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Subject: AAR - The Bridge at Chef du Pont rss

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This scenario covers the actions of about a US company trying to asssault across a German held bridge. Goal is to hold five hexes on the German side with a squad or half squad.

Key setup positions :

US – 60mm MTR in 17B8, .50 cal in 17J7, .30 cal in 17G6
German – 75mm ATG in 17B2 (with foxhole), MG42 in 17I2, squad with MG34 in 17I4

GT1 June 6th 1944

Moving up to the bridge, CPT Moore slowly assigned sectors of fire. SGT Fury, with 1 platoon moved south of the bridge setting up the .30 cal in a stone building just shy of the bridge while Moore moved the balance of the men into the marshy terrain north of the bridge. Seeing no Germans on the opposite bank made him nervous, but hopeful. Rushing the bridge could work…

Helping sight in the 75mm ATG, LT Plassman was angered when he was caught out of position on the German right flank. His scouts spotted the Amis moving up earlier and all his troops quickly moved into hide positions. Hoping their inexperience would not be an issue, he waited.

Looking back to CPT Moore, the men saw the sign. The half squad rushed onto the bridge heading for the opposite shore. Passing the bridge house they thought they spotted movement, but kept going. Halfway across small arms fire rattled off the bridge to no effect. Reaching the end of the bridge their luck ran out as SGT Bauman tapped the MG42 crew. A long burst took its toll and scattered the few survivors.

Plassman – amazed at what he saw, cringed as slowly his line opened up on barely seen men on the opposite side of the river. Within minutes of opening fire, 3 of his squads were shaken by the accurate and heavy return fire. Best he could tell, the fire from the east bank was not letting up, but actually increasing. Even several rounds from the 75mm ATG did little – except for attracting several rounds of mortar fire that drove he and the crew into their foxholes.

Sensing the opportunity, a US squad rushes the bridge but is caught by the previously quirt squad in the bridge keeper’s house. Within seconds half the squad is dead or dying. Even Heath, in heroic fashion, is hit as he rushes the MG. Only fire from the .50cal keeps the German position from finishing off the stricken squad.

With a deep breathe, CPT Moore orders the rest of the men over. One squad breaks into the bridge keeps house, finishing off the Germans there with grenades. Another, moving without pause overruns a shaken German squad as they try and pull back (17G2), killing several demoralized Landsers. Looking back, Moore watches his medic move onto the bridge while also counting his own dead (17H3) from the half squad.

GT2

With fire superiority achieved, the US paras easily move into their rhythm of battle drills. The squad with CPT Moore quietly fixes bayonets and assaults a shaken squad driven form their position by fire from across the river. To great interest, the men look over the Panzerschreck laying next to a German soldier who was shot down (a hero with Rocket Man skill card). On the bridge itself, A BAR team moves up (17H3) after the MG42 engaged troops from LT Clarkson’s platoon. With little room to set up, a 57mm ATG team quickly moves into place near the bridge (17G5) and orients in the direction SGT Fury said a German AT gun was emplaced.

With his position rapidly crumbling, LT Plassman, starts to hope the local reserve under LT Koch arrives soon…

GT3

Quickly swapping out the burned out barrel, the US .50 cal team starts laying down devastating fire on the building housing the MG42 team. In short order the gunner and assistant gunner are killed and the rest of the supporting squad go to ground trying to avoid the heavy fire. Sensing bad things coming, SGT Baumann slips out the back into the bocage at about the same time several US paras move up and assault the position. With little direct fire left covering the bridge, four more US squads quickly move across to the western bank.

GT4

Cpt Moore and LT Clarkson move more men over the bridge and expand their hold. On the German right flank, LT Plassmann finally rallies the 75mm ATG who with an unequaled vigor pump several rounds into the 57mm ATG only 300 meters away shaking the crew. Closer to the bridge, the BAR team that finished off the MG42 position moves into the bocage and emerges with a German NCO as a prisoner. Scurrying across the bridge under guard, Baumann knows his fight is over.

GT5

As LT Koch moves up he can easily see the dire situation. To get to the bridge would require a 100 meter dash across open terrain into what he estimates as a US platoon in covered positions. Worse yet, to his right, one of his remaining squads is being pounded by American mortar or artillery fire and will most likely be ineffective for the time being. Cursing Plassman for allowing the bridge to fall, Koch holds the treeline (14I2). If only they’d held the bridge for 1 more hour, the Pz 35-S promised by division would have easily been able to hold off the Amis.

Victory

At this point there’s no reason to finish the last 2 turns. The US occupies six hexes on the west bank and holds them with 2 leaders, 6 squads & several MGs (3 more squads and 2 heroes are in the process of crossing the bridge). The German forces have been reduced to 3 squads and would have to cross open ground covered by multiple avenues of fire.

Lessons Learned

Germans : keep the troops close to the bridge. At some point the Paras will have to rush it and you’ll need all the firepower available to engage them (especially once the mortar and .50 cal start taking a toll on the German squads).

US : Best guess – you’ve got two turns to let the mortars and .50 cal do their work before you have to make it across the bridge before German reinforcements arrive. Nothing too tactical here – throw smoke and run for it!

Playbalance

I think this slightly favors the US to start, but heavily favors the US once they cross the bridge with 2 or more squads (assuming they do so before LT Koch arrives and sets up around GT4).

If things need to be balanced between players, maybe placing a Wire marker at the German end of the bridge could help on the front end of the scenario. Once the US is across I don’t think the Germans have that good of a chance of throwing them back, so maybe a possible random arrival of the PZ 35-S could help out? For example - I’d say maybe start rolling (do the odds / evens thing or whatever…) on or about GT5 if LT Koch has LOS to a German unit in the building in hex 17I2 (that way both the US and Germans will want to fight over the hex).
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