Printable Version

Strategy in
Defiant Russia




The New Scenarios

By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
December 2012

I’m pretty sure the book edition of Panzer Grenadier: Edelweiss is the fourth iteration of this supplement (saddle-stitched booklet, comb-bound booklet, download and now full-sized book with a full sheet of laser-cut playing pieces). It keeps coming back because it’s one of the coolest supplements we’ve ever made, and because I like it and I’m the firm’s president and publisher.

The book version was already going to have to be considerably longer than the download’s scenario book, despite a count of 32 scenarios. And then our in-house printing machinery broke down for good. Printing at an outside vendor meant the book would be somewhat larger. So to fill some of that extra space, I added eight new scenarios for a total of 40. Here’s a look at them:




Scenario One
Flossacks Aweigh
5 June 1940
First Mountain Division did not go to Norway like the other two German mountain divisions, and stood in reserve during the opening battles of the invasion of France in the spring of 1940. Soon afterwards, the division was rushed forward to tackle tough French opposition along the Oise-Aisne Canal, site of heavy fighting during the First World War. After a massive artillery bombardment, the jägers mounted their inflatable boats known as flossacks and paddled into a wall of enemy fire.

Note: This scenario uses a board and pieces from 1940: The Fall of France and a board from Elsenborn Ridge.

As the drumfire lifted, the French began methodically shooting up the flossacks, with their quick-firing 75mm guns doing great execution among the assault wave. But the jägers steadily pressed forward and pushed the French out of their riverbank positions, and by late morning had begun to ferry their own artillery over the canal. The French gunners fought their weapons in the very front lines, firing grapeshot over open sights until the Germans pressed within a few meters. At that point the artillery battalion commander, Commandant Guignet, ordered his staff to burn their documents and join him in the front line with pistols and carbines.

This is an opposed river crossing, with the French well-armed and right on the riverbank, with high-morale troops (the elite 28th Alpine Division, the famed “Blue Devils of France”) and ample support weapons. The Germans bring pretty good morale to the battlefield themselves plus greater numbers and firepower. And a massive allotment of artillery.

Scenario Two
The Green Hell
6 June 1940
Having crossed the Oise-Aisne Canal, 1st Mountain Division now pressed southward toward Soissons. In their way stood the Chemin des Dames, a wooded ridge line that had witnessed intense and bloody fighting during the last war. Amid what the jägers came to know as “The Green Hell,” French mountain troops prepared to fight for every rock and every tree.

Note: This scenario uses pieces from 1940: The Fall of France and boards from Elsenborn Ridge and Battle of the Bulge.

After another terrific artillery barrage, the jägers entered the forest and spent hours in intense fighting before finally securing the road to Soissons. The French mountain division had spent the early weeks of the campaign on the Italian border and, uninvolved in the events of May, continued to maintain its high morale. But with the divisions on its flanks crumbling, the chasseurs would have little opportunity to counter-attack the advancing Germans.

Another fight with the Blue Devils, this time in the midst of pretty thick woods. It’s a dawn attack, once again backed by a massive artillery barrage (possibly with limited effectiveness due to spotting issues).

Scenario Three
Honneur, Fidélité, Valeur, Discipline
6 June 1940
Part of the 1st Mountain Division entered the Chemin des Dames just as French reinforcements arrived on the scene. A battalion of the French Foreign Legion, rushed forward from the garrison of Soissons, plunged directly into a counter-attack along with an attached tank company.

Note: This scenario uses pieces from 1940: The Fall of France and boards from Elsenborn Ridge and Battle of the Bulge.

The Legionnaires fought off three German attacks during the course of the day, but finally their defense crumbled. By evening the battalion reported it had no remaining ammunition, all tanks had been lost and only 180 men and seven officers remained fit for duty.

The French Foreign Legion! They have sky-high morale and good leadership, and they have tanks. Not very good tanks (Great War-vintage FT-17 iron coffins) so they’ll be of limited use.

Scenario Four
Aspirant Rougé
10 June 1940
As 1st Mountain Division advanced to the river Marne, the rebuilt bridge at Chateau-Thierry beckoned. Held by the American 3rd Infantry Division in an epic stand in 1918, in 1940 the French garrisoned it with a detachment of tanks and cadets from the Armor School and some infantry gathered from various shattered units. Another epic stand was about to take place.

Note: This scenario uses pieces and a board from 1940: The Fall of France.

Under the inspired leadership of Aspirant Charles-Armand de Rougé, the Vicomte de Rougé and scion of a noble house dating to 1096, the scratch force fought off attacks from the German division’s reconnaissance battalion for most of the day. The defense would be studied for decades afterwards in military academies around the world, though it fell apart once a German sniper shot and killed the 21-year-old Rougé as he stood in the hatch of his R35 tank.

Some years ago, I ghost-wrote the war memoir of my old friend Belton Cooper, an ordnance officer with the U.S. 3rd Armored Division. He told me about this incident, and said the young French lieutenant came to lecture about it at Fort Knox as a case study in the use of armor as an equalizer for an outnumbered defender. He obviously mis-remembered the speaker’s identity, since Rougé was killed in action, but still had the other details down pretty well. I’d always wanted to include this battle in Panzer Grenadier.

Scenario Eight
Stand for New Zealand!
25 May 1941
After German paratroopers secured airfields, troops of the 5th Mountain Division began to land on Crete from Ju52 transport planes. They soon joined the paratroopers in a concentric attack on the key crossroads town of Galatas. While a parachute group led by Col. Bernhard Ramcke of 1st Parachute Regiment advanced eastward along the coast, the 100th Mountain Regiment on their right would tackle the position known as Wheat Hill.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Road to Berlin, and pieces from Elsenborn Ridge, Desert Rats and Afrika Korps.

Col. Howard Kippenberger, commander of the ad hoc 10 Brigade, strode through his front-line positions shouting “Stand for New Zealand!” His troops failed to heed his exhortations, and troops from 18 Battalion abandoned Wheat Hill against his orders, while the Composite Battalion – cooks, drivers, petrol handlers and the like armed and shoved into the line – simple melted away. The failure would not stain Kip’s career; he would later command 2nd New Zealand Division in Italy and edit the Army’s official history of the Second World War (and decline the opportunity to erase this failure from the record).

I intentionally avoided designing scenarios set on Crete for the earlier versions of Edelweiss, thinking to save them for a future book or game devoted to that campaign. We’ll probably do that game someday, but in the meantime that’s not a reason to leave scenarios out of this book – we can always do them again if we have to. This is the largest of the new ones, with a parachute force and mountain force attacking side-by-side against a mixed Allied defense.

Scenario Nine
Maori Bayonets
27 May 1941
Withdrawing toward Suda Bay in some disorder, several depleted Australian and New Zealand battalions took up positions along “42nd Street,” a dirt road leading through numerous olive groves. A British brigade expected to provide a rear guard never arrived, and the battalion commanders met to consider their options. With all of the units short of ammunition, Col. George Dittmer of the New Zealand 28th “Maori” Battalion told the other commanders that he planned to open fire on any advancing Germans at close range, and then charge them with the bayonet. Within an hour, the Germans appeared.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Road to Berlin, and pieces from Desert Rats and Afrika Korps.

The 141st Mountain Regiment, part of the 6th Mountain Division, had only just landed on Crete and entered action when it met the crazed ANZACs. Just which battalion first went berserk and charged the Germans is disputed – all three battalion commanders made the claim in their after-action reports. What is clear is that all three battalions assaulted the advancing jägers within minutes of one another, inflicting about 400 casualties. The “Bayonet Charge at 42nd Street” became part of the military lore of both nations.

I like this type of scenario best of all: the action’s based on a strange special rule requiring the Australians, New Zealanders and Maoris to attack the Germans the moment they spot them. It makes for a wild free-for-all, and this should be one of the favorites in this set.

Scenario Twenty-Three
Sinyavino Heights
8 September 1942
In late August 1942, the Soviet Volkhov Front launched an offensive south of Leningrad designed to relieve the German siege of the city. As it began to make progress, the Germans committed divisions staging nearby for an assault on Leningrad, including 5th Mountain Division.

Note: This scenario uses boards and pieces from Road to Berlin.

Rushed into positions, 5th Mountain Division had no time to prepare defenses before the Soviets were on them. At the cost of heavy casualties, the jägers repelled repeated attacks on the Sinyavino Heights and the key town of Sinyavino. Without the hilltop crossroads in their hands, the Soviets could not break through to Leningrad. However, the offensive did spare the cradle of the revolution from direct assault, as the German divisions assembled for the attack ended up fending off the Red Army instead and then counter-attacking to restore their lines.

The Germans have just arrived so they’re not dug in, but they do have the higher ground. The Soviets have only a slight edge in numbers and no tank support; they’re going to have to come up the hills in a pure infantry assault. It’s a tough fight for the defenders of the proletariat.

Scenario Twenty-Five
Dousing the Spark
13 January 1943
The Soviet September offensive had left a tiny bridgehead on the right bank of the Neva River. The Soviet offensive known as “Operation Spark” began with a Guards division filtering into this weak point in the German siege lines east of Leningrad and quickly beating down the German defenders. The corps commander, Karl Hilpert, ordered 5th Mountain Division to send a battle group to the scene immediately to restore the situation.

Note: This scenario uses boards and pieces from Road to Berlin.
The speed of the German counter-attack took the Soviets somewhat by surprise, and the Guards yielded a good bit of the ground gained in the morning. But the jägers could not push them back over the river, as Hilpert hoped. The attack did shore up the “shoulder” of the Soviet penetration, but further north the Red Army had linked up with the Leningrad garrison. The Great Siege was not over, but a corridor had been forced through the German lines and Soviet engineers quickly built a rail line through it to relieve the worst of the city’s suffering.

The mountain troops are on the attack, with a slight edge in numbers and the great advantage of a small battalion of highly-mobile ski troops. They have a pretty stiff task, to wipe out all the Soviets east of the river. I’d originally hoped to add several scenarios using the August 1914 map boards, but the mountain divisions didn’t fight in the areas south of Leningrad the resemble that terrain.

And that’s what fleshes out the newest iteration of Edelweiss. The 32 previously-published scenarios have been edited, and had some minor revision to reflect the current set of playing pieces (changes that should have happened between the comb-bound and download versions but somehow did not). The laser-cut pieces are really nice, and this should be a popular supplement.

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