The Trash Division
Edelweiss: Expanded #20
|(Defender) Italy||vs||Germany (Attacker)|
|Germany||7th SS “Volunteer” Gebirgs Division|
|Italy||15ª Divisone Fanteria "Bergamo"|
|Overall Rating, 6 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 503 of 609|
|Parent Game||Edelweiss: Expanded|
|Maps||2: 10, 9|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Battle of the Bulge||maps|
In 1941, the Waffen SS decided to form a mountain division from ethnic German volunteers in the Balkans, for occupation duty in Yugoslavia. Unable to find enough recruits, they resorted to conscription. For two years, 7th SS Volunteer Division repressed civilians, and its official marching song celebrated its main occupations: rape and murder. "Our trash division! Any many Serbian skulls, and many Serbian maids, will I soon see fallen." But in September 1943, Italy changed sides, and the division was rushed to Split in Dalmatia to face someone other than unarmed villagers.
The Italians fought with a frenzy bred from years of hatred for their arrogant allies. But the Germans slowly ground down their resistance, and captured Split after 16 days of heavy fighting. The Bergamo Division surrendered, and the Germans promptly murdered its commander and 48 other officers before beginning an orgy of massacre and destruction against Splits's civilian residents.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
The Anti-Tank Fire value is 2-4. It was misprinted in Edelweiss.
(rerathbun on 2016 Jan 18)
All SS 75mm IG guns are direct fire weapons (black), not indirect (white).
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
I presume that when the SS labelled themselves the Trash Division it was not to comment on their combat capability. Here they are charged with taking a road away from a smaller Italian force. The Trashies come with substantial firepower support and even with armor. Unfortunately they also come with lousy morale which immediately causes problems.
The Italians have read the victory conditions and set up the bulk of their force in the woods on the crossroad near the west edge of the board. They leave a small outpost on the hill to the northeast of the crossroads and another in the town to the east to delay and hopefully disrupt the SS entry.
The Italian hopes were immediately and decisively met as the bulk of the SS were caught up in an attempt to destroy the outpost in the town. As a result many were disrupted or demoralized and therefore less then useful the rest of the scenario. A scratch force incluing the assault guns attempts to shake the outpost on the hill and instead suffers an AT gun hit from the crossroads and a couple of nasty counterattacks from the dug in defenders of the hill and the SS gave up any hope of even getting to the crossroads to try to compete for the road.
Mr. Benninghof loves to have the SS in situations where they face slaughter and I have caught the bug from him. Many of the SS units were merely criminal enterprises masquerading as troops. This is a great example of what happens when they face anyone with a gun. I give it a "4" for the joy of watching the Trash Division get disposed of.
Yes, the division really that bad...morale of 6/5. I think this is a good scenario...a large, poor morale force attacking a very light force with good morale and few weapons. The one problem is the defenders morale of 8/6, which is tough to overcome. I don't know much about the Italian unit here in question, and while I admire any Italians fighting Germans in Yugoslavia in 1943, I don't know if the unit really warrants an 8/6.
In any case, the scenario itself might be more fun if they were 7/6. The attackers have a serious problem with a morale of 6...they become DEM very easily...and rallying requires a 4 or less.
The board alignment (9,10) is interesting, the Germans enter along the edge of 10 and the Italians can't setup in 4 of 6 town hexes. I recommend this scenario as a study and good fun...but I'm not sure yet that it is possible to clear the entire road on two boards with a morale 6/5 attacker.
Still fiddling around turn 10 with this scenario (out of 20). The Germans are doing OK, but not well enough to win yet. Taking the town hexes with low morale troops is nearly impossible, and the tanks don't help.
This still is a very interesting scenario, I recommend it. I think the key for the Italians is where they put their two AT units (they won't move much...no transports!). For the Germans, it's how to get the most out of your tanks without losing them. I'd say keep them away from the 45mm gun. The tanks have low morale too but they probably won't take many M checks, if any.
This is definitely an "un-stack" game...you don't ever want to units in the same hex unless it is town or woods...or you are preparing for a relatively safe move. A single M check vs morale 6 can lead to many, many demoralizations!
I think this would be an excellent game to compare Italian setups over...I could see a number of strategies, although any good setup would utilize the town and the rough terrain on board 10.
By the end of turn 15 the Trash division was, yes, trashed. They actually had not taken a single step loss (truly amazing). But all but 3 infantry units were either DIS or DEM, and about half were DEM. They still hadn't even cleared board 10 (hardly)...forget about 9. So I called it there.
|These guys really are trash, but they can still win|
I saw this scenario had a 5-0 record in favor of the Italians, so I took a closer look. I soon spotted what I thought was an aberration in the scenario that should make this sided towards the Germans despite the lopsided record. I asked one of my regular opponents if he would take the Italian side so I could see if my theory was correct, and he graciously accepted. He quickly spotted the same concern I had about the ability for the Italians to win, and with that knowledge on both sides we took a shot at the scenario. A large SS force with abysmal morale must try to escape past a decent morale but much smaller Italian force. Road control is also important. Both sides have a small OBA, Italians slightly better, but the Germans get to pull an aircraft every turn. Points are awarded one each for steps inflicted or demoralized, Germans score a point per step exited (double for the two tanks), and 10 points if the Germans clear the road or if the Italians maintain even one hex of control.
I count up the German steps available and determine ROAD CONTROL HAS ONLY A MINOR EFFECT ON THE OUTCOME OF THE SCENARIO. The best bet for the Germans is to avoid contact and run for the board edge. The Italians see likewise, and understand that winning while avoiding combat is always better than winning by combat. The defense is set well, with units controlling the town, a gun in the woods on the middle of the road, another gun on the hill overlooking the western expanse, and a reserve in the woods to the west blocking the road. The one flaw is the gun on the hill is not dug in. Italians have a great commander, and one other very good officer, and two poor officers. The Germans have two decent and three poor officers.
The Italians advance further into the town, but do not occupy the southeast or southwest corners. The Germans see this as a potential hole to avoid the slow terrain to the south, and immediately seize those town hexes. A few Germans push to the south, but most flow towards the town. The Germans even launch an assault into the northeast portion of the town just to pin Italians down, and while they take losses and the Italians guess as to the purpose of the assault, they gladly accept the opportunity to begin beating down SS units. German air on turn 2 makes its presence felt by hitting the not dug in gun on the hill and blowing it to bits. That’s about the effect of German support during the scenario (one late demoralization), but it opens the channel on the western board.
German forces loop through the town (and a few through the woods to the south) and head to the south edge and run. They clear the bottom of the central woods and have a choice to continue riding the south edge or drive up the center of the board and make for the road. A company of Germans also advance from the town along the road and force the ATG in the woods to fall back toward the western woods. The southern force decides to run along the edge, and the Italian reserve heads down the road to intercept.
The motorcycles get past before the Italians can intercept, but loop back north along the western edge towards the road. The Italian ATG tries to run down a tank unit, but is blown to bits by tank opfire in the only case of the tanks engaging in combat during the entire game. The Italian reserve takes up a great position adjacent to the German route of march on one side and the road on the other. The Germans send in their gun towing trucks as a rabbit, and they are destroyed by Italian opfire. Another platoon tries to get by, but is disrupted and ends the scenario one movement point from exiting. But the tanks are already gone, and three other German platoons head up the road past the now expended Italian force.
After pulverizing SS units in the town (six steps worth while losing only one), the Italians send reinforcements west along the road to try and block the German company moving north. The motorcycles get on the road and establish a roadblock east of the crossroads, blocking the advancing Italians while the German infantry runs to the crossroads and heads west. All German forces exit as the motorcycle rearguard chooses to run instead of conducting opfire.
In the end, the Italians have the road for 10 points, inflict seven step losses and leave two German steps demoralized for a total of 19 point. The Germans inflict three step losses and exit 24 points worth of forces for a total of 27 points. A minor German victory! I believe all the solo plays assumed that the game depended on the Germans attacking for road control, but in reality the Germans do not need the road. With such poor morale the Germans have no hope of engaging the Italians for victory through combat. If the Germans accept some losses to pin Italians, they have a great opportunity to win via exiting steps.
This scenario was better than I expected, and my opponent felt the same. There was tension on both sides, the Italians may have been able to close the gap if they had gotten a double activation on the last turn, and the scenario moved fast. I think the Germans definitely have an advantage in this scenario, but not as much as I expected. My opponent played the Italians well, and we both felt this was a solid 3, but with the poor fighting quality of some of the forces it just didn’t have the combat excitement to rate a 4.