Battlegroup – Watch on The Rhine

Rob, of History to War Games Podcast and I were able to play another World War Two scenario; this time jumping scales and period but still in Belgium.

Battlegroup WWII Scenario

Our last game had been a large 15mm Fall Gelb game featuring over 100 vehicles; we used the fun, early war stuff, like anti-tank guns mounted backwards on tractors. This time we would still be in Belgium, but in the Ardennes forest during the last days of the Battle of the Bulge.

German advancing to the front
German advancing to the front

The scenario would be a Peipers’s Last stand at La Gleize, a deliberate attack by the American into Germans, who were dug into the ruins of the town. The scenario we used our 28mm collections, roughly two platoons of American infantry with a half dozen tanks; while the Germans had two squads of infantry, two tanks and an assortment of SdKfz 251s. The scenario would have a strong historical feel, with plenty of odd ball German equipment. We also used Cigar Box Battle Mats for our ground cloths and skylines.

A view from the German lines

With only D6 orders per term we both knew we were going to have trouble moving all of our units so the US plan was to take their left objective early in the game and the focus on their right objective. The German plan was to get aggressive and us the half-tracks loaded with the squads to conduct spoiling attacks. These German attacks would hopefully delay the US troops, buying time for the Tiger, and the MG-42s time to do their work.

Another shot from the big house

Americans vs Germans in Ardennes Forest

Overview of the US side

The Americans took the first turn and their entire left moved up with the Sherman’s; while the left side stayed low for lack of orders. Things went reasonably well and within a few turns the Americans had reached the woodshed and cleared a small section of Germans out with the support of the Sherman. The Germans, using a combined arms attack, the MG-42, SdKfz 251, a section of infantry and the King Tiger were quickly able to overrun the American squad and the supporting Sherman.

I long shot of the American lines

With the attacked on closet objective mostly settled the attack on the German left began; with the second US infantry platoon and the Stuarts stepping off. This was going to be a difficult feat to pull off for the US troops, the area was wide open with only a few hedges for cover. The area was covered by the second MG-42 but would be eventually be complimented by 20mm AA gun and a short 75mm. In addition to the covering fire the Germans committed the 2nd counter attack squad, a SdKfz 251 and a section of infantry which caught the US troops in enfilade as they crossed the snowy fields. The battle was ugly, the Stuarts and SdKfz’s exchanged fire, the Stuarts bagged the AAA, but the Stummel was able to destroy Stuart. The Infantry didn’t fare much better and many were lost to the rapid fire German MGs. It seemed like the US troops were only able to make enough progress to get themselves into more danger. The German counter attack squad wiped out and progress was made by the Americans, and few even reached the MG-42’s position but weren’t confident in their ability to assault an unpinned machine gun.

The ruins of La Gleze

Final Rounds

The final rounds of the game saw the both sides desperately trying to hang on and force the other past their break points. We were both at, but had not exceeded out BR, so were not able to unpin our units. As more units were wiped out there were three pulls from the chit bag, knowing it was the end we were both surprised as non-numbered chits were revealed. This could only go on so long, and the Germans finally broke the US player.

The final count!

A great scenario from captured a historical feel of the moment, a few oddball Germans weapons and the difficultly of facing German tanks. We do enjoy Battlegroup and it really does scratch our WWII itch; this was one of the smaller games we have played and actual scenario from Watch on the Rhine. It shows versatility of the game; it works in early, middle and late war, it be played in multiple scales and points/BR.

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