Sunday, 1 January 2017

Thursday 29 December - "Heroes of Normandie" Game

On Thursday three of us played a scenario from the "Heroes of Normandie" game of the battle at Carentan between US Paras and German Fallschirmjaegers in June 1944.

The Battle of Carentan was an engagement in World War II between airborne forces of the United States Army and the German Wehrmacht during the Battle of Normandy. The battle took place between 10 and 15 June 1944, on the approaches to and within the city of Carentan, France.

This is basically a board game but we like to use 15,mm figures and vehicles in conjunction with the cards that come with the game.

The situation was that the Fallschirmjaegers occupied the town and there were five target buildings - the US players had to capture EITHER all four of the minor objectives, OR the major objective plus two of the minor ones. The Germans were deployed in the town with many of them concealed in buildings. They had support from a STUG and an Pak 40 75mm AT gun They also had their own organic heavy weapons - one HMG an 80mm mortar and a 75mm Leightgeschutz 40 recoiless gun.

The US players split their force into two - one comprised paras supported by two Sherman tanks, the other force were supported by a Stuart light tank and an armoured car. The US players had roughly twice as many infantry as I did as the defending Germans.

The scenario as laid out in the "Heroes of Normandie" game book

The initial deployment of the Germans - target buildings are marked with a yellow cross and the primary target in the centre of the town with a red cross

The PAK 40 concealed in a handy building

The STUG initially deployed in the town

The first US command enters from the German right flank, using the hedgerows and Bocage as cover

The second (main) US force enters from the "top" of the board as I have photographed it. One individual "Hero" was off to the left on his own. One aspect of the rules that we realized afterwards was that the German "Scout" units could have deployed forward of their designated position - so could have been in the Bocage armed with Panzerfaust AT weapons, for example. This might have slowed down the US initial advance considerably!

The right flank force makes its initial engagement and immediately knocked out the Leightgeschutz 40 recoiless gun

On the left flank, Clint the Hero threw grenades into the building and wiped out one German squad

This shot shows the right flank forces and their junction with the main force advancing on the top right corner of the town.

I had a card in my hand that enabled me to add two to my score in close combat, so one of my squads exited the building and attacked Clint - I had two dice to roll, choosing the higher score, and could only fail on a 1....I rolled two ones! This kind of set the tenor for the rest of the game unfortunately

The right wing US force continued its careful advance to contact via the cover of the Bocage. My forces remained concealed, in the hope of catching some of the paras in the open at some point

Two of my squads emerged from the cover of a building on the right and attempted to flank the US advance but ended up pinned in the adjacent bocage, where on subsequent turns they were wiped out.

Meanwhile on the left, the heroic Clint had cleared all the occupants of one of the target buildings and had captured it single handedly.

My one success - on the left flank - my STUG engaged one of the US Shermans, driving it back initially and on the subsequent turn, knocking it out.

My Panzerschrek team had  maneuvered into position to get a flank shot at the armoured car, but then the US played a card that enabled them to prevent me from firing, and they then shot up the team, wiping them out

Meanwhile, the main US force had entered the town all along their front and were engaging the defending troops, including the second rate Osttruppen holding the primary objective.

Two squads sprinted across open ground and pummelled the HMG and an adjacent unit with grenades, wiping them out

The game was effectively over, as the Osttruppen holding the main target building had also been badly shaken by the US assault and looked doomed to flee in the next move. The game had lasted about three hours with a break in the middle for lunch, so we decided to call it a day at this point. Remaining concealed was perhaps a mistaken strategy for the Germans, as it meant the US forces got pretty close before they were put under any fire. Of course, the mistake about deployment of the scout forces also made quite a difference, as did luck with the cards and dice.

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