For the bigger picture see:
Normandy Campaign Posts:
I was relieving a spent British infantry platoon (#12) with a fresh unit (#16 platoon) advancing through the Normandy bocage through the ruins of a French village.
It also meant after a fifteen year wait my Platoon 20 British Infantry get on table:
- 3 x Fighting Squad of ten men (six rifles, a three man Bren section and a NCO)
- HQ section (Lt, NCO, two inch mortar team, PIAT team, sniper team [attached], FOO team [attached]).
The briefing told me that we were going to attack a village with a strange sounding name, almost like a wine. The umpire then told me that I was going in because the last platoon got badly mauled and were "hung up on the wire" (see below):
The most despairing sight was the shattered remains of a Churchill tank (nick-named "Ken's Tank" after the luckless driver from the 9RTR) which had not lasted very long at all before being "brewed-up" by a crack German Anti-Tank team. The ease of its demise convinced me to rely on 'off-table' rather than 'on-table' support (see below):
The key to the position, said the retiring 12 Platoon NCO (now acting Platoon Commander), is two dirty big ruined houses that dominate the center of the battlefield. Get to them first and you can dictate the course of the battle (see below):
The German's had a picket line strung out to the British right flank, dominating the clear ground to the right of the road leading through the center of the village. The bodies of 12 Platoon's Bren and Mortar teams still remained unclaimed in hedgerows, off to the right/bottom of the photograph (see below):
Chastened by 12 Platoons ordeal, 16 Platoon was going to try and infiltrate as far forward to the ruined houses as possible (see below, the Allied Patrol Markers have been place on table):
Next: Run Tommy run, before Jerry gets his gun!