The Merderet Crossing
Airborne - Remastered #1
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Defender)|
|Germany||1058th Grenadier Regiment|
|Germany||91st Air Landing Division|
|United States||82nd "All American" Airborne Division|
|Overall Rating, 2 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 609|
|Parent Game||Airborne - Remastered|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Airborne - Remastered||book|
|Battle of the Bulge||counters|
|Fall of France||counters|
The 82nd Airborne Division's D-Day objectives included securing the Merderet River crossing at La Fiere. Holding the crossing meant keeping the Germans west of the river, denying easy access to the beachhead and holding the way open to cut the base of the Cotentin Peninsula. The division's three parachute regiments dropped on both sides of the river in the early hours of 6 June. Scattered by a poor drop, the troopers only slowly gathered in small groups. The race was between the small bands of paratroopers slowly finding each other and the Germans stirring as they realized that the long-awaited invasion might actually be on.
The struggle for the river crossing continued all day as gathering paratroopers were pitted against German reinforcements. By the end of the day the Americans tenuously held onto the bridge, but the surrounding hedgerows still harbored Germans.
Map is available in Airborne, Airborne-IE, Airborne remastered (print edition) or the Woods & Hill accessory. Board 13 is also known as board 0201.
This scenario appears in Airborne/Airborne-IE and is playable with those components.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|7 Errata Items|
When using Airborne or Airborne-IE, replace the LT COL in hex 0709 with the para BR GEN.
(plloyd1010 on 2012 Feb 02)
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)
Strongpoints are single step units and can be eliminated with X results like any other single step unit.
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The standard mix of strongpoints may be downloaded from Avalanche Press:
This is the standard mix found in Airborne, Airborne-IE, and Edelweiss Expanded. The strongpoint mix in Cassino '44 is different from that of other PG games.
(plloyd1010 on 2012 Feb 01)
Strongpoints are affected by the terrain in their hex just like any other unit.
Even though they can't move, they can attack using Assault Combat if an enemy unit moves into their hex.
They may not dig in or benefit from entrenchments.
(rerathbun on 2014 Apr 21)
The movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."
(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
|By the Skin of Their Teeth|
At Heat of Battle in New Orleans, I had the privilege of meeting a paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne who fought in this battle. He dropped on D-Day and his unit was detailed to hold the La Fiere bridge over the Merderet river west of Ste. Mere Eglise. They were supposed to be there one day, but had to hold out for four. The Germans attacked with three S-35 tanks and supporting infantry. The paratroopers fought them off with rifles, bazookas and a 57mm Anti-Tank gun. When they knocked out the three tanks, the Germans retreated.
The Merderet Crossing is an updated version of the scenario by the same name in the two previous versions of Airborne. The main difference is the reduced number of turns in the Remastered version of scenario -- 30 turns instead of 55. This greatly improves the balance of the scenario, since it gives the Germans less time to grind the Americans down.
I did play this scenario with two house rules. (1) The Germans entering the south side of the board had to enter west of hex 0109. (2) Due to flooding, the River was crossable only at the two bridges. I felt that without these two rules, the best the Americans can possibly hope for is a draw, since the Germans can hold back a unit and sneak it in on the east side of the river on the last turn.
Both sides spent the first couple of hours collecting and organizing their scattered forces. The paratroopers won the race. They drove a German platoon out of the village west of the road bridge and dug-in in the objective hexes before the Germans could counterattack. They were helped by the fact that the two strong points closest to the objectives were empty. (I placed the strongpoints randomly.)
The race to occupy the objectives was followed by a short lull in the action as the Germans organized their reinforcements and a few more paratroopers trickled in to the American positions.
Once the Germans got organized, they moved in to assault the American positions with armor and infantry. The Americans had morale and position, the Germans had combined-arms firepower. The assaults went back and forth, with both sides taking heavy casualties. The last hour-and-a-half consisted of increasingly desperate assaults, and luck was definitely with the paratroopers. The Americans barely held onto their positions for the win. I really think the Germans ended up just one turn short of pulling out a draw.
I enjoyed the scenario. There is a lot of die-rolling in the beginning, but I liked the tension as both sides tried to get organized. The scenario length seems about right. The Germans did have enough time to get all of their reinforcements on and into the battle (in my play only one mortar platoon didn't make it into the fight, and it was on the board.) Would have rated the scenario a '4', but it seemed to me to be heavily weighted toward a draw. Only luck at the end gave the Americans the victory, and it seemed the Germans would have an equally tough time getting the win.