The Battle for Champs

Chris over at The Sharp End Gaming has been churning out some high quality scenarios for Command Operations: Battles from the Bulge, and his latest offering is The Battle for Champs, a one day ten hour battle featuring elements of the Axis 15th Panzergrenadier Division against the elements of the Allies 101st Airborne Division.

For the following after-action report as the Allies, I have selected realistic orders delay, historical weather, standard reinforcement schedules for both sides as well as normal supply schedules. The only intelligence I am provided at the start is a mechanized infantry company to the extreme northwest and a motorized infantry company to the southwest of the map.

I start with a force of 1,106 personnel, 18 armored fighting vehicles, four guns, an anti-personnel firepower rating of 449, an anti-armor rating of 506 and an infantry value of 600. The AFV's are a mix of M8 light armor and M18 Hellcat tank destroyers which are deployed in three separate units (two tank destroyer platoons and one recon company).

There are two objectives for the scenario: Champs Crossroads and the Road to Bastogne, each offering 33 Victory Points (all awarded on completion). The boilerplate Destroy the Enemy VP is accumulated by the destruction of 75% of the opponent, with a cap of 33 total points. Without having any VP's accumulate through occupation of an objective, this scenario could definitely come down to the wire and literally change hands at the very last second.

D01 03:00 Rcn Coy 705 TD Bn (six M8 Light Armored Cars) is ordered to move to the end of a road approximately 1.5 km to the NE of the Champs Crossroads Objective. 1st Battalion 502nd is ordered to perform a delaying action beginning approximately 2 km to the north of Champs with incremental fallback points along the track through the woods and then onto the main road. C Coy 502nd is ordered to defend at the Road to Bastogne Objective, and 502nd Para Regt HQ is ordered to defend at Champs.

D01 06:00 1st Battalion is still on the move to the beginning of their delaying action which causes A Company to be caught out in the open near the Recon Company (which after completing its move to the end of the road reverts to a unit without orders state instead of a defend state). 502nd Para Regt HQ is in control of Champs and is facing what appears to be an assault gun company.

D01 09:30 B Coy 327th Glider Infantry Regt (160 personnel) arrives in the southeast and is ordered to take a defensive position at the Champs Crossroads Objective in support of the 502nd Para Regt HQ already defending at that location.

D01 13:00 1 AT Pl 327th Glider Infantry Regt (38 personnel, four 57 mm M1 AT guns) arrives near the Road to Bastogne Objective and is ordered to take a defensive position approximately one km to the southwest of the Champs Crossroads Objective at the intersection of the main road and a track.

D01 18:00 An estimated force of some 630 Germans are attacking Champs from the southwest and have completely knocked the AT Platoon off of their defensive stance (destroying one of their guns in the process). 1st Battalion has yet to perform a fallback step in their delaying action to the north and may be brought in to shore up Champs if necessary.

D02 00:00 The AT Platoon surrendered to the enemy at 21:31, however Champs is still in control for the moment. The Recon Company has not seen any action as of late, and nothing has sprung up in the south for C Company sitting on the Road to Bastogne Objective.

D02 06:00 Convinced that the main thrust of the Axis attack is coming from the southwest into Champs, I order 1st Battalion to abandon their delaying action in the north and attack through the Champs Crossroads Objective in order to put pressure on the German forces that are appearing on the outskirts of the town. The Recon Company is ordered to take a defensive position in the void left by 1st Battalion.

D02 12:00 With one hour left on the battlefield (union regulations, overtime in this weather is a bitch) my decision to pull 1st Battalion from their vacation in the north and to attack to the southwest through Champs appears to have been the correct decision as Axis forces are popping up all over the place.

D02 13:00 After Action Report – The game ends in a Decisive Victory for the Allies with a score of 71-5. The Americans only lost 151 personnel to 170 for the Germans.

D02 13:00 Review Final Situation – Although 1st Battalion has only reached their forming-up point for the attack through Champs, I still feel this would have been a game changer had the scenario gone longer and if the 502nd Para Regt HQ had temporarily lost the objective.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim. Thanks for posting an AAR so quickly. You did a great job. The original German attack plan called for them to begin at 3:00 AM and had them slotted for arriving in Bastogne by 8 or 9AM the same day. Of course they ran into the Airborne roadblocks though the Panzer unit present did radio back to 5th Panzer Army HQ that he had sighted Bastogne when the crested the ridge west of Hemroulle. having mistaken Hemroulle for Bastogne.

    Your decision to move 1/502 north must have shifted the axis plan considerably and was a really good move (even though they didn't engage). It would have put Axis reinforcements in the position of having to either attack you directly or swing widely west or east to get at the objectives. That's a time killer. I've only played two of the Bulge stock scenarios and the quality of the VG divisions is lacking. I am glad you enjoyed this!


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