Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ChrisND

Allied AAR: Clearing the Niscemi Highway

Recommended Posts

Normal Dude,

Now that it's all over, could you please explain how that tank survived multiple penetrations--by APHE, no less--Immobilization and a crew casualty, yet didn't bail? When I've got a Sherman, one 75mm PaK 40 or tank gun hit suffices, though the norm is two hits, the second arriving WHILE the crew is trying to get out! Maybe you just got great "die rolls," while Bil got 3 sigma bad ones?

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that it's all over, could you please explain how that tank survived multiple penetrations--by APHE, no less--Immobilization and a crew casualty, yet didn't bail?

He already has. "High Morale". And a smidegon of luck that the acute situation never quite got bad enough quickly enough to break 'em.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lessons Learned

I made a number of mistakes in this scenario.

1. I was too passive. Until the end I pretty much sat in position and waited for Bil to attack. While defensive positions were very strong, the lack of interference on my part allowed Bil to move and mass his forces for strikes as he pleased. The successful truck rush of the Villa Hill shouldn't have happened if I'd been more proactive.

Originally, my plan did involve interference on my part, by pushing an infantry platoon and some tanks up the hill by the western woods and the orchards objective. From there I would contest the Orchards objective, put fire on any enemy units attempting to rush the Villa, and make a wide sweeping flank into Bil's rear. However, this plan was nullified when Bil placed his two Panzers in the western woods. Those things were ridiculously well placed. Although they were dispatched quickly enough once spotted by my Shermans, the trouble was in spotting the damn things. Those two Panzers were, in my opinion, Bil's most valuable asset in the entire battle because they pinned down half of my force for most of the battle, who were supposed to be mobile and attacking but instead were impotent.

If I were faced with this situation again, I would have concentrated my reserves (including pulling a tank off of the Villa defense) and attacked the western woods hard and fast to neutralize those Panzers. With the Panzers out of the picture, I'd have free reign of the entire western side of the map. Then, Bil would be reacting to me, and from a corner of the map no less.

2. I split up my tanks. Bil, on the other hand, ensured that his tanks worked in groups. They were thus able to prevent me from engaging them straight-on, because it would be a lopsided fight. This greatly curtailed my tactical options everywhere across the map. If done again, I would have grouped up my tanks and hit the West hard in a counterattack.

3. I was too cavalier with my bazookas. Most of them were thrown away in risky attempts to nail Panzers, which were deemed necessary mainly because of mismanagement of my Shermans. I then lost more men attempting to retrieve the bazookas.

4. I put too many of my defenses in the Villa. Although impregnable to his infantry, with two Grilles afoot the Villa was a deathtrap. The terrain immediately around the Villa was incredibly exposed. As a result the Villa is actually not as defensible as it looks, at least as long as the enemy possesses the explosive firepower that Bil did. The result was a ton of infantry casualties for very little gain. Instead I should have gone for Bil's hill with my infantry reserves, leaving the paratroopers to defend the Villa. With that area threatened or held, he wouldn't have been able to advance on the Villa.

5. Normally I would say that I didn't use my artillery enough, but this wasn't actually due to any failing of mine, but instead due to the positioning of Bil's attack force on a reverse slope combined with the incredibly effective smoke screen he put up in front of the Villa.

Long story made short: I should have concentrated my reserves and attacked the western side of the map hard and fast in a sweeping maneuver.

mapjv.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent AAR and self analysis, your conclusions are correct, defending should be thought of as an opportunity to attack a vulnerable element of the attackers forces, so only heavy weapons like Med Mortars, HMG's and AT guns should be relatively static, the main body of infantry and AFV's should be ready to concentrate and move once the location of the attackers main effort is determined by observation units.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lessons Learned

I made a number of mistakes in this scenario.

Who didn't? ;)

1. I was too passive. Until the end I pretty much sat in position and waited for Bil to attack. While defensive positions were very strong, the lack of interference on my part allowed Bil to move and mass his forces for strikes as he pleased. The successful truck rush of the Villa Hill shouldn't have happened if I'd been more proactive.

Originally, my plan did involve interference on my part, by pushing an infantry platoon and some tanks up the hill by the western woods and the orchards objective. From there I would contest the Orchards objective, put fire on any enemy units attempting to rush the Villa, and make a wide sweeping flank into Bil's rear. However, this plan was nullified when Bil placed his two Panzers in the western woods. Those things were ridiculously well placed. Although they were dispatched quickly enough once spotted by my Shermans, the trouble was in spotting the damn things. Those two Panzers were, in my opinion, Bil's most valuable asset in the entire battle because they pinned down half of my force for most of the battle, who were supposed to be mobile and attacking but instead were impotent.

If I were faced with this situation again, I would have concentrated my reserves (including pulling a tank off of the Villa defense) and attacked the western woods hard and fast to neutralize those Panzers. With the Panzers out of the picture, I'd have free reign of the entire western side of the map. Then, Bil would be reacting to me, and from a corner of the map no less.

My one big fear before the second set of reinforcements arrived was that you would advance the one Sherman you had to attack the Orchard objective. I had nothing to fight it with and it would have caused havoc. The truck rush was ordered purely on the spot when you lost the first T30 and your Sherman backed off the hill the Villa sits on leaving no big guns defending the approach to the Villa... if you had concentrated your armor to attack my two Pz-IVs in the West then the Villa would have been ripe for just this sort of truck rush.

2. I split up my tanks. Bil, on the other hand, ensured that his tanks worked in groups. They were thus able to prevent me from engaging them straight-on, because it would be a lopsided fight. This greatly curtailed my tactical options everywhere across the map. If done again, I would have grouped up my tanks and hit the West hard in a counterattack.

I also fell foul to splitting up the armor at times.. sure I had a nice line of Pz-IVs overwatching the Villa, but when I started to advance I lost that mutual support and ended up losing two Pz-IVs and a Grille that I should not have. My Italian armor usage was abysmal.

3. I was too cavalier with my bazookas. Most of them were thrown away in risky attempts to nail Panzers, which were deemed necessary mainly because of mismanagement of my Shermans. I then lost more men attempting to retrieve the bazookas.

I didn't see it that way at the time.. they just seemed to appear... scared the sh*t out of me a time or two. I never realized you were trying to regain the bazookas until I read your side of the AAR.

4. I put too many of my defenses in the Villa. Although impregnable to his infantry, with two Grilles afoot the Villa was a deathtrap. The terrain immediately around the Villa was incredibly exposed. As a result the Villa is actually not as defensible as it looks, at least as long as the enemy possesses the explosive firepower that Bil did. The result was a ton of infantry casualties for very little gain. Instead I should have gone for Bil's hill with my infantry reserves, leaving the paratroopers to defend the Villa. With that area threatened or held, he wouldn't have been able to advance on the Villa.

I was very happy to see you pull off the Hill objective ND.. that contributed to my decision to send the truck charge there. Until I lost my two tanks to your cross map Sherman on the Hill objective it would have been very hard for you to recapture with your reserve platoon... after they were gone though.. well it would have been a tough fight but you might have succeeded in pushing me off for sure.

5. Normally I would say that I didn't use my artillery enough, but this wasn't actually due to any failing of mine, but instead due to the positioning of Bil's attack force on a reverse slope combined with the incredibly effective smoke screen he put up in front of the Villa.

Other than taking out my FO with it.. I didn't feel too many negative effects from your artillery. Whew.

Long story made short: I should have concentrated my reserves and attacked the western side of the map hard and fast in a sweeping maneuver.

Isn't hind sight wonderful? There are a lot of things I would do differently as well.. too many to list here, but I hinted at some of them in my thread. Mainly I would have handled the Italians a bit differently.. and I would have sent at least one squad in support of the two R35s that ended up falling to your demo team.

I think you did a wonderful job ND... there were a few times, after the Italian failure and losses on the Orchard objective.. after I lost 4 vehicles in two turns that I was ready to call it quits. It was a very tight affair.. if we had gone on I would have captured the Villa I'm certain.. but the cost was very high and I have no doubt would not have felt worth that bill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bil and Normal Dude,

With all this self-criticism, please tell me you haven't become Maoists! I have to say, once again, how impressed I am with how you two seem to dissect every move you made and why you made it. My head would explode were I to try that approach! Even my play by play ROW AARs didn't get to this level of analysis, and they were novellas.

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was very happy to see you pull off the Hill objective ND.. that contributed to my decision to send the truck charge there. Until I lost my two tanks to your cross map Sherman on the Hill objective it would have been very hard for you to recapture with your reserve platoon... after they were gone though.. well it would have been a tough fight but you might have succeeded in pushing me off for sure.

I had to vacate the Hill objective, that artillery would have plastered my paras. I wasn't particularly worried about ownership of the Hill objective. Despite the woods, it would be incredibly vulnerable if the enemy owned both the Villa and the area around the Orchards. One Sherman could have shelled it with impunity from the slope just south of the Orchards. As it was it never happened because it wasn't a priority, I had bigger fish to fry.

For all the drama and excitement of the truck rush, it didn't really alter my plans. The biggest problems were:

- The incredibly effective smoke screen you put down in front of the Villa. Combined with the line of your AFVs waiting for targets on the other side, and artillery on the left edge of the smoke screen it negated my Villa defenses.

- And the pair of western panzers preventing any movement at the other end. That position more than any other changed the landscape of the battlefield.

It was a very tight affair.. if we had gone on I would have captured the Villa I'm certain.. but the cost was very high and I have no doubt would not have felt worth that bill.

I think we can chalk this up as a win for you. By that last turn I was pretty much toothless, with only one bazooka left. I should have probably surrendered instead of cease-fired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

joey (for short),

Welome aboard!

Is this your first CM experience? If not, what've you played prior to this, and how do the they stack up relative to one another? What other wargame background do you have? Am always interested to see how our latest Forum members have gotten here.

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I have finally finished playing this map from both sides I feel I can comment more intelligently. This is definitely an attackers map as the monastery is just a big fat target for the Griles. Attacking at the western woods is the only real chance the USA has in this battle against a human. I played it both sides against AI, and won. One thing I differently did different than ND was to keep the engineers together in the west woods. They repelled a bunch of Italians, and then I kept them there till the reinforcements joined them to flank the rear to get the orchard. The Shermans did not do as well as I hoped against the German armor. Multiple hits to take out panzer M’s. I had two Sherman’s left at games end, and the Axis surrendered.

I did much better as the Axis on the attack. Ironically the US AI attacked from the west woods toward the orchard as ND wanted to do. I was ready to counter by saving the orchard for last, by using the Italians in ambush then countering the Allied attack.

All, and all a very entertaining AAR in presentation. Exellent easy to follow graphics. I agree with ND’s assessment that the defender must be more proactive for this map. Bil’s mistake IMO was not having enough troops push through the gully, and by trying to take orchard early. Saving for last I took few casualties with an Allied surrender. I found patience a big factor in not taking many casualties, and spent about 75% of the time developing my force with the real action coming at the end. Lot’s of sneaking, and hiding to the base of the monastery, and at the orchard. Also the terrain allows the attacker to divide the defenders force. I would much rather be attacker this map.

All things considering I think ND played a good game, but if they went to time limit I believe Bil would have got the victory since it looked like he still had more troops to work with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the real life fight at the Niscemi Highway.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-MTO-Sicily/USA-MTO-Sicily-8.html (p. 171)

"On Piano Lupo, the 1st and 2d Battalions, 16th Infantry, had managed to hold the road junction, even though six German tanks had broken into their lines. The single remaining 37-mm. antitank gun in the 2d Battalion disabled one. A lucky round from a 60-mm. mortar dropped down the open hatch of another. A bazooka round badly damaged a third. Colonel Gorham, the paratroop commander, put a fourth out of commission with bazooka fire. The other two retired. With almost one-third of his tank strength destroyed or disabled, General Conrath called off the attack shortly after 1400. Though fighting east of the river continued until late that evening, the tank units withdrew to the foothills south of Niscemi.21"

And for the easily bored, how about a 75mm pack howitzer in DF engagement of a Tiger tank?

"About 1000, a good many of the paratroopers, coming from Vittoria under Major Krause, had joined Colonel Gavin on Biazzo Ridge. Gavin directed this force to advance westward along Highway 115, seize Ponte Dirillo, and open a route to the 1st Division's zone. Augmented by random troops of the 180th Infantry rounded up by Gavin, the paratroopers got going. After a mile of slow progress against increasing German resistance, the attack halted when four Tiger tanks, supported by infantrymen, came into view and began pressing the paratroopers back. Though American soldiers crawled forward singly with bazookas, they could not get close enough to register a kill. Fortunately, two of the three airborne howitzers came in behind Biazzo Ridge, went into position, and opened fire.

The fight continued until well after noon. As American casualties increased to the danger point, artillerymen manhandled one of the little howitzers to the top of the ridge just in time to engage

--172--

in a point-blank duel with a Tiger tank. In the face of heavy small arms fire and several near misses from the tank gun, the paratrooper crew got off several quick rounds, one of which knocked out the tank. Two half-tracks towing 57-mm. antitank guns arrived from the 179th Infantry, went into firing positions, and engaged the other three Tiger tanks. Around 1500, the Germans had had enough."

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...