Grasping at Straws
Roer River Battles #9
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Defender)|
|Germany||47th Volksgrenadier Division|
|United States||1st "Big Red One" Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 381 of 588|
|Parent Game||Roer River Battles|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
|Roer River Battles||book|
All the previous day, the battered 104th Grenadier Regiment had fought to deny the Americans the key village of Heistern. Whoever controlled the village also controlled the valley beyond, with unimpeded observation all the way to Langerwehe. Knowing his regiment would never stand another day's fighting, shortly after midnight Colonel Josef Kimbacher personally led his survivors against the Americans encircling them to the north.
The German regiment had been reduced in strength to less than a battalion, and had little success against the veteran Americans. Casualties were heavy and the colonel himself was captured. Soon the village would be in American hands.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|1 Errata Item|
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
|Oberst Kimbacher Draws the Long Straw|
Night scenario (1-hex visibility) and MUD. No hill terrain as per scenario mods.
US Set-Up: Attempted to set this as though I did not know that entry would be on the south board edge. US sets three groups strung along the N/S road whose control is the primary scenario victory condition. 2xINF at 0905; 2xINF at 0714; INF+HMG 0709 (crossroads); HMG at 0811; 57mm 0808; 81mm 0607. Rationale is that these groups were set to block the road north from infiltrators that had circumvented previous groups.
German Attack: 6xINF + 2xENG up the east edge thence NW to attack the crossroads units via approach through the light woods. 2xHMG + 1xINF + 1xENG + Hetzer + 81mm north along the road.
After an alarming friendly fire episode demoralizes an ENG platoon, an '11' on the 22-col not only kills a US INF step in the southern roadblock, but DD's both surviving platoons. Germans set off in pursuit of these fleeing units. Eventual German assault prevails, but an HMG and the Hetzer are DD'd; US also rolls a '2' on the 8-col BF table DDing another platoon. By Turn Eight, the VGs have the road and southern board clear, but require several turns to recover morale; regroup units w/ leaders. The Hetzer does not recover to good order until Turn 16 (game decided by then).
The Middle-Board battle initially goes well for the US. The Americans are frustrated at the lack of X results, but the Volksgrenadiers are consistently repulsed by morale failures and a recovery/approach/take fire/flee/ ... cycle begins. In the meantime, the two US INF platoons from the north move south, one to spot/attack the morale recovery "park" and the other to reinforce the 57mm hex.
Not until units from the south arrive do the VGs finally get a break. Two weak "M" results lead to compound demoralization on the lone US HMG. With initiative the next turn, the Germans assault and, whilst killing a US step and ejecting the survivor, the Germans units themselves are morale hurt. Taking a chance, the US sends its HMG+INF crossroads units into this assault hoping to take advantage of the weakened Germans: they roll a '1' and the Germans avoid compound demoralization step losses and are themselves demoralized by German defensive fire. After two turns of both sides recovering or, on the German side, exiting and refreshing, a MAD assault turn with carnage on both sides. Unfortunately, the US cannot sustain this.
This assault hex persists in a weakened state and the Germans assault the INF to their North. They can run a lone platoon north along the road to claim control whilst both sides wear down in the two assaults (they already control the south).
Net result is a German Victory.
PS I placed the US set-up from the perspective of a simulation rather than play-my-side-to-win: hence the somewhat piecemeal defense in depth along the road rather than a line barrier along the south edge. Will be interesting to read AARs from alternative set-ups.
|German Leaders Take the Flipping Advantage|
GI's set up dug-in in the light woods hexes skirting the southern end of the road while the 81mm mortar occupied a woods hex to the north. The German infantry and the Hetzer entered the board at the road hex and slowly (because of the mud) moved northward. On turn 3 the Germans hit the dug-in Americans and quickly began to dispatch them with ease. The German leaders all had high morale and good morale modifiers which negated the American morale advantage for the most part. The Wehrmacht troops also received the benefit of lots of timely dice rolls, one of which eliminated an 11-2-1 US leader on what appeared to be a relatively harmess shot. Over the next few turns the Wehrmacht troops benefitted from incredible shooting and their superior leaders and were able to sweep thru the southern allied defenses. They then gradually moved north and systematically eliminated the remainder of the US forces to take an easy victory. Although this one was a lopsided affair I can see things going better for the Americans with a little more luck, better leaders, and a better defensive strategy.
|Mayhem in the mud|
After a break from PG I decided to pick up the reins again with this fairly simple night battle, This scenario has elements of the "Big Red One" defending against a German breakout tot eh north. The US set up dug in around the crossroads on board 25 and await the German attack.
The Germans stormed up the road and began to outflank the US position while pinning the US forces on the crossroads by assault. This assault was repulsed and the units involved had to regroup under their Col. The flanking units fared better apart from the HETZER unit which was ambushed by tank hunters and wiped out. By GT10 the Germans had units in the rear to the US positions and wee ahead in VP (just). The overconfident German commander went for the kill launching an assault on the last three US positions one of which was the MTR platoon. The assaulting troops took casualties from OF on the way in and the dug in Americans fought bravely causing more losses in vicious hand to hand combat. The US commander even managed to detach a small force to deal with the German units in his rear taking back most of the road hexes captured by this unit. With every German unit either DEM or in Assault hexes the battle ended quickly and after the dust was settled a major US victory was claimed.
This scenario is solid standard PG fare, limited set up options and not much room for any great maneuver but even so this game could have gone either way a good way to kick start back into PG