BATREP: Somewhere in Normandy 1944
|Shot taken from Church side - what became the German entry point.|
|Thunderbolt strafes deploying infantry company, taking some casualties.|
The town was ostensibly held by US Paratroopers (up to battalion strength) who had dropped in overnight and the Germans were scrambling together a response force to eject them before sufficient Allied elements crossed the battlefield and pushed further on to the next strong-point. Each turn both sides rolled 4-6 (d6) to get an element on table - if failing, the odds increased in subsequent rounds until successful, then the odds commenced over for the subsequent elements and so on. Only one element could arrive per turn. Each element (company usually) had a arrival number which was also diced for - if one of us diced for a unit already arrived - too bad, we lucked out. We also randomised entry points across the table edges divided into eighths - once secured for the first time that player owned that entry point and the opposition must roll for another. So, we didn't know if or when we would be reinforced, by what (exactly) and from where they would arrive.
Grant diced for the Allied cause and he achieved first blood swiftly with a successful strafing run over my first arriving motorised infantry company.
|Glider born jeeps with infantry following up race to the bank (left).|
|That bloody dive-domber again!|
|Innocent looking Hotel and an invitingly open flank.|
|Nasty surprises is what recce unit are for - I suppose.|
|A shaky flank prepared for infantry assault - not tanks!|
|A mighty and timely brew-up|
|Field of death|
Before I knew it, the surviving tanks were back but by than time my extreme right was secured by my support company and a PAK75 ATG now nestled in good cover. Splitting their advance, the CS Cromwell went to breach a standard hedge row lining the central road when contrary to my wildest expectations, I repeated the same IDF trick, laying down a cripplingly effective barrage and knocked it to a burnish stand-still. I didn't know my dice even had it in them.
Although now suffering two vehicles lost, Grant's remaining Cromwell did not break but at least he withdrew it to regroup in the rear ... thank heaven for small mercies. So, I was taking the ground but paying a price for it. Little did I know the game was about to be decided on the other flank.
|The final and decisive play.|
We played a second game the next day (Anzac Day) which I also lost very badly indeed. I lost so badly in fact that I capitulated by about turn 10. It came down to a very poor choice on my part for an order of reinforcements - tragically poor in fact, but it made for a couple of nice photos of which the following is one.