Sunday, May 7, 2017

Our Saturday Game - Scenario MM35 10th Panzer Takes the High Ground

Dan Best and I once again picked up our dice and went at it Saturday afternoon in another awesome game of ASL. And for this weekend's contest, we returned to the Kansas City ASL Group's, March Madness 2017 Hollis Pack. We selected MM35 10th Panzer Takes the High Ground. This scenario was designed by Paul Works. It covers the actions of the 10th Panzer Division as it attempted to take control of Hill 772 held by Company D, 1st US Ranger Battalion.

The actions depicted in MM35 take place in the overall battle for El Guettar, which would be the first major victory for US forces in the ETO. The movie, Patton, depicts this battle.

This scenario takes place on Board 5a and utilizes the following overlays:  Hi2, Hi4, and Hi5. Dan and I believe these overlays are found in Action Pack 2. I don't own Action Pack 2, so had to improvise some level 1 and level 2 counters to depict the hills. Fortunately, none of the overlays figured into the flow of the battle. But it is always important to review the overlays needed for any scenario.

Dan drew the Germans for this scenario and would therefore be the attacker. He would command elements of the 10th Panzer Division. He would have 6 x4-6-8's, 4 x 4-6-7's, led by a 9-2, 9-1, and 2 x 8-0's. For support he would have an HMG, 2 x MMG's, 3 x LMG's and 2 x 75* LeIG 18's. 

Now, I actually have a bit of a personal connection to the 10th Panzer Division. I have told this tale many times over the years and is always worth repeating. The above castle is the Sigmaringen Schloss in Sigmaringen, Germany. It sits high above the Danube River and served as De Gaulle's HQ at the end of the war. It is still used by members of the Hohenzollern family, but parts of it are open the public. Back in 1985, while touring the castle, I was approached by an elderly German couple. Hearing me speaking English, the man asked if I was American. I said yes and he told me that he had been a POW in Colorado after being captured in North Africa while serving with the 10th Panzer Division. one and only contact with an actual veteran of the Wehrmacht. 

As the scenario defender, I would command elements of Company D, 1st U.S. Ranger Battalion. I would have 7 x 6-6-7's commanded by a 9-2, 8-1, and 8-0. For support I would have 2 x MMG's, a 60 Mtr, and an 81 Mtr. Additionally, I would have 4 x trenches, 5 x foxholes and 2 x 1+3+5 Pillboxes. All in all a pretty stout defense. I would use the trenches to particularly good effect.

Anytime, you get to command Rangers is a good day!

The Victory Conditions were straightforward. The side controlling the most level 3 locations in the original US Setup area at game end would claim the win. I elected not to put my MMG's in the Pillboxes. Instead I placed them at either end of a trench that transfixed the hill across level 2. My thinking was this location allowed me to shuttle men in and out of harm's way and would force the Germans to take the trench before assaulting the remaining level 3 hills.

I placed my 81 Mortar in a fox hole on the edge of the second level 3 hill. It's field of fire would be less than I had anticipated and other than attracting German fire, would not contribute much to my defense.
 Dan opened the game with a lot of PREP Fire. Both guns opened up and some kill stacks drilled my boys in the upfront Pillbox. But in movement phase, a 3-4-7 with the 60 Mtr. would successfully pin and break a group of 3 x 4-6-7's,which would move into their line of sight. At the far  north,  a single German 2-4-7 would be KIA'd while moving in the open.

Throughout the game, Dan's Landsers would have to work hard to overcome not only the terrain but the fact that it provided next to no cover.

 The German guns would initially struggle to obtain hits against my dug in troops. And Dan's infantry would be held at bay by limited US small arms fire.

It's always the 3 factor shots that end up doing the most damage. I naturally rolled an "11" with my 19 factor shot.
 As, I had planed, I used my trench to recover broken units and to shuttle men to either end to repuls the German movements. H5 would be my Alamo location throughout the game.

With only 5 turns in the game, Dan couldn't afford to sit and fire at me. He had to move. So some scattered forces moved along my left, while his 9-2 made a strong move up the middle to the right.

Dan's 9-2 would give a 100% throughout the contest and never gave up.
His 2 x 8-0's would also do a pretty capable job throughout.
 As for me, I was pretty much keeping my head down and trying to survive the pounding of Dan's 75's and his 9-1 stack, which was the supporting force throughout the battle.

Unfortunately for Dan, the 9-1 stack just couldn't get the rolls necessary to support the attacks of his other units. With 16 factors, Dan's 9-1 kept rolling 9's, 10's and 11's. 

Definitely frustrating...

 My strategy of staying in my trench was paying off. Dan's guns couldn't target my Alamo hex and the alignment of the hill allowed me to stay keep half my force out of the line of sight of the 9-1 supporting stack.

The terrain, while it was generally open was also made up of wadis and abrupt elevation changes, which severely taxed Dan's Landsers as they tried to move forward.
 As the game moved into the final two turns, my boys were well positioned in the trench. Dan's 9-2 had attempted to duel with my 9-2 and ended up breaking with his entire stack.

I had neglected to tell Dan that my 9-2 was Lt. Eastwood...
As Dan's boys fell back, my boy also suffered a calamity. Dan's P2 75* would finally land a critical hit on my 81 Mortar and eliminate everyone and everything inside.

Nice shooting boys!

 Dan's infantry continued to move forward despite the 9-2's repulse.

Dan's 9-2 rallied and would led his Landsers in desperate charge towards my trench line.

I would manage to DM the men charging with the 9-2, but he just kept coming...determined to get into my trench....I had to stop him!!!!

In a hail of bullets, we would drop Dan's courageous 9-2 with a KIA.
 The residual fires tell the story.

My 9-2 had managed to hold the line.

The white circles indicate the level 3 locations that the Germans had controlled and the Red circles show the ones still in US control. As the German 9-2 fell and his troops fell back, Dan offered the concession. The US forces had the win.

A great win for my Rangers. My thanks as always to Dan for yet another exciting night of ASL I am already looking forward to next Saturday's game!

Why yes...yes you do!!!

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