Scenario II (Battle for Longvilly, Mageret, Neffe)
AAR of the Gamers Title: Screaming Eagles Under Siege
Article by Greg Syferd.
Scenario II simulates the opening drive by the Germans towards Bastogne. The Americans, caught flatfooted, have a mix of armored units, engineers, and artillery on the board initially. Rushing on board is a large number of Volksgrenadiers and a SS Kampfgruppe. The target is 3 villages on the west side of the play area. The side who controls all 3 wins, everything else is a tie.
The scenario is a scant 3 turns, easily playable in 60-90 minutes. I played this one solo.
The Americans have a mixed force on board to start with. They have a few armored units and some nice artillery around Longvilly. Nine companies of stout 501st Airborne troops (with a 4 defense) enter turn 2, near the 3 victory villages.
The bad news is, none of them can touch the powerful armor. The Germans also outnumber them greatly, making it hard to hold a lot of ground.
The American strategy is pretty simple…buy time by sacrificing units. Their artillery will pummel the German units, especially their tanks. This means getting in close to spot for the artillery and negate the German exploit capability. Finally, the Americans will pull as many units from Longvilly as possible to clog the roads to the 3 villages, preventing the Germans from rapid movement into the area.
What’s not to like if you’re the Germans. They have a ton of units, elite infantry, and sweet armored units. KG 902 has more than enough firepower to wipe the American reinforcements from the map.
The downside…only 3 turns. This means the Germans have to move fast and hit hard. To top it off, there is no road move or exploitation on turn 1.
The KG, will drive towards the villages, and send a diversion force to destroy the American armor west of Longvilly. The 26th VG will be charged with pinning down the Americans in Longvilly, to prevent artillery strikes against KG 902 and a retreat towards the victory area.
The Germans swarm onto the map the first turn. The Volksgrenadiers quickly surround Longvilly locking up the artillery, which can only barrage units adjacent to them. The armored units from KG 902 overrun the Americans in Mageret, seizing the village. Two more armored units attempt to overrun the American armor west of Longvilly, but despite favorable odds, end up losing steps.
The artillery from both units is accurate, scoring 2 hits each. Units from the 26th VG end up destroying several units as well, effectively ending resistance in Longvilly.
The 501st charges into the battle, desperate to hold the remaining two villages. They form a two deep line, hoping this will delay the German assault. It doesn’t, the German armor quickly eliminates 2 companies. However, each fight also takes a step from the German units, weakening them. Additionally, by staying close to the armor, the Germans aren’t able to overrun or take advantage of exploit.
The Americans manage to get a few units out of Longvilly, most important being the armor.
The climatic turn 3 starts with the Americans throwing every unit they have in front of the powerful German KG. They manage to eliminate 2 units in combat, including an armored unit. However, they suffer several step losses and fail to dislodge the armored units adjacent to the villages, which will allow for German barrages.
The Germans, on their turn, position as many units as possible around Neffe and Bizony to increase the odds as much as possible. While able to get a 2:1 attack on Neffe, the best they can do on Bizony is 1:1.
The Germans move 3 mortar units and their 2 heavy artillery units in place for a massive barrage. They split the heavy artillery fire on each village, target 1 mortar on Neffe, and 2 more on Bizony hoping to soften each up.
The Airborne in Neffe crumble under the artillery fire, DG’ing and losing a step. They are easily mopped up by the surrounding ground troops.
However, all 3 strikes on Bizony miss requiring a miracle attack from the troops. They deliver, rolling an 11 to take a step and force a retreat, delivering the victory for the Germans.
Another thoroughly enjoyable game. Total play time was about 70 minutes, with plenty of breaks.
The Germans ended up destroying 10 units, to the Americans 2. Most of these units were 1 steppers, caught in artillery fire or initial overruns by German armor. As I stated in the beginning, I felt the Americans had to sacrifice units for time, and it nearly paid off.
A couple of other notes:
- I felt the strategy used was strong (I confirmed this by reading several other AARs after playing.) As the Germans, I had hoped to eliminate the American armor west of Longvilly, but due to some bad rolls it didn’t happen. However, this did keep the armor occupied and out of the tri-village area until the very end.
- This scenario, like most battles, is more about maneuver than shooting. Yes, the Germans had a lot of attacks, but the Americans didn’t roll a single combat until turn 3. Instead, they spent their time blocking the Germans and creating ZOCs to slow down the 26th VG from moving on the villages from Longvilly. The Germans also spent time maneuvering their units to pin down American artillery.
- The Germans have to be aggressive. At 9-5-12, the heavy tanks are just gross. They slaughter most units in the open, and are more than capable of knocking out units in defensible terrain. In some other games, it’s risky to put your best armor so far out in front of your lines, but I think it’s the only way to win this scenario.
- It’s been said many times before…but artillery in this scenario is nasty. Heavy artillery hits 66% of the time, and has a 50% chance to cause a step loss. Mortars have short range, but en masse can cause some chaos. I’ll be interested in the full game how much I will have to conserve ammo for the heavy artillery.
Bastogne is a great SCS game. Time to move on to the campaign scenario!