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Flames of War Stoumont Slaughter

Wacht am RhineThe two American armoured commands tasked with defending Cleneux and Stoumont were in a dilemma. A forward defensive line maybe quickly overwhelmed but would gain valuable time for the 30th Infantry to defend the bridges in the South. If they deployed further back, then the direction of the assault would be obvious but the bridges could be seized by a single powerful thrust. The answer that was decided on saw Armoured Command A occupy the Chateau in the East while CCB took up blocking positions on the Stoumont road.

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As the fog lifted from the valley, Panzer Pete considered his options. Time was paramount but he wanted a three to one advantage. To take out entrenched infantry he needed artillery but despite incessant pleading with HQ ( me!), he was not to be given the American force composition. Spitting out terse words of command to his evil commandant Kristoff, the German armour rolled forward through the mist………

Pumas of the first recce section of the 1st SS battalion move cautiously through the Winter rye.   The morning mist masked their shape but the defenders could not mistake the tell-tale roar of the advancing panzers moving towards the Chateau.

Behind the lead Panzer IVs came the dreaded Kingtigers of the 501st Heavy Panzer.

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The novice commander of Combat Command A could see the silhouettes of no less than twenty vehicles. He was not perturbed. The Shermans edged forward to take up firing position to the South of the Chateau. Although outnumbering the Americans the Pz IVs were faltering. The priest battery across the Ambleve even bailed a Kingtiger as it emerged from the gloom.

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By turn three, the second wave of Peiper’s column was making its prescence felt. Panthers attempted to flank CCA but a pair of tank destroyers moved into a copse on the US left and kept them from closing. Two Sturmmtigers trundled forward but CCA was paying dearly for the time that was passing…

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At last the 30th Infantry could be seen arriving. Forewarned of German commandos posing as MPs, the Priest battery became suspicious of heavily accented Policemen telling them to retire. The fire of a 50 calibre machine gun solves any number of disputes……

Similarly, the newly arrived AAA battery hosed down the MPs on the Cheneux road bridge. Behind the half-tracks came the mortar platoon of the 117th Infantry regiment, deploying to cover the withdrawal of CCA to the station.

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Combat Command A was beaten, it’s few remaining tanks beating a hasty retreat. But, it was not a rout. The first platoon held fast whilst their comrades evacuated down the Cheneux road.

Two objectives had now been secured, could the “Krauts” push further? Would CCA move forward? Would the 30th Infantry ID make its presence felt?

Cetus Ledice was not going to let ” some-Kraut-piece-of-crap” push him off this “goddam piece of US real-estate.” His super-powered Shermans raced forward, guns blazing. If the M10s on the right could flank the advancing German column then he could manoeuvre to the left and flank the heavy armour to the East of the ville.

imageNow, a 90mm gun can seriously damage a German tank but what if there are survivors?

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Cletus was to be sadly disappointed! His supporting Priest battery was devastating the German  line of panzers in the centre. But, his tankers let him down, one by one the Shermans made themselves scarce by heading for the rear areas and questionable safety……

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Cletus’ proud command was in tatters but could American pride be saved? In what must surely be recorded in the glorious annals of West Point, this command would show just what it could do. The single remaining Sherman may have come from the land of the free but it was a stranger to the shooting range. Missing twice the lone tank was bailed by return fire…..and then refused point blank to remount. Throwing the text book into the bin, mortar fire clothed the advancing King Tiger juggernauts in smoke, just in time to mask side shots from Cletus’ hell-cats!

However, in one of those moments that makes our hobby so unpredictable, the shots hit and the German wonder weapon rolled to a halt.

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The game had reached its conclusion. Peiper hadn’t reached Stoumont nor the bridges of Chenaux but no armoured American forces stood on the West-East road. The afternoon counter- attack of the 30th will have to wait until another time……

Thanks to all participants, sign on at Firestorm Games, Cardiff for more gentlemanly antics on the last Thursday of each and every month……..

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About the Author

Posted by

The wild ramblings of an infamous wit and wargames guru. One of nature's true gentlemen who devotes his time to the care of his two sons, i.e. watching episodes of Peppa Pig together, and recreating great moments of military history using toy soldiers. Currently a leading light in The Collectivo Despertaferres wargames and duelling association who meet regularly at Firestorm Games ( formerly Ali Baba's Carpet Warehouse). Find me also on Facebook "Despertaferres"!

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