Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Christmas is coming...

But the Heer is not getting fat.

The first campaign tabletop games have been concluded:

  • The opening battles around Elsenborn saw the US rescue their threatened artillery parks, but lose the better part of two Infantry Divisions.  
  • The Eupen road stayed firmly shut to the Germans. 
  • Houffalize did not fall but was masked and the roads to Bastogne seized. 
  • An attempt to seize Malmedy on the march was rebuffed.  
We're now part way through the second set of tabletop games, and these have seen the advancing Germans encounter British opposition for the first time, as well as their regular American opponents.

Under the eye of an Umpire the German (Left) and British (Right) table captains conduct the Recce Game in the area around  Manhay
Once the plotting of Corps/ Divisional Operational Areas and Combat Command boundaries has been done, and Battle Groups have been plotted both sides then deploy their recce forces in a bid to see beyond the enemy front line and give them an informed artillery (and air of the weather permits) fire plan.  The number and type of assets committed to the fight is relevant here. The Germans with their doctrinal emphasis on fighting recce have an edge here, if the area is densely populated, whereas the Allies tend to go with Recce by stealth, so can swarm all over the front.

Sometimes you just have to look at a really big map to know what's important on your table.
At the end of the first set of games the Umpires reassess the situation, adjudicate the supply state of the units involved, update the command staffs and players, receive the orders for the next set of battles and then issue out the force lists, table briefings and terrain notes so the terrain can be rebuilt for the next day's battles.

A table about to be rebuilt, an Umpire hard at work
The main actions for the 22-24 December lie around:

  • Diekirchen - in the bottom left of this picture.

The Americans are once again intermingled with the advancing Germans

  • Werbomont, where the British meet the Germans for the first time.

Both sides have deployed on the tabletop, the British (left) seem quite relaxed.
  • Wiltz and Eschweiler, Wiltz is at the far end of this shot, Eschweiler in the clearing.  The Germans are advancing into shot.
German Army commander in a front line role advances his troops toward Eschweiler
  • Bastogne, as the Germans seem quite keen to take possession
Flanked by German players the American seems quite unfazed.

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