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Friday 14 July 2017

Battle Report - Normandy '44

Having set up the battlefield and positioned the troops the battle kicked off with a British artillery bombardment against three targets, causing some damage to the German infantry units deployed in woods and villages. The infantry unit in Grainville was particularly badly hit. After the Germans moved some of their armour from the rear the British began their assault on Grainville:

Under cover of artillery the infantry, supported by engineers breached the minefield, losing a unit in the process:
After a brisk battle Grainville fell and British armour began to pour through the minefield breach; However, just as it looked as though the first objective was secure, a Battalion of SS Panther tanks swept around the british flank, shot up a Regiment of M10s, forcing the other British armour to redeploy to meet this threat:
Eventually the Panthers were beaten off, but the British attack became bogged down as 88mm guns in a wood, supported by dug in infantry, picked off the allied tanks:
An airstrike severely damaged German infantry in and around Garvus:

While the fight for the Grainville salient continued, attention shifted to the left and the British attempted to force three armoured Regiments, equipped with Churchills across the river:

The leading Regiment pushed German armour away towards the village of Baron, but the Germans managed to quickly reinforce with two more armoured units, which after a vicious tank battle in turn blunted the British advance:

Over on the right, the now depleted British were able to reach the Bridge, conducting a combined infantry and armoured assault, that cleared out the remaining pockets of resistance, having at last eliminated the troublesome 88s. The British could now advance on their second objective; the village of Garvus:

:Eventually Garvus too fell, but the British forces here were spent, having lost most of their armour. The British now turned their attention to the Centre and a very expensive attack, several withdrawals and counter attacks.

Eventually British infantry managed to force their way into Tourmauville village.  This tipped the balance in favour of a British victory (memoire '44 score 8-7, with 3 objectives taken).

Overall this was a fun game to play, moving along quite briskly. The adjusted rules worked well, although a couple of further adjustments will be needed. In terms of the outcome, the British were nowhere near taking Hill 112, but they did manage to establish two bridgeheads over the Odon. The river was a formidable obstacle, stoutly defended by SS Panzer Grenadiers, with armour and anti-tank guns proving to be highly effective.

Having read accounts of Operation Epsom and Jupiter in June/July 1944 I understand a little of what a tough action it must have been.

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Normandy Battle - Memoire '44

I have at last finished the rebasing and preparation of the battle board for my Normandy battle. I am using 1/300 figures and vehicles and a four inch hex playing mat. I have based the battle loosely on the British attack across the Odon River in late June 1944, with the objective of taking Hill 112 beyond.

The battle will be played using Memoire '44 rules, which I have modified to suit my own needs.

The map below shows the key features.  In defence the Germans, mostly SS troops, control all of the key villages, which they have fortified with infantry and 88mm guns. They also have a strong moble reserve of tanks as well as heavy artillery.

The German defences on the right are particularly strong around Grainville, which includes an extensive minefield. The Germans have also placed obstacles on the far bank of the Odon before Tourmauville.

The Odon river is not such a significat river as depicted on the map, but it is deep, has steep banks and is heavily overgrown with trees and scrub.  Areas of bocage are depicted by the green square fields.

The British are sitting astride their start line ready to begin the attack:

Saturday 8 July 2017

An update

I was a little shocked to learn that I had not posted on here since May - a whole month and a bit has slipped by! I have not been idle, its just that there has been little to report as I work on several projects at once. I seem to do a few days on one, until I tire, or somethng else crops up, when I shift to another theme.

At the moment I am working on the following:

1. I continue to paint my 1/32 Britains Deetail collection. I am working on some scots soldiers, painted up as the Black Watch:

2. I am working on a Command and Colors scenario, playing on a 5 inch hex board with miniatures. I found a scenario for the battle of Bunker Hill and this led me to dig out my old Spencer Smiths. They have not been used since the 1980s and were in a bit of a state. I also had to rebase them to fit in with the game rules. Almost finished, this too is a work in progress:

Here are the Brits:
I need some 17 battalions! And here are the Americans:
I still have a couple more units to do. I am cheating slightly by using some Prussian figures, until I can muster all of my US troops.

3. I stumbled across a couple of old boxes containing a collection of 1/300 tanks and troops - these go back to the 1970s. I have had an idea to fight a Normandy 1944 action using Memoire 44 rules. Yes, that means more rebasing and scenery construction. Here are some of the troops:

British armour:
German armour:
and some other stuff:

The German artillery and 88s are on the updated bases.

4. I am slowly putting together a plan to refight the charge of the Light Brigade; when I have finished the last British cavalry unit.

There, that's what I have been doing.