Usually I’ll take a moment to share news regarding new games that hit the radar. With a few new blogs out spamming everything that moves in gaming, I’ve backed off on sharing information from newsletter as it is no long really news.
Going forward it will be titles I’m genuinely interested in versus the laundry list approach.
Which brings me to this title Patton’s Vanguard covering the Battle for Arracourt in 1944. For which I have zero insight, no knowledge and little appreciation for. So why is it here?
1. Topic. A rarely covered topic and one that should be worth exploring.
Shall we pause and Google? Why not!
“The Battle of Arracourt. Arguably, there is no such thing as the Battle of Arracourt. There is no such designation in either American records or in German records. It is usually described as part of the overall Lorraine campaign fought by Patton’s Third Army in Sep-Oct 44. The most evocative title for the actions fought around Arracourt was the one used by the French, “The Battle of the Tanks”.
Indeed, it was the largest tank engagement ever fought by the US Army, until the Battle of the Bulge, but the latter took place over a much larger geographical area and was really a series of battles. What was so special about this tank engagement then? Simply put, a German tank force equipped mostly with Panther tanks was defeated by an American tank force equipped mostly with 75mm Sherman tanks.
Arracourt was a critical battle in Patton’s drive to Germany. The carefully orchestrated tank, artillery, infantry, and airpower tied sufficent German forces to allow Montgomery’s 21st Army Group to attack in the north. Arracourt denied the Germans a successful counterattack, prevented their regaining any lost ground, and then became a bastion from which Third Army launched its Ardennes winter offensive in November 1944. ”
“The operations of the 4th Armored Division had been highly successful – even if the division had never been free to make the dash to the Rhine which its personnel, officers and men alike, had wished. Since crossing the Moselle it had destroyed or damaged an estimated 285 German tanks or other armored vehicles, at relatively small cost to the division. As a result the 4th Armored would take the field in November as a veteran and successful division, with only a small mixture of untried replacements.
In summary, the battles of Arracourt demonstrated the U.S. ability to maintain an aggressive mobile defense while retaining critical terrain to deny the Germans a chance to link up with the 553d Volkagrenadier Division in Nancy and to anchor their position on the east bank of the Moselle for the winter. The combined arms forces of the 4th Armored Division, coupled with air attacks, were orchestrated to maintain the Arracourt salient. All attempts to dislodge the 4th Armored Division from the hills around Arracourt eventually failed. Arracourt demonstrated the U.S. capability of maintaining a 360 degree mobile defense while deep within enemy lines, in spite of adverse weather conditions. It exemplified the determination of the American fighting man to resist wave after wave of assault at all times of the day or night even in the face of combat fatigue. Arracourt poignantly showed how the Wehrmacht, already pondering complete defeat, nevertheless maintained its aggressive jabs until it was at last allowed to go on the defensive. Arracourt thus became a critical turning point in Patton’s drive to Germany, and served to tie up enough forces to allow the main attack in the north to proeed. The German counterattack was repulsed and the Germans never regained the initiative. Arracourt became the base from which the Third Army winter offensive was launched In November. Arracourt, the greatest tank battle of the Western offensive to that point, became a model for defensive tactics and combined operations in the future.”
Back to those reasons why we care:
2. Mike Rinella design. Nuff said, the dude rocks.
3. Situation, the game attempts to explore the elements that favoured and hampered both sides.
4. Art and counters….Boohyah…Nice.
5. Kickass cover pic of Patton.
6. Not card driven.
7. Price. See end post.
This is a game that I did not know was in the works and once Red Typhoon hits shelves Ill be order it and this!
From the email newsletter – by Mike Rinella
As the summer of 1944 drew to a close and Combat Command A of the American 4th Armored Division passed through the French town of Arracourt the war seemed all but over. It seemed as if nothing could stop the Americans from forcing their way across the German border and reaching the Rhine River. The weather, however, was rapidly deteriorating and Allied air reconnaissance failed to detect a counteroffensive by the German 5th Panzer Army. The stage was set for the largest clash of armor on the western front until the Battle of the Bulge.
Patton’s Vanguard consists of two quick-playing four turn scenarios depicting the German attempt to drive the Americans from the German border. The first scenario pits two inexperienced German panzer brigades against a confident and veteran Combat Command A. The German side has more armor, including the superior Panther tank, and the poor weather generally favors them, but the American side has more artillery as well as better tactics and leadership. The second scenario pits the experienced German 11th Panzer Division against Combat Command A and the newly arrived Combat Command B, now hampered by restricted fuel supplies. In each scenario both players will be challenged to determine whether it is better to simply attack, or spend valuable time attempting to maneuver in continually changing weather conditions before attacking. Fast, furious, and chess-like, this is a game for players who love concentrated action!
The game consists of the following components:
1 – 22 x 17″ full color map
176 – full color 5/8″ die-cut counters
16 Page Rule Booklet
The game is only $33. Sadly it is only available in ziploc :(.