AAR by: Neal Ulen & Scott Rowland
Decision at Elst CG Date 3 AAR
Here’s the historical situation:
Date: Sept 24, 1944 – Mid-Day
Attacker: British – Elements of 214th Brigade, 43rd Wessex Division
Defender: Germans – Elements of Kampfgruppe Knaust
Decision at Elst covers actions centered on the town of Elst (Holland), located on “The Island” formed by the mighty Waal and Rhine rivers. The 43rd Wessex Division was tasked with the decisive operation of breaking through Kampfgruppe Knaust to relieve the embattled “Red Devils” in Arnhem to the north..
After a lull in the action the German forces pull back slightly, but still focus on protecting the road into Elst as well as their flank to the north.
(For the video AAR scroll to the bottom of the page.)
By mid-day the British have bolstered their armor support by bringing more Shermans and a Firefly into the fray. They position themselves north of the road now that the infantry has captured the crossroads and allowed a breakout from the armor crippling polder. Their plan is to neutralize the formidable Panthers with their numbers.
Having little luck trying to secure the north flank the British platoons stuck there in the stone houses withdraw, refit and shift to the south for a massive central push up the road.
The British Shermans pounce, spreading out into the grain fields of Elst, splitting forces to encircle the Panther in the north and focus shots on the other Panther on the main road. A Firefly remains further back in reserve to react and support infantry. The Shermans all get off shots, but the tankers must be flustered going up against the Panthers … every shot misses and one main armament breaks down! Even point black rear shots!
The Panthers then turn to return fire on the pesky and annoying Shermans. Let the carnage commence.
Some of the British infantry surrounding the road hook south to engage the rag-tag German infantry huddled in the buildings. They are quickly inundated by fire, surrounded, and fall.
The Panther make easy work of the inaccurate Shermans, mawling them to pieces in short order with defensive fire, then prep fire their next tern. The Brits knew they only had one realistic shot at taking down one or both of them, and they failed miserably. One Sherman (with malfunctioned MA) turns tail and limps back to the rear through the grain, while the other loops around through Elst risking panzerfaust fire to get a rear shot on the Panther guarding the main road.
Meanwhile infantry continue to hook to the south in an attempt to secure an exit path to the south. The Firefly moves down the road slightly to start engaging German infantry dug into the stone buildings … but is crew makes a critical mistake and leaves its left side complete exposed to the roadway pointing directly through the grain up to the northern Panther.
Again, the Brit tanks must not have had their ration of tea earlier in the day because they are fighting with their eyes closed.
The Panther in II13 falls to a rear shot from the sneaky Sherman, which in turn eventually falls to a panzerfaust shot from German infantry that swarm out of nearby buildings. The Panther in the north trundles down through the grain to cover the British left flank.
Meanwhile artillery starts dropping from the sky masking the British infantry around the road, allowing them to creep forward.
In the south more British units commit to capturing a southern route to the exit area … by they are met with German resistance against only a handful of units and their ranks begin to break.
The SS have been routed back into Elst proper, and Major Souper (10-2) is ready to jump into the melee that’s holding up his forces from advancing.
In the south just a few units continue to hinder the frustrating British advance, while the remaining Panther falls back further into Elst and stands watch over the open ground leading into the center of the village. Smoke continues to waft through Elst providing the Brits cover from the annoying HMG in the steeple.
The mid-day skirmish is grinding to a halt. British attrition is beginning to take its toll as units are spread throughout the buildings. Major Souper decides that it will take too long to rally and gather forces to push across the clearing into the village. Ammunition is low, the smoldering husks of Shermans litter the fields … it’s time to regroup for the Afternoon.
This video below represents Decision at Elst campaign game date 3 (Sept 24, 1944 Mid-Day) described above … which is part 3 of 5.
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