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Other Gaming => AARs => Topic started by: thecommandtent on October 26, 2020, 10:00:46 PM

Title: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on October 26, 2020, 10:00:46 PM
Well its been a 2 weeks since I posted a poll asking what I should play next and I've finally begun my dive into  Ardennes '44 (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/7858/ardennes-44-battle-bulge) As you can tell by the initial wait to get started this is going to be a slow burn AAR as I find time w/ kids and work.

That being said I've got the counters sorted, clipped and ready to setup on the map. I'm almost done reading through the rule book and am planning on following the opening turns in the Extended Example of Play and seeing if I want to continue or reset and start again.

Also, I order and have started reading  A Time For Trumpets (https://www.amazon.com/Time-Trumpets-Untold-Story-Battle/dp/0688151574) to help me learn more about the battle as I game it out on the map.  I'm only a few chapters in and already reading about places and units and seeing them on the map has been illuminating.

Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: BanzaiCat on October 26, 2020, 10:03:43 PM
A Time for Trumpets is a fantastic read.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: Martok on October 27, 2020, 04:49:27 AM
Excellent.  :bigthumb: 
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on October 27, 2020, 07:58:43 AM
Good stuff, although I would still recommend the Beevor book.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bbmike on October 27, 2020, 08:07:23 AM
Nice Beevor!
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on October 27, 2020, 06:16:57 PM
I love Beevor  :hehe:

He's a good read every time

Glad to see you've got this to the table. I have it and will one day get it on there.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on October 27, 2020, 08:43:11 PM
I love Beevor  :hehe:

He's a good read every time

Glad to see you've got this to the table. I have it and will one day get it on there.
Good stuff, although I would still recommend the Beevor book.

I may or may not have his book on request at the library....  :nerd:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on October 28, 2020, 08:12:00 AM
I assure you, you won't be disappointed, its a very good read indeed.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on November 15, 2020, 08:40:15 PM
*I warned you it was going to be a slow burn AAR

I finished going through the extended example of play which takes you through the night of turn 2 and I think I'm just going to keep playing from there as it seems like a good start for both sides.  As you can see from the images below the Allied line is strained and slightly broken in a few places. The Germans achieved no huge breakthroughs ... the exception being Kampfgruppe Peiper which broke through the line at Bullingen and is almost to Malmedy.

The Germans have the next turn and badly need bridges fixed over the Our River and space to unclog the traffic and surge forward.  They will also take full advantage of KG Peiper and hopefully exploit the hole punched in the Allies' line.

The Allies will focus on slowing the German advance while positioning reinforcements in strong blocking positions on the German lines of attack.  These next few turns will be bloody.

Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on November 16, 2020, 09:57:37 AM
I'm watching with interest. I have this one in my collection - so I'm excited to see how your game goes.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: BanzaiCat on November 28, 2020, 11:04:13 AM
I've been sorely tempted to add this as well, as it's relatively cheap right now. The only thing stopping me is the fact that I've not gotten either of its brothers to the table, yet (Holland '44 and Stalingrad '42), lol.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on November 28, 2020, 11:07:09 AM
Yeah...but cheap  :bigthumb: :hehe:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: BanzaiCat on November 28, 2020, 12:11:06 PM
How dare you

 :2funny:

I'm going to wait. I think I'm getting a game or two for Christmas. If I get a gift card, I might grab it.  :D
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on November 28, 2020, 07:00:45 PM
How dare you

 :2funny:

I'm going to wait. I think I'm getting a game or two for Christmas. If I get a gift card, I might grab it.  :D

Get it!!!  With work and kids as you can tell I don't have alot of time to sit and play the game but I spend quite a bit of time walking by the table and stopping to study the map and think about my moves. It is a fascinating battle and the game is really getting me to think through the real world problems that commanders on both sides had.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on November 30, 2020, 03:16:09 PM
Night fall on December 17 finds the Our River crossed in force in the South and not much standing in the way of the German drive on Bastogne.  Allied reinforcements struggle to plug the many holes opening up in their lines and hope to delay the German attack until more help arrives.

In the North KG Pieper has exploited a gap in the Allied line to drive as far west as Vielsalm but hesitates to drive farther and let his line of communication and supply be cut off.  The 1SS Panzer Corps has shattered the Allied lines near Bullingen and is approaching Malmedy in force.   St Vith is still in Allied hands but is in danger of being cut off from the rear. Casualties are mounting for the Allies along with several units that have surrendered.  Whereas casualties have been light for the Germans but they continue to struggle with blown bridges and traffic and find it hard to bring their forces to bear in overwhelming concentrated attacks.

Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on November 30, 2020, 03:57:36 PM
That's as close to being "cut off" as you'd want to be!
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on November 30, 2020, 04:11:44 PM
The Ardennes is not somewhere that you want to be cut off in :-)
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on December 10, 2020, 09:31:24 PM
December 18th ends after seeing pockets of heavy fighting and the struggle of both sides to move men and machines where they are needed most.  Battle lines have solidified on the northern and southern shoulders of the 'bulge' but the Germans have punched a hole in the Allied center.

The race to Bastogne was 'won' by the Allies but a hard push by the Germans saw their Panzers in the outskirts of town as darkness fell.  Elements of the 2d Panzer Division also manage to capture the lightly defended town of Houffalize, seriously jeopardizing the  north/south movement of Allied reserves.  The 101st and 82nd  airborne divisions are enroute via trucks but the whether they will be committed to hold Bastogne or take up a defensive line further west is still to be determined.

St. Vith is still in Allied hands but the Germans have cut if off and if no breakthrough occurs to relieve the beleaguered defenders then they will almost certainly surrender.  The Germans are coordinating a major attack on Malmedy in order to occupy troops that would otherwise try to breakthrough to St. Vith.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: Martok on December 11, 2020, 02:39:33 AM
Oof, things are definitely looking a bit hairy there.  :o  Is that Allied pocket near the middle St. Vith, then? 


Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on December 11, 2020, 03:22:39 AM
See - what happened there is everyone bugged out and forgot to tell the troops in St Vith.

Happens all the time.  :whistle:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on December 11, 2020, 08:07:45 AM
Oof, things are definitely looking a bit hairy there.  :o  Is that Allied pocket near the middle St. Vith, then?

Yes it is, with what is left of the 9th Armored Division's Combat Command B holding the town.   :bitenails:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on December 11, 2020, 08:28:51 AM
Such a good game  :bigthumb:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on January 01, 2021, 10:15:24 PM
Dec. 19 comes to close and sees several Allied held towns fall into German hands as they Allies are running out of units to plug holes and contain the attacking German panzers.  Allied high command faces a no win situations as they debate where to commit what few reserves and reinforcements they have available, while the German generals curse the traffic and horrible road networks that won't let them bring their forces to bear on Allied weak points.

In the South the Germans take Ettelbruck and continue to occupy Allied forces needed elsewhere on the battlefield. 

Bastogne is still contested as both sides dig in for the night and try to maneuver their forces to bear on one another. 

St. Vith falls to the Germans and several pockets of Allied defenders are cut off as the Allies are pushed back and begin contemplating falling back and forming a defensive line along the Ourthe river.

In the north Malmedy falls to a vicious German attack but a last ditch stand at Stavelot by the Allies and timely reinforcements from the North blunt the German breakthrough.

The Allied line from Bastogne to Stavelot is thin and the Germans are slowly clearing traffic and bringing forward fresh troops. As Dec. 20 begins things still hang in the balance.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on January 02, 2021, 03:11:31 AM
That is quite a bulge....ooo-er missus.  :bigthumb:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on January 02, 2021, 07:21:34 AM
Steady, lad!
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: Martok on January 02, 2021, 09:47:19 AM
 :o

Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: Sir Slash on January 02, 2021, 11:28:17 PM
If I'd said that, I would be in trouble. But since it's not me... I approve.  :hehe:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on January 24, 2021, 03:24:08 PM
December 20th ends after seeing pockets of vicious fighting throughout the bulge and the Germans oh so very close to achieving an uncontainable breakout. German quartermasters have scrounged supplies from who knows where in order to keep the attack from stalling while Allied casualties mount and several Combat Commands are encircled or lost entirely.

The southern shoulder of the German attack expands and threatens to block any reinforcements or relief attack towards Bastogne.

The fighting in and around Bastogne is fierce and the Germans are close to encircling the exhausted troops within the town.

The Germans renew their attack west with forces freed from the St. Vith pocket and are within reach of a lightly defended Hotten and crossings over the Ourthe river.

Stavelot falls to a massive German attack but the Allies are somehow able to withdraw in decent order and form a new defensive line around Spa and the village of Stoumont. Allied leaders now fear that the city of Liege is the German objective in the north and are scrambling to delay the German attacks with whatever units are the in the area.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on January 24, 2021, 04:09:13 PM
Great AAR so far. I've played this a bit on Vassal and enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: Martok on January 24, 2021, 04:10:02 PM
I realize just looking at counters can be very misleading, but man do the Allies appear to be badly outnumbered .  :-\ 

Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on January 24, 2021, 04:17:19 PM
Its the dynamics of the Ardennes Offensive that make it such a fascinating and much gamed topic.
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: judgedredd on January 24, 2021, 04:21:50 PM
Noice
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on January 24, 2021, 08:05:28 PM
Great AAR so far. I've played this a bit on Vassal and enjoyed it.

Thanks!

I realize just looking at counters can be very misleading, but man do the Allies appear to be badly outnumbered .  :-\ 



Very true and I can see how in the actual battle the thin line of Allied units felt like the whole weight of the German army was coming against their small part of the front.  You should see the casualties piles, lots of Allied units not so many German.  Not sure if its normal for the game or just my mismanagement of the Allied defense.  However, the German rolls of loss of supply have all gone in their favor so their has barely been a pause in the relentless attacks.

Its the dynamics of the Ardennes Offensive that make it such a fascinating and much gamed topic.

It is my first real Bulge game and I can see why this has been gamed and looked at so many times in so many different ways.

Noice

 :bigthumb:
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: thecommandtent on March 28, 2021, 09:00:22 PM
Its been awhile, but I thought I had already posted this turn...

December 21st brings more winter weather, frozen mud roads and the Allies to the brink of disaster. The breakout the Allied commanders have feared may be upon them.

The southern shoulder of the attack remains static with the Germans happy to hold a line and divert supplies and reinforcements west and north but the forward elements of Patton's 3rd Army are arriving and will soon be testing the German flank.

Bastogne is still stubbornly held but supplies are beginning to dwindle as they hold off several German attacks. West of Bastogne the 101st Airborne hold a thin line desperately waiting for Patton to drive his 3rd Army northward and into the Germans that are beginning to slowly push westward.

 But to the north disaster looms as SS Panzer divisions somehow scrounge fuel and supplies and exploit the thinly held Allied lines north of Hotton and punch across the Ourthe racing across undefended ground towards newly arrived British troops.

Can you spot the opportunity that both German and Allied commanders are just realizing lies open ....
Title: Re: Ardennes ' 44 - Learning Game
Post by: bob48 on March 29, 2021, 05:42:43 AM
 :bigthumb: