in 'Battle of the Bulge'
Scenario 12: Fuller’s
By Doug McNair
Grenadier: Battle of the Bulge is
back in stock at last, and that’s a
perfect excuse to write my first tactics article
on it. The best starting approach with Bulge
is to tackle a combat situation that captures
the feel of the first few days of battle,
when thinly-strung-out U.S. infantry tried
desperately to hold back massive German armored
columns pushing westward through the Ardennes
No scenario does this better than “Fuller’s
Counterattack,” in which E and F Companies
of the 110th Infantry Regiment try to hold
the road west of the town of Marnach against
2nd Panzer Division. Company B had been the
U.S. garrison at Marnach, but after Day 1
of the German offensive there was no word
from them. On Day 2 the regimental commander,
Colonel Fuller, decided to send a small tank
and infantry reserve up from the south to
help secure the road and relieve Company B
(if they were still there — which they
The scenario is a quick one — only
nine turns long. It is played on boards 9
and 11 set up side-by-side in a square, with
board nine placed right side up on the left
and board 11 upside-down on the right.
The Americans start on Board 9 within five
hexes of the west edge. Half the German units
are an advance force consisting of grenadiers,
heavy machine gun and mortar platoons, and
a few tank and self-propelled artillery platoons.
They start anywhere on Board 11. The other
half are an armored column driving westward,
and they enter the east board edge starting
on Turn 2, with no more than five German units
able enter the board each turn.
The German objectives are to keep control
of all town hexes on Board 11 (Marnach), and
to have the entire armored column exit the
west edge and take no more than two step losses.
The American objective is to take back control
of Marnach, or eliminate six German steps,
or keep all German units from exiting the
Companies E and F consist of seven infantry
platoons, two heavy machine gun platoons,
an 81mm mortar platoon and two truck platoons.
They set up within five hexes of the west
edge of Board 9, which is dominated by a lightly
wooded hill with a crossroads at the summit.
Germans will come down the road from the east,
so the most obvious American set up point
is the crossroads. This works for starters
(it’s the farthest east they can set
up anyway), but on Turn 1 the Americans should
advance eastward to take up positions at the
base of the hill. This still gives them plenty
of cover, a –2 defensive column shift
bonus for being in light woods on a hill,
and a +1 defesive column shift bonus against
German assaults coming from lower ground.
Most importantly, the Americans will have
a clear shot at the incoming German grenadiers,
and will hopefully be able to weaken them
significantly before they hit the American
position. And the Americans will have plenty
of defensible fallback positions behind them,
so the Germans will pretty much have to destroy
all the American units to get them off the
road and the armored column off the board.
Colonel Fuller’s reinforcements consist
of one platoon of M4 Sherman tanks and one
of infantry. They enter at or near the road
at the south edge of Board 9 on Turn 1. They
can either drive up the road from the south
to support the roadblock, or they can head
east through the woods to attack Marnach and
harass the armored column as it heads west.
Given the huge German superiority in anti-tank
firepower and numbers, I think it’s
best for the U.S. to keep their only armor
support up on the hill in the woods, where
they’re as protected as possible and
can fire down at the Panzers as they come
up the road.
But it’s important for the Americans
to attack Marnach from the south so that the
Germans have to hold forces back and protect
the town. A couple of infantry platoons plus
a leader placed at the south board edge will
do fine for this effort, and Fuller’s
reinforcements can drive north to the roadblock
full-speed when they enter.
The German player must clear the Americans
off the road as quickly as possible, and must
be double-sure to get rid of the Shermans
before the thin-skinned armored cars and APCs
of the German armored column get within range
of them. American tanks have armor efficiency,
meaning they can make two AT attacks per turn,
so if the Shermans can get just one turn’s
fire at choice targets they can eliminate
two armored column steps and destroy any German
chance for victory.
German advance force includes a StuGIIIg and
a Panzer IVF2 platoon, and these should be
detailed immediately to hunt down the Shermans
and kill them while the grenadiers attack
the roadblock. Once the Shermans are gone,
the panzers and StuGs can join the fight and
help destroy the roadblock so the armored
column can breeze by unmolested later.
The Germans should leave their HMG platoons
behind with a couple of leaders to guard Marnach,
which includes an inconveniently isolated
hamlet in the woods southwest of town. The
German player should place one HMG platoon
in the hamlet (where it will have a good,
protected firing position on any approaching
U.S. infantry) and another in the town proper
to the north. All other units of the advance
force should head west to hit the roadblock,
and if the Americans make a real go of attacking
Marnach, the armored column can tarry for
a turn or two and blow them away.
Here’s what happened in a recent game.
Turn 1: 0715 Hours
Both sides have an initiative of 3, and
on the first turn the U.S. wins initiative
by one activation. The American player has
five INF and two HMG platoons in the three
hexes north, at and south of the crossroads,
with the mortar platoons on the backside of
the hill and two INF platoons at the south
end of the hill. Six of the crossroads units
move two hexes east to the base of the hill,
while one HMG platoon takes up position on
the road behind them, at the edge of the summit.
The German player has his on-board units
strung out on the road east of the hill. He
activates them and heads west. The units on
point are a German lieutenant, the PzIVF2
platoon and a GREN platoon riding an SPW 251
halftrack (APC). They advance to the edge
of the woods, two hexes east of the American
advance position, and the GREN unloads from
the halftrack. The StuG and five more GREN
platoons move in behind them, and the half-strength
GREN stays back in Marnach with two HMG units
and the Wespe self-propelled artillery. The
German mortars are on a hill north of the
The American mortar fire has no effect.
The German mortars reply and hit the American
units on the road, disrupting their Captain.
The American offboard artillery is also ineffective,
and fire from the Wespe in Marnach demoralizes
an INF platoon north of the road.
Then the Sherman tanks and infantry enter
the board on the road from the south. The
Shermans advance just far enough to the north
that the panzers and APCs on-point are five
hexes away and the higher-firepower StuGs
are six hexes away (giving the STUGs a long-distance
fire penalty vs. the Shermans).
German offboard artillery hits the INF platoons
south of the road but has no effect. Then
the American infantry at the south end of
the hill moves east, and the turn ends.
U.S. wins initiative and the Sherman tanks
on the hill open fire. The first shot goes
wide, but the second is an 11 + 1 (for the
Sherman’s AT firepower of 5 vs. the
PzIV’s armor of 4) for 12, which destroys
one step of the leading PzIVF unit and demoralizes
The German offboard artillery then opens
fire on the Americans on the road, demoralizing
an INF unit. American fire from platoons just
south of the road has no effect, and German
mortar fire on units north of the road disrupts
the lieutenant and the non-demoralized INF
Those Americans try to recover morale, and
the disrupted INF does but the demoralized
one does not and flees northwest. Then all
five tank and armored-car units of the armored
column enter the east board edge. They stop
in Marnach to keep out of range of the Shermans.
American offboard artillery shifts its target
to GRENs farther east on the road (the +2
morale bonus of the German lieutenant on point
is too tough to overcome), and it disrupts
one GREN and demoralizes another! Wespe fire
then disrupts one INF unit south of the road.
The demoralized American INF unit on the
road recovers to disrupted status, and then
the on-point German units activate, with the
lieutenant, GREN and APC moving west on the
road and adjacent to the American roadblock.
The only good-order, unactivated American
units remaining at the roadblock are the two
HMGs, and one opens up with point-blank opportunity
fire. It rolls a 4 on the 22 column and scores
an X result, doing one step loss to the GREN
and disrupting it. The demoralized panzer
on point fails to recover morale and flees
east to Marnach.
The reinforcing INF unit heads north on
the road toward the roadblock, and then the
remaining GRENs on the road activate, with
three heading west and the rest trying to
recover morale with the help of a captain.
Two make it adjacent to the roadblock with
no ill effect from the HMGs there, and a third
brings up the rear. The captain is unable
to help either of the remaining GRENs on the
road recover, and the demoralized one flees
east to Marnach. The American infantry south
of the hill head east, and then the StuGs
fire on the Shermans. The first shot misses,
but the second scores a modified 11 and destroys
one step of the Shermans, disrupting the other.
American mortar fire is ineffective, and
the turn ends. The Americans have suffered
two step losses (tanks count double), and
the Germans have suffered three.
The Americans win the initiative roll. The
only good-order officer on the roadblock line
is the lieutenant at the south end, and he
orders the unit in his hex and on the road
to open fire point-blank on the Germans. He
and his units disrupt the GREN next to him
and demoralize their major, and then the HMG
and INF on the road to the north of the lieutenant
roll a 3 on the 22 table, scoring an X result.
The reduced, disrupted GREN on the road east
of them is eliminated and the other one rolls
a 12 and is demoralized.
The Germans respond by having their StuGs
shoot at the Shermans on the hill, but they
roll two modified 9s, both of which bounce
shells off the Shermans and do no damage.
The Shermans (disrupted but not out of it)
respond by blowing up the German APC next
to the roadblock, leaving the über-lieutenant
with nothing but disrupted and demoralized
troops and no chance to assault the roadblock
line this turn.
The Germans start shelling the roadblock
again, and their offboard artillery disrupts
an INF unit there. American offboard artillery
and German mortar fire are both ineffective,
and the turn ends on a Fog of War roll! This
is very bad for the Germans, who must start
humpin’ it west ASAP to make it off
the edge in time.
The Americans have still taken only two
step losses, while the Germans have now taken
German initiative is now down to 2 (they
lose one initiative for every four step losses),
but they win the initiative roll. The StuGs
roll two modified 12s and blow up the Shermans
on the hill with one hit to spare. The German
armored column can now head west without fear.
The roadblock opens up on the Germans point-blank
again, but has no effect this time. But the
demoralized INF unit on the road recovers.
Then the German tanks from the armored column
head west to link up with the StuGs and GRENs
near the roadblock, while the speedy Sdkfz
234/2 armored car heads south to the hamlet
outside Marnach to help the HMG there defend
against the American infantry advance (it
can always zip up to town and off the west
edge later). American and German offboard
artillery are both ineffective, as is American
mortar fire. Then most of the rest of the
German armored column enters the east board
edge and stops at Marnach, waiting for its
trailing units to catch up.
The disrupted American Lieutenant north
of the road has his INF unit fire on the one
good-order GREN near the roadblock, but it
has no effect, and the lieutenant fails to
recover morale. The über-lieutenant orders
the GREN unit to move adjacent to the roadblock
while he helps the rest of the units there
recover morale (American opportunity fire
Then the U.S. infantry south of the hill
does its duty and charges headlong at the
hamlet outside Marnach, hoping to get as close
as possible before the armored cars can join
in the fun. Long-range opportunity fire from
the HMG platoon there is ineffective, and
the Americans get to within three hexes of
The other German HMG and reduced GREN unit
in Marnach move southwest to provide flanking
fire on the Americans, and the reinforcing
American lieutenant and INF moves up from
the south to join the HMG on the road behind
the roadblock (something tells him the roadblock
will be falling back soon, what with all those
shiny German tanks down there).
The Wespe hits the roadblock but is ineffective,
and the demoralized American INF unit keeps
fleeing northwest. Then the demoralized German
major next to the roadblock rolls a 12 on
his recovery roll and deserts, leaving the
über-lieutenant alone with his opinion
that he richly deserves a promotion. The turn
ends with more failed recovery rolls.
The Americans have now taken four step losses,
and the Germans are holding steady at five.
Both sides have an initiative of 2 now (the
Americans lose one for every three steps lost),
and the Germans win initiative. All German
tanks open fire on the roadblock line, demoralizing
the lieutenant north of the road and an INF
unit on the road. The south end of the line
responds but is ineffective.
German offboard artillery fire then disrupts
the forward HMG at the roadblock, and the
lieutenant on the hill behind the roadblock
links all good-order units in the roadblock
into one fire group while trying to get the
rest to recover morale. The fire is ineffective
and so are the recoveries, with the INF unit
on the road fleeing west.
The über-lieutenant’s one good-order
GREN opens fire on the American INF north
of the road while he gets the two disrupted
GRENS to recover morale. The American INF
becomes disrupted while both GRENs recover
to good order. American mortar fire is ineffective,
and then the advance section of the armored
column heads west and lines up its APCs with
the tanks and GRENs at the roadblock.
American offboard artillery and mortar fire
from both sides is ineffective, but Wespe
fire at the INF and HMG on the road behind
the roadblock rolls a 3, demoralizing the
INF and disrupting the HMG.
The two American INF platoons decide not
to assault the hamlet frontally, but skirt
around the hill and cut off the armored car’s
route back to Marnach. It goes badly —
one INF is disrupted and the other demoralized
by opportunity fire before they’ve gone
two hexes. The rest of the armored column
enters the board and makes it to Marnach,
and the turn ends with recoveries.
Step losses still stand at Americans four,
Both sides roll a 1 for initiative, and
this means a random event occurs. The players
roll one die each and the combined result
is a 10, which on the Random Events Table
is “Ammunition Shortage.” They
roll another die and it comes up 5, which
means the American player can’t use
offboard artillery for the rest of the game.
The Germans win initiative, and a stack
with a captain and two tank units from the
armored column activates, so all adjacent
German tanks plus all non-armored German units
in chain of command from the captain can activate
as well. The tanks and halftracks of the armored
column provide covering fire for the GRENs
of the advance force assaulting the roadblock.
Fire at the road hex gets an X result, destroying
one HMG step (its morale holds at disrupted,
as does its captain). Other fire is ineffective,
but then the assault goes in. The German assault
south of the road gets disrupted, but the
über-lieutenant demoralizes the American
reduced-strength HMG on the road plus its
All American units on Board 9 except the
mortar unit are either disrupted, demoralized,
or in an assault hex. The units south of the
road counter-assault and demoralize the lone
GREN in the hex. Then German artillery opens
up and rolls a 12 on the Americans north of
the roadblock, but they all hold their (shaky)
demoralized Americans in the road hex with
the über-lieutenant fail to recover from
demoralization and exit the hex, and the “free
shot” from the lieutenant and the grenadiers
eliminates both the reduced-strength HMG and
Wespe fire then hits the road hex beyond,
rolling a 3 on the 16 table, demoralizing
everyone there. All American units on the
road are now demoralized, and the just-demoralized
units try to recover. The lieutenant and INF
unit do but the HMG does not and flees west.
Then the armored car from the hamlet heads
up to Marnach and west on the road, arriving
at the point of the advance to assist the
über-lieutenant. American mortar fire
hits that hex but is ineffective — but
the turn ends on a Fog of War roll, giving
the Americans a huge break with only three
The Americans have now taken six step losses
and the Germans are holding at five.
American initiative is now at 1 while German
initiative is still at 2. The Germans win
initiative by two activations, and the über-lieutenant
accepts help from the armored car platoon
and assaults the Americans on the road ahead.
The Germans roll a 5 on the 24 column while
the Americans roll a 1 on the 5 column. The
Americans are steamrollered, with their INF
unit taking two step losses and their lieutenant
demoralized and ejected into the hex with
his demoralized co-lieutenant north of the
road. Then the armored column activates and
heads west, with some units offroading it
to get around the über-lieutenant’s
The Americans in the assault hex south of
the road assault the lone, demoralized, half-strength
GREN there to get rid of him while a disrupted
American unit in the hex recovers morale.
Somehow, the assault fails and the demoralized
GREN is unharmed. Then German offboard artillery
hits the Americans there and rolls a 3, demoralizing
one of them. But it also scores an X result
on the reduced-strength German GREN, wiping
The leaderless, demoralized HMG and INF
platoons in the road hex three away from the
west board edge both recover morale, all on
their own. The roadblock lives! But then Wespe
fire demoralizes the HMG there again.
Mortar fire from both sides is ineffective.
Then the stack north of the road with two
demoralized leaders and a disrupted INF unit
activates. The leaders both fail to recover
and flee north to the woods, but the leaderless,
disrupted INF unit moves one hex southeast
(equidistant from the adjacent Germans) to
block the road and get between the two sections
of the armored column. It’s so crazy
it just might work. ...
The straggling GREN and truck units rush
up to the interfering Americans who just blocked
the road west, with GRENs unloading from trucks
so they can fire on the Americans next turn.
The turn ends on recovery rolls.
The Americans have now taken eight step
losses, and the Germans have taken six.
American initiative is now 1 and German
is 2, and the Germans win initiative by two
activations. A lieutenant (not über),
a loaded APC and two PzIVHs at the point of
the westward advance assault the leaderless
roadblockers three hexes from the west board
edge. The demoralized HMG and disrupted INF
platoon mount a glorious last-ditch defense,
becoming demoralized but rolling a 5 on the
5 column to score an M1 result on the Germans.
The German lieutenant is disrupted, and a
panzer unit rolls an 11 for morale and is
At this point, it’s all over. The
Americans have already scored a win with 6
step losses on the Germans, and the only way
the Germans can also win and force a draw
is to exit their entire armored column off
the west edge. With the Last Stand of the
110th, the point of the German armored column
is demoralized, and there’s no way they
can recover and make it off the west edge
by the end of next turn.
Colonel Fuller’s Counterattack stops
the German advance, and the Americans win! Tune in next time for my tactics article on Scenario 28: The second attack on the town of Marvie by 901st Panzer Grenadier.
This piece originally appeared in June
here to buy Battle
of the Bulge!