Umpire's Report

I am happy to say that all 80+ British Paras got finished by the day, as well as two Airlanding 6 pdrs and a Lorraine Schlepper, the other Jerries being all set to go to begin with. I also scandalously treated myself to a full kit of the Landmark Normandy buildings as I was able to find them hugely on sale.

A few people had to cancel out, so we ran only the one game, with the British hoping to hold Ranville against the German counterattacks.

I am happy to say that the Airborne proved up to the task, manfully throwing off several Nazi assaults. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting broke out as the Paras counterattacked and cleared Jerry from his early footholds in the outer edges of the town. Though the Red Devils took some heavy losses in their perimeter force, they were able to recover and resist, even when the Germans brought up some self-propelled artillery. Even with one of their two six-pounder AT guns malfunctioning, the Paras saw off the attacks and sent Fritz reeling with a bloody nose.

Initial attacks by the Germans were not cautious, allowing carefully concealed Paras to gun down the enemy as the advanced across open ground. Their Teutonic blood up, the foe pressed forward, capturing some of the gardens and orchards south of the town. They also infiltrated along the east side of the village, hoping to outflank the British. Falling back and regrouping cooly, the airborne troops took and held a defensive line in the town itself in the face of heavy bombardment from German tanks. A sniper attached to the British C Company kept the square heads of the Hun down, picking off (it is believed) a senior enemy officer and harassing the open-topped German assault guns as they destroyed French homes in hopes of driving back the paratroops. Though they managed to get a foothold in one corner of the town, the Germans were dismayed by ferocious British assaults with Sten guns and Tommy guns blazing and eventually gave ground, falling back to reconsider as outlying groups of parachute troops, separated by the drop, began to trickle in to bolster the Allied defence.

The landing grounds are safe from attack by Hitler's panzers, from the east at least, and the Brits have time to relax somewhat, eat a hurried meal, and clean their weapons before awaiting the next wave of Germans attacks.

Jan Spoor

Radio Oranje reporter accompanying British Airborne forces in Normandy