A Bitter Irony
West Wall #1
|(Defender) Germany||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Germany||116th Panzer Division|
|United States||1st "Big Red One" Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 13 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 190 of 598|
|Parent Game||West Wall|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels had promised to turn Aachen into America's Stalingrad, but Gen Gerhard Graf von Schwerin did not agree. On the 13th of September he drafted an appeal for the humane treatment of all civilians, and issued instructions to hand it to the first American officer entering the city. He expected that to happen the next day, but the Americans had other ideas.
If the Americans had stuck to their original plans they would have entered Aachen almost unopposed on the 14th. Unfortunately, Gen Clarence Huebner had convinced his superiors that an urban assault would be too costly, and was therefore allowed to encircle the city instead. Heavy fighting developed to the south of the city, and the Americans made slow progress.
|2 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)
|A Nail Biter of a Bitter Irony|
This one played fairly quick and clean. A full-strength company of the Big Red One charged up the hill into the German lines. The weaker Germans managed to hold on, but only at the cost of most of their GREN. The combination of American firepower and German morale meant that the defenders slowly melted away. In the end I called the game with only four turns to go. By then, the Germans were down to an 81, an HMG and two GREN platoons. That sounds adequate until I mention that all were surrounded by hordes of Americans and had just suffered a decapitation result. With no mobility with which to escape, the Germans also had no ability to prevent a complete collapse.
This was a quick, tense, and intense, little fire-fight. I can see myself playing it again to see if I can change the outcome. I rate it a 5/5.
|A close run thing|
This as the title indicates went down to the wire, with the Germans managing to hang on. Even though this is only 12 turns long there was enough thought and action for an entire day's gaming
This was a fun, fast, very tense battle. The Germans had to finish the three hour battle with undemoralized combat units on the north-south road. The Americans had to clear them out. The Germans had about two companies of infantry with the usual HMG and mortar support, a battery of off-board 105s, and two entrenchments. They could set up anywhere on top of the broad hill that dominates the board, so they spread most of the force out in one entrenchment and two dugouts near the south end of the hill, and another entrenchment at the far north end. The idea was to force the Americans to deploy and attack multiple positions in depth, hopefully delaying them long enough in the process that they would be unable to eliminate the northern trench.
The Americans have an infantry battalion stiffened with two engineer platoons and two batteries offboard. They kept up a rapid tempo to their advance, attacking all three southern German positions in rapid succession with half the force while the other half advanced past the German right flank to position themselves for an attack on the northern position. The Americans cleared the southern stretch of road pretty efficiently, suffering little damage from German artillery and op fire as they approached.
The American flanking force made best speed northward, but they were required to detail a few platoons to clean up German stragglers from the southern battle who might occupy roadblocks if allowed to regroup. In the final hour of battle a few platoons managed to assault the German trech at the north end of the hill, but the early phases of the battle were inconclusive. Over the next half hour Americans trickled north so that in the final turn of battle a powerful engineer and HMG assault force cracked the morale of the defenders and wiped them out.
I really enjoyed the simplicity of the game, both sides knew what they had to do to win and it was just a question of good execution (and dice rolls).
|Short, Brutal Battle.|
Played solo in one two-hour session.
The Americans approach the German's position supported by a precise barrage by the OBA. The Germans have already lost 1 leader, and have 2 GREN disrupted and 2 more demoralized after 1 hour. The Americans want to take advantage of the Germans shakiness and assault a dug-in position and an entrenchment. The Germans withstand both assaults without further damage and start on the road to recovery in their own activation.
The Americans continue their assaults for the next hour but the Germans first fire is very effective; the Americans make no progress.
After two hours, with a loss in sight, the Americans call the OBA in the dug-in assault hex. Good move, the Germans are demoralized and are eliminated when attempting to flee. The freed American units rush towards the second entrenchment position (the 1st is still in doubt but there is no time to reinforce it). The Americans assault it in the last 30 minutes but it was too little, too late.
I rate this scenario a "4" if playing solo or if played as an introductory scenario (as the German position is mostly static, the less experienced player may find it easier to play the Germans), and maybe a strong "3" if played by two experienced players.
German set up:
South: Entrenchment in Light Woods road hex 0707 – 2 GRENs. Dug in in Light Woods hex 0609 – Lt and GREN. This slowed down the USA by creating an additional hex to be assaulted, and avoided 3 German combat units being in the Entrenchment hex.
Centre: Dug in in Light Woods hex 0909 – Lt and 2 GRENs. Dug in in Light Woods hex 0809 – Sgt, GREN and HMG. HMG able to fire in support of the southern group. Dug in in Light Woods hex 0910 – Capt.
North: Entrenchment in Light Woods hex 0914 – 81mm mortar. Limiting terrain for USA to observe occupants of the hex. Occupants with DF capability would be able to dominate the adjacent road hex, and retreat to the NE on the last turn to occupy a road hex to satisfy the Victory Condition. Pre-assault hexes for 0707 and 0609 are in range of 0914.
The USA units swept up through the southern woods. The western groups (Capt, HMG and 2 INF; Sgt, ENG and 2 INF) went on a left flanking move against the centre German group. The mortars "unlimbered" in hex 0704, within range of the centre German group. The other USA units moved into 3 pre-assault hexes 0706, 0606 and 0507.
The GREN in 0609 was subject to BF and close range DF and became demoralized, fleeing to join the centre German group.
The USA softened up the Entrenched units in 0707 and after half an hour exchanging fire went in on the assault. After 45 minutes of hard fighting, the last remaining GREN step fled NE.
Meanwhile the USA assaulted the Lt and 2 GRENs in 0909, eliminating a GREN unit and reducing and demoralizing 2 other GRENs which fled north. The assault team (Sgt, ENG and 2 INF) were now adjacent to the German HMG in 0809 (the GREN from that hex had moved earlier to reinforce the assault hex 0909), and under normal circumstances they were well placed to launch an immediate assault.
However, there were only 3 game turns left, so all USA units in the centre of the map moved north in pursuit of the retreating GRENs and towards the entrenched 81mm mortars; leaving the southern USA units to close up to the German HMG.
The northern USA units were able to keep the demoralized GRENs on the run, and away from any road hexes. In the last game turn the German HMG was eliminated, and the German mortars were assaulted. Thanks to the surprisingly high resilience of the mortar crew the USA were unable to demoralize them, but they were pinned in the trenches and unable to reach the road at the end of the game.
Outcome: no undemoralized German units occupied any road hexes, so victory went to the USA.
Comments: Not too much for the German commander to do in this scenario, but the last couple of game turns were satisfyingly tense. If the demoralized reduced GRENs had recovered sooner, the northern USA units would have struggled to keep them away from road hexes.
The USA left flanking movement started one game turn before the German HMG in the centre group opened fire, but I figured that the USA would run out of time to reach and deal with the German 81mm mortars if they held back until the HMG revealed its position.
If the German mortars had been entrenched in a road hex, victory would have gone to the Germans (assuming that the morale of the crews had held up).
|Luck trumps skill every time|
While the Americans were not particulary brilliant in this one they were able to get the Germans to run away on the last turn of the game by, apparently, making funny faces at them. It seemed as though the Germans had the game won when the US tried a hail Mary by assaulting the second entrenchment (the first had already fallen 2/3 of the way through the scenario) with a scratch force. The Americans got an unlikely M1 result and the Germans rolled a 12 and failed their rally roll leaving the Americans in sole posession of both entrenchments.
|A Bitter Irony - Westwall Scenario 1|
‘A Bitter Irony’
West Wall Scenario No.1
Near Aachen 13th September 1944
Scenario played : 23rd November 2009
Nazi propaganda Minister, Dr Joseph Goebbels had promised to turn Aachen into America’s Stalingrad, but Gen. Gerhard Von Schwerin did not agree. On the 13th September he drafted an appeal for the humane treatment of all civilians and issued instructions to hand over Aachen to the first American officer entering the city. He expected that to happen the next day, but the Americans had other ideas.
Some miles outside the city, 350 German Grenadiers of the 116th Panzer Division had set up a thin, but obstructing defensive line along their assigned position on the higher ground in order to prevent any simple advance by the 1st US Infantry Division and to deny the use of the road network to their enemy. Behind them at about kilometre intervals were two areas of entrenchments. The first of these were already manned by the only available MG platoon. The other, occupied with their sole mortar platoon. Both entrenchment locations would be designated as fallback points.
At 0700 hours, the American infantry began to push towards the German positions. A screen of infantrymen kept the German line occupied whilst the main body of GI’s fanned round the German right in an attempt to outflank. American artillery also pounded the German dug-in line. Taking a few casualties from the shelling and sensing that the Americans were going to actually outflank them, the German troops began to retire in a generally orderly fashion. However, around 0800, American persistence began to really strain on German resources as the 725 strong American force was able to take advantage of its own firepower capability. No less than 75 Grenadiers became casualties over a 15 minute period, but, by using the well wooded terrain, the Grenadiers managed to send men back to the first entrenchment area to support their MG platoon that was now also coming under American attack.
The Americans gathered engineer units and plenty of HMG’s to assault the entrenched defenders whilst the rest of their number raced forward to empty the other known entrenched area one kilometre further down the road. Retreating Germans from the left flank also raced back knowing that the mortar unit could not hope to hold off determined enemy infantry. Back at the first entrenchment, the Americans were finding it tough. Each time they launched an assault, either German OBA would disrupt or the defending infantry would demoralise their specialist troops. The GI’s also were now taking casualties in what had suddenly become an erstwhile struggle. For 90 minutes the US 1st pummelled, fired and bravely charged their intended target, but was simply never left alone by the Germans to conduct a textbook assault. The final effect always being just a desultory shadow of what had been intended.
At the other entrenchment, sheer guts by the mortar team was enough to save the day. These men, seeing more than enough of the GI enemy advancing toward them, left their 81mm tubes, picked up a schmeisser or Mauser and a grenade or two and manned the edge of the entrenchments. Surprised at the determined resistance found, the Americans balked at first and then led a second makeshift assault on the enemy. With stiff morale, the mortar crews stood firm, even if a few of their number had fallen. It was enough to hold the Americans back. Even if these ‘Landsers’ hadn’t inflicted many casualties they had at least made it tough for any further advance for their olive clad enemy. Just in time, a grenadier platoon that had fought its way through from the front-line managed to join them in the entrenched position and helped mightily to hold off the Americans. For the valour shown, the mortar crew’s reward was for most of them to become casualties of war.
From 0945-1000, the local American commander had one more throw of the die at each position. Small-arms fire, artillery, assaults and a bitter testing of the German resolve was in the end unable to demoralise the defenders and they were left to cling on for a little while longer. A tactical victory for the Germans, but the ‘Amis’ would be back. To keep the road closed to the enemy for this 3 hour period had been high for the 350 German defenders. 190 of them had become casualties. American totalled about 90 or so.
|Down to the bitter end.|
Played ftf with my son Jacob. His Germans manned a tough defense. The Americans attacked steadily and gradually wore down the Germans. However, the toll of battle began to tell on the Americans who eventually lost their initiative edge 2 game hours in. The Americans managed to clear all the road hexes with the exception of one rear echelon German mortar. Final turn these units were in assault combat with attacking Americans. Even the Americans advantage of an ENG unit was not enough to demoralize the lone German mortar. Literally down to the "bitter" end for the Amis.