Doug Gries
United States
Libertyville
Illinois
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Believe it or not, the full campaign game is continuing, albeit with some controversy and an extended break. Things were looking so bleak in the Sword/Orne Sector after the 1300 June 6th turn that a peace conference was called to discuss possible paths forward. After the 2 Allied Commanders and German Commander (me) convened for several hours (beer may or may not have been consumed - I can't quite recall because it was like a year ago) it was determined that the following would occur:

- We would ignore the "Beaches Must Be Cleared by 2100 June 6th" Auto German Victory condition.

- Allies would surrender in the Sword/Orne Sector and the campaign would continue on in the Gold/Juno sector (essentially Advanced Scenario #3). There is still plenty of proverbial "meat on the bone" just playing half the full campaign map.

That being said, the German Commander (a somewhat competitive and stubborn individual) needed to determine if everything was indeed hopeless in the Sword/Orne sector so he continued to play that sector solo through the 1700 June 7th turn.

The following is the status of the Sword/Orne sector at the end of the 1700 June 7th turn (the last update given was for the 1300 June 6th turn, so it has been slightly more than a full day of turns):

The Germans unleashed a literal barrage on the Allies with approx. 10 artillery units in 5 artillery Parks. This was divided between strikes on Sword beach and bombardments targeting the 6th Airborne. This proved to be extremely demoralizing for the Allies, with stacks of casualties mounting from the Sword beach strikes - the 5./II/PzGr 192 from the 21.Pz.Div Division found an OP in a fortified hex near the beach and called in repeated artillery strikes from several units that could reach Sword beach. This was in addition to continued bombardment from the GWIdrsee/1716 from the 716.Inf.Div. By the time the OP was finally rubbled from a naval strike, it was too late and the damage had been done. Overstacked units on a beach (+3 modifier) plus a +1 for infantry proved too much - stacks that had to take repeated S? results with a -2 Divisional TQ Change rating resulted in repeated cohesion hits, leading to step losses or outright elimination. Some would say this is cruel, others (like me) would say this is gaming.

The Allies finally did clear the remaining beach defenses and started moving onshore, toward Pegasus Bridge and the surrounding Bocage hexes that were blocking their advancement as well as beach clearing efforts (German units within 3 hexes of a beach reinforcement hex need to be removed).

Units from the 21.Pz Div streamed toward Sword beach and set up defenses in the Bocage, as well as a 2nd line of defense running partway along a ridge from Beuville to Anguerny. Engineers from the 716.Inf.Div furiously laid down minefields along Connecting Road B. Additionally, preparations for the defense of Caen had begun. Engineer units laid minefields and constructed fortified entrenchments - a couple of extremely powerful 21.Pz.Div infantry units are already entrenched in the northern entrances to the city. German 88s found key strategic positions with entrenchments and minefields protecting them.

The 6th Airborne have done the best they can to hang on, but they are simply overmatched by German firepower. Although they still control Pegasus Bridge, they have very little to counter the German armor and are desperate for support from the armor coming off Sword beach. The reality is it may be some time before the armor can reach them, if they can at all. A lone 6th Airborne engineer unit is cut off behind enemy lines east of La Dives river and has been furiously laying down mines and roadblocks to slow the advancement of the German 346./711.Inf Div in that area, which was hampered by Allied Air Interdiction and will be delayed entering until nightfall.

Although it is a desperate situation, the Allies have not given up. It was agreed upon by the commanders that the solo effort will cease on Sword/Orne to allow Gold and Juno sectors to catch up to the Sword/Orne current turn - we will re-evaluate at that time whether to continue the full campaign, or just Gold and Juno.

Important Note: The author of this AAR was very fortunate to be able to visit Pegasus Bridge, the Merville Battery and Omaha beach during a recent trip to France. The experience was as humbling and emotional as my visit to Dachau many years ago. I want to make it clear that in no way shape or form does the playing (and subsequent AAR) of these simulation games make light of, disrespect, diminish or trivialize what individuals went through during this conflict and others in our history. I do believe war games can serve a purpose and a lesson and that is one of the main reasons I play them - my hope is that they teach us there is a better way and that one day we will have no recent wars to look back on to facilitate the creation of a new wargame. Peace.

Status at the end of the 1700 June 7th turn. 21.Pz.Div is the first chit in play for 1900 June 7th.





Sword Beach Auxillary Map:

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