Joachim Peiper’s panzergrenadiers were fiercely loyal to Germany, always fighting with incredible intensity using some of the best equipment in world at the time. His Kampfgruppe was supposed to lead the way to the Meuse River, and getting across the Ambleve River was a key step toward the Meuse. Counterattacks by the 30th ID had stopped Peiper’s thrust at Stoumont. At Cheneux, to the south, the Waffen-SS troops seized bridges and crossed the Ambleve.
The 82nd’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander, Colonel Tucker, realized the severity of this development. Pushing the Germans back across the Ambleve and destroying their bridgehead was critical. Cheneux was the key to building a main defensive line against further German armored thrusts. Taking Cheneux fell to the 1-504, but nothing went right at the onset. During the night attack, B Company 1-504 comprised the right side of the assault, while C Company took the left. They barely made their approach when the Germans opened fire with everything they had. Mortar rounds rained down, the ripping sound of MG-42’s echoed across the terrain, and 20mm anti-aircraft shells streaked overhead. The Americans were cut down.
But by the end of the night the 1-504 had taken half of Cheneux. Securing their foothold, they awaited reinforcement. The following day, the 504th’s 3rd battalion joined the fight and helped finish the assault, clearing the village and forcing the Germans back across the Ambleve.
For their part, Germans had lost at least 150 men, four flak tracks, one Tiger II lost, two Pumas, six half tracks, a 105mm howitzer and two other vehicles. The bloody push had forced Joachim Peiper to abandon his precious bridgehead across the Ambleve.
Rocket’s Red Glare (195)
Scenario Publisher: MMP
Scenario Designer: Jon Mishcon
Date: December 22, 1944
Location: Cheneux, Belgium
Defender: German (SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2, SS-Panzer-Division 1)
The elite German SS here are tasked with holding off the Americans by maintaining control of two buildings (highlighted in blue above). They have a lot going for them besides their high moral, ELR (5), and broken side ML of 9 … they have a stone-building strong point (R5/R6) and very constrictive LOS. If they don’t overly expose themselves early it means the Americans need to get in close to their formidable firepower, probably during the MPh.
Additionally the Germans have a Wirbelwind, a 105mm ART Gun (with H7), and a StuG IIIG. I chose to set up the Wirbelwind right in the center of the village (in Q6), adjacent to one of the VC buildings and the stone-building strong point. In order for the Americans to take it out they’re forced to get in VERY close and take a 36 FP shot right in the face. If things get touchy for the Wirbelwind I can just drive it out of the woods into the rear and cover the second building.
The 105mm ART and StuG are pointed down both of the road approaches to keep the American M36 out of my hair … or at least make Scott think twice about approaching. If it takes to the hills overlooking the village I’ll just have to adapt and deal with it. Speaking of the M36, it needs to be CE to fire it’s MA (since it’s OT, see D5.3), so if possible I need to keep suppressive fire on it any time it’s CE, either with small arms or HE from the 105 via collateral attacks. If I can keep it buttoned up, it’s all but useless to the Americans.
There’s a possibility that Scott will do an end run with all (or some) of his units, which is probably a common tactic, as the scenario ends the instant the Americans control one of the buildings. The rear VC building isn’t occupied, but I set up my infantry units so they could react and fall back to defend the rear building to account for this possibility.
The scenario reminds me a bit of Gavin Take (118) because it uses the same board, same nationalities, and has similar movement toward the same board edge.
Attacker: American (1st and 3rd Battalions, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division)
I always dread going up against the SS, but I trust my American 7-4-7 paratroopers, with a 10-2 leader thrown in!
There are multiple ways to approach this attack: 1) everything right up the center, 2) some up the center, the rest on the left/right flank, or 3) bypass the village completely and stick to the flanks. As you can see from my attack plan above I went with option 2, which is probably the most common approach. Will it pay off? Well, I know the result already … so you’ll have to watch the AAR video!
I set up the majority of my units on board and chose to bring the rest on the west (left) entry hex (3I1). There’s some debate about where to bring in the American M36. The board graphics have changed since this scenario was designed, and bypass in 3Y1 isn’t possible like it would have been on the original board 3. We also cover this in the AAR video. That being said, Neal and I talked about it and decided to allow vehicular bypass in that hex. You know what that means, right? Yeah, I brought the M36 in on 3I1 anyway. But what to do with it … ?
The M36 is an OT vehicle and, as mentioned, has to be CE to use its MA. Which can be problematic in close-quarter fighting with limited LOS like we have here. No matter where I move it to place it in LOS of Neal’s units, they’ll be able to put heavy fire on it. Fail a MC, they BU and can’t fire the MA … rendering the M36 all but useless. I don’t really have a solid plan for it, so I’m going to try moving it into the village, cover it with my paratroopers and the 10-2, and hope for the best.
Neal didn’t put any units to cover the backside of hill 522, so that’s where my end run is going. Neal’s Wirblewind setup is interesting, and I’d bet dollars to donuts he doesn’t fire it until I’m adjacent to that hex. It’s buried by cover so I don’t know how I could take it out without getting close. Then there’s his hidden 105mm ART out there somewhere. That’s some serious FP. I have no idea where it is but it’s probably set up in his rear, in a woods hex as required.
I dunno, this could be a bloodbath! Let’s see how it goes!
The Video AAR (46:22):
.END OF BRIEFING.
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