Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bolt Action Battle Report: Huertgen Forest, Bergstein/ Hill 400, 7 December 1944

Sean hosted the latest event for our gaming group, the battle for Hill 400 during the final days of the battle for the Hurtgen Forest in December 1944.

Owen, Richard, and myself played the German defenders on hill 400 while Drew, John, Lee, and Rhett played the US Rangers attacking the hill.

Sean's ambitious terrain project produced a giant hill which dominated the battlefield.  Model placement was sometimes a challenge, but overall the hill really added to the feel that the Rangers were fighting, literally, an uphill battle.

Sean employed some tried and true mind games with both teams, causing them to abandon well laid plans to adapt to changing conditions.  For the US team, he replaced their commander right as the mission started (which was pretty true to history), this meant that John suddenly found himself as the acting battalion commander.  For the German side, our initial mission was to conduct reconnaissance forward of our positions.  No sooner had we put together a good plan than Sean informed us that our reconnaissance patrol had been captured in the town of Bergstein, causing us to change our mission to the defense of the bunker on top of Hill 400.

All in all, the battle played out very true to history.  The Rangers succeeded in gaining the hilltop, but faced a German counterattack right as the game ended.

Sean followed the game with a neat video presentation that revisited the history of the battle and showed footage of some of the landmarks we had just fought over.

It was a fun game and we are all looking forward to Sean's next event, the Battle of the Bulge.

Rhett and Lee maneuver the Rangers up Hill 400, knowing that German forces lie hidden, waiting for them.

John watches his subordinate units maneuver, and wonders whether the new plan will be sufficient.

The view up Hill 400 from Bergstein as the Rangers move through town toward their objective.

The bunkers at the top of the hill changed hands several times in brutal hand-to-hand combat, with the sheer numbers of Rangers finally dislodging the German defenders and carrying the day.

The Rangers consolidate in the big bunker that is their objective, only to learn that it is, in fact, a pre-planned German artillery target.  Throughout the game artillery was fairly effective at disrupting the Ranger advance.

A late German counterattack from the left flank fails to dislodge the Rangers from their hard-won objective.

The Victors.  Drew, John, Lee, and Rhett get a mission summary AAR from Sean.

Next time....  Richard and Owen contemplate the counterattack that came close to driving off the Rangers, but ultimately fell short.

A German LMG team faces tough odds near the bunker on the top of the hill.

A fun game overall.  Thanks to Sean for hosting the event at his house and running the game.  Thanks to John for bringing some excellent ribs for lunch.  The quality of food that this group is putting out is reason enough to keep coming back.

Looking forward to the next game!

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