Christmas of the Eagles - Breakthrough to Bastogne - December 25, 1944

Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein - Heroic defense of Bastogne at Champs
Western Front By: nemesszili - Last update: 12/24/2009
Axis Player: Allied Player:
x5 x6 x3 x6
first You play first    


Historical Background:
Manteuffel became worried about the offensive's unsecured southern flank - Bastogne remained a potential threat to German armored forces and he knew, that if Bastogne will be relieved, all chances for victory will be lost. So he gave this order to the German forces around Bastogne: "Displacement [in this context a kind of euphemism for "destruction"] of the enemy at Bastogne."

The plan to break the defensive perimeter around Bastogne called for the 15th Panzergrenadier Division to break through near Champs, were American defense was weak, and roll on Hemrouelle, thus closing on the western edge of Bastogne. The original time schedule was exceedingly optimistic: to put in the infantry assault at 0400; to break through the American rifle line by 0600, at which time the artillery could see to fire on targets of opportunity and the tanks would be able to move with speed; and to rush an armored group from the 15th Panzer Grenadier into Bastogne between 0800 and 0900 hours before the American fighter-bombers took to the air.

"About 0300 a few German planes droned over the 502d lines and dropped bombs indiscriminately around Rolle, the regimental command post. This seems to have been the Luftwaffe support promised Kokott. A few minutes later the German gunners and mortar crews started to work, their target the American positions at Champs. Here Company A of the 502d was deployed on the northwest edge of the village, its right flank joining the 2d Battalion in a large wood lot midway between Champs and Longchamps. Clad in white snow suits the first German assault party, some fifty grenadiers from the 77th, crept forward under the waning moon toward Champs. At 0400 this group dashed into the village and the German attack began. More of the enemy moved through the woods against the left flank of the 2d Battalion, and within the hour a full German battalion had joined the fight. Company B moved up as a backstop if its sister company should be engulfed or pushed aside, but the confused melee around Champs in the predawn darkness pinned the Germans down.

Eighteen Panzer IV's and the riding grenadiers had broken through the positions held by Companies A and B of the 327th Glider Infantry before dawn and got as far as the battalion command post. Several of the enemy tanks passed straight through battery positions of the 755th Field Artillery Battalion, whose gunners opened up with machine guns as soon as they discerned the distinctive German muzzle-brakes. But the 155-mm. howitzers could not be brought to bear at such close range and the Germans rolled on unscathed. Just west of Hemrouelle about half the German tanks wheeled left, defiling along a cart path which led to the road between Champs and Bastogne. As they approached the road the panzers formed in line abreast, now bearing straight toward Companies B and C of the 502d, which were on the march to help the paratroopers in Champs.

Colonel Chappuis had a few minutes to face his companies toward the oncoming tanks, but the initial shock was absorbed by two tank destroyers from Company B of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion which were knocked out as they fell back toward the Champs road.20 As the panzers rolled forward, Company C made an orderly withdrawal to the edge of a large wood lot midway between Champs and Hemroulle. Now it was the paratroopers' turn. They showered the tanks with lead, and the German infantry clinging to the decks and sides fell to the snow. The tank detachment again wheeled into column, this time turning toward Champs. Two of the 705th tank destroyers, which were backing up Company C, caught the column in process of turning and put away three of the panzers; the paratroopers' bazookas accounted for two more.

The half of the enemy tank-infantry formation which had kept on toward Hemroulle after knifing through the 327th foxhole line received its coup de grâce in a fury of cross fire laid down by four of the 705th tank destroyers, tanks from Team Roberts, the 463d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, and bazookas handled by the glider infantry. As recounted by Col. S. L. A. Marshall after the battle: "The German tanks were fired at from so many directions and with such a mixture of fire that it was not possible to see or say how each tank met its doom." The survivors of those panzer grenadiers of the 1st Battalion who had ridden into battle on the tanks found themselves surrounded and alone, for the American rifle line had sealed itself after the initial armored punctures. About fifty German riflemen who had hidden in a stream bed were captured by cannoneers from the 755th. At noon General Kokott wrote the tanks and the accompanying infantry from the 1st Battalion of the 115th off as lost-why and where remained a mystery to the German headquarters.

At Champs, where the battle had begun, most of the Germans left the village in the middle of the morning to let their gunners blast the paratroopers out of the houses and surrounding woods. The commander of the 77th, apprehensive of a continued house-to-house battle, asked for and received permission to circle around the village, but the new attack up the slopes toward Hemroulle was shot to pieces. In the early afternoon General Kokott called the German attack to a halt, planning to resume the battle under cover of the night."

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Ardennes:_Battle_of_the_Bulge/Chapter_XIX

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

Briefing:
Axis Player: 5 cards
You go first.

Allied Player: 3 cards

Draw 2 cards after each turn, until you have 5 cards in your hand.

Conditions of Victory:
6 medals.

The Fortified Building next to the crossroads is a Temporary Medal Objective for the Axis Player.

Special Rules:
All Axis Infantry units are Panzergrenadiers. They may move 2 and battle.

Allied units marked with an airborne badge are may move 2 and battle.
In addition, while they are in a terrain hex, they may ignore 1 flag. Not cumulative.

Allied artillery unit labeled "155mm Howitzers" and marked by a star may fire against tanks at least 3 hexes away.
Firing range against tanks: 0-0-2-2-1-1

Exit point labeled "to Hemroulle" is only for Axis Panzers. All Panzers exiting count as +1 medal for the Axis Player.

Allied Infantry unit marked with an AT Badge is equipped with a 57mm AT Gun. See SWA rules (SWAs - Card 1) and Anti-tank Gun rules (Swas - Card 2).

Axis Infantry marked with a Mortar badge is equipped with a mortar. See SWA rules (SWAs - Card 1) and Mortar rules (SWAs - Card 3).

All Allied tank units are M18 Hellcats. They may move 3 and battle. When attacking tanks, stars count as hits.

Scenario Bibliography:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Ardennes:_Battle_of_the_Bulge/Chapter_XIX

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Bastogne_Map_December_19-23_1944.jpg

Google Earth

Merry Christmas and have fun!
If you don't own the Air Pack or the Eastern Front, ignore winter hexes and board - this way, only the Terrain Pack is required.

Warning:
Please note that this scenario was not approved by Richard Borg or Days of Wonder, so you have to check yourself about playability, potential gaming issues, etc.

Set-up Order
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15
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