Monday, May 20, 2019

Ardennes'44 Take 2 via Vassal - Starting again

It looks like I can't stay away from this game.  Having finished the game with Richard, I was left wondering how different it would be with 3rd Edition using the optional rule that allows using up to 18 attack factors (rather than just 15).  There are a few other tweaks in 3rd Edition as well.

The 7th Army muster two attacks.
This time I am going to resist over investing in this flank.
(Note: the arrows just help me remember which artillery units are being used)

 5th Panzer Army in the centre are much better placed.  
They also have three Panzer divisions, two of which are able to get into action straight away.
My aim here is to head initially for St Vith.

6th Panzer Army only makes one attack.
Again I don't want to over invest on this flank,
the 1st SS Panzer Corps I intend sending to attack up the boundary with the 5th Panzer Army.

The attacks were very successful, but the US line holds where it matters most, 
in the centre where the Panzer divisions want to break out.
German progress will be hampered by traffic congestion.

Afternoon, December 16th

German artillery resupply goes to the 5th Pz Army for the push against St Vith.  I checked and found for Turn 2 the Germans can flip 6 artillery units, so all 5th and 6th Pz Armíes' artillery is ready for action.

When the 116th Pz try to cross the Ouren bridge it collapses.

The 7th Army launches some follow up attacks.
The ones at the bottom of the map fizzed (resulted in engaged outcomes),
but the other attack resulted in capture of Diekirch 
and investment of Ettlebruck (both victory locations)

The 5th Pz Army is powering on.
2nd Pz Division has broken through at Clervaux
and 116th Pz have crossed at Berg Reuland.
The focus is more west than towards St Vith as I originally intended.

However 6th Pz Army's attacks failed to produce spectacular results 
and General Pieper has flown into an apocalyptic rage.
Maybe their night moves will produce results?

 The US 106th Division (under the engaged markers) will attempt to disengage 
and using night infiltration tactic and close the gap in the 9th Armoured's line.

Other elements of the 106th try and breakout.
It is a failure, but they at least resist the urge to surrender.

KG Pieper's night attacks

Situation at the start of the morning of 17 December 1944.

Morning, December 17th 

The 6th Panzer Army takes the limited artillery resupply. The von der Heydte parachute drop is a complete success.

Although not a priority, 7th Army manages to keep up the attacks.

5th Pz Army attacks along its whole front.
It is very successful, even capturing St Vith in a breakthrough combat.
(It got a fire fight result, but with elite tanks in the lead it was in a very strong position to win)

With significant resources, it is essential that 6th Pz Army gets a move on.

The big picture at midday December 17th.
The US 7th Armoured has been rushed forward to establish a northern defensive line,
but the centre seems broken and the southern flank in peril.

Afternoon, December 17th

Artillery supply goes mainly to the 5th Pz Army.

The 7th Army mount some modest attacks, 
but they all fail.

The 5th Pz Army attacks everywhere, 
but meets with only modest success.

However 6th Pz Army clears a way forward,
straight into the US reinforcements.

The US 10th Armoured Division makes the first counter attack.

The situation after the night of 17 December.
5th Pz Army is well placed to reach Bastogne, 
but the 6th Panzer Army is now facing some tougher units if it wants to advance further.

Morning, December 18th

The 6th Pz Army grabs the artillery resupply, not that it will help much as they still need to bring their batteries up, but of the three armies, they are in the best position to use the ammunition.

The 7th Army attacks again.
They will bust a hole in the US lines,
but US reinforcements will arrive to plus the gap.

The 5th Pz Army, while suffering some losses,
will break through and enter Bastogne.

The 6th Pz Army makes no progress with its attacks.

The big picture at midday.
Note the columns of German troops, pouring into Bastogne,
Pz Lehr, 2nd Pz and 26th VG divisions.

Afternoon, December 18th

Artillery supply again goes predominantly to 6th Pz Army, but also, with a note of concern, to the 7th Army as a defensive measure.

7th Army and the left flank or southern sector.
Defensive posture.

6th Pz Army and the centre.
Not many attacks as not many enemy units to fight.
The breakout is underway.
The attacks to the north are just potentially to secure the flank.
Elements of the 1st SS Pz Corps are racing up now.

7th Pz Army and the right flank or Northern Sector.
Limited attacks to obtain victory locations, 
as the 1st SS Pz Corps is being pulled out to be sent west.

 The US 10th Armoured Division counterattacks
in an attempt to free CCA of the 9th Armoured.
It is of limited success.

The situation at the end of the sixth day.

The Germans hold 12 Victory locations (hexes outlined in red) and so win the short Six Turn scenario (they needed 10).

They got close to the fuel dump, but it would be a challenge to capture it.

The little pocket at the eastern end of the bulge has been resisting all surrender attempts.

While I am sure I made a few mistakes (with the rules and optimum attacks), the Germans certainly got off to a good start with their initial attacks, but it is still hard work.  Using the 18 factor attack option helps a bit, but also remembering to use the KG Pieper night move on the first night turn.

It would be interesting to see if they can capture two more Victory locations in two more turns for a total of 14 necessary to win the Eight Turn scenario. They will be facing fuel shortages, but do receive significant reinforcements in the form of the 2nd SS Pz Corps although it will take time to get them into action.

Can I resist playing on?