Monday, October 12, 2015

Panzer Battles Normandy - AAR, Part 5: Violence of Battle

The fight has been heavy and we can only hope to hold the gains we achieved. The slaughter is extreme, I can't point to any important terrain feature where friend or foe have not died at murderous rates. An early culmination point arrives after the last convulsions of the front line.


The Cavalry Highlanders, right at the  west flank objective, hold the line in various states of disarray. Note their morale and casualty levels.
The Black Watch Regiment (center) and the Cromwell tanks in support have finally cleared a path uphill the ridge (they are advancing south through the railroad). At the crest of this ridge all appears clear but after four hours here we all know that every piece of terrain can host a concealed German trench. That bunch of houses southwest of the point tanks is very likely to bring some trouble.
The Royal Regiment (east flank) advances without pause, eliminating a German trench with relative ease.


The last German defenders east of Verrieres (legend "2 Men") are unceremoniously thrown out of their trenches. Overwhelmed by direct fire from machine guns, tank main guns from the low terrain at their east, and (why not) an infantry assault, they try to escape south with great difficulties. They are mowed down by rifle and tanks' main guns.
The situation at "The Factory" objective (west flank, hold by the Calgary Highlanders) holds by a thread. With the Black Watch Regiment (center, at the rail road) with their path south more or less open, I command a couple of their companies (plus minus change) to clear the east flank of the Calgarians.


Company A of the Black Watch (highlighted red) clear yet another German trench. It turns out that the east flank of the Calgarians was no so much under threat. But you don't know what's there until you walk through those fields. 
Do you know your odds, Norman W? A composite figure edited with a third party graphics software shows the Calgarians tenuous position at their objective and the German forces trying to force their entry through them.

Support Cromwell tanks, 250 meters short of their objective can't move a meter more because of the German armor threat west of their position. A concealed route through the built up area that shows the question marks (Fontenay le Marmion) is not an option because these Cromwell tanks would not have timely support from infantry.


After a short recon towards the railroad crossing objective, a section of Cromwell tanks took fire from handheld anti-tank weapons. They pulled safely back into the ridge without casualties. The German armor in the west flank could take out the entire squadron, so they will have to wait for the infantry to move down from the ridge.

Shoot and scoot. Support tanks from the  from the 1st Hussars Regiment and from the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment briefly emerge (blue arrow) from their hull down positions east of Verrieres, take a volley of fire (red arrows) at the Panzer Vgs south of them and pull back into cover. Even at this short engagement range, they take only two German tanks. But we didn't take any losses. 

It is only when the front stabilizes that the magnitude of the sacrifices at these farmlands are thrown into my lap.

The scenario has ended and I couldn't help it but to use the title of Chapter 14 in the book referenced below.

Canadian and British intelligence had badly miscalculated, and every battalion paid the price.
Zuehlke, Mark (2011-11-08). Breakout from Juno: First Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign, July 4–August 21, 1944 (Canadian Battle) (p. 197). D & M Publishers. Kindle Edition.


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