Airborne - IE #5
|(Defender) Germany||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Germany||1058th Grenadier Regiment|
|United States||501st Parachute Infantry Regiment|
|United States||506th Parachute Infantry Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 14 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 449 of 609|
|Parent Game||Airborne - IE|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Airborne - IE||maps + counters|
The River Douve north of Carentan sported one of the more unique D-Day objectives, the La Borquette lock. D-Day planners believed the lock could be the key to securing the southern and western flanks of the Utah landing. Controlled by the Americans, the lock could be used to flood the Merderet and downstream portions of the Douve Rivers should German counterattacks prove strong and threaten the bridgehead. If German defenses turned out to be weak, American control of the lock would ensure the rivers were not flooded to prevent the American advance.
The 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Regiment was badly scattered and the small groups formed after the drop more often than not included men of the 506th Regiment, even more widely scattered than the 501st. Small groups of men under determined leaders set out for their objectives. One hundred and twenty-five men under Colonel Howard Johnson, commander of the 501st, reached the lock just as dawn broke. The few Germans guarding the lock were surprised and it was easily taken, but not so the two nearby bridges. With the arrival of another 100 men, Johnson made plans to capture one of the bridges, but growing German strength forced him to dig in and defend the lock instead.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."
(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
INTRODUCTION This battle evolved into a 2-act play. The first act was a battle between US paratroopers and the outnumbered Grenadier units in two cities. The second act dealt with the US attempting to hold the gains against German reinforcements trying to save the day.
Things move along rather quickly. The paras start on the northern edge and move up en-mass to 0509. At that point, knowing that reinforcements will be arriving soon, he splits his force in order to take the victory objectives. He sends a lone, highly motivated Lt and a squad of stragglers to take the lock (0711) and a bridge to the east of the towns on the other side of the river (1013). That leaves him to take the towns (0412 &0613) with one other Lt and two full platoons. He receives notice that the reinforcements are about an hour away from catching up with him. He decides not to wait for them and hurries up the road. He takes some incidental opportunity fire, but is easily able to avoid it. He reaches the first town and lays down direct fire. The Germans retaliate, but are outgunned and flee after a pitched 45 minute battle. Just as the Germans start to break, the reinforcements arrive and turn a retreat into a full-fledged rout.
Once the rout was completed, the LTC moves toward the second town. He finds some relative safety in a nearby Hedgerow and brings his reinforcements up alongside. Then, his highly motivated (2-1) Lieutenant starts weakening up the Grenadier unit in the town. After 30 minutes, they're sufficiently shocked and the assault into the town removes the remaining stragglers.
In the meantime, the lone Lieutenant takes his motly crew through hedgerows and swamps and assumes control of the lock and bridge. He can hear the sounds of battle to the west and knows that there must be Germans somewhere that can also hear it. He gets to work, building up his defenses at the bridge and then hunkers down to wait.
So far, it's been all US, but that's about to change.
The rules have the Germans roll two dice after turn 15. On a roll of 10 or more, the reinforcements enter along the southern edge. The US had finished the fighting by turn 10, so they just sat and waited.... and waited... Turn 15 arrived... and they still waited. Turns 16 & 17 pass quickly. Finally at turn 18, there's a rumble emanating from the south. The Germans have arrived.
The Germans entered along the southern edge, due south of the paras holding the bridge. It soon became obvious that their plan was to attack the bridge en-masse in an attempt to over-run it. The US LTC ordered a full unit to double time over to the bridge, but didnt' want to send any more in case the move to the bridge was a ruse.
It wasn't. The German Grens & HMGs moved over the hedgerows toward the bridge, the 75mm made a run along the edge of the hedgerows but still out of sight of the Americans in the towns. On the second turn, the US Inf LT finally got a glimpse of the formation and called in a barrage. The 75mm was disrupted, but recovered quickly. The German Infantry moved up through the hedgerow and adjacent to the bridge. One HMG and one Gren unit took to the swamp to cross behind the bridge, but miscalculated. Instead of coming out on the road, they came out adjacent to the bridge and were immediately attacked. The Germans were afraid to assault a healthy position, so contented themselves with direct fire at the paras at the bridge. Unfortunately for the Germans, the US leaders in the hex were very strong (10-1-1 & 9-0-1) and quickly overcame all the disruptions. The Germans moved the 75mm onto the road (0814), but another barrage was followed by a strong direct fire attack from the town and the 75mm ceased to exist. The Germans had almost surrounded the bridge and were laying down significant fire, but with only minimal success.
The US LTC then decided that he had to do something to relieve the bridge and sent two paras up to where the 75mm met its demise and laid fire into the rear of the German seigeline. The paras took out the 81mm mortar and disrupted the Gren unit with it. The Germans, realizing the threat, turned their attention to the paras, but again were unable to deal any serious damage. The Americans, encouraged by their success against the mortars, then crossed into the hedgerow, only to come face-to-face to a full gren unit with a 9-2-1 Major. The Germans pressed forward and assaulted the paras. While the paras outmanned the Germans, the odds weren't with them and they started taking damage. But they dealt out as good as they got, and by occupying the Germans, the bridge was able to recover from some of the earlier attacks.
Then the German HMG dealt a devastating blow to the bridge. The reduced platoon was destroyed, one officer was demoralized and the full platoon disrupted. The time had come and the germans went in with an assault. Again, though, the US leaders came through. They recovered and were able to gather the Para unit back into top fighting form. A Gren unit joined the assault about the time the HMG was cut in half. Soon the Gren unit was also disrupted. Just as it looked like the Paras would hold, the Germans surged and took out half the Para platoon and demoralized one of the officers.
With only 15 minutes left, the Germans had one more chance. unfortunately, they weren't able to break the remnants of the paras and the game came to an end.
This was a very fun game. Much better than Scenario 6. There was enough firepower here to actually do some damage. The first half was a rush by the Americans to take the Germans while the second was a push by the Germans to overcome their earlier losses.
The biggest problem the Germans faced was trying to figure out how to mass enough units to take the bridge. I didn't want to mass them on one hex, but that kept them from really being able to inflict pain. The board doesn't lend itself to attacking from adjacent hexes, due to the hedgerows.
|Locks (but no Bagels)|
NOTE: For a long time, I played the morale rules wrong, with units just needing to roll their morale or less to recover, not less than their morale. This is reflected in some of the commentaries.
The 0613 group has the worst Lieutenant ever (6-0-0) and sets up in 0612, Dug-in. I will try to get them to the lock to defend it, if they can activate. Unfortunately, without the leader, they won’t be able to move closer to the Americans after the first turn or so. In any case, from 0612 they can cover the lock with weak fire. The1015 group has an 8-0-1 Lieutenant and digs in at 1014, behind hedgerows and adjacent to the bridge, which should be a strong defensive position. The 0313 group sets up in the town and prepares to defend it. They have the best Lieutenant at 9-1-1.
The Americans split into two groups, each with 1 full strength PARA and one reduced strength PARA. The group with a 10-1-1 Colonel sets up in 0605 and the one with a 9-0-1 Lieutenant sets up in 0805. Both will head for the lock to secure it, leave a garrison and then the initial plan is to head to 0413 with the reinforcements, take that, then swing over to 1013.
Turns 1 -3
The Americans head towards the German positions, hoping to take the lock with minimal problems. The Germans in 0612 move to 0712, except for the 6-0-0 Lieutenant, who is having troubles buttoning his shirt. As the paratroopers close, they are spotted by the Germans who promptly dig in.
Turns 4 - 6
The 1st Lieutenant and troops occupy the lock. The reduced grenadiers open fire and even with only 2 firepower points, they are shifted 3 columns to the right on the 11 column and disrupt the advancing paratroopers. Soon, thought, the paratroopers have regrouped and assault the grenadiers. The 6-0-0 lieutenant amazingly stands firm, however the grenadiers get demoralized. They recover to disrupted status and then on turn 6 the Germans grab the initiative and recover to good status. The Americans reinforce the assault and again demoralize the grenadiers and are unable to eliminate them. And it won’t get any easier on the Germans as more US troops are approaching.
Turns 7 - 9
For another half an hour the courageous grenadiers hold off five times their number of paratroopers, however they are eventually overwhelmed, and the lieutenant immediately surrenders. With this nuisance removed, 1 ½ platoons of paratroopers stay behind to defend the lock while the rest advance towards the town at 0413. The Germans don’t open fire, wanting to keep alive the threat of opportunity fire.
Turns 10 - 12
As the Americans approach the town, they come under heavy fire, demoralizing one platoon. However, there are more Americans than the Germans can stop, and the paratroopers close on the town. One half platoon of paratroopers is cut down approaching the town, however most make it through successfully and assault the Germans, and another ½ platoon is eliminated. A lull occurs in turn 12 as both sides reform their troops.
The Americans reinforce the assault with another full platoon and slowly their numbers begin to take their toll as the grenadiers lose a step and the wagon is eliminated. The Germans are close to collapse, until the Lieutenant rallies them. Even the demoralized HMG unit recovers to ready status. German reinforcements are nearing, and while the Americans seem to be winning the battle for 0413, they town is still half held by the Germans and the American troops are in disarray.
The German reinforcements appear on 16, which is early, given that there is only a 1/6 chance each turn and the first roll wasn’t until turn 15. This is not good news for the paratroopers. Most of the force heads towards 0413, with a few units heading towards the lock. Even with most of the troops disrupted, the Americans continue the assault and eliminate the grenadiers in the town, leaving only the HMG to defend. However, on turn 18 the final attempt to clear the town before reinforcements arrive fails. 2 grenadier platoons join the HMG and together they counterattack the paratroopers. However the attack is a disaster, and a grenadier step is lost and the Americans mostly stay steady.
Meanwhile, the Germans in 1014 leave their foxholes and head towards the lock along with a reinforcing platoon of grenadiers.
The Americans have a big initiative bonus and the troops in town rally and off-board artillery opens up on the infantry gun and misses. The disrupted grenadier in the town pulls out while the HMG rallies and a full strength platoon of HMGs enters the hex to reinforce the other Germans. On turn 20 the Germans renew the assault, only to run right into American rifle fire and disaster, as 2 steps fall, causing the elimination of the HMG, while their own fire does nothing to the Americans. In addition, the German Captain is killed leading his troops. On turn 21, the troops at the lock open fire on the now adjacent grenadiers and eliminate a step, while in the town the remaining German machine guns are eliminated in an American counterattack. The remaining step of grenadiers attempts to flee the town, only to be cut down by the paratroopers and have their lieutenant killed. From a seemingly hopeless situation, the Americans now control the town!
With the town clear and not many Germans nearby, one platoon stays as a garrison while the other 2 platoons head towards the lock. The disrupted grenadiers near the lock amazingly manage to disrupt both paratrooper platoons. The troops at the lock fire at the other approaching Germans, disrupting the Lieutenant, which prevents the troops from assaulting the lock. Instead, the Germans can only fire at the dug in Americans and manage to disrupt some and demoralize the infantry lieutenant.
The 2 platoons in the swamp rally and then the infantry lieutenant panics and runs from the lock, taking away the off board artillery (not that its had much effect on anything). The ½ platoon rallies back to good status, however it’s a temporary reprieve, as on turn 24 the 2 full strength paratrooper platoons assault it and eliminate it. The dug in troops keep the Germans in disarray, preventing any sort of assault. By turn 25, the lock has been reinforced and the Germans are short on troops. Recognizing that there is no way to clear the lock and the town by the end of the game, the Germans concede victory to the Americans.
This was the biggest of the five scenarios to date, and also the most exciting. Frankly, when the German reinforcements entered on turn 16, I was pretty sure the Americans were in big trouble and might not even be able to salvage a draw, let alone a victory. The victory conditions put pressure on the Germans to attack, as they have to hold both towns and the lock. With the Americans still in 0413, they had to attack, and the attack was a disaster, with many Germans killed. In PG, trying to eject troops from a town, especially well led troops, is not easy and can be very bloody. In retrospect, I think I should have sent all of the reinforcements towards 0413 and just poured as much fire into town as I could for several turns in hopes of demoralizing or disrupting most of the paratroopers before assaulting, and I got overconfident. It was great to see the way the tide turned in this one and the effect of superior leadership and morale for the Americans, except the cowardly army lieutenant who took away the OBA at a time it could really have helped.
|Rush for the Locks|
A nice balanced scenario with a few SSR's that make it a challenge for the Germans. The Germans have the setup positions but are unaware of the Americans advancing, so they are limited with movement until the Americans are spotted. The Americans can race down to the objectives and, if lucky, can occupy them before the Germans. But the Germans get reinforcements so they can counter attack.
In my play this is how it worked the Americans were able to rush down to 0412 and 0711 and occupy them before the Germans even knew that they were there. The game takes a lull until the reinforcements arrive as the on board units don't have the power to counter without them. At that point the Germans form assault groups to attack the town. American artillery pounds the German assault groups and they need to recover after a couple attempts. The Germans finally manage to get a GREN and the HMG into position to rush 0412. In the assault the Americans take casualties but reinforcements are shuffled in and they still hold. The Germans push more units into the assault with disruptions and demoralization result. Americans use their OBA to cut off further reinforcements. Continued assaults exchange disruptions until the Americans score a step kill with demoralizations in the subsequent morale checks. The German attack falls apart as the demoralized units run leaving a reduce HMG to fend for themselves. The next turn the HMG is forced out and killed on a "free" assault. At this point it is late in the scenario and the Germans have no more units to commit. So the Americans hold the hexes.
I felt that this was a good scenario with one minor change, waiting until turn 15 for the German reinforcements. There is a long lull between the American rush and the Germans reinforcements. Pushing this up to turn 10 would be a better time frame and may give the German counter attack a better start.
|Grab your partner! Do-si-do! *BANG* HA, you missed m- *BANG BANG*|
I had this scenario set up on the wargame table all week, and would stare at it longingly whilst dressing for work every morning. Finally, this morning (Sunday) I was able to find time to play...
This is an interesting scenario for the Americans right from the get-go. You've got 3 objectives, and to win you must control 2 at the end of the battle. You start slightly better armed than your German opponent, but he's going to get a nasty group of reinforcements if he can roll a 10 late in the battle.
American Strategy: grab the lock in the swamp AQAP, then rush the town. The last objective is another swamp lock, easily captured but utterly indefensible against the reinforcing horde of Germans, should they arrive. Controlling the town will be much harder in the short term, but if it can be captured we will be even harder to dislodge.
German Strategy: we don't start with enough firepower to hold off the Americans, but we'll sit for as long as we can and hope that the reinforcements come quickly to clean up any mess they may find.
The Americans rushed at the center objective, which was only lightly defended by a dug-in reduced HMG and Lieutenant. Swamp cover allowed me to get adjacent to the lock without taking any fire, and I was prepared to blast the hell out of the defending Germans.
The German commander, Herr Shad, surprised the Americans by immediately retreating. In hindsight, he assumed he could win back that objective easily enough and didn't want his other two locations to be easily attacked from the south rather than through the swamp.
The Americans were surprised but quickly regained their composure and mowed down the fleeing reduced HMG platoon. The German Lieutenant had sprinted ahead through the swamp and escaped unharmed.
The first objective - central swamp lock - was in American hands at the close of Turn 7.
Square Dancing with Live Rounds
The Americans gathered their now substantial forces and pushed through and out of the swamp. Using the hedgerows to conceal their movement, they swung far south and then headed north towards the western objective - a town on the edge of the swamp.
At the start of Turn 15 the Americans were in place: 5 x PARA, Colonel, Captain, 2 x 1st Lieutenant were arrayed around the town, all having closed to adjacent hexes the previous turn. They needed to concentrate maximum firepower into one Direct Fire attack, hit the German garrison hard, then assault for the finish. Before that could happen, though, they needed to survive one German defensive direct fire...
Herr Shad waited until the last possible minute and then unleashed a frightful hail of lead at 3 massed PARA platoons:
Forces effectively halved, the remaining Americans realize their final hope is a headlong assault on the town with all their remaining platoons. 90 minutes later on Turn 22 the German reinforcements come bursting through the underbrush.
The Americans are in terrible shape. The middle objective has been abandoned in the desperate fight to win the town, and broken, bloody men are scattered everywhere.
The Dance Ends
Finally reinforced, the German garrison destroys the remaining PARA half-platoon in the town. All 3 objectives are once again German-controlled, and the Americans can mount no meaningful resistance.
Remaining US units:
American Steplosses: 5
German Steplosses: 1
Turn 23, Americans Surrender
Although I knew the Americans would have a tough battle going into this, the chances didn't seem too lopsided. Some better attack rolls, and lower morale check rolls, and this might have gone the distance.
As it stands, I rated this a 4 because I definitely enjoyed planning my attack and playing it out. I think this should be a good solitaire scenario for most players. The Germans take a pounding for the first 80% of the game, so face-to-face might not be very interesting (for one of you!).
|The Lock (ed) in Assault|
This was played FtF with Vince Hughes. US forces have to take the lock hex in question and one other point and hold till game turn end. The US force are superior initially and roll over the German units at the lock with ease. I chose to dig in units on the lock and then assault then next point with all my remaining force, this to worked well and the second VC hex was taken with minimal losses. Its was all going very well. I them moved over to the other flank in an effort to wipe out all the German on board forces before the reinforcements arrived. However Oberst Von Hughes who had been glumly watching them US forces make mincemeat of his force shook off his apparent stupor and flung a single GREN platoon with a reduced HMG in support against the lock hex. I realised what his game was to hold me into assault until the end of the game therefore denying me my well deserved victory. I was not too worried I would outnumber him, get first fire, reinforce the hex if needed and he had to hold me in assault for 8 turns what could go wrong. Well everything really I missed with first fire he took out and reduced para platoon,his reinforcements arrived in the nick of time and I could not get an X on the assault chart and when the GREN did demoralize he came bouncing back. I then failed my own morale check and with 2 turns left offered him the draw, which he took very gratefully. This scenario was pretty boring for 20 turns as the Paras are too strong for the on board Germans, but the last 8 turns were very tense. I have rated it a 3 (just)as it is more interesting got the allied player than the German.
|Beware of Snake(eyes)|
Morning is breaking at the Douve River lock. The Germans are awakening as the Americans advance from the north. By 0630 the central objective hex is captured without resistance and the American reinforcements have arrived in the far north. The American paratroopers continue their advance and are poised to attack through the swamp
The Americans storm the bridge and the waiting Germans use opportunity fire.
The first platoon is completely eliminated!
The second platoon charging the embankment is also completely eliminated!
Needless to say, out of men, the Americans decided to abandon their advance on the eastern bridge, but they successfully closed in on the western and central villages.
Bogged down in assaults the Americans make little progress, as the Germans abandon the eastern bridge to aid their colleagues.
Half a platoon is lost on both sides of the battle. And the Americans are becoming overwhelmed in the middle town with the arrival of the German Bridge Defenders.
Then the German Reinforcements arrive!
Americans suffer further casualties in the swamp and their infantry lieutenant is captured (no more off-board artillery).
In the Western town both sides suffer a reduction, but the Germans are able to send in reinforcements!
Both sides suffer another reduction in numbers, and the Americans are very low on men.
Soon half an American platoon is routed and only a single half platoon remains in the town. They are quickly overrun and it is over!
Whether in low number ASL or PG, rolling snake eyes two attacks in a row is pretty much a game ender. With only 4 PARA platoons (and 3 reduced platoons) the early elimination of 2 full strength platoons spelled death for the Americans (particularly with the German reinforcements arriving on turn 16).
As with most of Airborne, this was a quick battle with limited LOS/spotting. The swamp, hedgerows and buildings really make it a close combat affair.
|One Pesky Platoon !|
Played ftf with Wayne Baumber. Every so often, as way of a change, Wayne and I decide to play a few 'small ones' in a day rather than our usual sizeable efforts. Today was such a day and on these days, we usually turn to Airborne at some stage. Having played up to scenario 4 in the past, it was the turn of number 5. A game punctuated by the inevitability of US Para attacks against weak defenders, also of long drawn out nothingness and then a surprisingly nail-biting finish.
The German company to hand was forced to position themselves very thinly with a platoon at each bridge and lock accompanied here and there by some machine gun squads. At 0530 hours, two companies of US Paratroopers advanced and reached the target lock at 0600. Within 15 minutes, this key-location was under US control after minimum German resistance. The American company then pressed onto the eastern bridge reaching it at 0800 hours and again secured this one within 15 minutes ? The Germans were being strangely meek.
It was time for drastic action by the remaining German platoon and its Leutnant. Still awaiting promised reinforcements, they alone pressed forward around the swamp area and counter-attacked the captured lock around 1000 hours. Braving defensive fire and taking on dug-out positions, this platoon held its own despite being outnumbered at times by 3-1. American assaults simply failed to gather any momentum and thus failed to demoralize and break this platoon. At 1045 hours, the promised reinforcements arrived, and although taking another hour to do so, they were able to reach the lock and make sure the objective lock was still contested at the end of the battle. From sure defeat, an unlikely draw had been salvaged by the last remaining pesky German platoon. Losses Germans 5 steps, Americans 1 step.
The scenario gives the German next to no choice of set-up and they unfortunately have to wait for the American Paras to come at them. After a poor performance at two of the locations, the battle appeared quite lost and went through quite a number of turns of nothingness. The game kicked to life in the last 10 turns of the 28 as the all or nothing battle at the lock was on a knife-edge as the solo German platoon held out against the 3 Para platoons. That piece of excitement ramped up the score for this one to a 2'2 rating.
|Back and forth and back again|
In this scenario a small force of U.S. paratroops are charged with quickly taking control of two objectives against a smaller defending force and keeping control of both of them until the end of play. The Germans have to roll to activate each units until an American unit is spotted and do their best to hold out until reinforcements arrive.
In this case the Germans were lucky from the start and able to pass all but one of their activation rolls before spotting an American unit and were thus able to push ahead and engage the enemy at the central lock after leaving behind reduced units to hold down the other two objectives. What resulted in the first half of the battle was a long game of tug-of-war between the two forces. At first the Americans take the lock in hex 0711 and then split their forces in two; one detachment chasing down Germans fleeing south towards the bridge area and the other half advancing to take the town hex. Well, those fleeing Germans are not only able to rally but somehow managed to disrupt and demoralize their pursuers and then in turn take control of lock which had been abandoned. Then once the one non-para leader comes into play, the only one that can spot for OBA and friendly fire further aggravates the American attempt to retake the lock, demoralizing a whole stack along with a 1st LT. Now American forces had become split up into three groups spread out hoping that they could take and hold at least one of the three objectives. The town assault does not succeed in ejecting the lone, reduced HMG so another platoon is sent to reinforce that area while other forces backtrack and abort the attempt at the bridge to reinforce another attempt at taking back control of the lock again. Then at 09:30/turn 17,the German reinforcements arrive just in time to reinforce the town and bridge hexes before they can become seriously threatened and send more units towards the lock. From here on it looked as if the Germans would be able to control all three objective hexes but the fight for the lock kept swaying back and forth. German units also suffer demoralizations from friendly mortar fire just when they seem ready to take the lock again but recover soon enough to make one last assault before time runs out. It seemed likely they were going to pull it off after demoralizing the one defending para unit in another assault but the para is able to make a full recovery instead of abandoning the lock hex on the last turn and the Americans keep control of it at the conclusion of turn 28.
In my solo play it seemed as if I was spending more time rallying and regrouping with both German and American forces and the last 4 or 5 turns really seemed to drag on. Neither side seemed to be able to accomplish much and when they did manage to gain control of units or the lock it was quickly lost, time and time again. I do believe the scenario balance was fair enough and that in a lot of cases German reinforcements may arrive later than they did in my play. The reinforcements arrived and advanced at the right moment just when the reduced German HMG and LT in the town were both both disrupted and got in before an American unit could do the same. The result of a draw was appropriate as neither side was able to get or keep much going on for too long without some sort of misfortune. I rated this one a '2' more from lack of enthusiasm, boredom and sometimes frustration with the course of the last few turns but sure others may have better luck and get more enjoyment out of this one then I did.