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Subject: Solitaire Assault on Pointe du Hoc: An AAR--Part 1 rss

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David Spangler
United States
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Pointe du Hoc— A Solitaire AAR

The Situation
On June 6 & 7, U.S. Rangers stormed Pointe du Hoc, 5 miles from Omaha Beach, as part of the D-Day landings. The objective was to destroy a battery of German artillery located high above the beaches. It took two days to do so amidst very fierce fighting.

The Terrain
To simulate the assault on a high fortified position, the terrain cards are laid out as follows:
1 Open Ground, 2 Open Ground, 3 Open Ground, 4 High Ground, 5 Open Ground, 6 Open Ground, 7 Scattered Trees, 8 Undergrowth, 9 Scattered Trees. In this scenario Terrain card 4 is also considered Fortified, which changes its inherent cover from Medium to Heavy.

My First Thoughts
In this scenario, I’m playing the Americans and the AI is playing the Germans. I’m anticipating a tough fight. I have to storm a high fortified position while moving across Open Ground, which makes me very vulnerable. I win the game by reaching and holding Terrain card 8, which represents successfully finding and destroying the German guns. Or I can win by killing 21 VP of German Forces. If I lose 15 VP of my forces or I’m kept from card 8 for 15 turns, I lose.

In between me and card 8 is the fortified High Ground of Terrain card 4. Normally this card gives Medium cover, but being fortified in this scenario it provides Heavy cover to the Germans inside it. The height gives them extra range, and they have a flamethrower. And if I do capture the bunker, German reinforcements appear on Terrain card 9.

It’s not going to be easy or pretty, I’m afraid. But the guns have to be taken out, and the Rangers are the men to do it! I’m not worried about my men. They’re the best. My concern I have what it takes as their commander to get the job done?

I have two advantages. The first is that I have three sections to his two, which gives me greater maneuverability. I can move or attack with impunity with one section at the end of the turn as both his sections will have acted by then, and he can’t attack or counterattack in response. I also have more soldiers. But he’s got that bunker AND that flamethrower. Ugh!

Also, according to the rules, I need to use the optional troop quality rules when playing historical scenarios solitaire. This definitely is an advantage. The scenario specifies my troops are Veterans, which means I get to draw 1 action card at the start of each of my turns, I have +1 hand size, and I discard 1 pin each turn from each led section. The Germans on the other hand are of Reserve quality. This doesn’t affect their hand size, as the AI doesn’t use Action Cards (AC), but it does give them a -2 Firepower (FP) modifier to attacks and counterattacks. That should be helpful. Maybe they’ll miss more often!

Basically it’s a contest between a more maneuverable, highly trained force against a much inferior force that has terrain advantages plus fortification (and that flamethrower).

The Germans go first. They begin with 2 led sections in that fortified bunker on Terrain card #4.

My men are in the open. Will I survive their first onslaught?

My Set Up
In choosing equipment for my men, I give each section a bandage; being able to remove a wound may be critical in this scenario to make sure my men make it across the open field to the bunker. Binoculars will let me recover one card from the discard pile and two canteens will give me two extra Action Cards at critical moments when I may really need them. A shovel will give me needed cover as I assault the bunker. Beyond these, I’m going for equipment that does damage, such as grenades and rocket grenades. Here’s my initial set up:

Livingston— Binoculars (He has Tactics, giving me +1 hand size)
Bertinelli— Canteen
Sullivan – Shovel, Grenade, Rocket Grenade

Sobel— Rocket Grenade (he has terrible aimed and rapid fire values with little fire power; the rocket grenade will give him a one-time attack power of 14 at ranges up to 3 which at least makes him powerful for one concentrated attack.)
Hollister— 2x Grenades (he has Throwing Arm, which is why I give him 2 grenades as he can lob them a range of 2 rather than just 1)
O’Malley— Bandage (he has toughness, so that 1 wound won’t bother him. It takes 3 wounds to kill him.)
Hill— Canteen, Bandage

Johnson— no equipment but armed with a machine gun.

I begin at Terrain #1, Open Space. With three led sections, control of one terrain card, and +2 hand size for veteran troop quality and Livingston’s Tactics, I have an initial hand size of 6.

My initial Action Card draw gives me (2X) Double Time, Flanking, Attack!, Key Location, and Obscured.

Strategy: My plan is to use my machine gun section (Johnson and Martinez) and Livingston’s section to pour fire into the bunker, hopefully killing and incapacitating most of the Germans, while Sobel’s section advances under cover of smoke (the Obscured card) and gets close enough for Hollister to start lobbing grenades. But they say that no plan ever survives the encounter with the enemy, so we’ll see.
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, Combat Commander series fan, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!, Fields of Fire fan
Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
Brilliant write up so far. Very nicely done.
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