Setting: Malmedy, Ardennes; 21 December 1944
Panzer Brigade 150 was formed In 1944 as part of the preparations for the German Ardennes offensive. It was a mixed force of containing 2.500 men from all parts of the Wehrmacht, 1.000 from the Heer, 500 from the Waffen-SS, 800 from the Luftwaffe and 200 from the Kriegsmarine. Their intended role was to capture the vital Meuse Bridges in advance of the main German force. Because of the special nature of their operation they were assigned Otto Skorzeny – Hitler’s favourite special ops man – as commander and were more or less disguised as an American force. All their transport was painted olive drab, with prominent white stars. The Panthers were disguised with a steel plate in an attempt to look like M10 Tank Destroyers. They carried the markings of B Company, 10th Tank battalion, 5th Armored Division. Some infantry would have used elements of American uniform.
Unfortunately, on the day, the Brigade was bogged down in huge traffic jams and ended up being diverted to another target – the town of Malmedy where the American 291st Engineers and the 120th Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division were stationed.
Panzer Brigade 150 contained three Kampfgruppe (X, Y, Z) but Skorzeny could only organise two for the attack. On the right Kampfgruppe Y (with 5 StuG IIIs) under Hauptman Schref confidently set off along highway N32 toward the town, but was halted by mines and fire from the defending 1st Battalion and their supporting artillery.
On the left Kampfgruppe X under von Foelkersam had more success attacking from the direction of Ligneuville. Foelkersam’s 5 Panthers and two companies split into two columns when they approached Malmedy.
The main body with 2 Panthers attacked the road bridge which formed the weak junction between the 120th and 117th Regiments. The battle centred around a house containing the HQ of the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, plus men of an Engineer unit and K Company of the 120th Regiment. As the German armour began to bypass the house the defenders were forced back to the road bridge and Paper Mill. A Panther and some German infantry forced their way across the bridge and overran a artillery battery attached to 117th Regiment. Despite this success a hail of American artillery forced the Germans to withdraw back across the river.
Meanwhile 3 Panthers and more German infantry tried to storm the Railway embankment blocking their route to Malmedy. Alerted by trip flares and aided by mines and artillery, the 99th Battalion managed to hold the German assault and eventually drive it off.
With all avenues blocked Skorzeny called off the attack. Soon after their failure Panzer Brigade 150 was disbanded.
Can be played on a 6′ x 4′ table with the long sides being North and South.
The table is divided into several zones which are marked on the map:
- Observation Post (OP) on the high ground to the north-west.
- Tank Destroyer (TD) House
- Paper Mill including the nearby road bridge
- Malmedy including the embankment south of the river
- No mans land – which includes the rest of the table
American Player (Defending)
To hold the Warche Road Bridge and the railway embankment south of the river.
Elements of 120th Regiment, 30th Infantry Division.
B Company, 3rd Battalion (as per rules including HMG and FO)
K Company, 99th Battalion (as per rules including HMG and FO)
1 x 57mm ATG
1 x 76mm ATG
1 squad per Platoon has a Bazooka.
Elements of 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion
1 x M18 Hellcat
1 x BC (+1 for rallying and close combat but only for the BC stand itself)
Elements of 291st Engineer Battalion
1 x Engineer Platoon (with 1 squad having a Bazooka)
Elements of 117th Regiment
1 x on-table 105mm howitzer
1 x FO for on-table 105mm howitzer
2 x FO for off-table 105mm artillery
2 x Rifle Platoons
2 x Minefields
Any number of entrenchments required
Deploys first as follows:
- B Company must deploy in the Malmedy zone
- K Company must deploy in the Paper Mill zone
- One ATG must be attached to each of B and K company.
- The elements of the 823rd and 291st must deploy in the TD zone, with the BC inside the house.
- The elements of the 117th must deploy in OP zone and can not move outside it – they only have a supporting role in the battle.
- The minefields must be deployed in No Mans Land.
Everything starts hidden.
German Player (Attacking)
Begins scenario with initiative.
To capture and hold the Warche Road Bridge and the railway embankment south of the river.
Kampfgruppe X of Panzer Brigade 150 under SS-Hauptsurmfuhrer von Foelkersam.
1 x BC
1 x SMG squad
1 x FO for off-table 120mm mortar
1 x FO for off-table 81mm mortar
1 x MG Company – 3 x HMG
1 x SS Assault Engineer Platoon – PC (+2), 3 x Rifle Squad
1 x SS Infantry Company (as per rules including HMG and FO)
1 x Fallschirmjaeger Company (as per rules including HMG and FO)
5 x Panther Gs disguised at M10 Tank Destroyers
2 x Panzergrenadier Platoons
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle Squad
1 x American M3 halftrack or Hanomeg halftrack
1 x Schwimmwagen to attach to any rifle or HMG stand
All rifle squads have early panzerfausts and one squad per platoon has a late panzerfaust.
Deploys second entering from the south through Falize.
The game lasts 10 Turns (0600 hours to 1100 hours). Turns 1-3 are in darkness and Turns 1-6 in fog.
There are two Terrain objectives each worth 1 Victory Point (VP) to the side holding it at the end of the game:
- The Warche Road Bridge (protecting U.S. artillery positions off table)
- The railway embankment south of the river (blocking the approach to Malmedy).
The side with more VP at the of the game wins; an equal score is a draw. In both cases “holding” the feature means there are more friendly Squads, Crew Served weapons, Vehicles, CC and/or BC on the feature than there are enemy. If an objective is not occupied then the last side to have held it is still considered to hold it.
Scenario Special Rules
- Special Rule: Turns are in use. The Clock advances one Turn on 5+ at the end of any American initiative. Each Turn is nominally 30 game minutes long.
- Special Rule 1 – Night fighting is in use during Turns 1-3. Stands are limited to one move action per initiative. A stand that is in cover and has not yet fired during the scenario may not be fire at, except form within the same terrain feature. A stand in the open is fired at normally. All stands get the direct fire cover bonus, regardless of where they are located.
- The battlefield was foggy during Turns 1-6. At the start of German initiatives on Turns 1-6 you have to determine which parts of the table are covered in fog. Divide the table into 1’x1′ sections; 6 of these must be randomly selected at the start of the German initiative as being fog covered. Treat fog as a 1’x1′ smoke screen. At the start of Turn 7 all fog is removed.
- The river is unfordable by all but the Schwimmwagen. The road bridge can be crossed by any troops and the rail bridge by infantry but not vehicles.
- The Schwimmwagen can ignore the river for movement. It cannot fire; otherwise it counts as a crew served weapon for combat and like other APCs can count its passengers. It can carry 1 squad or HMG at a time (commanders and FO ride for free)
- Fields are out of season.
- All Hedges are normal, i.e. not Bocage hence passable by vehicles.
- Stands positions on higher ground can see over lower hedges (and walls), crests and fields (in or out of season); in this situation hedges (and walls) and fields provide protective cover as normal, but crests do not. The embankment and the first level of the High Ground near the OP are considered the same height. Troops on the top contour near the OP can see over the embankment; those on the first level can not.
- You could also consider destroying the on-table 105mm Howitzer as an objective as well. Historically the Germans did this, even if they didn’t achieve the other two objectives.
- Based on the article
Marsh, R. (1996 May). WWII Scenario for ‘Rapid Fire’ Rules. Wargames Illustrated, 104, 14-18.
We’ve got a couple of options for adapting this to the Shed’s 14’x6′ table with 3 mini-table configuration.
- Divide the map in half and stretch each bit to be 4′ wide and make each bit one of our sub-tables. The western section will contain the Paper Mill, TD House and OP; the objective is to take and hold the road Bridge. The eastern section – which becomes the middle miini-table of our configuration – contains the embankment, which of course is the objective. We’d then invent a third mini-table – 6′ wide – in front of Malmedy itself which has Kampfgruppe Y on it facing the American 1st Battalion; the objective is likely to be the embankment again. Let the German players divide forces as they want between the three tables but don’t give the Americans a choice.
- Add in both of the other two Kampfgruppe of Panzer Brigade 150. Malmedy itself would be on the middle table.
All Kampfgruppe would have similar compositions – 2 companies of infantry and armour – but the armour would differ. Kampfgruppe Y would have 5 x StuG IIIs. Apparently other units were asked to donate equipment to the Brigade when it formed which meant they ended up with ex Czech vehicles so these might have formed the armour for Kampfgruppe Z.