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Cavendish Road Tank Attack The Cavendish Road Tank Attack
Cassino, 19 March 1944
By Livio Cavallaro

The Cavendish Road was a mule track from the village of Caira to the mountain area of Mount Castellone, just north of the Abbey. It was improved by Indian and New Zealand engineers so that it could be used by tanks, in accordance with a battle plan that envisaged a pincer attack on the Abbey itself. The intention was to launch the tank attack from Cavendish Road on 19th March, after an infantry assault led by Gurkha and British infantry starting from Hangman’s Hill against the western wall of the Abbey had started. 

Due to a German counterattack on Castle Hill in the early hours of 19th March, the infantry assault was postponed and the tank attack was ordered to proceed as planned in the hope that the Germans would withdraw from the Abbey area. 

Cavendish Road Tank Attack

At 0630 the Allied tank column composed of 44 tanks and 3 dozers belonging to New Zealand, American and Indian units launched the attack. The German paratroopers from 4th Fallschirmjäger Regiment were taken completely by surprise. The tanks broke through the German lines at a “Bottleneck” between Snakeshead Ridge and Phantom Ridge and were able to pin down the defending Germans inside an medieval rural building known as Albaneta Farm.

Maneuvering deep into enemy lines, first some New Zealand tanks in the morning, and then some American tanks in the afternoon tried to push toward the Abbey, but both probes failed because of bad terrain and the resolute resistance by the German paratroopers.

Cavendish Road Tank Attack
Many tanks become stuck in the mud or lost their tracks on the stony ground, others were disabled by a combination of Panzerfausts, hasty sewn anti-tank mines, accurate sniping and mortar and artillery fire. At 1800 the attack was called off and the tanks withdrew. As a consequence, the infantry attack from Hangman’s Hill was canceled. The Allies failed because the tank formation, commanded by an artillery officer, had no infantry support.
Cavendish Road Tank Attack

The Cavendish Road Tank Attack scenario uses the Prepared Positions (page 264), Panzershreck Trap Teams, Anti-Tank Mine Ambush Team, Tank Commander Shooter and 4 by 2 and No. 8 wire special rules.

YOUR ORDERS

GERMAN
Your orders are to stop the Allied tank attack towards the Abbey and hold both Albaneta Farm and the Bottleneck.

ALLIES
Your orders are to break through the German lines then to advance towards the Abbey, keeping an open corridor toward it.

PREPARING FOR BATTLE

1. Set up the table as shown on the scenario map. The table is 48”/120cm by 72”/180cm. Because of heavy rain in the previous days, flat terrain is Very Difficult Going, except for the road. All hills are impassable to tanks.

Cavendish Road Tank Attack

2. Place an objective at point A, the “Bottleneck”. The passage for the Allied tanks here is only 4”/10cm wide.

3. The German player deploys all their troops at the indicated points (see point number for each platoon in the German force table). There are no reserves.

4. The Allied player now deploys as many platoons as they wish in the Allied Deployment Area. The remaining platoons enter along the short table edge in the Allied player’s table half during any of the following turns.

5. Beginning with the Allied player, both players now deploy their independent teams.

BEGINNING THE BATTLE

The Allied player has the first turn.

ENDING THE GAME

The battle ends when:

  • at the end of any turn the Allied player has at least three tank teams from any platoon off the table at point B and holds point A
  • the Allied or the German force is forced to withdraw because of a failed Company Morale Test;
  • or at the end of Allied turn 8.

DECIDING WHO WON

The Allied player wins if:

  • he gets at least three tank teams from any platoon off the table at point B (Allied Minor Victory);
  • or the German force is forced to withdraw because of failure in a Company Morale Test (Allied Stunning Victory).
The German player wins if:
  • the Allied player gets fewer than three tanks off the table at point B at the end of the game (German Minor Victory);
  • or the Allied force is forced to withdraw because of failure in a Company Morale Test (German Stunning Victory).
If a player gets a Minor Victory and holds the objective at “A” as well, he increases his victory up to Major Victory).
Scenario Special Rules
Tank Commander Shooter Team
During the Allied tank attack, two New Zealand tank Commanders were killed by accurate small arms fire from the German paratroopers and the remaining crew withdrew the vehicle.

A Tank Commander Shooter team is a Fallschirmjäger Rifle team and is rated the same as the platoon it is attached to. If an Allied tank platoon is hit by a Tank Commander Shooter team, consider the target tank as an infantry team concealed and in bulletproof cover, even if it is in the open. If the required die rolls are successful, the target tank withdraws and is removed from the game (it is considered destroyed for the purposes of the game). At the same time, the Tank Commander Shooter team is immediately removed from the game. If the Allied tank is not destroyed, the Tank Commander Shooter team then continues the game.

Anti-Tank Mine Ambush Team
First Lieutenant Raimund Ekel was the Commander of the 14. Panzerjäger Kompanie, III Battalion, Fallschirmjäger Regiment 4. In the valley in front of Albaneta House he dared to chase on foot the American Stuart tank led by Sergeant L. R. Custer and to dig an anti-tank Teller mine just ahead of the moving vehicle. The tank stepped on the mine and was rendered immobile.

An Anti-Tank Mine Ambush Team is an infantry team. It is never deployed at the start of the game. Instead, during any German Shooting Step, the owning player may place the Anti-Tank Mine Ambush Team anywhere within 2”/5cm of one Allied tank on the table but within 12”/30cm from point (1) or (2). That tank immediately receives a hit from a mine with AT 5 and FP 1+. Whatever the result of the mine explosion, the Anti-Tank Mine Ambush Team is immediately removed from the game.

Panzerschreck Trap Team
Corporal Kammermann Fallschirmjäger, of the 14. Panzerjäger Kompanie, moved stealthily and attacked the American Stuart tank led by Second Lieutenant J. A. Crews with his Panzershreck. He fired two rockets missing the target, with the third and last rocket he put the tank out of action.

A Panzerschreck Trap teams is an Infantry team and is rated Fearless Veteran. They are armed with a Panzerschreck anti-tank launcher with Range 8”/20cm, ROF 1, Anti-tank 11, Firepower 5+, and Tank Assault 5. A Panzerschreck Trap team cannot shoot in the Shooting Step if it moved in the Movement Step.

Panzerschreck Ambush: Panzerschreck Trap teams are never deployed at the start of the game. Instead at the start of any Movement Step, the owning player may place the Panzerschreck Trap team within 12”/30cm from point (2) such that the Panzerschreck Trap team is not within 2”/5cm of any enemy team.

Well hidden: so long as a Panzerschreck Trap team remains where it was deployed it always counts as Concealed and in Bulletproof Cover even when it shoots. If a Panzerschreck Trap team moves for any reason, it no longer benefits from Well Hidden.

Fanatical Shreck-men: Panzerschreck Trap teams are Independent Teams. However, they may never join a platoon or other Independent Teams. Also, unlike normal Independent Teams, they may Launch Assaults. 

4 by 2 and No. 8 Wire
New Zealand is a small remote country and its soldiers had to learn to make do or do without while they were growing up. As they say in New Zealand, they could make anything with a bit of 4 by 2 timber and some No. 8 fencing wire! This independence carried over to their military operations. Everyone was told the plan before each attack, and if an officer was killed, there’d always be someone to work out what to do now.

New Zealand Platoons use the German Mission Tactics special rule.


Allied Tank Force

All platoons are rated Confident Veteran
4th Indian Division Force HQ - Lieutenant Colonel J. F. Ayde (Commander Royal Artillery 4th Indian Division) Company HQ with Company Command Sherman III team and 2iC Command Sherman III team.
2nd New Zealand Division C Squadron, 20th New Zealand Armored Battalion (Major P. A. Barton) Tank Platoon with 5x Sherman III teams
4th Indian Division 7th Indian Recce Squadron (Major M. L. Cruickshank) Tank Platoon with 3x Stuart V teams
and 2x Sherman III teams
(it is not a Reconnaissance Platoon)
760th Tank Battalion D Company, US 760th Tank Battalion (First Lieutenant H. J. Crowder) Tank Platoon with 5x Stuart M5A1 teams
760th Tank Battalion Assault Gun Platoon, US 760th Tank Battalion (Second Lieutenant V. E. Hipkiss) Assault Gun Platoon with 3x M7 Priest HMC teams
Royal Artillery Field Battery Royal Artillery (unknown unit) Field Battery Royal Artillery with Command Rifle team, Staff team, 4x OQF 25pdr guns, 1x OP Stuart (observer).
Only the observer is deployed on the table, the battery is assumed to be positioned just north of the Allied table side.

1. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division German III Battalion, 4 Fallschirmjäger-Regiment
All platoons are rated Fearless Veteran
III Battalion, Fallschirmjäger Regiment 4 (Capt. H. Meyer) Company HQ with Company Command SMG/Panzerfaust team and  2iC Command SMG/Panzerfaust team, two Panzerfaust Rifle/MG teams and one Tank Commander Shooter team (Point 3)
9. Fallschirmjäger Kompanie Fallschirmjäger Platoon with Command Panzerfaust Rifle/MG, four Panzerfaust Rifle/MG teams, one Tank Commander Shooter team and one Panzerschreck Trap team (Point 4)
10. Fallschirmjäger Kompanie Fallschirmjäger Platoon with Command Rifle/MG and six Rifle/MG teams (Point 1)
11. Fallschirmjäger Kompanie Fallschirmjäger Platoon with Command Rifle/MG and six Rifle/MG teams (Point 2)
13. Fallschirmjäger Granatwerfer Kompanie Fallschirmjäger Mortar Platoon with Command Rifle/MG and four 8cm GW42 mortar teams (Point 5)
Lieutenant R. Ekel Fallschirmjäger team Fallschirmjäger Rifle Anti-Tank Mine Ambush team

Fortress Italy Design Notes

Italy Compilations

Road To Rome and Fortress Italy are our two compilations covering the Italy campaign for 1944 and 1945. As well as compiling the forces from Dogs & Devils, Cassino, we have added a whole heap of new forces. With those two books covering just Anzio and the battles of Cassino, we took the opportunity to add so much more to these two books, expanding the range of forces out to 1945 and the end of the campaign.

Fortress Italy...

Road to Rome...

Fortress Italy Design Notes


Last Updated On Thursday, August 24, 2017 by Charlie at Battlefront