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On the Donnerberg
North of Elsenborn #9
(Attacker) United States vs Germany (Defender)
Formations Involved
Germany 12th Infantry Division
United States 3rd "Spearhead" Armored Division

Overall balance chart for NoEl009
Side 1 5
Draw 0
Side 2 0
Overall Rating, 5 votes
Scenario Rank: 479 of 598
Parent Game North of Elsenborn
Historicity Historical
Date 1944-09-21
Start Time 07:00
Turn Count 24
Visibility Day
Counters 58
Net Morale 1
Net Initiative 2
Maps 3: 12, 14, 23
Layout Dimensions 84 x 43 cm
33 x 17 in
Play Bounty 141
AAR Bounty 150
Total Plays 5
Total AARs 3
Battle Types
Rural Assault
Hidden Units
Off-board Artillery
Randomly-drawn Aircraft
Severe Weather
Terrain Mods
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Airborne - IE counters
Battle of the Bulge maps
Elsenborn Ridge maps + counters
North of Elsenborn book
Road to Berlin maps

Seeking to widen the breach in the German lines east of Aachen, 3rd Armored Division sent a depleted task force from its Combat Command B against Hill 287, known to the Germans as the Donnerberg. The height overlooked Stolberg, an important town now held by the Americans, and division command feared the Germans would use it to spot for artillery fire. With their remaining tanks and armored infantry, Task Force Mills charged up the hill.


In a quick assault, Task Force Mills took the hilltop and cleared off the German defenders. The Germans had placed their anti-tank guns behind the hill's crest to shield them from the direct fire of the American tank destroyers and self-propelled artillery supporting the attack, and when the American tanks crested the hill the Germans knocked out half of them. The Americans had their objective, but had paid too much for it in the estimation of their division command, Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose.

Display Relevant AFV Rules

AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle
  • Vulnerable to results on the Assault Combat Chart (7.25, 7.63, ACC), and may be attacked by Anti-Tank fire (11.2, DFT). Anti-Tank fire only affects the individual unit fired upon (7.62, 11.0).
  • AFV's are activated by tank leaders (3.2, 3.3, 5.42, 6.8). They may also be activated as part of an initial activating stack, but if activated in this way would need a tank leader in order to carry out combat movement.
  • AFV's do not block Direct Fire (10.1).
  • Full-strength AFV's with "armor efficiency" may make two anti-tank (AT) fire attacks per turn (either in their action segment or during opportunity fire) if they have AT fire values of 0 or more (11.2).
  • Each unit with an AT fire value of 2 or more may fire at targets at a distance of between 100% and 150% of its printed AT range. It does so at half its AT fire value. (11.3)
  • Efficient and non-efficient AFV's may conduct two opportunity fires per turn if using direct fire (7.44, 7.64). Units with both Direct and AT Fire values may use either type of fire in the same turn as their opportunity fire, but not both (7.22, 13.0). Units which can take opportunity fire twice per turn do not have to target the same unit both times (13.0).
  • Demoralized AFV's are not required to flee from units that do not have AT fire values (14.3).
  • Place a Wreck marker when an AFV is eliminated in a bridge or town hex (16.3).
  • AFV's do not benefit from Entrenchments (16.42).
  • AFV's may Dig In (16.2).
  • Open-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables, but DO take step losses from X and #X results (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT). If a "2X" or "3X" result is rolled, at least one of the step losses must be taken by an open-top AFV if present.
  • Closed-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables. Do not take step losses from Direct or Bombardment Fire. If X or #X result on Fire Table, make M morale check instead (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Provide the +1 modifier on the Assault Table when combined with infantry. (Modifier only applies to Germans in all scenarios; Soviet Guards in scenarios taking place after 1942; Polish, US and Commonwealth in scenarios taking place after 1943.) (ACC)
  • Tank: all are closed-top and provide the +1 Assault bonus, when applicable
  • Tank Destroyer: do not provide the +1 Assault bonus, even if closed-top (SB)
  • Self-Propelled Artillery: do not provide the +1 Assault bonus, even if closed-top (SB)
  • APC – Armored Personnel Carrier: These are Combat Units, but stack like Transports. They can transport personnel units or towed units. They are not counted as combat units for the +1 stacking modifier on the Direct Fire and Bombardment Tables (4.4). They may be activated by regular leaders and tank leaders (1.2, 3.34, 4.3, 5.43). They do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).

Display Order of Battle

Germany Order of Battle
  • Misc
United States Order of Battle

Display Errata (7)

7 Errata Items
Overall balance chart for 20

The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Overall balance chart for 63

The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 527

Strongpoints are single step units and can be eliminated with X results like any other single step unit.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 527

The standard mix of strongpoints may be downloaded from Avalanche Press:

This is the standard mix found in Airborne, Airborne-IE, and Edelweiss Expanded. The strongpoint mix in Cassino '44 is different from that of other PG games.

(plloyd1010 on 2012 Feb 01)
Overall balance chart for 527 Strongpoints are affected by the terrain in their hex just like any other unit. Even though they can't move, they can attack using Assault Combat if an enemy unit moves into their hex. They may not dig in or benefit from entrenchments.
(rerathbun on 2014 Apr 21)
Overall balance chart for 54

The movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."

(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
Overall balance chart for 25

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)

Display AARs (3)

North of Elsenborn, scenario #9: On the Donnerberg
Author JayTownsend
Method Solo
Victor United States
Play Date 2011-04-07
Language English
Scenario NoEl009

*North of Elsenborn, scenario #9: On the Donnerberg

*I was looking to play something from North of Elsenborn and something not too long and I ran across this scenario and it included a M12 155mm SP unit, which I have never pushed across a map board yet and the scenario looked interesting, so I went for it.

  • Map 23 is kind of odd, as setup is on Map 12 for the Americans and map 14 for the Germans and all the victory objectives are on map board 14 as well, so the only need for map board 23, is maybe to retreat demoralized units.

*The German setup on the big hill on map 14, with Infantry, support weapons, Strongpoints, AT-guns and dug-in with off-board artillery. The Americans Have Infantry, armor, SP’s, Mortars, APCs and Airpower but more important to this scenario, SMOKE! The M7, M12 & the Mortar can all fire it. In fact, without it, this would have been a difficult scenario to play offensively, as the Americans had to come out of the forest, right into the face of the large defended hill hexes.

*The Americans were able to use the smoke as cover and close fast, the use direct fire of a powerful armor and Infantry force for it’s size, then throw in their on board SP fire (M12 24 points + M7 18 points = 42 points of Bombardment power) and with airpower, they were able to drive to Germans from the hills. They had to regroup a couple of times and took some losses but the Germans took more losses, and left the battlefield with the American in control with a Major victory.

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Them boys jus' got their dander up!
Author plloyd1010 (1)
Method Face to Face
Victor United States
Participants unknown
Play Date 2012-05-20
Language English
Scenario NoEl009

General play notes

We didn't play double-blind this time, but we did try an unknown leader idea. Apart from leader names we didn't know the stats initially. We used a modified random event table from BB and the fast mech rule. We decided that the wagons should also be allowed to setup hidden, if with a gun.

Setting up

The Germans deployed on to hilltops, with an AT gun on each flank. The AT strongpoint (he got lucky there) and IGun were placed to form a cross fire between the hills. While my opponent was deploying, I suggested he use more of a reverse slope defense on the bare hilltop, advice which, to his later regret, he disregarded. The wooded hill was invested with most of the grenadiers. The Americans loaded up in the town.

How it went down

The Americans drove up the road on broad 12, and cut though the light woods in before the bare side of the hill. A random event caused a German HMG to break from the woods, he got mangled by artillery and small arms before he got back in position. U.S. infantry dismounted and started up the hill. Their objective was to root out the AT guns which may have been waiting. (As implied in the setup narrative, there was one.)

The infantry lost a step on the way up the slope, but did their job. The AT gun was found and winkled by the SPAs. The armor and halftracks advanced in 2 large formations and moved up the south slope. The Germans were quickly blasted from their foxholes. That half of the hill was cleared by turn 7.

The US SPAs moved onto the spur facing the wooded hill. Infantry to the front and tanks to back. The best US officer, John @ 1-9-1, seems to have not had a full bowl of Wheaties for breakfast (he is demoralized and keeps failing recovery rolls). The rest of the army prepares without him.

The infantry crossing the gap is almost stopped. As there is only the strongpoint for AT defense in the gap, the SPAs blast it. The armor moves up through the infantry and starts working the grenadiers. Doug, a good combat officer but not inspiring, leads a couple platoons around the woods on reconnaissance. They find the second AT gun on the north side of the woods.

The Germans put up a heroic defense. In the end massive US firepower decides the day. There are simply not enough, and never were, German bodies to fill the gaps.

The Americans have lost 8 steps, including 3 halftracks. The Germans are down by 15, most of the survivors are disrupted or demoralized.


It was fun for the first 3 or turns. Once the Americans were on the hill, the end was in sight. It took another 12 turns or so, but once the Americans were in the amongst the Germans on the southern peak, the outcome was clear.

1 Comment
2012-05-23 16:44

I like this AAR style, Peter. Clean and clear and to the point; summary provides exactly what I wanted to know. Well done!

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A Knight's Cross for the Heer 12th Infantry Forward Artillery Observer
Author Poor Yorek
Method Solo
Victor United States
Play Date 2014-01-28
Language English
Scenario NoEl009

America's 3rd Armored wins a Major Victory (by controlling 40+ meter elevation and causing more German step loses than suffered), but the Heer 12th Infantry a Minor Victory by inflicting 18 step losses on The Spearhead.

US forces mounted up; approached the Donnerberg's foothills and swung north attempting to effect a north to south cleansing of the twin heights. An uncovering German 75/41 killed a loaded M3 forcing the rest to dismount in a hurry. A combination of Heer OF and OBA (the latter of which ultimately accounted for six steps of US infantry) gave the US a bloody nose upon approach up the forested northeast slopes. The hasty scramble left the US approach in a bit of a shambles taking a few turns to reorganize. Meanwhile, the Germans moved the other ATG whilst the US took advantage of liberal smoke to block spotters on the southern hilltop.

During middle game, the US combination of M3's + armor + HMGs destroyed significant German dug-in positions. The US forces, continued to be hurt by distressingly accurate fire (including two leaders) from the OBA and 81mm whilst US counter-fire was consistently scattered. LTC Stupendous (11-1-2) was quite busy encouraging his troops in the face of the battering: a future bird colonel soon-to-be.

The US was in such a state with its INF and D/DD that it risked a three-tank assault vs. a GREN + 75/41 (which simply would not go away) on the southern peak (0707). This assault was quite effective. The counter-assault, lead by Heer Major 10-1-1 (posthumous award of the Oakleaves), with an HMG + GREN firing (both) panzerfausts destroyed three steps of US armor in 15 minutes whilst themselves being decimated. US reinforcing M3's and HMG cleared the assault. The remainder of the game was a moping up operation to repel the last Heer GREN step and the mortars from the high ground, and destroy a strongpoint.

At game end the US had remaining: 4xINF(reduced) 1xINF 2xHMG 5xM3 2xM4/76 1xM4 + 1xM4(reduced) 1xM18(reduced) and the M7 + M12 + 81mm

for a total of 18 countable step losses; a savaged mechanized infantry contingent; and a lot of burning armor in hex 0707 atop the Donnerberg.

The Germans had lost a battalion of determined defenders; a brave Major in command; a key mountain position; but gained a new "Knight" in the regiment's forward artillery observer.

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