Operation Sting 2018 –Defend the Ridge! 

Operation Sting breaks down scoring into four categories; battle, appearance, sportsmanship and theme. Part of the theme score is a written army background explaining the historical context for your platoon and the units you picked.

16 December – 1944 Elsenborn, Belgium

In the Ardennes forest, just to the east of Elsenborn Ridge, the relatively untested troops of the 99th Infantry Division, including units of the 612th Tank Destroyer Battalion, were situated in and around the city of Hofen. This was an area that was not expected to see heavy fighting, but ended up facing a significant portion of the leading elements of the German offensive kicking off the Battle of the Bulge. Elsenborn Ridge itself was a valuable tactical advantage, as the elevated position provided an ideal staging ground for massed artillery. Because of this, U.S. commanders ended up committing significant resources to a defensive line ahead of the ridge to protect the artillery positions at the rear, including towed-anti-tank units with infantry support. Initial German attacks were sporadic, but they were renewed with vigor a few days later.

On the 18th of December, Germany pressed the assault, committing heavy armor forces including state-of-the-art Jagdpanthers as well as elite infantry forces to attempt to push through American lines and take twin villages near the ridge.  Utilizing direct fire from their anti-tank guns armed with both armor-piercing and high explosive shells, as well as well-sited machine gun teams with overlapping fields of fire, the defenders were able to resist wave after wave of German attackers, at times calling in artillery strikes on their own positions in order to ensure they were not overrun. Everything was committed to this battle in this stage, with no reserves available at first, all was on the line.

Despite being significantly outnumbered, innovative Allied tactics and stubborn defense-in-depth allowed Elsenborn Ridge to be the sole sector of the American frontlines where the Germans were decisively unable to penetrate and achieve their goals in the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge.

I chose to use an anti-tank platoon to represent a part of the defense at Elsenborn. This particular section is fielding the 3-inch anti-tank gun, which was capable of hurting the heavier German armor.  In addition, the platoon had a motor pool of trucks available for moving men, ammo, and towing the guns themselves.  My platoon also includes an infantry squad and an attached halftrack, as well as machine gun teams, all of which would have been part of the 99th Infantry Division, to which the anti-tank platoon would have been assigned. I also included an M16 MGMC anti-air halftrack.  These were often used in an infantry-support role, especially later in the war when the Luftwaffe had been severely diminished and the Allies ruled the skies.




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