Beyond Normandy #11
|(Defender) Germany||vs||Britain (Attacker)|
|Britain||Fife and Forfarshire Yeomanry Armour|
|Germany||101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion|
|Germany||12th SS Artillery Regiment|
|Germany||12th SS Flak Battalion|
|Germany||12th SS Panzer Regiment|
|Germany||26th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment|
|Germany||2nd "Vienna" Panzer Division|
|Overall Rating, 4 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 609|
|Parent Game||Beyond Normandy|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Beyond Normandy||maps + counters|
The failed attack 10th HLI and the equally unsuccessful German attack against Le Haut du Bosq in the morning did not halt operations. The afternoon brought a continued push as 31st Armoured Brigade and 11th Armoured Division elements attacked south of Le Haut du Bosq.
The British tanks managed what the infantry had not, a penetration of the German line. Worn thin by two days of combat, the German defenses were finally broken as the Shermans of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry crossed the railroad line and reached Frainville only to be driven out by a German armored attack. In a few hours the infantry of the 9th Cameronians joined them and consolidated their position just to the north of Grainville. The Odon lay only a mile and half beyond.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|10 Errata Items|
The "Optional Values" for the 17-Pdr given in an Avalanche Press Daily Content piece on the 17-Pdr Anti-Tank gun (and printed on a replacement counter sheet Download) are now the Official Ratings, published in games like Cassino '44, Grossdeutschland 1946, and Indian Unity, as shown in one of the two counter images. These are:
5-5 / 8-8 MA 0 (Towed).
The "Optional Values" for the Archer---and by extension the Achilles---given in an Avalanche Press Daily Content piece on the 17-Pdr Anti-Tank gun (and printed on a replacement counter sheet Download) are now the Official Ratings, published in games like Cassino '44, Grossdeutschland 1946, and Indian Unity. These are:
8-5 / 8-8 Full Strength and 4-5 / 8-8 Reduced Strength.
All Bren carriers should have a movement value of 7.
The "Optional Values" for the Firefly given in an Avalanche Press Daily Content piece on the 17-Pdr Anti-Tank gun (and printed on a replacement counter sheet Download) are now the Official Ratings, published in games like Cassino '44, Grossdeutschland 1946, and Indian Unity. These are:
5-5 / 8-8 Full Strength and 3-5 / 8-8 Reduced Strength.
Ignore the direct fire values.
All SPW 251s have an armor value of 0.
All SS 105mm guns should have white, indirect fire values.
The reduced direct fire value of the SS HMG is 5-5 in Beyond Normandy and Road to Berlin.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The Units in Beyond Normandy were misprinted with a movement factor of 5. The movement factor should be 8.
(rerathbun on 2012 Mar 21)
Liberation 1944's counters are mislabeled 'PzIVF2.' The counter's ratings are correct (Armor 5, Move 8, DF 11-6, AT 6-8).
(rerathbun on 2014 Feb 14)
This battle represented the British attempt to seize Grinville (and on to the Gavrus bridge) from the Germans on 27 Jun 44 during the opening stages of Operation Epsom. The Germans held the position with only four tanks, but during the night brought up reinforcing infantry and antitank guns to secure the position against the expected assault. The British threw the 10th Highland Light Infantry Battalion supported by elements of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment. In real life, the British were repulsed, but the defense required the Germans to move forces from other positions, effectively weakening other parts of the line to prevent it from breaking here. The British commander berated his men for their failure after the battle…
German SS-Hauptsturmführer Gerste continued directing his men into position as dawn approached. With tanks dug in along the road on top of the ridge and antitank guns positioned behind the hedges on either side, his infantry were just finishing their emplacements while his mortar platoon was moving back into town. Looking through his binoculars he could see the British forces moving towards his ridge. Greatly outnumbered, and no doubt soon to be the subject of aerial and artillery bombardments, he would hold the town behind him until reinforcements could arrive.
Lt Col Pearson ordered his forces forward. Promised artillery and air support, he moved a part of his infantry through the hedged fields on either flank, sending tanks and loaded armored personnel carriers up the middle. German resistance looked meager, a handful of tanks and a few infantry blocking the center of the ridge. The preceding heavy rains made a mockery of the road connecting his position to the German-held ridge, and the surrounding countryside was a field of mud waiting to suck down any vehicle attempting to cross. At least his lead elements wouldn’t outrun the flanking infantry support…
SS-Hauptsturmführer Gerste couldn’t believe what he was seeing. British Brens loaded with infantry and trucks pulling heavy antitank guns moving directly towards him on the road. His tank commander obviously saw them, too. Did the British not realize he was here? The Brens entered the open field below his ridgeline unaware of their fate. The German tank cannons turned in their direction. Muzzles flashed, Bren carriers exploded, men screamed. German 75mm AT guns joined the fray. British infantry began leaping to the relative safety of the mud, but it was too late for most. Ten Brens, five trucks, a wrecked battery, and dead infantry littered the roadway. Five Brens managed to withdraw, disgorging their infantry before retreating. [Darn that fog of war roll!] The British nose had been bloodied.
Lt Col Pearson watched his lead elements disintegrate. His tanks were moving, but too late to help those that had gone before. The losses hurt, but were far from debilitating. His flanking forces continued to move towards their objective, and a fresh wave of infantry moved in behind his tanks in the center. Artillery began to arc overhead, mostly ineffectual but keeping the German troops pinned. Despite the setback, the attack was still strong and going well.
German tanks and antitank guns opened up on the British Churchills. Despite earlier devastating fire, the German gunners now seemed unable to hit the alerted British vehicles. The British tanks continued their drive forward, while on the flanks British infantry move in on German positions. Behind the thin German force the town lay open. British tank rounds began to crash around the German tanks, but much like the fire directed at the British, all to no effect. Half the German infantry fell back to guard the town, and the British tanks began driving up the slope to the German positions. Things looked bleak for the defenders as their center pushed back and the extreme left flank came under assault by three British platoons and five platoons threatened the German right flank. Air support began to appear, but the British pilots seemed unable to hit the ground targets. Still, artillery from British batteries and mortars continued to pin SS infantry, even if the fire had little lasting effect.
The German extreme left flank came under heavy pressure. Two squads in prepared positions attempted to hold off three British platoons. SS-Obersturmführer Nadel, holding the main left flank position some 200 yards away, had written off the two squads and was waiting for the next British move forward to open fire. What happened next amazed him. German tank and antitank fire was finally starting to tell on the British armor. Half the British tanks had been destroyed, and columns of smoke were rising to his rear. The British infantry, attacking to his front, could most likely see the smoke as well, and had to know it was their armor burning. Tired from two attempts at storming the German position, the sight of so much smoking ruin sapped further at the British morale. A third and final assault came. One of the German squads had moved to a flanking position, and when the British assault came, the flanking fire took them by surprise. It was too much for the Brits. Their morale crumbled, and two of the platoons broke and ran, including the heavy weapons platoon. SS-Obersturmführer Nadel saw his unbelievable opportunity and gathered together his grenadiers and charged the remaining British platoon. The counterattack caught the British totally unprepared, and the German infantry wiped the British out nearly to a man. The retreating two platoons ran for cover.
While the British right was disintegrating, the British center continued to get pounded. German gunners had finally gotten good beads on the British armor, and soon had wiped out three quarters of the attacking tanks. To add insult to injury, the remaining Brens, while towing forward much needed antitank guns, got caught by long distance German tank fire. All were destroyed or disabled and another battery of guns lost.
The British infantry on the left flank moved up against the German right flank, and was joined by infantry coming up the center. After exchanging prep fire with the German grenadiers supporting the antitank guns, the British began to set up for the assault. Seeing their armor support evaporate, combined with some near miss friendly fire close air support, did nothing to help them. Just as they were about to launch the assault, the Germans rotated their 75mm guns sixty degrees and loaded high explosives. The thunderous eruption of the antitank guns and small arms fire into the close up and in the open British was more than they could handle. The entire British company, or what of them survived, broke and ran from the battle. Mortar rounds chased them all the way back to the British start line. The center infantry held their position barely longer, and soon joined their brethren in the headlong flight.
More British aircraft arced overhead, Typhoons this time. Calling them in against the German tanks dug into the ridgeline, Lt Col Pearson was in total dismay as they continued past the ridge to fire at targets far to the rear. Contacting a Lieutenant who had managed to penetrate around the German left, Lt Col Pearson inquired what the planes were targeting. The response was seven more German tanks. The Lieutenant was also commenting on the German halftracks in the town firing on his position, and how it appeared supporting grenadiers were moving up, too. The sound of gunfire continued in the background, along with yells of panic. As the line went dead, it was obvious his last truly intact unit had broken as well. With the German defense still in tact, German reinforcements arriving, all his armor support gone, and his battalion down to 50% operational strength, Lt Col Pearson decided discretion to be the better part of valor. He order a withdrawal, and a battered 10th Highland Light Infantry fell back behind the ridge denoting their starting position and awaited relief.
Observations – The Brit commander blew it when he left loaded Brens right in the middle of a crossing field of fire of a German tank platoon and two anti-tank gun batteries. Even with this pain, he was still able to advance rapidly on the Germans and get into a flanking position. Two things caused havoc for the Brits. The losses caused a quick drop in morale, which caused further casualty increases which caused additional morale losses. And the German just rolled better.
Good scenario of a large force attacking a much smaller defender, but the attacking force is fairly fragile. Low armor values and morale issues as casualties mount mean the British need some good planning. The Germans suffer from the can’t be everywhere syndrome, and the German player wasted effort moving around reserve forces from one place to another and back to the first.
The British forces should leave their infantry off the transports and move them up the flanks. The British player made great flanking moves, but too many losses in the center left little reserve and lowered morale. Movement restrictions due to mud mean that infantry on the flanks is almost as fast as vehicles moving up the center road. When the infantry has flanked, bring the tanks up the center and follow with guns towed by Brens. The German AT capability, while small, needs to be dealt with immediately. Once the German tank unit is gone, British armor should have a nearly free hand pushing up the center while infantry threatens the AT guns.
For the German, plan your fields of fire. You can’t afford to reposition AT capability. Good placement by the German player reeked havoc on British armor. The hard part is defending the AT guns while preventing deep British flanking envelopments.
|Watching British armour getting destroyed.|
British thought: British need to take the town preferably before the German reinforcements arrive. When the reinforcements (panzers) arrive it will be very hard to assault the combined Panzers and Grenadier defenders
Comment: There is a lot of time to only receive a maximum of 6 step losses. The German objective, particularly in the face of potential heavy artillery strikes and air attacks appears highly improbable.
The heavy rain is over, but the ground has turned into a soggy quagmire. Vehicular movement is impeded.
1230-1300: British armour advances on the 12th SS artillery regiment. The 9th Cameronians may not advance for the first 2 hours. German anti-tank fire begins and 3 Sherman platoons are reduced before return fire eliminates the Wespe. (2 German steps lost).
Shermans continue to push forward but are hit by a 75mm AT Gun battery. They stay out of sight of the German 88mm and Tiger tanks. British artillery scores an accurate strike eliminating an SPW251 and 105mm artillery. (4 German steps already eliminated!)
1300-1315: Shermans move against the 75mm AT Gun. Two Shermans are reduced but the AT Gun is demoralized by British mortar fire.
1330-1400: British armour advances but among the hedgerows, the Germans hold their ground. This battery is taking a long time to overcome! Eventually the 75mm is eliminated by close range Sherman fire! The nearby Grenadiers are reduced. (6 German steps lost)
1415-1430: Soon the reduced Grenadiers and the 20mm AA Battery are overrun. (according to the victory conditions, the Germans can no longer “win”)
The Tigers move to the east to line up the British armour. A long range anti-tank battle begins and the Archers are eliminated by the PzIVH.
The 9th Cameronians begin their advance. As they are on the move, the German foot falls back into Grainville.
1445-1515: British foot advances and CHARGES!!!
The Fireflies and Stuarts are eliminated as a few Shermans are reduced! Maybe this was a really bad idea?
1530: The British armour is shattered! The RIF are under fire but this diversion allows the British AT Guns to advance.
1545-1600: 17-pdr gets a flank shot into some PzIVH eliminating them! 88 and Tigers continue to pick off Shermans who have a slow time making it through the quagmire. This soft ground is killing the British armour, who really need to get flanking fire if they intend on taking out those Tigers! British infantry enters Grainville!
1615: German artillery demoralize the 17-pdr crew who flee. The Shermans are further reduced and only two half platoons remain of the 2nd Fife and Yeomanry! The 9th Cameronians manage to tank two-thirds of Grainville but their cohesion (and morale!) takes a hit. (down to 7/7 morale)
1630-1645: British continue to assault the Germans and AT fire from the infantry eliminates the German SPWs. But the PzIVH move into the township.
1700-1715: The assault in Grainville continues to rage and the British lose further cohesion (7/6 morale).
1730-1800: The British are pounded as the Tiger, after eliminating the last of the Shermans advances. More bad news for the British when elements of the 2nd Battalion, 12th SS Panzer Regiment arrive!
1815-1830: The German armour closes in. An advancing PzIVH is reduced but the British 6-pdr. In the assault the British lose another RIF and Captain.
1845 onwards: British are ready to call it a day as they continue to get pummelled. The 9th Cameronians lose further cohesion and are at a minimum 6/6 morale!
Soon afterwards they are completely demoralized and flee to the north. They are routing everywhere as the German panzers roll into Grainville. With only a few reduced platoons remaining the British admit defeat.
Technically a draw, but the British were completely trounced. Perhaps to avoid casualties, the Germans would have had to perform more of a fighting withdrawal back to Grainville and abandon their starting positions very early on.
Once the German reinforcements arrive, the British armour looks completely out-matched (if any of it was remaining!). The winning strategy here is unclear to me.
Scenario Rating: 2/5 – This was one of the poorer scenarios to date. I suspect most battles will end up in a draw.