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Grand Campaign (Running AAR)

 
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Grand Campaign (Running AAR) - 1/13/2011 2:07:34 PM   
Pergite!

 

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Höfen Ho-down

I have decided to try and play all the scenarios in their correct order based upon the Annex G in the manual. First out is Höfen Ho-down, from the German side.
Feel free to contribute with questions and comments. Sometimes I will probably halt, post the narrative and then take suggestions on how to continue the fight.

Ingame briefing:
quote:


December 16th 1944, 0600 hours,

Historical Scenario. Höfen-Monschau sector, Belgium.

The plan for General Hitzfeld's LXVII (67th) Corps, or "Corps Monschau", was to break through the American lines at Höfen on either side of Monschau, push on past Mützenich and take up defensive positions near Eupen, providing flank protection for the 6th Panzer Armee.

On paper, Corps Monschau was to have 2 full strength Volksgrenadier divisions (326th and 246th) at it's disposal. However the 246th was unable to disengage from the fighting east of Aachen, and 2 battalions of the 326th were unavailable as well for the initial assault on December 16th.
Herr General, our impressive artillery barrage on the enemy lines is lifting - the great offensive has begun!

Unfortunately you are missing almost half of your command due to the intense fighting still raging East of Aachen. We are hoping that some more of your units will be able to join in the great offensive soon but for now you must make do with what you have.

Your area of operations lie on the extreme right flank of the offensive so your task is to secure the high ground overlooking Mützenich, and occupy the towns of Monschau and Höfen. This should provide a firm shoulder to defend against the expected American counterattack. It is imperative that you secure your objectives with minimal losses.

The enemy is dug in on the ridge ahead of you, but intelligence reports that they are mostly green troops and very few in numbers. Good luck!





326 Volksgrenadier Division



Oberst Dr. Erwin Kaschner


The situation
The sun will rise in two hours and its freezing conditions. The ground still seems muddy though. My forces are as the orders stated indeed lacking. I do have ample firesupport, but no ammo at the moment and only three infanty bn to start with. One additional bn will be arriving around supper and another for lunch the next day. I will have to limit myself focusing my scope on what that can be achievable.
The enemy should be be somewhat disrupted from our bombardment but still poses a clear problem for me. The initial intel suggest that there are numerous armoured units opposing us. Several companies of M8´s and a platoon of M18´s could prove a problem for our infantry, especially if our artillery does not get resupplied soon.


The M18 Hellcat, something that might cause a problem for my infantry


The plan
A reduced battalion with fire support will initially create a fient/distraction up north in order to force the enemy to divert his forces north. This bn will also constitute flank protection.
Fire support assets (7.5cm guns) will simultaneously redeploy to the forest edge directly west of ROHEN in order to attack enemy movements (primary the light tanks) along the highway from N to S.
Two battalions will then attack HÖFEN and create a breakthrough. Lastly the reinforcing battalions will exploit the breakthrough and advance through HÖFEN and attack KALTERHERBERG.

The initial Schwerpunkt will be HÖFEN, where the breakthrough will be created. By 1600 hrs I will have pinpointed where the reinforcing bn will be attacking, and hopefully they will be able to exploit some ground before it gets too dark.



The intial draft for the concept of operations

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< Message edited by Pergite! -- 5/15/2011 8:38:04 AM >
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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 2:29:28 PM   
oldspec4

 

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Looking forward to your AAR

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 2:36:41 PM   
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Congratulation! I will be looking forward to your AAR series.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 3:53:55 PM   
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0830hrs

The feint is working. I have noticed movement toward the north. A successful diversion must always be believable and I have hopefully managed something that is working. I have taken my first casualties from the M8´s 37mm guns, that is what it sounds like at least. The armoured units seem to be moving which means that they aren't entrenched and that is good news.

Down south the assault will shortly begin, so its time to call off the fient and make them defend, well outside of enemy gun range.



The northern units are about to abort their probe since they are taking heavy fire

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 4:12:00 PM   
AKCLIMBER

 

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Quite an ambitious undertaking. Looking forward to following your exploits.

Cheers!

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 6:02:47 PM   
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0930hrs

The assault on HÖFEN is on the way and it is looking good. The southern bn formed up in the forest about 2km from their objective and quickly gained their assault formation and started to take terrain. There is a light fog present that worked in my advantage I guess. They never requested any fire support and managed to get a jump on the enemy in the outskirts of HÖFEN without taking any casualties. One enemy company is routed and I guess more is to come in that department.

The northern battalions advance on HÖFEN formed up in a lowline just 1km outside of their objective. They did not manage to get a proper formation before their assault started and looks like they are attacking in a file. I have a small reserve KG (made up from a infantry and fusilier company detached from the feinting bn). I am contemplating in committing them in support for the northern advance on HÖFEN. I will probably have to face a counter attack from north in that area so its vital that I secure it rather quickly.




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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 6:36:35 PM   
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1200hrs

The southern assault on HÖFEN succeed beyond expectation. Two enemy companies destroyed and minimum of own losses. They are currently reorganizing and the bn staff and support units are on their way to setup defences.

The northern part of HÖFEN did not succeed at all. My units where targeted by heavy artillery fire and took heavy losses. They routed and are currently regrouping in the woods where they initially started their attack four hours ago. I do not like to reinforce failure so they have new orders (depicted in the screen shot) to disengage, avoid enemy contact and move into the part of HÖFEN we now control. The successful bn will make up for their shortcomings in a house to house battle north through the town.

The counter attack came sooner then expected. Armoured units rolled right through HÖFEN and will soon be engaged. Thankfully we are in the built up area now so we don´t have to face them in the open. My artillery got their supplies as well and the nebelwerfers have been targeting the northern part of HÖFEN extensively for some time now, probably inflicting some losses on the looming counter attack.


The crews for the III Bn 89 Werfer Rgt 17VW bde went busy as soon as a transport arrived with more rockets





The routed bn will use the following route, utilizing the terrain to gain concealment from the enemy.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 7:05:52 PM   
Pergite!

 

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1430hrs

The fears about the enemy armour seems to have come true. The aggressive AI have taken the initiative and massed his tanks in a devastating attack on my broken bn. I believe it was safe in the forest/lowline but that proved to be false. I am forced to mass a lot of artillery on rockets to stall the potential massacre.

The allied artillery is also beginning to take its toll. The only option to counter it at the moment is to dig faster and deeper. An additional bn will arrive in 2hrs and they will have a target rich environment to greet them. The question now is if they will battle it out in HÖFEN or bypass it in the gap I have managed to create, and head further west exploiting deeper.





I still don't know the type of armour I am facing. It however moves fast and poses a great threat to my forces. Their advance have thankfully stalled in the midst of a massed artillery and rocket attack.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/13/2011 10:37:30 PM   
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Subscribed!!

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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)

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 12:26:47 PM   
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1630hrs

The good: The bn in dire conditions in the last report have managed to retreat and started to reorganize. One coy is down to just 15% in man and material, the others are a bit better but they have all taken heavy losses.

The bad: The allies how now directed their deadly bombardment and armour to the southern part of HÖFEN. The bn there is taking losses due to intense artillery fire and have lost all cohesion and the will to fight. The enemy armour is about to pounce on them any moment which makes their situation rather bleak. I have desperately pulled forward eight 7.5cm IG 37s in hope to knock out some vehicles.




The awful situation in the southern part of HÖFEN. My artillery and rockets are pounding the allied units, and theirs are totally devastating mine. Notice the two gun platoons that are creeping up the ridge to the east in order to provide support. One is already taking incoming fire.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 2:01:32 PM   
Pergite!

 

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2230hrs

The darkness was a welcomed by my forces. The allied artillery stopped haunting their every move and they where finally able to get themselves sorted. Morale was at an all time low, but at least the fatigue and cohesion where given a chance to improve.
In HÖFEN the enemy where now trapped between the the battered defenders and the newly arrived reinforcing bn from the south. Since the supply into HÖFEN was limited there where just a handfull of panzerfausts left, now things started to look a bit better.

The darkness also allowed for a probe on MONSCHAU, the town in the middle of the AO. I suspected that it was left relatively undefended given the amount of units engaged in HÖFEN. This proved to be true and I am now in the process to securing the town.

My initial plan does no longer work as I hoped, but I am not surprised. A plan that works without changes is a really rare exception. A coy of StugIII´s will arrive at first light and they will be tasked to support the battle in HÖFEN. My forces are too fatigued to do anything else than to dig in. The fighting in HÖFEN will continue throughout the night, but I will not go on the offensive until reinforced. Hopefully someone out there in the now burning and ruined village will get a couple minutes of sleep.










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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 3:26:16 PM   
Pergite!

 

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0700hrs



Soldiers from the 5 coy 751 Gren Regt retreat from enemy fire as the sun starts to rise over the fog covered battlefield



The dawn is slowly coming with a fresh new day. For the forces in HÖFEN it has however been a rough night. The units that where trapped between our two bn´s where two mechanised companies with M8 tanks, as well as a enemy bn HQ. The battle raged on and off all night and was going in our favour. The supply situation was not good, but most of my companies in HÖFEN managed to get ressuplied, not all however. One of my company suddenly started to rout, with a marker that they started to surrender to the enemy. This was soon followed by another one. I quickly glanced over the status for these units and saw that they had taken just about 10% losses and in all where doing rather well. The answer however was to be found in the equipment and supply menu.

As the sun starts to rise over the muddy and foggy battlefield the fighting ensues. In an hour or so I will probably now what the situation looks like.




This is the reason for a desperate route. The company is completely out of ammo. All that remains is a few rounds for the panzerschreck.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 3:49:31 PM   
Pergite!

 

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1030hrs

The enemy has somehow managed to sneak in more units into HÖFEN during the night. The morning proved a difficult one for our forces. As you see depicted below, the situation is rather complicated. The two bn´s committed to HÖFEN have been reduced and cohesion is non existent. Individual companies have fallen back over the river SCHWALM (or in all other directions for that matter) and tries to get themselves reorganized. Only two companies are still inside HÖFEN barely keeping a hold of the southern part of the village. Our fire support are now in position on the hill to the east of the village and have started to target enemy occupied buildings and vehicles on the streets.

A reduced bn has been tasked to bypass HÖFEN and move on further to the rear of the enemy in hope that this will create a confusion that in the end will relive our battered forces.




On a quick glance one could think that the allies are surrounded, but that is sadly for me not the truth


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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 4:10:39 PM   
Pergite!

 

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1430hrs


Things are looking better. The last reinforcing bn has arrived and will be welcomed addition to the battle that is raging in HÖFEN. I have realised that the enemy is just as fatigued as us and they seem to really become stuck with the bulk of their forces in that town. The positive thing is that they have lost their advantage of high mobility. They are effectively trapped and will soon face an assault from the north with a fresh bn.
My secondary option was to bypass HÖFEN completely and head further west but I am afraid that the enemy then would be able to break free (M3 half tracks does move a bit faster than German infantry boots) and chase me down, preventing me from accomplish anything at all.







A StugIII from the 2 Coy 326 PzJg Bn waiting for yet another target to appear.

The eight StugIII´s really made a huge difference against the armoured enemy we have been facing. I can not understand why the breakthrough task was not given to a panzer division, because it would have saved both time and lives.




A picture of local supremacy in MONSCHAU. The enemy mechanized unit will soon surrender or be destroyed. The units coming from north is the bn that will put the lid on HÖFEN with its assault.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 10:19:03 PM   
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0000hrs

Night has yet again set over the battlefield. The enemy forces in HÖFEN is now without hope. They however continue to offer fierce resistance, especially by calling in artillery mission after artillery mission. I myself have massed my artillery on the northern part of HÖFEN and my fresh bn have just started to infiltrate into the town from north.

A bn has also disengaged, rested and is now marching towards KALTERHERBERG to seize further objectives. I have created a breakthrough as ordered. The problem now is that I will still loose the scenario if not control all the objectives. There are still enemy units moving around in HÖFEN that prevent me from securing all those vital points.






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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 11:18:55 PM   
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End

The scenario ended at noon on day three. There where still fighting going on in HÖFEN together with sporadic shelling from allied artillery. The 326 volksgrenadier division had however achieved its mission and broken through the allied defensive line. Remnants of the US 395 Infantry regiment have started to surrender in HÖFEN, but there are still two M5 tank platoons holding out in the southern part of the village. My forces lacks ordnance to knock them out, and they in turn lacks fuel to get anywhere.

I had sadly lost almost 1/3 of my men, but I had also achieved the breakthrough needed to continue unhindered towards the Atlantic and victory.



The situation in HÖFEN at the time of the scenario cut-off time. If the US forces would have had the manners to retreat a bit faster from the village I would probably have scored a minor victory at least.


American POW´s being escorted out of the village back to the division CP for interrogation and internment.


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RE: Grand AAR - 1/14/2011 11:32:42 PM   
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The final resolution, a draw...




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RE: Grand AAR - 1/15/2011 1:53:49 PM   
vsadek


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Thank you for this excellent AAR. Off we go to Elsenborn Ridge!

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/15/2011 4:47:08 PM   
Pergite!

 

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ELSENBORN RIDGE




The Situation

This is the schewerpunkt or main effort of the whole WACHT AM RHEIN operation. The 1 Panzer korps is tasked to create and exploit a breakthrough in this area. The opposition is the US 99 Infantry division. The terrain will initially favour the defender with dense woods and a limited road network. Behind the forested ridge the ground however opens up, that will let my panthers roam free. The whole AO is just a transit area, every minute we stay here the more time (effectively supplies) are lost for the offensive as a whole.

Its freezing but the off road conditions are still muddy which will restrict wheeled and most likely also tracked movement to the roads.


From the ingame briefing:

quote:


December 16th 1944, 06:00 hours,

Historical Scenario. 6. Pz. Armee: I SS Pz Korps sector.

The I SS Panzerkorps represented the main effort for the entire Ardennes Offensive. With the 12 SS Panzer division on the right and 1 SS Panzer Division on the left the armored schwerpunkt was to exploit through the gaps forged by the infantry divisions and drive for the Meuse River bridges between Huy and Liege.

The Volksgrenadiers were to make the initial breakthrough for the Panzerkorps and open up the Panzer Rollbahn for the mechanized forces waiting in reserve along the narrow forest roads of the Eifel. The 277th Volksgrenadier Divison on the right was to open up Rollbahns A and B which pass through the twin farming towns of Rocherath and Krinkelt, while the 12th Volksgenadier Division's task was to open up Rollbahn C, the main highway between Losheimergraben and Bütgenbach. The 3rd Fallschirmjaeger Division would secure Rollbahns D and E along the southern Flank of 6. Panzer Armee.

The Allied line in this sector was held by the American 99th Infantry Division. Having arrived on the Continent only 4 weeks earlier, the 99th lacked combat experience. Despite this, the "checkerboard" division was to prove itself a worthy opponent in the fight to defend the Elsenborn Ridge against a German breakthrough.

The scenario begins just as the initial German artillery bombardment is lifting.


< Message edited by Pergite! -- 1/15/2011 8:27:48 PM >

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/15/2011 5:32:19 PM   
Pergite!

 

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The Plan

I have only concentrated on the first day here.
My intent is to achieve a breakthrough through the 99 inf divisions defensive line. The grenadier regiments will focus their efforts to create and secure two movement corridors for my armoured units. As shown on the slide below the grenadiers will be tasked to clear the forest area of opposition. The panzers will then take up the lead and continue the attack over the open ground. Villages will primary be isolated and bypassed given that they do not block my advance towards the exit objectives.

The endstate for day one is to have my panzer units formed up at the forest edge west of the ridge, in good order to continue. At the same time no enemy units larger than platoons are allowed to hinder movement along the roads over the ridge.
Am I optimistic? Yes, probably...






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RE: Grand AAR - 1/15/2011 6:20:56 PM   
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Wow! I see a major improvements in your HQ's situation map. How did you manage that?

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/15/2011 8:20:14 PM   
Pergite!

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: vsadek

Wow! I see a major improvements in your HQ's situation map. How did you manage that?


The divisional HQ just upgraded from Open Office 3.2 to Windows Office 2010

(Btw if I had more time it could look like this.)


What I really would want though is some drawing tools in the game itself. That would be a feature that definitely would improve any wargame. It would really increase the playability to be able to draw out your own plans and make notes directly in the user interface. IRL everything is done with overlays on maps and I have never understood why no computer wargame developer yet have realised what such a feature would add to a game.




< Message edited by Pergite! -- 1/15/2011 8:39:19 PM >

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/15/2011 11:19:05 PM   
vsadek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Pergite!

(Btw if I had more time it could look like this.)

What I really would want though is some drawing tools in the game itself. That would be a feature that definitely would improve any wargame. It would really increase the playability to be able to draw out your own plans and make notes directly in the user interface. IRL everything is done with overlays on maps and I have never understood why no computer wargame developer yet have realised what such a feature would add to a game.



Man, I am very impressed with your skills for graphic presentation. Great work.

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/16/2011 12:10:36 PM   
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Thanks - this series of AAR's promises to be rivetting

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RE: Grand AAR - 1/16/2011 3:10:47 PM   
Pergite!

 

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D1 1000hrs

This is a large scenario and I will not be able to cover the whole battle in this thread. I will however post glimpses of the battle and the general progress from time to time.


The battle has commenced and my units have already gained ground up to 2km behind the first defensive line posed by the US 99 Inf Div. Our forces have not suffered any real losses and the enemy artillery has not yet been effective. Down in the souther part of the OA two of my bn´s already have LOSHEIMSGRABEN within reach and have started to call down artillery on defensive positions.

The slide below shows the northern breakthrough area. The I Bn 989 Grenadier Regt have been ordered to infiltrate the enemy line toward the JANSBACH stream. They have low aggro on their setting and have together with some micro management with an artillery bn managed to cover good ground inside the dense woods. The defensive units bypassed will eventually be mopped up by the follow up forces.

My goal with the infiltration is to reach further west and secure vital road junctions on the main roads, in the process effectively cutting of the defensive line. The breakthrough is made and the US forces bypassed are made irrelevant because I will not have a need to engage them to achieve my objectives.




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RE: Grand AAR - 1/16/2011 6:28:26 PM   
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I love this scenario and I can't tell you how many times I've played it so far. Trying to get HJ over Elsenborn Ridge is both exciting and usually heartbreaking. And getting Peiper to exit takes some special finesse; not the least of which is making sure you are rested and organized before breaking out of the woods near Honsfeld. Looking forward to this...

< Message edited by simovitch -- 1/16/2011 6:29:07 PM >


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RE: Grand AAR - 1/16/2011 6:35:48 PM   
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D1 1130hrs

Another advantage with the infiltration tactic is that you quite rapidly can reach the enemies rear areas. This means that you can get a good opportunity to disrupt or even destroy HQ and Supply units. Fast movement through covered terrain will also do this with total surprise to add to the confusion and devastation. In this example two grenadier companies working in close proximity have started to assault the entrenched HQ for the US 3 Bn HQ 939 Inf Regt, the unit that commands the defence of this part of the front.
I have one company grenadiers even further west, close to my objective for the day. In the northern breakthrough things are going great so far. My artillery units are starting to get restocked, so any enemy counter-attack will be able to get a warm greeting along the narrow tracks through the woods.







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RE: Grand AAR - 1/16/2011 6:50:46 PM   
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D1 1230hrs

The going on the southern part of the front towards LOSHEIMSGRABEN suffered from some kind of frictions in the chain of command. I initially decided to let the experienced regimental commander plan and lead the advance of his three battalions. Everything was going great and the enemy around LOSHEIMSGRABEN had started to be engaged when suddenly someone gave the order to the two lead bn´s to withdraw. I fear that the regimental commander thought that they had moved to far ahead and that he had problems to keep up.
The enemy where disengaged before I caught hold of this problem and took personal control over all bn´s in this area. New orders have been issued and advance is about to begin again. Notice that I advance on four axis onto the objective. My intent is to conduct a single or double envelopment against LOSHEIMSGRABEN (the access to the highway) when the opportunity arises. Support will be given to the units that makes a breakthrough in its advance. Reinforce success, not failure.






Meanwhile in the north the grenadiers of the 989 regiment continue on foot further and further west in the northern area without much opposition.



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RE: Grand AAR - 1/16/2011 9:10:11 PM   
Pergite!

 

Posts: 448
Joined: 6/7/2006
From: The temperate climate zone
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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch

I love this scenario and I can't tell you how many times I've played it so far. Trying to get HJ over Elsenborn Ridge is both exciting and usually heartbreaking. And getting Peiper to exit takes some special finesse; not the least of which is making sure you are rested and organized before breaking out of the woods near Honsfeld. Looking forward to this...


I am looking forward to it too. Its really about keeping up speed in the advance, not allowing to get bottled up or slowed down. The way to success I believe is summed up quite nicely below:

"Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. - Sun Tzu"

The scenario will however be on hold for a couple of days no, so be patient

(in reply to simovitch)
Post #: 29
RE: Grand AAR - 1/21/2011 9:28:57 PM   
Pergite!

 

Posts: 448
Joined: 6/7/2006
From: The temperate climate zone
Status: offline
D1 2330 hrs


Order group held at the 9FJ regt CP just outside of LANZERATH. Spirits are high since they know that they during the night will be the spearhead of the entire offensive.


All was going very well until the massive onslaught of the the allied artillery hit my forces. Indirect fire on its own has nearly destroyed three of my companies. I also made a mistake in not reinforcing my left flank on the force that tried to envelope LOSHEIMSGRABEN. A company surrender when it suddenly found itself trapped by a unexpected enemy counter attack.

The reinforcements has started to arrive and have been sent on their way along the roads that have been opened. Up north its pretty much smooth sailing all the way though the western forest edge. There is still a couple of platoons that manage to cut of the road on occasion but they are bound to run out of supplies soon.

Down south (as pictured on the slide below). The defenders in LOSHEIMSGRABEN has been shelled heavily and kept in contact all night. In the forest just outside of sight, elements of KG Peiper are preparing for an assault that will kick off just before daylight.
A couple of km south west my FJ:s are conducting a surprise night attack on the train station. They have preformed excellent through out the day and this last push is meant to get the rest of KG Peiper closer to the main road to cut of LOSHEIMSGRABEN from the south and secure the highway acces.




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< Message edited by Pergite! -- 1/21/2011 9:30:03 PM >

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