Tuesday, March 5, 2013

El Guettar Turns 3 and 4

After two solid defeats and the loss of Kasserine, the Germans decided that it was time to rest the initiative from the Americans.  The Germans gathered a Panzer company and attacked the advancing Americans near the town of Thelelpte.  The American infantry was caught off guard and attempted a fighting withdrawal.  The Americans had a large infantry company with lots of support from tanks, artillery and tank destroyers.  The Germans had tanks.

This battle never really got going for the Germans.  They advanced towards the defending Americans but struggled to dig out the defenders.  The American artillery, tanks and tank destroyers methodically shot the Germans to bits.  The lack of support on the Germans side doom the attack to failure.  US wins 5-2 and the momentum stays with the Americans.

The fourth battle saw the Germans continuing their aggressive ways.  A Panzer Grenadier company, mounted in half-tracks, managed to surround an American rifle company.  The Americans had an excellent defensive position in a small village.  The Germans had what seemed to be a small attacking force consisting of a couple of Grenadier platoons supported by 88s, Pak 38s and PZIIIs.  The Germans also had strong air support.

The Germans focused the major part of their force against the American left flank with only a single platoon of Grenadiers attacking the right.  The right was clearly a diversionary attack that seemed doom to fail.  That single German platoon was facing a large, well dug in, American infantry platoon supported by M10s.  The Germans half-tracks zoomed across the open ground towards the American lines, surviving everything the Americans threw at them.  They then dismounted to launch an assault against the American infantry.  This assault was repulsed and a brutal short range firefight ensued.  This fight on the right would last for several turns and would draw in another American infantry platoon and a US light tank platoon before the Germans were destroyed.

The success of the German attack on the right took both commanders by surprise.  The Germans were slow in exploiting the success of the diversion and the Americans were slow in shifting forces from the right flank to the left.  The Germans, however, recovered quicker and pressed on the objective.  Over the next several turns the Germans would lose the PZIII platoon but the Americans would lose much more.  In the end the American company was broken and fled the field.  This was the first German victory in the campaign, 4-3, and the bloodiest battle so far.  Even with the German victory the Americans scored enough VP to capture Thelepte but momentum was shifting.

Current scores:

Victory Points

US - 18
Germans - 10


US - 60
Germans - 43

Vehicles lost

US - 26
Germans - 16

Guns lost

US - 1
Germans - 6

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