Third Time's the Charm
Airborne - IE #10
|(Defender) Germany||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Germany||919th Infantry Regiment|
|United States||327th Glider Infantry Regiment|
|United States||501st Parachute Infantry Regiment|
|United States||506th Parachute Infantry Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 10 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 519 of 565|
|Parent Game||Airborne - IE|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Airborne - IE||maps + counters|
More failures to capture or blow up the bridges across the Douve River north of Carentan on D+1 made the mission the 101st Airborne Division's overriding priority on the next day. Although the lock at La Bourquette and the two wooden bridges to the east were in American hands, the German-held highway bridge remained an open door to Utah Beachhead's southern flank. Maxwell Taylor ordered the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment to attack.
The American attack was plagued by lack of coordination and the failure of the Glider battalion to participate, but the Germans had had enough and gradually fell back before the American advance. At 1400 the Germans withdrew across the Douve and blew the bridge the Americans had been trying for three days to destroy.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|5 Errata Items|
Leaders may enter with any reinforcements.
(Shad on 2010 Apr 29)
If both sides achieve a victory, the result is a draw.
(Shad on 2010 Apr 29)
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."
(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
This and scenario #8 seem to be the best ones in Airborne Introductory. They are real combined arms in the bocage type scenarios. The Americans have a lot of advantages but it is slow going as you try to outflank and isolate German pockets in the bocage. As they fall back and consolidate their defense, a trickle of reinforcements are shoring them up near the causeway, making for a slugfest of an assault. This scenario was particularly interesting since I managed to put a flanking force around behind the Germans, which kept them from fully reinforcing the causeway.
This is a tricky scenario with all the SSR's for the Americans units. There are several rules to slow the Americans down and make it harder to coordinate the attacks. In my play I found that it was tough for the Americans to get by the defenders in 0504 and 0909 and got bogged down in the fighting there. This gave the Germans time and by turn 26 the American were no where near the bridge on turn 27 the bridge was blown up. At this point it was a race for the Germans to stay away from the Americans as to not get to 9 step losses.
I was not impressed by this scenario with all the SSR's as well as the game of keep away at the end. I will say that this is balanced from a force prospective, but I believe that the victory conditions need to be revised.
Thanks to VASSAL, this is my first PG scenario logged in more than 5 years!
The American paratroopers got off to a hot start during the first hour of battle because I kept forgetting to honor special rule 4. Whatever advantage they might have accrued was quickly reversed once assaults began, as the tenacious German defenders continuously rolled 4s, 5s, and 6s against the American 1s and 2s.
German artillery was equally potent, and the Americans paid a heavy price for bunching up their forces to assault each town.
However, the Americans had sheer volume on their side. The glider troops entered battle immediately and by the end of the third hour the Germans were few and far between.
American Army units, not suffering from the fatigue slowing their Airborne comrades, dashed through the swamps and positioned themselves between the bridge and any potential German reinforcements.
The rumored reinforcements were slow in coming, and after a tactical retreat and final, bloody stand at the bridge, the Germans surrendered at 10:30 (turn 23 / 40).
Bridge in American hands with two M5s and a host of infantry and crack officers. Germans lack the strength to recapture it.
On the meta level, it took me quite a few turns to get back into a groove. While I could remember the flow of play, I had forgotten almost all of the key numbers (like the DR for leader loss). Can't wait to play another! :-)
|Bridge go boom|
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.
Deployment and Turn 1
The first German group has a 9-1-0 captain, a 9-1-0 lieutenant and an 8-1-0 sergeant, so they won’t be getting any morale help. The second group has a 9-1-1 captain, a 10-1-0 lieutenant and a 9-0-0 major, so again not much morale help. The reinforcements have a 9-0-1 captain, a 9-1-0 lieutenant and an 8-1-0 sergeant, whenever they get around to arriving. Because casualties count in this scenario, the Germans are planning a fighting retreat. They will fight for 0604 because as long as they control it the American tanks will be very slow to advance. Even with an 11 movement, an M5 blows 6 of it crossing a hedgerow into the clear, so they can only advance 1 hex on many turns if the road is blocked. If the town is being outflanked, the Germans hope to form a line around 0305-0709 and hold there until the reinforcements arrive. At the same time, since they get most of the way towards achieving their victory conditions if 7 American steps are eliminated, they will take a few risks to kill off weak units.
The Americans are packed in like sardines (so tightly that I couldn’t spread stacks in the first picture) and in fact have a forced overstack. They have 34 units and only 11 available set-up hexes. The group centered around 0901 has a 10-0-1 captain, a 9-1-1 colonel, a 9-1-0 1st lieutenant and a 9-0-1 2nd lieutenant. For this group, a Stuart and 2 paratrooper platoons are going to head west to outflank the Germans while another 2 full strength and 2 reduced strength platoons to provide cover fire. The remaining troops will secure 0803.
The group centered around hex 1201 has a 9-0-0 Lt. colonel, a 10-1-1 captain, a 10-1-1 1st lieutenant and a 9-1-1 2nd lieutenant. For this group, a platoon of Stuarts plus 1 ½ paratrooper platoons will work south and then west while the rest will work through the swamps to hopefully hit 0412 before the Germans can reinforce it.
The Glider troops have a 9-0-1 captain, an 8-0-0 1st lieutenant, an 8-0-0 2nd lieutenant and a 9-1-0 sergeant. Their leadership is not nearly as good as the paratroopers, and this could have a big effect on play. Given that they are also the strongest units in the American arsenal, their initial objective is to carry a lot of the fighting, although that lack of morale modifiers in the leaders is a bit worrisome. They should activate pretty early in the scenario.
Turns 1 -3
The Americans quickly occupy 0803 and opportunity fire demoralizes one of the platoons. The glider troops are released on turn 1, good news for the Americans. American mortar fire disrupts a German HMG, and that’s about it, as the turn ends on the first fog of war roll. On turn 2, the US hits the disrupted HMG with mortar fire and misses…well, misses the Germans. They roll a 1 for friendly fire and it hits the town at 0803 and rolls a 6 for the 21 column and then an 11 for an M2 with disrupts the lieutenant and demoralizes the HMG. The Germans fire at the town with off board artillery (which does not hit friendlies) however they are unable to hurt the US troops. The US troops in 1203/1204 fail an exhaustion check and cannot move, however all of the other troops continue the advance.
The US troops hit by friendly fire recover including the demoralized HMG which rolls a 2. The Germans limber up the 75mm IG in 0604 and get ready to relocate it before it gets outflanked. German fire from 0804 eliminates a step in 0704. Once again, the turn ends early, on the 4th Fog of War roll. Step losses to this point are 1 for the US and none for the Germans.
2 full strength paratrooper platoons and a paratroop HMG assault 0804. The Germans get first fire on the 18 column and roll a 6, for a “1” result, reducing 1 paratroop platoon and demoralizing the other troops. Ironically, the only unit to pass the morale check is the reduced platoon, which fires back on the 5 column and gets an M1 result which disrupts the HMG and demoralizes the lieutenant, although both recover one level on the German impulse. The Germans in 0906 pull back to 0908 and the 75mm IG attempts to withdraw from 0604 and narrowly survives opportunity fire from 0805. Once again it’s a quick end to the turn, after 5 activations for each side.
On turn 5, the paratroopers and HMG in 0804 recover to disrupted before the Germans can assault them in a demoralized state. This doesn’t stop the Germans from trying anyway on the 18 column, while the US is on the 3. Luck favors the Germans again, as they roll a 5 (1) while the US rolls a 2 (M). The reduced paratroop is destroyed and the rest of the troops in the hex (both sides) all pass the morale checks. The With glider troops advancing on 0604, the Germans pull back from 0504 and 0604. The grenadiers pulling out of 0604 are demoralized by opportunity fire. Once again, the turn ends quickly, after only 11 total activations.
Turn 6 sees German OBA (off-board artillery) demoralize an infantry platoon in 0704. Meanwhile, 3 US stacks are closing in on the German east flank. Germans manage to demoralize a paratrooper in 0805 while the 75mm IG pulls back to 0410. Once again it’s a pretty quick turn end, with 7 activations apiece. Fog of War is helping out the Germans a lot more than exhaustion, which basically hasn’t been a factor. Step losses so far are 3 for the US and none for the Germans.
Turns 7 – 9
Turn 7 is a busy one, as for a change fog of war doesn’t influence things and the turn plays out all the way. 1 ½ grenadier platoons in 0406 open fire on 0306 and roll a 3 on the 16 column, killing off a step of paratroopers, disrupting a paratroop platoon and demoralizing the 2nd lieutenant. 2 paratroop platoons that have occupied 0604 open fire on 0505 on the 22 column and get a 7, however that’s still a morale check and it disrupts the German captain and demoralizes the grenadier platoon. The grenadiers fail to rally and rout back to 0506 (with the captain). 1 ½ paratrooper platoons assault 0708. The Germans have first fire and disrupt the captain leading the attack and the reduced platoon. The US then resolves its half of the assault and disrupts 1 reduced grenadier platoon and demoralizes the other. Mortar fire at 0704 demoralizes some paratrooper which has to spend an impulse rallying. Off board artillery hits the hex and is unable to inflict any harm. Opportunity fire from 0506 to 0405 rolls a 12 and kills a reduced paratrooper. The US now has 5 step losses, and getting to 7 puts the Germans close to victory, although they will still need to either hold 0412 or blow the bridge. Fire from 0306 to 0406 demoralizes both Germans. The Germans rout out of 0708. In 0804, the Germans assault the paratroopers. Both sides are on the 18 column. The Germans roll a 6 for a 2 result, the US a 4 for a 1 result. The US has hit its 7 step loss limit on turn 7! Of course, the flip side is that now casualties are irrelevant to the US, and this changes their strategy. The Germans reduce their HMG, while the US reduces both units in the hex.
The Germans grab a 2 impulse advantage on turn 8 and first rally the demoralized troops in 0406 and 0506. I’ve realized I probably pulled out of 0604 too soon and left the troops in 0804 in an untenable situation, so with no escape likely, they assault again resulting in HMG units on both sides being demoralized and a paratrooper getting disrupted. Heavy fire into 0406 demoralizes more grenadiers. Over in 0708, the US manages to demoralize the grenadiers. German mortar fire proves accurate again as it kills off a step in 0710. The US sends another HMG into 0804 to reinforce the assault. A platoon of Stuarts reinforces the 0708 assault. Before the turn ends after 17 activations, US fire from 0607 demoralizes Germans in 0506.
The US grabs the initiative back on turn 9 and finishes off the Germans in 0708. In a case of overkill, the US gets a “3” result against one reduced platoon. The Americans make progress in 0804, too, eliminating the German HMG, while all US troops are disrupted. US on-board artillery kills off a step in 0506 with a snake eyes on the 16 column (note: I realized later that I was illegally combining fire of 2 units in adjacent hexes, and the mortar could just as easily have been stacked with the 75mm, so it wasn’t a big deal). 2 platoons of paras follow the bombardment with an assault only to see the Germans still holding firm and they kill off yet another step of paras. The turn ends normally and at this point the US has lost 9 steps to 3 for the Germans.
Turn 10 opens with the Germans attempting to rally in 0506. All do except the reduced grenadier who fleets to 0405 and then to 0404. The US declines to take an opportunity fire shot at it. The US is closing in on the embankment and 0412, threatening to isolate the town, and possible German reinforcements are still a minimum of 7 turns away. After both sides exchange artillery fire, the turn ends on the first fog of war roll!
With all of the Americans disrupted in 0804 and the front passing the hex by, the grenadier makes a run for it. The free shot from the Americans misses, and the Germans attempt to run for safety. In the swamp, the US occupies 0410 to cut off 0412 from the other German troops. Some of the paratroopers in 0506 rout and fleet and the Germans decide to assault on the 13 column, with the US on the 9. Both sides roll a 6 and inflict a step loss. The Germans reduce a grenadier and eliminate a wagon, while the AT Gun is demoralized. The US loses a reduced paratrooper. A US assault in 0506 is a snooze fest, with both sides rolling a 1 and missing. The turn ends normally.
Turn 12 sees the Germans grab the initiative with 3 activations. They first recover in 0506, with one demoralized unit failing and fleeing with a leader. The US takes opportunity fire on the 45+ column and get an M2 result, and the Germans get lucky and pass. The rest of the turn sees mostly jockeying for position and inconclusive assaults and ends after 8 activations for each side. Step loss at this point are 10 for the US and 4 for the Germans.
Turn 13 sees the US armor get into the action. The Stuarts and 1 ½ platoons of paratroopers assault 0509 while the other platoon of Stuarts joins into the assault on 0506. Neither is able to kill off any Germans, however they make morale tenuous. Other than that, it’s a mostly uneventful turn, ending after 7 German and 5 US activations. On Turn 14, the US assaults in 0506. Being dug-in, the Germans get first fire with the AT gun, however it misses. Then the rest of the units assault together (it made more sense for the Germans to take 2 shots, even if one was very low odds of hitting) and the US kills off the reduced grenadiers, disrupts the full strength unit and demoralizes the AT gun and kills a German sergeant in return for having one colonel disrupted. Over in 0509 the US also kills off a step of reduced grenadiers. When the AT gun in 0506 attempts to rally, it fails by 3 and routs and is eliminated, never having fired an AT shot. The turn ends normally.
Turn 15 sees the assault in 0506 really go in the US favor, with the Americans on the 24 column and the Germans on the 5. Unfortunately, the US rolls a 1 (M1) and the Germans a 6 (M2). The grenadiers are demoralized, however they disrupt the assaulting HMG in return. In 0509, the Germans are on the 13 and the Americans are on the 9, however the Americans want to grind down the Germans and assault anyway. The assault, however, is harmless to both sides. Fog of war strikes again, ending the turn on the 2nd roll.
Step losses at this point are 10 for the Americans and 7 for the Germans. Over 15 turns, the Americans have only failed 4 exhaustion checks. This is possibly because fog of war has ended a lot of turns quickly.
Turn 16 is another quickie. The US assaults in 0506 on the 13 column with the Germans on the 1, and the Americans manage to roll a 1 and miss. The Germans roll a 1, too, and its just embarrassing. Almost nothing else happens as the turn ends on the 3rd roll. Turn 17 sees the Germans finally able to roll for reinforcements. This isn’t great for the US because they haven’t been able to attack, let alone secure, hex 0412 because of fog of war. The Germans get 2 grenadier platoons and add in the 9-1-0 lieutenant. Over in 0506, the Americans reduce and disrupt a grenadier platoon while the Germans miss. Army troops have moved next to 0412, however they keep doing poorly, coming under heavy fire from the town and German off board artillery. Their lack of good leaders is really telling. With reinforcements coming, the Germans assault the paratroop engineers in the swamp (0311) and demoralize them. The engineers fail to rally, and as they flee from 0311 the 1st lieutenant is killed. The other leader voluntarily demoralizes to flee with the engineers. In 0509, both sides roll a 1 which at least gives the Americans an M result while the Germans miss, however the Germans pass their morale check. The turn ends after 10 US and 8 German activations (even though the Germans have the initiative, they passed several impulses).
The Germans get the S.35 tank and the 75mm AT gun as reinforcements on turn 18. The US grabs the initiative and finally clears out the Germans in 0506, which is the 9th German step eliminated, giving the US a victory. However, if the Germans can either hold 0412 at the end of the game or blow the bridge, the Germans will also fulfill a victory condition and the game will be a draw. In the swamp, US casualties are mounting as fire from 0513 kills a step of infantry which is then demoralized by mortar fire. The US begins moving forward again and the turn ends after 10 US and 9 German activations.
Step losses at this point are 12 for the Americans and 9 for the Germans. The Americans have failed 5 exhaustion checks.
The Germans get no reinforcements on turn 19. The Americans get the initiative and seeing 2 full strength grenadier platoons and tanks approaching, and rally the troops in 0513. Undaunted, the Germans assault. The US fires first on the 9 column and gets an M result, however the Germans all pass and assault back on the 30+ column (20 FP(18)+ leader + combined arms) and roll a 1! This is an M2, however it’s the only result where they would not kill a unit. They do manage to demoralize all of the US troops in the hex. In 0509, both sides are on the 13 column, however the Germans outroll the Americans 4 to 2 and when the dust clears, the Stuarts are demoralized and a captain is disrupted, however the German HMG rolls a 12 on its morale check and is demoralized. The 75mm AT unlimbers in 0814, which allows it to cover the town at 0509 and the embankment and the approaches to it. German fire from 0412 demoralizes a paratrooper in 0411, and this is another quick ending turn, with each side getting only 5 impulses.
On turn 20, no additional German reinforcements appear. The Germans have a 2 impulse advantage and first recover the HMG in 0509 to disrupted, then they assault in 0513. Again they are on the 30+ column, while the Americans are on the 3. They roll a 6 for 3 step losses and eliminate all 3 units opposing them! The 1st lieutenant does escape to tell the tale. The Americans had a 1 on their roll and missed. Later, the AT gun fires into the assault in 0509 and roll a 9 which eliminates a step of Stuarts (5 AT-2 armor = +3, -1 for range and -1 for town = +1, 9 becomes a 10). Stuarts, who were already demoralized from the assault, miss their morale check by 3 are and totally eliminated! Undeterred, the Americans renew the assault in 0509 and disrupt both German units. The turn ends after 9 US and 7 German activations.
The Germans get 1 grenadier platoon as a reinforcement on turn 21 and have a 2 impulse advantage. The captain and HMG in 0509 recover in time for another American assault on which both sides miss. The Germans in 0412 fire on the Americans in 0512 on the 45+ column (20 firepower (16) + 2 shifts for adjacent and 1 for swamp) however the Americans luck out as the Germans roll a 7. Its still an M1 result and the unit passes the morale check. Its another very quick turn, ending after 6 German and 5 US impulses.
Step losses at this point are 19 for the Americans and 9 for the Germans. The Americans have failed 5 exhaustion checks.
The Germans get another grenadier platoon for reinforcements on turn 22 and also have the initiative. The 45+ shot from 0412 only manages a disruption. The Americans then assault in 0509, reducing the German HMG by a step, although one paratrooper is demoralized and another disrupted. The Germans attempt to reclaim the embankment, sending a full strength and a reduced grenadier platoon into 0411. The US has first fire on the 5 column and misses, while the Germans are on the 13 column and roll a 6 to eliminate a paratrooper step. Meanwhile, more troops are coming up towards 0412 and the glider HMG moves into the swamp to bring the AT gun under fire. The turn ends after 11 US and 8 German activations.
No German reinforcements show up on turn 23 and the Americans grab the initiative back and reinforce 0411 with a paratroop platoon and a reduced platoon of paratroop HMGs. The German 45+ shot from 0412 finally demoralizes the infantry in 0512 and still isn’t able to kill anyone. The Army HMG moves 2 hexes from the AT gun and being in the swamp, the AT gun can only watch. The Germans send a platoon to reinforce its defense, though. German off board artillery, which has been pretty effective all day, is effective again…against the wrong side. After firing at (and missing) the demoralized infantry in the swamp, the artillery scatters into the assault hex of 0411 and rolls a 2 on the 16 column for an X result and kills a ½ platoon of grenadiers and disrupts the other platoon and the major! This turn ends without interference from fog of war.
Turn 24 has no German reinforcements, and the increasingly desperate Americans have the initiative. They assault 0509 before the Germans can recover morale and despite an M1 result, are unable to hurt the machine gunners. The HMG in the swamp opens fire on the AT gun to no effect and German return fire demoralizes the HMG (the glider troops have been AWFUL in this battle). With lots of units moving to position and a sudden rash of exhaustion failures, the turn ends normally.
Step losses at this point are 20 for the Americans and 11 for the Germans. The Americans have failed 9 exhaustion checks.
The scenario is rapidly moving towards a draw. The Germans can start blowing the bridge on turn 27 and the Americans are nowhere near taking the town and the grenadiers in the town are in good order. With a 9 or higher to blow the bridge, the Germans have over 25% shot per turn, and it probably won’t take long to do. The Germans might be able to hold out the entire game, and at this point, since the best they can hope for is a draw, it makes more sense to just blow the bridge and end things.
The Germans receive no reinforcements on turn 25, and the US finally succeeds in clearing out 0509. The Americans assault in 0411 and the engineers get demoralized yet again. German mortar fire picks off yet another reduced paratrooper platoon. The turn ends after 8 US and 6 German activations. Turn 26 again sees no German reinforcements, however the Germans now have the initiative and fire from 0412 into 0312 (I later realized this was an illegal attack…whoops) gets an X result. It kills a para step that shouldn’t have died, and it was pretty much a moot point by now. The Germans get over-eager to attack the HMG in the swamp, and the 75mm fires its wimpy 2 points of direct fire at it, giving the Stuarts a chance to dash past 0509 and outside of 0411. Fog of war isn’t a factor and the turn ends normally.
Once again, the Germans get no reinforcements on turn 27 (there are only a couple left). The Stuarts move into the assault on 0411, however they aren’t able to attack this turn. The US takes more glider casualties in the swamps and are unable to close on 0412. The turn ends and the Germans roll to blow the bridge. An 11! It collapses into the river and the scenario is a draw!
Final step losses were 22 for the Americans and 12 for the Germans with 9 exhaustion failures.
Okay, I’m going to start by saying that I think this scenario has issues. The biggest ones are on the restrictions on the paratroopers. Most of the stacks will have at least a 9 and maybe a 10 leader. That means either a 5/6 or 11/12 chance of activating successfully on each move, which doesn’t seem like much of a restriction to me. As for the glider troops, the captain will always have either a 9 or 10 morale, again meaning that at worst there is a 1/6 chance they will not be activated and freed for use on the first turn. That’s barely a restriction from my standpoint. If they had started with a +2 to the die roll that reduces to +1 after a couple of turns and then goes to +0 that would make more sense, and as is, it barely restricts things. This also gives the US a HUGE numerical advantage at the start and they can likely roll over the German defenses.
Playing this without Fog of War, I don’t see how the Americans lose. Even if they take the 7 step losses that give the Germans a shot at victory, if there are no restrictions on unit movement, I don’t see how they don’t roll over the German front line and aren’t assaulting 0412 by around turn 10. With no German reinforcements before turn 17, they should be able to set up a perimeter against counter attack. Frankly, I was lucky with the Germans that the tank and AT gun came in early. Its entirely possible they could have suffered the fate of the HMG and MTC and never entered the game. What did surprise me about this scenario was how brittle the regular INF and HMG troops were compared to the paratroopers. Even though they had the same 8/8 morale, the lack of leaders with a morale modifier really made a difference in how they performed. Now, there are troops like the paratroop engineers who seemed to blow every morale check, and they were the exception, not the rule. And again, the difference between 8/8 morale and 8/7 morale was born out, as the German troops were much more brittle when released.
The Stuarts made this interesting for the Americans. They are worthless in tank duels because of the thin armor, yet the shift they give in an assault plus the reasonable direct fire of 7 made them valuable.
|Finesse, Fine-tuned, or just Futile?|
I’m going out of my usual routine providing the aftermath and thoughts first. Also, I didn’t see much point for pictures for this one…
Ok. Once I set this one up I already knew it would be a flop. The problem I saw was the victory conditions, which basically read “Get the lock, or inflict casualties” and “Defend the lock, or inflict casualties”. Now, this is a bit harder for the Germans with their low numbers, but with the huge number of American troops, I didn’t see how they could lose. If they didn’t get the lock, they could just go “big time attack” and regardless of casualties force a draw. Which is exactly what sort of ended up happening. Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Basically, the Americans must try to advance with great finesse to avoid taking casualties and then take the village where the lock is located. One might view the casualty allowance as “fine-tined”. I just found it all futile.
So, here’s the quick synopsis of how the battle played out.
The Americans had 10 hours (40 turns), to advance down the map!
The scenario starts at dawn, with visibility of one hex in a map full of hedgerows. The Germans were protected in their villages in the north. So, what did the Americans do? Ignore them! I read one session report where the Germans won by the Americans getting too caught up in fighting in the northern villages. I didn’t see the point.
So the Americans began to skirt around either edge of the map through the hedgerows. On turn 6, they took a step loss from small arm opportunity fire. But for the most part stayed away from most of it.
By turn 12, they flanked around the north villages and were able to eliminate the German IG and mortars but did take another couple losses. Losses tied at 3 each.
The glider infantry led the charge and the engineer and M5s pushed to the lock after the Americans took another couple steps from point blank defensive fire. I wonder if they could have avoided this by just moving with their M5s and wait until they suppressed the defenders? With 24 turns to go, I reckon they could have eventually gotten lucky?
The main assault began with an M5, Inf and ENG moving into a crap shoot assault on the 24 vs. 18 columns. The next roll could determine the victor (on turn 16). The German GREN lost and casualties were back to even at 6-6. Both sides reinforced a bit and soon were both on the 24 column!! Big losses for both sides and the lock fell, but the casualties were now 8-10. Both sides exceeded their target and the battle was a Draw on turn 18.
Did I use too little finesse? Were the victory levels so finely tuned that both sides exceeded their expectation? Or was this whole scenario just futile and destined for a draw.
Scenario Rating: 2/5 – I think the third one. Had the American assault not gone well enough, they had another 12 or so platoons waiting in the marsh ready to follow it up. I can’t see how the Americans could fail to take out 9 German steps.
|Third strike and the bridge is out|
Usually I finish scenarios to the last turn in solo plays unless there is a sudden-death type SSR or VC or if all the units of one side are wiped out. In this case I stopped play at the start of turn 29 when the Germans finally managed to blow the bridge up as both sides had met victory conditions with no way of reversing a draw.
The scenario started off well but by turn 20 it seemed almost impossible that the American forces, both para or glider battalion units would be able to take the bridge/town hex. The exhaustion rule for the paras really had adverse effects once leaders got divided up or when units really needed to rally. The paras never managed to even get into the swamp area as they were bogged down in attempting to clear the northernmost town hexes of German defenders. Only one of the three enemy occupied towns north of the river and swamp area were ever cleared. The glider battalion units on the other hand were able to activate right away on turn 1 and immediately traveled in a second group south, through the swamps to attempt to flank the objective. Movement through the swamp areas was slow and an effort was made to keep all glider units together so progress was made usually only one hex at a time. By the time those units were within direct fire or assault range the German reinforcements began to trickle in and engaged them head-on. Ultimately both the American attacks failed from the north and south approach. By turn 27 some glider battalion units had made it through opportunity fire and had the bridge within their sights and the Germans failed to blow the bridge on the first attempt. Soon, with American units inching closer, it looked like one hasty and desperate assault might of been made on the objective bridge hex but at the start of turn 29, on the third try, the Germans blow the bridge and it was finally over. Both sides eliminated enough of the other's steps to claim a victory.
Somehow, halfway through this scenario I began to lose interest though I enjoyed the start of it. It just seemed futile for the Americans, especially the paras. Everything depended on the glider forces and they failed once they actually made contact with the enemy and it was too late. The only units approaching from the north to get even close to the bridge were the M5 Stuart tanks but they had to go at a 50mm AT gun dug-in road as there was no way around it as vehicles cannot move through swamp terrain. The German AT gun takes out a whole unit of the M5s in one shot. The remaining tanks have no luck with direct fire or assaulting the gun but surprisingly at the end of the battle, a reduced M5 survived in good order. I give this one a '2' though initally play started out as a '4' but by the time the bridge was blown I was glad to call an end to this scenario. The exhaustion rule for the paras really did put a damper on things and almost always at a crucial moment. I think for the Americans to have a chance both paras and glider battalion units have to be able to hit the Germans quickly from north and south, coordinated best as possible. It's kind of ironic that the historical outcome cites the glider forces being the ones reluctant to participate when in this case they were the only ones that made a remote threat to the bridge and had almost the whole burden resting on their shoulders.