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Across The Seine DAR
06-14-2008, 07:00 PM,
Across The Seine DAR
Across The Seine was created by two designers that always produce well researched and enjoyable scenarios: Don Fox and Huib Versloot. Don and Huib are always willing to answer historical questions and also great opponents when playing Campaign Series.

A few months ago I found out that Don had authored Patton's Vanguard, a well written and interesting book that describes the war time record of the 4th Armored Division. Don then designed a few scenarios based off his research. One thing I found interesting was that in his scenarios Don had included historical leaders and even some lower ranked personalities whose heroic actions made a big difference.

In August 1944 General Eisenhower gave Field Marshal Montgomery a priority on supplies. Patton decided to continue his advance until his fuel supplies ran out. 3rd Army transferred the responsibilities for guarding the 3rd Army’s southern flank from XII Corps to the VIII Corps and XII Corps was given the green light to advance as fast as possible towards Germany before supplies ran out. On 23 August the 4th Armored Division’s was almost 90 miles southeast of Paris and the closest to Germany than any other Allied Division.

On 25 August 4th AD Commander General Wood ordered the capture of Troyes, located 88 miles southeast of Paris and containing many bridges crossing the Seine River. Intelligence estimated that 500 German troops held the city. Two task forces were created to capture the city. TF Oden would cross the Seine northwest of Troyes and then cut off the defender’s escape route to the east. TF West would conduct a frontal assault.

Across The Seine and my DAR concerns TF West’s part in this battle. This DAR will be a little different in that I will post the battle from the perspective of the company commander of C/35, Captain Crosby “Dick” Miller. I won’t report on any part of the game that Capt. Miller would be unaware of. This also might be a very short report. If Crosby Miller is killed I’ll end the report and just post the outcome when the game is finished.

Ed Bober is playing the Germans and has received a historical briefing concerning the German side from Don.
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06-14-2008, 07:49 PM,
Scenario Preview
Commanded by Major West the Task Force consisted of the following:

A and B Companies of the 10th Armored Infantry Battalion.
Company of Sherman tanks (C/35 commanded by Capt. Miller).
An Engineer platoon from the 24th Armored Engineer Battalion.
94th AFAB (Armored Field Artillery Battalion).
191st FAB (minus one battery).

TF Oden begain their advance in the morning only to find that once they reached the town of Saviors all the bridges were blown. The 24th Engineers were rushed forward to build a bridge but in the meantime it was decided that TF West would assault Troyes by itself.

A screen shot of the map is below. It is Turn 4 and Major West has just finished viewing the town and has formulated his plan.

[Image: 4AcrossSeine.jpg]

After reconnaissance of the town Major West's orders consisted of the following:
Attack to begin at 1630.
Left boundary of assault are the railroad tracks, right boundary is the highway to the south.
Attack in columns of companies, companies in line, deployed on a wide front. Sherman C/35 leading, 100 yards between vehicles, followed by Infantry Company A/10 plus assault gun platoon/10, Battalion HQ with recon and mortar platoon followed by B/10 plus MG platoon.

The open ground is dangerous so the plan was to rush to the city and find cover amongst the buildings.

In this game I don't think I'll move my Battalion HQ so close behind the leading wave.

This scenario is 40 turns long each turn representing close to six minutes covering the initial assault until around 2030. The six minute turns are based on the fact that this portion of the engagement was fast paced and there was no let up in combat during this time period. There were no lulls in the fighting, waiting around for orders, or much time spent trying to rally for the next assault.
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06-15-2008, 08:42 AM,
Turn 5
The Germans have dug an extensive anti-tank ditch around all the western approaches to Troyes. Capt. Miller readies his tank in an attempt to cross.

Capt. Miller's platoon of Sherman tanks is in the center with LT Baum commanding the platoon on the north flank and 1st LT Lyons on the southern flank. Lyons radioed in and reported that German recon vehicles had engaged and destroyed a couple of half tracks. Fortunately the Germans attacked after the infantry had already unloaded. Lyon's tanks arrived soon after the attack but the Germans had already sped back down the road toward Troyes.
Some elements of A Company have crossed the ditch and radio reports state that B Company are close behind driving along the highway.
The Germans have yet to engage the advance with artillery fire. American spotters stationed on the hillside to the rear report German MG and mortar positions manned to the NE of Miller's current location and a MG position in the chateau about 1 KM south of Lyon's tanks.
[Image: 5AcrossSeine.jpg]
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06-15-2008, 09:54 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-15-2008, 09:57 PM by Cole.)
Turn 6
Sounds of German artillery bark out from Troyes and soon explosions burst in the midst of the American advance. Some close calls but no damage done so far.
1st LT Lyons reported that German recon raced back up the hill out of hiding and were able to destroy a loaded Willy MB carrier behind his position. Lyon's Shermans couldn't get a clear shot. Two of Capt. Miller's tanks had the road covered and the recon unit had a nasty surprise when they tried to race back into hiding. The two Shermans fired almost simultaneously and wrecks now litter the road.
While Miller was telling Lyons that his platoon destroyed the armored cars Lyons went on to say that they were closely engaged with German infantry.

[Image: 6AcrossSeineAfterGermanTurn.jpg]

After a few minutes Lyons reported that his tanks and accompanying infantry made two SS infantry platoons retreat and were now advancing to engage German machine gunners.
With artillery fire starting to fall Capt. Miller didn't worry about the seven foot wide anti-tank ditch in front of his tanks. He ordered his Shermans to gun their engines and they were soon across. Miller ordered his tanks further down the slop but were surprised by German infantry hiding in a wheat field. Bullets were zipping by his head and Miller lost focus for the next few minutes as he tried to reorganize his disrupted tanks and alert LT Baum.

[Image: 62ndMillersplatoonambushed.jpg]

LT Baum raced forward with his Shermans and forced the infantry platoon to retreat. American infantry then came on the scene and then caused another platoon to flee.

Capt. Miller was too busy to notice the bullets that still were ricocheting off his tank. He was too busy directing his platoon, and calling in artillery and air strikes on both the German infantry close at hand and the positions on the outskirts of Troyes. Historically Capt. Miller never buttoned up during the battle so he could keep better situational awareness.

[Image: 6EndofAmericanturn.jpg]
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06-16-2008, 07:50 AM,
RE: Across The Seine DAR

I'm delighted to see the during-action reports in this scenario! It was a real pleasure working with Huib on the design.

A real challenge in the deisgn was recreating the terrain west of Troyes. The real nature of the area is that of a gentle slope, which would provide a relatively unobstructed view from the initial American positions all the way to the edge of the city. Unfortunately, that effect cannot be achieved within the map engine, if one is still seeking to keep the factual elevations across the only map. The only way around it would have been to have made the entire area west of the city flat, and that would have not been an acceptable compromise.

As you can see in the early part of the game, the Germans have been able to make take advantage of the gradient intervals in the terrain. Neverthless, the flavor so far is very mcuh like the actual battle. Generals, (or Captains, in this case!), carry on! I look forward to reading more.
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06-16-2008, 08:11 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-17-2008, 08:09 PM by Cole.)
Turn 7
With the German infantry in retreat the Americans prepare for the next stage of their advance. The goal is to seek cover in the city.

Capt. Miller has lost communications with 1st LT Lyons.

[Image: 7EndofMillersTurn.jpg]
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06-17-2008, 08:08 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-17-2008, 08:10 PM by Cole.)
Turn 8
Capt. Miller moved his platoon forward to the crest and immediately a German AT gun destroyed one of his tanks. A recon unit was simultaneously advancing but was engaged by German troops hidden in various depressions and one armored car destroyed. Miller retreated and started to coordinate another advance while calling in smoke to cover the last yards outside the outskirts of Troyes.

[Image: 8ApproachtheCrest-1.jpg]
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06-19-2008, 07:07 PM,
Turn 9
Devastating German artillery fire claimed the life of Major West as he attempted to rally an infantry platoon and a few other casualties amongst American infantry and transport elsewhere.

Smoke has been laid and the order to advance is given:

[Image: 9StartTurn.jpg]

A LMG section is the first to advance using smoke as cover. The smoke saved the section from certain death as two separate machine gun nests opened up with a furious fire:

[Image: 9GladIhavesmoke.jpg]

Captain Miller then moved forward with his platoon and just as they were entering the town were met with a furious barrage of panzerfausts and small arms fire. A Sherman was destroyed and the platoon disrupted. As American infantry rushed up to support the beleaguered Shermans and attempted to flank the ambushers they were themselves met with accurate op fire. LT Baum decided to risk exposure and rushed down the open paved road to engage German infantry that threatened to flank Miller's position.

[Image: 9End.jpg]

Captain Miller is in a tight situation now. He does not yet know of Major West's fate but LT Lyons has reestablished contact only to report that he is having problems undisrupting his platoon. The American advance is in serious danger of being stopped cold by strong German infantry.
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07-01-2008, 03:20 PM,
Turn 10
During the German turn I discovered by muzzle flash that he has some artillery about half a kilometer from my positions followed by lot's of mortar fire and then artillery from across the river.

German infantry popped up out of the grass about 300 yards north of LT Baum's Shermans and rushed forward while being supported by more infantry rushing out of the outskirts of town. LT Baum gave the order to retreat up the hill side. The Sherman covering the withdrawal was destroyed.

Capt. Miller was too busy to take much notice of Baum's reports as his Shermans were in a life and death duel with two Panzergrenadier platoons. Two Shermans were destroyed leaving only Miller's tank left. The American infantry accompanying Miller's tanks could not provide effective cover fire due to German MG guns spraying the whole hex.

After destroying the Sherman tanks German infantry still not engaged abandoned their positions and fell back into town.

[Image: 10BeginningAMTurn.jpg]

Some artillery spotters in the center of the American positions were forced to retreat along with their accompanying half tracks. Unfortunately this meant that a lot of my artillery missions went wild and hit dead on making two platoons retreat. Another undirected mission landed on Capt. Miller's positions disrupting his Engineer escort.

The Americans spent turn 10 trying to reestablish their lines before attempting to move forward. 1st LT Lyons finally radioed in and said his Shermans were now moving forward. Just in time as accurate German MG fire from the south prevented a couple of platoons from dashing down the hill into town.

The forces in Capt. Miller's immediate area were ineffective in engaging the lone German MG nest. LT Baum was able to get a little revenge and kill 1SP of infantry and make the platoon retreat. He spent the rest of his movement points in pulling back from the ridge line and out of move and fire range of the German infantry.

[Image: 10EndTurn.jpg]

Capt. Miller has received the news of Major West's death and is thinking that unless things turn around soon he might have to order a retreat.
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07-03-2008, 04:36 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-03-2008, 04:37 PM by Cole.)
Turn 11
German artillery was not as intense this turn.

The situation around Capt. Miller is intense. Some Panzergrenadiers were able to approach in the confusion and destroy Miller's Sherman with a close range panzerfaust barrage. Miller and his crew were able to climb out and escape the burning tank They were helped by Engineers that rushed over and helped pulled them out and while others provided covering fire that drove off the closest German troops.

Screen shot of the beginning of the American turn. The battle rages on.

[Image: 11EndofGermanTurn.jpg]
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