St. Vith: First Assault
Elsenborn Ridge #10
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Defender)|
|Germany||18th Volksgrenadier Division|
|United States||168th Engineer Battalion|
|United States||7th "Lucky Seventh" Armored Division|
|Overall Rating, 10 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 82 of 609|
|Parent Game||Elsenborn Ridge|
|Maps||2: 22, 25|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Elsenborn Ridge||maps + counters|
While the Americans milled around in confusion with the St. Vith perimeter, on the other side of the uncertain front lines things were little better. It took a day and a half for the 18th Volksgrenadier Division to bring its infantry into line to attack, and even then some of its artillery remained trapped in the massive traffic jams clogging the narrow roads. Ordered to attack anyway, the division launched its planned night assault in mid-morning.
The Volksgrenadier made some progress against the American 38th Armored Infantry Battalion, but lost all their gains thanks to a timely counterattack by a nearby engineer battalion fighting as infantry. Troops on both sides proved very skittish under enemy artillery fire, with the greater American firepower making its weight felt.
|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 movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."
(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
|Elsenborn Ridge Scenario #10 St. Vith: First Assault|
Elsenborn Ridge Scenario #10 St. Vith: First Assault
Setup – Germans advance across from the east edge. There objective the road toward and the town of St. Vith. The German Lt. Colonel in charge knows his troops will not last long if there is a stiff fight (Morale of 7/6), he must use his numbers to quickly close and destroy any American resistance. For the Americans it is delay and destroy as many units as possible. Their goal will be to just have units in good order next to or on the road to St. Vith. The Americans will setup with most of their troops forward to slow the Germans down, but will have the vehicles acting as a mobile reserve. This will allow the units to fire defensively against the moving Germans as well as counter attack whenever possible. Both sides have some artillery to harass or destroy enemy units.
10:00 – Germans advance along from the east edge. Early American OBA harasses the advance German units. The Germans will move full speed taking advantage of the cover from the light woods as well as trying to keep the command chains together. The Americans sit tight for any opportunity fires that become available.
10:15 – Americans win the initiative and opens with harassing OBA, demoralizing a German INF platoon. Germans continue to advance on both the left and right of the east-west road taking advantage of the wooded cover. The German Lt. Col wants to move his men quickly so he moves up in the lead. American units take Op fires on him but he and the two platoons moving with him are fine. His natural leadership (Morale bonus of 2) helps the platoons be motivated. One lieutenant with a company of INF move to take cover on the elevation line in front of the Americans. OP fire pins one unit, but the lieutenant is able to call in OBA and demoralize the American platoon. Now the Germans know where the resistance is, in the woods that lines the road to St. Vith. Germans units will try to pin the Americans and with some luck get a couple of platoons in for an assault on the woods. The Americans are a bit stunned by the swiftness of the German advance, but soon the whole American line will be engaged and that should slow them down.
10:30 – Germans get on the move with the initiative. OBA comes in on the American line killing half of a platoon and causing the others to flee into the woods. German spotters are right on target, this could prove to be an issue for the Americans. But the Americans respond with OBA that demoralizes some of the advanced platoons on the ridge line. The German Lt. Colonel continues to move his forces left to see where the Americans are located. This draws American Op fire but with little to no effect. The German close on the first American outpost on left with a company of INF against one American platoon. On the German right units move to take cover on the ridge line in preparation for a dash to the woods on the right of the American line. A lone M5 platoon tries to slow the advancing Germans without success. The continuous movement and the terrain have fouled the American Op fire. The turn ends with a fog of war with the Germans “on plan” while the Americans may need to rethink the defense.
10:45- The Americans win the initiative and look to consolidate their defenses. A threatened outpost on the American right is abandoned and leaders move to the front line in the American center. German OBA spotters are right on again scoring a half squad kill and demoralizing the survivors while weak American OBA scatters on their targets. The German Lt. Colonel sees that he has luck with him so he orders a nearby lieutenant to take two platoons and setup to assault the demoralize American half platoon. American Op fire is feeble again and the units move toward the stricken platoon. The German right starts to move against the M5 on the hill. The German Major splits his forces with a Captain taking a company to take the hill and turn the American left, while he moves toward the right center of the line to assault the woods in the American center. American Op fire finds its targets and disrupts a couple of German platoons slowing the advance. The Americans have withered the storm so far but it is more to do with the Germans slowing with moving through cover. They are looking to consolidate the defense to the woods across the road to St. Vith. The Germans will continue to push the Volksgrenadiers to overrun the American defenses using cover and continuing movement.
11:00- American look for reinforcements to appear, but not this turn (Roll 1). The Americans win the initiative and use it to move the M5 aware from assaulting Volksgrenadiers. The Germans use their first move to assault the woods on the road to St. Vith. An American disrupted half platoon is their target with two INF platoons and a lieutenant. The assault scores a demoralization and subsequent failure to rally eliminated the half platoon. (Score 4 step kills Germans, 0 Americans) This also lowers the Americans initiative giving them less of a chance to move on the first activation. American OBA fines its targets on the German left. An stack of two INF platoons and a Captain are pounded by artillery scoring a kill. The remaining platoon and half are disrupted. (Score 4 step kills Germans, 1 American) The Germans switch to the right and move out the platoons that were to assault the M5. The German Major moves to attack the retreating M5 that has entered his LOS. American OP fire forces his platoon to the ground and the follow up units are slowed down as well. The German Lt. Colonel directs HMG’s to south part of the center woods to try to soften up the center as the assaulting platoons, now at a company strength, catch their breath. Fog of war ends the turn. The Americans are still holding the center but the Germans have a toehold on the woods and moving reinforcements behind the assault force. To the right and left the Germans are maneuvering to flank the center, slowed by Op fire, but still moving. Eventually, they will get around the woods in the center. The Americans must look to pulling back from the initial defensive line to preserve the units remaining.
11:15-Still no American reinforcements and the Germans have the initiative. With this, they look to pin some of the armor that the Americans have. One group on the German right assaults the M5 trying to get to a better fighting position. As they move in the Panzerfaust teams move to take a shot a unit. The assault scores a M1 but the PF team scores a kill. Half the M5’s are destroyed and the other half is demoralized, without much effect on Germans. In the center the Germans look to assault the infantry. The German lieutenant spots the American Major’s command post and moves to assault it. Capturing him could cause the whole US line to fall and the road to St. Vith would be open. The assault is slow to develop and only scores a morale check on the Americans. The German Lt. Colonel sees the Lieutenants initiative and pushes the troops around him to charge the woods. They are able to move up a couple more INF platoons and HMG platoons as well. The American Op fire is weak and the Germans have a force to push through the woods. American OBA has some minor effect with a disruption to a German platoon, but the German OBA is right on target scoring another kill on an American INF platoon. American units in the woods start to slowly give ground and move western edge of the woods. The Germans start to have coordination issues as units have moved away from their superior commanders. A couple of German Lieutenants start to round up the stragglers. As for the score the Germans get 3 more kills to make it 7 American steps destroyed to 1 German.
11:30- American engineers still are there yet, Germans have the initiative and going after the American tanks. Panzerfaust teams destroy the M8’s and the M5’s in close combat. American OBA finally scores hits on a German HMG platoon. The American Major fights off a German assault and is able to move his disrupted troops way to the west end of the woods. The German assault has been effective but they are very disorganized and the Lieutenants are scrambling around getting troops to the front. The Lt. Colonel take charge of the attack on the woods and gets units back in order. All this shuffling and retreating forces a early end of the turn with the fog of war. Score Germans 14 Americans 2.
11:45- Reinforcements are still not there, but the Americans get lucky and move first. OBA is first targeting some demoralized German units without great effect. Germans look to their 81mm mortars to soften up the retreating American units. Their fire disrupts but not demoralizing the units. So there is a chance to get them back in good order before the German INF platoons move up. Rallying works and they are back to good order. The German Lt. Colonel sees this as an opportunity to advance, given the retreating units are rallying and will not be able to Op fire. He advances a platoon but it is hit by Op fire from the American right and is demoralized. Thinking his move the second platoon and HMG platoon move up to not to assault but to support the attack. He will need to wait for the other platoons behind him. American OBA strikes again, this time with a double kill on Germans advancing on the American left. The Germans need to keep their troops together to continue the advance. Lieutenants in rear keep the troops moving toward the center, but the Major on the German right seems to be stuck trying to get his men to move. Fog of War strikes again, but the Americans are the beneficiaries of the turn gaining 2 step kills, score Germans 14, Americans 4.
12:00- Is that reinforcements I see, no, just a mirage. American reinforcements don’t appear but they do get the initiative. Using OBA as a covering force the US uses the artillery to try to distrupt/demoralize/destroy German units that are closing on the last defense line in the woods. They are able to demoralize a couple of units but most stay intact. The Germans look to rally troops that took OP/OBA fire from the last turns as well as get more units closer to their leaders. The Lt. Colonel get some demoralized units rallying as well as directing some suppressing fire on the American line. The German Major on the right side gets his company moving to support his Captains advance into board 22. Lieutenants in the rear rally an move troops forward. The Americans rally some demoralized units while others stream back toward rear on the St. Vith road. The Americans must keep the toehold on board 25 so the American Captain takes a platoon to reinforce the remnants in the woods. Fog of war ends the turn with Germans nearly back in command of the bulk of the troops.
12:15 - Still no reinforcements, the Americans are on their own. Germans win the initiative and starts with OBA at the remnants of the Americans in the woods. This time the German gunners are off and the Americans survive. Rallying is the key to the Americans, they are able to get these beat up troops in good order. The German Lt. Colonel continues to push troops down the St. Vith road and keep up suppressive fire on the American defends in the woods. Meanwhile the German Major has his company together and moves them across the open American left flank to encircle the woods defends than cut the St. Vith road. But this triggers defenders in St. Vith to Op fire disrupting their advance. On the German left the Captain moves his company toward the St. Vith road. American Op fire is weak, having to split between this and the advance on the left. German Lieutenants continue to move straggling troops forward.
12:30 - No American reinforcements, Germans move first. German OBA fires on St. Vith but scatters amongst the houses. American artillery fairs better disrupting and demoralizing some of the advance Germans on the American left. The German Lt. Colonel tries to inspire his troops but they fail to rally and he must move up his reserves to try to assault the American remnants on St. Vith road. Many of the engaged German Volksgrenadiers have become disrupted or demoralized and with low morale cannot recover. This is limiting the striking power of the German volume of troops. American troops continue to look for Op fires and disrupted units to fire at as well as rally their own disrupted troops. Most units are able to active before the fog of war ended the turn.
12:45 – No reinforcements has the defending troops on edge, but the Americans get the initiative and use the OBA against disrupted Germans. The American artillery begins to zero into Germans and disrupt and demoralize the Germans attempting to turn the flank. The Lt. Colonel takes action in the center and gets troops rallied and moves his HQ right next to the remaining American defenders. Other units follow with rallying and leaders move to destroy the final stand. The German Lieutenants continue to get the stragglers moving and the German right flank is now moving forward to push onto St. Vith. German artillery seems to have lost effectiveness with ineffective fire.
1:00 – The Engineers arrive and the Americans get the initiative. With the reinforcements this may bring the battle back to balance between the Americans and Germans. American OBA starts at the advancing Germans on the right. Scoring a M2 the Germans melt and become demoralized. The German Lt. Colonel sees this and pushes for assaults on the remnants in the woods. He directs suppressive fire on one platoon scoring a kill and then demoralizing the rest of the unit, then a German Lieutenant assaults the half platoon and forces a demoralization, killing it. The German Major tries to duplicate the success over the other American platoon. However, suppressive fire is weak and assault platoons hold for next turn. American Op fire continues to be a hassle for the advancing German units. Several units are disrupted and get stuck in the open on the German left flank. Fog of war appears early and the turn ends with the 16 American steps killed and 5 German steps killed.
1:15 – Germans get there men moving with two activations before the Americans move. The German Major looks to destroy the last platoon on the St.Vith road on board 25. Suppressive fire is weak and the assault platoons go in against a good order platoon. The assault yields morale checks on both sides but all units pass. The German Lt. Colonel leaves the Major to his work and moves toward the resistance at the village. The Germans still have issues getting disrupted and demoralized troops moving and the Lieutenants continue to try to rally troops. The German left flank slowly moves forward under weak American Op fire. Germans on the right fail to rally and begin to retreat back to the woods. For the Americans the engineer company moves up the road just in time to reinforce the villages, but too late to provide defense on board 25. The Americans have just one platoon and a Lieutenant holding out. The Germans have moved around this platoon and cut off any support to it. OBA can provide some support but increasingly the OBA will be needed for the defense of St. Vith. The Americans can defend St. Vith but cannot hold the road to St. Vith and without more losses by the Germans they will not achieve a victory condition. There are 11 turns to go and 7 steps for the Americans to kill to get a minor victory while the Germans just need to eliminate the sole platoon on board 25 and keep the American off it and they will win.
1:30 – Germans continue to push winning the initiative. German OBA hits units on the road to St. Vith demoralizing them. Americans answer with OBA at the Lt. Colonel scoring a double kill on an INF and HAMG platoon. The Lt. Colonel survives but is disrupted. The Lieutenant assaulting the remnants fails to destroy the American platoon despite a 3-1 advantage in units and has his troops disrupted by a well placed hand grenade. The German right continues to move up to attack St. Vith, but the American engineers move to block the advance as well as Op fire by defending units in the town slow down the advance. American units from the road to St. Vith stream into the town to try to recover from demoralization. The German AT Captain get word to move up to try to destroy the Scott tank unit in St. Vith. Other German units continue to recover and look to move forward next turn. For the Americans the engineers begin to deploy some to the left and right to try to provide Op fire at the advancing Germans as well as a reserve unit to hold St. Vith. From a scoring perspective the American move to 8 German kills to the German 16 kills.
1:45 – German initiative starts with OBA targeted at St. Vith and killing an American step. Panic sets in and a platoon runs after a second demoralization. US units head for St. Vith in hopes of defending the town, but to Volkgrenadiers have regrouped and the Lt Colonel pushes the attack. American OBA scatters on all targets. Recovery attempts are getting futile as the last American Lieutenant deserts the platoon that he is commanding. It will just a matter of time before the platoon is captured. The Germans need to kill the Scott tank unit in St. Vith so the 75mm unloads and unlimbers at the edge of the woods to fire long range AT shots at the tank unit. The German left has moved beyond St. Vith and engage the American engineers with direct fire. American Op fire is weak and the advancing Germans make unimpeded progress toward the town. Still, no side has met the victory conditions all though the Germans just need to unset the lone American platoon on board 25 and they will have a minor victory. The Americans need to kill 3 more steps to get a minor victory. Score Germans 19 kills, Americans 8.
2:00 – Americans get the initiative and go to work with their OBA. The first strike misses and KIA’s one of their own platoons! Not a good start. The second strike results in morale checks that are easily passed. The Germans counter with AT fire on the Scott, but the range is long and they miss. The Americans look to pull back the friendly fire half squad and get him into town where he can rally. The young German lieutenants see this as an opportunity to rush St. Vith and they move there INF platoons forward, but US Op fire is right on and disrupts and demoralizes the first group. A second moves up and is hit by Op fire with a double step kill, eliminating the platoon. This now brings the German step loss closer to an American minor victory. The German Lt. Colonel puts a stop to the advances in favor of suppressive fire on the town and the fields around it without too much success. On the German right direct fire at the engineers starts to demoralize them as they try to get around the Germans to relieve the platoon on the St. Vith road. Move recoveries for the Germans as they prepare to assault the town on the next turn.
2:15 – Americas get the initiative again with 2 activations. OBA starts again demoralizing some of the closing German INF platoons. The Germans answer with AT fire at the Scott platoon with a hit, killing one step. Seeing that there may be an opportunity to lock the Scott into an assault a single German INF is tasked to assault the town hex. They charge but are hit by machine gun fire from the Scott and demoralized. The Americans seeing this as a change to get the kill for the victory conditions counter charge with an engineer platoon. This is devastating to the INF with a one step loss followed by a second demoralization, eliminating the unit. Rallying continues with the units in front of the town, but in the German rear the sole American platoon on the road survives another assault. The Germans cannot dislodge the unit. This coupled with the 14 German steps killed has the American player with a minor victory with 6 turns to go. It will come down to this unit surviving or dying.
2:30 – The Americans get the initiative and continue with the OBA but with no effect. The Germans go after the lone platoon and this time score a kill and leave the remaining troops disrupted, but the Germans lose one platoon to disruption. Several direct and bombardments are traded with little to no effect. The American try to hold on to the minor victory condition by trying to move a engineer up the American right flank, but there are German remnants there that they will need to get through. 2:45 – Germans last chance to kill the American platoon and robbing the American of the minor victory. They win the initiative and go for the assault kill. This time they get the roll and destroy the last half platoon, which gives the Germans a minor victory. The Americans have one small chance as with a platoon trying to reinforce the stranded Americans. They move up be get disrupted and demoralized. The Germans try to assault St. Vith, but the American Op fire, OBA and low German morale stop the attack and give the Germans the minor victory.
Final Thoughts – This scenario is a well balanced infantry assault. The Germans have a large number of platoons but low morale and are on the attack. The Americans have a small number of troops, higher morale, good OBA support and they are on the defensive. In my play, the Germans got the dice rolls early, but stalled after they broke through the first American defensive line. American OBA proved very effective on the with the low morale Germans. They were able to roll M’s and get the German platoons disrupted and demoralized. Rallying of the German platoons was tough needing 6 or less or 5 or less with demoralized troops. The Americans can withstand fire and OBA but the German assaults provide to be the undoing. With 2-3 platoons assaulting this would give the Germans 12-18 assault factors to Americans 6 factors. This would get M# and step losses. American engineers were key to keep the town of St. Vith in American hands but it was tough to keep platoons on board 22. Definitely one to play and shows that Elsenborn has the most well balanced scenarios.
|None Shall Pass - Dogged American Defense and Counterattack|
This was perhaps the most decisive victory I have yet to play to date for PzG. I played my opponent using the double blind rules.
US ASSESSMENT: My mission was to defend the roads, especially the East-West road to St. Vith in order to deny its use to the Germans. Based on the victory conditions, any course of action that did not include defending board 25 would lead to a German minor victory. So I decided the bold defensive move would be to consolidate on key terrain around the road and dig-in. I did not have stellar leaders for the Infantry, but with superior artillery and armor, morale and initiative I had a good chance of victory.
US SET-UP: 1. US INF BN established a defensive strongpoint centered around board 25, hex 1109. Infantry concealed themselves on the reverse slope in the light woods and would dig-in to maximize defensive bonuses. From 1109, the MAJ could control the morale and activation of the units. 2. The M5, M8, and Scott established a forward line around 0808 in order to cover the IN BN efforts to dig-in, and disrupt the German advance and force the Germans to deploy early 3. A 7-0 LT established an OP on the northern hill top to call for indirect fire.
EXECUTION: Phase I - As the Germans approached from the East and North east, my armor covering force was able to cause him to deploy one of his AT Guns and my forward OP was able to use OBA to disrupt his AT Gun and HMGs. His attacking NE force was able to Kill my LT on the hilltop with OBA. But the armor covering force withdrew into the woods, with the M5 and Scott establishing back-up positions while the M8 moved back to Board 22 to watch the southeaster flank.
Phase II - The Germans began probing into the woodline and began losing platoons to well placed US opportunity fire. His NE attack made it to Hex 1011 but was repulsed, while he also set up his mortars near the north end of the hill. Then there were movement indicators that his Southern Attacking force was going to bypass my position. Once my M8 was able to slow down some of his southern advance and locate his AT Guns, it withdrew and reinforced efforts in the north.
Phase III - a CPT, LT and 2 INF platoons and the Scott, M5 counter attacked against Hex 1011 and eliminated more steps and a leader. The M5, LT and INF Platoon returned toward the center defense to repulse the approaching Southeast attack. The CPT with infantry platoons and Scott attacked North and defeated his northern prong. With the M8 speedily joining them, they proceeded throughout the rest of the game to eliminate his mortars and mop up straggling German Infantry in the North.
Phase IV - The German high watermark came when he launched attacks just short of 1109 on my southern flank. US Artillery had effectively suppressed and his AT Guns, and between the dug-in first fire and then counterattack, The US was able to destroy 8 German steps in a single turn. Effectively breaking any chance he had of furthering breaking the line.
Phase V - My Engineer reinforcements arrived late in the game, but moved quickly enough to overwhelm the few remaining locked melees and to assault one of his AT Guns.
Phase VI - By the end of the game, the Germans were combat ineffective. The US had reestablished its original positions and dug back in while using OBA to hit straggling German units in LOS.
End Results: US MAJOR VICTORY US caused a 6:1 casualty ratio!!! US Casualties: 20% casualties = 1 x LT, 8 INF steps (4 Platoons) German Casualties: 78% casualties = 47 steps!!!! (35 steps of gren, 6 steps of HMG, 3 mortars, 2 75mm, 1 50 mm and a wagon (plus a few leaders))
German Observations. 1. MASS your forces, piece meal attacks allow a consolidated defender to defeat the Germans in detail. A massed penetration of GRENs moving down the road is probably the best option for breaking the Americans and driving them back. My opponent allowed me to fight three separate battles at three separate times... rarely stressing my options.
Overall, a very enjoyable scenario.
|Not much of a first assault|
The US set up in four groups: one holding the cross-roads and one each holding the northern and southern road on board 25 leaving two platoons of INF in St. Vith itself. The Germans came on-board with a company and anti-tank gun each to the north and south; with the main group entering just south of the E-W road using cover.
The Americans moved forward aggressively. At first, I thought I had erred as German OBA accounted for a step in each of the first two turns. However, US morale and marksmanship soon disrupted, literally, the Volksgrenadiers. The best German leader, a 9-0-2 Captain was demoralized after two sequential morale checks and a triple-stack of HMGs, intended to provide the softening up prior to a Gren assault, was morale-failed into chaos. US artillery combined for 32 and 24 factors and this led to mostly disrupted/demoralized German stacks. About the only good news for the Germans was getting a step of M5's via their towed AT guns, but even then the reduced step made its morale check of '5'.
After turn four, the German step losses = 7; US = 6, but the Germans had 6 units/leaders demoralized and 9 disrupted. On turn 5, the US rolled its reinforcements (6xENG) on board which, together with the two reserve INF platoons, constituted almost a full battalion counter-attack.
Although the Germans finally emerged victorious in one assault hex, the arrival of the ENGs meant the best the Germans could do was to pull back, reorganize, and try again on another day.
US major victory.