A captain in the 11th Panzer Division wrote of his thoughts as he prepared for the impending attack. “We reached a point where we were not concerned for ourselves or even for Germany, but lived entirely for the next clash, the next engagement with the enemy. There was a tremendous sense of being, an exhilarating feeling that every nerve in the body was alive to the fight.”
Elements for the attack were drawn from various regiments of the division and organised in reinforced battalion sized Kampfgruppes (KG). KG Richter comprised a battalion of grenadiers supported by ten JagdPanzers and a further company of Tiger I tanks. KG Richter was further supported with substantial flak and artillery assets with which to advance against the American right flank bypassing where possible advanced American forces detected by combat controls during the previous night. In close support, but initially in reserve was KG Foelkersam which included 40 Panzer IVs drawn from Panzer Regiment 15. These were supported by panzer grenadiers in halftracks along with flak and recon elements. Together these two KGs formed the main elements of the attack. On the extreme right of the sect or KG Coblenz formed a diversionary force. While comprising a battalion of grenadiers its supports consisted only of a Stug company and the battalions oWn flak and mortar assets.
The American commander had ample time to entrench and deployed his three infantry battalions evenly across the regiment’s sector. His right and centre battalions controlled a number of key terrain features. As such each was supported by an M36 company. Artillery in the form of 105mm guns of heavy mortars were also available. The American left flank however was held by a single battalion without significant support assets. The regiment as a whole could call on a 155mm artillery battalion for counter battery fires. In the air the ever present Jabos lingered.
Above, elements of KG Richter advance against the American right flank. The high ground was quickly seized providing ideal observation points for German forward observers. The KG was supported by two artillery battalions, one 105mm and one 150mm, in addition to the battalion’s own 120mm mortars. German grenadiers are well advanced while Tigers and JagdPanzers are in close support.
Above, another view of the German left, showing advanced American positions being bypassed. Further back the second American line can be discerned complete with M36 tank destroyers some of which have been obscured by a German smokescreen. American infantry around the village were soon engaged by effective German small arms fire resulting in the infantry falling back into the village.
Below, a series of bloody assaults were launched on the village. Supported by German artillery the attacking panzer-grenadiers slowly gained a foothold in bitter house to house fighting. American artillery fires, including counter battery, caused heavy German casualties. Eventually however the village would fall.
With German casualties mounting and the flanking movement potentially stalling, KG Foelkersam was ordered forward to assault the American advanced elements on the right frontally. As the Panzers moved forward they were subjected to heavy air attack by Jabos resulting in devasting losses to the Panzers. Indeed, no less than two Panzer companies were effectively destroyed in the ensuing air attacks. Despite this setback elements of KG Foelkersam reach their objective. Their attacks, combined with those earlier, broke the American right.
Meanwhile on the German right flank KG Coblenz conducted a flanking movement against the American left. Below the general situation as KG Coblenz, in the foreground, attacks.
The American battalion here was positioned to withstand a frontal assault. As a result of the German flanking movement one company was quickly outflanked as can be seen above. The Stugs were initially particular useful providing close support for the infantry attacks on American infantry deployed in the outskirts of Neffeville. The American commander then withdrew advanced platoons into the town in an effort to hold the flank.
However, as he did the German grenadiers bypassed the village overrunning rear areas and HQ sections as can be seen above.
With both flanks victorious, and darkness approaching, a marginal German victory was declared. Tales of Valhalla would be on everyone’s thoughts this night as the troops regrouped for further attacks tomorrow.
The scenario, developed using the Scenario System, involved an German attack on the Americans. As the German commander wished to use an Option B reinforcement, which allowed the use of Tigers, he undertook a deliberate attack, sacrificing some tactical flexiblity as a result. The American commander reinforced his defence with an Option A. As he had more time to prepare his defence most of his infantry was entrenched.
The game provided plenty of challenges starting with reconnaissance and planning. During the course of the action attacks on strong defensive positions were seen, but equally positions were outflanked and bypassed. Combined arms attacks and defensive techniques were executed well by both sides. Artillery strikes were often well executed shaping the battlefield prior to and during attacks while aircraft and counter battery fires caused havoc. A fascinating game.