Thursday, October 09, 2008

Elsenborn Ridge: Getting started

After getting the last of counters for Elsenborn Ridge trimmed out last night, I bulldozed around the scenario book for a smallish scenario to start in with. I settled on scenario 9, called “St. Vith: First Probe.” The Germans have an infantry battalion supported by an assault gun company – 6 x GREN, 3 x ENG, 3 x StuIIIG. Their job is to push the initial American defense completely off the east-west road that crosses the map through the town. The Americans start with the divisional cavalry squadron of the 7th Armored Division - 3 x INF, 3 x M3 (halftracks), 3 x M8 (armored cars). Random American reinforcements arrive at some point, consisting of a company of Shermans from 7th Armored – 3 x M4.

It’s interesting in that at the beginning of the scenario, the Americans have no answer to the German Stugs. The M8 armored cars have an A-T attack of 2, the Stugs’ armor is 4. Absent a cross-fire modifier, that’s pretty hopeless. And, of course, being armored cars the M8s have puny armor.

The scenario is set on Map 24, inverted. There’s a big blop of woods to the north, a fairly good size town (maybe 8 or 9 town hexes) just above the fold and a 1-hex town sitting on a ridge to the south. The large town (St. Vith, I guess) has both east-west and north-south roads running through it.

The US deploys anywhere in towns or on hills, or anywhere else on or west of the north-south road. The Germans enter from the east edge of the map, which means they’ve got maybe 6 hexes of open terrain to cross to get at the town.

I think the armored cav will be best served by hiding in the town and whacking the German grunts with artillery as they approach the town. The US has a decent amount of artillery considerring the size of the forces involved – 1 x 24, 3 x 18 – while the Germans counter with 2 x 16. Leadership is 1 x CAPT, 1 x LT for the US and 1 x CAP, 2 x LT for the Germans.

The Americans generally get a LOT of artillery in this game. In some of the scenarios set later in the battle, they also benefit from the introduction of V-T proximity fuzing – which gives all US artillery an automatic 3-column bonus shift against infantry in the open. That’s a shift in addition to anything else. My St. Vith scenario doesn’t use the rule, but it’s something that looks like it could be pretty devastating against a careless German player.

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