Showing posts with label Allied. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Allied. Show all posts

15 June 2014

Malady Part 2: The Allied Ordnance Factory

Allied Artillery: The Royal Ordnance Factory in Action

Seems that the cooler weather here in NZ has caused most gamers to have some introspection, or is that inspection of the into pile of shame. That lead and/or plastic pile that has not been touched, or that games system that you no longer play...

It is also a about balance and avoiding the avarice. (Pontificates the King of Avaricious collectors)
Stilling that magpie in us that wants to collect them shiny toys! I suspect I have not only a single magpie, but a whole colony!

Balance ! That's it boys! So this weekend I got stuck into my 1:1 earthworks project, rather than paint and model (too much)



Looking a bit like Rommel's west wall and hemmbalken to capsize Allied Higgins boats, my retaining walls start to take shape, Call them Herman's asparagus if you wish, but the posts are concreted in...

Rather satisfying, and now we have to wait for the concrete around the piles to set. So thoughts turn to a soak in a hot tub, and to the Royal Ordnance Factory:


Three Matadors with 3.3 inch guns bought off Trademe, and four in the process of being built


"Dead Ants" Matadors, glue drying and awaiting their wheels, as are two of the guns,all  freshly assembled.

And 2 QF 17 pounders to add to the existing battery to make 4. 
Surprisingly hard to come by these OOP models.


And my 105 mm medium howitzers


..and 2 Long Tom What the $@&?!s. 
Survivors from my childhood. Probably fictitious Chimera guns with little historical accuracy. 
Useful  in a pinch, as no-one can really accurately identify these horrors!  


QT 25 pounders

 

6 pounder AT guns. Nice little quick to fire devils!


And as I have no Allied AA apart from a single half-track mounted GMC and 2 Russian 37 AA guns, the Royal Ordnance Factory has now been instructed to build those 40 mm Bofors guns and tractors that have been lurking in that pile o' plastic for a while...





21 May 2014

D-Day Landings Part 2: Sword Beach Re-fought: Lion-sur-Mer and Hermanville-sur-Mer

D-Day Landings Part 2: Sword Beach Re-fought: 

Lion-sur-Mer and Hermanville-sur-Mer



La ville d' Lion Sur Mer, Hermanville-sur-Mer farms in the distance.
L to R: Artillery observation tower/bunker, the Riva Bella casino (German HQ)
Dug in 716. Inf.Div Troops, HMG Bunker, HMG Pillbox, LMG dug in
Heer Artiller and Luftwaffe 88mm guns in place.

An uneasy dawn broke over Lion-sur-Mer in Normandy. It is 6 June 1944. English and Americans ships had bombed the area significantly since midnight...

Surely they would not launch an attack in such foul weather. Surely this is just a diversion, as everyone knows their attack will come at the Pas de Calais...

At 0300, the Allied air forces bombarded the German beach defenses for the final time before the amphibious invasion. A few hours later, British warships bombarded German gun batteries and other strong-points along Sword Beach. At daybreak, British destroyers closed in and fired at short range. At 05.10 hours, Royal Air Force aircraft laid a smoke screen to shield the invasion force, but the smokescreen was used by boats of the German 5th Torpedo Boat Flotilla to attack, firing 15 torpedoes and scoring one hit, sinking the destroyer Svennert. 

At 05.30, soldiers began embarking landing craft. At 0600, LCA landing craft began sailing for Queen Red and Queen White sectors, joined by waves of various landing craft every few minutes. 


Sword Beach from the Air at low tide

Wildcards: Both teams rolled an extra +1 to reinforcement rolls for armour.
The winner would be the Army that held the objectives (Bella Riva Casino/Observation tower) and Road to Caen.

Turn 1: 

As the landing craft closed, LCT(R) vessels fired a total of 1,064 5-inch rockets, knocking out some beach obstacles, 2 troop units of infantry. Shortly after, at the range of 7,000 yards, self-propelled guns of the UK 3rd Division began to fire from their vessels to knock out beach obstacles. 

At the distance of 5,000 yard to the beach, 40 duplex-drive Sherman tanks of the UK 13th/18th Hussars were launched; historically 31 of them would make it to the beach successfully. By this point, all German guns were firing at the landing craft, and the Allied formation began to break up...
The D-day assault on Sword Beach was in full swing 


First Wave of Allied troops land: 2nd East Yorks Engineers/sappers supported by DD M4 Shermans
Several Higgins boats have already refloated 
DUKWs bring in weapons teams bearing mortars in the 3rd wave.

07.25 hours, the infantry arrived on the beach, which quickly attracted fire from machine guns and other small arms. The UK 2nd East Yorkshire sappers which landed on Queen Red sector, experienced a tough fight as they attempted to dash across an area bombarded by 88-millimeter and 75-millimeter guns inland, while being raked by HMG and LMG machine gun fire. 

The Germans returned fire in their turn, and picked off a surprising number of English command teams. It may be due to the fact that many wore their officer's caps and carried swagger sticks, making them easily identifiable to the German gunners.

Turn 2: 
Shortly behind the initial wave were 24 landing craft carrying British Royal Marine commandos. The commandos landed on the extreme western end of Queen White sector and moved toward the German strong-point at Lion-sur-Mer, which would serve as the link-up between Sword and Juno Beaches. The first target of the commandos was the casino at Riva Bella, which had been turned into a formidable fortress of interlocking bunkers, trenches, wire entanglements, and minefields, and housed the German HQ

Leading the attack on Riva Bella was French Captain Phillippe Kieffer, commanding officer of two groups of French commandos attached to the British Royal Marines, thus making this attack a purely French effort. Kieffer attacked Riva Bella at two locations from the rear with small arms, personal anti-tank weapons, and grenades, but the commandos were soon stalled by the German defenses proving to be difficult for Allied weapons to penetrate, with well dug in infantry. (Objective 1)


Kieffer found a duplex-drive Sherman medium tank, and persuaded the tank to assist the assault on Riva Bella. The Sherman tank failed to knocked out the defenses, trapping the commandos on the beach, exposed to a cross-fire between two pill-boxes. (Contrary to the real history)


To the east, British commandos attacked the German gun battery at the mouth of River Orne from the sea, in an attempt as ill-fated as the Dieppe raid. (More about that in a different post.) 

Machine gun nests, tank traps and minefields protected the battery. In the center of the battery was a 56-foot high concrete tower that housed the control and ranging equipment for the coastal guns; though not a defensive structure, German troops made effective use of the tower's height to observe British movements to relay down to the defenders on the ground, meanwhile throwing grenades down at close-by British commandos as opportunities presented.This gun battery, with its concrete tower, would remain in German control for a days to come. (Objective 1)


The German battery at Hermanville-sur-Mer received the co-ordinates for the beaches from the observation tower, but to their dismay found that their shells fell short, and failed to inflict any damage on the enemy.

Only the coastal defense 88mm and 75 mm guns were able to put some Shermans out of action and pin the sappers down. A bitter lesson learnt - make sure your artillery is within striking range of the target!


Heer Artillery: LeFH18 with 20mm Quad Vierling mounted on half-track: The initial landings were out of their range, and they could but idly wait for Allied forces to move to within striking range.


Second Wave: More Sappers and LCTs disgorging  M4 Shermans. These were eventually successful in destroying the pill-boxes, but not the concrete enfilade bunker. A high cost was pain by the sapper units, particularly amongst their officers. Thank goodness for the British Bulldog rule and the good ol' NCOs. Lesser men would have crumbled.


DD Shermans come ashore as more M4s with Firefly VC Command tanks land from LCTs

Turn 3 saw yet more troops land, this time with mortars. The heavy weapons proceeded to rain destruction on the 716.Inf Div troops, who took shelter, and survived the onslaught dug into their trenches. A Typhoon flight took out numbers with their rockets in 2 separate attacks in turn 1 and 3, but were apparently intercepted by the Luftwaffe in turn 2. There was no German aircraft to be seen whatsoever. The Allies had complete air superiority. The huddled troops in the embankments paid the price. But there was no-where to run too. Feldmarschall Rommel's displeasure would be worse than any Tommy's bayonet!

Turn 2 saw Oberst Leutnant Fischer's 21.er Pz Div Stugs arrive. They barrelled down the road towards Lion-sur-Mer, but diverted towards Ouistreham when the radio message was received that the bridges and lock over the Orne River was under attack from Allied airborne and commando troops. 

The defense of the coastal towns was thus left to the gun emplacements and dug in infantry. 
Word had also been received from the east, where it Pz IVs were ready to engage the enemy.  

Photo Roly Hermans
Typhoons unleashing 60 lb rockets on the dug in 716. Inf. Div: 
A payload equal to that of a Lancaster bomber! 
The 21.er Pz Div Stug Abteilung decided to detour to try and counter the Paratroop attack on the Orne river. The commando teams landed to the left were decimated by accurate and sustained Spandau fire from the pillboxes, and failed to reach their objective, despite assistance from the DD Shermans
 

Herr General der Infanterie Division inspecting
 the 21.er Panzer Div. Stug Abteilung as they arrive on the table


More Shermans land as LeFH 18 artillery shells fall harmlessly in the water

All too soon dusk fell, and we had to call and end to the battle. The invasion forces were still firmly trapped on the beach. Mine fields, tank traps and barbed wire had prevented the tanks from making inroads, and the sappers had failed to clear the defenses. 
The Commandos were left leaderless, with Kieffer himself succumbing on the sand. 

Both objectives were still in German hands. Had the battle had continued for more turns the tide would eventually have turned, but in this alternative battle the German forces were the victors.

More photos:




1 April 2014

Sword Beach: D-Day Gaming: The History reviewed

Sword Beach Landings on D-day



I've been reading up on D-Day with regards the Sword Beach Landings. I have chosen this landing for our D-Day Commemorative game mainly because the bulk of my 20mm  infantry models are British, and I don't think I'll have enough time to  paint up my US troops. I have enough Airborne and commando models to include the airborne assault. My allied armour has been left without national and unit  identification markings on purpose, so that they can be used on the Eastern front and for US troops as well. I will have to build some Hobart's Funnnies, as I don't have neither Crab or Crocodiles nor AVREs. We will use FoW rules, as my models are based for this rule set.


Sword Beach
SWORD BEACH was the objective of 3rd (British) Infantry Division. They were to advance inland as far as Caen, and line up with British Airborne forces east of the Orne River/Caen Canal. The Orne River bridges had been seized in late at night on the 5th of June by a glider-borne reinforced company commanded by Maj. John Howard. As at the other beaches, British forces penetrated quite a ways inland after breaking the opposition at water's edge. Unfortunately, the objective of Caen was probably asking too much of a single infantry division, especially given the traffic jams and resistance encountered further inland.

1st Special Service (Commando) brigade commanded by Lord Lovat, linked up in the morning with Howard's force at Pegasus bridge on the British left. Fierce opposition from the 2lst Panzer and later the 12th SS Panzer division prevented the British from reaching Caen on the 6th. Indeed, Caen was not taken until late June.

The landing beach
Sword Beach occupied an 8-km stretch of the French coastline from Lion-sur-Mer on the west to the city of Ouistreham, at the mouth of the Orne River, on the east. The area had vacation homes and tourist hotels and restaurants located behind a seawall. It was 15 km) north of the city of Caen. All major roads in this area ran through Caen, and it was a key city to both the Allies and the Germans for transportation and maneuver purposes.

The Germans had fortified the area with relatively light defenses consisting of beach obstacles and fortified emplacements in the sand dunes. For the most part, however, the defense of the beach was anchored on 75-mm guns located at the coastal town of Merville, some 8 km  to the east across the Orne River estuary, and on bigger 155-mm guns located some 32 km east at Le Havre. A few miles inland from the beach were 88-mm guns capable of supporting the machine guns and mortars that were placed in the dunes and villas and that constituted the Germans’ first line of defense. There were also antitank ditches and mines as well as huge concrete walls blocking the streets of the towns. The German 716th Infantry Division—in particular, the 736th and 125th regiments—along with forces of the 21st Panzer Division were in the vicinity and were capable of participating in defensive or offensive operations. To the east, across the Dives River, lay the 711th Division.


Sword Beach lay in the area of landing beaches assigned to the British 2nd Army,commanded by LtGen Miles Dempsey. It was divided by Allied planners into four sectors named (from west to east) Oboe, Peter, Queen, and Roger. Elements of the South Lancashire Regiment were to assault Peter sector on the right, the Suffolk Regiment the centre in Queen sector, and the East Yorkshire Regiment Roger sector on the left. The objective of the 3rd Division was to push across Sword Beach and pass through Ouistreham to capture Caen and the important Carpiquet airfield nearby. Attached commandos, under Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, had the mission of fighting their way off the beach and pushing some 5 km (3 miles) inland toward the Orne River and Caen Canal bridges, where they were to link up with the airborne forces.

The invading forces landed at 0725 hours on D-Day and were greeted with moderate fire. They were able to put out suppressing fire, and by 0800 hours the fighting was mostly inland. By 1300 the commandos had achieved their most important objective: they had linked up with airborne troops at the bridges over the Orne waterways. On the right flank the British had been unable to link up with Canadian forces from Juno Beach, and at 1600 hours tank forces and mechanized infantry units from the 21st Panzer Division launched the only serious German counterattack of D-Day. The 192nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment actually reached the beach at 2000 hours, but the division’s 98 panzers were halted by antitank weapons, air strikes, and Allied tanks themselves. The counterattack was stopped.


At the end of the day, the British had landed 29,000 men and had taken 630 casualties. German casualties were much higher; many Germans had been taken prisoner. However, for the Allies the optimistic objectives of Caen and the Carpiquet aerodrome were still a long 5 km away.

 
Landings later in the day, once beach defences had been overcome - note the absence of helmets


Casualties and AVRE, and Wolverine, not Achilles, as first captioned, on the beach
 (Note lack of muzzle break, therefore not the 17-pounder gun, thanks for pointing that out Wingco Luddite!)

Difference between Wolverine and Achilles M10 Variants

Orne and Dives rivers air-assault zones
Paratroopers from the British 6th Airborne Division, Major General Richard Gale commanding, were to be landed at night onto the left flank of the Normandy Invasion area in order to help isolate the battlefield for the seaborne invasion force that was scheduled to land on nearby Sword Beach at dawn. The drop zones were labeled X, Y, N, K, and V. X and Y were glider landing zones near the two bridges over the Orne River and the Caen Canal. V was a glider landing zone near the Merville battery, and N and K were on the Ranville ridge separating the Orne and Dives rivers.

German forces in the area consisted of elements of the 716th Infantry Division. The dominant defensive position was the battery at Merville, with four guns of undetermined size fortified in hard casemates.

Troops

The objectives of the 6th Airborne were to seize, intact, the critical bridges over the Orne River and Caen Canal near the village of BĂ©nouville, securing vital exit routes for the forces scheduled to land at Sword Beach; to destroy the bridges over the Dives River, thus denying the Germans a route to the invasion area from the east; to hold the dividing ridge between the Dives and the Orne from an expected German counterattack; and, finally, to destroy the Merville battery, which threatened Sword Beach with its big guns.



At 0016 hours on D-Day, gliders containing Company D, 2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, commanded by Major John Howard, touched down precisely on target at the bridges. Within 10 minutes and with the loss of only two men dead, the daring coup de main placed both bridges in Allied hands. Howard’s company thus became the first attackers of the Normandy Invasion on French soil and the first unit to achieve its objective on D-Day. The Caen Canal bridge was soon immortalized as Pegasus Bridge, named after the insignia of the 6th Airborne Division.

Pegasus Bridge
Pegasus Bridge

The silencing of the Merville battery fell to Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway’s 9th Battalion. The 9th, however, had a bad drop, and the attack began with only 150 men of the 750-man force. The daring attack captured the battery at a cost of half the attacking force. The defending Germans paid a terrible price: only 22 men of the 200-man garrison were uninjured.

The rest of the 6th Airborne troopers continued to land throughout the night, although many were scattered. Nevertheless, small parties found one another and managed to destroy five bridges over the Dives.

By morning, as the invasion force rolled ashore on Sword Beach, the left flank of the area was indeed secure. By 1300 hours Howard’s glider troops at the bridges had connected with elements of Lord Lovat’s 1st Commando Brigade. As evening fell on June 6, the 6th Airborne was generally in place and had achieved its objectives.

Info from Encyclopaedia Brittannica and various internet sources. Happy to reference at request. No copyright infringement intended

28 February 2013

FoW: And then I had my whole foot in...

Flames of War 20mm: And then I had my whole foot in...

Ok so we get to the club last night, and it's my German Panzerkompanie up against Luc's UK Armoured Squadron in Normandy. Late war. Flames of War in 20mm

Free-for-all and objectives to seize and hold, 2 each. A river runs through it, with a bridge and mill-house, small forest and village. Open fields mostly.Still struggling with numbers of models, as our armies were build for Warhammer WW2. Troops not on multi-bases. Not nearly enough artillery or Shermans, not the right light models  tanks on UK side. End up using Matildas as Stuart replacements, and M10s as stand-in Shermans

Slow start, as we're still feeling our way. Mike is at hand to help with rules, going a lot easier this time...more enjoyable. Our confidence and enjoyment improves turn by turn.Thank you very much Michael!

I choose to defend the approaches to the bridge with a pair of portee Kfz 7 Flak vierling 20mms, also giving cover to my motorised infantry. Not much space for my recce Zundapps with sidecars to maneuvre. LeFH 18s deploy on the edge of the boasrd, covering the right hand corner, Company commander in lead Panzer over to thier right. Panther company skulking behind the mill house, with one covering the bridge approach, and two covering the flank.

Luc places his field artillery (25 pdr x 2) opposing mine, 2 troops of 4 each Shermans with a firefly gun-tank each on that flank, and another troop on his side of the bridge. Motorised infantry deploy on other side of river facing him. Troop of 3 Stuarts supporting them


Firefly in my sights. German Command Tank advancing.


The Ill-fated QF 25 pounder battery, shortly before the Luftwaffe's visit.
Shermans passing by. This troop ended up taking the majority of the Panthers out.

First 2 turns is mostly tactical maneuvring, both side's foot soldiers digging in. Armour jostling for position. Herr Oberst in Panzer 1 takes out Firefly on approach to bridge, just to be taken out in return by a flanking troop with another firefly. Luftwaffe arrives on turn 2, contarary to expectations, 3 make it through the air defences, and takes out the whole 25 pdr battery, HQ escapes the blast, hops into their Bren carrier; and goes and sits on objective to defend it for the rest of the game. Lucs turn 2 sees his Stuarts (Matildas) taking out most of my motorised platoons' MGs, and laying down a smokescreen to further protect his dug in motor company.Spectacular fail on roll to bring on air support: 4 ones and 3 two's!; the RAF miss their target completely. Germans relieved.

Almost an ambush. Panthers protecting the bridge and the objective marker from behind the Mill House


Infantry face off across the river, both sides dug in.


Lots of baling out and clambering into vehicles in the next turn, a couple of Shermans destroyed by the panthers. Luftwaffe arrives again, a single aircraft makes it to target, anti-aircraft fire from Stuarts fail, and 2 of their number succumb to the direct hits from the veteran dive-bomber pilots. Sherman on the bridge now lay down smoke to protect their infantry. Panzergrenadiers unfussed, move forward through river, difficult terrain no problem for them, same with motorcycles, who cut through forest and attack the flank of the Tommies. Shermans open fire, and destroy the German transports struggling through the river. The Captain and his Protze staff car make it through unscathed. The surviving troops divert for a gap between the bridge and the houses, trying to make it to the objective beyond, taking cover behind a house.RAF finally make it through, only to be destroyed by the Flak before launching their rockets. Sherman takes out one in retribution on Luc's turn.


None of these Shermans survived the battle.




Movin' out. Luc's turn 1. Only one Sherman from this troop survived the Panther attack. 
Ok, the luftwaffe also took 2 out!




Ranging in...Open sights of the enemy

Luftwaffe at hand. 

Carnage after they had been...



With only one Stuart (Matilda) to oppose them the motorcyclists cross unhindered

Meanwhile a drama is played out behind the mill house, slug-fest between the panthers and Sherman troops.
The 2 IC panzer is flanked, hit repeatedly, baled, but remounted every time by the experienced crew. Impetuous sherman crew pay the price. Approach to bridge now open, and the panzer crew eagerly eye the objective just beyond the bridge. Only problem is the hulks of multiple burnt-out Shermans on it. While they are still contemplating what to do next they receive a long range shot from a firefly that sends the wonderment into oblivion in a ball of smoke and fire. Same fate befalls another Panther, breaks the line of approaching Shermans, takes out the firefly. Sole survivor retreats back towards objective. Coward Tommies, lets get them!, race forward thinking that cover from hulks on battlefield will protect, But no, the only surviving firefly has the last word: Boom! Panzer Zerstoerd (Destroyed)


Only one Panther, the Field Artillery, Zundapp riders and the one 20mm Flak vehicle survive. O yeah, and Herr Kapitan with half his Sturmtruppen, behind the house.

A good victory to Luc! A much more enjoyable game once you get the rules.

Lessons learned: 
1. Get the right models, and enough of them
2. Read the rules some more, watch the videos again
3. Base the infantry on team bases
4. Panthers pack good punch, but are a bit lacking in side armour. As an expensive option Tigers may be better.




27 December 2012

Xmas Haul: Support Vehicles for D-Day

Xmas Haul: Allied Support Vehicles for D-Day and El Alamein


Allied Support Vehicles for the Late War campaign: 
Some collector's items, destined to become table top gaming pieces: 

Lledo and Corgi Trackside models

Some may say it is sacrilege, but these will be repainted and join my Allied Armies in North Africa and Europe.


AEC Mamouth Tank Transporter


D-Day Allied Command Vehicles, including Caravan

D-Day Allied Soft-skin support Vehicles and Command Car


  El Alamein Soft-skin support Vehicles and Command Car