Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Monday, 2 June 2014

Delaying action at Marnach - 16 December 1944

As if to prove there is no scale in which we won't play WWII, one of Thursday night's games saw a 10mm game set during the opening phase of the Battle of the Bulge on 16 December 1944. The unsuspecting American infantry company was concealed in the small town of Marnach, and was to be assaulted by Kampfgruppe Cochenhausen (i.e. II Battalion, 304th Panzergrenadier Regiment).
The battlefield - Marnach at the far end.  
The Germans deployed in three companies, with two on the right flank and one, slightly more exposed, moving up the main road to the left. The first few turns were pretty uneventful, with the Germans advancing quickly towards the crestline in front of the town. The Panzergrenadiers on the left, arguably due to a degree of impetuousness on the part of the company commander, cleared the ridgeline, and heedlessly ploughed forwards, seeking out the hidden American forces suspected to be in the town. In short order they discovered a series of American defensive positions,with US infantry waiting in ambush. However the Americans must have been half-asleep as their opening volleys failed to have much effect. This marked the start of several rounds of attrition as the Germans attempted to close with the Americans skulking in their foxholes.

Having located the enemy, the 2nd and 3rd German companies moved up  in the centre and on the right. The Kampfgruppe commander at this point realised he could not see over the ridgeline in order to direct artillery onto the Americans and thus moved macht schnell up the road to a better vantage point. The centre company began to bring fire onto the Americans as the 3rd company on the right flank maneuvered in the limited space available to assault into the town.

Closing to assault 
While the US commander started to look a little queasy at the number of angry men in grey coming towards him, the US defense settled down and began to inflict casualties on the Germans, slowing the left and centre lines of advance to a crawl. This was aided by the dismounting of several machine gun equipped recon teams into the houses behind the main defensive line. The left hand German company was being whittled down and as it assaulted the dug in infantry was quickly reduced to half-strength. The 3rd company on the right fared better, managing to to break into and clear several of the defended houses on the outskirts of Marnach. However this came at the cost of almost 50% casualties. 

At this point we decided to call the game. The US infantry had done well, slowing the German advance to a crawl and inflicting heavy casualties in return for relatively light losses. If time had allowed the following turns would have seen the arrival of two US Sherman platoons and a Panzer company, but it seemed unlikely that they would change the overall outcome of the battle - the US forces would have probably succeeded in delaying the Germans for long enough. 

The game was fought using Battlefront rules from Fire and Fury Games and using Pendraken miniatures (I think).

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