Memoir’44 is one of the best examples of how the boardgame can develop thanks to its expansions. The base version of this game is the most simplified and straightforward example of the Commands and Colors system. I was really discouraged by its simplicity for such a complicated and multi-level conflict. That came to some extent from my previous experiences with Ancients – a system much more complicated and perfectly fitted for the era it depicts.
However, the expansions to Memoir’44 makes that game very interesting and much deeper. Really, for me that is completely new wargame and I love to play it with all those special units, deeper or wider maps, Russian and British forces, etc.
Today I would like to focus on my campaign with one of my favorite add-ons – Winter Wars expansion. This is the ten scenarios, all focused on crucial 2 weeks of Christmas 1944 in the Ardennes – place of great German counter-offensive. We have new rules but also new Troops, including the all new Tank Destroyer and Heavy Anti-Tank Gun units and Late War model versions of an Anti-Tank Gun, Mortar and Machine Gun. Important to note, that except for six standard-size scenarios, we have also four breakthrough type.
So let us know move to the actual scenarios and the sessions which I was playing with my best Memoir’44 buddy – Lukasz. First two AARs below.
01 (6782) Longvilly Trap
December 18, 1944, six days before Christmas: German armor has come to within a few miles of the city of Bastogne. Unwilling to give up this important traffic center, the Americans organize a defense perimeter around the town. In the late afternoon, Combat Command B arrives at Bastogne and immediately sets up three road blocks: – Noville (north; Team Desobry) – Longvilly (northeast; Team Cherry) – Wardin (east; Team O’Hara).
A day later – December 19, 1944: After learning of the passage of Team Cherry through the village of Mageret, the Germans establish their own road block and decide to wait for the Panzergrenadiers to catch up before attempting to seize Bastogne. Cherry soon discovers elements of the Panzer Lehr on the team’s rear. Longvilly is now cut-off and it becomes vital for Team Cherry to attempt a breakthrough and reopen the road to Bastogne!
That first of standard scenarios is interesting depiction of how the ambush can back-fire at the forces preparing it. US troops prepared a nasty surprise for the Germans near Bastogne, but were themselves discovered and flanked by a special Wehrmacht detachment (see above).
Historically, that ambush caused significant loses in American forces but they managed to break-through. Our game was similarly tense and close, and dramatic ending – near the exit point for US forces – very epic. Enough to say that last couple of attacks could bring the victory to either side. However, as per history, I managed to exit enough troops to gain the victory.
02 (6763) Clervaux – The Road to Bastogne
Planned with the utmost secrecy, German “Operation Watch on the Rhine”, launched in the wee hours of December 16, 1944. Hitler’s objective: To conduct a blitzkrieg on what the US First Army considered a “quiet” front and push through the densely forested Ardennes Massif under the cover of heavy overcast weather. He hoped to split the British and American lines, capture Antwerp and wipe out the encircled Allied armies in order to help negotiate a favorable peace treaty.
South of Manteufell’s front, the 110th Infantry Regiment faced the main thrust of the attacking German divisions, alone on an 11-mile front. Having crossed the River Our easily, the German Infantry infiltrated the woods of Luxembourg while its Combat Engineers were struggling to bridge the river for the tanks of 2. Panzer-Division. Overrun by German infantry, the village of Marnach soon fell. Using Clervaux as a strongpoint, Colonel Fuller attempted to stage a counter-attack and recapture Marnach. But the bridges had now been built; With 2. Panzer on the move, Clervaux had to be evacuated. The road to Bastogne now lay open…
Again, Lukasz was leading Wehrmacht and I was defending with Allied troops. Germans were getting special points for three cities marked in red plus for exiting units through orange points (click above picture to see details). US troops will try to prevent the attackers – they are in good position, as there is no bridge over the river and it will take precious time for German Engineers to build it. I was of course able to utilize that time to shell the onslaught with my own units.
That was very tough and difficult scenario for me but in the end – again barely – the Allied troops held and inflicted enough losses to achieve victory.
Both games were a real fun and definitely I am looking forward to another set of firefights during the battle of the Bulge!