Saturday, November 30, 2013

Drive on Loenen

Tim from RangerX3X posted a great AAR about the Drive on Loenen scenario from Red Devils Over Arnhem/HTTR.  I wondered in the comments about a more coup de main sort of approach driving straight up the middle with the 504th's battalions arranged in a classic "two up, one back" fashion.  While I don't own either of the two older Panther games this scenario was included in, Tim ported the scenario to Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge so I was able to give it a try.

As Tim notes, this is a tough scenario.  I gave my idea a try with a few different variants.  They all came out about the same.  The 504th seems to have more than enough combat power to get the job done, but the time pressure is overwhelming.

Scenario briefing and the settings I'm playing with. Playing with Realistic Orders Delay in such a time limited scenario is probably masochistic, but I'm a slave to history, I guess.

The plan is to send 1st and 2nd Battalions in an attack up the right side of the map line abreast, both in vee formation, and then on to attack the eastern objective.  I'm having them attack rather than move to clear any Axis blocking forces.  I've attached the AA unit to 2nd Battalion and the regimental engineers to 1st Battalion to boost the combat power of both formations.

3rd Battalion is to move to the highway to the west, up the highway to the south of the crossroads, and then attack along the road to Loenen.

By 0930 most units are in position to start attacks on the objectives.  My eastern force has encountered a blocking force.  My hope is that the combined firepower of two battalions and attachments will be sufficient to quickly brush aside any resistance like this.

This doesn't really work.  Two hours later and the SS infantry is still in the way.  I've ordered 1st Battalion to reorganize and attack north to the eastern objective south of Loenen.  Meanwhile, 3rd Battalion is encountering resistance shortly after it launches it's attack.

About three hours left and we aren't making much headway.  1st Battalion is finally clearing the first objective while 2nd Battalion tries to get organized to join them.  Third Battalion lacks the punch to advance to the east.

I finally take one objective and am preparing to advance on Loenen when time runs out.  Every variant of this strategy I've tried has ended up this way, including the most literal interpretation of my suggested approach: 1st and 2nd Battalions forward with 3rd in reserve, straight up the forest track to attack the center objective and then on to Loenen.

I have a couple more ideas I want to try, but it's pretty clear that an infiltration strategy is a more sound approach here than trying to punch through using a PIR. That might work with an armored regiment, but the paratroopers don't provide enough shock to brush aside the blocking forces quickly.