Showing posts with label Riva Bella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Riva Bella. Show all posts

9 April 2014

Sword Beach: Ouistreham: The Plot thickens

D-Day Wargaming ahead: Kapiti Wargames Club Open Day

D-day gaming coming up on 10th May 2014:

So I have been plotting and planning on the D-Day gaming ahead. I have drawn up the plan (not to scale) of the game board, with areas representing the actual landing beach, the German Defenses and the villages of Collville -, Luc- and Hermanville-sur-Mer, and the small harbour at Ouistreham, the Orne river and Canal, the Orne river bridge, and the bridge now known as Pegasus Bridge. And the Merville Battery thrown in for good measure.

Historical Background:
Ouistreham was the key to the Allied attack at Sword Beach, as it was the gateway into the Orne, the Caen canal, and the cross-road hub town of Caen. Seizing control of the town would give the Allies a small port (nowhere near the size needed for sustaining supply lines, but useful, none-the-less), and control of the river and canal bridges so as to prevent German armor from hitting their left flank.

The Germans, needless to say, knew how important the town could be and made preparations.  The casino was retrofitted with a bunker in the basement and gun that could hit ships at sea as well as targets closer in. Other fortifications went in as well, and in a very flat area, a towering bunker designed to withstand bombs, artillery fire, and even gas/chemical attacks, was built behind an existing house to help disguise it a bit.  This was not a gun bunker - it was far more dangerous than that.  It was an observation bunker with a very accurate rangefinder for the time.

Keiffer Commando forces in house-to-house fighting in the advance towards Bella Riva. 
Duplex Drive Sherman leading the spear-head

Not only did the bunker survive the day, but the story of how it fell brings a smile to the face.  On D-Day, the bunker was bypassed after troops came under machine gun fire and grenade attack when approaching it. After the battle the structure fell silent, and it was presumed abandoned. On 9 June 1943, a Lt. Bob Orrell of the Royal Engineers was tasked with assessing and cataloging construction materials left behind in the Ouistreham area by the retreating Germans. On inspection he noted that the bunker was closed up,  and apparently locked from the inside.  He was ordered to investigate further, so he went back with a mobile crane and three assistants.

Observation Bunker 

The door was still locked, so he tried explosives: To no effect. They then tied other means of forcing the door, but finally went back to (more) explosives and succeeded in forcing the door open.

It was then that a voice called down in perfect English that it was "Okay, come on up !"  To which the good Lt. responded that he could not fly, and whoever was up there should come on down.  To his amazement 53 Germans descended and surrendered to a force of one junior officer and his three assistants.

The German HQ housed in the casino was not set back from the water, on a hill, as portrayed in the movie The Longest Day.  It was in fact set effectively on the beach with a ditch/canal in front.  The Keiffer (Free French) Commando forces did indeed take it; and also destroyed it, and today a new casino sits on the site.

One thing to consider about the troops making the beach assault though, is them having to cross as much as  300 meters of wet sand with absolutely no cover of any kind.  Because the invasion was scheduled for a period of extremely low tides, many troops coming in had to charge across up to 300 meters of open beach before hitting the edge of the beach and finding any potential cover.

Some inspiration from fellow gamers: Terrain and toy soldiers (clicky)

We plan to use the FoW rules from the D-Day Minus One and D-Day books, effectively having 3 games in one:

Thus a large table:

Allied Targets:
1. Beach assault, overcome German beach defenses, take the villages, including Oistreham; open the road towards Caen  - Beach Assault rules
2. Commando Assault: Take Ouistreham fishing harbour, knock out  defenses, Casino and  Riva Bella , link up with Airborne assaults at bridges/ Merville Battery - Beach assault or seaborne commando assault rules
3. Airborne Assault: Parachute and glider landings on Pegasus Bridge, Orne River bridge and Merville Battery

German Targets:
1. Prevent Allies from taking Ouistreham and beach (-sur Mer) villages, the German HQ in the Casino Riva Bella ; and establishing a foothold on the continent
2. Protect road to Caen, including bridge access across Orne river and canal
3. Protect Merville Battery

To make things a bit more interesting we have decided to throw in a few historical wildcards. At the beginning of the game we'll roll to see if any specific conditions may affect the way that the game plays out:

Allied Wildcards:
Fortune cards:
  • Successful  preliminary bombarding: Roll D6: On roll of 5 or 6 Allied player gets additional round of preliminary shelling , 3 or 4 re-rolls on fails to wound, 1 or 2 re-roll fails to hit  
  • Mill pond: Weather and tide does not affect landing,  +1 to all rolls caused by weather effects
  • Partisan attack: Place one infantry section within 24 inches, but more than 12 inches away from German infantry troops. These count as being in ambush, Conscripts, fearless
Misfortune cards:
  • Wild weather: Weather and tide affects landing severely,  -1 to all rolls caused by weather effects
  • Beach defenses effective: - Roll D6: On roll of 5 or 6 Allied player has to roll for every landing craft or tank as it gets into the landing zone: A rolls of 1 makes vessel capsize/tank flood, 2  or 3 stranded until next turn (caught up in obstacle but freed, can land cargo next turn); 4 or 5 delayed (can attempt landing again next turn) ,  6 delayed and return to landing ship (sea zone) (can attempt again next turn)  
  • Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine interception:  Roll D6: 1-3:  Luftwaffe available Roll again- determines level of availability. 4-6;  Kriegsmarine (U and S-boats) Same rule, but can only target landing craft (No extra cost to axis player)
German Wildcards:
Fortune cards:

  • Luftwaffe cover available: Roll to see level of cover (no extra cost)
  • The Fuhrer's Blessing: Rommel takes command (All Axis troop morale +1, to max fearless veteran; Armour support arrives on  D6 Roll: 1-2 (turn 4) 3-4 (turn 3) 5-6 (turn 2)
  • Hitler's Fire-brigade: SS Panzer Division and Panzer Lehr become available D6 1-3 (turn 4) D6 4-6 (turn 3)

Misfortune cards:
  • Partisan attack: Allied player places one infantry section within 24 inches, but more than 12 inches away from German infantry troops. These count as being in ambush, Conscripts, fearless
  • Turncoat Osttruppen: Russian POW troops: First contact: Roll Morale test: D6. Roll for every unit: On roll of 1 surrender without fight, roll of 2: -1 to morale; 3-6 morale per book. German player can motivate using German Oficer, sacrificing one platoon unit a-la- USSR Commisar rules.
  • Caught pants down: All troop morale -1 for first 2 rounds,  Armour support arrives on D6 Roll: 1-2 (turn 4) 3-4 (turn 3) 5-6 (turn 2) German troops cannot make storm trooper moves first 2 turns.