ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw

This LCP module recreates the taking of Hill 192 just outside Saint-Georges-d'Elle, France.

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ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
Purple Heart Draw (LCP)

The US 2nd Infantry Division would make an assault against Hill 192 – the capture of this dominating observation point would be of prime importance in the attack on Saint-Lô. The 2nd Division’s objectives were as follows; the 38th Infantry Regiment, on the western flank, was to attack and take Hill 192 proper, the 23rd Infantry Regiment, fighting in the center, was ordered to attack the eastern slope of Hill 192, and secure the St-Lô-Bayeux highway, and the 9th Infantry Regiment, on the eastern flank of the division front, was directed to support the attack by all available fires.

The right wing of the 23rd Infantry Regiment’s assault force was the 1st Battalion, attacking from the road that ran west out of Saint-Georges-d’Elle. The 1st Battalion faced terrain that had been fought over in the early attempts against Hill 192, and which, contained a draw constituting a serious initial obstacle. “Purple Heart Draw,” as it was called, ran for 750 yards east to west along the battalion front, only 200 to 400 yards from the line of departure. It was deep enough to be almost impassable for tanks, and so well covered by enemy fires as to promise heavy losses for infantry who tried to cross.

Below the maps is a personal account of the 11 July 1944 taking of Hill 192 by Lieutenant Colonel Frank T. Mildren.

Purple Heart Draw Map

This map and action can be found in Lone Canuck Publishing’s Advanced Squad Leader historical study module: Purple Heart Draw.

Download the PHD VASL Map (v1)

Download the PHD VASL Map (v2)

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
Purple Heart Draw Map (LCP)

The Attack of Hill 192

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
The view from Hill 192

The Battle of Hill 192 was a fierce and decisive engagement that took place on July 11, 1944, during the Normandy campaign of World War II. It involved the American 2nd Infantry Division and the German 3rd Parachute Division, who fought for control of a strategic hill that overlooked the city of St. Lô. The capture of Hill 192 was essential for the Allied breakout from the Normandy beachhead and the subsequent advance into the interior of France.

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
ASL map versus real map (north is up)

The 2nd Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Walter M. Robertson, had landed on Omaha Beach on June 7, 1944, and had fought its way southward against scattered resistance. By June 16, the division had reached the vicinity of Hill 192, which was held by elements of the 3rd Parachute Division, commanded by Major General Richard Schimpf. The German paratroopers were well entrenched and supported by artillery, mortars, machine guns, and anti-tank weapons. They had also laid extensive minefields and barbed wire around the hill. The hill itself was covered with dense hedgerows, which provided concealment and cover for the defenders, but also hindered the movement and observation of the attackers.

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
A German MG team scans the area

The first attempt to take Hill 192 was made by the 23rd Infantry Regiment, supported by tanks and tank destroyers, on June 16. The attack was preceded by a heavy artillery barrage, but it failed to dislodge the Germans, who inflicted heavy casualties on the Americans. The 23rd Infantry Regiment lost 27 officers and 518 enlisted men in the assault, and was forced to withdraw. The next day, the 38th Infantry Regiment tried to flank the hill from the east, but also met with fierce resistance and suffered many losses. The 38th Infantry Regiment was relieved by the 9th Infantry Regiment, which continued the attack until June 18, but without success. The 2nd Infantry Division then paused its offensive and regrouped for a renewed assault.

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
Shermans wait behind a tree line

The second attempt to take Hill 192 was planned for July 11, after the 2nd Infantry Division had received reinforcements and resupplies. The attack was to be carried out by two battalions of the 38th Infantry Regiment on the left, and two battalions of the 9th Infantry Regiment on the right, with the 23rd Infantry Regiment in reserve. The attack was to be supported by four battalions of artillery, as well as tanks, tank destroyers, engineers, and flamethrowers. The attack was also coordinated with the neighboring 29th Infantry Division, which was to attack the German positions to the west of Hill 192.

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
A German soldier prepares for defense

The attack began at 5:45 a.m., after a massive artillery preparation that lasted for 45 minutes. The American infantry advanced under a rolling barrage, which moved 100 yards every four minutes. The barrage was so intense that it shook the ground and deafened the soldiers. The Germans, however, were not easily subdued. They emerged from their bunkers and foxholes and fought back with everything they had. They used machine guns, mortars, grenades, and anti-tank guns to stop the American advance. They also counterattacked with small groups of infantry, supported by tanks and self-propelled guns. The fighting was fierce and bloody, and often degenerated into hand-to-hand combat. The Americans had to clear each hedgerow and field with grenades, bayonets, and flamethrowers. They also had to deal with the minefields and booby traps that the Germans had planted. The tanks and tank destroyers provided fire support and helped to knock out the German strongpoints, but they also suffered from the German anti-tank fire and the difficult terrain.

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
American mortar team prepares behind bocage

The battle lasted for most of the day, and by the evening, the Americans had finally secured Hill 192. They had paid a high price for the victory, but they had also inflicted heavy losses on the Germans. The 2nd Infantry Division reported 1,662 casualties, including 325 killed, 1,289 wounded, and 48 missing. The 3rd Parachute Division reported 1,200 casualties, including 400 killed, 700 wounded, and 100 captured. The capture of Hill 192 was a major achievement for the 2nd Infantry Division, and a serious blow to the German defense. It opened the way for the Allied breakout from the Normandy beachhead, and the subsequent liberation of France. It also demonstrated the courage, determination, and skill of the American soldiers, who had overcome a formidable enemy and a formidable terrain. The Battle of Hill 192 was one of the most critical battles that the 2nd Infantry Division fought in World War II, and one of the most heroic episodes in its history.

ASL Map Spotlight: Purple Heart Draw
Historical planning map (North is down)

.END OF BRIEFING.


ASL Map Spotlights are meant to be quick history lessons on available historical Advanced Squad Leader actions. These short articles are meant to highlight both a short history of the battle portrayed for players unfamiliar with the setting, as well as show the ASL map on which it plays out.


© 2023-2024, Neal Ulen. All Rights Reserved. Copyright & Fair Use Notice.
ASL-Players.net is not affiliated with Hasbro, AH Games, Inc., or MMP, Inc. Advanced Squad Leader is a trademark of AH Games, Inc.


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