Brandon Neff
United States
South Jordan
Utah
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10 Jun 1944

Following the successful Utah landings, VII Corps turned the 4th Infantry and elements of the 82nd Airborne Divisions north for the capture of Cherbourg. On the 10th day of June the left flank of the drive featured the 1st Battalion of the 505th Parachute Regiment attacking toward Montebourg Station, a railroad station serving the city of Montebourg.

1330 hrs

Major Phelps told us the Germans were holding the rail lines in and out of Montebourg and we could use those lines to speed supplies and replacements to the front lines. We had been fighing off and on ever since we landed in the dark morning of the 6th and any chance to speed up the arrival of replacements sounded like a good task to undertake. The land was horribly swampy (the Germans had flooded the whole continent, it seemed, to bog down our tanks) but I didn't mind. It was easy to hide in the swamps and get a bead on enemy positions without risking your neck.



Somehow, the Germans got wind of our whereabouts because the next fifteen minutes was a constant barrage of heavy artillery and mortar rounds. Our 2nd Lt was a bit shaken up when a round exploded a little too close. He had the look of a dead man and I could tell his heart wasn't in this fight and we had only just begun! The Major ordered everyone to seek cover in the swamp or the hedgerow, whichever was closer and I was happy to oblige.
We spent the next 45 minutes traversing the coarse network of hedges (bocage is what the locals call it) that lined farms and meadows and we were out of sight of the enemy. I can only imagine they had ordered up some reinforcements and would be ready for us.
Once the line was ready, Major Phelps ordered an advance and men rushed from the safety of the hedge right into gunfire! Our objective was to take and secure the buildings around the station (sectors 0604 and 0803 on my map) and that's precisely where the fire was coming from!
They hit us pretty hard and we lost some good men. It seemed the Germans had a 50mm gun up the road and it inflicted some serious casualties. I'd estimate that advance cost us at least 20 men, either dead or wounded. It also took a bite out of our courage, for the time being. Thankfully we have good leaders and they are always there to motivate and encourage the men (and sometimes beat some sense back into you). Major Phelps ordered some artillery rounds into town, to soften up the Germans and let them know what it feels like, but the rounds landed on the west side of town, away from the Germans. Oh, I imagine a few were injured, but not enough to encourage us to charge into the city!
While we were getting shot up, Captain Kremer along with 80 men and an HMG team, flanked the northernmost objective (0803) and we had the Germans on two fronts! The fighting was quite fierce, but I'm glad we didn't wind up charging headlong into town where we'd meet the enemy up close. Instead we threw a relentless barrage of artillery, mortars and 75mm gun rounds into the defenders in 0604. It seemed like the explosions would never stop! It must have lasted a good 45 minutes. While that went on, we kept pressure on with our rifles. Out of nowhere pops this Grenadier patrol sent to intercept us and they hit our left flank with great success. We had to break off the siege to deal with this rabble and they were quickly suppressed with superior fire and numbers. Still, they tied us up for a good 30 minutes or so before we ordered a halt to the bombing. By then, every German in 0604 was either dead, dying or wishing they were dead. Major Phelps took over the sector and prepared defenses to hold tight while we awaited a german counteroffensive to reclaim what they had lost.



All the while, Captain Kremer kept pouring it onto his objective and was slowly making headway. The German high command must have realized the battle was over and the fighting stopped. We took a lot of prisoners, all too glad to be done with the war, and held the rail line. Now, what does a guy have to do to get a warm shower around here?

An American Victory!

Historical Notes:
Slowly but surely the American paratroopers drove back the Germans. By 1900 hrs the station was in American hands and the start line for tomorrow's attack secure. Another 17 days of hard fighting remained before the Americans took the key port of Cherbourg.

Personal Notes:
I didn't particularly care for this scenario and I'm really not sure why. Perhaps it has to do with the lateness of the hour (the Germans finally conceded defeat at around 1am local time) or the common theme that you encounter in the Airborne scenarios (one site holds a town and the other tries to take it). It's a great tactical scenario, but I think I've overdosed on it and a change in scenery (Battle of the Bulge is coming up after I play two more Airborne scenarios) would be welcome.
The other problem I have with this scenario has to do with the set up. The German reinforcements appear on the OTHER side of the Do-Not-Cross zone (in this scenario, units cannot enter hexes numbered ##12) so they just sit there and hope for a clear LOS to shoot at something. Had the Americans opted to try and remove the Germans from their objective in 0509 the reinforcements MIGHT have come in to play. Otherwise, they were useless. Also, the American setup has a stacking problem. You are allowed to stack in between hexes 1206 and 1209 (a total of 4 hexes). Yet you have 13 combat units and each hex only holds 3 which mean you have one unit left over. Where does it go? It had it sit offboard and move onboard ASAP. Also, what use is the Jeep? You can't drive it through a swamp or hedgerow, so it just sat there. The Germans took a few shots at it with mortars, but it came through unscathed.

The Americans won because:
Artillery. Hands down. It was such a huge factor in this game. Only one turn featured the additional 1x24 OBA (incidentally, that was the ONE turn that the Germans rolled 3, 2, 2, 4 for their morale checks in 0604 after facing an M2 check from a combined barrage).
The Americans also rolled spectacular morale checks and recovery rolls. The Germans weren't as lucky with recovery rolls.

The Germans lost because:
Poor recovery rolls left demoralized units in town which were quickly eliminated by additional fire. In one turn (turn 9) the Germans had a full and two reduced Grenadiers in 0604 and a captain. All were demoralized. They tried to recover, all failed except the leader, and were hit by fire from three different positions, one after the other. The step losses quickly mounted as they failed morale checks again and again. Even the American 81mm mortar and 75mm gun got in on the action and eliminated the last reduced grenadier. Major Phelps then entered town and the Captain fled. At that point, the Germans conceded. They had given up one of the American objectives, the other was surrounded and Artillery was coming, and the step losses were rapidly approaching the 9 required for victory.

Again, not my favorite scenario (it's still #14) but it only took about 90 minutes (and that included set-up, a few pictures and notes scribbled in my campaign book after each turn).
 
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George Haberberger
United States
Rochester
New York
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You should email Avalanche and ask about those reinforcements, maybe they made a mistake in the scenario setup.
 
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Brandon Neff
United States
South Jordan
Utah
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Done.
I'll report back when I get a reply. You know, thus far I've found 3 erroneous scenarios (8, 19, 20) that call for units that aren't supplied. That's 15% of the scenarios in the book, and I haven't even tried tackling any of the lengthy scenarios!
Throw in the mystery of the German reinforcements in scenario 15 and things really get messy. Hopefully (and I have every confidence) Avalanche Press will send me some clarifications.
 
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Mark Mokszycki
United States
Snohomish
Washington
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Nice AAR. I enjoyed the first person perspective, which made it more interesting and absorbing than most AARs.

I have also played this scenarios, and I agree with your assessment. We opted to allow the U.S. to start overstacked. Also, we opted to allow the German reinforcements that enter in the off-limits zone to cross that area until they enter the relevant play area, at which time they could no longer leave the play area. I posted on CSW regarding the problems with this scenario. I seem to recall that the suggestions I received were along the lines of what I just said here.

This is a problem with PG (and AP games in general). There seems to be a lack of editing and proofreading. Many scenarios in many games have faulty setup hexes, omissions, typos, and broken victory objectives. But luckily there are also some terrific scenarios, which is why I keep coming back for more.
 
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