1st Welsh Guards - pictured during the earlier Goodwood operation in July 1944


This coming weekend I have had to come up with a game at short notice for our monthly meeting at the Devon Wargames Group and after really enjoying getting out the WWII collection and revisiting IABSM v3 last month fighting the Arnhem themed Baskeyfield VC scenario, this month I decided to have a bit more armour out on the table and not having used my Churchill tanks from the 6th Guards Tank Brigade, settled on a scenario from "Cymru Am Byth", translated as "Wales Forever", scenario book by Richard Clarke covering the wartime exploits of the Welsh Guards with sixteen scenarios and a mini campaign.

After Normandy, the Guards Armoured Division split up into battle groups of infantry and tanks from the different Guard regiments and my Dad, with the 55th Field Regiment RA, spent most of his time attached to the Welsh battle group, so I have an interest in the exploits of the Taffs.

So the scenario selected was "Let's Get at the Bastards", Scenario Twelve from the book

To set the scene for the weekend game, I thought it might be interesting to summarise events prior to our little battle. The map below shows the front line in Normandy on the July 25th 1944 with American forces established on a line from Lessoy to St Lo and ready to take advantage of the German positions which, due to their perceived threat of an Allied breakthrough around Caen, saw 80% of German armour positioned on the Anglo/Canadian front close to that city.

Operation Cobra, the US offensive, when it came, was the longed for break through and saw the town of Avranches and the route into Brittany and central France firmly in American control by the July 31st, heralding the beginning of the end for German forces in France.

To help pin down any attempts by the Germans to move troops to their western flank the British launched a complimentary offensive on the 30th of July, Operation Bluecoat, designed to take control of the vital road junction at Vire and the high ground of Mount Pincon, with both objectives falling to allied troops on August 6th.

In their desperation to restore their line and halt the rapid progress of the Americans, German commanders launched Operation Luttich, the Mortain counter-offensive the next day, looking to break through to the western coast and cut off American spearhead units. With ULTRA warning American commanders of the planned attack and with few German armoured reserves left or, for that matter, in any fit state to launch an offensive, the counter-attack was over by August 13th with barely any effect on the Americans progress.

Thus the scene was set for the launching of the British offensive, Operation Grouse designed to precipitate a collapse of those German forces still contesting the allied advance and which would see the British 3rd Infantry Division and Guards Armoured Division, drive in the 'full of fight' remnants of 9th SS Hohenstauffen Division, as pressure was brought to bear on the rapidly collapsing German front line.

One of these attacks led to the fight for control of the little cluster of farm buildings on top of hill 242 overlooking Chenedolle at Le Haut Perrier and is the subject of the chosen scenario.

What makes this scenario have added appeal is the inclusion of three troops of 3rd Scots Guards Churchill tanks that supported the 3rd Company 1st Welsh Guards on the day of the attack. A unit I built a few years ago with this game in mind, but that have never been on the table in anger.

Churchill tanks of the 6th Guards Tank Brigade, pictured during Operation Bluecoat

The map for Scenario 12 showing the German set up positions with the British entering the table from the north edge

The Guardsmen find themselves tasked with taking on a battle-group from 9th SS Panzer Division determined to resist to the utmost and force the Tommies to pay a heavy price for any ground taken

So the "battle-box" is all loaded up with the impedimenta of tabletop warfare  and as you can see the forces are mustered.

In addition I have pulled together revised IABSM V3 scenario briefings with the updated force stats all put on one sheet for the respective sides to refer to.

I am really looking forward to seeing these "bad-boys" on the table, although they will be facing a stern test that will see how thick the armour is on a Churchill Infantry Tank.

A stern test indeed!

JJ's Battle-Box

Scots and Welsh Guards ready to go

SS Heavy Armour

The History

Taken from the Welsh Guards Regimental History:

“About half-way to the village a line of hedges crossed their front leading on the left into a sunken lane. No.7 platoon now occupied this hedge-line while Leuchars went to contact No.8 Platoon, who were farther forward on the left of No.7. They had reached the outskirts of the village and had silenced a machine gun post when two more opened on them and held them up. One of the Scots Guards tanks supporting them was blown up on a mine, but the crew managed to escape and continued to fight as infantry for the rest of the battle. A dug-in Panther and a mortar were also spotted and Sergeant E.Williams moved his platoon back to the sunken road. 

"Meanwhile Lieutenant D.J.C. Stevenson with Sergeant R.G.Fowles and five guardsmen had made an eventful sortie from No.7 Platoon. Re-crossing the main road, they had crept forward to the first two houses, knocked out a machine-gun post and killed two snipers. They were about to rejoin their platoon when a nearby Panther sent an armour-piercing shell into the house they had cleared, and killed Guardsman W.E. Bowen who was standing with his back to the wall; the rest got back safely.

"Shortly after this the enemy put down a mortar concentration mixed with smoke which screened the village and suggested that either a counter-attack or a withdrawal was being covered. While the smoke lasted the company could see little, but the Scots Guards tanks worked out to their flank, spotted three Panthers moving and promptly knocked out all three. The Company were loud in praise of the work done by the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards that day – ‘Even when their tanks were hit (they lost two) they came and joined the infantry. One Lance-Sergeant borrowed No.7 Platoons PIAT to go and deal with a Panther which had knocked out his tank. He came back with his hand bleeding and the PIAT in pieces. Then he grabbed a rifle and went back again. That was the last I saw of him.’

"When the smoke-screen lifted the company advanced on the village and entered now without much opposition, killing a few Germans who remained and taking nine prisoners. No.8 Platoon went to the far end of the village and hardly reached their objective when ‘the ominous clank of tank tracks was heard on the road, and round the corner of a hedge came one more Panther. Its huge gun was swinging from side to side, the tank commander was looking out of the top and had obviously seen nothing. The first two shots from No,8 Platoon’s PIAT missed, but the third hit it squarely beside the driver’s seat, a loud explosion occurred and immediately flames burst from the crippled tank. In a very few seconds the fire was ranging and ammunition started exploding. Only one of the crew got out and he was promptly ‘seen off’ by a light machine gun. Nobody was in the mood for taking prisoners.”

Game Set-Up

The picture, taken on the iPad (below, right), shows the five German platoon group positions, corresponding to the scenario map (below, left) with the British set to enter from the northern table edge.

Players' Briefing: Map & Terrain

Le Haut Perrier is nothing more than a minuscule collection of farm buildings that does not even feature on the smallest scale maps. Its importance was due entirely to its position atop a rise in the rolling terrain that gave excellent views across all the surrounding countryside.

The hedges are relatively light, whilst the farm buildings are of solid stone construction and provide good cover. One of the lanes running east west is partially sunken on the southern side, this will provide good cover for any troops in it.


Take (British)/Hold (German) Le Haut Perrier.

German Order of Battle

Elements of 9th SS Hohenstauffen

  • One Big Man (Level III)
  • One Big Man (Level III)
  • One Big Man (Level II)

Platoon One

  • Two MMG teams (3 crew each)

Platoon Two

  • Two MMG teams (3 crew each)

Platoon Three

  • Two MMG teams (3 crew each)

Panzer One - Morale 3

  • Three Panther A tanks, dug in

Panzer Two - Morale 3

  • Three Panther A tanks


  • Two 80mm mortars off-table with three pre-registered target points (Use IPad to record aiming points)

German Player Notes:

  • Support weapons, such as mortars or HMGs, will only move when activated by a Big Man or if they come under close range small arms fire. They may move or fire in a turn but never do both.
  • Tripod‐mounted weapons like medium or heavy machine guns will be unable to move if reduced to a crew of one.
  • Light support weapons, such as LMGs or light mortar teams, will generally be considered part of an infantry platoon. When they do operate independently they move with the same number of Actions (4) as a full strength section of their troop type.
  • The Germans deploy their units in two deployment areas, as marked on the map as A and B. They MUST deploy at least two whole platoon sized units in each deployment zone. Both sides are on blinds when the game commences.
  • One platoon of German tanks must be dug in; all of their infantry may be as well.
  • The hedges in this area are not dense bocage, but remove one dice from any unit moving through them.
  • The side that holds Le Haut Perrier at the end of the game wins.

British Order of Battle

3 Company, 1st Welsh Guards

  • Lieutenant D.R Leuchars (Level IV)
  • Lieutenant D.J.C.Stevenson (Level III)
  • Sergeant E. Williams (Level III)
  • Sergeant R.G. Fowles (Level III)

Platoon Seven

  • Two rifle sections (8 men each)
  • One PIAT (2 man crew)

Platoon Eight

  • Three rifle sections
  • One PIAT (2 man crew)

Platoon Nine

  • Three rifle sections
  • One PIAT (2 man crew)

Elements of 3rd Scots Guards Morale 3

Troop One (Command Troop)

  • Three Churchill tanks (Two Churchill VIIs, one Chuchill V CS)

Troop Two

  • Three Churchill tanks (Churchill VI's)

Troop Three

  • Three Churchill tanks (Churchill VI's)

British Player Notes: 

  • The British start the game on the northern table edge.
  • Both sides are on blinds when the game commences.
  • The British have two additional dummy blinds to use.
  • The hedges in this area are not dense bocage, but remove one dice from any unit moving through them.

The lead British elements enter the table on blinds with the first platoons spotted by the German defenders visible

As part of the setting up for this action and given the very cluttered nature of the terrain I wanted to keep the use of blinds to a minimum so had the Germans set up their platoon blinds out of sight of the British players and photographed their set up on the IPad together with the positions of their pre-registered mortar strikes.

The view up hill from the British lines

Once recorded all the German markers were removed, using the IPad as a reference and thus the British were presented with an empty battlefield with just their blinds moving across the fields, with the Germans able to spot from their hidden positions.

Close Normandy terrain providing plenty of cover for friend and foe alike

The German's opted for a balanced three up (6 x dug MG42 MMGs) forward in and around the farm, with Panthers on each flank, the right flank being dug in.

Scots Guards Churchill tanks on over-watch as their comrades move out into the neighbouring fields

The British attack plan rather presupposes a move to bring the force to bear on a point in the German line looking to overwhelm it quickly and take out the other parts piecemeal, as is what happened. The tricky bit is getting to grips with the defenders without suffering too much on the way in, and there as the Great Bard would say "lies the rub of it".

It's quiet - Too quiet!

As the British forces entered the table using their two dummy blinds to disguise the line of attack, the German defenders spent the first few turns scanning the hedgerows down hill trying to spot the obvious sounds of enemy tanks and any supports.

Panthers dug in above the farm open fire and take return fire from the lumbering British tanks

Very soon the first Churchill tanks were spotted looking like first year débutantes nervously making their way towards the dance floor. As well as tanks, the first two platoons of British infantry were soon spotted moving, two up, looking to get to the cover of the sunken lane.

The German positions were well dug in and camouflaged

Radios crackled within German lines as the dug in Panthers on the right flank opened fire on the lead Churchill troop. The first shot ploughed harmlessly into the ground in front of the first vehicle causing an urgent rebuke for more care  and attention from the SS tank commander to his gunner.

The gunner responded with a round that smacked into the front of the first Churchill and shot vertically upwards leaving the enemy tank unharmed. However the Scots Guards troop leaders relief was soon short lived as the other two Panthers opened up with aimed fire at the other two tanks in his command.

Their armour saved them from complete destruction, but left one immobilised permanently and the other temporarily but with impaired movement, plus the shock to their crews didn't help with their chances of returning the fire. Not surprisingly when they had their opportunity to respond the first vehicle smoke rounds appeared to their front aimed at giving them some respite.

The lead British tanks take casualties, shock and damage as the Guards infantry sprint to the sunken lane

The poor old Welsh Guards were were getting a bit of battle inoculation as their lead platoon suddenly found themselves under mortar fire as they crossed the open field to their front, causing the survivors to sprint to the cover of the hedge on the sunken lane looking to regroup.

The dash to the hedge line only served to be a jump from the frying pan into the fire as two previously unspotted machine gun bunkers opened fire on the hapless Guardsmen, adding to their distress with further casualties and shock.

The Welsh Guards infantry come under withering machine gun fire across the lane

The British infantry commander was desperately in need of a bit of support from his "tankies", but they had a fight of their own going on, whilst aware of the need to close in on the German machine gun nests and help suppress them.

As if things couldn't get worse! The second Panther platoon move in on the Scots Guards flank

Meanwhile the second Guards infantry platoon taking advantage of the attention being paid to their comrades took advantage of it to make their way forward on the German extreme right flank, making the sunken lane pretty much intact.

The Welsh have established a lodgement in the farm, clearing the MG nests, but the attacks stalls in the face of heavy casualties

The Guardsmen were well aware that they had to break in amongst the cover of the buildings while using some of the tanks to keep the Panthers on the hill focused in their direction whilst also using some to support the infantry.

Making use of the smoke from the first tank casualties together with that of the defensive smoke rounds laid, the second troop moved through their comrades and brought HE fire onto the German MG nests on the sunken lane causing casualties and shocks.

The Welsh Guards used the respite given by their tanks to regroup and add to the pinning fire as one section sprinted over the lane through a neighbouring orchard and took the first MG nest in the flank and rear.

The dug in Panther platoon provided valuable support to their infantry in the farm area

Whilst the attack in the centre was going on the third troop of Scots Churchills duked it out with the dug in Panthers, causing multiple hits on the enemy platoon commanders vehicle but remaining one shock away from causing the German commander to bail out.

Whist the German tanks were occupied with this duel, the second platoon of Welsh Guards desperately tried to plant a PIAT bomb onto the nearest German tank from their position on the sunken lane, but it struck harmlessly against the earthwork around the tank.

The British attack is halted with the survivors looking to disengage. The opposing tank platoons face off across the hill side as the battle subsides in the centre

Sensing the distress of the British attack the SS commander pulled in his forces from the German left to counter attack the Guardsmen. This saw the second Panther platoon edge their way towards the flank of the British tank attack whilst two MG42 teams relocated into the farm barns to secure the centre.

The Welsh Guards section that had cleared the first bunker then took out its neighbour and got a lodgement in one of the barns, but by then the attack had stalled with too many infantry casualties littering the nearby fields and the Scots looking likely to be caught in the vice of two platoons of Panther tanks one on each flank,

And that was, as they say, that with the British attack stopped in its tracks.


This game was bad day at the office for the Brits, with their attack managing to find the dug in Panthers rather than their mobile comrades, and with their dice failing miserably to save casualties, only by an uncanny ability for the Germans to do the opposite.

I think we were generous on the cover we gave the British moving through the hedges and trees that break up the terrain; usually making them an 'okay' to 'poor' target on the IABSM fire table. On reflection I would make the sunken lane a 'poor' target environment along its length in front of the farm giving a jump off point for the Brits that make it across the field to the front of the buildings.

The Churchill proved a tough opponent taking hits that would automatically brew Shermans and Cromwells and the use of 'Engage' orders with aimed shooting certainly kept the Panthers on the hill busy fending off their shots.

A very nice afternoon spent battling in the Normandy countryside provided great sport before the rugby match of this year's Six Nations competition was caught up with in the pub afterwards.

Thanks to Ian, Steve, Steve M., and new member Bob for providing the entertainment.