Secure the flank - game 2
This a re-write of a scenario I wrote which was published in Miniature Wargames 242, way back in June 2003.
It is mid November 1944, elements of the US 12th Armoured Division are attempting to force passage through one of the narrow valleys through the High Vosges Mountains.
Intelligence thinks the Germans still have armoured reserves in the area of Blamont and have pointed to the village of Raon-l`Etape with its solid stone bridge over fast flowing Meurthe River as a possible direction for a German spoiling counter-attack!
Game 2 - German counter-attack
You are a captain in 2nd Panzer Recon Battalion, you have orders to lead a mixed battle-group from your division to disrupt the potential American build up around St. Benoit. Unfortunately infantry protecting the vital river crossing at Raon-l`Etape were over run and the Americans now occupy the village and will have to be cleared first before your attack can proceed. To assist you in this extra operation some elements of 553rd Infantry have been allocated to support you.
Elements of Panzergruppe Schwein, 2nd Panzer Division
CO, 2IC, NCO, 2 RTO (Sdkfz 250/3)
Sdkfz222, Sdkfz 232
2 platoons of Panzer grenadiers each with:
10 men (LMG, Panzerfaust) in Sdkfz251
2 x Panzer IVH
Elements of 553rd Infantry Regiment
CO, NCO, 3 runners, FOO team
3 platoons each with:
10 men (LMG, Panzerfaust)
Assault pioneer platoon
10 men (flamethrower, 10kg demo charge)
IG75 plus crew & tow
Remains of the original defenders from game one reorganised by the company commander.
2 composite platoons each with:
officer & 8 men (LMG, panzerfaust), one platoon also contains a sniper & panzershreck team
Off table support
4 turns of 120mm mortar fire (2 tubes) can be directed by either the 2nd Panzer HQ or infantry FOO
You are the commander of "A" Company, I Battalion 397th Infantry Regiment. You have been given command of a mixed unit. Your orders are to proceed to Raon-l`Etape and dig-in, in order to protect the flank of CCB 12th Armoured Division`s advance.
CO, NCO, RTO, driver
3 rifle platoons each with:
10 men (BAR)
Support weapons platoon
60mm mortar team, .30cal team, Bazooka team, 2 ammo bearers, a rifle grenadier, platoon leader
AT section (from battalion)
57mm AT gun + crew & tow
1st platoon "C" company 196th Combat Engineer Battalion
10 men (flamethrower) + truck and trailer with engineer supplies*
Off table support
81mm mortar (2 tubes) from battalion
* the engineers have equipment to lay 2 off 6 x 2 inch mixed low density mine fields and dig up to four 2-3 man emplacements before the German attack begins.
12 turns after the German attack begins the Americans can dice for the arrival of a flying column from 12th Armd, which will arrive in 1D6
CO, NCO, RTO, driver in Jeep
2 x M4 Sherman ("B" Coy, 500th Tank Battalion)
2 platoons ("E" Coy, 66th Armd Infantry) each with:
10 men (Bazooka, BAR)
Off table support
Battery SP 105mm artillery
The table remains as it was for the first game, except for a wrecked US halftrack and destroyed Pak97/38. I would have liked to extend the table to give the Germans a better deployment zone - ah well....
The US company commander deployed his company as follows -
1st platoon, reinforced by a 30cal and some engineers to Abbe`d Raon-l`Etape, the mortar FOO climbed into the tower for a commanding view also. The engineers laid one of their mine fields across the front of the Abbe.
2nd platoon, reinforced with the 57mm, bazooka team and all the rest of the engineers occupied the village.
3rd platoon plus a rife grenadier dug-in around the ruined farm on the US right, the second mine field also protected this flank
The 60mm mortar team was dug-in by the bridge, its spotted in the nearby cafe
Coy HQ dug-in on the south side of the river
The German deployment was simple, the infantry were to advance up the hill and take the Abbe from where their FOO could dominate the battlefield.
One tank plus the dismounted grenadiers would move along the road directly into the village.
The other panzer and Stug followed by the recce armoured cars would work their way down the German left and flank the village
In hindsight I should have held the armoured cars back to use to exploit the road and their speed once cleared
The remains of the village defenders from game 1 enter the table along the river bank on the American right and move towards the village.
Turn 1-2 Germans deploy on table, both sides FOOs call for mortar support (successfully).
German infantry and pioneers advance up the hill
First Panzer on the road
Infantry along the river
Turn 3 the advance continues, US mortars cause some odd casualties, German 120mm mortars bracket the abbe!!
German mortars continue to bracket the abbe
Turn 5 the centre German platoon walks into the US minefield - we use a basic system 5-6 on 1D6 = casualty, the first five Germans rolled - Ouch!!
As you can imagine this caused a morale check!! What was left of that platoon just froze in place, the company CO was forced to go to them and reorganise them himself on turn 6.
Turn 6 saw the German mortars again plaster the abbe, finally taking out the pesky FOO too. Cumulative casualties among the US 1st platoon also caused a morale test (which they failed)
Turns 7 & 8 saw the German infantry and pioneers reach the abbe, the platoon on the German left became pinned by the US 30cal. The pioneers on the right of the abbe were confronted by some dug-in US engineers but quickly disposed of them with a rifle grenade.
One the road the 2nd Panzer grenadier platoon followed the first
On the German far left the other Panzer and Stug make their appearance on table.
Turn 9 the US 30cal plus a few infantry and engineers now holds up the entire infantry attack. The lead panzer moves off the road to engage it, the German pioneers have worked their way around the abbe and are moving against it from the opposite flank.
On the US right the combined tank infantry assault is wearing down the US 3rd platoon
Turn 10 lots of nasty shock for the Germans, the lead panzer exposes itself to the 57mm which doesn`t miss its opportunity
The 1st panzergrenadier platoon discovers a house occupied by US engineers and some of them get burnt!
Also this turn the German infantry over-run the 30cal position and now control Abbe hill.
Turn 11-12 the panzergrenadiers fight a protracted battle with various US infantry/engineers among the houses. The German pioneer launches and assault against another occupied house using its flamethrower to drive out the defenders.
On turn 12 the US 3rd platoon breaks and runs too, it should be noted the US Bazooka team missed the panzer IV twice!! if this hadn`t happened things may have not gone so badly on this side of the table!
A frantic radio call reveals a task force from 12th armoured will be here soon (arrive on table turn 14)
Turn 13 sees the Germans in full control of the hill and most of the village, and the remains of the US defenders in full bug-out mode
Turn 14 sees the arrival of the 12th armoured task force
But the Germans have regained the village
The game ends here, the Germans don`t have the strength to carry out their spoiling attack. The American infantry sacrificed themselves preventing this and now 12th Armoured have units in position to block any further German attacks.