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GAJO Happenings and Ramblings Blog

2012 - Number 50


Armor Clash Near Audun-Le-Roman

FOW Mega-Game:
Arracourt, 1944

Our annual "Tanksgiving" game this year focused on the large tank actions between General Patton's US 3rd Army and several newly raised German Panzer Brigades in French Lorraine during 1944.

The scenario split the action over two large tables, one focused on the actions north of Metz, which involved the 106th "Feldherrnhalle" Panzer Brigade, and the main table covering the actions east of Metz, around the village of Arracourt.

You can check out the scenario here.

US Forces Assault Trueix

German AA Halftracks Cover a Flank

Historically these actions resulted in the largest tank battle on the Western Front, and with newly released FOW lists for both the US and German forces, this provided a great opportunity for players to build and use new forces.

On the smaller northern board, the action started immediately, as the arriving German forces engaged US cavalry screen around the village of Audun. After the village was cleared, the German forces split up, with an armor heavy force headeing for Mont Bonvilliers, while a mixed Panzergrenadier and armor force pushed on Trueix.

German Armor Nears Rechicourt

Feldherrnhalle Armor Taking Heavy Casualties

On the main board, a total of 4,000 points of German armor lumbered through the fog toward the unsuspecting American positions. In a bold move, German forces pushed aggressively up Hilll 318, and managed to seize the commanding heights and push the defending American armored infantry off.

To the east, the forces from the 113th Panzer brigade also advanced aggressively, capturing the objective in the village of Moncourt. The US response, though, was prompt. The key to the board was Rechicourt, defended by a M18 Hellcat company. The tank destroyers emerged, using their special ambush like rules, and proceeded to inflict heavycasualties on the advancing panzers.

Armored Infantry Retakes Hill 318

Rechicourt Falls

On turn 3 the fog lifted on both tables, opening up visibility. Back on the north table, a clash of massed armor took place between Audun and Mont Bonvilliers, as arriving US armor faced off the massed Feldhernnhalle forces. The other German force pushed into Trueix, despite a very lucky ambush by a unit of M10 tank destroyers from Hill 313, which wiped out a platoon of Panthers.

The battle on the north table hung in the balance as teh US forces counterattacked. Near Audun the massed German armor was undone by a series of poor armor save dice, although they took a goodly portion of the US armor with them. At the same time, a strong US force pushed into Trueix, and managed to annihilate the (reluctant trained) panzergrenadiers holding the village.

US Forces Withdraw from Rechicourt

113th Panzer Brigade Forces Advance

The heavy German losses forced company morale checks on both forces, and despite how close they came to victory, both retired as spent forces. The Allies claimed a resounding win on the north table.

All eyes now turned to the main table, where things were really heating up. American reserves pushed back stronly in the west, retaking Hill 318 and inflicting crippling losses on the Panzerkompanie on that flank. In the center the Germans showed how weak tank destroyer armor was, eliminating several platoons of the pesky M18s.

Germans Secure Moncourt

Mass of Feldherrnhalle Armor Advances

In the east the relentless advance of the German armor continued. They faced off with Abrams and his elite US tanks, who took advantage of every bit of cover as the Germans came forward. For the only time during the game, the skies cleared enough for a flight of US airplanes to swoop down, and they managed to take out an entire platoon of Mark IV J tanks in spectacular fashion.

The climax came quickly, as US pressure in the west matched German pressure to the east. Relentless pushing finally forced a company morale failure on the panzerkompanie bloodied around Hill 318, exposing the entire German left. Undaunted, the center panzerkompanie pressed their advantage and seized Rechicourt. In the east, Abrams was engaged on two sides, and while he held Lezey, Bezange changed hands several times, winding up contested.

Allied Air Strikes the Advancing Panzers

US Tank Destroyer Reserves Move Up

At the end of the final turn, as the dust settled, the Germans held just enough objectives to claim a narrow victory on the main table. Nevertheless, their forces had taken heavy losses, and with their left flank uncovered they would soon need to withdraw. All in all a very enjoyable afternoon's entertainment - lots of tanks, and quick and decisive action. Well done to the commanders on both sides!

US Artillery Fires Away

Cavalry Patrols Ambushed at Auudun

US Forces Advance on the North Table

Mismatch - Pz IV/70s vs M8

Anxious Flak Scans teh Skies for "Jabos"

Massed Armor Heads for Abrams

Hill 318 in US Hands

Hill 318 in German Hands (Temporarily)

US Reserves Move Up

Panzers Assemble

Germans Seize Moncourt

The German Center Advances

Germans Penetrate Rechicourt

German Forces Seize Trueix

As US Forces Move Up

Heavy Metal Action Near Mont Bonvilliers

Panthers Ambushed Outside Trueix

US Armored Infantry Move Up

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