Over the past few months the Lardy element here at Durham Wargames Group have been furiously play testing in preparation for the up and coming IABSM supplement All American: The 82nd Airborne Division 6th June to 9th June 1944 by Dave Parker. What follows is a taster of one of those games and is the fourth in a series of five scenarios played over the same terrain. I have posted photos of this game in the 82nd Airborne folder in Photos. The primary mission of the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day was to secure or destroy certain bridges that crossed the Douve and Merderet rivers, which both ran behind Utah Beach. Although the 82nd Division paratroopers were supposed to land in three groups to the east and west of the Merderet River, various problems resulted in the men being scattered over a wide area. Portions of land surrounding the Merderet river valley had been flooded by the Germans to hinder airborne operations.
For the last 3 days there has been fierce fighting for the causeway between the small hamlet of Cauquigny and the bridge at La Fiere. The position is at stalemate. The 1057th Regiment, 91st Luftlande Division has now switched its effort south towards the bridge at Chef du Pont leaving a company to defend the Cauquigny end of the causeway from which they expect an imminent attack. Unbeknown to them 1/325th Glider battalion has discovered a sunken road across the floodwaters and is approaching from the rear. (see pics 1, 2 & 3)
It was a dark and stormy night...
Expecting an attack from across the causeway, the Germans deployed their forces in the village and next to the floodwaters. When two American blinds appeared at the far end of the causeway their decision appeared to have been vindicated. However, when more blinds started to approach from the other side of the village they began to wonder (see pic 4).
Being a night attack visibility was very limited and the two sides would almost be on top of each other before being spotted. This promised to be a short, sharp and bloody affair.
The Americans plan was to send their main force of 2 platoons (each consisting of 3 squads of 10 men) straight into the village as quickly as possible to try and catch Jerry unaware. The third platoon and the 2 MMG teams would make a flanking movement to their right and hopefully meet up at the head of the causeway.
Reaching the main farm building unopposed Platoon 1 "decloaked" and one squad took the barn. The other crossed over the opposite hedge to work their way down the side of the field. (see pic 5)
The farmhouse had a blind under it so they steeled themselves for a melee. What happened next will live in DWG folklore for a very long time. The next card turned was Heroic Leader and without catching his breath and with a ferocious yell of "Action - diddely - Jackson" Lt. Ned Flanders (for `twas he) sprinted the short distance to the farmhouse's back door, kicked it open and with a "Hi-diddly-ho, neighborinos!" took on the section of gob-smacked Germans inside. The result of the close combat was stunning but, in retrospect, entirely predictable. Ned threw six d6 and got 1 kill, the poor Germans threw sixteen d6 and got none! The shocked remnants fled through the front door with God's own stormtrooper in hot pursuit. (see pic 6)
Spotted from the barn, two 75mm guns revealed themselves and were rushed by 2 squads of Ned's platoon. These were taken after a vicious struggle along with an ammo truck. The supporting German section in the orchard beyond wiped out almost to a man. (see pics 7, 8 & 9)
As these and the so far intact Platoon 2 pushed on into the village, on the American's right flank things had turned out a bit sticky. Platoon 3 had run head first into the bulk of the German forces and were taking heavy casualties. (see pic 10)
They could do no more than retreat back across the hedges when they could and hope that some support would arrive.
At this stage the ticking clock and the lure of beer got the better of us and we called it a day. Historically the attack failed and it looked like it would be very difficult to dislodge Jerry this time. As the glider boys regrouped their hearts sank, where was Ned? Where was the Hero of Cauquigny? Say not that he had fallen!
The final scenario (aka The Rescue of Ned Flanders) promises to be a treat.