Monday, 25 April 2016

Cristot, Normandy, 1944

German response to British armour. 
At our Games Day on 23rd April 2016, Ian W put on a large Rapid Fire game set in Normandy.

A few days after the Normandy landings the British are still held up in their advance on Caen. The British 50th Infantry Division are attempting to capture Tilly-Sur-Seulles so that the 7th Armoured Division can make an outflanking approach on Caen through Villers Bocage.
This battle takes place on 11th June 1944 as the British try to push the 12th SS Panzer Division out of the villages of Cristot and Brouay, and the overlooking high ground.
The game is 16 turns long.
Victory conditions for are the same for both sides: hold the villages of Cristot and Brouay, and hold the high ground of Hill 102, at the end of the game. Any other result is a draw.

The Germans were using hidden deployment anywhere in the area around Hill 102, Cristot and Brouay.

The British plan was to concentrate on Brouay first, then drive into Cristot from there with reserve infantry making a direct attack on Cristot and Hill 102. With no pre-planned bombardment, the artillery was to provide support as required.

For the initial attack on Brouay, one infantry battalion with armour support was to attack Brouay directly with another infantry battalion covering the flank and adding firepower.

Layout with British Command Arrows

 The British attack on Brouay started as planned with infantry occuping cover in Adrieu and the armour moving alongside.

Direct assault through Adrieu on Brouay

Some British infantry approached Brouay on the blind side of the railway emabankment.
Flank attack on Brouay

Meanwhile the central dividing force moved forward, but rather more towards the temptation of Cristot than intended.
Infantry drive between Brouay and Cristot

The German response to the British armoured threat on Brouay was to reveal a Panther tank hidden at Cristot and move it along the back road from Cristot towards Brouay.
German response to British armour

An early, and regretful, British casualty was the Firefly which was caught by German artillery before it got to the cover of woods.
Firefly caught by artillery fire

The two remaining Shermans move forwards and spot infantry and a 75mm ATG in the next section of woods. The Panther is also lurking behind those woods.
Shermans close in but a Panther lurks behind the wood

British artillery is called in on the Germans in the wood and, with the two Shermans, virtually wipe them out. However the Panther moves forwards into the wood next to the village and it becomes a desperate situation for the British. An M10 is called up to try to deal with it.
An M10 from reserve cautiously approaches the Panther

The British infantry attacking Brouay were being hit by indirect mortar fire from behind the village, but there was nothing they could see to shoot at.
One company from behind the railway took position on the embankment with another moving forward for a closer look to draw fire.
Flank attack on Brouay close in

German infantry in Brouay respond and a firefight develops.
Firefight at Brouay

The M10 is in position while a 6-pdr crew try to get alongside.
The M10 gets in position and a 6-pdr tries to support

The Panther dominated the clash of armour, destroying one Sherman and the M10. The last Sherman has failed a Morale Check and had to move back.
One small hope for the British is the PIAT team sneaking towards the hedgeline in the foreground.
Panther destroys a Sherman and the M10 - but see the PIAT team.

Over at Cristot German reserves drive through the village with the intention of taking the fight to the British and attacking Hill 103.
German reserves rumble through Cristot

They fire on the British infantry in the centre.
A Pz IV starts hitting the British infantry

 However the British reserve infantry have moved forward and their PIAT team is in the woods. They hit the lead Pz IV and the other beats a hasty retreat. Meanwhile artillery and mortar fire comes down on the German Panzergrenadiers taking out one company completely.
A PIAT team hit one of the Pz IVs driving off the 2nd

Back again to Brouay.
The German infantry in the village have taken a lot of casualties from artillery,mortar and direct fire. The Panther has moved to help but that 1st PIAT team makes a Heroic Action.
PIAT team closes on the Panther

 They get right behind the Panther and destroy it. I have to admit that, as a British player, at this point I ran round the table with my arms waving in the air. Bad form, I know; but ...
The PIAT team get a rear shot and destroy the Panther

With the threat from the Panther gone, and most of the infantry in the first buildings gone, British infantry storm out of Adrieu towards Brouay.
Infantry close on Brouay

Any Germans in the front buildings pulled back into the rear and the British charge into the village.
British infantry at Brouay enter the first buildings

Cristot under fire. The remaining Panzergrenadiers take cover in the buildings but now the British can really concentrate their fire.
Cristot is subjected to massed artillery and infantry fire

Hill 102 uder fire. A German Recce group has occupied the third British objective, Hill 102. However there is little cover and some excellent anti-tank gun shooting deals with most of the vehicles while artillery, mortar and direct fire deal with the infantry.
A German Recce group on Hill 102 are being pounded

In the final turn of the game there is barely any German resistance left at any of the objectives and British infantry can virtually walk in. Although the objectives weren't actually fully occupied, the umpire generously awarded the British a victory.
British infantry charge towards the ruins of Cristot and keep hitting the Recce group

Great fun as usual with Ian's Rapid Fire games, and a close run thing.

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