The WWPD Firestorm Campaign for Bastonge continues this week with the Battle for Clervaux.
A picturesque town in Luxembourg is the center of a pivotal battle during the Ardennes Offensive in December 1944.
SITREP: 110th Regimental Combat Team HQ commanded by COL Fuller was situated in the town of Clervaux. COL Fuller had several companies, regimental staff, and some reinforcements available to hold the town. Division (28ID) had earlier denied his request to withdraw to the next fighting position. Any delay that COL Fuller could cause to the breakout of the 2nd Panzer Division would help reinforcements arrive into the region from strategic reserve.
Mission: No Retreat based on MG Cota’s orders
Force size is 1500 points on both sides
Weather is Foggy with Moderate Rain.
- Rifle Company HQ
- Rifle Platoon (bazooka replacements)
- Rifle Platoon
- Rifle Platoon
- Anti tank platoon (57mm)
- Anti tank platoon (bazooka)
- 707th Tank Battalion (5 Shermans)
- 707th Tank Battalion (5 Stuarts) – 18 were historically deployed and only 7 survived the battle
- Firestorm force: Armored Infantry Platoon
- Panzer HQ
- Panther Platoon
- Panzer IV Platoon
- Gepanzerte Platoon
- AA Platoon (Mobelwagon) – theory is to use them against the infantry holed up
- Firestorm: Panzergrenadier platoon
- Firestorm: Assault gun platoon
German force were organized for a thrust through the center of town back by powerful Panthers and Panzer IVs.
Another KG if you will, was going to use the logging road into town. The operational plan was to converge on the objective at the road bridge on the far side of town. The other objective was placed with Clervaux Castle.
Panthers and Panzer IVs pressed fast across the main road bridge on the highway between Marnach and Clervaux. For some reason the bridge was not rigged for demolition.
US Force dropped the AT gun ambush hoping to get a couple shots off on the Panzer IVs. However, the fog was too thick to see the approaching Panzers.
The Germans deployed to annihilate the AT guns.
But they wouldn’t die… the Germans consistently rolled good visibility rolls, but AT guns kept their heads down. So, the German commander pushed his Panthers with infantry support forward toward the primary objective. The Panzer IVs would hold back the defenders in the castle and the pesky AT guns.
Meanwhile on the logging road, the Germans pressed hard.
They threw a tremendous amount of firepower into the US third rifle platoon with a follow on assault.
Having won the assault the Panzergrendadiers from KG Cochenhausen pressed on the heels of the boys from the 110th.
US reinforcements arrive on turn three. The tanks from the 707th Tank Battalion were to stem the German push on the logging road and then push into the town to deal with the Panthers.
However, a stalemate occurred on the logging road. Eventually, the StuG platoon would be destroyed, but would take out the Sherman 76mm using the gun tank rule. The Jumbo soaked up a number of shots from the assault guns. The panzergrenadiers redeployed to assault the objective as part of a combined attack with the Panthers.
US reinforcements continued to arrive with a platoon of Stuarts. However, they ran right into some Panzer IVs losing one tank. The Stuarts smartly moved out of the way.
With the Panthers gone to support the attack on the objective and the Panzer IVs trying to reduce the defenders in the castle. The 57mm AT guns sneaked up and made an amazing attack. Two Panzer IVs were killed by AT gun and one from a bazooka. A bazooka team was able to knock out another Panzer IV on the outskirts of town that had been bogged. The entire platoon was destroyed within two turns.
The assault on the objective was a nasty fight. The Panther platoon supported by two infantry platoons started making some progress by removing the US defenders from the buildings. That left only the troops on the river bank by the objective. The two Mobelwagons in the background were able to use their fire power to help the assault.
US forces pushed the Stuarts forward to try and get some side shots on the Panthers. They were able to get one bail, but they managed to kill the two Mobelwagons. A couple Shermans eventually joined the fighting killing two Panthers at a loss of one Sherman. The coup d’grace came from another bazooka team that took out a panther from the side even with the schurtzen rule!
Overall the German losses:
- 4 Panthers
- 4 Panzer IVs
- 3 StuG Gs
- 2 Mobelwagons
- 7 panzergrenadier teams
- 3 Sherman Tanks
- 1 Stuart tank
- 11 infantry teams including the XO
One of the lessons learned from the first battle was the artillery was not a viable force with the fog scenario, so we both elected to go without artillery. The match was looking like a German victory up until the last two turns. The AT guns were doing nothing against the Panzer IVs or Panthers.
Bazookas were the MVP for the US side after killing two Panzer IVs and a Panther. I had never had so much success with bazookas. I believe it gave a historic element to the game, because this weapon caused many Panzers to burn during the Battle of the Bulge.
The Jumbo was magnificent just bouncing shots until finally the StuG was able to gun tank the 76mm!