[Italy] The 'Bloody' Rapido River - January 20, 1944 - January 21, 1944

By: kippryon - Last update: 08/23/2004
Axis Player: Allied Player:
x5 x6 x6 x6
    first You play first

Historical Background:
In the shadow of Monte Cassino on January 21-22, 1944, the U.S. Army's 36th Infantry "Texas" Division tries to cross Italy's Rapido River to attack Germany's Gustav Line in Central Italy. The two-pronged 36th Division assault is aimed at the capture of San Angelo, across the Rapido, and establishing a bridgehead. Their mission is to draw German reserves away from the pending Anzio invasion and open a gap in the Gustav Line.
In preparation for the operation, engineers go forward into the open land directly in front of the river to open lanes in the vast minefields.
On January 21st, as the 36th's Division's 141st and 143rd Regiment's approach the crossing sites, they are met by incoming artillery and mortar fire, the men moving over reportedly cleared lanes stumbling upon German anti-personnel mines, causing many casualties. At the water's edge German machine guns and small arms close to the shore spattered into the first elements attempting to cross. Small forces of both regiments get across on makeshift bridges, then enemy tanks open fire from San Angelo and the U.S. troops are forced to retreat after heavy losses.
U.S. 5th Army headquarters orders another attack for the following day, and the frightened soldiers know what awaits them. A Colonel tells his men, "This isn't my idea. That's all I want you to know."
The Texans again cross the river, only to run into a stronghold with barbed wire, mines and pre-sighted emplacements. The Germans counterattack with tanks and armored vehicles, and units find themselves in desperate battles and brutal hand-to-hand combat.
As GIs fighting on the German side of the river run out of ammunition, the attack ends.

Axis Player: Take 5 command cards.
Allied Player: Take 6 command cards.
You move first.
Do not reshuffle the deck when 'Their Finest Hour' Command card is played.

Conditions of Victory:
6 Medals OR when there are no cards left to be played by either side.
The player with the highest Victory Medal count wins.

An Allied unit that captures any hex on the Axis side of the river counts as one victory medal. As long as the Allied unit remains on the hex, it continues to count toward the Allied victory. If the unit moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts.

Special Rules:
The Rapido River is impassable to tanks and artillery. Infantry units that enter the river must stop and may move no further on that turn. An infantry unit may not battle when on a river hex.
The Axis player places the 14 Badges *Allied symbol UP* along the 14 river hexes on the Allied side of the Rapido.
If an Allied unit enters a hex with a Badge, flip the badge over to show the other side. If it is a German symbol, the hex is considered a Minefield (see below). If it is another Allied symbol, remove it from the board.
*Movement: A unit that enters a hex with a Minefield must stop and may move no further on that turn. After all ordered units have moved, the opposing player rolls 1 Battle die against each enemy unit on a Minefield hex, including any units not ordered in this round.
*Battle: A unit that is on a hex with a Minefield will reduce the number of Battle dice it rolls by 1. An Infantry unit that is eligible to battle may remove the Minefield instead of battling. Armor and Artillery units may not remove Minefields.
*Line of Sight: Minefields do not block line of sight.
*Retreats: A unit which retreats onto a Minefield hex must stop. The opposing player then rolls 1 Battle die against the unit which retreated onto the Minefield hex.

Scenario Bibliography:
Bloody River, 0-89096-852-7, Martin Blumenson, 1970

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