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Subject: The Hammer shall fall in the Ardennes rss

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Henrik Reschreiter
United Kingdom
Poole
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Ah, a shiny new toy......

Haven’t done an AAR in a while, and Ardennes 44, 2nd edition seemed the perfect epic piece to have a go again.

This is not a review, but I can't help to comment. To play with the pieces provided is just a joy. Great graphics, thick chunky counters, interesting for effect design and rules.
It’s the German’s last big gamble. They need to get across the Meuse on their way to Antwerp in a ferocious race against time. The Allied given enough time will have overwhelming force, it’s just the surprise, and those great tanks in favour of the Germans. In principle, they need to push as hard and fast as they can get down as many avenues as possible hoping for a crack in the Allied lines to appear.

The Stage is set...


At Start - 1st SS PZ getting


At Start- the crucial centre with Pz Lehr and 2nd Pz...target Bastogne and beyond


At Start - the southern flank

Day 1 – 16th Dec 1944 (turn 1-2)[/b]

The opening attacks go well. The defensive Allied river lines in the south get crossed at several points, the defences are in disarray. In the centre, the 26th Ind Div is pushing the defenders back, hoping to create the hole for Lehr and 2nd Pz to race towards Bastogne. Even in the northern parts in front of the 1st SS PZ Corps things go to plan. The defending inf batt get overwhelmed, pushed back and broken.
The afternoon sees the line in the south near Ettelbruck cracking open already. The German paratroopers waste no time. Establishing good positions will buy later valuable time once Patton will strike here with his counterattack. Lehr and 2nd Pz push hard forward, but the initial surprise is now gone, and heroic defences are performed everywhere. At great loss, these those devisions are denied any real progress!
I decided to drive the 116th Pz in the centre towards St Vith to open up the board. They are pushing relentlessly forward, and the defenders have to steadily give ground.


[b]The Schnee-Eifel is a gonner, and the pressure of the inital onslaught is mounting on both sides of St Vith


at the end of the first day - the Allied lines are in shambles


It’s Peiper though who steals the show! He cuts through the defenders, and by passing /Buellingen strikes in the area in between of St Vith and Malmedy. He extends his attacks further into the night, and the lines are breached. Retreating in disorder, the broken and disrupted units try to defend in depth against this onslaught, buying time for the heavy hitters that will soon come to this area from the north.


Peiper about to snap the lines creating the breakthrough the Germans need


Day 2 – 17th Dec 1944 (turn 3-4)[/b]

The morning sees the German renew their offensive everywhere. 7th Army is pushing with their limited resources forward threatening multiple entrance hexes if no Allied reinforcements are sent. But anything that goes there will not defend Bastogne and the centre of the board!
Scraped together elements try to hold the line that checks the advance of Lehr and 2nd Pz, but the losses are mounting, and the line will likely snap before the end of the day. St.Vith is preparing for the imminent siege, as the Germans are closing in from three sides, barely 2 miles from the town.


[b]The sourthern flank is torn apart by the Germans - this will go a long way delaying Patton's Counterattack



After the Allied turn, some sort of front defensive line is created sucking up valuable reinforcements though


early on the 17th, and heroic defences hold the line together


Peiper continues his rampage, and overruns several already disrupted battalions to wipe away the last screening forces in front of him.


Elements of the Allied V Corps are digging in along the crucial west-east road, and manage to contest it at several spots. They are unable however to push forward themselves. The northern should holds...so far. The 7th Arm Div arrives in the theatre in the nick of time, and takes positionsin and along the river west of Malmedy.


After Peiper's breakthrough, the 6th Arm arrives in the nick of time to lengthen the Allied lines.


Peiper will either have to go through these excellent defensive positions and heavy Allied tank units, or is forced to deviate his advance further to the south towards Vielsam. Both will buy time that is desparately needed.
Ad hoc engineer bat are scrambled together in the rear area to at least nominally man crucial road junctions.


The afternoon sees the 5FJ Div make further progress, taking Redange!


Patton's spearhead forces just make it...

Lehr as predicted snap the line – the road to Bastogne is basically open! St Vith is getting squashed further, fighting is now at the edge of the town. I cannot see them last more than 24 hrs.


The flood-gates break, and the road to Bastogne is open


And once again, the reliable Peiper pushes the limit.
While the timely arrival of the 7th Arm forces him to deviate slightly and shift his attack axis south from La Gleize and Stoumont, he brushes away the road blocks (read engineer ad hoc forces), and takes Vielsam. No allied unit stands at present between him and glory!


Peiper has done it... the lines is snapped with no chance to fix it before the next day!

The inf div of the SS Pz Corps do their bid. A two pronged attack succeeds in threatening the northern shoulder, overrunning their original front line positions. The Allied will have to fall back, end their bid to contest the Buellingen road – the main traffic artery running westwards in the area.
A few elite battalions were held back for the night. These elements of the 12th SS move on past Peiper to beyond Vielsam adding some punch for the morning. Others create havoc in retreating units just outside St Vith, paving the way for an early fall of the town in the next day.

Day 3 – 18th Dec 1944 (turn 5-6)

The famous 101st and 82nd Airborne are entering the fray, the heavy elements of the 10th Arm Div are arriving as well. But will they be able to stem the tide?

To be continued....
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Micheal Spiering
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St. Thomas
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Great AAR. Just wanted to point out a few rules you may have missed.

It looks as though you may have forgotten to have all six at start bridges blown. It also looks like you have missed the army boundary rule.
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Henrik Reschreiter
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Yep, you are correct; initially forgot the blown bridges, noticed it end of turn two. Not sure how much it would have changed things. The Oumen bridge I did remember, and it was operational to my delight.

And yes, initially forgot the army boundary rule; adjusted things in the last turn after the pics where taken...:(
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Todd Reed
United States
Clayton
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Thank you for this. I'm considering this as a future purchase.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Düsseldorf
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mojayhawk wrote:
Thank you for this. I'm considering this as a future purchase.


Don't wait too long buying it online, GMT is out of stock.
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Todd Reed
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Interesting. I've been hunting around for a copy of Normandy 44 (I'm about to close a purchase. I've had four purchase/trade attempts fall through.) so you're right, if I want this, I better get a move on.
 
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Steve Vondra
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The Normandy '44 reprint is at 107 on their P-500.
 
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Todd Reed
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Cooler king - this is precisely why I'm trying to find a used copy of Norm 44. Looks like it may be on P500 for awhile.
 
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jay white
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hreschreiter wrote:
Yep, you are correct; initially forgot the blown bridges, noticed it end of turn two. Not sure how much it would have changed things. The Oumen bridge I did remember, and it was operational to my delight.

And yes, initially forgot the army boundary rule; adjusted things in the last turn after the pics where taken...


I think it would have changed things a fair bit. I've played A'44 four times, and have never seen the Axis advance en masse so quickly. I don't think you should stop now, though. I'd love to see if the Allies can hold them back!

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