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Combat Commander: Battle Pack #3 – Normandy» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Die by the Sword rss

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John DeWolfe
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Yesterday I had a chance to play "An Uneasy Wait" (chosen in honour of the recent D-Day anniversary), so I've decided to write up a quick AAR. I didn't take notes or anything during the game, so I'm doing this from memory, but this should be a reasonably accurate account so please bear with me.

Early on the morning of the 6th of June, the small compliment of Germans defending Widerstandsnest 20 woke early to a pummeling barrage of shells and smoke from battleships in the English Channel. As they peered out of trenches and bunkers to the beach before them, through the smoke they could see landing craft full of British soldiers charging towards their stout but thinly manned position. The landing that those higher up had been sure would come to the Pas-de-Calais, or Norway, or anywhere but here, was upon them, and they would have to deal with it as best the could.

As the Tommies hit the beach, they split up into two groups, one on each side of the beach. Luckily, both groups had mustered in areas well covered by smoke, and neither the Germans' heavy machine gun nor their deadly infantry gun could manage any effective fire through the haze as the British slowly moved up. However, luck soon turned for the invaders, as a stiff wind came up which dissipated all of the carefully laid smoke. Very soon thereafter, it became apparent that somehow the Jerries had managed to move forward a second heavy machine gun. With guns in both the central and leftmost bunkers, the Germans decided to save scarce ammunition for their heavier infantry gun and instead raked the Brits with opportunistic fire every time they dared peek out from what shelter they could find behind hedgehogs. A small number of the greener British troops were lost to this fire, and though the Brits were able to return fire with some light machine guns they had been able to bring forward, this fire was ineffective.

Unable to advance in any significant way, even after two new waves of troops landed, the Brits needed heroism - which a trooper named Smythe sought to provide, heroically rushing forward on his own in an effort to reach the German trenches. This was not to be, though, as twice he stumbled into wire entanglements that somehow he had not seen. One could not doubt Smythe's bravery for his attempted solo charge, but his clumsiness in the end undid any potential results.

The tide did change, however, when unexpectedly another landing craft showed up after the final planned wave of invaders. Containing only two soldiers and a light mortar, survivors of an unlucky boat that had nearly sunk, it was exactly what the doctor ordered for the British - now they had a second and more reliable way, along with the small amount of armour that had made it to the beach, to lay down a cover of smoke to mask an advance. Major King volunteered to lead this attack himself, along with six handpicked men, several of them veterans of the war, who brought with them the one precious flamethrower on hand. The Germans were powerless to stop them as they clawed their way slowly up the right side of the beach behind an ever growing cloud of smoke. Their compatriots across the beach bought them time, suppressing one of the enemy machine guns for a short while with their fire at the cost of some further British casualties. Finally, King and his men made it up to the infantry gun's bunker, where the flamethrower combined with small arms fire shattered the morale of all the men inside, excepting their leader, Sgt. Schneider. Desperate, Schneider attempted to protect the bunker with a suicidal charge into the seven men, and the fury of his attempt almost worked, but his attempted ambush was not enough and the Brits rallied. Soon thereafter, the bunker was theirs.

At this point, the tide of the battle shifted entirely. King managed to rally his men, and the seven of them ran through the communications trench, flamethrower firing off hot death in front of them. The remaining German commander quickly saw that he was unlikely to stop such a force, and that night was drawing near, so he ordered as many men as he could to retreat through the trench to the leftmost bunker, leaving a small squad behind to defend the central bunker. These troops were quickly induced to surrender by King and his flamethrower.

As the day grew shorter, the situation became clear to both sides - the Brits would need command of all three bunkers, or would need to force a German surrender, to fully control this section of the beach, while the Germans just needed to hold on for cover of darkness to allow time to set booby traps and then carry out an orderly retreat. Lt. Daniel's men on the beach had managed to suppress both of the German machine guns, meaning the Jerries could manage little, if any, effective fire and were reduced to backing off and playing for time. King and his men charged further down the trench, taking another couple of German squads out of action and causing the morale of those remaining to waver. Just as it seemed the Krauts would have no option but surrender, the last sunlight vanished. One could sense the initiative passing from side to side more than once in those few seconds, but in the end King knew his men couldn't risk further attack in the darkness. The Germans would escape Sword Beach to set up another murderous defense the next day. They had won a narrow victory. But for now, both sides had earned the right to rest, and to honour those who had lived and died by the Sword.

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Edward Wehrenberg
United States
Unspecified
CA
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Great writeup - thanks for posting!
 
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Chick Lewis
United States
Claremont
California
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Very nice AAR, and a fitting tribute to all those involved in the bitter fighting in June 1944.
 
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N/A
United States
Yankeedom
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Thanks for the report. You've inspired me to play my own D-Day +n game this week.

 
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