Crossroads: Hunting Panthers
Elsenborn Ridge #16
|(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, 20 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 74 of 579|
|Parent Game||Elsenborn Ridge|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
After their repulse, the Hitler Youth pulled back and replenished fuel and ammunition while keeping up a low but steady artillery bombardment of the American positions. The SS division's poor march discipline wasted hours while reinforcements made their way to the front and supplies finally reached their destinations. Not until midnight was the new assault ready to step off.
Once again the German tank destroyers made it into the farm buildings, and once again the American artillery fire and infantry defense drove off all their supporting panzer grenadiers. American tank-hunting teams tracked down and destroyed all the German vehicles wandering through their positions, including several of the gigantic Hunting Panthers. Enraged, SS Gen. Hugo Kraas of the Hitler Youth division ordered a fresh attack a few hours later.
|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)
|Bend but don't break|
This is a great rural assault scenario, lots of action and a lot of strategy involved. Just finished the play with my son. He pounded me as the Americans but in the end the Americans got the rolls.
To begin the Americans are setup in and around the towns on board 22 and the Germans advance from the south and the east. The Germans have the cover of night to advance within two hexes. The Americans can counter this with illumination but once the Germans get close there is no need. But it makes the Germans think as they must stop outside the visibility range and unload from the trucks then move forward to engage. The Americans must use their OBA and try to slow the advance. In our play the American OBA was not hitting there targets. The night modifier is tough on OBA.
The Germans advanced and unloaded and setup strong attack groups to push for the towns. The Americans moved to counter this by having some of there picket platoons try spoiling assaults on the groups especially with tanks. This proved to be just a speed bump and the SS advanced to the towns. American Op fire was ineffective and the Germans assaulted the towns. Counter attacks by the Americans helped stem the attacks as well as some lucky rolls. During the attacks the American Lt. Col. was killed paralyzing several units in the towns. However the Germans could not take advantage and the loss was minimal.
By 4:00am the Germans two town hexes and assaults the the other two. The Germans were whittling down the Americans but could not kill the units in the two hexes. The American counterattacked in one German controlled hex force the Germans to retake the hex. In the end the Americans held out with two hexes and they were contested by the Americans.
We found this scenario enjoyable, balance and historically correct. Use of strategy, was more important than random dice rolls, but the bad American OBA rolls and bad German assault rolls played a factor but not completely. We highly recommend this scenario for play.
|Battle of The Bulge 2: Elsenborn Ridge, scenario # 16: Crossroads: Hunting Panthers|
This was the scenario on the list for top scenarios for everyone to play in July of 2012 on PG-HQ but I had it on my must play list a few days before. Visibility is only two hexes unless the Americans fire Illumination shells. The German have two nice size infantry groups with JgPz IV/70s supporting one group and JgPanthers supporting the other and a large dose of off board artillery. The Americans have a mostly Infantry defending group with some 57mm AT Guns and a nice dose of off board artillery of their own but a little less than the Germans. Victory hangs on controlling the town hexes of the one map scenario, so most of the American units are positions there.
The game starts with two groups of Germans entering the map from east and south. The Americans first couple of Star-shells fail to go off and the Germans close fast under the cover of mostly darkness to the surrounding town hexes. I didn’t use most of truck counters, as with only one map and such close distances I didn’t see the point in risking fully loaded transports except with the 81mm mortar which was stationed in a different area. The Americans lobbed some deadly artillery shots among the Germans Infantry and some direct fire as well. After a few turns of this and mounting losses I started to wonder if the Germans could pull this off but at some point, the Germans had some nice shots of their own with off-board artillery and the double stacked tank destroyers of both Germans groups pulled up adjacent to the American occupied town hexes and support by Infantry started to reducing the American positions.
The battle really started getting bloody with mounting causalities on both sides, from off board artillery, which was a real killer in this scenario, assaults on the weaken American positions and adjacent hex Direct Fire combat. With the Germans having twice the Infantry, armor support and just a little more off-board artillery, they were able to push all the Americans out of the town hexes and control them within the 20 turns, giving the Germans the Victory. The casualties were very high for this size scenario: the American lost 13 steps and two leaders and the Germans lost 15 steps and two leaders with many disrupted and demoralized units on both sides but the weight of the Germans forces being twice the size under the cover of darkness was telling.
A fun scenario for play, no doubt! I had no idea who would win until the last quarter of the game.
|Hitlerjugend division captures the crossroads|
Nice scenario with probably unnecessary Jagdpanthers (i didnt really use them). The Americans gathered their troops around the town hexes, The SS troops came from the south without the trucks and quickly stormed the villages (excellent assault die rolls), while the SS from the east rode their trucks as close as possible to villages. The American star shells were ineffective. The american die rolls probably cost them the battle. I'm not sure how the Americans could have deployed better. I think my SS plan of attack was good enough to allow the Americans one chance to inflict serious losses which they did not take.
|Heroes Need Not Apply|
Played with Hugmenot.
For the scenario of the month I suggested that Daniel and I switch roles from our recent War on the Equator games where Daniel has been on the defensive almost exclusively. I took the Americans and the task of holding onto the town hexes in the scenario of the month.
I placed roadblocks on both roads and hoped for the Germans to get hung up on them and give my artillery a chance to cause some losses, disruptions and demoralizations. The force coming from the east did get hung up on the roadblock for several turns and did get its advance thrown into some confusion. The southern force, however, entered far to the west and aimed directly at the far western town. Fine by me as I expected a decent amount of delay to occur as the force there (one platoon and a leader) could be counted on to hold out for a while if supported by the OBA.
Unfortunately, my Americans decided that this was the day that they would not pass morale checks or recover from demoralization. This was, however, still in the future as I planned my defense. Given the numbers of attacking Germans it was only a matter of time before they were able to enter the central town hexes. My main worry was how to make these assaults difficult for the Germans to sustain. Therefore I needed reserves which I developed by digging a company of infantry in between the town hexes.
This appeared to work perfectly as the Germans moved into the towns with a combined force in order to get the column adjustment. I counterattacked with the reserve infantry to get the AT shots, etc. I even got one, although the shot itself missed. Somewhere along the line, however, I must have watched too many John Wayne movies. Those brave infantrymen were slaughtered as they assaulted 3 steps vaporized in an instant.
After the abortive assault, my only hope was that the German assault rolls would be lousy, so of course they were great and the final straw was when the last town hex was lost by the Americans, not through a successful German assault, or even by the Americans running away, but rather by a failed recovery roll while surrounded. My guys simply gave up!
I was crushed. I had planned and conducted exactly the defense I wanted to and yet it had all fallen apart. I now wish I had decided to merely defend and not attack but that isn't much help at this point, hindsight is 20-20.
Still this one was a lot of fun to try. I give it a "4".
|A Nice, Full Dead Pile|
Played face-to-face against Matt W.
I was looking forward to playing the German in this scenario because it would give me an opportunity to send enemies to the dead pile, something I had not done in my last 4 games against Matt.
The Americans set a unit and a leader in the small western town, a roadblock on each on the north-south and east-west roads, and the remaining units in the central town or next to the central town.
I sent my southern group far to the west, with the intent of taking the small western town before moving towards the central town. I ordered my eastern group to first obliterate the roadblock on the east-west road because I did not want an enemy leader in my back to spot my recovering units without the aid of illumination shells.
My general idea was to attack the central town with the group who first completed its initial task and to use the other group as a tactical reserve to apply pressure where and when needed.
The southern group was able to move into assault range of the western with just a couple of disruption and demoralization as the American artillery was focused elsewhere. A few platoons assaulted the town and the Americans decided to make it easy for me by failing morale, a story that was to be repeated all day. Thirty minutes later, the western town was under my control.
The eastern group was not making as quick progress because the roadblock, aided by artillery, proved to be more resilient. But it was just a question of time and one hour later, the roadblock was no more.
I ordered the eastern group to move in directly on a kilometer-wide front, to put pressure on all but one or two pockets of defenders. I ordered the southern group to attack the northwestern part of town, but with a few units in reserve ready to react to the American reserves.
I assaulted the town with combine arms and achieve early success when the Americans lost two steps of infantry. To make matters worse, the Americans decided to avenge their fallen and sent their reserve to destroy my armor. Three more American infantry steps were lost in a scenario in which the Germans had a 2:1 total direct fire advantage.
It was just a question of time after that as other than the artillery, the Americans had not enough firepower available to disrupt my units which would jump into assault. The American soldiers had no will left to fight and they failed morale check after morale check.
It was all over after 12 or 13 turns; German major victory!
I rate this scenario a weak “4”. While I enjoyed sending Matt’s troops to the dead pile, I did not have to make many difficult decisions.
I think this is a good solo scenario if you want to try a new defensive strategy while the other scenario we played that afternoon, #13 from Elsenborn Ridge, is a good scenario if you want to try a new offensive strategy.
|Down to the wire at the Crossroads|
This was the July SotM that I took on as a Solo effort. it took over 3 months of on and off playing to get this one in, as I began playing more Skype battles. Due to the length of time to complete, the later turns are more clear in my mind than the earlier ones. Here it goes...
The US setup concnetrated around the town hexes and put AT units in dug-in positions outside of town hexes in 0913 and 0807. The Germans entered from the East (12th SS) and Southern (560th TD) edges of the board, the east approaching units planning to use the vast fields east of town as cover and the southern approaching units determined to strike fast on the southwestern town (0914).
Early on, the Americans dropped illumination rounds in the hopes of catching the approaching Germans in the open, making easy targets for other artillery fire. The illumination was only partially effective, revealing units but not in enough quantity to allow bombardment to stall the advance. In the meantime, The 560th made good time and in the first 30 minutes, suffered several step-losses in op-fire and artillery barrages and launched an assault into 0914. In the meantime, the 12th SS slowly approached from the east through the fields and taking adavantage of cover, tried to move into positions where they would be able to make a concerted attack on the units in town, actually initiating an assault in 0810. 15 minutes later, the US inflicted 6 step losses in defensive direct fire and a counter-attack in the assault in 0810. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, the US would inflict more casualties and by 0115 (turn 6), the casualty count was US:0, Germans:15. By 0230 (end turn 10), All the town hexes and an additional hex of dug-in US troops were under assault, the US AT Guns and 81mm units were destroyed in addition to 5 other US step losses with the Germans suffering 3 more to bring the casualty count to US:8 Germans:18.
The second half of the battle raged on as bloody assaults continued in all towns with the Americans continuing to hold out in assault defense while the Germans continued to move units into position to support attacks. Headway was finally made at 0330 (turn 15) as the armored units were able to slip into several of the contested areas and provide much needed support to the Grenadiers attacks. Combined Armor and Grenadier assaults resulted in the capture of town hexes 0609 , 0709 and the loss of the ranking US officer (LT COL), causing mass confusion in the US ranks for the next 45 minutes. During the final 3 turns (0415 - 0445), the Americans were beginning to feel the effects of continued assaults and were down to defending the town hexes in 0914 and 0809. The Germans ordered their JagdPanther armored platoons to 0914 to assist in the capture there and continued to press the assaults, Finally clearing the town in 0914 by 0430 and attempting a final attack at 0445 in hex 0809. The attack demoralized the US defense but a final recovery in the town prevented a US rout and preserved a costly American victory.
Final Casualty count: US: 20 step losses, German: 27 step losses.
As I mentioned, this battle took three months to finish but not because of a lack of interest. This was a fun scenario, which probably would have been enhanced against a live opponent. This was interesting becuase after half the battle was over, The Germans had almost 4 times as many casualties as the Americans, yet the battle was far from over, and in fact, with a few different dice rolls, a German victory could have been easily attained.
|Triumph of the AMERICAN Will (complete with an American Superman)|
SITUATION: Here’s a good-size scenario on a small board, with roughly a regiment’s worth of Hitler Youth making a night assault on an American infantry battalion holding some town hexes at a crossroads. It’s all or nothing for the Germans here; they must clear all the Americans out of all town hexes by the end of the game to win. That’s just as well for the Americans, because the Germans have a huge firepower advantage as well as superior mobility under cover of darkness, and they’ll be on top of the Americans within a couple of turns. This is also relatively long for a small-board scenario; it’s 20 turns rather than the usual 12. That’s because the Germans are going to need extra time to wear the Americans down since the Americans have a fanatical (for them) morale of 8/8, meaning they don’t start to waver when reduced. That will make it tough for the Germans to clear them out of the towns, so I gave them extra time to do it when developing this scenario. The wild card in this scenario is the American ability to fire illumination rounds, which will allow them to light up the battlefield wherever they choose and fire at Germans who would normally be way beyond the 2-hex nighttime spotting range for this scenario.
SETUP: The Americans get a good leader draw especially at the higher ranks, including an 11-1-2 LTC as commanding officer. On the other hand, the German leaders are just adequate with few standouts and many with no morale or combat bonus. Given that holding town hexes is the be-all-and-end-all here and the American 57mm AT guns have weak fire values, the Americans deploy their AT guns forward in hopes of getting a few early shots at incoming German armor, and they concentrate their infantry in and around the towns to maximize their defensive firepower in assault combat.
GAME PLAY Turn 1: The Americans win initiative by one and place an illumination marker so that it lights up the eastern road. The Germans who enter the east edge stay off the road, advancing to the north of it, except for the tank destroyers, which enter on the road but remain close to the east edge and out of illumination range. The Germans who enter the south edge advance on a broad front, and American bombardment and opportunity fire is effective, disrupting three units and a leader and demoralizing one unit. German bombardment fire is effective against the AT position blocking the southern road, disrupting an INF unit and demoralizing the AT gun, which recovers to disrupted status. German tank destroyers move up to fire-support positions on the southeastern town. The Americans roll a 1 and the illumination marker stays in place.
Turn 2: Germans win initiative and bombard the American AT position blocking the southern road, demoralizing all combat units there. The American LT there keeps his head and spots for OBA, but the fire is ineffective. Germans advance to an assault position on the roadblock while more American OBA is ineffective. American opportunity fire from the smaller central town kills a GREN step as Germans advance from the south, and then both combat units at the roadblock fail to recover from demoralization, with the AT gun being eliminated and the INF unit fleeing northward with the good-order LT. The Germans coming from the east then advance as one, sending one of their best leaders forward with a GREN to draw the fire of the units at the eastern roadblock. American opportunity fire is ineffective and the Germans move to an assault position on the roadblock. The illumination marker remains on the board but drifts onto the road.
Turn 3: Germans win initiative again and the eastern force advances as one, assaulting the roadblock and bypassing it on its way toward the larger town. First fire from the INF and AT gun at the roadblock demoralizes an attacking GREN, but the remaining GREN disrupts the entire roadblock force. The brave OSTFR advances again to draw fire from the town, but the Americans roll a 2X result on opportunity fire, obliterating the GREN unit with him and disrupting him but not killing him. The rest of the eastern force advances to a two-hex distance from the eastern town. American bombardment fire causes more morale failures among the southern force, but German direct fire disrupts the INF and the HMG holding the outlying southwestern town. That draws massive German bombardment fire down on the southwestern town, demoralizing the INF unit there. That INF fails its recovery roll and flees north, a Captain going with it to try to bring it back into the fight. The Germans advance from the south to form firing lines against the smaller central town, and an HMG that was already in firing position rolls an 11 and demoralizes both INF units in that town, which have already fired OF and thus cannot recover this turn (the dice gods are being vicious to both sides this turn, and the Americans can’t survive that kind of viciousness because they’re so badly outnumbered). That motivates the Germans to press their advantage and move a GREN to an assault position on the small central town, and it makes it through two point-blank op fires but finally gets disrupted by a third, desperate op fire from the larger central town. No Germans will be able to assault the small central town next turn, and the turn ends early on a FOW roll before disrupted and demoralized Germans near the small central town can recover or the eastern German force can bring up its armor support (a nice break for the USA).
Turn 4: The Germans win initiative and pour massive fire into the smaller central town, reducing a demoralized INF through compound demoralization. That INF flees the town but the other INF recovers, and then the German assault on the northeastern roadblock receives a bloody nose as German units get disrupted and demoralized. The Germans fire several times on the small southwestern town with no effect, and then a GREN moves into that town to assault the forces there and pin them down. Disrupted and demoralized German units on all fronts fail to recover, and the German attack begins to bog down.
Turn 5: The Americans win initiative, and American OBA rips into the massed German forces that were set to combine the fire of multiple stacks on the smaller central town. An X result reduces and demoralizes a GREN unit, and also demoralizes the best leader in the southern German force while disrupting two HMGs. The southern German force tries to recover the unfortunate stack but mostly fails (the leader recovers but the rest don’t and the reduced GREN flees), but German OBA starts taking a toll on the Americans in the larger town, reducing an INF and disrupting another. The turn ends early on a FOW roll.
Turn 6: The German initiative level drops by one due to step losses, and the Americans win initiative. The HMGs in the smaller central town fire point-blank while the other forces in the town recover successfully, and the sole good-order German unit in an assault position on the town is disrupted, so no assault can go in this turn. The Germans bring up forces to assault positions on the smaller central town, but German recovery is slow due to poor leader quality. They are able to bring up some armor support for the assault, but the turn ends early again on a FOW roll.
Turn 7: The Germans make little progress on the eastern and south-central fronts, but the assault on the outlying southwestern town scores a breakthrough as the sole American unit there is reduced and the Lieutenant there is killed.
Turns 8–12: German weight of fire begins to tell, with point-blank fire from Germans massed around the smaller central town reducing an INF and demoralizing it plus the American leader there. But the American Lieutenant who fled from the southern roadblock has been rallying other fled units out in the darkness northwest of the central towns, and his force begins harassing the German flanks, scoring an X result that reduces a GREN and demoralizes and disrupts others. The Germans, who were massing to assault the smaller central town, are now obliged to split off some forces to deal with the Lieutenant’s forces, and they spend a few turns chasing them around in the dark, with the Americans repeatedly failing morale checks but recovering (due to the LT’s +1 morale bonus) just in the nick of time to avoid annihilation. This bleeds enough German forces away from the main action at the smaller central town that the Germans there are unable to clear that town until Turn 12. Farther to the north, disaster strikes the Germans on Turn 11 as the highest-ranking German officer on the board is killed by an American artillery barrage just as he was preparing to lead an assault on the LTC’s position in the larger central town. The American LTC has been using his morale of 11 and morale bonus of +2 to help his forces hold firm against repeated German attacks, while the Germans in the area have been weakened and immobilized by disruption, and now the decapitation rule immobilizes the Germans around the town completely through Turn 12. The Germans therefore move in some of the southern force and assault the southern hex of the larger central town, disrupting an INF there. The assault on the outlying southwestern town continues to be bogged down, with a reduced HMG holding out against two German infantry units and a tank-destroyer unit.
Turn 13: The Germans win initiative and assault the southern hex of the larger central town again but do no damage. The American Captain now leading the previously fled forces that the LT rallied earlier tries to finish off a demoralized German GREN right next to the southwestern town so that he can jump back into that town next turn and save the reduced HMG there, but he’s unsuccessful. The Germans respond by finally wiping out the lone HMG and taking the southwestern town, meaning there’s just one town standing between the Germans and victory. But then the American LTC holding the northern hex of the larger central town spots for OBA on the Germans who just cleared out the smaller central town, scoring an M2 result that disrupts or demoralizes all the non-armored German units and both leaders there (doing a step loss due to compound demoralization). The turn then ends early on a FOW roll after each side gets only about four activations—a bad break for the Germans, who are badly spread out and disrupted and needed to get some recoveries in.
Turn 14: Initiative on both sides drops to zero due to heavy losses, but the Germans catch a lucky break and beat the Americans by two activations. A heavy OBA attack on the LTC’s hex disrupts an INF, but the German assault in the southern hex of the central town takes a bad bloody nose, losing a GREN step while another is demoralized. The LTC then uses his +2 morale bonus to bring the two disrupted units in his hex back to good order, and with time running short, the Germans decide to damn the torpedoes and mass what good-order forces they can muster and rush the LTC’s position for an assault. The results are disastrous—an X result from HMG op fire kills one GREN step and another X result from American OBA kills the other step, leaving the OSTFR who led the advance on the town alone next to the LTC’s position. More Hitler Youth rush into the breach, and the HMG scores a 2X result on them with its second op fire shot, obliterating them. Another GREN exits the now pointless roadblock assault two hexes away from the LTC’s position and moves next to the LTC, but mortar fire demoralizes it. The turn then ends on a FOW roll after a few failed recovery attempts, with the German force at the larger central town nearing collapse.
Turn 15: The LTC decides to go for glory, leading a countercharge against the demoralized GREN adjacent to his position while bringing in a disrupted LT to cover the town itself. Glory is his—he kills a GREN step, but the other survives and recovers. The turn runs its full course without FOW, and by the end of it, many demoralized GRENs are fleeing the scene and there is only one good-order GREN within two hexes of the central town which is not bogged down in an assault. Both sides have lost fully half their infantry steps, but the Germans have managed to rally all their armor and several GRENs farther away from town, so they go for one last push.
Turn 16: The Americans win initiative, and they throw massive OBA at the smaller central town where the sole nearby good-order GREN is (along with other units), and the fire disrupts the GREN and demoralizes another. Then the Germans bring down all the OBA they can muster on the assault hex where the LTC charged out of town, and they roll a 2X result that obliterates the LTC’s INF unit but fails to kill him. Unfortunately for the Germans, they also roll an X result against the reduced GREN in the assault hex, wiping it out and demoralizing its leader, leaving the LTC standing all alone like Rambo among the smoldering ruins, the sole survivor on the field. He takes the next activation to go back into the town, but a lucky OBA shot disrupts the HMG there, weakening the town’s defenses severely due to the loss of the INF in the glorious but ill-fated counterassault. The Germans bring up a GREN and a tank destroyer unit against the LTC’s position, but then the Americans catch a break when the turn ends early on a FOW roll.
Turns 17—20: The Americans catch a big break, beating the Germans by two segments on initiative, and they use OBA and point-blank fire to demoralize the GREN that advanced to the town in company with the tank destroyers. That leaves no full-strength, good-order GREN units within two hexes of the larger central town, except those that are bogged down in assaults. The Germans press those assaults even though the defenders are firing on higher columns now, but to no avail. The assaults peter out, the Germans have no chance of taking the last town, and the battered Americans and their godlike LTC hold the field for the win.
CONCLUSION: Despite the massive German firepower advantage, it was superior morale and leadership plus the defensive benefits of town terrain that allowed the Americans to hold the field. In particular, the dearth of German morale bonuses made it very difficult for the Germans to recover their units once they were disrupted or demoralized. On the other hand, the American LTC’s morale of 11 and +2 morale bonus allowed him to weather everything the Germans could throw at him without breaking morale, and allowed him to keep his units in good order or recover them quickly no matter how hard the Germans pounded them. Also, the fact that American units in this scenario have a morale of 8/8 was key because it prevented the Germans from getting the crucial extra column-shift bonus for assaulting a lower-morale enemy. That allowed single, reduced American units to hold out in the smaller towns for a long time, keeping German forces away from the final assault on the larger town until it was too late.
SCENARIO RATING: I’ll give this scenario a 3 because, while it offered an interesting situation in which superior morale trumped superior firepower, the Americans didn’t have much to do other than sit tight and hold.
|Big Red Won|
As this play was part of the July en masse play, I tinkered a bit (especially given the preponderance of German victories). For the US, I pulled leader counters randomly, but selected the better side in an attempt to simulate the historically strong American leadership fitting with the 8-8 general morale. For the Germans, leaders were flipped randomly with the ER mix (albeit used Black SS counters) - the Hitlerjugend of Dec '44 was not the same unit as in June '44.
Another variation I employed compared to earlier AAR's perhaps was in setting three INF platoons along with a LT dug-in along the major threat axes in conformity with the set-up instructions. The purpose being to allow for OBA siting to minimize the need for use of one of the artillery factors as illumination rounds. Whether this turned out to be advantageous is debatable, but certainly German forces did have to reduce and/or go around these elements and I was able to use all three US artillery factors on several of the early rounds. On the other hand, this required some dispersal of US strength so an objective evaluation remains elusive.
Secondly, I placed a few units dug-in outside the town to explore the effectiveness vs. assault of the "first fire" rule compared with the town bonus (or to use OF should the SS attempt to skirt by). A previous play of St. Vith: The Fall had a dug-in American platoon wreck havoc on Volksgrenadiers, but those were 7-6, not 8-6 SS troopers. I reasoned that those dug-in US units could fall-back into town taking advantage of morale bonus leaders (and the town bonus for recovery) there.
As with all assault-heavy scenarios, there were shocking losses to strong points of both sides (nothing like rolling a '1' on the 30+ col or having an entire stack fail morale checks inflicted by a 5 or 6 on the '3' col). One first-fire combat failed miserably as the US rolled poorly and the Waffen SS morale held; another hex was lead by a captain earning a Distinguished Service Cross who brutalized two entire companies of the 25th (or 26th? not sure which regiment was involved in this action) SS panzer regiment.
Although the details differ, basically this play went similarly to "upintheattic's" with the US holding one town hex and contesting another at scenario end.
|Xroads Hunting Panthers|
This was played solo as Alan Sawyer has already played this one and Vince and I are in mid battle. I like the idea of game of the month as multiple plays of one scenario should determine how balanced and good a scenario is and its fun to read AAR's of games you have played and to see what stratagems were used. Having said that this is a very much attack/defense scenario with the US player having to defend just four town hexes on a single board there is not a lot of room for strategy on his part. The VC are very simple the German player wins if all town hexes are under his control, losses are not considered, this is a fight to the death. The US set up in a tight circle round the town in the middle of the map giving up the single town hes to the SW without a fight, in drawing leaders the US had got the LT COL with a 2 morale modifier who was place in the centre of the formation so he could inspire his men, the rest of the US leaders were very average including my traditional 7-0-0. German leader were on the whole better with a reasonable amount of 1 fire and morale modifiers. The German plan would be to close asap and launch combined arms assaults into the towns relying on weight of numbers to carry the day. As the German came on they were met with very ineffective US artillery and quickly closed on the 3 town hexes making sure to divert one unit with a leader to grab the undefended town. The SS began to suffer some losses as the neared the town and a small US counter attack destroyed a couple of Jagpanthers the remainder having to withdraw and rally. However the US forces involved in the counter attack were themselves wiped out after 60 mins of bitter fighting. By 0145 (GT8) all three town hexes were being contested, this had the effect of reducing the US firepower and tying down the best US leader. The scenario now came down to how long would these assaults last, could the "Big Red One" hold out. In fact it took 2 hours of fighting before the first of those town hexes were cleared of all American units but then a second town hex fell straight away. By GT 18 only one town hex remained in US hand with the LT COL his aide de camp (LT 8-0-0) and two INF units holding off what was left of the 12th SS. The German side was now shelling this last town hex even tough they had units in assault there as it looked like time was running out, however the US were also shelling very close to their line and regrettably a friendly fire incident took place which resulted in a step loss to the US, finally on GT19 the Germans massed enough fire power to wipe out the remaining INF and take the town. The LT COL and his buddy slipping away in the dark to fight another day. This is a solid scenario, ideal for solo play and as my game went down almost to the last turn balanced and exciting. The lack of tactical options means I will give it a 3 rating but its a strong 3, good choice for our first "Game of the Month"
The appeared to me to be a straightforward scenario: attack the towns and hold them for the SS. For the US it was apparent that one of the town hexes would have to be an "Alamo" to hold or deny control of in the face of a much superior force. I also noted that the US artillery would need to be effective to counter the SS; and it was.
The US defended with one company and the BN XO defending the 0914 town; HMG and rifle platoon on the town and a dug-in infantry in on each flank. The bulk of the battalion defended the three town hexes in the center with a 57mm ATG in the north hex and one in the south hex. The Bn Cdr decided to also protect the flanks with dug in infantry while one platoon dug in in the center as a reserve to reinforce a town hex under assault.
The SS attacked the center town hexes first braving the artillery illumination and HE fires in the open ground in order to envelope the whole town network. Then they assaulted the dug in flank units and drove them back then hit the North and South town hexes. Surprisingly the 57mm AT guns took out a Jagdpanther step and Jagdpanzer step each. This set back the SS a bit and the US artillery took its toll. But soon the overwhelming numbers reduced the three town hexes. Even before this was accomplished some German units moved towards the west town hex (0914) to take it under fire for the soon to come assault.
A Jagdpanther Platoon overeat the north flank hex near 0914 and it looked like the SS were going to do short order of this final defending company. But the US illuminated the sky and brought down a world of hurt on the SS, breaking up the fire groups. So the SS attacked without adequate prep into 0914 and the final fight was on. As this assault went back and for the SS surround the town by all but one hex with half step Grenadier platoons and a half strength Jagdpanzer platoon. But the US showed aggressiveness and the flanking rifle platoon south of the town attacked and killed the Jagdpanzer platoon. Then on the next turn, this platoon reinforced the fight in 0914 while some of the German platoons broke and ran. Now the final German victory was not so clear. But the next two turns brought SS initiative and they were able to reduce the American platoons with the final step and leaders surrendering when they could not flee. There was still one fleeting chance of a victory as a half step demoralized rifle platoon that remained form the center fighting could roll snake-eyes and then, if surviving a turn of fire, assault 0809 and deny SS control of the hex. But it only recovered to disrupted. As there were no US units capable of entering a town hex, the game was ended on turn 19.
“Take the Town” scenarios are about my least favorite in PG as they can turn into tedious die rolling assault-fests with little maneuver. Just before mid-game, I thought this one was going to turn out that way, but the small aggressive actions of the defenders at Town 0914 made for an exciting ending. It was a one of the more bloody fights for me too: with the SS losing 19 Steps/1 leader and the Americans suffering 20 steps, 5 leaders and two trucks lost. The US force was nearly whipped out, but the SS didn’t fare much better.
|Fight to the end|
This scenarios is not exactly my cup of tea. The whole historical set up could be better : map (see my historical map of Dom Butgenbach on the forum ; map 22 would be better with number on top), terrain (the real terrain was marshy, soaked with water, very few buildings, hedges), victory conditions (the Germans can attack without concern about losses ; control of the east-west road was the main objective), vague scenario conditions (night or not, fields or not, tanks or not). In the game, the Germans displayed a concentrated attack against the center town hexes ; on turn 11-12 all these town hexes were clear of US units. Assaults combining tank destroyers + infantry were very effective (despite not gaining +1 for armoured assault). And then the last town hex (0914 ? the one on the west, near the woods) remained with the last US units holding on. It was a fight to the end. The Germans stumbled there several times and it's only on turn 19 that they eventually eliminated the last US infantry. Quite close finally. However such a conclusion seems completely wrong to me. The US unit has been completely wiped out (more than 20 steps lost) and the Germans were never penalized for their own losses (about 16 steps eliminated). Too bloody to be true.