For our Friday Games - Dan and I returned to the 2018 March Madness "The Players Pack". And for the first time, I would have the opportunity to play one of my own scenarios. MM49 The Other Side of the Tracks is the first scenario that I designed, which has ever been printed. So, I was really looking forward to seeing how my design played out. The March Madness Players Pack is available from this link http://kansascityasl.com/html/publications.html .
My inspiration for this scenario arose from an article in the Summer 2017 edition of WWII Quarterly magazine. I initially bought this particular copy due to its article on the fighting for Hill 112. But an article entitled: "Love" in the Vosges Mountains would capture my attention. I'm not particularly well read on the fighting in the Vosges. I have read the Lost Battalions book which covers the 442nd US Regiments action to find and relieve a trapped US Battalion. But beyond that I hadn't really read too much. The article covers the actions of Company L, 399th Infantry Regiment of the 100th Infantry Division. The entire article is available at this link: https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/love-company-in-the-vognes-mountains/ . Well worth your time.
The action I selected for this scenario took place in Lemberg. Interestingly, the map included in the article shows that Lemberg was in the sector assigned to the 398th, but the article as well as the Love Company unit history shows that the 399th was in the Lemberg fight or at the very least...L Company was there. One picture in the article drew my attention and from it, the scenario was born.
The fight for this railroad underpass takes center stage in the scenario. In short, the men of Love Company were positioned in a draw not far from this underpass. A smoke screen was dropped by the local US Artillery battery and the Americans charged forward to get up on top of the embankment. A German counterattack through the underpass was repulsed and the Americans were able to put down a punishing fire from the embankment and then move into Lemberg. Securing Lemberg would open the door to Bitche, which would be the 100th Division's most famous battle.
This unit history by John M. Khoury is available on Amazon. The Kindle edition is currently $2.99. Again, highly recommend this resource as a great addition to any ASL library.
After rolling for sides, I would be the Americans of Love Company. My force would consist of 14 x 6-6-6's led by a 9-2, 8-1, 8-0 and 7-0 with an MMG, DC, 2 x Baz 44's and 2 x 60 MTR's.
For support, I would receive a smoke screen bombardment, which would come in very handy.
As the attacker, I would have to control 5 or more buildings to the east of hexrow Q. Not an entirely easy task, especially with only 5 turns to accomplish it.
So...the key for the Americans is to be moving every turn. As you will see...I forgot this important combat maxim.
As the defending Germans, Dan would command elements of the 25th Panzergrendier Division. This veteran German unit was composed mainly of Swabians and Bavarians. I attended university for a semester in Reutlingen, West Germany, which is deep in the heart of the Swabian Alb. Many of the 25th's Grenadiers were from this area. The division would be all but eliminated near Minsk during Operation Bagration. The cemeteries from Stuttgart to Reutlingen to Tuebingen confirm the loss as many of these men's names appear on large plaques in the cemeteries as the bodies remained in Russia. A consequence of the German Wehrkreis system for forming units for the Wehrmacht is that a division could find itself in a terrible situation and the result would be that the region lost every young man. It was not uncommon to see 300 names on plaques in tiny little village cemeteries.
The 25th would be reconstituted and fight with distinction in the Vosges Campaign.
Dan's force would consist of 8 x 4-4-7's, with a 2-2-8, led by an 8-1, 8-0 and 7-0 with an MMG, 3 x LMG's, 1 x 50 MTR, a 20L AA Gun and a Flak-Wagon with a 20L AA Gun. Additionally, Dan would have three foxholes an 5 wires to fortify his position.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Commentary:
This scenario is a nice infantry only design. Short and sweet. The Germans in this scenario face a big group of Americans with high firepower. I will station the MMG with the 8-1 leader at the crossroads where it can lay a fire lane down the road and under the railroad bridge. It can also cover the row Q road, which will have the wire. The 8-0 and LMG in foxhole will cover the other side of the hill. The MTR will position itself to fire on the hill also. The 20mm AA will set up HIP in the village covering the crossroads. So when the Americans break the 8-1 and move through the gap they are met with a nasty surprise. Hopefully these will slow the Americans enough to keep them from taking the needed buildings. The AA truck will back up the 8-0 and if the American attack on the other side of the hill move over to support. The 7-0 with a LMG will set up in the village in good skulk cover to have fire over the wire. With the hill dividing the board into two sides it breaks up the German ability to have interlocking fire lanes and mutually supporting positions. If the Americans come over all in on one side it will be tough.
This wasn't going to be a walk in the woods for sure!
Dan's boys were dug in and waiting.
Dan's 8-1 was keeping an eye on my boys as we came through the underpass.
At this point, I was pretty happy with things. I felt like I was in good positions going into Turn 3.
Dan had positioned it very well. It would control the road.
In better news!! My boys would manage to take out Dan's 20L Flak Wagon! Woohooo!!!
"Hey...are you fellas actually hitting anything...cause it sure doesn't seem like it..."
"Sarge...things are not looking so good down there. We haven't event gotten past that German wire and we only have one movement turn left."
Actually no...I just say...I concede and move on...a speech seems a bit much for a 5 turn scenario...but perhaps for a CG...that might require a speech!!!
Dan's grenadiers had won the day and could relax and enjoy some hot Maultaschen.
And now for Dan's Post-Game Commentary:
The Americans came across on a broad front and the Germans managed to hold...barely. The key moment was a morale check for the American 9-2 where they rolled a 12. The 9-2 wounded and failed to rally for the next movement. The Americans lost movement and some very hard hitting fire base leadership. With this loss of time the American attack ran out of steam and could not take the buildings. This is a fun scenario and a good design. It usually has a clear winner at the end. A good scenario to play with your friends.
That's a wrap on this week's game. Dan and I will be back next Saturday for a playing of ASL Scenario 133 Block Busting in Bokruisk.
See ya then!