On the night of the 6th June 2013 along with some other friends I played a D-Day scenario based on the remarkable historical events of the Pegasus Bridge "coup de main" operation exactly sixty nine years ago. The historical battle started "just to say" past midnight and in the very, very early hours of D-Day the 6th June 1944. Spearhead elements of the invasion were already in contact with the enemy (pathfinders and specialist teams) but this was the first 'full' Allied company (as per its order of battle) engaged in action with the enemy on D-Day. Their mission was to take two bridges, one across the Orne River (Ranville River Bridge) and the other across Canal de Caen (then Benouville, now Pegasus, Bridge) and "hold until relieved" by the leading seaborne forces, specifically Lord Lovat's Royal Marine Commandos from Sword Beach. The whole of the 6th Airborne Division would be landing to their rear (east of the rivers), the trouble was expected from the west. Why was this so important? Well these bridges were "route 1" for the 21st Panzer Division to the invasion beaches and "IT" (21st PZ Div) was the biggest threat to the left flank of the whole invasion.
Five British glider platoons from the 6th Airborne have landed after a spectacular feat of flying (carrying the 1st Company [reinforced from the usual four platoon to six for this operation] Ox and Bucks air landing infantry) under the command of Major John Howard (the sixth glider landed elsewhere and did not take part in the battle). The paratroopers (or rather air landing infantry, but they are equipped the same) have already taken the two bridges driving off the German bridge garrison and are now preparing themselves for the inevitable German 'counter-attack. Four British "Para" platoons are on the western 'bridge-head' table with the fifth platoon guarding the Ranville River Bridge until relieved by troops from the 6th Airborne (so it will eventually be available as a reinforcement).
The Orne river is at the bottom of the table (and is the British baseline) and the Para defensive line runs behind the mid-table line running right to left (see below):
As "John Howard" (no pressure then!) I deployed three platoons forward, holding one back in reserve (but in play) at the buildings covering the bridge entrance (see above, one of which is probably the Gondree cafe). On the downside I have NO ranged anti-tank capability. That means the only way I can take an AFV out is by a rather risky close assault with a Gammon bomb!
The set-up situation is viewed looking down the front line of the road (Note: No Germans are 'as yet' on table), see below:
One platoon covers each crossroads and the third front-line platoon covers the slanted road at the top of the picture (see above).
The Company HQ is set up in the Gondree Cafe supported by the reserve platoon. This is my "Alamo" position and my only 'immediate' counter attack force until the fifth platoon is released (see below, note all the kit is 15mm):
The British Paratroopers didn't have long to wait for the Germans to arrive from a rather unexpected direction, the right had side of the road, "boldly" marching down the road! (see below).
The Red Devils ambushed the column, taking out three whole squads and trapping the platoon leader in a very "tight place" in the middle of the road (devastating CrossFire "ambush" fire). A spectacular start for the British but the bad news was that the Germans now knew where the Paratroopers were and the rest of the German Infantry Company could deploy out of their march formation.
The next German initiative was bound to bring more fresh troops and possibly armour on table (the umpire specifically stated at this point the distinctive "clank of tracks" could be heard, as we were not expecting Allied armour for another eleven hours we knew 'whose' armour this would be)!