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218 The Battle for Monte Cassino

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Following initial British and Canadian beachheads in Calabria and the American invasion of the Salerno/Naples area, the Allied drive north toward Rome proved hard to do. Both the west coast route and the Route 6 central mountain route were blocked by the Germans. In late 1943, after a fierce battle at San Pietro, a stalemate developed south of the German Winter Line, a set of three defensive perimeters of interlocking bunkers and fortifications that sealed off southern Italy. In addition to German defenses, severe weather during December 1943 - January 1944 created tens of thousands of casualties in the harsh Italian mountain terrain.
The Gustav Line, the northernmost and most formidable of three German Winter Line defensive belts, was anchored by Monte Cassino and the Garigliano and Rapido Rivers. The town of Cassino, about 85 miles southeast of Rome, was a mile east of Monte Cassino, the 1700 foot hill top that guarded the entrance to the Liri valley, the most expeditious route to Rome on Route 6. The Abbey of Monte Cassino, on the site of ancient Roman fortifications, was the place where St. Benedict of Norcia established the first monastery of his Benedictine Order, in 529 A.D.
Although the Germans did not actually occupy the monastery building, they built heavily fortified emplacements and observation posts next to the monastery walls, taking full advantage of the terrain and Allied reluctance to attack the Abbey. Allied planners had to treat the entire hilltop as a key military target, dominating the Cassino valley, and the obstacle to their objective of cracking the Gustav Line. On Allied maps Monte Cassino was Hill 516, controlled by the enemy and the source of fire against Allied forces.
History and politics aside the Abbey was bombed anyway so there is no reason not to use the position to it's fullest so this scenario takes advantage of that fact.
Knowing they could not win the war, the German strategy was to inflict as many casualties as possible in the hopes that the Allies would sue for peace. The Germans therefore executed a fighting retreat as the Allies advanced. Thinking they would do the same at Cassino the Allies where ill prepared for the firm stand made by the elite German forces.

  Allies German
Division 1

Americans
1 squad base (HQ) (mark with a 1 point command token)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Officer
1 half-track

1 squad base (Mechanized Recon)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
1x Recon
1 half-track

1 squad base (Engineer)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Engineer
1 half-track

1 squad base (Medic)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Medic
1 half-track

2 squad bases
- 6 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
- 1 Officer
1x Flamethrower
1 truck

2 squad bases
- 5 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
- 1 Machine Gun Crew
1x AntiTank
1 truck

2 squad bases
- 5 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
- 1 Mortar Crew
1 truck

4 Sherman Tanks
2 M10 Tank Destroyer
1 M1 57mm Anti-tank Gun

Panzer Grenadier
1 squad base (HQ) (mark with a 1 point command token)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Officer
1 half-track

1 squad base (Mechanized Recon)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Officer
1x Recon
1 half-track

1 squad base (Engineer)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Engineer
1 half-track

1 squad base (Medic)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Medic
1 half-track

2 squad bases
- 4 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Machine Gun Crew
1x Flamethrower
1 truck

2 squad bases
- 4 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Mortar Crew
1 truck

4 Panzer IV
2 Jagdpanzer IV Tank Destroyer

Division 2

British
1 squad base (HQ) (mark with a 1 point command token)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Officer
1 Bren Gun Carrier

1 squad base (Mechanized Recon)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
1x Recon
1 Bren Gun Carrier

1 squad base (Engineer)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Engineer
1 Bren Gun Carrier

1 squad base (Medic)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Medic
1 Bren Gun Carrier

2 squad bases
- 6 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
- 1 Officer
1 truck

2 squad bases
- 6 Regular Infantry
- 1 Elite Infantry
- 1 Officer
1x Flamethrower
1 truck

2 squad bases
- 4 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Machine Gun Crew
1x AntiTank
1 truck

2 squad bases
- 4 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Mortar Crew
1 truck

1 Ordinance QF 6-Pounder Anti-tank Gun

Paratroops
1 squad base (HQ) (mark with a 1 point command token)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Officer

1 squad base (Engineer)
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 1 Officer
1x Engineer

1 squad base (Medic)
- 4 Regular Infantry
1x Medic

2 squad bases
- 3 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Officer
- 1 Machine Gun Crew
1x AntiTank

2 squad bases
- 4 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Mortar Crew

2 squad bases
- 4 Regular Infantry
- 2 Elite Infantry
- 1 Machine Gun Crew

2 Flak 36 88mm Anti-tank Guns

Strategy Decks American Air Support 1 (remove the paratroopers card)
American Reinforcements 1
Supply 1 (remove the supply drop card)
Artillery 1
Morale 1
German Reinforcements 1
Starting Strategy Cards 3 3
Operations Cards Clear Mines
Lay Smoke
No Surrender
Lay Razor Wire
Deployment Zone Div. 1 - Americans: Any hexes east of the stream on maps 7B and 11B
Div. 2 - British: Any hexes on maps (east) 1B and 6B

Div. 1 - Panzer Grenadier: Any hexes on maps 7A, 8B and 11A
Div. 2 - Paratroops: Any hexes on maps 8A, 3B and 3B

After building the map the German player needs to plan his/her defense. He/She may place up to 6 minefields, 6 entrenchments and razor wire markers anywhere on the map he/she wishes prior to the start of round 1.

Starting Initiative Initiative Token Setup First
Objective The Allies need to control all 3 victory objectives at the end of any round to win the game. -
Rounds 12
Actions per turn 4 4
Reinforcements - -
Special Rules • Vehicles may not enter hill terrain due to steep slopes.
• A mortar may, as an action, Lay Smoke using smoke shells within it's normal range. Normal LOS rules apply.
• British and American units may not combine fire with each other.
• Units in the Abbey hexes on map 3B are considered to have LOS to every hex on the map for the purpose of calling in artillery attacks. Units in these hexes receive +3 cover, treat like a building hex. If the Allies occupy both of the Abbey hexes at the end of any round replace the " No Surrender" operations card with the "Shattered Morale" operations card for the remainder of the game.
• The yellow shaded command objective hexes must be occupied at the status phase of a round in order to receive the command points. If unoccupied neither side receives the points.
• Cards from American Reinforcements Deck I and Supply Deck I may be used to receive units of either Allied nation at the Allied players option. The Allied player may only replace squads that have been lost.
• Ancient ruins on Castle hill (yellow shaded hex on map 10 B) provide +1 cover to units in this hex.
• Towed Guns- As a single action, a fresh Anti-Tank Gun may be towed by a fresh light vehicle up to it's full movement range. Both units are fatigued by this action. Both units must start the action in the same hex. No fire and movement is allowed.
• HQ units receive 1 command points each. If eliminated the points are lost for the remainder of the game.
• American command objectives may be controlled by British or American units.
• The German player sets up first. The Allied player has the starting initiative.
• Destructible Buildings / Bomb Craters (Normandy Rules) (Optional) Add +3 firepower to regular (not suppressive) Area Attacks vs. buildings , ie. bombing raids and artillery attacks. Mark destroyed buildings with ruins markers. Place a crater token in any clear terrain hex hit by a artillery or bombing Area Attack.
Terrain Features The stream is wide and swift moving. It may be crossed by squads and vehicles. The movement cost is 4.
Weather (Optional)

If using this rule a player may, as an action, pay 1 command per card to secretly look at up to 3 cards on the top of the weather deck (weather forecasting). Do not reshuffle the deck at each weather check.

Remove the 2 "Extreme Heat" cards.
Do a weather check before the start of each round.

Weather played a major role in this battle. Suggested for realism. It slows the game down but if you want the ultimate challenge then include it.

 

Tags: American Army, German Army, Complexity: High, Rounds, Boards, Year: 1944

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Force is the only language they understand, like bullies.  (speaking in reference to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and German dictator Adolph Hitler)
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt