With week 1 of the Normandy campaign in the books, players around the world had a fun time pushing models and rolling dice as the community fought to recreate the legendary battles of northern France.
As stated in my article last week, I took the legendary Free French 2eme Division Blindee (2nd Armored Division) into battle to liberate La Patrie from the hated fascist Boches. So, lets see how Sous-Groupement M stacked up!
Game 1: Help Is On Its Way (…but not fast enough)
No Normandy campaign is complete without the actual landings themselves, and my first mission was the Help Is On Its Way Mission.
I had opted to play the Blue Lane on the campaign map as I wanted to recreate Patton’s 3rd Army advance as well as Division Leclerc’s liberation of Paris. However, it all had to start for me on Utah Beach.
As any Flames player will tell you, beach assaults are long, bloody affairs. My game was no different. My opponent was a highly skilled player, and he placed his defenses in such a way as to severely hamper even GETTING OFF the beach. I opted for a somewhat thematic approach, building my force around 2 ARPS and a Veteran Assault Platoon backed by Naval Gunfire and Air Strikes. However, the enemy defenses proved resilient and chewed my platoons to hamburger. Even my tanks arriving from reserves in the German backfield were not enough to distract the Germans from keeping my platoons locked down on the beach. A bloody start indeed!
RESULT: 6-3 loss
(NOTE: I apologise for no pictures. My opponent and I were strapped for time this game and we didn’t get any. Also, the game itself was quite repetitive and would make for a very boring AAR. Again, apologies!)
Game 2: No Retreat For The Boche
After my near disaster on Utah beach, I was looking to get some revenge on Le Boche. Fortunately, one of the newer guys in my club wanted to get in on the global campaign action so I was happy to oblige him.
After battle plans, we rolled up No Retreat, with Division Leclerc on the attack. I deployed massed hard on my left, with my recon and arty park on my right. I decided to use a tactical edge card I earned, and promptly stole my opponent’s Hell On Wheels tactical edge card! Utilizing his card against him, I vaulted my ARP forward to the edge of some mines he had placed, with my tanks in support in the woods behind them. On my right, I called down a ‘jug’ flight on his Hummels, bailing two. This would prove to be a rough lesson for my opponent about taking Flak as my Jugs would show up every turn and play havoc on his artillery. I also would eviscerate his grenadiers guarding the objective, stacking three artillery bombardments and promptly reducing his seven stand platoon to three.
On his turn, my opponent missed his Reserve roll, so opted to unmask his 88mm Guns he had in ambush to deter my tank advance towards the left objective. He also successfully dropped artillery on my infantry, killing two stands and pinning them in the minefield, but missed his 88 shots.
On my turn I attempted to unpin my infantry, failing even with a commander re-roll. So, knowing his Reserves would likely be coming, I advanced my Spahi (recon) patrol towards the objective. I also shifted my priests off his infantry to deal with the 88s, dropping a ToT barrage on them to lock them down and killing a gun to put them on last stand. I also killed a Hummel and bailed another to force a last stand the following turn.
On his turn he got reserves, but I burned my French Resistance Raid command card to force a re-roll and deny him reserves. Failing last stand on his 88s and falling his infantry back lest they be annihilated by the continual artillery barrages he passed turn to me.
On my turn I got my Spahis onto the objective and opted to hold in place having driven off his hummels and reducing his infantry to a non-factor. Passing the turn, he brought in his Tiger’s and tried to blast my Spahis off the objective but miraculously whiffed the dice. With me on the objective and too far away to contest, the game was called in my favor.
RESULT: 8-1 Win
Game 3: Breakthrough outside Saint-Mere Eglise
My opponent and I were hoping to mix it up with some other players, but as their games were taking far longer we opted to play again. This time we rolled up Breakthrough, which was appropriate giving the drubbing of the previous game.
My force was the same, and my opponent opted for Flak and a 2nd infantry platoon and traded out Panzer IVs to get it. I again snatched a tactical edge card from him, and began the game advancing hard on my right with my 76mms and ARP in flanking reserves.
I started out my shooting once again stacking my artillery on his infantry guarding the near objective. My birds did not show up as much this go around, so I passed turn.
This time my opponent got his Reserves, which I did not burn my Resistance Raid card for. D’oh! So, he duly brought on his Tigers and now I had a fight on my hands!
He got my XO tank on his shooting, so on my turn I decided to bloody his nose before retreating, repaying the favor in kind and blasting his XO into a wreck while sticking my tongue out to the nearby Tigers. I knew my 75s couldn’t touch those Tigers so I now had to play for time.
After weathering his fire on his turn (losing two more tanks) I fell back to make the Tigers chase me (and in return lower their ROF). My ARP did show up from Reserves and did attempt a quick assault on the far objective that went poorly due to my opponent getting his second infantry platoon there first. Whoopsie. To compound matters, my opponent got his last platoon of Mk IVs on table which promptly managed to batter my ARP to a single stand.
Good thing for that 3+ last stand for Division Leclerc!
On my next turn I rolled for reserves. Failing, I burned my Lucky card and got my 5 that was needed. However, my opponent played the Tactical Edge Interdiction to force me to re-roll, which I countered with Counter Maneuver and told him “Non!”. What a fun little exchange!
My 76s rolled in and swiftly obliterated his Panzer IV platoon while my CO and 75mm platoon remnants continued to maneuver towards the objective and away from the Tigers, aided by smoke.
On his turn my opponent realized I had out maneuvered him and his only chance was to kill my tanks, which by sheer luck he failed! With two wins and one loss in the bag, I wrapped up my first week of campaigning.
RESULT: 7-2 Win
On To Cherbourg!
Stay tuned as Division Leclerc continues its drive to Paris! Week 2 Im sure will have much more fun challenges in store. Also, to my amusement I found I am currently ranked in the top 5 US commanders. Lets see if I can hold that spot!
Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!