Back to Lutrebois
Winter Soldiers #24
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Germany||1st SS "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" Division|
|United States||35th "Santa Fe" Infantry Division|
|United States||4th Armored Division|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 391 of 599|
|Parent Game||Winter Soldiers|
|Maps||2: 10, 9|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Battle of the Bulge||maps|
The loss of Lutrebois on the previous day narrowed the corridor the Americans were striving to widen south of Bastogne. Two battalions of the 134th Infantry Regiment marched to retake Lutrebois, supported by a few tanks from the 4th Armored Division's Combat Command A. As on the previous day, none of the units involved made detailed reports: both sides flung troops into battle with wild abandon. On the American side, the 134th's 2nd Battalion made the first move.
After taking 90 casualties the 2nd Battalion fell back and let the 3rd Battalion have a go. But upon leaving cover and entering the clearing west of town the second group of GIs were halted by heavy and accurate small arms fire. Lutrebois remained firmly in enemy hands.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|1 Errata Item|
The reduced direct fire value of the SS HMG is 5-5 in Beyond Normandy and Road to Berlin.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
|I will not complain about dicerolls anymore...maybe|
A small Skype game with Vince Hughes this afternoon/evening with quite a few interesting moves and dicerolls. To name a few, German defenders win the first initiative roll with 2 turns, 8 of 12 turns finished with FoW and 5 American OBA hits with step loses.
The scenario is a good one for FTF play as it is fairly short but has a it is balanced enough to go either way. The Germans have the setup and better morale, but the Americans have more troops, armor and ENG support. The leaders selection favored the Germans slightly. Both have OBA and mortar support.
The German setup on board 10 in the town in a hedgehog defense with HMG's and double stacks of GRENs bristling from the edges of the town. As a rule the AT/MTR/AA are setup hidden to start the game. The Americans are setup on board 9 one flanking company on the north edge of board 9/10 with the rest of the troops inline in the light woods with the mortars deep in the woods to provide full support to the attack.
Turn one start with the Germans wining the initiative with two activations before the Americans move. A German OSTFR ventures out of the town to spot for the OBA and scores disruptions and demoralization on some American units. But the American attack steps off, with the flanking company moving north to occupy the light woods and eventually threaten the northern town edge. To the south the main force, commanded by the Colonel moves through the light woods on board 10. A center force delays except for LT and INF to spot for the OBA.
The American flanking force stumbles into the German AT in the light woods to the north. OBA is called in and the gun is destroyed. To the south the Americans advance though the woods and surprisingly the turns end early with FoW. The southern force makes contact with the Germans in the and OBA hits the SS troops. The Americans soon discover the 20mm AA gun and OBA is called in to destroy it too. The German OBA is also zeroing in on the advancing Americans. The Americans continue to move around the town to find the weak spots while the Germans counter move to keep a strong front to the Americans. But the Americans have too many troops to keep up with and the Americans start to disrupt and demoralize the SS troops. The American M4 and INF get a chance to advance next to the SS in the town.
The flanking units move to the north west of the town and discover the German mortars. Units move to assault and tie them up and prevent them from firing. The other move to close on the weaker northwest town hexes. SS units shift again and this give the Americans a chance at the southern edge of town. The assaults start and the battle get bloody quickly with most casualties occurring from turn 9 to 11, 16 total steps lost in the turns.
Several key assaults see American combined armor/ENG/INF attacks on the town as well as a desperate SS charge out of the town that hits the American recover area and generates most American casualties. The Americans continued to push the town assaults and capture 2 hexes and contest 3 others, leaving the Germans 1 hex. In the end the Americans get a minor victory scoring 18 to 11.
|Lutrebois Falls To Clever American Attack|
This battle played over Skype with Alan Sawyer. The scenario requires Germans to hold out in Lutrebois against twice as many Americans of EQUAL morale (all sides have an '8' morale factor) for just 12 turns. Losses and town hex control will decide the victor
In the first four turns the Americans made a cautious advance on Lutrebois and also uncannily sent a small detatchment of infantry to scout the periphery of the battlefield too. But their advance was being perfectly timed. As the defenders, the Germans needed to hold fire until the US troops had been committed each turn to avoid allowing any US Infantry taking advantage of MG teams shooting elsewhere. But in the cold Winter of an Ardennes morning, with the mist swirling around the firs, the confusion of the Fog of War meant that the German defenders rarely got the time or chance to fire on any briefly seen attackers. It seemed as if they were able to move about the forest unharmed and slowly close on the town. Worse still, US artillery was seriously zeroing in on their targets. In the first hour it had knocked out the German AT platoon, AA platoon and a step of infantry that had dug-in o/s Lutrebois. This forced these infantrymen to seek refuge in the town.
By the end of turn 6, the Americans were still 400 yards from the outskirts of Lutrebois, but had suffered just 1 step of infantry lost. With 6 turns left, the close-to-contact would now be enacted. With no German AT ability, the US tanks could advance securely with their infantrymen, and along with US Engineers the assault on the town soon began. For the first 45 minutes of the assault, the Americans worked their way through the town against a defence of mixed value. With the tanks and Engineers, the Americans were able to use close tank HE fire to blast out defended buildings before sending in the engineers and infantrymen to mop up. German losses mounted nastily. However, some local German officers grabbbed together platoons to counter-attack the Amis, and for the next hour, that famed German counter-attack doctrine and a bit of life suddenly found in their Commander's will to fight back and cause the Americans began to suffer, finally inflicted larger losses on the Amis in the final 45 minutes. Not just losses, but demoralisations too.
In the end, the town battle came down to the Americans throwing in their infantry in town hexes to dispute hex control in the last turn. These 4pts lost to the Germans (though not gained by the US) finally swung the game from a draw to a US Minor win.
That said, just a step casualty here or there either way and the whole result could have changed again ?
This scenario can be won by either side and can be drawn too. In fact, if there ever is a PG tournament, this one would probably be in there. I expect to see all manner of results from this scenario because the 'if-onlys' & 'what-ifs' and all manner of results of combat can more than easily swing things. In my case, a rather lack-lustre defensive effort by myself and some patient controlled advancing by the Sawyerbean brought the win for the Americans. Good solid 3 rating because of the balance and exciting end which I think this scenario will always have. Getting to the last 4 turns though, I found I was a spectator a lot of the time, holding fire till the US had committed and then being befuddled by the Fog Of War at some inopportune times. In fact, my HMG units set up on the edge of town only got to fire TWICE in the first 7 times due to FOW ! Who says it does not have much effect on small scenarios ?
|Artillery from Hell|
Or so the Germans thought.
Used WS rules regarding the winter-variants of fields.
German set-up fairly similar to previous AAR. The 20mm + 2 GRENs were in the western-most light woods in the north (part of the strategy here was to use these GREN units to harass or attack the US flank and, especially, any ENG units); the 75/41 dug-in overseeing the road from the western hill light woods. Mortars were stationed there also. Remainder of Gren/HMGs in Lutrebois.
US eschewed exploration of the northern board. Center attack force was 2xINF; 4xHMG; 2xENG; and the two M4's (basic idea here was to use heavy DF fire to hold/soften the two western town hexes). All the rest (all INF) went for a right hook to approach Lutrebois from the woods/hill to the south.
What made this a rout was extremely effective US OBA/mortar attacks (despite the defensive col shifts) in the first three turns. The two westernmost town hexes were hit by very effective artillery fire, not only with the attack rolls, but horrid morale checks (11's and 12's). This allowed for a rapid US approach to adjacent squares whilst the SS had to use activations to make morale recoveries. The two GREN units attacked southwards to the west of the fields - this drew the attention of two HMG units: the Grens survived the OF (one US HMG recovered from DIS due to German artillery) to get adjacent, but US won initiative on subsequent turn, killing a GREN step and the leader failed his casualty roll.
As some of the HMG DF was drawn by this attack, the US armor rolled up the road and into a field hex to bombard Lutrebois from the NW prior to the assaults going in. This drew the SS AT fire, which missed, rolling a natural '4'. US OBA's counter-battery fire killed this dug-in AT gun with a '3' on the 30-col.
The US took subsequent heavy casualties in the house-to-house fighting, but the Germans were severely outnumbered and they had been unable to hurt the US during approach (German artillery fire managed three platoon disruptions, but these were quickly recovered).
Hard to overrate a good forward artillery observer.