DWAC-Pac Scenario 14 : Hill 122 Initial thoughts.

Stuff concerning Koz's Hedgerow Obsessive Disorder. ;)

DWAC-Pac Scenario 14 : Hill 122 Initial thoughts.

Postby Koz » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:32 pm

As the US pushed out of Emilie, they hit another major German strongpoint on Hill 122. This hill was the key feature of the area, bordering the N side of St. Lo and directing artillery fire all the way to the Vire.

The Germans were dug in hard, realizing the loss of the hill meant the exposure of St Lo and the dominant artillery position of the area. The loss would also result in the pocketing of the Germans between St Lo and the Vire, as the 137th had just seized the river crossing at Pont Hubert, trapping the Germans in a river loop if Hill 122 fell. A mixture of troops from Kentners group and the Falshirmjaeger (sp?) from the positions to the east were cobbled together to save the position.

I chose Board 11 and its hills with hedges to represent Hill 122. I would have preferred denser bocage but this was the best I could find. to counter this I buffed up the north end of the board with overlays and turned board 55 so the bocage fight would still be here, and will give the germans a ton of fortification points to make a bastion somewhere on the hill and along the approach, particularly in light of the OBA and FB's that will be present.

OBA will be in effect for both sides as well as US Fighter bombers as the weather finally cleared for this part of the battle. The open LOS of hill 122 should make life interesting for the US, though the flip side of the coin should allow them good use of OBA and tanks. I may start with a barrage as it played a key role in the US assault, then at least two modules of 105 Howitzers. The Germans will start with a module of 81, and a second module will come on with reinforcements, possibly the big 120, 150 mm, monsters around the area, but all modules with scarce ammo. This will be backed up with the onboard 81mm MTRs, with which I will be prolific and some infantry howitzers to balance out the scarce ammo of the OBA.

The US Is listed as having both Shermans and M-10s in the battle. To counter I may give a single 88 and some Pak 38's.

As you can see this is to be the climatic battle of the series. I see the Germans Stretched thin on the approaches, constantly at risk of fighter attack and the US raining down OBA on the approach. After a struggle for the bard 55 foothills, the main assault will come up to hill 122 on bd 11. and a hedgehog build up there somewhere. The US should push off the germans and late turn reinforcements will come in for a final counterattack to push the US back off the hill. (or at least contest it as the VP indicate.) The germans will have a whopper of an OBA module to help this effort, but the US should be in strong positions to resist and if they can hit the radio or a red card screws up the OBA the germans will be in a world of hurt. But they have the entire board to attack up and all they need is one hill hex.
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Re: DWAC-Pac Scenario 14 : Hill 122

Postby Koz » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:50 pm

............|--------------------|
............|11
|--------------------------------|
|.....................55|
|------------------------|
N=55 row 1 side

Play area = Bd11= On or east of Row P, W of Row row C10. Bd55 On or east of Row B, W of Row row O.
Overlays:
Hd1 @ 11D10
Hd5 (1@11G10, 2@11G9)
Hd2 (1@11E7, 2@11F7)
Hd7 (1211K10, 2@11L9)
HD9 (1@55B8, 2@55C9)

Victory Conditions.
No GO Germans squads may occupy a L1 Hill Hex on Board 11

Germans sets up south of Road A6-D4-F5-I4-Q8-P7
US Set up North of Road A6-D4-F5-I4-Q8-P7

SSR1:All stone walls on board 11 are considered to be bocage.
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Re: DWAC-Pac Scenario 14 : Hill 122

Postby Koz » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:14 pm

From http://www.coulthart.com/134/35chapter_3.htm

At 2100 the 134th had advanced as far as the north slope of Hill 122. Colonel Butler B. Miltonberger, commanding the Regiment, credits the success of his men in taking the reaches of this Hill to the close support given them by the attached tank company, and by the artillery barrage. This barrage was controlled entirely by the front line observers with the rifle companies, and was moved on their call. It is a matter of record that the infantrymen followed the barrage as close as 75 yards.

Storming Hill 122 became the next combat assignment of a newly committed 1st Battalion, 134th commanded by Lieutenant Alford C. Boatsman, Beatrice, Nebraska, supported by the following units: 161st Field Artillery Battalion reinforced by the fire of the 127th and 963rd Medium Battalions and the 92nd 4.2 Chemical Battalion. The supporting plan of fire was unique in that it provided continuos rolling barrage during the entire operation. Just prior to the 134th's assault on Hill 122, the entire mass of fire was placed on the target at the maximum rate of fire for 15 minutes. A thin curtain was then hung in front of the hill while hasty defensive installations were prepared.

The next day, with the 2nd Battalion of the 320th in reserve, a coordinated assault was made toward Hill 122 and St. Lo. While the P-47's sprayed and bombed the Hill, the tank-infantry combinations struck at machine gun nests and other strongpoints of enemy positions. Each use of the infantry-tank teams required close coordination and amounted to separate small actions in themselves. In many cases the infantry commanders rode on, or walked by the tanks, directing them personally.

Tank destroyers overrode and smashed dugouts and strongpoints after the infantry had passed through. The advance of foot troops under artillery power-drive proved effective in shoving back the enemy.

The Germans had dug in, around and through the hedgerow. As learned from experience and verified by prisoners, machine guns were along the hedges, and, as a rule, observers for the mortars were in one field directly in rear of the machine guns. The mortars were then emplaced in streambeds or low ground in the rear of the observers.

When our infantry launched an attack, the dug-in machine guns were employed against them. As our artillery fire was brought down on the machine guns the Germans would drop mortar fire on our advancing infantry, hoping both for casualties and to cause our infantry to believe that their own artillery fire was falling short. Because of these tactics the Division Artillery fired on German machine guns, mortar observers and mortars simultaneously.

Just before dawn, 16 July, the 1st Battalion started across the minefields under enemy fire toward Hill 122 itself. As the battalion started up the slope, the hill spewed lead like an exploding ammunition dump, but the doughboys pushed on.

The Germans counter-attacked the steadily moving line and were thrown back. Despite the mounting losses, the 1st Battalion edged uphill against the apparently impregnable enemy defense line. Finally Hill 122 fell.

The advance was slowed down by insistent infiltration of small parties of frantic enemy. It took a series of hand-to-hand engagements to subdue these parties. This was a typical Nazi maneuver. The men in these suicide squads meant nothing to their leaders; it was time that counted.

But this costly delay, for which the Germans paid a high price, allowed them to complete their lines and be in position to launch a counter-attack also on July 16. As the 3rd Battalion started moving down the right flank of the 134th, opposition was fierce, for the enemy was well aware that once his flank was penetrated he would not again be in a position to drive the Yanks from the dominating hill.

As the day passed, the Americans could not be dislodged, the German attacks slowed down, but the enemy's artillery fire continued in intensity. While the 1st Battalion held tenaciously to Hill 122, the 2nd Battalion, in a sunset push, attacked at 2000 and gained about 600 yards.

The cost in men and equipment had not been low. The 134th had lost 102 killed in action, 589 wounded and 101 missing. The expenditures of sweat and blood can never be measured. But Hill 122 had been taken and the road into St. Lo was open.
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