Battle of the Bulge: 18th and 62nd VG Divisions Day 1


Intro

This post is the second in a series covering the advance on St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge.  This post will discuss the starting positions of the opposing forces and the terrain.


Start Map and Terrain

I have created the map below using satellite imagery. No doubt, there are differences from the 1944 battlefield but the hilly and wooded terrain remains relevant if you choose to drive, hike, or decide to invade Belgium with an mechanized force.



The blue line is the Google Maps direction feature for a vehicle between the key villages of Krewinkel, Weckerath,Manderfeld, Schönberg (and its vital bridge), then St. Vith. This is not necessarily the main axis of my intended advance but serves to give the reader an idea of the distance to be covered to the main victory point hexes at St. Vith.

The 18th Volksgrenadier (VG) Division is in the northeast corner of the map and scenario starting positions are show for its three regiments. The 62nd VG Division is concentrated just west of Prum on the bottom of the map. They are opposed by the 423rd Infantry Regiment.

Update 1/1/19: The bottom most VG Regiment, was actually the 183rd.

The 422nd and 423rd Infantry Regiments were stretched thin across the front line and are in entrenched positions along a diagonal line between the two green regimental icons. They hold a good portion of the Schnee Eifel; the dark green wood covering a high ridge.

The Führerbegleit Brigade (Fuhrer Escort Brigade) lurks n the NE corner, ready to exploit any opportunity created by the VG regiments.

Hard to see unless you blow up the map but two red marks at Schönberg (middle of the blue line) and to the SW at Steinebrück designate vital bridges over the Our River. The Americans have many engineers available so it will be a race against time to take the bridges before they are blown.

My overall strategy is simple and has been dictated by the terrain. The 18th VG Division will attempt to get to the bridge at Schönberg the fastest with the mostest while the 62nd VG Division will push towards Schönberg and Steinebrück.

The blue car route on the map also gives a rough idea on the course of the Our River near Schönberg. On the game map the river is impassable to the east of Schönberg.  My engineers can build foot bridges but not vehicle bridges. If I send any armor to the north of that blue line from Manderfeld south west to Schönberg they will not be able to support any force south of the line until Schönberg is taken. There are fords in the town and elsewhere but the two bridges in red are key for relatively fast mechanized movement.

From Hugh M. Cole's book The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge a chapter on the initial dispositions of the 106th Infantry Division can be found here.

Update 1/7/2019: As research continues I discover differences between the scenario's start positions and the historical deployment.  For the map above the 424th Infantry Regiment was actually on the front line further to the south and not in St. Vith.  In the scenario the 422nd Infantry Regiment has about half the regiment stationed in the Losheim Gap, especially in vicinity of Roth. Actually, the 14th Armored Group was spread thin throughout the Losheim Gap and according to Charles B. MacDonald in A Time for Trumpets the Germans found an undefended area of more than a mile between Weckerath and Roth. A battalion of VGs pushed through this gap in the defense towards Auw, cutting off the defenders.  In the scenario there is at least a company of infantrymen in those woods who do a good job of holding back the attackers.

Next 

Orders of battle (OOB) for the forces involved and I hope to draft a side bar on the Volksgrenadiers. 






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Project 1944

Massive Battle of the Bulge Scenario