Pathfinders guided the British 6th Airborne units into Breville, while the Americans landed severely off course at Sword beach, and our D-Day campaign was officially off to a start. We did a few things wrong, but then when you haven’t played Flames of War in over a year (some of us longer!) thats bound to happen.

Game 1 – Hit the Beach

I was defending a quiet seaside town near Quistreham. For the sake of some historical accuracy (even though I would be facing Americans not Canadians) I took a ‘Sword Festungskompaniie’. With only 1000 points to spend I was always going to be light on. Here’s what I ended up with.

German Sword Festungskompaniie

  • Sword Festungkompanie (Normandy) HQ
    – Upgrade CinC & 2iC SMG to CinC Panzerknacker SMG
  • Compulsory Sword Wiederstandnest
    – Command Command Panzerknacker SMG, Trench Line, 2x Barbed Wire, 5cm PaK38 Pillbox
    – 2x MG, 2x Trench Lines, 4x Barbed Wire, 5cm KwK Nest  2x HMG Nests, HMG Pillbox
  • 352 Fusilier Platoon – Command MG, 6x MG
  • Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft Assault Platoon – Command SMG, 2x Luftwaffe 8.8cm FlaK36 gun

Reserves

  • 21. Panzer Platoon 3x Panzer IV H
  • Fusilier Machine-gun Platoon  – Command SMG, 2x MG34 HMG
swordbeach
A quiet seaside town, somewhere near Quistreham.

The Allied preliminary bombardment managed to take out a HMG that was hiding in the upper floor of a building, and Pak38 bunker. A pretty decent start although my opponent was hoping to take out at least one of the 88’s. Then out of the smoke appeared a DD Sherman… of the four attempting to make landfall, one sank, two were delayed. To make matters worse all the allied LCVP’s were delayed! A lone tank had started the assault! As the tank crawled out of the surf… it’s back track spun, bogging the vehicle. Fortunately for the crew the bombardment had taken out the biggest threat, but the Allies were off to a bad start.

ddtanks
DD-Tanks are first to arrive

Things didn’t really improve for the Allies in the first half of the game. Infantry slowly turned up, while LCVP’s struggled to make landfall in the rough waters. A second DD Tank sunk trying to make landfall, and the AVRE’s on loan from the British Engineering corp were delayed. Two boat assault platoons were stuck on the beach, trying to find cover behind the seawall while being pinned down by HMG’s.

By turn 5 the AVREs had finally breached the sea wall, and the HMG’s taken finally been silenced, most of the Allied force had arrived, and the Americans raced for the objectives. Here’s where we completely messed up the re-enforcements, thinking it was a 5+ for each unit (6+ for Axis) when in fact by around now 1 unit should be automatically rocking up. Too many games, too many months between games. As a result my Panzers and the Allied M-10’s didn’t turn up until just before it was all over, and the Allies just made it to the last objective to secure it for the win.

end game 1
End of of the game. Allied Victory!

Over on the other table the Allies had pulled off their Airbourne Assault to secure Breville. So far, despite a rocky beach Assault, the allies had done well. Two more Beach assaults had to be resolved, and because we wanted to get the whole fiurst turn done today we used the ‘Generals Game’ to resolve them. Disaster struck the Allies again. Juno Beach went horribly wrong, and the entire 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade was destroyed. Such a mess was this operation that no attacks are possible from it during Turn 2. Gold Beach was an Allied victory, and the Allies had 2 further exploitation attacks.

Game 2 – Counter Attack

For this round we swapped opponents and while I played out a ‘Counter Attack’ at Bayeux to set the allies up for the next turn, the other two guys played out a ‘Break Through’ at Dourves to link up the beaches.

There are a few downsides to being organiser extraordinaire and playing a beach assault. I was still shoveling lunch down while we were trying to set up for the second game, and due to a comms error, was 200 points short and having to readjust my list on the fly. As a result I clear missed the fact I had hit four Panzers on my mobile phone based list maker, and only worked that out trying to recreate it for this post! Bah! I’d be playing this game 90pts down not realising it. Here’s what my list should have been.

  • German Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier (2. Panzerdivision)
    Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie HQ CinC SMG, 2iC SMG, 2x Sd Kfz 251/1 half-track
    – Panzerschrek, Sd Kfz 251/1 half-track
  • Compulsory Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon – Command MG, 6x MG, 4x Sd Kfz 251/1 half-track
  • Compulsory Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon – Command MG, 6x MG, 4x Sd Kfz 251/1 half-track
  • Panzer Platoon (p.103) – Command Panzer IV H, 3x Panzer IV H
  • Panzerspah Platoon (p.123) – Command Sd Kfz 250 (Recce), 2x Sd Kfz 250/9 (2cm)

For this game I would be facing off against British Tank Company (Cromwells), and Firestorm troop Shermans. With mobile reserves and Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier company, I was only deploying 2 units. This didn’t bode well already. After much indecision I put the Panzers and dug in my Firestorm troops (a Panzergrenadier platoon with attached Pak40) around the train station. Amusingly the Pak40 fitted in the Train station, so foolishly that’s where I put it.

game 2
Set-up for Game 2

While I had successfully locked down my quarter of the board, I didn’t really have a good plan for the second objective. The Shermans were able to neatly keep in cover and the Cromwells stayed out of range in the opposing quarter… right where my reinforcements were coming in… lightly armoured half-tracks. While the Panzerspah did ambush the 25 pounders, I clear forgot they had turntables, and were dug in, so they failed to make the short work of them I was hoping. Panzergrenadier failed to assault the Cromwells on their arrival, and were quickly dispatched. The Pz IV’s Tried a late game rush towards the objective, but were slaughtered by the Shermans. All up, a disastrous result for the Axis.

end game 2
End of Game 2, devastating defeat again!

With my last game for the day played I finally got to take a seat, and see how the other table had gone. Things had not faired well for the Allies, and eventually the Americans took enough casualties for the company to break. So in the second half of the day, and win and a loss for the Allies.

The final battle to resolve was that of the 21 Panzerdivision. This counter attack struck right at the heart of Sword beach, attempting to dislodge the Allies, and really make it hard in the coming turn to land troops, while cutting off the British Airbourne at Breville. With modifiers taken into consideration, we rolled a draw, and the Allies barely held their beach. To make matters worse the 21 Panzerdivision was destroyed and sent to reinforcements.

end T1
Final positioning at the end of Turn 1

Turn one of our D-Day 2014 campaign was done. The Allies have made a good start, but failed to link up beaches, which will make landing more troops challenging in the coming turns. Turn 2 will be spread over the next 2 weeks.

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