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"Dec 16th. Remember The Bulge!!" Topic

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Action Log

16 Dec 2018 2:45 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Dec 16rh. Remember The Bulge!!" to "Dec 16th. Remember The Bulge!!"

Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

832 hits since 16 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Lee49416 Dec 2018 8:15 a.m. PST

I've always loved studying and gaming The Bulge and for many years ran a Bulge Scenario at my favorite hobby shop. My other favorites are Market-Garden and Normandy, the Breakout not the Beaches. I think these campaigns are fascinating and provide the best gaming.

What is your favorite WWII campaign to game? Any Theater. Cheers!

PS. Please forgive Topic Title Typo! Could not edit. Sorry.

donlowry16 Dec 2018 9:03 a.m. PST

I agree that the Bulge is a great topic for gaming.

Munin Ilor16 Dec 2018 9:21 a.m. PST

Lately I've been spending a lot of time researching North Africa and Italy. Lots of interesting early and mid-war actions there.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2018 11:37 a.m. PST

Have to agree with your choice Lee. Bulge has been very good for scenarios. I have the Rapid Fire Bulge scenario book and that has been a great source.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2018 12:02 p.m. PST

Thanks, I had almost forgotten.


P.S. Just filed a "complaint" asking that the typo be corrected.

Legion 416 Dec 2018 3:19 p.m. PST

I always remember this date. It's close to my B-Day ! old fart And as some don't realize, it ended up being very big US/UK victory.

I've war gamed it with board games many times and at all levels.

I like the early WWII battles, e.g. France '40, etc. and North Africa.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Dec 2018 4:07 a.m. PST

The US GI's finest hour.

FlyXwire17 Dec 2018 6:11 a.m. PST

It's sort of like what Munin wrote above the interesting campaigns might be the ones you haven't already done.

Actually, my always go-to "campaign(s)" would be from Op Blau to Citadel+ Eastern Front Summer '42 thru to the Fall of '43, which offer some of the best match-ups between elan vs. mass vs. the developing resurgence of Soviet industry and their military reorganization.

Next, would be to do Tunisia (which I've been working on).

I collected heavily over the years to do Normandy '44, but unless doing the British sector, armor was largely in the supporting role for Normandy, so……

Your choice of favorite WW2 campaign to game depends a lot of how you plan on fighting it infantry-centric (you're aiming more for skirmish-style gaming), or mobile ops (you're aiming more for combined-arms, grand tactical level wargaming IMO).

The Bulge does offer for both possibilities, mainly because of it's huge operational scale, as does the Eastern Front of course.

Richard Baber17 Dec 2018 8:12 a.m. PST

Here is a Dcember 16th game we ran last Christmas link

Fred Cartwright17 Dec 2018 10:02 a.m. PST

I have been fighting the Battle of the Bulge for years. Have also wargamed the Ardennes offensive at times. :-) Some interesting scenarios to game at a tactical level. Not so much at the operational level as the result is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

The US GI's finest hour.

For some not all. Some panicked flights and command failures. The 106th ID suffering the US's biggest surrender of the war.

Legion 417 Dec 2018 3:51 p.m. PST

Yes, but many, many more held their ground, e.g. the 101 ABN and along with reinforcements counterattacked. And in the long run the Reich took losses they could not replace.

Fred Cartwright17 Dec 2018 4:58 p.m. PST

And in the long run the Reich took losses they could not replace.

The Reich has been taking losses they couldn't replace for a year or more. It did disrupt allied plans a lot and they would have probably lost as many in defensive battles.

Skarper17 Dec 2018 11:06 p.m. PST

The Ardennes offensive was obviously a huge gamble. A one in a million throw of the dice. The only hope the Germans had was to provoke a collapse in Allied morale. Even then the Soviets would still have been in Berlin by May '45.

I don't know what better use they could make of these last strategic reserves. The high command was not thinking straight, and lower level commanders simply follow orders as best they can.

All that said, it provides some fun small scale scenarios.

Parker's Crossroads is quite interesting and a very courageous stand against (eventually) overwhelming odds.

One thing I noticed [and I may be wrong] is that the force density was quite low compared to other periods of the war.

It was a quiet front so the US forces held the line thinly [probably similar to the situation in the East]. The Germans seem to be very strong but not much could actually get into the fight at once. The terrain and weather plus supply problems are well known to have been significant.

From a gaming point of view, winter terrain is different to what people usually have and there is often very little maneuver – head on assaults being the typical tactic.

Fred Cartwright18 Dec 2018 2:36 a.m. PST

I don't know what better use they could make of these last strategic reserves.

That was the problem. Any defensive strategy just prolongs the agony. An offensive with even a very remote chance of success was worth a gamble. Not that the Ardennes offensive qualifies on that count. There was zero chance of them reaching Antwerp and even if they had it would not have split the allies.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 4:08 a.m. PST

The 106th gets an unfair judgement, I think. Totally green troops put into a terrible position less than a week before the attack. Any similar troops (from any nation) would have suffered the same fate if put in that situation.

Old Wolfman18 Dec 2018 6:45 a.m. PST

It's also me and my wife's wedding anniversary day(14 years now). I had a neighbor who was there with an armored unit,in my old 'hood where I grew up.

Legion 418 Dec 2018 7:40 a.m. PST

That is probably true Scott about 106th. They were green and put in a sector that was supposed to be "quiet". If anything again it was an intel failure on the Allied side. And an very good job of deception planning on the German's part.

I see with intel sometimes, it seems, not only poor information gathering, etc. But a times, "wishful" thinking may trickle in. Shading the evaluation. E.g. The Germans were pretty damned sure the Allies would land at Calais, in '44. Or all the Chinese were just volunteers that crossed the Yalu on '50.

donlowry18 Dec 2018 9:29 a.m. PST

I had a neighbor who was there with an armored unit

At the wedding?

Fred Cartwright18 Dec 2018 1:16 p.m. PST

At the wedding?

I have heard of shotgun weddings, but that is OTT! :-)

Fred Cartwright18 Dec 2018 1:27 p.m. PST

I see with intel sometimes, it seems, not only poor information gathering, etc. But a times, "wishful" thinking may trickle in.

Like most good deception plans it played on the allied preconceptions. The allies didn't think the Germans could mount offensive operations. They did notice the build up in the area of German units, but the Germans encouraged them to think they were there to attack the flank of any allied thrust across the Rhein into the Ruhr, which they were perfectly placed to do, but also perfectly placed to attack through the Ardennes. The operation was called Wacht am Rhein after all.

Legion 418 Dec 2018 3:16 p.m. PST

Yes, good deception plans have caused the enemy to something you'd like him to do. Or otherwise make events happen in your favor.

To paraphrase, Sun Tzu, "War is a matter of deception" … E.g. the Allied Operation Fortitude before the Normandy Invasion. I.e. Patton was to lead a huge Army at Calais. As I mentioned.

Old Wolfman19 Dec 2018 6:51 a.m. PST

No,not the wedding. I was just a kid when I knew the neighbor who was at the Bulge. The wedding,there were only 3 others there in the judge's chambers besides myself and my galpal;one of my future in-laws,the judge's baliff,and the judge's service dog;an Alsatian. Along with the Municipal Court judge who performed the ceremony.

Gerard Leman20 Dec 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

So here's an interesting little pre-Bulge scenario for anyone interested. As far as I can tell, it's the only combat action involving Luxembourg troops during W.W. II.


Google maps will give you a great idea of what the town looks like.

Legion 420 Dec 2018 2:42 p.m. PST

That is interesting. Not much is ever mentioned about the Luxembourg's military in WWII. Albeit they are small country with small military forces.

Gerard Leman21 Dec 2018 9:10 a.m. PST

"Not much is ever mentioned about the Luxembourg's military in WWII."

There's a reason for that: In 1940, Luxembourg's army consisted of 2 companies of infantry – one regular and one reserve. They faced off against 1st, 2nd and 10th Panzer Divisions. Not exactly a fair fight. Resistance to the German invasion seems to have largely involved destroying the inventory at the Diekirch Brewery to make sure that those strategic assets didn't fall into enemy hands.

Thomas Thomas26 Dec 2018 11:20 a.m. PST

As at Kursk, an allied army accepted very high casualties to stop a German offensive. That the Western allies were able to do this surprised Hitler if not all his generals.

As to the fate of 106th, the German troops that surrounded and captured 2/3 of the division (another regiment fought at St. Vith) were largely green VG.

The overall effect was to delay the resumption of allied offensive operations as they (controversially) decided to grind back through the bulge. It ensured the Russian would reach Berlin first. The Germans were probably able to inflict higher casualties by launching a surprise attack then they would have conceding the initiative to the allies.

Having at least delayed the resumption of allied offensive operations (but coming no where near the vital knock out blow) they transferred the bulk of their forces to the eastern front – but even so they proved inadequate to stop the Russian winter offensive. Just too many foes and too few assets. Its doesn't always pay to be a jerk nation.


Cpl Uhl Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2018 6:59 p.m. PST

The 106th gets an unfair judgement, I think.

The conversation between the 106th commander and the Corps commander went as wrong as you could think. One said shouldn't I go and one said you should go!! It didn't happen and we know the rest of the story.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Dec 2018 4:32 a.m. PST

Also in regards the 106th, they replaced the veteran 2nd Infantry Division on that section of the line. The commander of the 2nd had recognized that the position was untenable if there was a major German attack. The most logical routes of attack would automatically result in the division being cut off. As a result, the 2nd had a set of plans in place which called for a rapid withdrawal in the event of an attack. Unfortunately, when the 2nd turned the position over to the 106th, they did NOT share those plans with them. The 106th's commander, after a week there, came to the same conclusion as the commander of the 2nd and was drawing up his own set of withdrawal plans. Sadly, the German attack came before he could distribute them to the division.

Skarper27 Dec 2018 5:21 a.m. PST

I never thought badly of the US 106th and other US units that were overwhelmed. Analysis of their situation leads to the conclusion that they did about as well as could be expected.

Here and there troops did better than might be expected, and those units deserve credit for their outstanding performance.

Fred Cartwright27 Dec 2018 6:20 a.m. PST

The conversation between the 106th commander and the Corps commander went as wrong as you could think.

In that Middleton should share some of the blame I would agree with you. His grip on the situation was tenuous at best and he was wildly optimistic in his expectations of getting reinforcements sent to him into action.

Analysis of their situation leads to the conclusion that they did about as well as could be expected.

I am not sure I would agree with that unless you thinking doing nothing was what was expected of them. In the face of the German attack Jones did nothing. Failed to coordinate with the screening cavalry group and allowed them to do their own thing. The 2 Regiments on the Schnee Eifel did nothing to harass or hinder in any way the forces surrounding them. Jones relied too heavily on outside help to rescue the situation. The 2 Regiments that surrendered had suffered relatively light casualties.

Legion 427 Dec 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

There were a number of failures … starting from the very top down. With such an event of 2 Rgts of a Div getting cut off and surrounded then surrendered. It was very much more than just the Generals, per se.

Even go above the Div and Corps leadership. The US thought the Germans were done. The very Green 106th was supposedly placed in a quite sector. Another intel failure at many levels, I'd think.

Legion 427 Dec 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

There's a reason for that: In 1940, Luxembourg's army consisted of 2 companies of infantry one regular and one reserve.
Thank you, good intel. Didn't know they were even that small !

Legion 428 Dec 2018 8:01 a.m. PST

In MILITARY HISTORY magazine, Sep. 2018, there is a good little article about the 106th. Very informative … And noted that both Corps and Div. leadership were one of the primary reasons for the failure.

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