Forward as One
Black SS #25
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Germany||1st SS "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" Division|
|United States||4th "Ivy" Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 205 of 609|
|Parent Game||Black SS|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
A direct order from Adolf Hitler limited local attacks that might sap the strength of the panzer divisions preparing for renewed offensive. but local German commanders felt it necessary to respond to growing American pressure in order to protect their supply lines. Both sides decided to attack first thing in the morning just south of Cherence le Roussel. with no villages of note to bar their way the combatants figured that the opposition would be weak. fighting broke out again shortly before dawn.
Both sides jumped off at 0800 hours, with the Americans claiming to have driven off the Germans. A more likely scenario is the Germans realized they would be unable to advance enough to cover the Reich Division's flank so, following Hitler's instructions to pull back rather than risk heavy losses, they withdrew.
Playable without using the black SS counters.
|1 Errata Item|
The reduced direct fire value of the SS HMG is 5-5 in Beyond Normandy and Road to Berlin.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
|Lack of Aggressive Action Costs a Possible Victory|
This scenario is about as balanced as it gets, with the SS getting 10 Grenadiers, 2 HMGs and 2 Mortars to the US getting 9 Infantry, 3 HMGs and 3 Mortars, both have OBA in the same 30 factor column. The scenario info says it is playable using only the Elsenborn Ridge game. This isn't completely right if you use the impartial leader selection, which apparently pulls form some leaders that aren't in the Elsenborn mix. No big deal, just something to be aware of. Both sides enter the board, a half of board 22, and all woods are modified to field, so outside of the town being well within the German grasp, terrain is pretty much the same. The US seized the high ground and the Germans seized the town, both by turn 2, with both having done just a little bit of damage with OBA, the Germans losing a step and the US disrupting one and demoralizing one, that stack having to be exposed for some time before everyone regrouped. The US formed line along the eastern side of the hill and extending north and south of that, and the Germans formed a similar line 2 hexes away and they just sat there pounding each other. This gave the US more casualty points, but then victory in this scenario doesn't account for casualties. The US has to have an undemoralized unit east of the north-south road, and occupy one town hex. The US player (me) got wrapped up in causing casualties and trying not to take casualties that he failed to advance. With the town north of the action, it would have been possible to move somebody there and achieve both conditions, forcing the Germans to also step up from a war of attrition to a war of movement. Germans lost 7 steps, US only 1, but in the end, the Germans won. Very interesting little game, a good one for introducing the system to a new player, and with only 10 turns, one that would be easy for players to play, then turn it around and play again from the other side.
|Never Allow Your Major That Is Under 'The Influence' To Read The Map|
This game was played in one session over Skype and Hamete dice roller against Hugmenot and was my 10th play from this 35 scenario supplement book. The scenario is a meeting engagement with both sides entering upon a single board. It involves infantry forces of relatively equal numbers and ability. Forces from the German SS Leibstandarte Division pit themselves against troops from the 4th US ‘Ivy’ Division. The Germans have a 10-9 INF platoon advantage but face a 3-2 deficit in platoons in both HMG and MTR departments. Also, the Americans are able to mass OBA to fire on the 30col v 16col that the SS can muster. The Germans are asked to make sure by game end that they have either of one of the single town hexes or a road hex under control. The US can suffer this fate but still win if they get a non-demoralised unit east of the aforementioned road and have eliminated more SS steps than they have suffered.
A perusal of the terrain reveals the following. The northern half of the board is open terrain and good for movement. The southern half, albeit showing a huge area of light woods, is for this scenario now all wheat fields. I therefore decided to send the SS out in a fanned formation of one platoon per hex (to avoid big OBA problems if hit) in the open ground to protect any obvious incursion that would surely come that way. The initial plan was for the SS troops to capture the northern and southern towns as they were nearer to the German start point than the American and to set up a firing line 200m ahead of the road linking the towns in the clear part of the board. The idea being that US forces would then have to breach the line, probably take high casualties to get beyond it for any victory chance. The road behind my troops would also mean that I could move my own troops up and down the line faster if need be. This would include the ability to get into the wheat-fields quick if the Americans tried to divert a thrust through there. However, I discounted the Americans coming through the fields as there were only ten turns and it would take too much time to reach German lines.
At beginning of turn one as both sides readied for entry, the Germans were very surprised to see the Ivy Division troops enter opposite the fields. Surely this was folly? Little known to the German commander though, the US Major was known to enjoy a drink or two. On this important day, it had affected his map reading skills and instead of the fields that he had now placed his force in front of, he had expected an area of light woods that his troops could have gone through briskly. The effect of this was that for the first turn, the US troops spent their time marching north and around the field area losing some precious time. It also gave the Germans extra time to get their defensive fire line set up. One casualty was taken too. The US OBA OP, a captain, was blown up by German 16col OBA as he was the only target present.
Turn 2 proved bloodless. The US was now pushing toward their objective whilst the SS hurriedly began setting up a line. The SS had also placed their 2 x HMG platoons behind the line next to each other to set up a 22col Opp.Fire base for use against anybody that dared tried to advance on their infantry platoons front. This took an early toll as in turn 3 one advancing US platoon suffered a step-loss from that fire. US OBA had so far been light in its effect despite German fears, but in turn 4 it took out a whole GREN platoon that had failed to complete digging-in. However, in that turn, German fire from their infantry front-line was taking heavy toll on the American advance. No less than 3 US INF steps fell in turn 4 to the German small-arms fire.
In turn 5, the fearsome US OBA cut another German GREN platoon in half and was becoming a worrying concern for the Germans. By now, the battle was in the throes of its full fury. The Ivy Division troops were bravely pushing forward, perhaps here and there a little too gung-ho (which I had been pre-warned of). Fire from the tough Leibstandarte vets would pour in on any olive green clad men that tried to close to the German line and many of these GI’s would have to go to ground gripping the earth, or in other cases, simply run backwards to escape. A few made it close to the enemy line, and one such platoon engaged a dug-in German platoon immediately south of the northern town in assault. Even here, the Americans were out-battled. The defenders got the better of the American platoon and demoralized them. In response, the Germans then sent out one of the two platoons in the town hex as a counter-attack on the demoralized outfit and here, half of the US platoon became casualties and the other half either captured or fugitive. The platoon had disappeared. All in all, there were 4 US INF steps lost in turn 5.
The Americans still had all their HMG’s in tact, although their morale had been variable in the battle so far.One had disrupted and another had demoralised, but they were still there and had recovered. This was the last US hope as their infantry were fast disappearing. The HMG’s tried to gain a fire base and also, get in close to support their remaining attacking infantry comrades. But it proved forlorn. In turn 6, another 2 US steps were lost and the whole attacking force consisted now of just two good order units. All the others were either dead, disrupted or demoralised. With the time remaining, they would still be forced to spend two turns advancing, then assault and then try to push past the road. It couldn’t be done and from that point, the American attack was called off having taken quite a severe battering. Overall losses had been 11 steps for the US plus a leader. Most of this had come from German small-arms fire, but some from HMG fire and a few double demoralisations. The Germans lost 3 steps, all from the 30col US OBA and this had been expected.
I would normally rate this game a ‘3’. But Hugmenot found one here that would be an absolute brilliant game for a player (or 2 people) new to the system. It is an infantry battle with on-board mortars, HMG’s and useful firepower for both sides. I also believe both sides can win this. Therefore, I up it an extra point to a ‘4’. I guess a winning feel-good factor aids that too? The piece on the inebriated US Major comes from the fact that before set-up, Hugs confessed to sharing a couple of July 4th cocktails with his Mrs beforehand. The joke being that the Major on the board was under the influence and therefore completely misread his map seeing light woods instead of fields. In reality, Hugmenot had completely missed the SSR stating that all woods for this scenario were fields. This in turn led him to set his force up in front of what he thought would be 1MP light woods but turned out to be slowing 2MP fields. He had also warned me of the bloody battles he and Matt partake in. The effect of that probably showed in the casualty exchange today. I certainly had fun with this and I hope Hugmenot did too. I have asked him to scratch around for another play so that we can lock horns again soon!
|Crash and burn (solo)|
Two battalions meet head on with no real subtlety: the terrain modification in the scenario makes the woods into fields: this slows foot movement in a short scenario so the US side sent one company along that southern edge to reach the road; two other companies along the north, though they intended to by-pass the town in favor or moving units east of the road. Leibstandarde troops split about the same to engage.
Other than vagaries of die rolls, which in this case mostly favored the German side, the SS leaders made the difference. They drew a 10-0-2 Hauptsturmfuhrer and the 11-2-1 obersturmbannfuhrer (using the BN mix). Whilst the US got a 10-1-1 major and a 10-0-1 captain, the ability to combine three hex direct fire and make/recover morale gave the SS the edge over the superior American artillery components (that, and US artillery rolls were mostly weak). The US almost pulled a draw by virtue of that southern wing, but the Germans were able to bring down support and one particular OBA strike lead to morale failures that slowed that prong of the attack.
|Who Gave Me This Map?|
Played in one 3.5 hour over Skype with Vince Hughes.
You can view pictures of my disastrous setup and a the ensuing massacre in post #6 of this thread.
What could be better than a Canadian and an Englishman celebrating July 4th over a game Panzer Grenadier?
OK, you don’t to answer that one.
Nevertheless, I suggested a scenario with me leading the Americans to victory over Vince’s Germans. Bragging rights were at stake.
One early problem though as I had not counted on my wife supplying me with snacks and margaritas before the game even began. The commandant was thus well fed and refreshed but no longer fully alert. No big deal, how can the Americans lose on July 4th?
I looked at the map and saw tons of light woods that would provide cover for my troops while we advance towards the enemy line and thus decided to set up my force behind these hexes. I should have re-read the scenario instructions because the light woods were in fact fields. With the scenario lasting only 10 turns, there is no way I could afford moving troops forward only one hex per turn.
The picture after turn 2 shows well what is the problem. Instead of my troops arriving at firing distance the same turn the German arrive in front of the road, my troops are too far away from the Germans and will have to advance under opportunity fire.
I suffered a few disruption and demoralization next turn and I did not have numerical superiority, I decided to push forward under great risk, Vince’s troops mowed down my troops and the last picture (it may have been taken after turn 5 instead of 4 as indicated) shows what happened. I gave up a couple turns later when it was clear I had no chance of salvaging a draw.
German major victory!
What should I have done different?
First thing is the set up my troops next to the open terrain and move my troops as far as possible on the first two turns so we can start a firefight on turn 3. Concentrate fire on an area at that point until the German line weakens; the Germans do not have much in reserve and thus I could move forward at the point.
Another idea is to move some troops, maybe 4 infantry units and two leaders, along the southern edge of the map (it’s open terrain for the most part) to force the Germans into a lager frontage.
I rated this scenario a “3”, which is better than my average for small scenarios. It was quite enjoyable despite the abysmal way I played. I do agree with Vince that this is an balanced scenario which is excellent for newcomers and plays well over Skype. Plenty of decision points for both sides if they both play well.