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The Cahagnes Road, 1944


The Second World War, Battlegroup Panzergrenadier, 15mm

This game set in Normandy was a “reconnaissance in force” , with the British probing German positions to the south-east of Caumont. It was based on the situation in the first week of August 1944, after the first day of Operation Bluecoat – the British attempt to break the German lines to the south-west of Caen.  Jim and Derek would run as the British, and Bob and I the Germans. Dougie was umpiring. The main British attack was taking place just off the edge of the table to the west – this was a sideshow on the flank. The British objective was to investigate the strength of the German position, and if possible to see if the D54 road running south from Cahagnes could be opened up as an avenue of attack. To achieve this the British had a Reconnaissance platoon and a motorised platoon hidden on the table, in and around Cahagnes village. img_2007The also had the support of a troop of Churchill tanks. In addition, a company of infantry was advancing down a road just off the table edge, and was expected to arrive on our table at some time after Turn 3. The Germans objective was to hold their ground, and to deny the Allies use of the road. They had a reduced company of infantry, backed by three machine guns, one 75mm infantry gun and a 50mm Anti-tank gun. They also had a few entrenchments scattered around the tabletop. Just as in most of our Battlegroup Panzergrenadier scenarios, most of this German troops were hidden when the game began, with the AT gun in a camouflaged ambush position.img_2005The British started with some spotting on the woods in front of their positions. Having detected nothing a platoon moved forward into the woods. All this movement was hidden but the Germans knew something was going on in that sector. Derek commanding the motorised platoon hidden in the village then gave the order to advance. The men jumped into their half-tracks and headed down the open road. With a certain degree of inevitability the leading  half-track took a direct hit from the hidden 50mm anti-tank gun. The next turn the second halftrack was hit too. The British infantry bailed out, but  amazingly neither half-track was brewed up, thanks to some lucky die rolling. Still, it was enough to induce caution. Jim’s Recon platoon was well placed to flank the gun,but Bob had this covered with a machine gun and some infantry. A brisk firefight developed,  effectively tying down the the Recon platoon, which was now struggling to make any headway.img_2004Meanwhile German infantry had appeared in the hedgeline opposite the debussed motorised platoon, and a hidden German FOO managed to range in the on-table 75mm infantry gun. The British lost almost half their platoon, and the survivors were soon “legging it” into the cover of the nearest wood. Fortunately for the British their reserves started to arrive, and Derek wheeled them across country to face the Germans behind the hedge line. However, in doing so he forgot about that 50mm anti-tank gun. As a result the supporting infantry tanks came under fire, and the leading Churchill was damaged, and forced to retire.  The British plan was falling apart. With the reconnaissance mission dead in the water, the hard-fought game was brought to a close.img_2002Although the British didn’t take many casualties they completely lost all momentum. The reconnaissance wasn’t particularly effective – the main German position remained untouched, and the British would have to pause and prepare a proper attack to make any progress.  Yet again we used Battlegroup Panzergrenadier. It’s a great rules set, and always produces a good game. The figures were all supplied by Jim and Derek. Derek even discovered a battalion of Germans he bought at a show, and had forgotten all about. Some people have far too much lead…. much of it in the wrong scale…

 

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