmidt at Homercon West if I can find an opponent and a scenario that’ll take only a day to play, and I’d like to try out the new rules.