Battle of Singling 1944 (AAR)

WR staged a pre-Fourth of July Flames of War 20mm scenario event at his local warren last weekend. Set in the cold winter month of December 1944, near the Franco-German border and the old Maginot line, the scenario Battle of Singling Dec 1944 pits the advancing American 4th Armored Division under Lt. Colonel Abrams against the recently arrived kampfgruppe of the German 11th Panzer Division. Based upon an old WWPD (“What Would Patton Do” site) scenario called “Abram’s Folly”, WR enlarged the scenario forces and tabletop area to allow six to eight players the fun of gaming.

The original scenario from WWPD (What Would Patton Do) blog site was titled “Abrams Folly” and can be read complete with this .pdf file: Abram’s FollyThe Singling 1944 (Expanded) Scenario Forces (.doc) roster outlines the original forces and the WR expanded additional units highlighted in yellow. The enlarged scenario map drawn in typical WR style displays the 8×6 foot table and terrain layout and is followed by a recent Goggle satellite overhead photo and contour relief map.

“SINGLING, LORRAINE, DECEMBER 6, 1944: Lt Colonel Creighton Abrams directed Task Force Abrams, consisting of units of the 37th Tank Battalion and 51st Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division. On the 6th December a battered tank company and understrength infantry company came up against superior German forces in the small farming community of Singling. The assembly and staging area of the 37th Tank Battalion that morning was muddy from all of the recent rain. The halftracks were having difficulty maneuvering and the infantry were ordered to ride on the rear deck of the tanks for the attack on Bining. When Company B/37th was ordered to divert to Singling the infantry went with them unaware of the change of plans. The attack was hasty and unplanned. Intended to remove flanking fire from Task Force Abrams’ drive towards the German border, the attack was nearly a disaster for the Americans.”

Basic map for the Singling Dec 1944 scenario. Improved WR map with proper labeling will be posted in near future. North is left side of map.

Terrain notes: All open ground is a muddy condition. Fully tracked tanks have no movement reduction but all other vehicle restricted to 8″ maximum movement unless on roadway (paved or packed dirt). Woods are 6″ visibility while orchards are 8″ visibility. Long stream with bushes marked on stream bank considered concealment for infantry teams only. Hedges and low stone walls block LOS for infantry teams unless adjacent, all vehicles gain concealment if fired across. All streams, low stone walls, and hedges cause bogging vehicle checks if crossed. Low hill rise, buildings, orchards and woods equal in height for LOS determination. Church tall steeple observation point sees all terrain after 8″ dead zone from blocking terrain feature. Bunkers are noted as “nests” in original WWPD scenario write-up and played as such for this AAR, but looking at the actual modern-day photos, should be true concrete bunkers. German deployment zones (A-D) at scenario start are outlined by yellow boxes. American initial platoon forces and all reserve platoons arrive at respective red table edge marking. Overhead the sky is overcast with low clouds so no airpower present during scenario. Americans have first movement in scenario.

Google satellite map of the area around singling France.

Google map terrain contour relief showing the ground elevations matched to satellite map above..

The After Action Report (AAR): Last weekend WR invited a group of Flames of War (FOW) gamers to his warren for pizza, snacks, drink and miniature gaming. Team U.S. formed up with Bruce, Andy, and Daniel. Team German had Gary, Lance, Paul, and WR pushing the miniatures. The scenario scene opens with low cloudy sky, the town of Singling centered on the table, just as the American arrive at the table edge. Ahead the entrenched Germans are ready for the approaching Americans who have twelve turns to capture / control all the Singling buildings (six in number) alongside the paved roadway.

Tabletop terrain layout from the east (German) view. The old church is the foremost building. Before scenario start WR noted a missing hedge and building, quickly emplaced.

Side or southern view of Singling town. Clearly the bunkers can be seen. The bunkers (r to l) matched to the attached photos are #1 (upper right), #2 (in town), #3 and #4 lower left. Number 5 bunker off photo to south near lower left road.

The American view approaching Singling from the west. Tabletop ground is muddy causing reduced vehicle movement except for proper tracked standard tanks. Bunker #3 and #4 seen.

German Deployment: Germans had first deployment in four labelled zones A to D. See the scenario roster notes below and map for zone details. In Zone A the three panzergrenadier platoons, part of the heavy platoon (2x HMG), and Wespe artillery battery observer high in the church steeple along the panzergrenadier company headquarter set up downstairs. Zone B had the Pak40 7.5cm A/T platoon and the bunker HMG teams (2) from the Heavy platoon. Zone C had the panzers… Panzer company command, and the two Panther platoons. Zone D had the Wespe armored artillery battery, the scenario upgrade Panzer IV/70 (A) platoon, and the 8cm mortar section from the Heavy platoon with 2iC. All German infantry and gun teams are in prepared positions (dug in).

German deployment for zone A & B. Panzergrenadier in town and upper orchard with two HMG in front buildings. Pak40 7.5cm A/T near farm building and the two manned bunker HMG nests.

Open fields for zone C & D. Panther platoons and Panzer company HQ behind the hedge. Upper left has the zone D with Panzer IV/70 (A) platoon and Wespe artillery battery.

Last view of the German deployment shows the remaining Panther platoon lining the woods, the three Panzergrenadier platoons, the observer, and CinC in church, and the 8cm mortar section.

SINGLING (Expanded) 1944 SCENARIO FORCES

KAMPFGRUPPE 11th PANZER DIVISON (CONFIDENT VETERAN)

DEPLOYMENT GROUP Zone A

PzGrenadier Company Command (40 pts.): CinC SMG/Pzfaust team

1st PzGrenadier Platoon (150 pts.): Cmd SMG/Pzfaust team, 6 x MG/Pzfaust teams

2nd PzGrenadier Platoon (150 pts.): Cmd SMG/Pzfaust team, 6 x MG/Pzfaust teams

3rd PzGrenadier Platoon (150 pts.): Cmd SMG/Pzfaust team, 6 x MG/Pzfaust teams

MG Heavy Platoon (135 pts.): Cmd SMG/Pzfaust team, 2 x HMG

DEPLOYMENT GROUP Zone B

AT Platoon (105 pts.): Command SMG/Pzfaust team, 3 x Pak40 7.5cm guns

Bunkers* (free): 2 x HMG nests (part of MG Hy. Platoon above)

DEPLOYMENT GROUP Zone C

Panzer Company Command (260 pts.): CinC Panther G, 2iC Panther G

1st Panzer Platoon (385 pts.): 3 x PzV G Panthers

2nd Panzer Platoon (385 pts.): 3 x PzV G Panthers

 DEPLOYMENT GROUP Zone D

Mortar Section (KG): 2iC SMG/Pzfaust team, 2 x 8cm Mortar, 1 x Observer team

Tank Hunter Platoon (380 pts.)*: 4 x Jagdpanzer IV (Sd. Kfz 162 with 7.5cm L48)

Pz Artillery Battery (435 pts.): Cmd Rifle, 6 x Wespe, Staff team, 2 x Observer teams (one in church steeple)

Delayed Reserves: Arrives eastern “red” table edge under delayed reserves rules. D6 roll

3rd Panzer Platoon (385 pts.)*: 3x PzV G Panthers

Pz Pioneer Platoon (135 pts.): Cmd SMG/Pzfaust pioneer team, 6 x Rifle/MG/Pzfaust pioneer teams

Mortar Platoon (110 pts.): Cmd SMG team, 4x 12cm sGW40 mortars w/ truck transport, Observer team (kublewagen)

* Note: Optional panzer units. Exchange out the 3rd Panzer platoon to Panzer IV J platoon (-205 pts) and/or Tank Hunter platoon with Panzer IV/70 (A) (+50 pts.). The bunkers should be considered true concrete bunkers based upon actual photos (see below). For this scenario AAR played as “bunker nests” which quickened their demise – WR.

 

AMERICAN 4th ARMOR DIVISION

TASK FORCE ABRAMS (CONFIDENT VETERAN)

Warrior (155 pts.): Creighton Abrams in his 1x M4 75mm (“Thunderbolt V”)

Co. B/37th Tank Bn Command (190 pts.): CiC M4A3 76mm (late), 2iC M4A3 75mm

1st Tank Platoon (450 pts.): 2 x M4A3 76mm (late), 2 x M4A3 75mm, 1 x M4 105mm

2nd Tank Platoon (385 pts.): 2 x M4A3 76mm (late), 2 x M4A3 75mm

3rd Tank Platoon (385 pts.): 2 x M4A3 76mm (late), 2 x M4A3 75mm

Platoon, 704th Tank Destroyer Bn (410 pts.): 1 x Cmd Carbine team with jeep, 2 x M20 Scout cars, 4 x M18 Hellcat

Reserves: Arrives on western “red” table edge under reserves rule. D6 roll

Light Tank Platoon (260 pts.): 5x M5a1 Stuart

Armored Mortar Platoon (110 pts.): Cmd Carbine team, 3x M4 81mm MMC HT, M3a1 HT w/50cal AAMG

Armoured Rifle Company Command (45 pts.): CinC Carbine team, 2ic Carbine team, Bazooka team, M3a1 HT w/50cal AAMG, jeep

1st Armoured Rifle Platoon (295 pts.) (arrives on Tank platoon): 1 x Cmd Rifle team, 5 x Rifle teams, 2 x M1919 LMG teams, 5 x Bazooka teams, 1 x 60mm mortar, 5 x M3 HT

2nd Armoured Rifle Platoon (295 pts.) (arrives on Tank platoon): 1 x Cmd Rifle team, 5 x Rifle teams, 2 x M1919 LMG teams, 5 x Bazooka teams, 1 x 60mm mortar, 5 x M3 HT

Reserves: Arrives on western table edge in their assigned platoon vehicles. D6 roll.

3nd Armoured Rifle Platoon (295 pts.): 1 x Cmd Rifle team, 5 x Rifle teams, 2 x M1919 LMG teams, 5 x Bazooka teams, 1 x 60mm mortar, 5 x M3 HT (may drive on table in their assigned half-tracks)

Recon Platoon (110 pts.): Cmd Rifle, 2x Rifle teams, Bazooka team, M3a1 HT/50cal AAMG, 2x jeeps

OFF TABLE during entire scenario

94th Armoured Field A Battery (390 pts.): 6 x M7 Priest with Cmd, Staff team, On-table Observer in M4 OP Sherman

94th Armoured Field B Battery (390 pts.): 6 x M7 Priest with Cmd, Staff team, On-table Observer in M4 OP Sherman

American deployment: All the American platoons enter the scenario from the western table edge marked with red line on scenario map. Before turn one, since Lt. Colonel Abrams (warrior) is present on the battlefield, his warrior abilities allowed the American side to “spearhead move” two platoons onto the tabletop*, sort of bonus movement phase before the scenario start. Since the two armored rifle platoons have to start, and enter the scenario tabletop, with their infantry teams deployed on the M4a3 tanks.* The American team elected to drive one tank platoon (1st), with an AR platoon on its engine decks, directly towards the larger orchard stone wall besides the main paved road into town (map squares E6 and F6). Note that the third (in reserve) AR platoon arrives riding their halftracks or walks in.

*Scenario notes: The first two armored rifle platoons have dismounted from their slow-moving platoon M3a1 halftracks (due to muddy ground) and mounted the M4a3 tank platoons. Once they start a movement phase on the tabletop they can dismount freely and later can summon their attached platoon halftracks, bearing in mind the muddy ground prevents serious ground movement.

Turn One: After completing their “Spearhead” movement, the American platoons enter the tabletop. Led by the “Spearhead” 1st Tank platoon (with Lt. Colonel Abrams, the two M4 observer tanks, and Tank Co. command attached), the mounted AR platoon dismounted and followed the 1st tank platoon into the orchard to engage the forward orchard bunker nest*. Tank Co. command bogged both their tanks on the low stone wall surrounding the orchard. Entering from the table edge another tank platoon (2nd) drove on carrying their own AR platoon on its engine decks. The third tank platoon entered and drove up behind the other smaller enclosed orchard, seeking cover from the German Pak40 7.5cm cannon in sector B. Lastly, the Tank destroyer platoon security teams (M18 Hellcats) drove on the table behind the long hedge north of the paved roadway. American movement completed, the stationary M4 observer called in the combined bombardment of the Wespe battery (both Armored Field Artillery batteries of M7 Priests). Big facial grins as the American team placed the “pizza box” artillery template over the Wespe battery, targeting four 10.5cm Wespes.

Opening shot… the two off-board M7 Priest batteries open the scenario with a “pizza box” artillery template over the German Wespe battery.

American 105mm shells explode around the surprised Wespes. Three are reduced to smashed wrecks.

Following the effective M7 Priest shelling, the 1st tank platoon in the orchard blasts apart the forward German HMG bunker nest with skillful firepower. The 105mm M4 Sherman made its mark early. Team American high fives their successful entrance.

German movement after the surprising effective M7 Priest artillery bombardment seemed a bit dazed… losing half their artillery wasn’t in their pre-game planning. The forward PzV Panther platoon edges into the town center woods, taking position to fire down the paved roadway. The Panzer/70 (A) platoon quickly shifts position to cross behind Singling and head for the threatened left flank. Panzergrenadier stay low and concealed except for a few moving to the rear orchard stone wall. Movement completed, the Germans open fire. The Wespe battery quickly regroup and ranges in on the observing M4 Sherman off the paved road. Ranged in.. but no effect on the massed Americans. Seeing exposed AR platoon on the 2nd Tank platoon, the other HMG bunker nest opens fire…. tossing a poor display of missed shots. Seeing darting shadows, the deployed open field PzV Panther platoon fires at the TD security teams hidden behind the long hedge. Overall, a dull German firepower effort.

The crowded Americans push forward into the orchard. 1st Tank platoon, then their former AR passengers, then the 2nd Tank platoon with (should be) embarked AR platoon. 3rd Tank platoon at right while the remaining HMG bunker nest misses everything.

Center Singling. Panzer/70 (A) platoon moves into town near church. Panther platoon positions in woods. Note the placed hedge and building missed in earlier Singling set up photos.

Panthers in the open fields engage the TD security teams off photo at right. Burning Wespes in upper left.

Side view of the Singling defense. Three panzergrenadier platoons with panther support and the column of Panzer/70 (A) platoon passing the church.

Turn Two: American reserve arrives; the Armored mortar platoon. They drive across the muddy ground (8″) to engage the remaining HMG bunker nest with their two 50cal AAMG. In the large orchard, the 1st Tank platoon turn their cannon on the nearby Pak40 7.5cm cannon as the AR platoon filter past the stationary tanks. The Pak40 crew is soon blasted from the German OOB along with a sole panzergrenadier team manning the orchard stone wall. Un-bogging their two headquarter tanks, the company HQ tanks drive south to chase the advancing 3rd Tank platoon, clearing the way for the approaching 2nd Tank platoon to edge closer to the orchard “gap” formerly covered by the now destroyed bunker nest. Second AR platoon rushes forward dodging German artillery to reach the large orchard wall. Out on the open right flank, the 3rd Tank platoon drives around the orchard perimeter, seeking to drive deeper into the German rear positions. Overall. seems a passive turn for team America… they could have assaulted the Pak40 and panzergrenadier teams instead of blasting them apart, thereby advance another 6 inches towards taking Singling itself. Still, American losses to date have been only one AR team by the German artillery.

American prefer to blast apart the nearby German teams. One Pak40 7.5cm cannon destroyed, the remaining HMG bunker nest, and one panzergrenadier team left behind the orchard stone wall.

Northern view of Singling shows the Panther platoon in the woods, the shifting Panzer/70 (A) platoon, and the panzergrenadier facing the approaching orchard bound Americans.

German reply was limited. Artillery shelled the observer M4 tank again and several AR teams nearby. One dead infantry team for all the German shells. Seeing the distant armored mortar platoon, the two remaining Pak40 7.5cm cannon open fire…. and miss every shot. Still the open field Panthers take pop shots at the darting TD security teams behind the long hedge… no hits but the panthers are closing the range.

Germans stay low in building or foxholes as the totally inept PaK40 7.5cm crews cannot hit the distant armored mortar platoon halftracks.

Turn Three: The 3rd Tank platoon roars out into the open space south of Singling and opens fire on the PaK40 7.5cm cannon position. Joined by the 2nd Tank platoon and the armored mortar platoon, the two remaining A/T cannon are soon destroyed. The remaining A/T platoon commander team bolts to the rear after several AR teams approach then seize the outlying farm building. In the large orchard, the 1st Tank platoon edge up towards the stone wall, joined by several AR infantry teams, backed up by the fresh 2nd AR platoon advancing into the orchard.

Between the 3rd Tank platoon, the 2nd Tank platoon, and the armored mortars, the two remaining Pak40 7.5cm cannon disappear in explosions. Pale M4 Sherman at left is artillery observer tank.

Germans play cat and mouse with the TD security teams. They keep changing position behind the long hedge, waiting to draw in the Panthers and ambush with the hidden M18 Hellcats.

Cat and mouse games between the Panthers and the TD platoon behind the long hedge. Someplace the hidden M18 Hellcats await their change to pounce on the German cats.

American artillery redirects to shell the forward Singling building. One German HHG team destroyed as the rear Panther is destroyed by a wobbling shell. At the orchard stone wall… American firepower is directed upon the entrench forward German panzergrenadier platoon.

Artillery bombardment destroys one HMG team and the lurking Panther tank. Other American firepower has little effect on the entrenched German panzergrenadier at front of Singling.

Americans have really only one direct effort…. into the large orchard then assault the forward building of Singling.

German revenge is quick and very deadly. A platoon of Panthers arrives from the German delayed reserve pool. Quickly setting up position on the low-rise and behind the stone wall, three well-aimed shots destroys two American M4a3 Shermans. Totally surprised, the rest of the 3rd Tank platoon bolts off the table. the Wespe battery zero’s in on the just captured outlying farm building, welcoming the AR teams to their new farm residence. One dead team from the German gunnery. A good Panther turn, they find and destroy one M20 armored car in the TD security patrols behind the long hedge

Reserve PzV Panther platoon arrives from reserve pool and totally destroys the exposed 3rd Tank platoon with accurate gunnery. Wespe 10.5cm shells land at the farmhouse just captured.

View from the table corner and the Wespe battery. Dim in the distance, a burning M20 behind the hedge.

The arriving Panzer/70 (A) platoon enters the rear orchard or takes up position covering the open ground south of Singling.

Panzergrenadiers watch as the Panzer/70 (A) platoon takes up gunnery positions covering the open space south of Singling.

Turn Four: Time for a quick American old-fashioned assault. Daniel sends the leading AR platoon over the stone wall, across the dirt roadway and hopes to assault the entrenched panzergrenadier holding the forward Singling position. Supportive fire proves weak, with several missed shots by the nearby 1st Tank platoon, and the panzergrenadier are not pinned by the weight of American prep firepower. Hoping for a break-thru assault, the 2nd Tank platoon edges forward to engage with smoke and gunnery against the Panzer/70 (A) platoon poking around the building. One Panzer/70 (A) tank hunter is destroyed by a lucky 76mm shell. But the fate of the AR platoon is different. German HMG team and several panzergrenadier teams let rip and cut down three assaulting teams and send the remainder diving back over the stone wall.

The AR platoon assaults the entrenched panzergrenadier. Not being pinned, the German defensive fire cuts down three teams and sends the rest diving back into cover.

American teams dive back into cover leaving three dead teams on the dirt roadway. The destroyed Panzer/70 (A) is just visible at upper right photo corner.

Like the last turn the German gunnery steps up. Repositioning the 3rd Panther platoon atop the low-rise, the Panthers and a single Panzer/70 (A) tank hunter brew up three American M4a3 Shermans of 2nd Tank platoon. The remaining tank crew pass their morale to remain in battle.

Shifting position to the low-rise, the deadly gunnery from the 3rd Panther platoon brews up more M4a3 Sherman along with one Panzer/70 (A) tank hunter in the near orchard at right.

The American perspective does look good. Burning Sherman tanks everywhere.

Out on the open northern flank ground, another M20 armored car is brewed up by the encroaching Panthers. The TD Hellcat platoon will have to deploy their TD Hellcats from ambush before the last jeep security team is found.

Another M20 armored car is found and destroyed by the northern roaming panthers.

German view of the same burning Sherman action. American artillery has ranged in on the rear orchard position, killing one panzergrenadier team.

Turn Five: Team America has a quick player conference. Losing seven Sherman on the last turns is a major impact and the TD platoon is at risk due to the approaching Panthers. Pulling back the surviving 2nd Platoon Sherman tank from their burning platoon wrecks, the converged Company HQ Sherman and armored mortar platoon shelter nearby from the long-range German gunnery. Positioned out of the Panther’s 75mm cannon reach, the arriving Stuart M5a1 platoon secures the far right flank. Deploying the M18 Hellcats behind the hedge, the last jeep security section is retired from tabletop. As the jeep bolts from the field, the grim-faced Hellcat crews open fire on the close PzV Panthers. Shells bounce off the thick frontal armor. Other 76mm shells speed downrange from two M4a3 (76mm) tank in the orchard.  Every shell bounces off the thick German armor.

American turn completed, the Germans set about sending more American tankers to heaven. On the left, the bold 3rd Panther platoon descends the low-rise and engages the exposed Stuart M5a1 platoon. One light tank is pierced front to back and explodes in flame. German armor-piercing shells reach out to touch American steel… several ricochet off Detroit steel.

The 3rd Panther platoon descends from the low-rise and engage the Stuart M5a1 platoon. One light tanks bursts into a flaming steel pyre

On the German open terrain right flank, the Panther crews quickly set one M18 Hellcat aflame and bail another. German Wespe battery zero’s in and “disturbs” the bailed crew and tank. The recent arrived last 3rd AR platoon walking onto the battlefield are faced by the scary situation of open ground and roaming German panzers.

The M18 Hellcat platoon sees one Hellcat burst into flame, another shelled into scrap by the German Wespe battery. The unfortunate 3rd AR platoon quickly sees its perilous position.

Turn Six: With no place to run, the exchange of shells between the M18 Hellcats and two M4a3 76mm tanks (1st platoon) continues. Two Panther crews bail from their damaged Panthers, being veteran crews and protected armor, they will return. Leading AR platoon shifts a bit to prepare another assault on the front buildings of Singling. The right flank M5a1 Stuart platoon retires for protection behind the flank orchard and stone walls. One M7 Priest battery tries to range in on the 3rd platoon Panthers. It fails, but the second M7 Priest battery ranges again on the rear orchard position. One more dead panzergrenadier team.

German reply somewhat muted compared to the past few turns. They bailed one Hellcat crew for the moment while shifting their Panzer/70 (A) platoon forward in the rear orchard, towards the low stone wall. Again the Wespe battery shelled the TD platoon but cause no damage.

The battle between the panthers and the M18 Hellcat platoon, supported by the two M4a3 76mm Shermans, enters a second turn.

Turn Seven: Formed in line, the Sherman M4a3 tanks from the 2nd platoon, Abrams (M4) himself, and the Company HQ exchange fire against the solo Panzer/70 (A) tank seen in the far orchard. Hits are scored but the thick frontal armor deflect every round.

Four Sherman tanks, from three different units, open fire on the distant Panzer/70 (A) placed in the rear orchard. After no hits, the armored mortar platoon drop smoke rounds to screen. Pale camo Sherman is one of the M7 Priest battery observer M4 tanks.

Preparation fire against the forward Singling buildings panzergrenadier platoon. All the firepower… one destroyed team. One M7 Priest battery ranges on the 2iC panther tanks, causing the crew to bail out for the moment. The other M7 Priest battery continues their bombardment against the entrenched panzergrenadier and in-directly, the Panzer/70 (A) platoon. No effect, but the panzergrenadier are truly pinned by the shellfire.

One M7 Priest battery bails the 2iC panther, the other shells the rear panzergrenadier in the orchard. Prep fire destroys one German team in the forward position.

German Panthers having a charmed life… the American 75mm or 76mm shot dents count growing on their frontal armor. Seeing opportunity, the exposed 3rd AR platoon head for the concealing stream and seek to catch an unwary Panther… maybe with a flanking bazooka team.

While the M18 tanks engage the Panther’s attention, the exposed 3rd AR Platoon head for the concealing stream terrain and hope for a flanking bazooka shot.

German half turn finally destroys the hated TD Platoon last tanks. Another Hellcat blew up and another bailed. With the returning Wespe battery bombardment, the bailed crew are blown apart. Two PzV Panther tanks change from their hot main 75mm guns to open fire with machine guns on the crawling American infantry. On the right flank, the bold 3rd Platoon drive forward to engage the four Sherman tanks between the two orchards. Several hits… but the holed Sherman crews grimly stay in the steel hulls.

Driving forward, the three 3rd Platoon panthers open fire on the Sherman tanks. Several hits but no bailed or destroyed tanks.

Two more reserve German platoons have arrived recently at the rear table edge. A 12cm mortar platoon (using Russians for this scenario) and lastly the panzergrenadier pioneer platoon walk on to the battlefield.

Panzer/70 (A) platoon in the orchard at left under M7 Priest bombardment. At right, the arriving German 12cm mortar platoon (played by Russians today) and panzergrenadier pioneer platoon.

Burning M18 Hellcat tank wrecks mark the end of the M18 TD platoon. Just the totally exposed 3rd AR platoon, crawling or running towards the stream concealment, holds American left flank.

Front edge of Singling is receiving the American attention. Massing AR infantry (1st/2nd) and 1st Tank platoon positioned to storm again across the dirt roadway for another assault attempt.

Turn Eight: Scenario turn count is telling the Americans they must hurry to clear the building lining the paved roadway for victory. Firing bullets and shells into the forward German defense, causing the German helmets to duck, the AR infantry jump the stone wall and bayonet charge towards the front buildings, firing their M1 Garand from the hip.

2nd AR platoon leaps over the low stone wall and charge home. Wild firing by the Germans causes no casualties. Room to room, the bayonet and grenades clear out the buildings of Germans.

Room to room, the flash of grenades and short-range bullet bursts clear the German panzergrenadier defenders. Chased from the front buildings, the panzergrenadier sustained losses cause morale test. Failed, the rest of the German soldats scatter to the rear.

After chasing retiring Germans back towards the town center bunker nest, the 2nd AR platoon occupies former German position. the German panzergrenadier failed morale and disappeared.

Meanwhile, those brave M5a1 Stuarts see opportunity for glory. A rare flank shot on Panthers. Even a lowly 37mm can leave a small hole on the Panther’s side armor. Pedal to the floor, the light tanks roar out from behind the orchard and open fire with eight stabilized shots. Three hits, one tie for FP check, but the German panzers laugh as black uniformed crews load more AP shot.

Well… we tried a flank shot with two M5a1 Stuarts. Panther revenge is coming.

Stuart lucky day…. the American M7 Priests heard the call from Lt. Colonel Abrams and shouting Stuart crews. The radio net delivers a pin point two M7 Priest battery barrage on the exposed Panthers. Two Panther turrets are blasted skywards. Fellow tankers send smoke shells into the area to block LOS while the armored mortar platoon lays down a smoke bombardment covering the Panzer/70 (A) platoon. What American timing!

The steel rain falls. American pinpoint bombardment lands on the exposed 3rd Panther platoon. Two turrets blasted skyward. Smoke bombardment from armored mortar platoon clouds the area.

Out on the open left flank a totally weird situation. The 3rd AR platoon drops a 60mm smoke cloud in front of the looney Panther, then the AR platoon charges the Panther tank. Seeing the charging Americans, another Panther crew opens fire, joining the assaulted crew raking the open ground. Six shots, five hits, but not one dead American infantry team as they fall back. Looking around…. the startled Americans ask who was hit?  but no one rolls over dead. German panzer crews wonder how they could have missed that charging mob.

The 60mm mortar team drops smoke, the 3rd AR platoon charges nearest panther, Six MG shots, five hits but not one American dead body, as the platoon rushes back to their starting position.

American had all their fun, watching the two PzV Panther turrets bounce on the muddy ground, the tank hulls flaming bonfires. Time for Team German to counterattack and regain the tempo of the battlefield. Panzer/70 (A) platoon creeps forward in the orchard and opens fire on the distant converged Sherman command tanks group. Must have been orchard branches blocking the gunnery sights as all shells fly wide of their targets. The surviving 3rd Panther platoon tank engages rear gears and back up, converting one M5a1 Stuart into a flaming wreck along the way. Arriving German panzergrenadier pioneer platoon crosses the dirt roadway and enters the rear orchard, to serve the final reserve and counterattack platoon if the Americans head towards the church. In passing, the 12cm mortar platoon (looking like uniformed Russians today) has set up their large mortar tubes, entrenched, and posted the platoon observer on the rear low-rise. Ready for their first fire mission, they arm signal to German headquarters in the nearby church.

Panzer/70 (A) engage the distant Sherman between the orchards (off photo at left). Pioneer platoon enter the rear orchard as final reserve platoon. The 12cm mortars entrenched and ready.

The Panzer/70 (A) targets. Last tank of 2nd Platoon, Warrior Abrams in his M4, and Tank Co. HQ. All backed by the armored mortar platoon and a M4 (pale) artillery observer tank.

Since the American armored riflemen are wondering how they survived their failed bayonet charge, the Panther crews reminded them that standing in open ground is deadly. To add injury… the Wespes, over open sights, drop a barrage on the lucky Americans.

The “lucky” 3rd AR platoon is raked by german machine guns from the panthers and shelled by the Wespe battery rump.

Turn Nine: Team American know time is short to achieve victory. Reinforcing the forward occupied Singling building, they shift more AR teams into the central woods to prepare assaulting the German held hedge line and next building. Out at the rear orchard the American M7 Priest batteries zero in and ToT (Time on Target) the occupying panzergrenadier platoon and the three Panzer/70 (A) tank hunters. With accurate targeting by the Sherman observer team, the Panzer/70 (A) vehicles are cracked open and fireball with dirty black smoke. Dazed panzergrenadier stragglers exit from the orchard foxholes. To cloud up the area, another smoke bombardment by the armored mortar platoon blankets the remaining Panther from the approaching M5a1 Stuarts, seeking to flank again their hunted beast again.

Burning Panzer/70 (A) hulks, dazed panzergrenadier, and well smoked panther mark the German resistance front after another wicked artillery bombardment.

Centrally the American armored infantry filter into the central woods and controlled building of Singling. A Recon platoon enters the town to scout out the next German defensive line.

The now hapless 3rd AR platoon tries again to assault the Panthers. Gripped by tank terror, their disjointed charge never takes place with only bazooka rockets bouncing from the thick German armor.

Gripped by now panther tank terror, the 3rd AR platoon stops short from charging. Another team cut down by the German tank machine guns.

Burning hulks dot the open fields southern flank of Singling. The blasted rear orchard has German bodies, burning stumps, unpicked apples, and flaming vehicles adding to the man-made smoke clouds. The remaining Panther guns for another Stuart…. well fried again.

Another burning Stuart added to the flaming wrecks dotting the southern open fields of Singling. three dead Stuarts… morale passed, means still two live Stuarts chasing the German cat beast.

Spotting from the church steeple, the Wespe battery observer directs bombardment on the crowded American portion of Singling. Two teams are pulped into the earth as the vehicles dodge the explosive 10.5cm shells.

Wespe battery bombardment falls on dense American infantry surging forward into position. Two teams lost in the woods as Recon platoon vehicles dodge shells landing on the old paved roadway.

Big German Panther cats are playing with the hapless American 3rd AR platoon. Backing away to prevent assault or side bazooka shots, the Americans are slowly shot down.

German cats play with their mice (AR platoon). Another dead team from the cat’s machine gun paws.

Turn Ten: With the first attempt slashed by German 10.5cm shell fragments, more AR infantry (1st and 2nd Platoons) are mixed together while pushing forward into the central woods. Recon platoon does their job, they eye (uncover) the gone to ground German 2nd position so the artillery observers redirect both M7 Priest batteries to the next target. Pizza box template flies in or overhead….the big green tarp over the German position. Lots of dice work, lots of 105mm shells, ends up with two panzergrenadier casualties.

Another “pizza delivery” as the American artillery shells the central part of Singling. Two dead panzergrenadier teams from the shelling.

Chasing the Panther’s tail, the new Stuart game in town is nip at the German tail. Four 37mm shots later the German cat is tail whipping the pesky Stuarts.

Brave or complete idiots…. the M5a1 Stuart crews try again to flank the big German cat and fire four 37mm into the mufflers. The big cat is becoming annoyed.

Feeling a bit safer to approach the German lines, the brave Sherman crews gas the pedal. The six remaining medium tanks shell the rear orchard position, keeping the dazed and battered panzergrenadier in place. Two M4a3 76mm try their luck at northern open field Panthers… still trying.

American armor has hot gun breeches as shell after shell is loaded while aiming at the German infantry or, at left, the two M4a3 76mm aiming at the distant Panthers.

Germans toy with the Americans. Another AR team lying still on the northern fields. The annoyed Panther makes matching new 75mm hull holes in one Stuart then watches as the German 12cm mortar platoon bails the crew in the other… with their first mortar rounds.

Picking off hapless AR teams… one by one. the 3rd AR platoon heads for the partial concealing stream terrain.

Ready to defend the German flank, the pioneer platoon assaults the bailed Stuart crew. Mark another American tank wreck on the battlefield.

German pioneer platoon defends the southern flank… sees the bailed Stuart tank so a quick assault in order. A few minutes works and the annoying M5a1 platoon is no more.

German turn done… the American central effort looks ready to assault. Under half strength panzergrenadier platoon mans the rear orchard walls.

German cats play with their mice…

Turn Eleven and scenario end: Slight shifting of more American teams into the central woods but the Americans have run out of scenario time to clear the town. A last “pizza box” artillery bombardment bumps another German panzergrenadier team to the dead pile. A possible opportunity to quick assault the pinned Germans with a few AR teams, but being outnumbered isn’t normally as way to start the assault process going forward.

Pizza bombardment delivery drops another German panzergrenadier team. Too few AR teams near enough to assault the pinned panzergrenadier holding the second position in Singling.

With no central town assault, the outskirts American armor shoots at any panzergrenadier team seen. Their wild-fire misses all the critical targets, especially if dressed in a German uniform.

Wildly firing at any German uniform, the American tankers miss all their targets.

When in doubt… form a “Congo line”… This secret American infantry tactic normally is performed on the dance floor with dressy ladies. But with muddy ground, tall steam bed reeds and bushes, and a playful German cat band beating out their own version of Marlene D, the American squad leaders try to confuse the German panther cat crews.

Top secret American infantry tactic seen in action (and photographed). Form a “congo line” to confuse the German cat band, be sneaky, and surprise the tanks with a bazooka leading team.

German didn’t move a team…. they just blasted two more Sherman tanks with their Wespe battery. As for the “congo line” target….. after the lead bazooka team was cut down, the Americans soon surrendered, formed another single file line, and marched into Germany. Scenario was over…. Team German held the town of Singling for another day.

Parting ways and salvos…. two more burning Sherman tanks from a sharp German Wespe bombardment.

Summary: Well, a German team win since the scenario victory condition (historical) was for Team American to clear the central corridor of Singling buildings within twelve scenario turns. Scenario well-played by both teams, action was fast paced and other than the outlying 3rd AR platoon situation, both sides had their back and forth movements and scenario highlights. Thank you to all the players, some new to the warren environment: Bruce, Gary, Lance, and returning regulars: Andy, Paul, and Daniel plus two lady guests Raquel and Vicky, wondering about all the dice throws. Another future warren FOW scenario…. maybe in August, with some late war Russians in play.

For Team American they lost entirely the M18 TD, the 3rd Armored Rifle, 3rd Tank, and M5a1 Stuart platoons, 1st AR platoon lost four infantry teams, and the 2nd Tank platoon two burning Sherman. For the Germans: 3rd PzV Panther, the Panzer/70 (A), the forward panzergrenadier platoon, all the HMG teams from their Heavy platoon, one Panther tank in 2nd platoon, three Wespe 10.5cm, and half of the rear orchard panzergrenadier platoon. Overall…. about equal losses with the Germans a bit closer to company morale issues due to their lesser platoon count.

Could the Americans win in the allotted twelve turns is WR’s next question. May need a change of tactics but the American armored rifle platoons (1st and 2nd) did spend stationary time before the German held forward Singling position. Maybe a bit more artillery preparation and tank “volleys” to remove the two HMG teams early on would quicken the American assault. Looking at the pictures there was a turn or two of possible assault opportunities. They have to enter the central woods quickly with elements of two AR platoons to assault the town central defenses, say by turn eight or nine, to stay on schedule and win.

Another tactical plan…. a bit more radical and based on the established German scenario set up. Shift the armored assault down the right flank (south of Singling) big time. “Spearhead move” 1st Tank platoon, Lt Col. Abrams, one observer Sherman, the onboard AR platoon, and lastly the Tank co. HQ tanks, all down the open southern flank (around the smaller orchard or map row H). On turn one movement phase…bring on 2nd Tank platoon with another AR onboard near paved roadway (under cover but can fire at the front of Singling), the other observer Sherman, heading towards the large orchard corner (to spot the Wespes on turn two). 3rd Tank platoon drive right up between the orchards. The M18 TD security teams behind the long hedge but able to shell the forward town buildings or play with the open field panther platoons (north of Singling) position wise. The “Spearhead platoons” make their turn one move forward, reaching the small stream position and the stationary observer Sherman spots the M7 Priest batteries to shell the Pak40 position. If reserve platoon arrives, take the M5a1 to drive on tabletop following 1st Tank platoon movement.

For turn one targeting…. 1st and 3rd Tank platoons, co. HQ tanks, and Abrams himself blast the Pak40 cannon. Smoke if needed. Stationary Sherman tank observer can call in the artillery if needed on the Pak40 cannon or shell / smoke any target of opportunity near the town. 2nd Tank platoon engages the frontal buildings of Singling targeting the HMG teams. All AR platoons are still on the M4a3 Sherman engine decks at end of turn one.

Germans complete their turn…. maybe we lose a Sherman or two. Hopefully the Wespes move to avoid the artillery “pizza delivery” on turn two. If not… we will shell them on two turn, spotted by the 2nd Sherman observer near the paved road / larger orchard.

American turn two… Push forward on the right (south of Singling) another full move. May or maybe not disembark the AR platoon. Depends on what the rear orchard German panzergrenadier can see. The Pak40 A/T platoon should be smoking shell holes from turn one firepower. If count right, passing the short stream position should be 13 tanks (1st Tank platoon, Abrams, Co HQ, and the M5a1 platoon), plus AR platoon on the 1st platoon engine decks (42″ on the tabletop or 3×14″ moves). 3rd Tank platoon advances to engage the rear panzergrenadier platoon. Forget the HMG nests. The bunker nests will be taken out by the disembarked AR platoon, 2nd Tank platoon, and the next reserve platoon arrival. If capable..the second observer Sherman spots the fall of shot on the Wespe battery this turn. If not, maybe the front edge of Singling itself. M18 TD platoon dances to keep the two PzV Panther platoons engaged.

By now the Germans are shifting major assets to the southern flank of Singling…how the scenario plays out hard to predict. But on the third American turn, the American armored flanking hook in position to disembark their AR platoon (assault the rear orchard) and all tanks advance deeper into the German rear zone, meeting the 3rd German Panther platoon at point-blank range if they arrive on turn three. Eight Sherman and five Stuarts should be able to destroy only three Panthers. At the front of Singling, the orchard bunker nests are destroyed and the reserve AR platoon arrives hopefully to beef up the assault on Singling by turn five.

WR’s plan. Will have to try it out. Anyone up for the challenge? Cheers from the warren.

WR

The BGG Flames of War supplement cover.

P.S. Photos of the concrete blockhouses around Singling. They do look like proper concrete bunkers and not simple “bunker nests”.

Blockhouse #1 north east of Singling in fields.

Blockhouse #2 situated centrally in town along the main road.

Blockhouse #3 overlooks the modern day open fields but was placed in the orchards in 1944.

Blockhouse #4 also besides the orchard fields during scenario. Present day the orchards are gone for open field farming.

Not used for scenario but located further south of blockhouse #4.

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One thought on “Battle of Singling 1944 (AAR)

  1. When I had to leave early, I was sure the Americans would take it. Can’t believe the Germans pulled it off!

    I’ll pat myself on the back for delaying their advance with “expert” Pak-40 placement… and by expert, I mean losing all 3 of them without taking anything out.

    Great write up! Very fun game to play in, and wish I could’ve played til the end!

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