Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Crossroads in Normandy

It is a summer day sometime in June 1944. Somewhere in Normandy France an American army is advancing towards a lonely crossroads. A small band of German soldiers wait anxiously.

The Americans must quickly clear the defenders from the crossroads and be in a position to destroy the inevitable German counter attack.

Leutant Kulinski, a rather inept commander recently transferred to France, chose to set his initial defensive line roughly along the North-South road. He setup a series of tank traps and barbed wire sections to slow the American advance. Not wanting to over commit his troops he assigned two infantry squads to either side of the crossroads. His main anti-tank unit, a PaK40 AT gun, he deployed back from the road on the German right. He placed them in an open field with no cover.

The German commander was very concerned about the massive bombardment that usually preceded American attacks so he held a large portion of his force in reserve. The plan being to severely maul the American's initial attack and throw back any breakthrough with a savage counter attack.

The American commander, Lieutenant Brightwell, understood the rules of war almost as if he had written them himself. His plan of attack was simple; push his tanks right down the main road, through the center of the German defense and attack the German right with his infantry. He was sure that his artillery barrage would wipe out the defenders without his troops having to fire a shot. He wasn't far off.

Most of the American infantry deployed on the American left behind a farmhouse. One squad was deployed towards the center of the American line. Two Shermans and a scout squad in a jeep deployed on the main road on the right side of the American line.

The American barrage opened with great expectation for a quick destruction of the German defenses. It was not going to be that easy. In fact the artillery was mostly ineffective. Only a single German unit was hit and five Germans soldiers were killed. The unit would begin the battle pinned and half strength. None of the German fortifications were damaged or destroyed.

The American attack was launched as soon as the barrage was lifted. The troops advanced quickly on the pinned Germans. After a brief firefight the weakened German squad was destroyed. Followed quickly by the PaK40. The German squad holding the opposite side of the road fell back in the face of the aggressive advance of the Shermans down the main road.

The Shermans quickly captured the crossroads and continued their advance down the main road. The lone infantry unit was helpless to stop the relentless advance. The Germans fell back alone the hedgerows of the main road; trying to stay out of the crosshairs of the advancing enemy tanks.

The situation was desperate for the Germans. They needed their reinforcements and they needed them now. The advance of the Americans was much quicker than anticipated and the loss of the Pak40 meant that the tanks could not be stopped.

Leutnant Kulinski arrived late to the battle bringing with him his HQ, a couple of heavy machine guns and a pair of Panzer IV's that had become detached from their unit. The situation was looking bad and the German reinforcements might be too late to stop the American breakthrough.

The German reinforcements rushed to block the main road and stop the advance of the Shermans. A firefight quickly erupted between the Shermans and the Panzers. The lead German tank was quickly destroyed but his companion continued the fight. All during the tank battle the Shermans continued to advance down the lane. The German squad on their right meant that stopping would open them to an assault by the infantry. Gradually the remaining German tank was knocked out.

With the German armor out of action the Shermans were now free to mop up the infantry. The arrival of a third German infantry squad could not change the outcome. With only a small section of hedgerow for cover the German forces had no choice but to break-off the action and admit defeat.
In the end the Germans lost about 15, a PaK40 and two tanks. Their right flank had been destroyed. American losses consisted of 5 men.
This was a great battle and I am afraid that my report does not really do it justice. The layout of the table presented some real challenges for the attacker and the defender. This is much different than using a standard 40K style table.

2 comments:

jack said...

What ruleset do you use for WW2 games.
-thanks

Drunken Samurai said...

Hi Jack,

I use a home brew set that is based on 40K and Lord of the rings. I used to play Battleground WWII and Arc of Fire.