Date: November 8-10, 2019
Location: Bear Creek Camp, Bear Creek PA
Registration: Opens July 1, 2019 (online)
This is a private, non-public cool/cold weather event with a Field Tactical Exercise (FTX) and heated garrison buildings for social time in the evening.
This event is invitation only. You must be a member in good standing of an invited unit to participate. A list of invited units is on the Registration page.
Meals will be provided to those who register for indoor lodging. Outdoor camping participants are responsible for their own meals and may cook with campfires.
Tent campsites are also available next to the "garrison camp" and deeper into the Area of Operations for those who desire more "immersion."
Total capacity under roof is 252 beds divided accordingly:
The camp has several thousand acres, varying terrain, mostly forested with foot trails, a crude road network and some interesting features such as a “bombed out bridge” over a large creek, abandoned log lodge to name a few.
The road network will support lighter vehicles: bikes, jeeps/Kubels, trucks and armor to a limited extent. This is primarily an infantry-friendly AO, however.
The area's buildings, terrain features, time of year, and the event’s size and composition (300 participants total comprised of several units) all evoke the situation in the Hürtgenwald on 10-11 October 1944, where both sides faced the major problem of re-grouping with depleted numbers.
At right is the Initial Operations Plan for the event. (The US force here designated Task Force (roughly comparable to Kampfgruppe) 3/60, formed of elements of 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division plus detachments of the 9th Cavalry Troop (the organic recon group of the division) and some backup from the 746th Tank Battalion, which was attached to the 9th ID. Registrations permitting, TF 3/60 would be organized as Teams ITEM and KING, reinforced.
Historically, Axis would oppose with 253d Infantry Regt, 275th VGD; the first elements of the 116th PzDv would be arriving.
We're not using much land here, but the tasks are tough and the ground is rough. There are probably six hours of fighting contained here, and I don't think there will be enough ammo to go more than four. This is historically appropriate. A day's advance in the Hürtgen would often be somewhere between zero and 100 yards, bought at a heavy price and no bargain.
This is the Saturday op. Friday, starting at midday, forces can start digging in-- German (GE) mostly, since they are on defense and patrolling.
This will be very unlike the Gap scenarios. The maneuver area seems small, but that's deceptive. This is a "slog" scenario reflecting the actual 9th Division drive in October. This is not maneuver battle; US force will be confronting German positions with very little room for more than squad-level maneuvers. Finding the enemy will not be a problem: no shadow-boxing. Forces will need to make use of cover and concealment as well as supporting fires. The axes are about two km max, which is about 10x the daily rate of advance in 1944.
Second, forces are permitted to dig in as needed as long as the holes are filled in after cease fire. This can change the whole complexion of the maneuver. Attacker will have to dig the enemy out one position at a time, so it makes sense to learn how to establish positions with interlocking fields of fire. Mortar and simulated artillery fire will be critical. (We need to find out if smoke grenades are permitted.)
Note the line marked LOA. This means "limit of advance." south of that line is private property. Since there are no limits on entering or leaving training areas, no problems with range control, this battle can go on theoretically all day. Unlike Gap, the limiting factor will be ammo, not time. It may be advisable to urge units to bring much more ammo than they are used to. There will be no wandering around in the woods looking for something to shoot at. It's much more likely to be a continual series of sh-tstorms until nobody has anything to shoot.
At left is the overall situation on the Siegfried Line in the Fall of 1944, prior to 16 December's Wacht Am Rein winter offensive. The Hürtgenwald is just south of Aachen between U.S. 9th Division and German Army Group B.
Below are maps in pdf format: