From: Phoenix, AZ
This one is shaken, not stirred...
Rochelinval, Belgium, January 7, 1945: Lt-Colonel Wood Joerg's independent 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion
was a veteran airborne unit, whose distinctive patch emblazoned with the acronym "GOYA" (for "Get Off Your Ass")
embodied the independent and irreverent attitude of its members. In mid-December, the battalion found itself pulled
from Laon where it was recuperating from the invasion of southern France and thrown into battle raging in the Ardennes.
From the 21st of December through the 6th of January, men of the battalion weathered "no sleep, frozen feet, knee-deep
snow, cold food and hallucinations" in the dense forests while fighting alongside the 82nd Airborne Division.
Despite privations and heavy casualties, the 551st was victorious in a number of battles for hamlets and villages east
of Trois Points. They considered themselves lucky. On January 7th, however, tragedy struck. The battalion now down to
but 250 men, was ordered to take Rochelinval, a crossing point of the Salm River. The defending troops of the 183rd
Volksgrenadeir Regiment was known to be backed up by a flak regiment and a battalion of 105mm howitzers. The half-
mile of open ground to be crossed to reach the buildings was covered with over a foot of snow. Colonel Joerg waited in
in vain for the promised artillery preperation. When it had failed to materialize by dawn, he asked for a delay until
the following night, but was forced by his superiors to order his men into what would later be reported as a "suicide
attack". With only a few 81mm mortars to provide covering fire, Joerg himself led his proud paratroopers out of the
cover of the woods into the field before Rochelinval.
Game Length: 8 Turns
For the Americans to win they must capture the school building and the church
For the Germans to win they must defend Rochelinval from the Americans
Americans: Squads, MMG's, BAZ's, MTR's
Germans: Squads, HMG, MMG's, LMG's
Boards: #16, #23, #39
Aftermath: With a great shout of their impudent battlecry, the entire body of the 551st charged out of the woods, down
a slope and into the snow-covered field. The Volksgrenadeirs were fully awake by this time and had taken up positions
behind a long rock wall and in the upper levels of buildings that overlooked the Americans' route. Automatic fire swept
across the paratroopers, who were spread out in a skirmish line that stretched from one end of the wide field to the
other. Although many fell, and a few stopped to return fire, the rest of the Americans swept across the half mile, over
the wall and into the village itself, where a bitter close-quarter battle erupted that lasted for the better part of an
hour. With tha fall of the school and the church, two dominating stone structures, the fight was over. When it ended, the
551st held Rochelinval and had taken some 400 Germans, prisoner. But the cost had been devastating. Scarcely 100 were
still on their feet at the end of the day; Colonel Joerg himself had been killed instantly when an enemy shell exploded
nearby (Major William Holm assumed command). After repulsing a counterattack the next day, the exhausted survivors of the
independent battalion were relieved and pulled back to Juslenville for rest and refit. But on February 10th, the final
blow came. That day, a SHAEF directive disbanded the gallant unit, ordering the remaining few men and officers to be used
as replacements in the 82nd Airborne.
Source: General Magazine, Volume 29, Number 2, ASL Scenario G18, GOYA