With the last Assault on Hill 105 ending in total inglorious American defeat, Daniel and WR exchanged places making WR the American company commander and Daniel the Germans. The challenge of finding a successful plan and tactics to wrestle control of Hill 105 from the German was presented by Daniel. During the last scenario game play, the German dug in and concealed positions (infantry and Pak guns) prevented the American firepower having sufficient impact on the Germans till they were forced to assault into waiting concentrated German firepower. So… thinking of WR’s strategy for several moments… the challenge was accepted.
Our first Assault on Hill 105 scenario game play report (AAR) can be read via link: Assault on Hill 105.
American forces: Looking at the German dug in hill position, WR changed out several of the American platoons for a different force structure (ie.. more artillery “boom boom” firepower). Force selection again taken from the old Festung Europa book per the written scenario notes.
American rifle company HQ (15 pts.), 3x rifle platoons (465 pts.), engineer combat platoon with M4a1 dozer tank (230 pts.), 105mm cannon platoon (6 cannon, 160 pts.), Intelligence & recon platoon (65 pts.), 2x 105mm field artillery batteries (290 pts.), M4a1 sherman platoon (4 tanks, 275 pts). Total of force 1500 points.
German forces: Remained the same from previous scenario play:
Company HQ with Panzerfaust cmd team and two attached 8cm mortars (105 pts.), sniper team (50 pts.), two grenadier platoons of three squads and panzerfaust cmd team (2×165 pts.), machine gun platoon which combat attached to the two grenadier platoons (140 pts.), anti-tank platoon with three 7.5cm Pak97/38 guns (110 pts.), nebelwerfer rocket launcher battery of six 15cm NW41 with 5cm Pak38 AT attached (265 pts.). Total of 1000 points for Germans. Additionally the Germans had four barbwire sections (4×8″) and three MG bunkers to deploy on the hill terrain.
Terrain notes: We played the woods as the same height level as the first hill level. Units deployed on the second level hill can see over the hedgerows and beyond the 4″ dead zone behind the woods. MG bunker block ground level line of sight. MG bunkers has ability to fire upon some of the open ground beyond the 4″ dead zone of the woods (24″ range). Scenario objectives marked by German flags on Hill 105. American flag just for show and marks the American company HQ position. Hill 105 slope is rated “very difficult going” for all vehicles.
Starting deployment positions: American deployment different for this attempt on Hill 105. Seeing the German occupy their old starting positions (part of the challenge), WR shift all the American effort to the right flank. M4a1 shermans form up on the right hedgerow field with two rifle platoons behind them. Engineer combat platoon form on the M4a1 sherman left flank with American company HQ behind them. In the center the I&R scout platoon plus the remaining rifle platoon. Far in the left tabletop corner was the 105mm cannon platoon just out of range of the nebelwerfers. Off-board the two 105mm field batteries. All artillery battery independent team observers placement generally on the open left flank with clear view of the entire German hilltop position. All American infantry dug in and remained gone to ground (GTG) till ordered to advance.
German starting deployment same from previous game AAR and deployed first. Two grenadier platoons (with two combat attached MG teams each) defending their half of the hill and supporting the forward MG bunkers. The 7.5cm Pak97/38 platoon positioned between the two forward MG bunkers. Company HQ with their two 8cm mortars deployment in rear woods behind last MG bunker positioned to support the forward MG bunkers. Rocket launcher NW41 battery positioned behind the hill ready to unleash rocket bombardment on the unwary walking American infantry while covering the open left hill flank with their attached 5cm Pak38 AT. Barbwire sections festooned across the front of the German positions. All German teams start the scenario cozy in their dug foxholes and gone to ground status. Sniper team held off table till ambush deployment
WR video of turn by turn commentary can be seen on Youtube: Assault on Hill 105 revisited.
Turn One: American M4a1 shermans rolled forward to the hedgerow before them. The I&R and supportive center rifle platoon advance to enter the center woods. Engineer platoon position themselves directly behind the hedgerow bramble wall. The remaining two rifle platoons remained in their foxholes. American 105mm field artillery and the 105mm cannon platoon started to range-in and bombard the German hill defenders, seeking out the 7.5cm Pak97/38 teams as primary targets. Both 105mm field artillery batteries ranged-in on their targets but the well dug in crews survived for now along with some nearby grenadier teams.
The opening German counter-reply…. rocket salvo landed among the shermans and the supportive fox-holed rifle platoon. Sherman took no losses except paint but the American infantry must have been “new to the front”… three teams killed while watching the nice rocket fireworks (even while dug in). Not a good start for the Americans.
Turn Two: The shermans grind across the hedgerow, leaving two of their number belly up, including their platoon leader tank. This hapless tank commander will cause much grief for the American plan during the next few game turns. Engineer sherman dozer cut a gap in the hedgerow (skill test passed) while the engineers fail their entrench skill test…. engineers cannot dig it seems. Center I&R plus rifle platoon enters the center woods. American artillery repeat their ranged-in bombardment and destroy one 7.5cm Pak97/38 cannon. The cannon platoon still reading the manual on ranging in on a stationary hill.
German sat cozy in their foxholes or bunkers except for the right flank grenadier platoon. Daniel seeing the American strength weighted to his left marches that grenadier platoon behind the hill. NW41 rocket crews failed to range in on the shovel holding engineer platoon. Otherwise all quiet on hill 105 except for the bombardment shell explosions.
Turn Three: With failure to un-bog their platoon leader’s sherman, the other sherman crossed the hedgerow via the gap and joined the first two shermans. Engineer dozer tank moves to cut another hedgerow gap in front of the stationary engineer platoon who again failed their entrench roll. Must like their “shiny parade ground shovels” to remain dirt free. Center board I&R and rifle platoons have positioned themselves in center woods. American artillery bombardment cause no German losses except for a few 3+ save rolls.
German NW41 rockets go “sherman hunting”…. with no luck. The M4a1 sherman position is threatening the exposed two launchers. German right flank grenadier platoon marches into the rear woods unseen by the Americans.
Turn Four: M4a1 Sherman platoon leader tank still bogged on the hedgerow bramble and holding up the sherman platoon advance to destroy the NW41 RL battery. Lucky shot from shermans did destroy the German 5cm Pak38 cannon protecting the German left flank. Dozer tank cuts another gap for the American infantry to stream through when they advance in mass. Center woods platoons lie low in woods. All artillery 105mm batteries pounding the hill defenses…. getting hits but Daniel keeps rolls his 3+ save rolls.
Germans try to range-in the NW41 salvo on the shermans. No success. Otherwise digging deeper as the heavy American 105mm shells land on the hill defenses.
Turn Five: With the M4a1 sherman forward movement stuck by command radius, only the American engineer and left flank rifle platoons exit their foxholes and start to cross the open ground behind the woods. The created hedgerow gaps quicken their passage. Leading M4a1 shermans try to destroy the exposed NW41 launchers (2) by direct fire but fail to score any hits.
German left MG bunker opens fire, gives out three hits but WR rolls all his 3+ saves. NW41 RL battery sees the slow “conga line” M4a1 shermans, ranges in and scores one hit, which is deflected by the top armor save roll. German sniper team pops out and opens fire on the engineer platoon. Scores a hit and pinned the platoon but no team kill.
Turn Six: Engineer platoon leadership unpin the platoon, they approach the sniper position and during the assault phase kill the fleeing sniper team. American rifle platoon pass the hedgerow gaps and enters the open ground looking skyward. M4a1 shermans score big with their stationary firing…. two NW41 launchers and the battery commander team killed. That will reduce the future nebelwerfer rocket salvo firepower to a single template. American artillery bombardment finally remove two hilltop German teams from the defenders.
German NW41 light up the sky, switching targeting to land on the advancing rear rifle platoon, and cause the loss of one team and pinned. Left MG bunker cut down one team from the leading rifle platoon and the 8cm German HQ mortars open fire for the first time, pinning the same rifle platoon with several saved hits.
Turn Seven: Sherman platoon leader un-bogs his tank again, drive into the hedgerow and bogs once again. thus the Sherman platoon is still held-fast to the rearward stuck platoon leader. We should have destroyed the NW41 battery by now according to the battle plan heard on the company radios. Engineer dozer tracks over to create a “personal passage gap” for the tank driver trainee. Leading American rifle platoon fails to unpin themselves or via company commander “look” motivation roll so the rear rifle platoon holds position. Seeing the pile up and hesitation, the company commander order entrenching shovels out. Artillery 105mm batteries redirect and attempt to range in on new stationary targets. Seems the American attack is grinding to a halt…
Rested German grenadier platoon starts behind the hill movement towards the left hill woods. German NW41 rocket salvo, 8cm mortar (HQ) shells and the left MG bunker all fail to cause losses in the entrenched rifle platoon and engineering dozer. Lots of firepower but just dirt tossing for the moment as WR rolls 3+ with abandon.
Turn Eight: Couldn’t believe it…. the Sherman platoon leader tank driver un-bogs and re-bogged again. Engineer dozer skillfully cuts a gap so next time no hedgerow issue. Seeing the pinned platoon in front, the rear rifle platoon entrenched for the moment. American attack totally off schedule now. Off-board artillery flattens another German grenadier team. Their left flank platoon is near 50% loss and motivation checks.
German grenadier platoon arrives in the left hill woods intact. They will be the game winner if the NW41 RL battery can keep pinning American rifle platoons for another turn or two.
Turn Nine: With drawn pistol at his head, the rookie tank driver un-bogs again and drives the platoon leader tank into the open field beyond. At last the M4a1 shermans can rumble forward a bit and seek out the German NW41 launchers. But first they continue their engagement of the well concealed German grenadier HMG team at the woods corner… ending up with the red body marker. R&I platoon scout the German lines from the woods edge. They need to remain stationary for reporting the German positions and improve the artillery accuracy. Both rifle platoons have unpin themselves and advance towards the right woods alongside the watchful company commanders.
German see the renewed American advance… Right flank and center MG bunkers engage the I&R platoon. They quickly scoot back into the woods safe and sound. NW41 rocket salvo pulps two teams from the leading rifle platoon. HQ 8cm mortars fail to range in and the left MG bunker forgot to fire it seems. Ammo reload? Hot barrel change out / cooling? Tired players?
Turn Ten: Time to rush the forward German defenders before that fresh grenadier platoon gets into proper position. The engineer combat platoon charges up the slope over hollow American ground (see last game AAR). Skillful M4a1 sherman direct fire pins the MG bunker. Ineffective German fire cause several save rolls (promptly rolled) so the charging engineers overwhelm the German defense and remove three German teams from the roster. Being within 4″ of the assault point the arriving German grenadier platoon could have counter-charged but failed their motivation roll. The engineers consolidate in the former German position. The following rifle platoons follow the engineer success by entering the right woods behind them.
German counter reply was to open fire on the pinned engineers. Two HMG teams and three R/MG teams rake into the engineers at close range. When the firing petered out the engineer platoon was almost completely wiped out losing four teams. But they passed their motivation for the blood soaked position. MG bunker and the HQ 8cm mortar fire caused losses in the open ground rifle platoons rushing to aid the stricken engineers. NW41 rockets landed on the engineer dozer tank and nearby infantry. A lucky hit destroyed the dozer sherman and pinned the approaching rifle platoon.
Turn Eleven: The leading American rifle platoon rush the hill slope till reaching the barbwire and surviving engineers. Objective is to clear the barbwire, assault the MG bunker and be positioned to assault the defending German grenadier platoon on turn twelve. Supportive rifle platoon enters the right woods ready to follow-up the assault. Rifle platoon in center woods shifts over to join the grand assault. Sherman drive around hill back corner to shoot up the NW41 launchers and kill one grenadier team in the hill woods. Artillery smokes the German positions screening out some of the Pak97/38 cannon and pesky HMG team defending the center hill.
German dig in their grenadier platoon and the two support HMG teams. Left MG bunker and smoked HMG team rip apart the exposed American rifle platoon beyond the barbwire (4 teams lost and pinned). Freshly dug in grenadier platoon reduced firing kills the remaining engineer team leaving just the dazed engineer platoon commander. The 7.5cm Pak97/38 cannon cannot see the hill slope rifle platoon but the center woods rifle platoon is exposed and loses two teams to their shellfire. NW41 RL’s remain pinned by M4a1 sherman machine guns so they cannot fire this turn. The HQ 8cm mortar spotter’s vision is blocked by smoke bombardment.
Turn Twelve: Last American turn to remove the German defenders around the objective (flag) behind the MG bunker. Weakened American rifle platoon enters the German held hill woods and finds the dazed engineer platoon leader. Following rifle platoon crosses the bloody hill slope with company commander and arrives before the barbwire. Center woods rifle platoon remains pinned from the 7.5cm Pak97/38 firepower last turn so they are useless for the final attempt to win scenario. Spotty firing from the leading rifle teams had no effect on the dug in German grenadiers. A weak assault on the grenadier platoon just outside the six-inch visibility range of the HMG teams becomes the last effort. Three solitary rifle teams to win the scenario led by their brave platoon commander. German defensive fire drop two rifle teams, grenades and bayonets brawling for two rounds ends with the grenadiers wiping out the remaining Americans for one lost grenadier. Only face-saving action for the Americans was the final destruction of the NW41 nebelwerfer battery by the late arriving shermans.
Scenario ends again on Hill 105 to the sound of raking German HMG fire on the exposed rifle platoon besides the barbwire. Hill 105 still waves the German flag as another American attempt flounders on the bloody hill slope.
Summary of losses: Like the first game, American infantry losses were heavy. Only one rifle platoon was totally lost but the engineer and the two other rifle platoons were well beyond or going over 50% losses on turn twelve. Engineers had just their platoon leader team remaining for sole survivor motivation checks. Sherman and cannon platoon had no losses.
Germans lost the left flank grenadier platoon entirely and the NW41 nebelwerfer battery. Two teams from the other grenadier platoon and one 7.5cm Pak97/38 cannon summed up the German losses.
Summary of game: If the M4a1 sherman platoon leader hadn’t continuously bogged his tank on the hedgerow for seven turns the sherman would have destroyed the nebelwerfers sooner and supported the final rifle platoon rush into the german held woods. They may have disturbed the grenadier’s battlefield march behind the hill with their machine guns thus preventing the reinforcement arriving and protecting the objective marker. Next time the engineer dozer tank cuts a personal passage gap for the platoon leader’s tank.
Great scenario game Daniel. You earned your Iron cross for the timely arrival of the grenadier platoon and laughing at the misfortune of my sherman platoon leader’s tank.
Our first Assault on Hill 105 scenario game play report (AAR) can be read via link: Assault on Hill 105.
Daniel cheering success in the warren… as he marches WR into POW internment.