Thursday, February 13, 2014

Remagen - Breakthrough or Breakdown?

March, 1945.  The triumphant allies are across the Rhine River thanks to the capture of the Bridge at Remagen.  Only a final drive against a demoralized and defeated enemy is needed to capture Berlin and put an end to Hitler's dreams of glory.  Today that will happen.  Maybe.

A full 7,000 Flames of War points were poised to attack the German defenders.  Famous leaders like Abrams, Harmon and Sgt. Poole were present to inspire their men.  Aircraft were stacked up in the sky above waiting for a target to emerge.  Batteries of 105mm and 155mm guns, plus some self-propelled "bunker busters" were ready to rain death down on the Nazis.  It would just be a matter of marching...

The Germans had a weak company of infantry, a platoon of Pak 40 and Pak 43 anti-tank guns, three Tigers, 3 Jadgpanthers, four StuG IIIs, three Marders and a battery of 105mm and 150mm guns.  As a German was heard to say, "one thing I learned from Panzerblitz, if the German artillery can stay intact, it's uber tough to break their line."

The Pak Front did their job, lighting up tanks everywhere.  Artillery actually drew first blood, taking out a pair of Shermans.  American "Jabos" were thick, though the Americans managed to miss on Priority Air Support more than once.  Mostly they were shot down by the trio of self-propelled 2 cm. guns, but even when they attacked freely the Jadgpanthers made their armor saves.

Suddenly the expected reinforcements arrived, but instead of Panzers it was a mixed company of American armor, including the feared Pershing tank.  Appearing behind our main line they threatened the artillery park and quickly took out a pair of SIG 15cm guns and a Jadgpanther that had been left behind.  StuGs rallied, Jadgpanthers returned, guns fired over open sights, and the threat was resolved.  Meanwhile the real German reinforcements showed up on  the far edge.  They were, in order of appearance Panthers, Wirbelwinds, Jadgpanzer IVs, Panzer Grenadiers, Pzr Mk IVs and StuGs.  On paper it was now 8000 American points against 7000 German.

The Tigers destroyed by some incredibly lucky tank destroyers and the Americans mixing it up close along the Pak front and recon running rampant, the issue remained in doubt despite the early run of German firepower.  Perhaps the American Warrior teams would decide things.  The artillery began to relocate forward being either out of range or out of targets.

The Panthers were spearheading the German counter-attack but for whatever reason they never seem to do well in our games.  Today was no exception.  However the mostly intact German artillery kept pinning the American infantry.  Leadership typically took care of the pins.

Are they in range yet?

At some point we counted 38 destroyed or run off American tanks.  Yet a platoon under Abrams kept popping out, killing a panzer or two, and then do the American equivalent of a stormtrooper move to get out of view.  An American infantry assault pinned under fire but the artillery started to come back into play.

And then it happened.  Failed "stormtrooper" move and massed fire took out the killer platoon.  With their offensive punch taken out the Germans ever-so-briefly considered carrying on and retake the bridge at Remagen.  Then we remembered the intact American artillery.  So the game ended, decidedly with a bang and nary a whimper.

With the size of the game we could have used another player (we only had five) but we still played around twelve turns before ending.  I think everyone left feeling satisfied and satiated.  


  1. Mike, where did the owner of the Pershing Heavy tanks get his models? I can't find any manufacturers here in UK (mind you, they might have been swept away in the storms we've been having).

    Best wishes


    1. I'm not sure. At one of our game shops there was a clearance box of armor available for 2USD a model. I grabbed the box which also had the Pershings. They are all metal so my guess would be Old Glory or Peter Pig.

  2. The Pershings in the game were Old Glory. Paul's late running Christmas present, and the inspiration for this battle when Jake and I wondered, "where did they actually see action?"

    1. Thanks Dan. I'm being daft - Skytrex do them. Maybe next time the Germans can field a Maus or one of the conceptual monstrosities that Forge in Battle do.