Deep in the belly of the whale.
8 Kilometers of Beach
D-Day at Omaha Beach Scenario (32 Turns)
A mild hope crept over me as the tanks motored toward the beach. Perhaps this time will be different, perhaps there will be a chink in the colors and shapes of the cards that allows me to open up a foothold quickly ...
... any hope is soon lost as the American companies are dashed against rock and lead across the beach. The situation at either end of the strand is bleak. In the east, one must look hard for a bit of hope.
A small force has mustered and overrun the 88 position at WN61 in Dog Green. And, remarkably, the indomitable WN65 has been blunted by a brave run against the anti-tank defenses below the draw. But the remaining strength on Dog Green is pinned against the cliffs, pulled there by powerful currents. Other infantry companies in the eastern sector are in bad shape, pinned hard against the shingle, with the heroism of one GI all for naught.
The armor is in shambles. A remarkable run of bad luck has obliterated several of them on the strand, while the few that remain have been wholly ineffectual in their barrages. The German defense is largely undisrupted in the east. (The game will conclude more than 20 turns later without a single effective barrage, and a mere three tanks companies surviving.)
The west offers perhaps a shred more of promise.
First Lieutenant Monteith has led an assault on WN66, clearing the German position and protecting the only armored company that would make it off the beach - and ultimately off the high ground! - intact. (Lieutenant Monteith would make it up the St. Laurent draw, leading repeated assaults against entrenched positions, until perishing in a brave assault on a German nest in the bocage. The story of that scrap of cardboard was eerily reminiscent of the valor and heroism of the real Jimmie Monteith, who perished more than 70 years ago at Omaha.)
The arrival of the 116th HQ has organized the forces of Dog Red, and the survival of the Shermans and the arrival of the first heavy infantry of the 29th has given the punch more weight. St. Laurent may well be where the German line can be breached.
The same cannot be said of Vierville and the far west. Smith and his rangers have managed to survive under the shelter of the cliffs, but the German fire is withering. General Cota has assessed the situation and rallied the remaining men to shelter under the sea wall and push back east toward Hamil-au-Pretre. (Pinder, the second hero of this game, would unfortunately perish shortly after this turn, and his company would not survive much longer. The real John Pinder, Technician Fifth Grade, was critical to securing communications on the opposite side of Omaha, near Colleville.)
With mid-tide lapping the heels of the men sprawled along the shingle, early plans have fallen apart. Much of the heavier equipment has been delayed while command waits to see if the GIs can gain purchase in France. Improvisation has taken over on the flanks.
In the east, General Wyman has arrived. Taking a light wound himself (incidentally, the first time I have ever had a general wounded in this game), he has led men from the base of the Normandy cliffs to the heights above. There should soon be enough force in place to begin a sweep up from WN60 and along the east side of the Colleville draw. (In the event, the area just north of WN60 will see the bloodiest stalemate of the day ...) Meanwhile, the arrival of the first heavy infantry from the Big Red One has helped mass enough force to push up the slopes toward the heights of WN62.
In the west, General Cota has moved forces away from the Vierville draw entirely, abandoning the beach to German fire. A small band of rangers has managed to scramble up the cliff and will see what damage can be done before trying to reach their original objectives in Pointe du Hoc.
It is the center where the German strength has been overcome and a salient is emerging. The opening of the St. Laurent draw is all but secure, and WN65 will fall shortly. It seems as if St. Laurent will indeed be where the battle for the high ground begins!
By mid-morning, the central draws have been opened and early catastrophic losses averted - by a single company in the case of the 29th. The beaches are almost secure enough for the engineers to begin getting some of that heavy metal off the sand! There is even progress on the west side of the Colleville draw, with WN62 knocked out and the slope secured.
Traction on the flanks remains elusive. General Wyman's tattered forces have thrown everything at the German nests on the east side of the Colleville draw, but the hedges are impenetrable. Infiltration and flanking tactics have been stymied by the close runs between hedge rows bristling with enemy emplacements. The balance of the 1st is concentrated on pushing the advantage to the west, leaving Wyman's troop isolated and scrounging whatever equipment they can to avoid being thrown back into the sea.
In the west, the ground has been largely ceded to the superior German positions. The rangers have made it to the heights, but their testing forays have failed - the only conclusion can be that they lack the firepower necessary to storm the German positions. Not far away, General Cota has his men, but the machine guns and armor required to fully clear out the heights were abandoned on the beaches below. Suppressing fire will have to hold the Germans until reinforcements arrive.
As noon approaches, intense fighting rages in the streets of St. Laurent.
The GIs are hampered by the low ground of the draw, but hope is carried on the treads of the Shermans slowly making their way up the draw in the shadow of the mine-clearing engineers. The fighting grows especially fierce as the 352nd Division reinforces from both sides of the draw and the Americans fail to draw the line closed. German companies withdraw to better positions, slipping out of allied encirclement.
It looks dire in the west. General Cota's reinforcements have failed to arrive, and with the divisional reserve pouring into the bocage, his GIs are trapped between bluff and hedge.
General Wyman is not faring any better. The same position has bedeviled the Americans for over an hour, and enemy pressure from the south is not giving them any room to maneuver. The central thrust by the Americans desperately needs to close the line with the Generals on its flanks if there is to be any hope of securing the high ground.
Nearly six hours of intense fighting later, the line finally closes in the east.
In Colleville, the 16th regiment HQ has united with General Wyman to eradicate the last of the German resistance in that awful land east of the draw. Strojny and Bingham, heroes of Colleville, led the final assault, flanking the German position from both sides under the support of the emerging armor.
In the center, the Americans have almost secured St. Laurent, with the 116th preparing to establish its command post and American armor bursting onto the French streets. A particular joy is the destruction of the German OP in the center of town, bringing a halt to the artillery that had continued to rain down on the beach.
In the west, General Cota's reinforcements arrive to finish off WN70, but they must then divert to the north and east to deal with 352nd and secure St. Laurent once and for all. The General makes a gamble and detaches a few companies to try and secure the Vierville draw from the south. (They will succeed, but not before the WN72 manages to destroy the Sherman coming down the pavilion road in support.)
Meanwhile, the rangers having determined there is no more help they can provide to the beach, they move off to the west to connect with the airborne.
As the day begins to fade into a summer evening, St. Laurent is secure enough for the Shermans to move off to the north. Pockets of resistance remain, but the end is in sight.
Colleville is plagued by a stubborn company holed up in the ruined buildings; getting a good flanking positions is proving problematic. HQ is on the horn with the navy to see if fire support can dislodge the Germans.
The 115th regimental HQ has cleaned up enough of the positions west of St. Laurent to close the line with General Cota, and prepares to advance on the final pocket of German resistance.
American command setting up in St. Laurent, busy forging connections to the other beachheads and bringing up the support vehicles. The day may not be won yet, but it will be soon!
According to the rules, the ultimate score for the game was 39, or a tactical U.S. defeat.
No catastrophic loss (12 units in the 1st down to one step or eliminated, 11 units in the 29th)
19 VP from area control (black markers indicate control, yellow markets indicate no control because of German fire)
12 VP* from draw control (all but Colleville)
10 VP from units on high ground
3 VP from armor steps departing high ground
4 VP from ranger steps departing west
MINUS 1 VP for the stubborn WN73
MINUS 8 VP for the absent Kampfgruppe Meyer
* CAVEAT: I forgot late game that garrisons do not control adjacent hexes and moved some companies up that should have stayed back to preserve my line. I chose to give myself a break instead of trying to rewind four turns and bring troops back. Without dispensation, the score would have been 31, also a tactical U.S. defeat.
According my personal scoring (the luxury of the solitaire game!), the game was a tactical U.S. victory.
The two remaining German positions in Colleville and outside Vierville would be eliminated the very next turn, as demonstrated by the proposed attack on the Colleville hold-outs. This effort would have brought the Colleville draw into control, as well as another German road point east of Vierville.
My, er, engineer commander (who could that be?) completely forgot to move two late-landing artillery pieces off the beach when there was plenty of time and safety to do so.
All in all, it will take a bit before I can muster enough hope to try yet again!
Edited for style and to clarify my fudge on garrisons - thanks to Samuele for keeping me honest!
- Last edited Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:11 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:36 am
Great report, thanks!
I know it's not the goal of this post, anyway I'm afraid you cannot consider the two draws in the middle as part of the vp count, since German communication can be easily traced from the east (left side the board)
- Last edited Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:38 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:36 pm
Deep in the belly of the whale.
Thanks! Yes, that's right. I forgot late game that garrisons do not control adjacent hexes and moved two companies up that should have stayed back. There's a similar issue between St. Laurent and Vierville. I chose to give myself a break instead of trying to rewind four turns and bring troops back ...
- Last edited Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:34 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:28 pm
Gabriel Gonzalez Pavón
8 Kilometers of Beach (Full Game Report)
EXTRAORDINARY REPORT!. Thank you very much and congratulations!.
Bachten de Kupe
Thank you for this nice write-up that makes me want to get DDAOB on the table soon!