This week we are proud to present the first of three scenarios by Ron Howard. These scenarios are set during the American pursuit of the Wehrmacht from Operation Cobra in Normandy to the borders of Germany of itself. The first scenario, “Battle of Arracourt,” features the fierce fighting between the American 4th Armored Division and the German 5th Panzer Army in defense of the American bridgehead over the Moselle River on September 18 – 21, 1944. This largely overlooked battle was the largest tank battle in the Western European theater before the Battle of the Bulge.

Ron’s scenario focuses on the action around Mannecourt Hill, which was taken and held by Task Force Abrams, a scratch force of tanks and infantry from the 37th Tank and the 10th Armored Infantry Battalions, led by Lt. Col. Creighton Abrams. During four days of fierce fighting, the 111th Panzer Brigade was wiped out through a combination of ambushes from carefully concealed positions, aggressive counterattacks, and closely coordinated airstrikes.

The German attack was carried out by two newly raised formations, the 111th and 113rd Panzer Brigades, armed with brand new Panther Vs. Although the attack was planned and directed by the severely depleted 11th Panzer Division, the green panzertruppen suffered heavy losses due to their tactical inexperience. In addition, tactical air support by the largely unopposed Allied air forces prevented some German elements from even participating in the battle, being interdicted and destroyed while in transit.

Creighton Abrams

Lt. Col. Abrams later went on to command Combat Command B of the 4th Armored Division during the Battle of the Bulge. General George S. Patton himself considered Abrams the finest tank commander in the U.S. Army, superior even to himself. Later, Abrams commanded U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972, then served as the Army’s Chief of Staff from 1972 to 1974, overseeing the beginning of the Army’s transition to an all-volunteer force. And, of course, if you don’t recognize his name for all of those achievements, perhaps you recognize the name of one of the world’s most powerful tanks, the M1 Abrams, which was fittingly named for him.

Ready to play the Task Force Abrams at Arracourt scenario for Tide of Iron?


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