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Battle of Normandy Campaign – part 2

Capturing the Crossing June 26, 1944
Western Front Operation Epsom

This is the second battle in the inaugural 2010 Memoir 44 campaign between myself and Craig Hargraves. If you want you can go and read Craig’s report for the first battle. Unlike Craig I will resolve the flank naming issue by describing it all from my point of view.


The German forces, The German 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer Division with elements of the 21st Panzer Division, are deployed in a defensive line in front of the Odon river, with sandbags along the line and strong defence in Cheux, in front of my only objective, the bridge over the Odon. Their artillery battery is on my right flank back from the line. Some start up dice rolls and Craig has to set up his front most infantry unit 3 hexes back from the hedgerows on my right.

The UK forces, 15th Scottish Division, supported by the 31st Tank Brigade and 11th armoured division are spread with a concentration on my left, along with my artillery. Two tank units on my right are badly positioned if they are to be brought to the middle. The initial German strategic dice roll obliges me to retreat infantry on my left and lose a tank strength from my unit in the centre.

I decide not to use any strategic reserves for this battle, and Craig also saves his.

Opening Manoeuvre’s


Sketch of Opening Moves

I started off with some useful cards in my hand, “dig in” (4 infantry to place sand bags), “their finest hour” with the possibility of bringing six units in to the fray, and a “close assault”. I decided that I would need to position for a major assault on the center, bringing my troops across the deadly open terrain into close contact and hopefully surviving the response in order to pull off a major close assault. I would use the artillery to soften up the troops on my left. I had no idea how I would cope with the two elite tank units.

The British began by moving out along the line and taking up a number of forward defenisve positions in woods and hedgerows. Unexpectedly the German infantry on the left advanced out of the hedgerows and performed reconnaissance on the left. In response I advanced the artillery covered by infantry to start bringing them against the enemy positions in Chaux and the village to its left. The scouting infantry then made a dash into the woods and set up sniping at my screening infantry and a tank unit appeared in the town.

The combat rate increased on the left flank as both Scottish infantry and British tanks probed the units in the woods causing considerable casualties, but medics and replacements quickly brought the German unit back up to strength. At the same time on my right my infantry took up forward positions, opening a corrdor for tank units to move towerd the center.

A recon in force by my troops had little effect on dislodging the Germans on the left but allowed my tank units on the right to concentrate toward the centre. The German response was a general firefight, reducing my left most tank unit to one strength and forcing it to retreat, and causing casualties in my other forward infantry positions.

There followed some ineffective firefights. The German elite tank units advance into threatening positions while my artillery dropped shells into no man’s land, falling short of their target.

At this point I noted that, because this game was part of a campaign we were both being much more careful than would normally be the case.

The Grand Assault

The Grand Assault

The Grand Assault

I had now picked up an Infantry Assault card and an Armoured Assault card. My troops were in position. I was sure Craig had held back commands for his centre but It was time to make the move. I attacked the woods on the left again and wiped out the Germans there, advancing my infantry into the position. General German fire picked off a few more infantry in my centre. I slapped down “Their Finest Hour” and then rolled badly, only gaining an infantry, tank and star symbol. Not great.

A British tank unit wheeled out to the far left to attack the enemy held town, accompanied by infantry. Some minor casualties inflicted and my first two units in position for close assault. Then the German tanks advanced, rolling over the British infantry and inflicting heavy casualties on the tank unit. It seemed the grand assault would be a squib, and I now had two single strength tank units waiting to be smacked.

I could have ordered the tanks back, but I had to break this German defence so I ordered the infantry assault. My boys closed in to contact distance against Cheux, but again could not bring any force to bear against the enemy. A German armoured assault followed. The first German elite tank unit wiped out one of my infantry units, moved out and damaged another. The second elite German tank unit rolled out from my right but failed to press any advantage.

The tension was really high now, and despite the setbacks it would be foolhardy to pull back, so I launched my own armoured assault, bringing four units into contact (two of them with only one strength left) smashing both elite German tank units and forcing them back. The enemy probed back but failed to change the position.

I now had 5 units in contact, some quite low in strength, and I played my close assault. This time I managed to wipe out the elite tank units, forced the infantry to retreat out of the forward Cheux position and pushed two tank units deep into the line toward the bridge objective. An enemy recon in force pushed back my infantry on the left and wiped out a unit in the central assault. This was a desperate struggle. I felt very stressed, I could see the assault resulting in too many casualties, giving a German victory in a turn or two.

Finally an attack on the centre forced a German infantry retreat from Cheux along the Odon where my tanks pinned them and took them out, providing a British victory a turn before the Germans could do the same. A second victory for the allies, again with out quite capturing the objective.

Final Medal Tally
Allies 6 – no objectives
Axis 4

also posted at Boardgame Geek.

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