Bridgehead on the Rapido
Cassino '44 #2
|(Defender) United States||vs||Germany (Attacker)|
|Germany||104th Panzergrenadier Regiment|
|United States||141st "First Texas" Infantry Regiment|
|United States||36th "Texas" Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 16 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 226 of 598|
|Parent Game||Cassino '44|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Cassino '44||maps + counters|
The U.S. crossing of the Rapido had been a disaster. The 143rd Regiment to the south of Sant' Angelo had withdrawn back across the Rapido, and while soldiers of the 141st still held the northern bridgehead all their boats had been destroyed. Trapped on the west bank with no hope of rescue or reinforcement, the men of the 141st had to fend off increasingly aggressive German counterattacks.
Throughout the day the German counterattacks became more intense, and after dark the Germans launched a major attack to eliminate the U.S. bridgehead. The U.S. soldiers on the east bank were unable to help their trapped comrades and could only listen to the sounds of combat on the far bank. By 22:00 all sounds of combat had ceased. The bridgehead had been eliminated.
|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)
|Swift and Destructive|
Two words best described the attack of the Germans the night after the Americans had crossed the Rapido. The end result- by turn 9, nothing was left of the American task force. They had setup with two INF in four hexes, making a semicircle around the bridge head, with the HMG's at the flanks, and the 81mm mortar at the bridge. The Germans setup to attack the two Western most positions and a smaller group to attack the Northern station, and then attack the mortar, thus taking the bridge and a victory for the Germans. The Germans were lucky when picking their leaders, and after they moved up to the American posts, they unleashed their firepower.
By turn 4 the german firepower of HMG's, INF's, and the 150 IG, caused the Americans 3 steps and left most disrupted or demoralized. On turn 5, as the Americas bring more units from the South the Germans fire DF again, furthering the damage, and allowing the Germans to assault the next turn. The assaults are completely biased towards the Germans, and so were the roles. The three assaults that took place rolled:6, 4, 5, with all of these rolls being on the 30 column. The Americans try to counter assault, but good roles for the Germans leave the reinforcements destroyed as well. Some of the units which were demoralized in the assaults had fled towards the bridge trying to recover, but in the next couple of turns, the Germans moved their HMG's together, and picked off the lingering Americans. On turn 9, the Germans gained INT, and a group of three INF's and a strong LT. fired at the mortar, whose fire had not yet inflicted any damage on the advancing Germans.
Result: German Major Victory.
|Beware Friendly Fire|
As a sidenote to Genesteelers AAR, it seemed Friendly Fire did more damage than the initial strike. This scenario could also have been called the "Re-enactment of The Little Big Horn" and/or "Custers Last Stand". The Germans were circling all around me like Indians. All in all, a good battle. Flares had a major effect, and thanks to Dave Murray for clarification in their use.
|Americans are faced against the ultimate German Weapon. The Flare.|
Germans forces move in towards the American position. Minimal fire is exchanged as most of the Americans begin to dig-in. Some brave (read: foolhardy) American infantry charge in the north where they are lit up by German flares.
Germans open fire and the American suffer severe casualties losing a platoon and a LT. (2-0)
In the South (right) the American send one platoon west while the Germans try to sneak around near the river (east).
German attacks completely waffle as the two sides clash in the south.
Germans eliminate an American platoon in the south but are hit hard by American HMG fire (4-1). The German LT is subsequently captured as the Grenadiers flee in the south.
In the north the Germans begin to manoeuvre.
And the Germans slip behind the American line in north and charge their mortar position.
In a deadly 15 minutes, the Americans lose their mortars and half a platoon in the north. The Germans lose half a platoon in the south and the German Infantry Gun, American Captain and half an American Infantry platoon are all eliminated in the west by some kick ass American artillery fire! (7-3)
Both sides lose half a platoon as the forces move into close range fighting in both the north and the south. (8-4)
Then the hand of fate decides to even the score. Both German attacks (“22” column, roll 7’s and have minimal effect. The following two American attacks come up “Snake Eyes” and one and a half German platoons are vaporised!
The score is just about even after 2 hours at 8-7.
The Germans begin to put the squeeze on the Americans in the north. (9-7)
And the Americans in the north completely collapse. Meanwhile in the south the German assault goes horribly wrong and the Americans wipe out another half platoon.
And the dying minutes see the Americans lose another step in the north, yet their demoralized full strength platoon has a miraculous recovery to good order. While in the south, the Germans lose another half step.
GERMAN MAJOR VICTORY!
Total VPs were: German: 13 for eliminating steps, 11 undemoralized steps near the bridgehead. American: 9 for eliminating steps, 5 undemoralized steps near the bridgehead.
And the Germans win 24 to 14.
Overall, this was another great scenario. The special rules gave it enough flavour that the battle was memorable. Both sides, despite the attack/defend stance played quite fluidly, which enhanced the fun. Nothing is more boring than yet another urban assault where the defender never moves.
Scenario Rating: 4/5. Good night scenario with enough firepower for both sides to have some good old fashioned fun. I should probably give it a 3, but I’m in a good mood because I was the Germans. :D
|Bridgehead on the Rapido - A Study in Futility|
Cassino '44 Scenario 2
Bridgehead on the Rapido
Game Length: 20 turns
Starting at 18:00 hrs.
Victory Conditions: If any "good order" US units are within 5 hex's of the Rapido at the game end the US wins. Any other result means German victory.
18:00 - Captain Jamison: "OK men". We had a rough go of it keeping this bridgehead and we got a long night ahead of us. Rest assured Gerry is going to be hitting us hard again sometime tonight. We can't expect any reinforcements since Gerry destroyed our last footbridge and all of our boats are somewhere down river full of bullet holes. We need to hold on til morning. We'll have Artillery support throughout the night plus we still have a mortar unit. So lets get our defenses prepared and start digging in. I want 2 platoons per section of foxholes. The Heavy Machine Gunners will be set-up in the center of the defensive works with me, ready to give support where needed. Sgt. Orozco, I want you with the troops to the South. Lt. Alexander, your superior leadership skills will be needed to the Northwest if Gerry sends anything down the road from Cassino town and Lt. Jackson will support your flank from the East. All right then, lets get it done, and may God help us.
GERMAN COMMUNICAE:Major A. Burkholtz 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment 2nd Battalion
Major, you are hereby ordered to take your Battalion and remove the American bridgehead South of Cassino. Your armor support will join you when it can be detached from elsewhere. Do not fail!General Major Rodt Division Commander 15th Panzer Grenadier
18:15 - Lt. Alexander: "Captain, I hear troops and a tracked vehicle coming down the road towards us". "Keep your troops digging Lt.". Captain Jamison: "Christ Almighty! They got us lit up with Flares"! INCOMING! HIT THE DECK! Lt. Jackson! I said no firing until those foxholes are dug! You better make any more op-fire count instead of missing. That's better. Everyone else keep digging. Step losses 0/1 (Americans/Germans)
18:30 - Lt. Jackson: "Captain! We're being assaulted with Grenadiers, HMG's and an APC with a Major. I just lost a whole Platoon but I shot up half of their Grenadier Platoon". Lt. Alexander: "Captain, we're being assaulted as well, just lost half of one of my Platoons! I don't know if I can take much more of this." Captain Jamison: "Suck it up Lt.! HMG's, follow me, fire from the hip"! There Lt., maybe now you can do something since all them Huns are now disrupted". "Thats the way to do it! Those boys in the Southwest just took out a whole platoon of Grenadiers that tried to get close to them. Too bad they couldn't do it a second time". Step losses 3/4 - Force Cohesion now at 8/6 for Germans.
18:45 - Lt. Jackson: "Captain, I just lost another half Platoon. I can't hold out much longer". "Take it easy son". I need to take care of some fresh Gerry's that just entered the fight. I'll help you when I can". "Machine Gunners and Infantry, Attack!" Outstanding, men, killing off 2 for everyone one of ours. You Ground Pounders get yourselves together now. There'll be time to cry for you fallen buddies later. Those troops to the South of us are holding out for now and our Artillery is keeping some of those Bastards disorganized enough to keep 'em out of the fight. Step losses 5/6 - Force Cohesion now at 7/5 for Americans.
19:00 - Lt Jackson: "Captain, I'm being over-run! I have no troops left. Falling back to central position". "Very well. Lt. Alexander, we need to get our troops ready for assault, so give them a Pep-talk. Where are those troops going? Get back here! Damn! We only have our Machine Gunners left. We'll have to make do Lt". "Those troops to the South of us are sure taking a beating now, only half a Platoon left out of 2 full ones, Captain". "At least that Hun Captain took 1/2 of a Platoon of Grenadiers with him when he ran away from us. Maybe we can finish off this Lt. and his remaining Platoon. "Sir, Lt. Jackson and the troops he just took command of are getting disorganized under all the German Artillery". "I know Lt. Looks like they'll be assaulted soon". Lt. Jackson: "Captain, we're being over-run again. Just lost another 1/2 Platoon and my remaining 1/2 Platoon are hiding in their foxholes. Don't think we'll make it thru another assault sir". "Do what you can, Lt., then fall back to Sgt. Orozco's position only if necessary". Step Losses 10/6 - Force Cohesion now at 6/5 for Americans
19:15 - Capt. Jamison: "O.K. boys, lock and load those HMG's and let them have it! That's it, they're down by half". Lt. Alexander: "Captain, more bad news. Lt. Jackson was just over-run again. He has no troops left and is heading towards Sgt. Orozco's position. The remaining troops to the South were killed to the last man as well". Capt. Jamison: "Well aren't you just a blue bird of happiness, Lt."? Step losses 12/7
19:30 - Capt. Jamison: "Get ready, that German Lt. just brought in a full Platoon of Grenadiers with supporting HMG's. GET DOWN! GET DOWN! Damn-it to Hell! We've only got half our HMG's left now! Stiff upper lip, now, thats it. I'm awful proud of you boys for bouncing back so quick". Step losses 13/7
19:45 - Capt. Jamison: "Lt, that German Sgt. that's leading those troops now looks like he know's his business". Lt.? Lt. Alexander? SOB! Everyone's dead but me. Wonder if I can make it up and around to Lt. Jackson's and Sgt. Orozco's position"? Sgt. Orozco: "Get the Captain on the horn, we're need some help here. Lt. Jackson just got his head blown off, the Mortar team just got shot all to hell, a quarter of my troops are dead and the rest are pissing in their pants"! "What do you mean you can't raise the Captain"? Sgt. Orozco: "Come on fella's, I need you to look alive and get ready for the next assault. We have to hold.....Where do you think your all going? Get back in your foxholes before they open fire at your backsides. Idiots! A whole Platoon getting shot in the back will not look good on my record. Hold up, guys, I'm coming with you"! Step losses 18/7
20:00 - Sgt. Orozco: "Nothing to do now but keep running. Is that the Captain running towards us"?
20:15 - Sgt. Orozco: "That is the Captain! Oh Hell no! That Sgt. and his Platoon of Grenadiers just caught him. CRAP! That Sgt. sent another Platoon of Grenadiers to take us out. Keep running guys. Guys? Guys? Don't shoot! I surrender. Step losses 19/7
GERMAN COMMUNICAE: General Major Rodt Division Commander 15th Panzer GrenadierHerr General Major Rodt, I am most pleased to inform you that my 2nd Battalion of 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment has annihilated the American bridgehead across the Rapido in the Lyre Valley, sustaining negligible casualties, and that armored forces were not needed. Again, the bridgehead has been completely annihilated. Major A. Burkholtz 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment 2nd Battalion
Conclusion: Well, the end result was the same, naturally. The Germans probably could have gained a victory a few turns earlier if they had sealed off that temporary escape route beforehand and forcing the remaining Americans back the other way. The Stug was not needed, which was 4 turns away from entering. Twenty turns for this original scenario does seem a little excessive when used with the combined optional rules of Tactical Assault Combat and Force Cohesion. With the Americans down to a 6/5 Morale after Turn 5, it got very, very bad for them. Using the Force Cohesion and Tactical Assault Combat optional rules just reiterates how important Morale is (even more so when you don't have much of it) and, once you gain the upper hand in an assault, don't ever let up. I'm giving this a 3 1/2 out of 5. I was really hoping the Americans would have held out just a little bit longer, but by the Germans going straight to assault after the first few flares, they quickly gained the upper hand.
The US was in a bad spot. Backed up against the river and basically a target the Germans could maneuver around to find the sweet spot. The Germans did just this, and were also able to spot for their arty as well. The US had one friendly fire OBA round, causing more damage at a critical juncture after the Germans had assaulted two hexes. The Germans assaulted with abandon, and quickly overran the first US positions. The others fell to a OBA followed up by further assaults. German victory.
|A Blitzkrieg in Italy|
Americans set up in a semi-circle a few hexes from 2728. The Germans split up and approached from the north and south. A few turns in the Germans got lucky and achieved four consecutive attacks where the Americans took step losses. The remaining US troops fell back and took further casualties. The GI's held on for a while longer, but eventually the Germans overwhelmed them for a major victory. This scenario wasn't close, but the Germans got extremely lucky in this one. I could see it being a lot closer.
Another short, night scenario in Cassino. In this action, both sides receive points for destruction of enemy units and being within four hexes of the victory point hex. Given the reduced visibility (night scenario) and open terrain, this promises to be a bloody affair. The Americans set up in a defensive semi-circle within two hexes of the victory point location with the river to their rear. At this point, all of their steps count for VP’s, so they just need to keep the Germans away or lose less units than the Germans. The Germans set up outside of VP distance, so must close with the Americans and destroy units and/or occupy terrain close to the target hex. They start with more strength and higher morale, so my plan is to close (night scenario reduces visibility to 1 hex) and engage in assault. The Germans begin to close with the American defensive perimeter and start to focus on the American right flank. German HMG’s with INF advance adjacent to American center, and German INF slide towards the left flank to try and wrap around American right. Initial American defensive fire is very effective with a 2X result, immediately weakening German center. The next turn, German fire and assaults along their left flank reduce and demoralize American units. This battle soon becomes isolated firefights and assaults as stacks are rendered ineffective, and the opposing side seeks to take advantage. Given the low counter density, the river, and the short length, neither side is able to withdraw and regroup. So, at the end, the Americans emerge victorious as they are able to keep their remaining force within VP distance to the objective. This action proved to be very bloody and quick to play given the victory conditions.
|Cassino ’44: Gateway To Rome, scenario #2: Bridgehead on the Rapido|
*A night time scenario with a fight to eliminate a bridgehead. Victory conditions for a four hex radius around the hex number 2728 bridgehead and eliminated enemy steps. The Americans defend with a weaker force. The Germans have flares to illuminate their way and the Americans have smoke to block their way.
*This was kind of interesting using flares and smoke to counter the flares. The problem is, it’s easier to succeed at rolling for flares then it is for smoke and the Germans have both the higher morale and the higher Initiative. The Germans use the nighttime darkness to position, for their all out attack, light up the area with flares and give it a few rounds of both on & off board artillery, not to mention a good dose of direct fire. *The end result was a major German victory but a fun little scenario to play anyway, especially on the big Cassino hexes.
|Bridgehead on the Rapido -- Good one to learn the game|
Another tough one for the US. He initially deployed 3-4 hexes around the victory hex, 2728.
The German came at the position from 3 directions, suffering a couple Disrupts and a step loss on the close. Flares exposed the apex of the US line to whithering direct and artillery fire. The US shifted units to the points of attack, returned fire, and caused 2 more steps of German losses. The German now could remain in place, trade fire and casualties, or assault with marginal advantage. This he did, locking the US units in hand-to-hand combat. The slim German advantage played out, and the US staggered back, demoralized and no longer able to plug the holes in his line.
The Germans pressed on and with local, but decisive, numerical advantage, punctured the US line. By turn 6, the US conceded the bridgehead: another German victory.
A very exciting scenario and worthy of a second try against a second player.