Saturday, 4 January 2014

Action at Oberickelsheim - Part III - the Americans

M60A2s in Germany.  Photo from Point Alpha
The American force under Aaron was compact, but powerful.  It potentially consisted of the entire 3ID 1st Brigade, plus certain Divisional assets: some heavy artillery batteries, some AA sections, two armored cavalry troops from the 7th Armored Cavalry Regiment's 3rd Squadron, two combat engineering from the 10th Engineering battalion.  In 1979, the 1st Brigade had four fighting battalions rather than the usual three, as it had two armored battalions, one of which was equipped with M60A2s instead of the usual M60A1.

US DoD photo of an M60A1 in Germany.

One of the ACAV Troops, A Troop, was organized as a small MSH battalion, as it was to be already deployed on the table at the start of the game.  The other Troop, B Troop, was attached to one of the infantry battalions, 1/30, counting as a (rather large) MSH divisional recon company, and thus keeping track of its morale separately from its host battalion.  This would be the next American formation to arrive at the battlefield.  The 1/30 infantry battalion had cross-attached a company with the 3/64 armored battalion (M60A1s); likewise 2/30 had cross-attached a company with 2/64 Armor (M60A2s). 

The Brigade had a battalion of M109s (1/10 Field Artillery, M109A2s, perhaps) in Brigade-level support; the observer stand for this was attached to (if I remember correctly) to 3/7 A Troop; a combat engineer company.  A battalion of short-barreled M110s (3/76 Heavy Artillery), was available at the Divisional-support level, and their observer stand was with 3/64 Armor, as was a section of AA troops (1 M48 Chapparal and 1 M163 Vulcan stand) from 3/67 Air Defense Battalion, and the Brigade HQ.  This would be the third manoeuvre element to arrive.

Next on the board would be 2/30 Infantry, and bringing up the rear would be 2/64 Armor, with another AA section and combat engineering company attached.  Depending on the weather, up to four flights (single MSH stands) of air support were available in the form of F-4 Phantoms, the first of which was equipped with anti-radiation missiles.  Noticeably absent was the provision of any supporting helicopters, which were presumably busy supporting the Division's other Brigades.  The force was also given access to a Corps-level unit of 175 mm guns: 1/75 Heavy Artillery, but only from the 8th turn, and only two turns' worth of firing, and that for counterbattery purposes only, as this unit was needed elsewhere as well.

The major US objectives were to exit their Cavalry Troops off the northern edge of the map, and, of course, to break as many opposing battalions as possible.  Minor objectives involved successfully keeping the river from being bridged by the enemy, or better still, bridging it yourself, and also not expending all the artillery ammunition.  The river was small, but ravined, meaning it couldn't be forded; it had to be bridged (both of the road bridges had been blown during previous actions) .

Aaron was given four possible entry points for his four battalions that started off-table: you can see his deployment options and orders to above right.  The black numbers represent how many turns delay entering from that particular spot would entail in addition to the scheduled arrival times (which were from the 2nd to the 9th turns, depending on the battalion). As you can see, Aaron chose to meet the enemy mostly head on, although aiming northwards to some extent; being an American order changes shouldn't come too hard, and he should hopefully be able to avoid enemy radio-interception efforts. 

His 3/7 A Troop started a foot or so into the table and was tasked with driving straight off the northern table edge - Aaron underestimated how fast the lead elements of the Czechoslovakian force would come across the table at him...  

Here you can see them as they were deployed in column of march on the table; light down low as befits the early hours (this photo was actually taken at 10 am, but in mid-winter, so the light angle wasn't too far off...)


  1. Did I ever underestimate how fast the Czechs would come! Talk about plans not surviving contact with the enemy... Thanks for a great day's play, Luke. It was an experience to remember!

  2. Yes, it was a good day. Now I just have to pack the lot up...