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Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge

 
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Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 10:07:55 AM   
MikeJ19


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I had a lot of fun with this scenario. It was a good challenge trying to figure out how to win. I stopped at many points to evaluate the situation as make changes to the plan. Overall, I really enjoyed going through an estimate, making a plan and then executing it.

To help me gather my thoughts, I used Powerpoint to capture my thoughts and to outline my plan. As I worked on my initial plan, I tried not to look at the AAR that Daz presented. I did look at it to try and find information about the reinforcements - which he has done so well. In looking at that, I noticed that some of the exit objectives closed before the game ended - this ended up being very important and I'm glad I saw it.

I did not look at his plan, I look forward to comparing our approaches.

Over the next few posts, I'm going to try to outline my planning steps and how the game went - at the end, I will outline what I think I did well, what I need to improve on and some final thoughts.

I look forward to your comments and thoughts,

Mike
Post #: 1
RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 10:13:42 AM   
MikeJ19


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Planning Process

I followed an estimate process to develop my plan. I started with looking at the ground over which the fight would occur - trying to identify the key elements to the terrain. Some of my thoughts include:

Distance – about 16K straight east
Time – 3 days and 18 hours
Terrain

North
Very hilly and wooded, with lots of trails/roads and Rocherath-Krinkelt (RK) is the main focus

Center
Wooded and marshy along rivers, with the main highway running through this area and Murringen main focus

South
Wooded, no good East-West roads and Honsfeld is main focus

Depth
Major Ridge (Elsenborn) in the north
Major river runs east-west and will split forces
Need to get the bridges intact.
Five exit spots
2 north (although only one north of the river)
3 south (found out later that these close during D3)
Bulligen and Elsenborn ridge are key objectives


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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 10:18:39 AM   
MikeJ19


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Next I looked at the two forces - no where near as in depth as Daz. But it is important to know what resources you have to achieve the overall result. I'm not going to outline them here - except to say that I noted that the US reinforcements would likely arrive from the West - although I was not sure of that. This could have become a big issue to me, as I did not think it through fully and I should have tasked forces to cover my flanks in case the reinforcements came from the North or South.

Tasks

1. Exit forces off map (22.5 points for each group of exits)
Balanced between North and South
1800 APerFP
1600 Armour
150 Bombard (about 7 Bns)

2. Capture the Objectives
The key objective, point wise, is Elsenborn Ridge
15 points.



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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 10:20:45 AM   
MikeJ19


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My Plan:

The concept of operations

Push two divisions fwd on a narrow front to secure initial Objs by D2 1200
Secure secondary Objs by D2 2400
Push Panzer Divs through to exit – one North one South
Main effort is in South

Things to consider

If possible, 227 VGD to fix enemy along Elsenborn ridge
Bypass as much as possible front line forces
9 FJ as reserve
12SS exploit North








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< Message edited by MikeJ19 -- 2/22/2014 12:10:39 AM >

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 10:25:00 AM   
MikeJ19


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Okay, how do I show a picture? I wanted to put in a screen shot that I had taken, pasted into Powerpoint and marked up with my initial plan, but I can not figure out how to show it. I have added it as an attachment above, but I've seen screen shots on my other posts.

Once I figure this out, I will add some more posts.

< Message edited by MikeJ19 -- 2/21/2014 11:26:18 AM >

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 12:37:55 PM   
Mahatma

 

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I take a screenshot, save to paint, upload to postimage.org then copy and paste the URL.

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 2:48:00 PM   
dazkaz15


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Very much looking forward to your AAR.
Hope this helps with posing of the images.




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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:08:14 PM   
MikeJ19


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Thanks, I thought I did this the first time, must not have done it correctly. I've add the image to an earlier post.

I took a look at your AAR - very impressive. I took a different approach to my attack, as you will see.

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:14:10 PM   
MikeJ19


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Here is my plan - I've updated the picture (I'm learning slowly how to get images to show up the way I would like them) I'm going to repeat some info:

Concept of Operations

Push two divisions fwd on a narrow front to secure initial Objs by D2 1200
Secure secondary Objs by D2 2400
Push Panzer Divs through to exit – one North one South
Main effort is in South

Thoughts

If possible, 227 VGD to fix en along Elsenborn ridge
Bypass as much as possible front line forces
9 FJ as reserve
12SS exploit North





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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:21:29 PM   
MikeJ19


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First morning

Push onto Rocherath by 277 VGD is going well
989 Regt is doing well as is 990 Regt
Arty prep on OBJ has started
Lots of US forces in Rocherath

Push in South is alright by 12 VGD
48 Regt is pushing into Losheimergraben
27 Regt pushing into Bucholz Station

Need to start moving some shorter range arty fwd

Seizing Opportunities

Looking at pushing 989 Regt, 227 VGD north around the town to attempt to dislocate the forces in RK.
Having seized first two game Obj, are now probing the southern 12 VGD Obj.
Moving 9 FJ forward as depth for 12 VGD
Started moving artillery forward to support attack on RK.

Situation at Sunset around RK




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< Message edited by MikeJ19 -- 2/22/2014 12:22:28 AM >

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:25:29 PM   
MikeJ19


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D1 1900 - Thoughts

I’m finding it hard not to atk RK right away. I should wait until morning so that I can rest my units and move
Arty fwd and resupply

I’m pushing Ott west towards the ridge – hopefully this can dislocate the US forces in RK and maybe they will withdraw or not be reinforced.

I pushed my 227 Recce Sqn towards Wirtzfeld - it should be a good observation position in the morning

27 Regt of 12 VGD is probing Honsfeld - Hoping to surprise US and capture junction point.

Peiper has arrived - I Will try to push along south and exit as quickly as feasible.

Situation at Sunset in the South





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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:33:12 PM   
MikeJ19


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Attack Plan on RK

H-hour 0430 - this allows forces to rest

Fire Plan (Arty) to start around 0415 wiht some harrasing fire throughout night
991 Regt to atk northern part of RK
990 Regt to atk middle of RK
989 Regt to cut of retreat and maybe drive to Wirtfeld if opportunity presents itself
Ott to skirt north towards Ridge (this ended up really helping with the US forces entering from the North - I got lucky here)

The Plan




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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:35:00 PM   
MikeJ19


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Here is the result of the attack at D2 0700 - success




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< Message edited by MikeJ19 -- 2/22/2014 12:35:35 AM >

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:40:35 PM   
MikeJ19


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Following the success in RK

In the North

Attempt to push into Wirtzfeld to seize objective and dislocate the US forces in South and centre

Pushing Ott through woods onto the Elsenborn Ridge

South

The atk in the south is not progressing as well as I would like
Still trying to push into Honsfeld and Hunningen
89 Regt, 12 VGD is moving fwd, but slowly
If these attacks fail, may need to engage Peiper - which would not be ideal

Here is a view of the situation in the North at 1124 - you can see the attempt to push Ott through the woods





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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:46:45 PM   
MikeJ19


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From: Ottawa, Canada
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D2 1300 Situation

US reinforcements arriving from the North (I finally figured this out!). Need to have more forces screening the north.

Wirtzfeld
US forces are defending strongly:

Should I continue the atk?

Or pull back, let them reinforce and try to dislocate them, by taking the Elsenborn ridge?

South
Push Peiper to exit
89 Regt, 12 VGD atk Bullingen with support from 12 Regt

What will US Forces do?

Option 1
Reinforce Bullingen and Wirtzfeld

Option 2
Drive onto RK

Option 3
Hunkerdown on Ridge

Would like them to go with option 2
Drawing them into atking RK would be great.

Options 1 and 2 permit me to dislocate US forces by taking Ridge

The Plan

Stop atk on Wirtzfeld - Draw back to defend along woods west of RK
Screen with Bn to the north of RK to cover US forces are entering from the north

Push 2 Bns onto Bullingen - this hopefully this will draw US forces and may also dislocate US forces in Muringen

Push Peiper towards exits

Look at setting up for an night atk on Wirtzfeld and/or ridge
Ditto for Muringen

Here is the situation at D2 1300






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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:53:12 PM   
MikeJ19


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Morning on D3

Screen north of RK got in place just in time – US counter attacked from north was blunted.

Push onto Bullingen was delayed - Very poor route selection by 1 Bn and then night

Suddenly realized that southern exits were closing soon, started driving units toward the exits.

As of 0600, only need 1 or 2 more units to exit to get full points

Some potent SS troops are left in the south
A Bn of Pz Gren and some arty Bns
Also Holtz’s recce force.

Plan moving forward

North

Probe into Wirtzfeld - Hoping to draw US attention

Attack towards Elsenborn Ridge from woods by 12 SS Div - this is the main effort in the North










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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/21/2014 11:54:31 PM   
MikeJ19


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Morning D3 South

Secure Bullingen

SS Pz Gren Bn to support atk
89 Regt to continue their push
May add a Bn from 27 Regt

Push Holtz towards Butgenbach





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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 12:01:04 AM   
MikeJ19


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D3 was spent trying to get forces to attack.

12 SS Panzer Div's advance went very slowly - mainly because it was fighting the US Forces entering from the North. This helped protect my northern flank, but prevented the Div moving into place to attack Elsenborn Ridge

The probe onto Wirtzfeld failed - as expected.

The defence of RK was well organized and was holding off US counter attacks from the south and the north.

In the South, I had managed to secure Bullingen by 1530 and I had moved Kuhl into place south of Hunningen - was well positioned to attack either Murringen or Wirtzfeld

I was hoping to push Holtz and 2 SS Pz Gren to the exit near Butgenbach

Here is the situation in the South




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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 12:09:42 AM   
MikeJ19


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Morning D4

I launched an attack around D3 2300 on Murringen. It was supposed to have Kuhl driving into the town with an FJ Bn launching a diversionary attack from the south. The FJ Bn ended up doing all the hard work and seized the Objective themselves. Holtz's forces stopped for no apparent reason outside of town - I had checked no rest, so I'm not sure what happened - maybe it was the mud?

I launched a diversionary attack from the south onto Wirtzfeld - mainly hoping to tire out the defenders. As expected the attack did not succeed.

However, I did succeed finally in securing Elsenborn Ridge around D4 0530.

Here is the situation at D4 0700




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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 12:15:55 AM   
MikeJ19


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D4

The last day flew by. I launched an major attack on Wirztfeld, but again Kuhl's forces were slow and never really got engaged in the attack on the town - if they had been a little faster, I would have succeeded in securing the objective - but it was not to be.

The US forces to the West of Bullingen prevented me from take a direct approach to the exit. A 6 man recce outfit was able to hold off my 2nd SS Pz Gren BN and prevented them moving along the road in the south towards the exit near Butgenbach. This also prevented my last reinforcements from getting to the exit. Very brave of those recce guys!

Here is the situation at the end of the game




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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 12:17:32 AM   
MikeJ19


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Decisive Victory

Although I was unable to get any forces to exit at the second set of exits, I was able to secure a decisive victory!




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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 12:22:15 AM   
MikeJ19


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From: Ottawa, Canada
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After Action Report

What went well

Dislocation
I did not go after US forces directly, I focused on going for the Objectives in depth, which forced, I think, the US forces to withdraw and give up some good defensive locations.
This happened early in going after RK and later by pushing towards Elsenborn Ridge

Main effort in South
By pushing far to the West in the South, I was able to get Peiper off in time
Thanks to Daz I discovered that the southern exits closed on D3

Concentration of force
The attacks on RK and Bullingen went well because I concentrated the most force possible to make them work
this included multiple Bn attacking and lots of fire support

Stuck to the Plan
For the most part, I stuck to my original plan
Where I deviated, I did so after really thinking about it.

What I could have done better

Flank support
I did not worry about my flanks and this almost cost me in the North
Luckily, my reinforcements arrived just in time to help protect against the US attack from the North into RK.

Allocation of resources
I did not realize early that some of my artillery resources would be better suited for direct fire rather then indirect. This is especially true with the 88s. I should have assigned some of the artillery directly to the lead Bns

Recce
I did not task enough forces to find the enemy or into positions to observe what the enemy was trying to do.
I did use one recce sqn for this, but could have tasked others as well.

Observations

I was frustrated with the time it took for some units to actually conduct their attacks.
Kuhl’s forces never really engaged in the atk on Murringen or Wirtzfeld – they just seemed to stop.
In the South 6 US soldiers stopped an entire Bn for most of the day. This prevented me from possibly exiting some of the forces through the last exit points, in the end I did not need the victory points, but it was still frustrating.

The US Forces did not try to launch many counter attacks, except towards RK. They were not as aggressive as I expected.

Overall

This was fun. It is a challenge commanding so many troops, but I enjoyed having to come up with a plan, and then executing the plan.

I hope that you enjoyed this account of the battle. If you have any suggestions on how to improve my account, please let me know. I think I will now try this scenario as the American commander.


< Message edited by MikeJ19 -- 2/22/2014 1:23:43 AM >

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 1:07:17 AM   
rickier65

 

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Thanks for the AAR and also for the end game analysis.

I've come to realize that this game system rewards planning and punishes impetuous responses. Which is as it should be I think.

Thanks
Rick

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 7:07:55 AM   
dazkaz15


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Very well Played

The progress you made on day one was amazing.
I'm usually not even out of the forest on day one.

The narrow front tactic obviously worked very well.
You played this is true blitzkrieg style, where the spearhead bypasses stiff opposition, and hardly worries about its flanks, leaving that to the follow up forces.

Even your AAR was fast!

Which patch version were you playing?

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 10:36:20 AM   
MikeJ19


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Rick,

I'm glad you liked the AAR and the analysis. Planning is very important and in a game like this it is easy to get sucked into the battle and lose sight of what you are actually trying to achieve.

Daz,

Thanks for comments. I was worried during my initial assault that my forces were not moving fast enough!!

I really enjoyed this scenario and I do like the blitzkrieg style. The scenario took me almost two weeks to play - with about 5 days of staring at the map trying to figure out what to do. As I played, I took screen shots and saved them to Powerpoint and used them to make up my plan and to try to plan for the next stage. This made doing the AAR at the end much quicker.

I started the game with patch 4.6.269 and decided not to switch when the patches came out.

I noticed your comments on another post about the int bug. It seemed to me that I was fighting an Engineer division at times, as many of the US Forces showed up as Engineer units.

I really like the approach you took in your attack. At one point, I was thinking that I should have tried to fight on a narrower front with both divisions in the vanguard side by side - not quite look you did, but close. It is very interesting to observe how other players do things.

As mentioned above, I'm going to start planning as the American now. Hopefully, I can stave off the German attack.

Have a good day,

Mike

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RE: Axis Attack on Elsenborn Ridge - 2/22/2014 6:18:20 PM   
Fred Sanford

 

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Good job on a tough scenario.

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