Ludendorff Bridge Hollywood AAR

Previously WR reported on his basic Flames of War 20mm scale Ludendorff Bridge 1945 scenario played as the morning game at Gamex 2018. For the second or afternoon Flames of War (FOW) game scenario, the same terraced tabletop was used but the units and platoons involved had slight changes for both sides. These changes converted what the basic FOW Ludendorff scenario was, to what WR calls his “Hollywood movie” version, following what is seen in “The Bridge at Remagen” movie (1969). To save some writing, WR refers the reader to the previous Ludendorff Bridge – Remagen 1945 article for specific details on the scenario written at end of scenario write-up. For this Hollywood themed scenario, the following changes are made from the basic scenario; platoon addition or change, team attachments, and adjusted starting positions are listed:

For the German side:

  1. The German 2cm Flak36 platoon is exchanged out for a Reluctant Conscript 88mm Flak platoon of three 88mm A/A guns, their Cmd SMG team, and attached HMG team. all in entrenchment or gun pits. This 888mm Flak36 battery is positioned forward on the Erpeler Ley, till placed on the 3rd level mountain edge overlooking the entire scenario tabletop.
  2. The 2iC SMG team in company HQ is exchanged out for 2iC MG team starting in the same position per scenario notes.
  3. The sunken river barge is anchored (placed) on the opposite side of the bridge, in center of river, and about 3″ from bridge. Change out the sniper team for an independent trained HMG team, concealed and “gone to river” status.

For the Americans:

  1. Add Armored Mortar platoon (81mm mortar) to the reinforcements pool. This Confident Veteran platoon has Cmd Carbine team, M2 or M3 H/T with .50cal AAMG, and three M4a1 81mm H/T. Following the delayed Reserves rules, roll on turn three for possible arrival at zone 3 table edge.
  2. If the Pershing Heavy tank platoon is destroyed, starting on turn three or later, a replacement light tank platoon will arrive. Players agreement, either Confident Veteran  M24 Chaffee platoon (four tanks), or a M18 HellCat platoon (four tanks) without their TD rules applied… just a common tank platoon for scenario. Delayed Reserves rule applies again.
  3. The Engineer platoon has special Ludendorff Bridge rules to follow for repairing or clearing the bridge for vehicle passage.

Remember WR adjusted the map squares to be 15″ wide and 12″ deep for his tabletop since he uses 20mm scale miniatures and basing.

Faced by the deadly 88mm AA Flak36 battery, the American have to target the hated cannon with their armor main guns, those same 90mm, 76mm, and 75mm tank cannon, to blast apart the German tank killing battery. So thoughtful planning the movement and fire control is paramount for the 1st turn. No double timing with the Shermans….. they will be pulped. Even the Pershing platoon needs to keep their distance to upgrade their armor factor by one… 10 to at long-range 11 vs, the 13 AT rating of the 88mm cannon. The Sherman crews just leave the turret and hull hatches open…. 88mm shells will come and go (7 to at long-range 8 vs. 13) against their armor hulls. This of course leaves the 3.7cm Flak 38 gun pit cannon complete alone for the start of the scenario…. all eight of them as they eye the American infantry. A different game mechanic situation is already in place. Much discussion at the lunch break between the scenario games…. let’s now see what the teams actually do on the tabletop. Continue reading

Advertisements

Ludendorff Bridge AAR

This past Memorial Day weekend WR attended the regional Strategicon Gamex convention based near the Los Angeles Airport or LAX (Hilton hotel). Joined by his son Daniel as GM, the scenario for the convention was the much awaited Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen 1945 Flames of War (FOW) MRB Ver3.0 project. Details for the FOW scenario, hints and notes, and the preparation of 20mm (1/72) miniatures / terrain have been covered in previous articles links below.

Ludendorff Bridge (Remagen) scenario, including the basic and “Hollywood movie” scenario versions: Ludendorff Bridge (Remagen) March 1945 and the Ludendorff Bridge Preparation.

Scenario map 12″x12″ square grid. WR’s version uses 20mm scale miniatures so WR enlarges width by 25% or 15″ wide by 12″ depth.

Table terrain setup clearly shows the Ludendorff Bridge, the Rhine River, the barge, the Erpeler Ley mountain, and railroad ramps with stonework arches leading to the tunnel portal position.

The starting American set up: Pictured below, the Pershing heavy tank platoon, the leading Armoured Rifle platoon (without transport), the Co. HQ CinC and 2iC teams, and the defending VolksGrenadier platoon guarding the RR ramp leading to the bridge.

Starting American positions with the Co. HQ CinC, 2iC teams, the Armored Rifle platoon, and the Pershing heavy tank platoon. Also pictured the defending VolksGrenadier platoon at bridge ramp.

The defending German starting position: The 2cm Flak36 gun pit battery up on the Erleper Ley mountain, the Flak38 3.7cm battery along the riverbank, and a portion of the Volks Artillery battery lower right corner seen. Not pictured below, behind the Erleper Ley mountain at tunnel portal, is the German Co. HQ CinC and 2iC teams, plus the VolksSturm platoon.

The German starting defensive positions…. the flak 2cm battery on Erpeler Ley, the Flak 3.7cm battery on riverbank, and the Volks Artillery battery lower right of photo.

WR refers the reader to the Ludendorff Bridge (Remagen) scenario and note links about the terrain modeled on the tabletop. Continue reading

Ludendorff Bridge 1945

Recent communication with a fellow gamer has drawn renewed attention to the old Flames of War Remagen or Ludendorff Bridge scenario featured in the July 2014 issue (#321) of Wargamer Illustrated. WR remembers reading this scenario but at the time had no late war American Pershing tanks to play out the scenario. Now, several years later, the American tank pool is vast and deep, including the Pershing tank 20mm miniatures required in the scenario American force. So, looking for a small scenario to hopefully play this holiday period, basically and somewhat with the flavor of the historical action, and having a trestle bridge to feature on the tabletop, the scenario green light is lit. Just need to manufacture the four grey stone towers bookmarking the bridge corners.

Painting of the crossing the Remagen (Ludendorff) bridge. (US Army)

Background material on this historical late war battle is easily found with quick internet keyboard taps. To start the process WR found quick reading for background for the approach battle, the bridge engagements, and the resulting American bridgehead created. The Wikipediaa article on Battle of Remagen 1945, information on the actual Ludendorff Bridge, and from the US Army ETO historical record “The Last Offensive” (chapter eleven page 208) covering Operation Lumberjack; the Battle of Remagen, the approach to Remagen, and Rhine river east bank bridgehead actions after capture of the Ludendorff bridge (.pdf): CMH The Last Offensive. Check out the web site covering the V2 rockets and German efforts to destroy the bridge. Excellent site for Remagen photos, historical documents, and first hand reports of events during the battle:  V2 Rockets at Remagen

The 27th Armored Infantry battalion, part of CCB of 9th Armored Division, approached Remagen from the heights above the town. After fighting into the town, the stage is set for the famous battle for control of the Ludendorff Bridge and the scenario.

The complete scenario from Wargames Illustrated issue 321 (July 2014) article for the Remagen or Ludendorff Bridge Flames of War (FOW) scenario (.pdf): Ludendorff Bridge 1945 Scenario Continue reading

Operation Overcast 1945 Pt II

Bit of a different Flames of War 20mm scenario this time for the Thanksgiving holiday period. WR decided to play another scenario game on the same terrain setup for his recent HMGS-PSW convention Operation Overcast May 1945 game, especially since he hasn’t returned the majority of the terrain pieces to their proper storage. Being also interested in a holiday Thanksgivings game or more correctly worded as a “TanksGiving” scenario using a “TankFest” format….. ie.. a lot of tanks driving about on the large tabletop setting. With the tabletop terrain design done…. pulling out the month old Operation Overcast scenario map for the 16×6 foot table san German equipment, WR only needed to figure out the American and Soviet tank forces for each side, based upon his present 20mm late war collection availability, and the placement of initial tabletop units and arriving reserve units. Motto simple…. lots of tanks. WR has tanks!

View from the southern end of the table. Former Camp Dora at lower left, the Mittelwerk rocket factory, the old V-1 launch ramp, and aerodrome in top distance.

Opposite table view from northern end. Kummerdorf II camp or former military testing grounds and the aerodrome base. WR likes his electrical transmission towers and power sub-station.

Scenario map for tabletop: Same as the former Operation Overcast 1945 scenario. Just the German units and hardware equipment has been removed. Terrain map notes as follows: 1) the Mittelwerk mountain factory is three teams wide within the mountain if combat occurs. Consider the factory floor terrain to be similar to large buildings with four equal size “rooms or areas” within the factory mountain. Vehicles can drive through the mountain at normal unit speed, in single column, but no double movement. 2) The three fuel tanks have some fuel and will burn if successful 4+ FP hit result. A permanent smoke cloud will burn 12″ around the burning tanks till end of scenario. 3) The V-1 launcher ramp has concrete side walls and provides BP cover. 4) The electrical transmission towers and substation are not live with electrical current and provide no cover for concealment but do slow movement for the fence like barbed wire. 5) Radar tower is just for show. 6) Chain link fencing is similar to barbed wire sections for movement and unit crossing.

The entire 16′ x 6′ table map. Each map square is 12″ by 12″. The Mittelwerk mountain tunnel is assumed to be three teams wide if any combat occurs in the former mountain V-2 factory. Americans control the bottom half of scenario map. The Soviets enter from top edge of map.

Scenario Premise: The previous WR Operation Overcast 1945 Flames of War 20mm scenario had two component parts. The first was the search and collection of late war German technology by the Americans and Soviet special “intelligence” task forces or platoons. The Americans by their JIOA Operations Group teams and the Soviets teams from the Special branch NKVD, directly under orders of Uncle Stalin. The second part was the confrontation phase, leading to direct offensive action between the two major powers. In the end, the Americans won the battlefield but the Soviets were more successful extracting the German hardware technology, the German scientists and technicians, and rounding up the former Camp Dora ex-rocket factory technicians. During the first Operation Overcast 1945 scenario there was German hardcore fanatic SS teams, Gestapo teams, and former prisoner guards on the tabletop to interfere with the actions of the American and Soviets.

For this Operation Overcast Part II scenario the Germans are long gone from the tabletop battlefield, the advanced military hardware has been collected and hauled away, and the German refugees and former Camp Dora prisoner workers transported to other regions of safety. The Soviets are returning to the former battlefield as part of a major Soviet armored attack on the American central european army. They are confronted by a similar American armored forces and the “TankFest” scenario starts with that premise. Continue reading

Operation Overcast 1945

WR’s large YR2017 HMGS-PSW regional convention scenario this time was an early version of Operation Overcast, a Flames of War post-war scenario with three not two active sides on the tabletop. The scenario premise has the war just recently ended and distrustful tensions between the allied armies are subdued for the moment by their victory over Nazi Germany. Within days the American Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) and Soviet Intelligence Special Branch (NKGB) teams are racing around unoccupied southern Germany seeking the very scientists, technicians, technical drawings, and actual prototypes of the advanced late war German technology. The winner of this “data collection and personnel roundup effort” will have a tremendous technology lead, placing their nation in the forefront and well positioned as the Cold War hostility reveals itself later.

Operation Overcast May 1945 scenario map showing the four general sectors. (L to R): Kummerdorf II, Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren, Mittelwerk, and Camp Dora zones. Table size is 16’x6′

The scenario notes for the game (.doc file) Updated 02/28/18 (American OSS and Soviet Special NKGB platoons added): Operation Overcast 1945 Scenario notes

The scenario 16×6 tabletop viewed from the Mittelwerk end. Camp Dora situated at left.

Scenario tabletop from the Kummerdorf II table end. Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren in upper background. The Kummersdorf annex are the buildings upper left in photo.

The central Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren with the advanced German aircraft and missiles scattered about the aerodrome. The former Lionel radar tower atop the low hill at right.

Mittelwerk zone shows the Mittelwerk mountain V-2 factory tunnel entrance, the V-1 launch ramp and assembly building. Rocket test launch pad off photo at left.

Mittelwerk V-2 test launch pad for the advance testing of V-series rockets.

Camp Dora compound. Camp Dora prisoners are the workforce for Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory. Two hut buildings, a barracks, and the “cooler” makes up the corner of Camp Dora pictured.

Electrical power substation for the Kummerdorf II technical factories. Rare to see electrical transmission towers on a tabletop wargame. Rarer still an electrical substation.

Another view of Kummerdorf II zone. WR loves his electrical transmission towers on the tabletop.

Well, the tabletop scene has been described and shown. Now to report the Act I of the scenario; the search by the three American JIOA and three Soviet NKGB platoons as they enter the tabletop. Note: WR used only three teams for each side at the convention. The full scenario calls for four JIOA and NKGB teams on each side and WR added the American OSS and NKGB Special Spetsnaz platoons to OOB this Feb 2018.

Continue reading

Preparation Operation Overcast FOW 1945

Along with the Battle of Saalfeld 1806 napoleonic scenario, WR and Daniel have arranged for a larger post war May 1945 scenario called “Operation Overcast” 1945. This scenario is a different mold for WR’s normal Flames of War (20mm) scenarios; not historical but a hypothetical scenario with possible combative action between former allies the United States and their opposite number the Soviet Red Army, with scenario goals not necessary combative but the seeking of former German military technology itself, and most importantly, their inventive human technicians. Toss in the streams of German refugees, escaped concentration camp population, fanatical “Nazi SS” diehards to cause trouble, models representative of the advanced German technology on the tabletop, and the horrors of post war German still under the deaden atmosphere of the war’s end.

WR intends to use this updating blog post to show some of the steps WR completes to bring a convention level Flames of War (20mm) scenario to life. Each week WR hopes to update this blog article with news of forward progress towards the Operation Overcast scenario, the unit miniatures needed or painted from bare plastic or lead, reference material collected, scenario written up, model and terrain construction, and the long list of small but incremental steps towards a “hoped for” successful scenario game. At the same time, another concurrent running progressive blog article will cover the Saalfeld 1806 scenario planned for October 1st, at the same convention.

Look for the dated updates [xx/xx/17] below as WR adds to article text.

Here is the Operation Overcast scenario notes (.doc) file: Operation Overcast 1945 Scenario notes

Forward then…. the time start line for Operation Overcast scenario is the final German surrender document ending all the active combative operations. Signed at Reims France on May 7, 1945, the Second World War ended on May 8th (or 9th in USSR). Before this date the major power; USA, Britain, and the Soviet Union all had active special operations in progress, with their forward armies, and behind the German lines. These special operations; small fast-moving columns of light vehicles, well armed soldiers, and veteran hand-picked officers regarded for their military and scientific knowledge, comb the open and enclosed German countryside for hidden technological hardware and the scientific brains behind the wonder weapon design.

The May 7, 1945 surrender document signed at Reims France. There was other regional surrenders before and after this date but this document ended the active fighting universally.

General situation May 1945 when peace came. Only the white zones controlled by German army. The red zones occupied by allied forces during the last two weeks of active war.

Post 8/4/17: Some high brow background material. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) established the first secret recruitment program, called Operation Overcast, and hence the name for this scenario, initially “to assist in shortening the Japanese war and to aid our postwar military research.” The term “Overcast” was the name first given by the German scientists’ family members for the housing camp where they were held in Bavaria. In September 1945, the JCS established the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) to directly oversee Operation Overcast and later Operation Paperclip. In November 1945, Operation Overcast was renamed Operation Paperclip by Ordnance Corps (United States Army) officers, who would attach a paperclip to the folders of those rocket experts whom they wished to employ in America. President Truman formally approved Operation Paperclip in a secret directive, circulated on September 3, 1946.

The later Operation Paperclip was the secret United States Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) program in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians (many of whom were formerly registered members of the Nazi Party and some of whom had leadership roles in the Nazi Party) were recruited and brought to the United States for government employment from post-Nazi Germany (after World War II). The primary purpose for Operation Paperclip was for the U.S. to gain a military advantage in the burgeoning Cold War, and later Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union. By comparison, the Soviet Union were even more aggressive in recruiting Germans; during their Operation Osoaviakhim, Soviet military units forcibly (at gunpoint) recruited 2,000+ German specialists to the Soviet Union during one night and sent them east. WR will add more dated scenario background material on future updating posts below.

Final military operations at war end. Soviets have taken Berlin. American armies surging into southern Germany, then Austria. Canadian and British take the North Sea coast line.

Early predetermined occupation zones circa 1944 into early 1945. The final zonal borders shifted with discussions between the allies. Note Austria also had several occupational zones.

The purple zone became Russian controlled after the western allies retired back to their established occupational zones.

This Flames of War (20mm) scenario has a large “build and paint” list of projects, especially compared to the other napoleonic Saalfeld 1806 scenario which has the majority of the terrain on hand (in collections) and miniatures painted. The list and expanded details of completion will be regularly posted to this updating blog article as WR and Daniel finish them: Continue reading

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.

Continue reading