The Allies have been bringing men and material onto the beach head for a couple weeks now, but the Germans have been assembling a large force from all over Europe and are now ready for a determined effort to drive them into the sea.

Two companies of German infantry from the Hermann Göring Panzer Division and the 26th Pz Division were ready to push hard for the beach head and make way for an armored breakout into the rear areas. They  had in support 4 Assault guns, 4Panzer IVs,  a platoon of panzer grenadiers in halftracks, a battery of 105s and an indeterminate number of screaming salvos of rockets from a Nebelwerfer rocket battery. The ground was prone to bogging and the drainage ditch was uncrossable by vehicles, except at two small, narrow bridges which were under the brow of a small rise with a number of stout stone buildings on it. They faced a full US company of the 15th Regt., 3rd Infantry Division, supported by a battery of 105s and a battery of 5” Navy guns floating off shore, and a section of 57mm ATs and two wily M-10 tank destroyers (big gun, small armor!).

At the end, the main bridge was jammed with smashed German tank hulks and two thirds of all of the American infantry was KIA (not merely scattered to the winds but in fact killed outright). The furious attack by the Germans just couldn't cross the two bridges that would have gotten them into the American rear areas.

Although most of the American infantry was rendered ineffective, the single partial platoon holding out did have one of the two tank destroyers still alive and two well dug in and well concealed 57 millimeter anti-tank guns to cover the approach—along with their now zeroed in artillery support. In the end, the American infantry jammed up the Germans enough to score some bazooka and AT gun hits and when the big shells finally started to fall and finish off all the tanks, it was all over.

The Germans had to contend with a very high possibility of bogging if they were off road and the impossibility of crossing the creek/drainage ditch except at the bridges was quite a constraint. Their plan was to push their infantry ahead of the tanks and secure the crossing points and otherwise use their great numbers to make possibilities for their armor. That almost worked but was frustrated by the American (very bloody but successful) decision to put almost all of their infantry very far forward so that it was an infantry shoot out on a big scale very early on in the game.  The German speed of attack frustrated the American ability to get their usually quite responsive and destructive artillery on target, but it also minimized the possible effectiveness of support fire from their own armor.

The highlights of the battle for me included the gigantic miss and deviation from target of the first salvo of 150 millimeter rockets launched by the Germans. They not only missed the center of the farm buildings but they drifted so far off target that they actually hit Germans near the German starting points! The next salvo hit right on target but unbeknownst to the Germans it did almost no damage whatsoever.

If just a couple of small points had swung a bit differently…what if the German artillery strike had been more effective? What if the German armor had all concentrated on one flank and dispatched a few more defenders before trying to force a crossing?  Who knows!  Great job to both sides, Biederman, Glover, and Judge (USA) and Compton, Turrill and Hall (The Other Guys).

Joe Patchen