Mark came over on Nov 23rd for one of our two-player days. Up this time was Ardennes ’44; he had gotten me a copy as a gift some time back, and we finally got around to giving it a try. We only got through three turns this time, but we’re still getting used to parts of the system. Also, I was reorganizing my counter storage now that I had a better idea what the game needed.

I had the Germans, and stuck with the suggested opening, with minimal modifications (skipping an art on an attack already at good odds), but resolving the attacks on our own, not using the example results. The dice liked me, with several early ‘1’s, and only a few token 4s and 5s later. A DR4 at the extreme south end of the line (and another nearby) led to that flank completely unraveling, though splitting off a Task Force (suggested by the play book) allowed the Americans to put together a shaky line in the area. It was interesting to note that the 5th FJ StuG battalion is completely trapped on the first two turns, with no way over the river, and and the 7th Army boundary keeping him from intact bridges until the blown ones can be repaired.

The center was more typical, with few Americans present, and Mark hastily trying to block Skyline Drive. By the time I got to the north, my luck was fading, and only one unit in the main line in front of the 1st SS retreated. The main problem in that sector was not enough units to go around near St. Vith, and a broken unit was put into a blocking position on the main road (which then recovered to disrupted).

At the end of turn 1.

It was no trouble to take the first American entry point on turn 2, forcing the reinforcements to go into the blocking position, and cut off Diekirch with American troops very thin on the ground. In the center, Skyline drive was clear from there to Hienersheld, and both lines sort of didn’t exist in all the woods. I didn’t make any real progress towards St. Vith, but the American line was still thin, I and kept the unit there Engaged, and it broke trying to disengage (or something like that).

Progress was slow in the north, where I wasn’t really pushing as much, though all massed troops allowed me to break up the entire initial American line of improved positions, and Pieper’s attacks helped with that too. In fact, I started getting through the woods, and the American 106th Division was cut off (not quite isolated, and only one was out of supply, but it was close for all of them).

I had forgotten about setting up for the night turn, so KG Pieper was all the night activity. Similarly, not a lot continued to happen in the north, where woods made going tough, though I was breaking through into lighter terrain by the end of turn 3, having made it to Heppensbach, though American reinforcements in the area were going to add to the trouble. With proper planning, I’d be feeding units into that area, but I was still figuring out how I wanted to slide things around further northeast.

The center continued being a mix of trying to come to grips with American defenders, and exploiting the hole in the line. In the west, I was shoving him out the woods, but feeling exposed other than the fact there just wasn’t anything there to be exposed to. Lead units were outside of Wiltz, and I probably would have attacked next turn. My main attack was against the combat command sitting on Clervaux, and I had taken that for the second victory location.

In the south, I was forcing my way towards Mersch, Diekerch was starting to accumulate surrender points (probably shouldn’t wait for the surrender, especially after the turn 2 roll had been good for the Americans), and I was trying to get in position to take Ettelbruck.

We figured I had very good odds at getting six VPs of ten for the six-turn scenario, as I was almost certain to get the next three in the south and had good possibilities for number six (Mersch and Wiltz). Ten is going to be a tough stretch. (Mersch and Wiltz). Both of us are getting used to the system, especially ZOC-bonds, which stop a lot of moves that other systems that allow ZOC-to-ZOC moves allow.

But, both of us really enjoyed the game, and will be having a rematch soon. Mark also has several of the other Simonitch games, and we’ll want to get them to the table as well.