Crossroads: We Fight and Die Here
Elsenborn Ridge #13
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Defender)|
|Germany||12th SS “Hitler Jugend” Panzer Division|
|Germany||560th Heavy Panzerjäger Battalion|
|United States||1st "Big Red One" Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 13 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 240 of 607|
|Parent Game||Elsenborn Ridge|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
Pulled out of the line after its failure at the twin villages, the Hitler Youth Division swung instead onto the road to the large farm known to the Americans as Dom Butgenbach. At first they found easier going over routes cleared by 1st SS Panzer Division, and then they ran head on into the U.S. 1st Infantry Division. The SS recon battalion blundered into the Big Red One on the afternoon of the 18th and was badly shot up; by the time the rest of the SS division was ready to attack in the wee hours of the next morning, the Americans were primed and ready for them. "We fight and die here," Lt. Col. Derril Daniel told his 2nd Battalion of the 26th Infantry Regiment, a phrase his men would repeat to each other constantly over the next several days.
The Hitler Youth formed up just outside of American sighting range and then began a wild assault on the manor. But having been bounced by a good American division, they now found themselves facing a great one. The Americans lit up the night with illumination rounds, and then poured artillery fire on the advancing Germans. Three German tank destroyers actually made it to the farm, but were driven off by artillery fire and the threat of American bazooka teams. The remnants of the German force drew off into the night, and once again the Hitler Youth would have to dig a grossly outnumbered force out of a crossroads village. Daniel remained highly confident: with a Ph.D. in entomology from Clemson University, he was a recognized expert in the eradication of vermin.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|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)
|Time is on my Side; no it isn't!|
Played face-to-face against Matt W.
As Matt and I finished the scenario of the month earlier than anticipated, we searched for another Elsenborn Ridge scenario we could fit in the afternoon and settled upon this one. Same map and similar victory conditions to the scenario of the month, and night again.
I spent the first four turns moving my German troops westward, south of the town. The American artillery managed to slow down a few units - I think I even lost a grenadier step - but I was happy with my command chain remaining mostly intact.
I now had to make a decision: do I keep my forces in one group to attack the central town or do I detach a small group to take over the single town hex located west? I decided to delay the decision until I took a foothold in town.
I moved my armor next to the town, as they were not nearly as vulnerable to opportunity fire and artillery, and I did not think the American commander would attack them outside of town. Matt surprised me and sent a few platoons to assault my tank destroyers. The assault lasted a few turns and although I lost a platoon of tank destroyers, it did make it easier for my troops to gain a foothill in town. A fair trade or at least one I can easily accept as necessary.
The Germans focused next in trying to shake the American troops dug in between the town hexes with direct fire and bombardment. No luck at all; all American troops broke rather easily today except for this stubborn group.
Instead of going to Plan B (assault this stubborn group), plan C (send a detachment to assault the town to the west), or D (move a small group north to contest one or two town hexes), I spent too much time waiting for the Americans to weaken.
It finally dawned on me time was getting critical and I sent a detachment led by my colonel to take over the town to the west. I assaulted the town without waiting for the two other platoons 400 meters behind because I thought my colonel was safer in an assault then out in the open, a juicy target for the powerful American artillery. With his last breath, my colonel said “you guessed wrong”. This loss made it very likely the Americans would earn a minor victory as my reinforcements would not be able to get closer to town for this turn and the next. I tried one more attack in the main town but it was stopped by opportunity fire.
I shifted my troops to limit the damage to an American minor victory but it was not to be; the American artillery decided it was time to obliterate one last platoon and achieve a major victory.
I rate this scenario a “4” from the German side as I had to make (or not) several critical decisions.
|A Reverse of Fortune|
Having played a disastrous (for the US side) Scenario 12, I followed up with scenario 13 and things went very badly for the Germans. US illumination made the field much as a daylight scenario as the Germans entered and tried to deploy under fire. The Germans while still loaded in trucks took a hit disrupting two truck loads of troops and forcing the SS Colonel to get the whole stack unloaded so he could start working on regaining morale. The German tank destroyers moved on towards the north and south towns, and attracted unwanted attention as they were both assaulted with very different results. The northernmost US force found a handy bazooka and took out a step of armor with one platoon while the other assaulted with little result, overall demoralizing the surviving step of that German armor platoon, while the southern assault went badly for the US, disrupting them while not doing any harm to the armor. US 57mm fire was barely able assist infantry fire against German shadows in the illumination, but a second turn of assault, while not taking a step, succeeded in demoralizing the second Jagdpanzer. German morale among the armor crews was abysmal, and both demoralized units continued to flee until they left the board back the way they came, while the Germans lost the first of the 3 leaders to combined fire from the northern town. The SS Captain with the southern group succeeded in disrupting the dug in US troops but lost one of his platoons to return fire. All German attempts to close and enter into assault were stymied by accurate point blank fire, causing more and more SS platoons to fail morale checks and head towards the retreating armor. Then the Hauptman died in an artillery strike and only the Colonel was left to try to form a new assault team and head for the northern town after a rather accurate German fire mission destroyed the 57mm gun, truck and a single step of infantry in that northernmost town hex, but just as he was ready to initiate an assault, US artillery demoralized him and disrupted the elements with him, followed by a volley from 2 hexes away which finished off the Colonel and left the young SS troops with nobody to follow. Great game, completed in 10 turns.
It was 2:30 AM on the morning of December 19, 1944. In the darkness of the middle of the night, elements of the "Big Red One" held four town hexes near the farm of Dom Butgenbach: Four INF, 1 HMG, and 1 57mm in the three forward towns, with an INF, an HMG, and a 57mm in the last town. Two INF were dug in a short distance from the westernmost town, at the foot of the hilly wooded area, and an 81mm mortar squad back under cover in the trees.
At 2:30, the sound of motorized vehicles rumbling westward was heard, and soon 6 GREN, 1 HMG and two Jadgpanzer IV platoons from the 12th SS (Hitler Jugend) division approached the strong American positions, whule a mortar platoon emplaced in a large field. Early attempts to illuminate the area with American off-board artillery - and thus force early dismounts of the Germans making for the westernmost town - fell short. Using the cover of night to partially offset the need to move up to the outskirts of town before launching assaults, the Germans managed to jump into two town hexes before the first hour of combat had passed.
Although the struggle (as is the norm for assault combat in towns) was tough, by about 5 AM the three eastern towns were cleared, though at some cost. Still, unfortunate combat and morale results blunted some of the defenders' efforts in their strong positions. (Their leader draw did not help much either.) The darkness did allow the dug-in platoons to cross open ground and reinforce two of the struggles (one of them arriving in the western town in time to hekp it chase away a would-be assault.) Because of the darkness and the Germans' indirect approach, the plan to create a "non-consecutive" fire zone from two different town hexes, thus increasing the chances of a 57mm to take out the well-armored German TD's, did not come about. Still, the AT platoon in the western town did drop a step of Pzjg-IV.
Although the Germans took some losses, especially from U.S. artillery, by 6:00 AM things were well in hand, with three of four towns taken and heavy losses inflicted on the defenders. The final town was never taken by the time the four-hour struggle was over. Still, the Germans inflicted losses of 10 INF, 1 HMG and 2 57mm steps, plus three Lieutenants, and held three town hexes. The U.S. did manage to take out 7 (of 12) GREN steps and a step of TD's. Still, the resulting 25 to 11 score in German favor well illustrated the fateful words of Lt. Col. Daniel: "We fight and die here."
|The Americans fought and the Hilter Youth died|
This scenario has the ill-fated Hitler Youth attacking the Big Red 1 in a night action. The Americans have most of the advantage in this scenario, better OBA with Illumination, hold the town and are dug in and morale. Germans have armor support but it is just one platoon of JagPanzers. The number of units are even.
The Americans get to setup first in the towns and a radius of 3 hexes out from the towns, which can be dug in in the usual manner. The HMG and ATs were posted in the towns with some infantry support directly in the towns but most on picket duty one or two hexes out. (This made a big difference for the Americans). The mortars and the trucks setup is the western most town to provide fire support and stay out of the way as they probably wont be moving anything. The Germans advance in from the east. Visibility is a factor only 2 hexes without illumination.
Turn 1 The Germans move a company of mounted infantry up the road and stop just outside the visibility of the American pickets. A second company moves to the south of the road, their goal is the fields just outside of town. That will give the most cover to assualt the towns. The support units, HMG, MTR, and JagPz move with the second company to the south. The Americans don't let this go by without harassing fire from the OBA. With Illumination they light up the company on the road, then target it with OBA, disrupting the German Oster leading the advance.
Turn 3 The Germans get the second company into the fields with the JagPz and HMG in support. The first company is hit by OBA and shot up badly, 1 kill and several disruptions and a demoralization. The American OBA is on target tonight.
Turn 5 The second German company moves through the fields to attack the town, American OBA and Op fire pin them down with disruptions. The German Standfr works to get the first company back into the fight before the attack fractures. The Germans work in close to a picket and are able to assualt the unit. Despite the efforts by a very capable Captain 10 1-2 the unit double demoralizes and retreats into the town. The Hilter Youth feel that the Americans and not the great warriors.
Turn 8 The German attack has withered under American OBA. Every advance has been hit with some sort of morale check result. The German second company finds itself like the first disrupted and demoralized. So the JagPz looks to move around and attack the western town. The Americans counter by moving a Captain and an INF platoon to support it. This weakens the center and the German first company is ready to fight. But they have to get past the American pickets that hit them with accurate OP fire. Again they are disrupted and must recover to move on.
Turn 10 The JagPz attack on the western town in called off as American bazooka teams make it to the town, and without infantry support the tanks will be shot up. They move back to second company to try to help a second assualt on the center towns. The German first company is stuck outside the American picket line trying to recover but American fire keeps their heads down. The Germans second company is ready for a coordinated attack on the town. The German Standfr looks to do that next.
Turn 11 Germans get the initative and move up but are hit by accurate American OP fire demoralized and disrupting the units. Support fire by the HMG and German OBA are usless. American OBA is right on target double demoralizations eliminate 3 steps and they have to pull back. The German JagPz moves up for point blank fire but a 57mm in the town gets a lucky hit and kills one step. At this point the German commander see that he will not take the town and begins to pull back the rements of the Hitler Youth. One more for the Big Red One.
Final Score Americans 15 Germans 1
This was a good battle although the Americans had some incredible dice rolls for OBA and AT fire. The balance for this is in the American favor. This one might be a good learning scenario for someone to take the Americans and the teacher to take the Germans.
|Assalto respinto (italian)|
19 Dicembre 1944 ore 02.30
I Tedeschi della 12ma divisione SS "Hitler Youth" insieme alla 560ma "Heavy Tank Destroyer" si spingono durante la notte verso i villaggi intorno ai campi denominati "Dom Butgenbach". Gli Americani della Prima divisione Fanteria cercano di resistere e mantenere le posizioni guadagnate il giorno prima, proteggendo i villaggi, spinti dalle parole del Lt. Col. Derril Daniel "Combattiamo e muoriamo qui".
Regole Speciali : E' piena notte, quindi visibilita' consentita 2 hexes Illuminazione : Il giocatore americano può utilizzare l'Artiglieria fuori mappa per illuminare l'hex bersaglio e gli hexes adiacenti (segue le regole dello smoke)
Condizioni di Vittoria Vince la partita chi ottiene 6PV in più dell'avversario. Ogni unita' nemica eliminata : 1PV Ogni tank tedesco eliminato : 2PV Ogni villaggio : 2PV per americano 4PV per tedesco
HANZO : Tedeschi
6xGREN 1xHMG 2xJgPz IV/70 1x81mm 8xTruck Leader : 1xStanfr, 1xHpstfr, 2xOstfr OBA 1x20, 2x16
MC : Americani
6xInf 2xHmg 1x81mm 2x57mm 2xTruck
Leader : 1xLtCol, 1xMaj, 1xCapt, 3xLt OBA 1x24, 2x18
Gli americani appostano l'81mm sulla collina ad Est mentre le altre unita' occupano i villaggi circostanti i campi. I 57mm, insieme ai due carri si fermano ai bordi dei campi, riparati, pronti a colpire i carri armati tedeschi. Hanzo comanda l'avanzata delle sue truppe che vengono subito avvistate grazie allo sparo dell'Artiglieria Americana, ma nonostante questo gli attacchi sono inutili e i tedeschi, riorganizzandosi, riescono a proseguire verso i villaggi.
I carri armati passano indenni i primi colpi dei 57mm ed i primi spari dell'Artiglieria ma devono subire qualche danno quando le truppe americane sparano insieme verso questi obiettivi. I tedeschi continuano ad avanzare ma i loro attacchi non producono molti danni, ed in terreno aperto sono costretti ad indietreggiare dopo le prime risposte americane. Il morale dei tedeschi soffre le prime disorganizzazioni e demoralizzazioni, cio' comporta l'allontanamento dalle zone calde della battaglia e l'indebolimento del fronte d'attacco.
L'americano rimane all'interno dei villaggi ed inizia a spostare i camion verso i villaggi piu' ad est, caricando i 57mm. Anche l'81mm decide di lasciare la postazione sulla collina per muovere verso il villaggio ai piedi del colle.
A poche ore dalla fine dello scenario il tedesco prova l'ultimo disperato tentativo di guadagnare il primo villaggio (sarebbero 4PV) ma l'assalto e' un vero fallimento e si ritrova ben due unita' eliminate.
A questo punto la resa tedesca, che indietreggia verso le posizioni iniziali lasciando all'Americano tutti i villaggi e la vittoria dello scenario.
COMMENTI Scenario avvincente ma difficile per i tedeschi. La notte permette alle truppe di avvicinarsi senza troppi problemi ma una volta raggiunti i villaggi occorre giocare bene gli assalti e non avere fretta. Per l'americano le cose sono piu' facili visto che deve giocare in difesa e puo' iniziare la partita gia' appostato nei villaggi.
|Easy US Victory|
US easily defeated Germans in solo replay. Outposts north of the east-west road and in the eastern edges of the fields held up the Germans for most of the game. Germans lost valuble time attacking these outposts. Inf inflicted 3 step losses to JgPz's in assault combat and destroyed 1 HMG step at these OPs. Illumination exposed German Units to ARTY and long range HMG fire causing many disruptions and demoralizations. Only the middle town came under attack. Game ended before this town could be assaulted. US suffered 3 Inf step losses and one leader loss.
|Luck really does even out.|
Played with Hugmenot.
This was a day when having great morale (8/8) proved to be anything but. We played two scenarios today and in both my Americans seemed unwilling to roll a decent morale check or recovery. In this scenario I had a demoralized INF platoon attempt to recover with a morale modifier for 6 straight turns until another failed attempt caused it to run away from the leader.
Illumination rounds were effective as the Germans took a trip to the south of the fields and the American artillery hit well but usually for morale checks. The American infantry were based in a hedgehog in the central town with a detached platoon holding the far western town. For the first four turns this really was an artillery fest.
The Hitler Youth, however, were able to recover and continue to move forward. They took the central one hex town when my HMG managed to become demoralized and then fail its recovery attempt, after the supporting INF had done the same thing the turn before.
Despite all of this, however, a bold assault by two INF platoons caught some tank destroyers in the open, wiping out an entire platoon and tying down several platoons of Grenadiers for several turns.
As time progressed the Germans became aware of the need to take another town hex to ward off an American victory. The large central town was well garrisoned so an understrength company of Grenadiers took off towards the isolated western town. The assault went in with the Colonel of the battalion leading. It was at this precise moment when the luck in the day began to even out. The assault was stopped cold and the Colonel was granted a quick trip to Valhalla, decapitating the German force, immobilizing their only true reserves and forcing a much more desperate endgame since the Americans, at that point, were heading towards a minor victory.
Another thrust was stopped by opportunity fire and the game seemed destined to end as an American minor victory. One last artillery strike, however, changed all that. The strike needed to get a 2 or 12 in order to eliminate enough steps to give the Americans a major victory and a "2" it was.
A straightforward small night scenario. I give it a "3".
|The artificial light of night....|
In this scenario, we have a force of Hitler Youth from the 12th SS Panzer Division attempting to invest an American occupied town. The scenario takes place entirely at night, with visibility out to 2 hexes.
The Hitlerites advanced on a dispersed front in order to avoid any mass target opportunities, with the intention of consolidating for an assault against the town. Supported by armor, the plan was to advance under cover of darkness, consolidate before the town, suppress the defenders with OB artillery, and then launch a coordinated attack. What the Germans did not count on was the American artillery and their illumination rounds.
The first illum round was successful in displaying a mass of troops approaching through the snow covered plowed fields (I used the excellent Winter Wonderland boards in lieu of the standard boards). The initial American bombardment succeeded in a step loss to a Grenadier platoon and loss of its accompanying truck. The second strike caused another step loss, and another destroyed truck. German morale faltered immediately with several disruptions and demoralized units.
In the end, successive American illumination rounds kept the Germans under the spot light as it were, and devastating fire from the Americans in the town hexes prevented the Germans from consolidating. Around turn 8, the Germans were finally able to get a couple platoons and a tank in position to assault, but the assault was beaten back with further casualties, and the Germans conceded the battle at that point.
This is a tough scenario for the Germans given the forces available at their disposal. Once a unit is illuminated, the visibility rules are negated, allowing all hell to break loose, which it did. American combined HMG fire swept through the ranks of the Hitler Youth, as did OBA and DF from the rifle platoons and 3" guns ensconced in the town hexes. The Germans were never able to form up and get in position due to the withering fire being concentrated upon them, illuminated as they were in the open.