The Battle of Lanzerath Ridge
The Battle of Lanzerath Ridge was fought on December 16, 1944, the first day of the Battle of the Bulge, near the village of Lanzerath, Belgium, during World War II. It was fought between two squads of 18 men belonging to an American reconnaissance platoon, four U.S. Forward Artillery Observers, and a battalion of about 500 German paratroopers. During a day-long confrontation, the American reconnaissance men inflicted dozens of casualties on the Germans and bottled up the advance along a key route for the 1st SS Panzer Division, which had been selected to spearhead the advance of the entire German 6th Panzer Army.
We re-fought this engagement using the Bolt Action rules & using no particular points limit, but instead worked out the forces using the reports of the battle as described by the action's US O.C. Lt. Lyle Bouck. This gave us a rough idea of the forces involved & their equipment etc. The German troops were less "accurate" as 500+ men were hard to field... so we ran what we could in the Fallschirmjager & added a squad of Volksgrenadiers to represent the flank of the 50 strong 27th Fusilier Regiment 12th Volksgrenadier Division.
From Lt. Bouck's report the US side looks to have had in their position:
1× Lt Bouck + 2 men
2x BAR +2 men
1x 30cal. MMG team
1x 3 man rifle team
1x jeep with 50cal. (Dug in)
1x Lt Springer +2 men from observers (4th observer GI I squeezed into another squad as Bouck split them all up)
1× 3 man squad who fought with the Volksgrenadiers outside the dug-in position.
No artillery was given to them as their reports were not initially believed - they received one blast: & that missed...
They will be "experienced" rather than veterans as Bouck said they had no really combat training or experience! Mainly observers & spotters. But the defences should keep them alive.
These come from my out from my collection, but roughly from Bouck's report of what shot at him :
1x Captain + soldier
1x mortar team
1x artillery spotter
1x Volksgrenadiers squad
1x MMG team
1x medic (historically they shot him...)
3x FJ squads
1x preliminary artillery barrage
The Germans will all be "inexperienced" with the exception of the Captain, sniper & MMG Team who are "experienced", & the Medic as always is a "veteran". The Volksgrenadiers will have their special variant on the "green" rule, but start off "inexperienced".
The idea was to make it so that it's not just a turkey shoot for yanks as FJ could just fold & rout in first turn as they have a GOOD bit of open ground to cross to get to US 3-man fox holes...
The Battlefield; troops & US set up:
The first few Turns:
The Preparatory Barrage from the Germans has limited effect: most US units take a Pin or maybe 2, but no kills & the US forces all shrug off the effects to carry out their Orders. The 3x FJ Squads move out across the field followed by their Command Squad (Captain) & Medic. The US 50 Cal. HMG on the Jeep opened up & killed 2 FJ in it's first volley! The 30 Cal. MMG dug in further to it's right also kills a FJ in it's opening volley! The Volksgrenadier take a volley on the left, lose a man & "upgrade" to "experienced" - unfortunately they refused any more Orders from then on & spent the whole battle in the same spot getting slowly whittled down...
Then at the start of Turn 2 the German Artillery Spotter gets his moment of glory: a few Pins on the 50 Cal. Jeep & BOOM! the whole Command Squad of Lt. Bouck is taken out! Not how it was supposed to go down! Follow that with the FJ Mortar Team dropping their second shot right onto the Jeep & taking it out also!
The middle stages of the Battle:
In the middle stages of the game the FJ are still advancing & make it to the fence line (their last piece of cover before the US fox holes...) with covering fire from their MG42 in the house & the mortar team. To give them a bit of a lift before the charge their sniper decides to kill off poor Lt Springer from his vantage point in the house - leaving the US team with no Officers left... The MG42 team joined in & finished off Springer's Squad with some ridiculously jammy shooting! The Americans retaliate by pouring fire on the left-most FJ squad which goes down to 2 then 3 men! They only stay in the fight due to the proximity of their Captain - who jumps the fence with his medic to lead the assault!
The end game...
With the FJ making their assault over the fence & into the fox holes the American's decide to set up some ambushes! Let the FJ cross the cover of the fence line & let rip at them! The right-most FJ Squad falls this way: it some how survives close range 30 Cal. fire unscathed but succumbs to rifle fire from a nearby fox hole. The left-most FJ Squad is down to 2 men so stays put & provides a smattering of suppression fire from it's light MG42. So the situation is this: 1 full FJ Squad accompanied by the Captain & his buddy & the Medic (who healed no-one in the game...) & facing them in the centre is a 3 man BAR Squad; to their right (US left) is the 30 Cal. & a 3 man rifle squad; to the left is the remains of the 2nd BAR Squad. Having made it over the fence in decent shape they charge the BAR team to their front & wipe it out, then hop into the fox hole for a breather! Spurred on by the fact that the FJ Captain has a funky leather jacket & looks a lot like Michael Caine the German team decide to have him & his buddy charge the other BAR team - somehow they weather the incoming fire & wipe out that fox hole's defenders too! So far so good - however they remaining FJ Squad is now at very close range to the 30. Cal which repositions to fire on them; unfazed by the mortar shell that lands in it's midst! The nearby US rifle team leaves their fox hole as they cannot see past the 30 Cal. & pour fire on the FJ! It's still in the balance...
But then disaster for the US team! The FJ Squad leave their new Fox Hole & advance on the remaining US troops & some lucky shots kill a few troops with the rest surrendering in panic! The 30 Cal. is then mortared again & overrun... All that remains is for the final US Squad (historically the first group to be captured) in the woods facing the Volksgrenadier to be taken care of & it's all over. Somehow the "inexperienced" FJ with no help from their "experienced" Volkgrenadier" brethren weather the storm & carry the day!
Another excellent Bolt Action game that went right down to the wire! I've no idea what the actual points were - must figure it out some time... but great fun had by all commanders!