Elsenborn Ridge #3
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Defender)|
|Germany||326th Volksgrenadier Division|
|United States||99th "Battle Babies" Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 16 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 573 of 609|
|Parent Game||Elsenborn Ridge|
|Maps||2: 24, 25|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
The northernmost attack of the Ardennes offensive targeted the town of Hofen, which stood directly on the front lines. The rough terrain here would not support a panzer drive, but Sixth SS Panzer Army considered it important to secure the wooded hills. The road leading north from Elsenborn needed to be broken, to make it difficult for the powerful American divisions around Aachen to strike southward into the German Flank.
The German assault met disaster, as the Americans had carefully prepared their artillery fire plan and called down devastating shellfire on top of the attackers. No American position was taken, and the German division suffered massive casualties. It pulled back from the front and played no further role in the Battle of the Bulge, its combat effectiveness utterly destroyed in a few hours.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|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)
|So much to despise, and yet...|
Let's face it. If the title of the scenario is "Dismal Failure" you have to wonder why you would play it. It is a fair question, and yet...
The situation is this. Two battalions of a VG division are attacking a heavily entrenched, well led American force. The Germans start with a wealth of artillery which rapidly dwindles while the American artillery is preregistered around their entrechments (+1 column shift and no friendly fire possibilities, even in the entrenchments). The goal of the Germans is to breach the entrenchments and take the town beyond.
If you are gaming for the "fun" of it you would never take the Germans. The victory is completely out of their reach. On the other hand, if you want to outdo history, this one is for you. Historically the Germans couldn't even take 1 entrenched position and fell back with terrible losses.
In my play the Americans set up in two entrenched lines. The first line was held by a platoon of riflemen each and the second line had HMG support in each. The large town to the rear contained a company of riflemen and their mortar support.
The Germans sent one battalion at the northern end of the first line, which buckled after an hour. The second battalion with engineer support and the better leaders went after the middle of the line which took two hours to fall.
The northern German group which was still vaguely cohesive moved to invest the second line and then infiltrate the town. The center group was, as noted above tied down and unable to support the northern group leading to a slaughter both in the town and around the entrenchments. By the time the central force had eliminated the front line of entrenchments there was no real cohesive northern force remaining.
While a failure as an assault the results were much better than the historical and somewhat gratifying from a force management perspective. The key to the assault was to run as many troops as possible into an adjacency so that something would be left over to assault with after the op fire and artillery hit.
All in all a nice small scenario with a simple goal and LOTS of casualties. While the assault is futile the play is not. Earning it a "3" for the "and yet" nature of the play.
|Wir haben kein Gluck Fritz, kein Gl.. fritz? FRITZ!!??|
As entrenchments are not limiting terrain and so were vulnerable to the initial heavy german arty, I decided to setup the trenches in the woods north and south of town (3 each).
What I should've done as Germans but stupidly ignored: attack town with all troops as the trenches and their arty bonus are at least 2 hexes away.
What I did: split up the German force in 2 and attack town as well as the southern trenches. Seeing the stats for this scenario and reading the different AAR's it may not come as a surprise that, although one of the trench hexes was (temporarily) conquered, this German detachment was utterly annihalated (poor Fritz..). What was left halfheartedly attacked town under heavy artillery fire. The 2 Eng units tried to sneak by and attack toen from the western side. The result was 1 step lost and 3 steps fleeing over the southern hill.. The end score of this debacle? +24 VP's for the Americans. The German only managed to control the southern hamlet and one town hex, but lost 23 steps in return. No chance. Not only was this mission almost impossible to accomplish, Lady Luck was against them. The Germans were diced to death, especially in the latter hours of the fight.
Because of the disbalance I gave this scenario a 2, but I absolutely love these kind of victory conditions, so a 3 it is.
|The Americans Just Had Too Many Guns.|
US set up in towns and with units in entrenchments east of large town. Germans used early OBA to good effect and eliminated some of the US perimeter defenses. The Germans then advanced toward the large town and encircled it, but took many losses. The US artillery and the short range DF attacks then took over and annihilated the German attackers. The game came to a close as the Germans didn't have enough troops remaining to amount an effective attack on the town. This scenario may be worth replaying sometime, however it appears it'll take some alterante German strategy for them to have a chance.
|An American Heghog|
Moving through some of my unplayed Elsenborn Ridge scenarios, I came upon #3 a Dismal Failure. That is what it is a historical scenario, but not very good as a game. The Americans can defeat the Germans even before they more on the board. A good hedgehog defense will keep the German artillery unable to attack for the first three turn and force the Germans to make costly advances across open terrain. German morale is average to poor and leaders can help but good American artillery and dugin OP fire from the town will take its toll.
In the play the Americans were setup around the town, using the entrenchments as artillery modifiers give the Americans a near perfect defense with a +1 shift for the entrenchments and the surrounding hexes. This forces the Germans to look for advance by cover as far as they can before they go after the town hexes. The Germans move units through the woods north of the boards and south of the boards. Eventually having one group attacking from the northern hill on board 24 and from the light woods south east of the town. But they run into problems from the start. American OBA is right on target and kill four steps on the the first turn they can see the Germans. German mortars and OBA try to respond but will the -2 shift for the town/entrenchments they fire is ineffective. GREN's begin to advance out of the woods toward the town but OP fire disrupts/demoralizes them then artillery kills them. By turn 9 German losses are up to 12 steps. The Germans try to regroup and attack again with the same results. Turn 15, 16 German steps, American losses 2 steps. A couple more turns and 2 more German steps and that was enough. The Americans take the win.
As I said historical accurate, based on the writeup, but not very fun as a game. I believe the American player must need some reason to move his troops that are in the town. There is no reason for them to move or even setup outside the town. The SSR's for entrenchments just reinforce this American setup and the Germans just line up to be killed.
|A Dismal Pounding for the Germans|
Another FtF with my son who this time manned the attacking German force. As the Americans, I setup a 3 hex line of entrenchments along the road east of town. The 3-inch gun took a position in the eastern edge of town. Another smaller line of entrenchments covered the road leading north from the town to the wooded hill and another trench line covered the small hilltop village. Single platoon outposts were placed at the edge of the north woods, in the light woods copse east of town, and on the edge of the southern ridge line. The German force was divided in two large pincers. By 8:30 in the morning, the left flank pincer had moved through the light woods heading for the south ridge. German artillery pounded the American left flank trenches, eventually destroying one INF platoon. The Germans steadily advanced taking some initial losses to the American outposts and artillery. The American outpost platoons retreated successfully to the north woods, town, and along the southern ridge line. Another hour of combat and the Germans had overrun the northern outpost INF platoon. The reduced platoon survived and successfully withdrew from combat to take cover the woods and pull itself back together. The German right pincer occupied the crest line north of town and prepared to advance. The German left flank advanced along the south ridge and began to take heavy casualties from artillery and opportunity fire. The following hour of combat was brutal for the Germans as the powerful American artillery rained shells down upon them and direct fire from the American forces prevented the Germans from advancing further. By game turn 12, the Germans had lost 18 steps to 5 American steps with no town or entrenchment hexes gained. Convinced of the futility of his situation, the German commander conceded. I rated this scenario a 2. I think my setup could have been better and there was little need for the outpost INF platoons. It is difficult to see how the Germans could win this battle. Our game resulted in an American major victory and though the Germans may have done additional damage, it is hard to see how they could have recovered from the step loss disparity.