December 16, 2019 by Lee
75 years ago in December 1944, the peaceful area known as the Ardennes was going to erupt into some of the most ferocious fighting the Western Front had seen in WW2.
The Ardennes was a place where the American forces went to rest after being on the front line and where new battalions / divisions went to train ready to be put on the front line. With the many rivers and bridges along with the narrow roads that followed the rivers made if difficult to get the large vehicles at that time anywhere without being noticed. The thick wooded areas and ridges also made manoeuvre through the Ardennes difficult. So the Allied forces treated the Ardennes as a quiet spot on its broad front…..
The Germans however, used the Ardennes to launch their campaign in the west in WW1 and even used the same plan to launch their Blitzkrieg attack on France and the Low Countries in 1940. In late 1944 the German High Command knew that the allies supply line was getting stretched with the supplies coming from Antwerp. They also knew that they had probably one last chance to counter attack in the west and hopefully draw the allies to the negotiation table. But where to strike? Hitler favoured the Ardennes and an assault to take Antwerp to hopefully bring the Allies to the negotiation table. He ordered to get men and materials in to position to assault through the Ardennes forests once again.
This of course was going to be a problem as the Allies had air superiority and moving anything in large numbers was going to alert the Allied high command. The Germans however, decided to move everything at night into position, which also brings in its own problems.
One of the ways they got around this was to fly planes up and down the whole front line to mask the noise of troops and vehicles moving around. The Germans codenamed the operation as Wacht am Rhein ( Watch on the Rhine) and later The Ardennes Offensive. The Allies would later name the camapign as The Battle of the Bulge, representing the bulge in the line that the Germans created in the Allied line.
On the Early hours on the 16th December 1944 the Germans unleased a massive artillery barrage upon the Ardennes frontline, this was the start of the campaign and for the next few weeks fierce fighting would take place in this once quiet but battle torn area on the western front.
One thing we must not forget, is the winter weather in 1944 was one of the coldest with freezing fog and huge amount of snow fall it had been for some time. Men on both sides were also going to find that it wasn’t just their adversary that was going to cause them problems…….
So, back to December 2019 and with the preparations for our Christmas game going flat out, Jamie and I couldn’t let this anniversary pass without paying our respects. We cleared one of our tables of the Christmas game bits and set up a small Chain of Command game. We based our scenario on an American rear-guard action, with the Germans pressing their advance.
We decided to make an after action report video about our gaming day which is posted below and on our YouTube channel, showing the highs and lows of our game. I wont tell you the result of the game here as you will have to watch the video to see, so why not grab yourself a drink, sit back and enjoy this 25 min video. 😁
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I thought I would add a link to our 75th anniversary D Day game which you can click Here to see….
Until the next time, happy wargaming………..and keep rolling those dice……….