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Elsenborn Ridge - Germans

 
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Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/28/2010 6:29:04 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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This is an AAR of the Elsenborn Ridge scenario, played as the Germans, with realistic orders delay and all other settings on normal. Before I proceed, a few disclaimers:

This is my first attempt at a BftB AAR, and only my second AAR (I previously tried to do one for Solium Infernum, but had to abort it about halfway through), so please forgive me if it's not quite up to the standard around here. Also, English is not my first language, and I only have a limited knowledge of military terms, so I hope any mistakes in that direction can be overlooked. :)

Now, I bought this game a few months ago, shortly after it was released. I played it for a bit, and enjoyed it, but didn't really have the time to truly delve into it. I'm not sure I have the time now, but I've decided to try. My point is, I'm a rookie, so any feedback will be appreciated. I tried this scenario once before, but aborted the attempt due to Peiper being an idiot (some of the blame may lie with me, I'll grant :D).

Anyway, here goes:



These are my orders, as well as the possible objectives. As can be seen, the most important objectives, in terms of points, are the 2 groups of exit points along the western edge of the map - 3 in the south, and 2 in the north - giving a maximum of 22.5 points each. In order to get full points for those, I have to move units worth at least 1800 points of anti-personel firepower, 1600 points of anti-armor firepower and 150 points of bombardment firepower through each group of exit points. Elsenborn Ridge and Bullingen grant 15 and 10 points respectively - half for holding them all the way through the scenario, and the other half for holding it when the scenario ends - so I'll make an effort to take those. The rest of the objectives grant only 7.5 points, apart from Honsfeld, which only grants 5, so those are less important. I won't go out of my way to capture any of them, but most are in my path, so I'll have to take them anyway.

Looking at my units, I can see that the main HQ is that of the I. SS Panzerkorps. It has two divisions attached - the 12th and 277th Volksgrenadier, they're both infantry divisions and they're not looking particularly impressive - as well as 28 pieces of artillery and rocket artillery. Neither the 12th or 277th VG divisions are at full strenght though, but the rest should arrive during the first day, with the last units arriving early on day 2. I can also expect Kampfgruppe Peipper (tanks!) to arrive late during the first day, as well as the 9th fallschirmjäger regiment, and elements of the 12th SS panzer Division (more tanks!). Units from the 12th SS will keep arriving throughout the scenario, so those arriving on the last day probably won't see much action, but will have to be rushed to the exit points.

All in all, I start with 99 units on the map, and can expect 162 more to arrive throughout the scenario. I'm told in the briefing that the enemy has only one division - the 99th infantry division - and they're supposedly inexperienced, so that's good.



Reading other AAR's on this forum leads me to believe that most people design a strategy from the beginning, then modify it as necessary as they go along. I'm afraid that I don't really have grand battleplan. Instead I have tried to set some goals for the first day, and when night falls, I'll reassess the situation and set some goals for day 2, and so forth. Hopefully, that'll work out ok.

The plan for the first day is to occupy Losheimgraben and hopefully Bucholz Station, to the south, while clearing the woods north of Losheimgraben, hopefully reaching the edge by nightfall, thereby positioning myself for an attack on Mürringen and Hünningen on day 2. I've marked the objectives for day 1 in green.

I never came close to clearing those woods on day 1 in my last playthrough, but then I issued most of my orders to regimental HQ's, which made progress kind of slow. This time, I'm going to try to keep it on Battalion level, which will hopefully make a difference. I'll detach any useful combat troops from the regimental HQ's and attach them to the brigades instead, leaving the regimental HQ's behind with the artillery. Later they may be used as garrisons for Objectives or strategic points.

Anyway, the red lines are the initial orders, the blue lines represent moves that I may order, if everything goes well (obviously, I may issue further orders, as the situation and my panic level warrants). As reinforcements start to arrive, they'll be moved to support where necessary, or placed in reserve (unlikely, I think, for the most part). At least 2 of the battalions arriving in the south will be ordered to attack Buchholz Station.

I'll start playing now, and make an update once something interesting happens. I've not yet decided on the frequency of updates, but 1 per game day seems reasonable, maybe with some highlights of the previous day's action. We'll see. Remember, comments, feedback and (polite) criticism is welcome.

Edit: it appears I overlooked a battalion in the bottom right hand corner of the map, buried as it were in all the artillery and HQ icons. It has been ordered to attack Losheimgraben from the east, along the trail, in support of the battalion attacking from the south.

< Message edited by Nikolaj -- 10/28/2010 6:43:04 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/28/2010 9:31:04 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
The attack is underway, and everything seems to be going well. Apart from at the very north edge of the map, where a pioneer company has routed. I'm not quite sure what happened, but they must have routed almost the moment they spotted the enemy. They then decided to run 50 meters and try to recover right next to the enemy. They're surrendering in droves, and I've written off the company as a loss.



Meanwhile, some reinforcements have arrived, including the 2nd battalion of the 27th fusilier regiment. They're sent west, to attack a small village called Lanzerath, south of Bucholz Station. After taking it, they'll wait for more reinforcements, before attacking Bucholz Station itself.

Here's the situation at 14.06:



Losheimergraben was taken at 12.39, but there are still some enemy units in the area, including one very annoying AT platoon, which just refuses to retreat. It also appears that the enemy is moving in reinforcements from the north west, presumably to retake the town.

Another AT platoon caused some delay in the town of Lanzerath, so the assault on Bucholz Station is only now getting underway. As the screenshot shows, 2 FJ battalions will be supporting the 2nd battalion of the 27th fusiliers in taking the town (actually, the 1st battalion of the 9th FJ regiment will be leading the charge, since the fusiliers are so very slow in getting there).

In the northern woods, I've had mixed results. In some places, single enemy platoons and companies have managed to stall the offensive, although some progress has been made, mainly in the northernmost part of the forest, and just north east of Losheimergraben. There does seem to be an entire enemy battalion on the main road to Rocherath-Krinkelt, which will have to be dislodged. I've got 2 battalions on the case, so hopefully they'll manage. It is, however, becoming painfully clear that my Volksgrenadier troops aren't exactly the cream of the crop, fleeing as they are at every shot fired at them. SS panzer troops should start arriving soon, though, so I'm still hopefull that I'll manage to achieve all of my objectives by midnight, at the latest.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 2
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/28/2010 9:43:15 PM   
Deathtreader


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From: Vancouver, Canada.
Status: offline
Hi,

Lookin' good..........I'm subscribed!

Rob.

_____________________________

So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
- Sir Harry Flashman (1854)

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 3
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/28/2010 11:45:13 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
Thanks. I'm glad you like it, so far. :)

16.46:



An infantry platoon of 51 men, which has stalled an entire battalion all day - without suffering a single casualty, I might add - finally retreated about an hour or so ago. It disappeared in the forest, but resurfaced soon after, at the rear of another battalion, which was advancing south west, along one of the trails in the central part of the woods. It managed to rout the Bn HQ, follow it, and force its surrender. It's an absolute outrage, and I've ordered a company of jagdpanzers, which I'd held in reserve to the east of the forest, to deal with these brigands. The jagdpanzers will be supported by one of my many useless infantry battalions. I have to be a bit careful, though, since there's an AT platoon a bit further to the west.

In fact, I find it hard to take 3 steps in this forest, without tripping over an anti tank platoon, which makes me kind of nervous about sending my panzer companies through there. Granted, they haven't arrived yet, but they will soon. Hopefully, by then I'll have cleared most of this riff-raff out of the forest.

On the bright side, Kampfgruppe Ott has arrived in the north, consisting of 3 infantry companies, an pioneer company and an AT company, as well as a self-propelled infantry gun/artillery company and some mortars. They're SS, so the quality is somewhat better than what I've been dealing with so far. I'll be sending them south along the edge of the woods, to the place where the HQ surrendered, to flush out any remaining enemies, then west through the woods, to the western edge.

17.59:



The attack on Bucholz Station is finally getting underway. Unfortunately, the 1st fallschirmjäger battalion is way ahead of the 2nd fusilier battalion, mainly because the fusiliers decided to take a nap halfway there. I had to order them not to sleep, but they're still moving kind of slow. They've hardly even done any fighting so far, and they're not even that tired. I guess 17.59 is after their usual bedtime. Hopefully, the FJ's will be able to hold their own for a while, untill the fusiliers get there. I've also ordered the other FJ battalion to attack from the east, but they'll have to walk through about a km and half of forest first, so they'll probably be a while.

In other news, the battalion at the very north edge of the forest, which has so far managed to avoid enemy contact (well, apart from losing that pioneer company earlier) has come under heavy artillery fire. I'm not really sure who's spotting for the artillery, since I don't see any units nearby. They're exhausted, so I'm considering just giving them a defend order, so they can get some rest. On the other hand, it's getting dark, so maybe I should let them push on for a little while yet, hoping that the artillery fire will stop soon.

Alright, so by now I guess it's obvious that I'm going to do more than one update per game day. I guess I'll just keep going as I've done so far, and do one whenever something interesting happens. I hope that's ok with you guys.

(in reply to Deathtreader)
Post #: 4
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/29/2010 2:18:50 AM   
Franklin Nimitz

 

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Keep 'em moving- you don't have to clear all of the forest, remember where your points are scored

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Post #: 5
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/29/2010 2:23:33 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Franklin Nimitz

Keep 'em moving- you don't have to clear all of the forest, remember where your points are scored


Yeah, I know, but those guys are ready to drop. I think it might be counter-productive to have them continue tonight.

Also, I will be needing at least one road open and clear of enemies, all the way from the eastern to the western edge, in order to quickly move troops across the map, to the exit points, on day 3 and 4, as well as for resupplying my atticking troops. So I'm going to dedicate at least some troops (probably not a lot, though) to clearing that forest of enemies. Otherwise they could seriously delay my plans later on.

(in reply to Franklin Nimitz)
Post #: 6
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/29/2010 2:27:07 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
19.00

Kampfgruppe Peiper has just arrived, under the command of Joachim Peiper. Here's what I imagine he looks like:



He's still missing a flak battalion, a tank battalion, and 3 tank companies, but he did bring the 3rd battalion of the 2nd SS panzer grenadier regiment, which has two mechanised infantry companies, as well as pioneer, anti tank, artillery and mortar companies. He also brought the Spitze company, which consists of a mechanised infantry company, a pioneer company, an artillery company and most importantly, a tank company with 15 PzKfw IV Ausf J.

Night will be falling soon, and most of the days action is already over. Most of the units that saw action today are ready to drop where they stand, and a few are already sound asleep. Here an overview of the situation:



I plan on sending Spitze company west, to help out the FJ's and fusiliers at Bucholz Station. I'll be sending the 3rd battalion of the 2nd SS panzer grenadier regiment north west, to clear the road to losheimergraben. There are just a few scattered and exhausted enemy units there, but I don't want them to ambush my reinforcements end supply columns in the future, so I'm going to deal with them now. Besides, I don't want to give Peiper's units too much of a workload right now, since I want them to be fresh in the morning.

Looking at the screenshot, you may notice my HQ base. This is where I've moved all of the southern regimental HQ's, along with their bases and any attached artillery. As my forces advance further west, I'll have to figure out a good place to put my artillery, since most of the artillery units don't cover the western third of the map. I'm thinking about putting them in the forest, once it's been cleared, maybe around Losheimergraben.

It's becoming clear that most of my units in the north part of the forest won't be able to reach the western edge by midnight. There's still enemy resistance, and my units are exhausted. The two battalions that have been assaulting the crossroad, where an enemy battalion is hiding, are given a defend order near the crossroad, with maximum allowance for resting. The northern-most battalion, which was trying to sneak past the enemy, along the northern trail, is given a similar order. Kampfgruppe OTT is the only battalion-sized force, in that area, which still has some fight in it. I decide to send him south west along the trails, then north to block the road behind the enemy battalion. When/if he gets there, he can rest.



At midnight, I'll reassess the situation, and try to come up with a plan for day 2. I already have a rough idea, but I want to see how things play out this evening, particularly the fighting around Bucholz Station, but also the progress of KG OTT.

< Message edited by Nikolaj -- 10/31/2010 1:12:38 PM >

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 7
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/29/2010 3:54:04 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
The attack on Bucholz Station has run into a number of problems, the worst of which is that most of the troops carrying out the attack are exhausted, and aren't making much progress. They keep retreating, with the occasional rout thrown into the mix. With the exception of Spitze battalion, they've all been given defend orders, with maximum rest. Hopefully, they'll be worth something in the morning.

At the same time, Spitze battalion has halted its attack, for some reason. Before even making contact with the enemy, the companies just stopped on the road, right outside Bucholz Station, and stayed there for several hours, untill I finally re-ordered the attack, which seems to have worked. They're moving again now, but it's getting late and I'd like them to get some sleep, too.

here's the situation at 00.03:



All of the enemy companies are too close to my own to order artillery barrages on them, unfortunately. I'm hoping Spitze will be able to dislodge them.

Further north, KG OTT hasn't made it all the way along the route which I ordered it to take earlier, but that's ok, since I reconsidered a while ago, and ordered him to defend/rest at the crossroad just north of his current position, instead. That way, he'll be poised to attack west, in the morning.

To sum up, I didn't quite manage to achieve my objectives for the day. I have 2 companies pinned down in the north part of the woods, where elusive enemy battalion has started a counter-attack. They're trying to rest, but are also retreating/routing all over the place. If they can manage to get some rest, they might be able to take out that battalion in the morning, but I very much doubt they'll be able to participate in any attacks west of the forest. I do have 3-4 other companies as well as KG OTT, to carry out those attacks, from the northern part of the forest, though, so it's not a total failure.

In the south, I still haven't managed to take Bucholz Station, which is an important objective, from which to launch further attacks north and west. I really want to take that before dawn, but otherwise I'll have to take it early on day 2. I'm hoping that the FJ's battalions and the fusiliers, which have now been withdrawn from the fighting, will have a chance to rest up before morning, as they will be necessary for further attacks.

On the bright side, I have 3 panzer companies south of Bucholz Station, and 3 infantry battalions and a mechanised SS battalion around Losheimergraben, which are all pretty well rested, and should be ready for action in the morning. Also, I will have quite a few units arriving throughout the night, which should help take the pressure off those battalions too tired to fight.

Here's my tentative battle plan for day 2:



I've marked the primary objectives for day 2 in red. The blue rings designate secondary objectives, that I may or may not try to take, depending on how it goes. Note that one of the blue objectives is a bridge, and that it doesn't grant any points. It will, however, allow me to quickly transfer forces from one side of the river to the other, so I figure I should probably take it. There's one green ring, which marks Elsenborn Ridge itself. It's rather unlikely that I'll be able to take, or even attack that one, but it's worth 15 points, not to mention that it looks like a very nice place to place some tanks and such.

The red arrows show the lines of attack, but note that I've not yet decided exactly which units will be attacking where. I estimate that I'll need the bulk of my reinforcements to attack from Bucholz Station and Losheimergraben. Partly because I think that KG OTT and the 3-4 battalions in the north will be able to take Rocherath-Krinkelt by themselves (with maybe a few reinforcements), but also because I think there's a chance the enemy might counterattack to the south, to regain the objectives there.

As night progresses, I'll hopefully fine tune the plan a bit. The attacks will commence at 06.00-07.00, depending on how many reinforcements have arrived, how tired my troops are, whether the enemy counterattacks, and so on.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 8
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/29/2010 7:40:23 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
06.07:



There have been a few developments through the night. The enemy counterattack in the north of the forest caused one of my AT platoons to surrender. Luckily, the enemy didn't push on, so my two battalions have managed to get some rest. They're not completely rested, but hopefully they'll be able to beat that enemy battalion, which has caused me so much trouble.

At Bucholz Station, the enemy put up stiff resistance. They had an infantry company blocking the railroad and part of the road, which stalled the attack of Spitze company, which I eventually ordered to get some rest. At about 4.00 in the morning, though, the enemy company retreated, then routed, after which I ordered Spitze to attack again. The company has now surrendered, leaving only a mortar company and a battalion HQ to defend the station. It will soon fall, or so I hope. Unfortunately, neither Spitze, nor any of the other battalions in the area, are particularly well rested.

I did receive some reinforcements during the night, though, including 2 infantry battalions. They've been marching through the woods, towards Losheimgraben, from where they're supposed to continue west towards Bucholz Station, to reinforce the attacks towards Honsfeld and Hünningen. I also received 2 companies of King Tigers, with another scheduled to arrive soon. They'll be operating independently, supporting the troops at Losheimsgraben and further north.

Another interesting development is that the enemy has started a counterattack towards Losheimsgraben, along the highway. Tanks have been spotted. With the reinforcements, I now 5 battalions there, as well as 2 companies of King Tigers on the way, so I should be able to push them back. In fact, I'll have to, since that highway is crucial to the attacks on Hünningen and Mürringen. I've already ordered 2 battalions to attack.

I've also issued some movement orders to some of the companies in the northern forest. They're to deploy along the western edge of the forest. Once they get there, they will attack Mürringen and Rocherat-Krinkelt. Another Battalion in the forest will bypass the counterattack towards Losheimsgraben, and cut off the highway behind the enemy (this is assuming that the highway isn't clogged with enemy companies, of course).

Spitze and company will clear out Bucholz as fast as they can, then they'll continue west, supported by the panzer battalion to the south, and 2 of the companies in Losheimsgraben, which will hopefully have arrived in Bucholz by then.

10.24

The situation in the northern forest is looking good. The battalion that has been stalling a rather large part of my force seems to have left. On the other hand KG OTT and the northernmost battalion have encountered an enemy battalion each, so one of those might be it. Both enemy battalions have been hit hard by artillery, and the one to the north is routing all over the place. I expect to defeat both soonish.



Meanwhile, the attack from Losheimsgraben is getting underway. Here, too, the enemy has been hit hard by my artillery, and they're giving ground. Meanwhile, the battalion I sent to cut off their retreat is getting ready to strike, supported by a company of King Tigers. Things are looking good.



The downside is that I still haven't managed to dislodge the mortar company at Bucholz Station, despite hitting it hard, and the attack towards Honsfeld still hasn't commenced. Reinforcements are en route, though, so I'm still optimistic.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 9
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/29/2010 11:25:44 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
14.11:



The mortar company at Bucholz Station was finally routed. After firing at it with several infantry and tank battalions since early morning, it took a company of 15 panther tanks, literally rolling right over it, before it finally budged. The Bucholz Station objective has been achieved but it took much longer than expected, which has put a dent in my plans. It's imperative that my units there attack west as soon as possible.



The attack from Losheimsgraben towards Mürringen has also taken longer than expected, although it turned out that the enemy counterattack consisted of just one battalion, which has now been completely destroyed. The enemy has placed a company of Shermans on the highway, to block my attack, but I'm moving King Tigers into position to fire at it. I've already ordered several battalions to attack towards Mürringen and Hünningen.



In the north part of the forest, there has been hard fighting. It turns out that the main enemy counterattack was there, and not at Losheimsgraben, as I thought. I guess he probably has some objectives in the forest. There's a company of Shermans here, too, and all I have to counter it is a company of jagdpanzers and 1 or 2 measly AT companies. I've actually managed to destroy quite a few enemy units, but my guys are being worn down, with the northernmost battalion bunkering down to rest, and several companies routing and retreating. I'm pressing on, but I'm not sure I'll be able to take the Rocherat-Krinkelt objective today, unless I can manage to send some form of help from the south.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 10
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/30/2010 12:39:03 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
It's 16.01 on day 2, and Kampfgruppe Müller just arrived in the north a few minutes ago, shortly followed by the 12th SS panzer division. KG Müller consists of 2 companies of 14 Panzer IV's each, 2 flak companies and an AT company. The 12th SS panzer division only brought one mechanised infantry battalion. They've both been ordered west through the woods, to help out KG OTT, and the battalions supporting him. This is just what is needed to destroy those shermans!



KG OTT has managed to make some progress, though. A lot of enemy companies have been surrendering, and my guys are now getting ready to assault Rocherat-Krinkelt. I doubt I'll be able to take it before night falls, though.

Further south, Mürringen has come under attack. The shermans lost about 5 tanks and routed, and now the town is only being held by a single infantry company. My main force still hasn't reached the town, but a few companies from have arrived from the east, and are attacking. I'm hoping to take it soon, in which case I may try to advance further.

To the west, Spitze and my tank battalion has cleared the forest and are now getting ready to attack Honsfeld. They'll be joined soon by several infantry battalions, although my fallschirmjägers are done for the day. They were mauled pretty badly by the mortar company that surrendered earlier.

21.16:

I was too optimistic, it seems. I still haven't taken a single one of the objectives that I set for day 2. My battalions are bunkering down, one after the other, ignoring my attack orders. Most of them are really exhausted, so I can't really blame them. Unfortunately I did, for a little while, and I made a few dumb decisions.

In order to flush out the infantry company in Mürringen, I ordered to King Tiger companies to park just outside his inner AT ring, but inside his outer ring. That means he can fire at them - which he is - but not at full efficiency. Unfortunately it's dark and my tanks can't see him, and hence they can't fire back, so I've put them at risk for nothing. I'll have to pull them back, before they start taking losses. The infantry companies that were attacking him, bunkered down, and one of them was subsequently routed by artillery fire, after which he was destroyed by a bunch of companies a bit to the east. Turns out there is at least a battalion in Mürringen, and not just a single company, as I naïvely thought. Nothing to be done here untill morning. On the plus side, the entire sherman company surrendered a few hours ago, as well as one or two other companies in the area.



I made another stupid mistake on the edge of the northern forest. Seeing my battalions bunkering down, and knowing that night would soon fall, I was determined to press my reinforcements as much as possible, hoping to take the high ground between the forest and Rocherath-Krinkelt, so I could set up some good positions during the night. I rushed KampfGruppe Müller out on the high ground, and right into a waiting company of shermans (as well as a good deal of artillery fire). One of my Panzer companies has lost 2 tanks already, and is retreating. The other one is about to drive right into the shermans firing line. I'll have to withdraw the entire battalion asap, hoping to limit the damage.

Slightly further to the south, the enemy has circled around my position with at least 2 armoured companies, along the track leading into the forest. There, they forced 2 infantry companies to surrender, before halting their advance. I've ordered a mechanised battalion, supported by my panzerjägers, to defend at the crossroads east of their advance, but they're not all there yet.

The bright side here is that I did manage to destroy quite a few companies during the day, at least 2 battalions worth, in this area alone.



I didn't manage to take Honsfeld and Hünningen either, although at least I didn't make any rash attacks there (well, I kind of did at Hünningen, but it didn't turn into a disaster), and my troops will be able to take it in the morning. Notice the many tanks I have in the area (5 companies, plus some Stugs). They hammered away on the defending troops for several hours, before dark, and sent most of them packing. In the morning, I will have quite an impressive force in this area, since the FJ's will hopefully be fresh enough to join in by then.



Anyway, todays action hasn't been satisfactory. I made very little advance, and I'm on a tight schedule. I've learned not to continue my attacks at night, unless absolutely necessary, though. It's simply to dangerous and costly, and it leaves the troops too tired to be worth much the following day. I'll be retreating the front line troops now, then they'll rest untill morning. One thing I will be doing tonight, is moving all of my artillery (except for a few stationary companies), from the eastern edge of the map to the area around Losheimergraben, which should enable most of them to fire at almost any point on the map. I'll also be moving most of my HQ's to the same place, leaving behind a few flak companies to guard the supply lines.

My inability to take a single objective today means that I'll have to take quite a few tomorrow. The scenario doesn't end untill 18.59 on day 4, but I'd like to reach the western edge of the map by tomorrow, unlikely as that seems. At the very least, I want to take Bullingen, and preferably Elsenborn Ridge, too. In summary, the plan for day 3 is pretty much the same as for day 2, except I've added more objectives. At least I have weakened the enemy considerably during day 2, and I've noticed that they've started sending weary battalions into combat, which surely is a good sign.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 11
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/30/2010 6:39:36 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
Joined: 5/1/2010
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Status: offline
The first attacks commence at 6.30, and by 7.30 full scale battle is raging. Honsfeld is taken by 7.37, Hünnigen at 8.53.

Here's the situation in the south at 9.19:



Yeah, I know, the attack arrows make the map look a bit like crazy town. There's a method to the madness, though. The battalion already in Honsfeld will stay there, defending it for now - if they don't rout, that is, they're not doing too well at the moment. The main part of the forces SE of the Honsfeld will attack through the town, in an attempt to clear the road to Bullingen, which is about 3 km to the NW. The panzer battalion (consisting of 3 panzer companies), located SE of the town, will move to the hill north of the town, to give fire support. Meanwhile, a mechanized SS battalion and an infantry battalion are attacking Mürringen from the east. They will be supported by one of the infantry battalions in Hünningen, which will cross the stream and attack from the south. They will also be supported by a company of King Tigers, located south of the stream.

Meanwhile in the north:



The enemy here is somewhat harder to break, but it's actually going pretty well. The main attack towards the massed enemy forces on the north ridge, is being performed by KG OTT, supported by 2 infantry battalions. He's taken his sweet time to get the attack underway, which is why the situation doesn't look too impressive. Looks are deceiving, though, or so I hope. The massed enemy forces have taken heavy artillery fire, and some of them have already routed. My tank brigades in the area are helping, too. I've ordered one of my mechanised SS battalions to attack west along the road running south of Rocherath-Krinkelt, and I'm keeping the other one in reserve.

The shermans that caused me some trouble last night were actually beaten quite badly during the night, when they got too close to one of my Panther companies, and they lost at least a third of their tanks. I'm not quite sure where they are now, but I'm guessing somewhere to the west.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 12
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/31/2010 2:30:45 PM   
Nikolaj


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Day 3 16.51: The day has been going from bad to worse. I've managed to take Mürringen, but all of the troops who in area are exhausted, and they're refusing to advance further towards Bullingen. I was planning to send some of them north, to support the troops who are still attacking Rocherath-Krinkelt, but they're refusing to that, too. I still have 2 King Tiger companies on the move, though, and they've been told to set up positions on the hill south of Bullingen. It's kind of risky, since there are obviously enemies around that area, but I'm getting desperate.



My troops at Rocherath-Krinkelt have made almost no progress. The enemy artillery has been hitting them very hard, which has taken a heavy toll, particularly since they're concentrated in a rather small area. Every attempt to attack has ended in retreats and routs. Like the troops in the south, they are becoming exhausted, and most of them are no longer fit to fight. I've decided that I no longer have any chance of capturing Wirtzfeld and Elsenborn Ridge, in time, and I'm unsure about Rocherath-Krinkelt itself.



Remember that I decided to move the bulk of my artillery to Losheimergraben, last night? Well, most of them have arrived by now, although there are still a few stragglers. Most of them didn't even start moving untill 12 hours after the order was given, however. Because of this, I've had to make do without most of my artillery, all day. I still had some artillery support, but I could sure have used those ~30 artillery companies earlier. Oh, well.

I had toyed with the idea of abandoning the north side of the river, and concentrate fully on taking Bullingen, then proceeding to the exit points. When further exploring this idea, I realised that I have made yet another horrible mistake. The southern exit points - that is the KG Peiper exit points A, B and C - apparantly expired at 08.00 on day 3. I can no longer use them, and I've lost the chance of scoring those points.



As a result, I'm quite sure that any chance I might still have had, of scoring a decisive victory, is lost, and I doubt I can even manage a minor victory. The best I can hope for now is a draw, I think.

Since the south bank of the river is no longer quite as important, and since extricating my northern troops from the debacle at Rocherath-Krinkelt and moving them south, would be difficult without actually taking Rocherath-Krinkelt, I've decided to keep up that attack, although for now my men will be allowed some rest. If I can take a few more victory points on the north side of the river, I might be able to get a draw.

KG Kühlman has arrived, bringing SS mechanised infantry and tanks. I'm sending him north to reinforce the attack on Rocherath-Krinkelt. Whether he'll be allowed to attack tonight, or held back untill morning, I haven't yet decided.

In summary, most of my forces will be resting untill dawn - partly because they refuse to move anyway, untill they get some rest - at which point a last, desperate westward drive will take place.

I tried counting the number of enemy crosses, by the way. I reached 37, but I may have missed a few. If nothing else, I certainly managed to bloody the 99th infantry division. Too bad I can only get a maximum of 10 points for that...

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 13
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/31/2010 4:43:37 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Day 4 08.50:



The attack is underway, and while I'm making some progress, I'm still unsure about actually making it to the west side of the map. If I can take Bullingen, south of the river, and then clear the last stretch of road, I'll be able to exit enough troops to get the 22.5 victory points. Kampfgruppe Krause arrived a few hours ago, and is making his way to Honsfeld, from where he will make an all-out attack towards Bullingen and further west. Hopefully, Bullingen will have already fallen by then, but we'll see.

In the north, I'm basically just trying to grap whichever objectives I can, which is mainly Rocherat-Krinkelt. I doubt I'll be able to take either Wirtzfeld or Elsenborn Ridge, but after Rocherat-Krinkelt falls (I'm counting on that, and it seem likely at this point), I'll certainly try.

11.04:



The enemy is still putting up stiff resistance in Rocherat-Krinkelt and Bullingen, but I'm making some progress. Kampfgruppe Krause has arrived in Honsfeld, and is getting ready to attack.

Meanwhile, it's becoming clear that the 99th infantry division isn't alone, but has been reinforced by the 2nd infantry division. I know this because the 2nd infantry division HQ has just surrendered.

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 14
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/31/2010 5:51:40 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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14.38:



The Rocherath-Krinkelt objective has been achieved, and although several battalions are already headed for Wirtzfeld, it's clear that they won't be able to make it. The scenario ends in just 3 hours and 20 minutes. The shermans company that plagued me on day 2 has resurfaced, just south of Rocherath-Krinkelt. Even though there's just 7 of them left, they've been causing me some trouble. A company of panzerjägers is dealing with them.

Meanwhile, I still haven't been able to capture Bullingen. 1 infantry company has been holding out and preventing me from getting the objective. KG Krause's attack has only just commenced, since it took him a while to prepare it. He should be able to push the last defenders out of Bullingen, but it's too little, too late to actually reach the west side of the map. I'm bracing myself mentally for defeat.


(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 15
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/31/2010 6:51:44 PM   
wodin


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Good work....

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Post #: 16
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 10/31/2010 7:28:15 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Report to the eastern front as a private? Yeah, that's likely to happen. I've already requisitioned a vehicle, with which I intend to find some allied troops (preferably British, since the Americans involved in this battle may be angry with me) that I can surrender to. Peiper is with me:



As you can tell from the numbers, the 99th infantry division is but a shadow of it's former self. The Americans have lost 101 units out of a total of 165, according to Markshot's chart. This doesn't really help me, since I still lost, but it may serve as an indication that my focus may at times have been more on the man, than on the ball, so to speak.

Here's a screenshot of the final situation:



I managed to take Bullingen towards the end, but lost Rocherat-Krinkelt when the sherman company moved north. They retreated back south, but not far enough for me to regain the town, unfortunately. I doubt it would have made much of a difference, though.

Ever since I realised that I wouldn't win, sometime during day 3, I've been considering what I did wrong, and what I did right. Here are some thoughts I've been having:

Things I did wrong:

1) I think I spread myself too thin, attacking both in the north and in the south. I could have just focused on attacking south of the river - maybe occupying the central hills with tanks, for direct fire support and artillery spotting - and attacked along the highway. Since 4 of the exit points are south of the river, the last one really isn't necessary. Had I realised earlier that the 3 southern exit points would dissappear on day 3, I probably would have done this.

2) Ironically, While spreading myself too thin, I also clustered my forces too much, pretty much everywhere I attacked. As soon as I left the forest, I was under intense artillery attack, and having my forces clustered tightly together meant that they were hit harder than they should have been. I think this is in part due to my decision to conduct the battle on a battalion level. I made this decision because i mistrust the regimental level AI, and often think that it takes way too long to carry out my orders. I only carried out one regimental level attack in the game - KG Krause's attack on day 4 - which actually seemed to work rather well, although it did take a long time to get underway, and the game ended before it finished. I will experiment more with regimental level AI in the future, but my impression is that it works best in the open.

Another reason why my forces were often clustered is my own impatience, I'm afraid. Instead of ordering one or two battalions to attack, and keeping the rest in reserve, I usually ordered whatever I had at hand to attack, leaving all of them exhausted (and chewed up by artillery fire) by nightfall.

3) I used the attack order too much, I think. Towards the middle of the scenario, I started using the move order more often, when moving into positions I knew contained enemy units. I would, of course, tick off the attacks box, allowing the battalion to initiate attacks on its own. This actually worked rather well most of the time, and although the attacks weren't always as effective, they were mounted much faster. I wish I'd done this from the start.

4) I never personally took charge of my artillery. I'm not sure if this would have made a difference, since I had a lot of artillery, and the ai seemed to handle bombardments pretty well, pretty much firing on every single unit in sight. I could have chosen to concentrate fire on certain important points, but to be honest, the scale of the battle and the number of artillery units at my disposal, made it seem like too much micromanagement.

5) I think I was too protective of my tanks. I usually use them in a direct fire support role, preferably placing them on a hill, from where they can fire at several enemies. It might have been a good idea to use them in a more direct role, once in a while, to dislodge stubborn defenders, and such. I did this a few times, usually to great effect, when a single company stalled an entire attack. I still don't think this is the best use of tanks, since it places them at much greater risk, but once in a while they can make all the difference in an attacking role. I'll work at better recognising these cases, and act on them.

Things I did right:

1) Despite some setbacks, I think that my initial attacks in the forest worked rather well, at least in the way they were conducted. In order to control the roads, I attacked - and subsequently garrisoned - every major crossroads in the forest. The result was that I didn't lose a single supply column, at least untill day 4, when my attacks became more desperate.

2) I can't really think of anything else. :)

Things that went wrong, but that I don't feel was my fault:

1) When ordering my corps HQ to move to Losheimergraben, with all of it's attached artillery units, it started out by moving all of the nebelwerfer units down there, then back again. Then it stayed in place for 12 hours, before finally starting to move again. Because of this, I had only a relatively small part of my artillery available on day 3. I can't help but feel that I could have at least managed a draw, if this hadn't happened. I couldn't have chosen not to move the artillery, since my front line was moving out of their range, and moving every unit manually didn't seem necessary (untill it was too late, that is).

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Hopefully, i've learned something from this (I think I have), and maybe I'll do better next time. Perhaps someone else has learned from it, too. In any case, I'd love to hear any advice anyone might have, both regarding this scenario specifically, and the game in general.

Thanks for reading my AAR, I hope you enjoyed it. :)

(in reply to Nikolaj)
Post #: 17
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/1/2010 1:30:47 PM   
nicwb

 

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Thanks Nikolaj - that was a great effort.

I only hope I can do anywhere near as well when I get up the nerve and tackle the scenario.

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Post #: 18
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/1/2010 11:31:34 PM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Thanks for the comment. To be honest, I prefer the smaller scenarios, as they're much easier to get into, and I agree that a scenario of this size is pretty daunting. I played almost the entire scenario on the slowest speed, only switching to regular speed once in a while at night-time. After the first few days, I started becoming somewhat familiar with the forces at my disposal, as well as with the map in general, at which point I felt a bit more in control.

I kind of wish there were a couple more smaller scenarios, since they don't require quite the same amount of time and dedication that the large ones dp, although I did enjoy this one very much, once the initial sense of being overwhelmed wore off. A good stepping-stone, in my opinion, is Peiper's Race for the Meuse, which is my favourite scenario of the ones I've played so far (less than a third, I'm afraid).

I think one of my problems with the larger scenarios, is that I still don't trust the regimental and higher level ai. I see it stall way too often, routinely taking many hours, sometimes days, to carry out relatively simple orders. I might be doing something wrong, but not knowing why a formation isn't moving, when it should be, leads me to mistrust the ai, and hence not rely on it very often. I'm hoping that a few patches down the line, I'll be able to trust it enough to use it more. :)

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Post #: 19
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/3/2010 12:45:46 PM   
nicwb

 

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I know what you mean - I haven't got a good enough grasp of the game to feel confident about tackling the larger scenarios. I also tend to run at the slowest speed which of course makes the game longer.

Most of the players I've seen seem to prefer running at battalion level. For me one of the attractions of the game system is that you don't have to micro manage.


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Post #: 20
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/3/2010 2:19:57 PM   
wodin


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I always stayed away from large scenarios in the previous games...however as the Bulge has so many I decided to go for it...the lesson is you have to rely on your sub's more and give orders to regiment or even brigade level....on the odd occasion when the need arises you can give orders lower down....it does demand a different way of playing and to be honest I really enjoyed it...it was liberating....I suggest the Road to Bastogne scenario as the Germans...thats the one I went for and found it alot easier to manage than previously imagined...there are still large scenarios I look at and find daunting....but once you get started with them it becomes second nature....I also find checking all the Obj's and the time they turn on or off and then plan accordingly...

So go for it....and think at the level of a higher commander looking at the scenario form an operational view rather than the smaller scenarios which is more tactical. At times you will jump in and give orders to the odd company and battalion...I also always man manage my art...by that I mean at the start I give each of my heavy Arty a defend in situ command....then when the battlefield moves out of range (or just before) I give them a move\defend order closer to the action.

< Message edited by wodin -- 11/3/2010 2:21:03 PM >


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Post #: 21
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/4/2010 6:46:48 AM   
tyrspawn

 

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Excellent read.

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Post #: 22
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/5/2010 2:14:00 AM   
Nikolaj


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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Thanks for the comments, guys. I appreciate them. :)

@Wodin: When ordering brigades and regiments around, don't you ever have trouble with them taking too long to carry out your orders? As I said, I sometimes see them take over a day to carry out an attack. I may be doing something wrong, I'm not sure, but I'll experiment a bit more with it. I'm doing the Peiper Crosses the Meuse scenario, at the moment, but I'll try out Road to Bastogne afterwards. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

(in reply to tyrspawn)
Post #: 23
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/6/2010 11:33:59 PM   
mvdh1

 

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Nikolaj:

Superb AAR. One of the best I have read. Very informative and your style of writing makes it a fun read as well.

So far my favorite scenario is Peiper's race for the Meuse as well though I have only played a couple so far. BTW, your Peiper pictures and captions were quite hilarious too.

I will have to try Elsenborn Ridge. It looks like a fun challenge.

Mark

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Post #: 24
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/7/2010 12:28:31 AM   
johndoesecond


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikolaj

Thanks for the comments, guys. I appreciate them. :)

@Wodin: When ordering brigades and regiments around, don't you ever have trouble with them taking too long to carry out your orders? As I said, I sometimes see them take over a day to carry out an attack. I may be doing something wrong, I'm not sure, but I'll experiment a bit more with it.

quote:

wodin


@Nikolaj: That exactly were things I was curious about in this post:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2614424

What do you think?

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Post #: 25
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/7/2010 2:12:03 PM   
simovitch


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make sure your Regt HQ's are close to your subordinate HQ's. That's really about all you can do unless you can give the Regt HQ the command at the start if the scenarios specifies "no orders delay at start."

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Post #: 26
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 11/9/2010 11:36:21 AM   
Nikolaj


Posts: 140
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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quote:

ORIGINAL: mvdh1

Nikolaj:

Superb AAR. One of the best I have read. Very informative and your style of writing makes it a fun read as well.

So far my favorite scenario is Peiper's race for the Meuse as well though I have only played a couple so far. BTW, your Peiper pictures and captions were quite hilarious too.

I will have to try Elsenborn Ridge. It looks like a fun challenge.

Mark


Thanks, you're making me blush. :)

In case you didn't know, the pictures I used for Peiper are actually of the actor, Derren Nesbitt, from the (excellent) film Where Eagles Dare.

I definitely recommend this scenario. It's not my favourite so far, but it's still a lot of fun, and in my opinion, quite a challenge. I'll definitely have to return to it, at some point.

@johndoesecond: I posted a reply in your thread. Sorry for the delay, but I'm a bit stressed at the moment.

@Simovitch: Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. Should come in handy, or so I hope. :)

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Post #: 27
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 7/20/2011 11:30:06 PM   
Skyhigh

 

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Let's reactive an old but excellent topic :)

Got a question here: I play Elsenborn now for the 2nd time - the first time, I got stuck in the woods for way too long. Didn't get Losheimergraben before well into Day 2.
The second time, I did a lot of stepping in and ordered companies on extended firing missions, to dislodge the troops blocking the forest tracks and to chase the troops out of their fortified positions at Losheimergraben. This time around, I got Losheimergraben at about 22:00 on Day 1. However, personally ordering those companies is a bit... gamey, too much micro.

You however, managed to occupy it at 12:39 Day 1! How? I use the same forces, 27 and 48. You give them an attack order? On my first try, I also sent the 48th up north, to attack Losheimergraben from the north, and the 27th from the south east. However, 48th got stuck on the crossroads and 27th was at it alone for a long time.

How on earth did you manage to take it after 6 and a half hours? :)

(excellent AAR by the way :) )

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Post #: 28
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 7/21/2011 8:17:58 PM   
Lieste

 

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Not sure, as I haven't analysed the local combat for this segment of the combat, but I suspect a combination of "high losses" and initially "high aggression" to get troops deployed with few(er) casualties (aggro) and no retreating from those taken (losses)...

Combined with neutralising fires from direct fire weapons, indirect mortars and artillery, and a progressive relaxation of aggro from high to medium, to get troops moving forwards.

Orders given may also have been move with attacks and bypass, rather than a formal attack, to get the forward momentum earlier, although with more friction if opposition is heavy. The route of approach may also have been from a flank, avoiding the obvious routes along the trails, but that is less certain, and might have less effect... however, careful selection of FUP and approach routes can give concealment and cover for much of the attacking force in some circumstances so a quick terrain analysis often pays off. (Assuming that one isn't pausing unless absolutely necessary (ie for changing order durations and start times - these changes only stick if done while not running).



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Post #: 29
RE: Elsenborn Ridge - Germans - 7/22/2011 2:52:52 PM   
Skyhigh

 

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This is so unfair....

I manage to get about 21.9 out of 22.5 completion points of Kampfgruppe Peiper out until it closes...
Reason why the last 3 units wouldn't exit is ... a 24h refueling job?

Anyway, I was thinking, 21.9 points is not bad - so I continue, secure Honsfeld, Hunningen, Murringen, after of course securing Bucholz and Losheimergraben... which is amounts to 47 points I am not mistaken... plus those of getting Peiper out, I should win the scenario (finally! I tried about seven times this week).

But no! Marginal defeat, giving me 62 points, and the Allies 100 points. Why :(

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 30
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