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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Cisterna di Littoria - Italy May 1944

This battle is based upon an unofficial Memoir '44 scenario. The setting is an attempt by the US forces to break out of the Anzio stalemate in May 1944.  The US objective is to seize the town of Cisterna and punch a hole through the German defences. The battlefield is set out:

The town of Cisterna lies in the centre, with its heavily built up area and the railway running across the board. On the right is the Mussolini Canal, which is fordable, but remains an obstacle and is crossed by a railway bridge.  Defended farms on the right cover the approach from the canal. The whole area is extensively mined, with wire obstacles and fortifications. The US approach is over open, flat ground. Here is a view of the US approach in the centre:
German tanks lurk in the woods to the rear on the left and right flanks:
As dictated by the cards, US activity kicks off on the right with an assault by 504 Regiment, supported by tanks and artillery. At first all goes well as the US rapidly advance and capture the bridge:



 The US forces run into trouble when their armour is destroyed on the bridge and they take casualties in the infantry, which are quickly reduced to just one unit.
A German counter attack drives the last of the 504th back and on the right the US take on a defensive posture.
 The Germans continue to counter-attack, but over extend themselves, losing a tank. The action on the right reduces to a stalemate, with the Germans firmly in control of the canal crossing.
The US try their luck on the left. Armour and engineers push forwards:
 The engineers reach the minefield, with some casualties and begin clearing a path through.
 A German tank counter-attacks, but is quickly destroyed
However, heavy fire from Cisterna force the engineers back and eventually eliminates them. With such slow progress the US commander diverts his armour from the left to support an assault by US Rangers in the centre.

Taking heavy casualties the Rangers, supported by tanks, move forward with engineers to clear the mines:


Initially the attack goes well, and despite heavy casualties from machine guns in the town and artillery, the Rangers force the defenders back:

Having almost succeeded in taking the town a German counter-attack destroys the two remaining US tanks and forces the engineers and some of the Rangers back:

But, the German effort is not enough. The US regain the momentum and clear the depleted Germans from the town. With just one unit and the artillery remaining the German capitulate. The battle is a very close run US victory in the Centre, but the Germans won on the flanks where the US were ground to a standstill and pushed back. This was a really good scenario, which could have gone either way.









10 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this action so much I will try it out myself with my basic M44 game set. Lacking the variations of engineers (though the ranger units receive 'special' status) and SP artillery, it will no doubt play a bit differently,

    It looks good for a Portable Wargames scenario, as well.

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    1. I play slightly different rules - for example: I only let my infantry attack armour in adjacent hexes, but if they have anti armour weapons I give them similar fire power as tanks. I downloaded some 'house rules' a while ago and this had some excellent rule mods.

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  2. Bob- An excellent scaled WW2 battle - like the size of it with a lot of action happening. Goes to prove you don't need mountains of troops and armour to stage a most enjoyable game- well done! Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Yes, it does have the feel of a larger action.

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  3. What is the original scenario called? I looked on the Memoir 44 website and couldn't find it. I could only find the Cisterna night mission.

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    1. Hi, it is in the 'Military Archive', Mediterranean Theatre entitled Cisterna di Littoria, Operation Buffalo:

      https://www.daysofwonder.com/memoir44/en/editor/view/?id=6564

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    2. Thanks, don't know how I missed that!

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  4. Where is Peter Falk, then? I'm seriously tempted to get Memoir 44 as your AARs are fascinating. Even more interesting are the 'flames of war'. Where did you get them from or are they home made? Looks like play foam to me, so not beyond home production.

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  5. The flames are home made, as you have spotted - using coloured play foam. I also have some explosions in the same material. I glue a 5p piece to the base to give stability. I believe Audie Murphy was involved in the fighting over on the right flank in the real battle.

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  6. Super! I line my figure boxes with foam because it grips mdf bases and is cheaper than magnetic strip. Now I have another use for it! Enjoy your hols, Bob.

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