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For 2007 we had planned something really special. The year before someone told me, that he thought it was impossible to do Point Du Hoc in any scale bigger then 15mm. I just saw this as a challenge to be passed.
When we arrived in Antwerp we had a base table 1,5m x 1,5m (roughly 5´ by 5´). It sported the two middle casemates from the battery, the crew bunker, the firecontrol-bunker, two of the open concrete emplacements, as well as the connecting trenches. Attached to this were the cliffs (40cm / 16" high) and on their lower end the shingle beach (0,6 m x 1,5 m / 2´ by 5´). We had great luck since we were able to place our table on the stairs. This enabled players to have both the gun position as well as the beach on a comfortable height while playing. [May thanks to Johan from the Tin Soldiers!!!]
But now on to the game itself. On the American side we had E Company 2nd Ranger Btln., as well as the battalions HQ (plus a British officer accompanying them), being landed on the beach by 4 LCA´s (Landing Craft Armoured).
On the German side we had roughly 1 1/2 Züge (platoons) from the 352. Infanteriedivision which was tasked with defending the battery. In Addition there was the company HQ, housed inside the firecontrol-bunker. Just part of the trenches directly on the cliffs was manned at the beginning of the game, since the German defenders had always assumed an attack would come from their land side... if at all.
The Allies (just like E Coy. was on the 6th of June 1944) were tasked with taking the firecontrol-bunker, the two casemates destroying the guns within and to defend the position against an enemy counterattack afterwards. The bunkers only housed "Quakerguns" (treetrunks painted black and mounted on tankbarriers), but this did not change their historic mission. The Germans had to prevent this.
While the Americans left their landing craft and ran towards the ropes fired up the cliffs before, the lone German MG position by the edge of the cliffs began firing down at them. While those men climbing up the ropes further away had to suffer from this fire, the rope closest to the position was safe due to being in a dead zone. This allowed to make good progress there. That was until two Grenadiere ran to the edge of the cliffs and fired straight down. But the two of them were dispatched quickly. There were more then enough Rangers waiting for their turn on the ropes who took them under fire... after all they had no cover. That way the first Americans made it up the cliffs.
They had barely arrived when they silenced the MG-Nest with their hand grenades. But this did not mean things would get easier for them. Meanwhile the Germans had put a tri-pod mounted MG in one of the open emplacements and took them under fire with it. To make matters worse there were two German snipers firing on them as well. So the Americans got themselves into the trenches as fast as possible where they met the first Grenadiere trying to stall their advance. But the Rangers were at an advantage with their higher ROF from the Garands and the high number of automatic weapons. Finally the Germans got close enough for hand to hand combat. But in the long run this would only be good for the Allies. After all the had superior numbers on their side.
The loss of the German MG began to tell on the other ropes. The men could finally advance much faster and made it to the top. But here they met new problems. The German snipers changed targets and fired on them. And their route to the next trench was longer then their mates. The few that made it stumbled into further Germans trying to get to the other breakthrough and another wild skirmish erupted here as well.
The last remaining rope was the one adjacent to the firecontrol-bunker. The German players had decided to relocate one of the MG´s covering the bunker entrance to the viewing port towards the sea. So just when they came up to the top of the cliff the Americans had to face this MG. Adding to their misery was a German NCO firing on them from the ringstand atop the bunker. No friendly greeting for sure. One of them still managed to throw a grenade through the slit killing the MG crew before he was in turn hit. But it did not bring much respite, since two of the officers inside the bunker took their places and the MG started firing again.
At this point we decided to take a short break. But as these things go... we never started again. Just like you often do at conventions we got tangled up in conversations.
Judging from the situation at the end of the game we came to this estimate of how the game would have ended:
Just like it did during the historic battle, the better training, weapons and the higher numbers of Rangers would pay off. Especially once they had reached the trenches, they could engage the Germans in close combat where they enjoyed a clear advantage. Due to the cover provided by the trenches would not have been able to make use of their superior MG´s. The same held true for numbers. While the Germans had an advantage as long as the Americans trickled in. But once there were ever more Ranger in the confines of the trenches this would quickly turn in their favour.
The firecontrol-bunker would have been one hard nut to crack here as well. [During the real battle the troops in there had been able to hold out till the next day.] During our game, the American players had already decided not to use the rope close it anymore since the ground at its end was far too deadly. But the same would have held true for an attack on the entrance as well... after all there were two MG´s covering the space in front of it from firing slits before they could even have gotten to the bunker door.
So all in all the Americans would have carried the day, but would not have made all the objectives (the firecontrol-bunker).
|© 2004-2011, Alexander Schölling and Burkhard Schulze|