In the Mood
North of Elsenborn #8
|(Attacker) United States||vs||Germany (Defender)|
|Germany||12th Infantry Division|
|Germany||9th Panzer Division|
|United States||3rd "Spearhead" Armored Division|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 296 of 588|
|Parent Game||North of Elsenborn|
|Maps||2: 22, 24|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
|North of Elsenborn||book|
The U.S. Army's most successful tank commander, Sgt. Lafayette G. Pool, destroyed 258 enemy vehicles in just three months of combat. He usually insisted that his M4 Sherman, "In the Mood," lead his 3rd Armored Division task force but with the tank and crew scheduled to depart for a War Bonds tour of the States Lt. Col. Walter Richardon placed "In the Mood" on his task force's flank instead. The task force moved out in its new configuration to take Münsterbusch from its determined German defenders.
This time the Germans ambushed Pool. He spotted a hidden anti-tank gun, but his loader jammed the 76mm gun's breach. The Germans hit "In the Mood" in the turret, and it shattered Pool's leg. As medic's administered morphine, his last action of World War II before passing out would be to demand that "someone fix my...tank."
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|4 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 morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."
(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
The M18 has a special rule in Battle of the Bulge but it applies globally: "A two-step M18 unit can fire one anti-tank shot and move half its movement allowance (retain fractions) in a single impulse. The order in which it does these two actions is the player's choice."
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
|"It's a Trap!!!"|
First - thanks to campsawyer for his dogged endurance and pushing a full 10+ hours of gaming to end at 4AM his time, while I was wide awake in Korea...
Summary: MAJOR GERMAN VICTORY (61 VPs vs US 11 VPs). A fun scenario with a lot of possibilities, but it seems the scenario is the Germans'to lose. As it portrays an "ambush" scenario the US player can expect to fight from the start, and the victory conditions make a US victory difficult.
Mission Analysis: Elements, 3rd Armored Division were to attack to seize Munsterbusch and surrounding villages in order to defeat the local German defense.
Friendly Assessment: The US had about a 1.5 advantage in firepower, superior maneuverability, initiative, and morale. However my artillery firepower and air support were fickle and my leadership below average. The terrain favored the enemy, as well as his AT quality, range, and artillery support. His superior leadership,the likelihood of being able to opportunity fire more than me, as well as the defensive bonuses of the town and being dug-in and hidden in a double blind would off-set his disadvantages in morale and initiative. I believed getting to Munsterbusch with enough force to dislodge him would be impossible. To win I believed needed at least the four towns on the south board, and to have caused +4 more step losses on him relative to me.
Enemy Most Likely Course of Action: I believed my opponent would reserve his tanks on board 24, and deploy only 1 x 75mm AT GUN, and INF GUN on board 22 along with a Reinforced Infantry Company in the towns. My logic was that he would play conservatively to go with the "known win" of holding Munsterbusch while significantly attriting me as I tried to make it to board 24.
Enemy Most Dangerous Course of Action: I feared he would place all his AT systems and tanks on board 22 and block my use of the cover offered by an advanced through the light woulds and make it extremely costly to take the towns on board 22. However, this set up risked that I would not use the open southwestern corridor in a massed armor envelopment to bypass board 22 to strike at his more vulnerable Munsterbusch. Forcing him to dislocate his force from their defenses on board 22 to attack me on board 24. This of course it what he ended up choosing to do, assessing I'd take the cautious approach through the wooded southeast.
My Course of Action: The US was organized into four task forces 1. Fire Support - (2 x HMGs, 1 x 81mm, w/ M3s, 2 x M4/76, and an attached Inf PLT w/M3 for recon) 2. Combined Arms - (2 x INF PLTs w M3s, 2 x M4s) 3. Reinforced Armored Infantry Company ( 4 x INF PLTs w M3s) 4. Reserve - 2 x M18s
The fire support task force was to establish a support by fire position vicinity hex 0513 and on order follow and support the Armored Infantry Company. The combined arms force was to advance north through the woods to seize village in hex 0914. The Armored Infantry Company was going to be the main effort to seize the towns in 0608, 0708, and 0809. Based on success conditions, I had to be prepared to exploit north to seize Munsterbusch.
0800-0900: The Americans approached from the Southeast and established support by fire positions. I drew first blood, reducing an enemy OP in 0710, but My recon platoon was obliterated from an AT gun in 0914, followed by an M4/76 PLT by an AT gun in 0809. At the cost of 8 steps, I was able to defeat 1 AT Gun and 1 Infantry step. Infantry resistance around 0914 was stronger than anticipated... indications of the most dangerous course of action were now showing. No matter how I thought I'd mitigate it... I was being ambushed.
0900-1000: I altered my main effort to avoid going into the open and instead focus on seizing 0914. Efforts to wait patiently and let my arty, air, and direct fire destroy the other AT Gun were unsuccessful. At turn 7 I was behind schedule if I hoped to have any chance of seizing any other towns and decided to attempt a frontal assault against 0914... disaster. I was massing forces in adjacent hexes around 0914, when the Germans exposed their Hetzer in enfilading fire. Subsequently, in a rash, bold, and ultimately foolhardy move, I moved my Lt. Col commander into the beehive of close quarters direct fire that was in 0814 - where he was killed by opportunity fire. This resulted in all my forces being unable to move on turn 8. The German Panther tank, exposed his hiding place in 0608 and made quick work of one of my M18 platoons as it attempted a near impossible shot against the Hetzer. The following turn, the fire fights ensued- ad I failed to get any real results against the hell in 0914. The end result of my folly was 19 steps lost over 3 turns where the Germans lost two Almost all of it in hex 0814.
1015-1100: I was finally able to get an INF platoon into the village and lock the AT Gun into melee as my remaining combined arms force moved into the town. The German Infantry sacrificed the AT Gun platoon in an attempt to withdrawal the infantry and leaders - but they were nearly all cut down as they left the town. German Armor was then able to destroy the remaining American armor and M3s in the village, leaving me in possession of a rubbled village full of wrecks. (another 5 steps lost and 3 german steps lost)
1115-1245: At this point-the US was combat ineffective. I still retained enough capability to defend my costly gained village ( 1x M18 PLT, 1.5 x HMG PLTs, 1 x 81mm mortar, 3 x INF, 2 x M3s, 1 CPT, 3 x LTs). If this were a real world mission, I would have consolidated here and have gone no further...I reconstituted a small mobile task force and proceeded in an attempt to probe Munsterbusch in the hopes of establishing a lodgement in an undefended part of the town. However, the German interior lines were able to reposition infantry into the town as well as the Panther on the opposite side of the valley. The small US force (M18, 1 x INF, 1 x HMG, 1 x CPT, 1 x LT) failed to find an opening and lost the M18 to German opportunity fire. Under a white flag, the Germans allowed the remaining Americans to withdraw so the exhausted forces to both reconstitute.
CASUALTIES: German: (25% casualty rate) = 2 x AT PLTS, 1 x WAGON, 1 x GREN CO (3.5 PLTs), 1 x LT US:(76% casualty rate) = 2 x Tank companies (4 x M4s, 2 x M18s), 1 x INF CO (3.5 PLTs), 3 x M3 PLTs (9 x M3s), 1 x LT COL
MVP: My votes is for the AT GUN in 0914 for its ability to garner all my focus and contain the US attack. And of course the German Sergeant as the Most valuable leader who led the defense of 0914 and survived to harass the town as an OP for the remainder of the game. The German might vote my LT COL has his MVP for dying and paralyzing my advance long enough for him to decimate me.
US LESSONS: 1. Try using your mobility and armored mass to dislocate your adversary. The visibility rules might help you. It is the only way to get in his decision cycle and close in on his AT advantages in range. 2. Do not have any dependance on fire support and aircraft. The aircraft might be able to take out a german tank if you draw a P47, but that will be rare. 3. Do not be rash to attack, or lead with your commander. 4. Do not plan against teh enemy your WISH to fight, but the enemy you WILL fight. We often tend to think of the Most likely course of action as different from the most dangerous course of action. It is prudent to believe your opponent will figure out the best way to defeat you up front... plan for that.
Double Blind Note: This scenario was played using double blind rules. I do not suggest it as the scenario seems to advantage the Germans; with hidden set-up for all his forces and not just his AT Guns, that gives the Germans a tremendous edge. I enjoy double blind rules as they add to the fog of war, but of the 3 games I've now played double blind, both as attacker and defender, the defender has been the winner; and two of these were decisive. Just an observation.
Balance Suggestions: 1. 4 VP for each town hex under American control 2. Allow Germans to play hidden set-up of their tanks (16.6) until they move/fire/or are spotted (including aircraft spots) 3. Do not play double blind rules.
|All guns to the front, no matter how tired you are.|
This scenario was play in long and very late Skype session with Armyduck95. It was an enjoyable scenario played with double blind rules. The scenario is favored for the Germans, but the lack of intelligence really gave them the edge. The Americans were played well and even had a bit of excitement at the end, but German firepower won the day.
The Germans have a force of worn down infantry and armored troops defending the town of Munsterbusch to face a American armored division spearheading an attack onto German soil. The German force is mainly infantry with just two armored units, a Panther and a Hetzer, but a couple of AT guns boost the defenses. They have backing by three divisional batteries of 105mm behind the lines. The leadership is good, but morale is low due to continual fighting and harassing by American airpower. But with all this the Germans put up a defense.
Setting up to the south of Munsterbusch, the Germans position kill zones for both armor and infantry that covers eighty percent of the American potential advance. The Panther is positioned in the center town hexes with an AT gun just behind it the other town, with the Hetzer covering the German right center-right flank. The one area of woods is covered by infantry with AT gun support in the town closest to the woods. Other HMG's and GREN's are forward positioned in the towns and fields to cover and type of infantry advance. In the town of Munsterbach, the German LT Col command just a couple of platoons and an infantry gun to provide defense if an American breakthrough occurs.
The game starts out with good visibility that allows for orbiting P-47's to try to attack the defending Germans, but the planes decide not to attack without more identification. So the tanks advance and it is first noticed in the woods on the German left flank. Several HMG's and M4/76's take a position to cover the towns in the center of board 22. Firing at dugin Germans in front of the towns they are able to disrupt the worn troops. Fleeing back more P-47's appear after the clouds clear again double disrupting the demoralized GREN. But in positioning American troops and M3 is caught in the sights of a 75mm AT gun that rips it apart with it's loaded INF. German spotting id's the American fire group that opened on the GREN's and the German 105mm's reduce an HMG that was part of the firegroup. Other Americans units are discovered on the German left by the covering GREN's in the woods to the left. Realizing the force of the Americans, the German pull back into the woods and slowly give ground to the American infantry and armor.
German fire discipline by the other 75mm AT gives in to the M4/76 sitting in its sights and after a missed initial shot, scores a complete kill on the tank. But return fire demoralizes and eventually double demoralizes the gun, leaving a hole in the German center. More movement occurs as the Americans look to turn the German left. Heavy German fire from the OBA 105's and GREN OP fire take out three American steps, before the American Lt. Col. is caught is German OP fire and killed, stunning the American advance.
The German Hetzer is shifted from the German right flank to the center fields to provide cover to the German left and center. American halftracks ready to assault the town on the left make a tempting target and two M3's are destroyed. This brings out the American M18's to take long range fire on the Hetzer, but miss. This trigger the German Panther to open fire from the center town, destroying one of the M18's.
The Americans continue to pound the town on the German left. The area is held by three GREN's and the 75mm AT gun, with a LT and SGT commanding. American fire takes out one full GREN, but the 75mm destroys and advancing M4/76 and the supporting Panther finds targets in two more M3's. The Americans continue to reduce the GREN's, but at a heavy cost of INF's, M4's and M3's. Eventually assaulting the German held town and bringing more unit up force the Germans to spike their AT guns and try to get to the safety of the center towns. Heavy American cover fire reduce and destroy the remaining GREN and LT with the SGT getting away.
With the German left flank open the American regroup in the cover of the woods and start to head north in the cover of the woods. The Germans shift troops to the north to reinforce the LT Col. holding the town. Reserve GREN's head out of the fields on board 22 as well as the Panther heading back to the northwest to the back side of Munsterbauch. The LT Col. shifts his small force to cover the eastern advances to the town while the Americans pick their way through the woods. American OBA is able to get a kill on one of the reinforcing GREN's but the other two make it into town, just as the American appear to the east, but the Panther is trailing behind.
The M18 appears on the east west road looking to drive into the town, but spots GREN's and an infantry gun blocking the way. Shifting north the supporting American M3's look to get around the German defenders by spotting the open town hexes. The M18 dashes forward to get around and position in the town, but German OP fire puts a stop to that with demoralizing morale check. This buys enough time for the Germans to position the reinforcing GREN's and get the Panther and Hetzer into position, preventing any town loss. The game end with the Germans in possession all but one town and the Americans with many casualties.
|Not in the Mood: I've got a Headache|
Previous AAR by Armyduck95 outlines the various options quite well. In this reality, the Heer set up with a few GREN and the 75IG holding the B22 towns; load the town of Munsterbusch with the HMGs and a few GREN; and set-up two AT groups (2xGREN + 75ATG + Hetzer/Panther) in LT more-or-less a few hexes north of the B22/B24 board edge.
Light to medium rain set in for the first 75 minutes keeping US air at bay during the initial and critical combat.
US ponders the greater risk/reward approach up the western edge, but, 3rd Armored command recalled the ambush of 15 September (Sc #2) and opted for occupying the 20m wooded hill in the SE of B22; off-loading the INF and attacking the various villages and hamlets with the M3s/armor in support.
With 7th Armee General der Infanterie Brandenberger's exhortations still ringing in their ears, 9th Panzer elements with their accompanying GREN platoons moved south to engage. The Hetzer used the cover of the large fields to swing about to the west and south to ambush US M3's supporting the two-hex village. The PzV's likewise shot up the M3's supporting the attack on hamlet 0914.
US armor rushed to the rescue of the latter and a savage armor battle ensued ... the panthers were saved from a +2 flanking shot by the 75/41 uncovering to make a step kill + DEM on an M4/76. The panthers were finally laid low, but the US armor pool was savaged with DEM reduced units forced to retreat into the heavy woods SE of the hamlet.
German defense of the 0914 hamlet was inspired with shocking D/DD results and the US unable to coordinate their assault despite attacking on the 18 or 24 col. This eventually fell, but the steadfast Heer bought precious time.
In the village (0608+0708) and hamlet (0809), US assault went well, but here German OF and OBA wrecked havoc. A full strength US HMG took the honors as the PDDU (perpetually demoralized unit) and an OBA strike reduced + DEM the other HMG platoon. US armor tried to regroup, but the Hetzer fled back north having destroyed or chased off the US M3 supporting units.
The US had wrested control of B22 but at a fearsome price. The Heer had essentially fully rested components waiting (all their HMGs) as well and both 75/41's and the Hetzer now waiting for the US to move across open ground.
Lt. Col. Richardson decided to give his units a chance to recover (22 step points lost) and call up reinforcements before making an attempt on Munsterbusch.