December 17, 1944. The missing third element of Colonel Fuller's attack on Marnach was Company D, 707th Tank Battalion. In reserve behind the 112th Regiment to the north, the company had to travel 6 miles along skyline Drive to join the attack.
American - Exit at least 5 steps off the south edge of the map.
German - Kill at least 4 steps of American tankers.
Anything else is a draw.
Any American unit exiting the map off the north, east, or west map edge are counted as eliminated for German victory conditions.
Pre-game German setup and Turn 1
07:15 - The Germans setup takes advantage of an "infantry speed bump" in the forest to slow the oncoming M5s. Once the direction of attack is determined, then the StGIII comes up to lend opportunity fire support. The two AT guns are placed on opposite sides of the hilltop city to cover the exit corridor in case any tanks make it through.
At the end of turn one, the Americans drive almost to the German defensive positions, but remain in covering terrain to prevent any fire. The plan is to "run for the border" and hopefully not get their tacos fried too badly. I decided to do this after analyzing attacking the StGIII. The armor of the SPG combined with the low penetrating guns of the M5 would make any attack a blood bath, while conversely, the StGIII could plink away 1 to 2 steps a turn with ease.
07:30 - The Americans gain the initiative and drive past the speed bump formed in the center of the north/south road. As the M5s come up to the road, the StG lets loose and in consecutive hexes smoke a step off of the full steps driving past. The full strength and reduced M5 units to the east are left alone and they progress south with no problem. All of the long range ATG fire is ineffective.
07:45 - The Germans get a small jump on the Americans and the sturmgeschutz fires on the eastern full strength M5 and smokes yet another step. As the eastern M5 group makes it way to the city, the 50mm ATG finally gets a hit and destroys yet another step, which denies the Americans the ability for a victory. The Americans then ride toward the town right down the road, with all AT fire ineffective. Note that in the picture, there is a wreck shown. I realized after the picture that the AT fire was ineffective due to the Op. Fire DRM.
08:00 - The Americans manage to wrestle back the initiative from the Germans and continue the drive down the road, exiting the two reduced M5s off the south edge. The eastern group manages to skitter down the edge of the board and takes no more losses. However, the StGIII zips down to the road to help prevent the Americans from exiting
Turn 5 and Finish
08:15 - The Germans get an initiative break, but it's too late to help. The StGIII and one of the trucks make it to the southern edge of the board, but they can only watch the last reduced M5 exit off of the board. Germans win by destroying four steps.
I have played this scenario a total of five times today and the Americans have usually been totally eliminated. During the fourth run through, a random event on turn two changed the Germans VC to 6 steps destroyed. I thought that this would be the time the Americans could finally win, but the ATGs in the city managed to kill off all of the armor before it could exit. Because of what I perceive as balance strongly favoring the Germans, I would not recommend playing this scenario unless you want a historical perspective on how bad it was for Company D, 707th Tank Battalion.
Good pictures, and I enjoyed the thoughtful summary at the end. Well done, sir! I hope to read many more such AARs from you in the future!