WWII: Escape the Falaise pocket (Sunday game )

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Paul K
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WWII: Escape the Falaise pocket (Sunday game )

Post by Paul K » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:39 am

This was an all-day gaming session in which we managed to conclude 2 games with players swapping sides at ‘half-time.’ The terrain layout was constructed by Dave Mac and he provided all the miniatures as well as the venue – his games room. The scenario was based on the German endeavour to safely remove precious assets from the trap of the Falaise pocket in 1944.
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The German units would appear at any of 6 different roads or tracks at various locations around the perimeter of the board. What, where and when these units would appear was decided by dice roll using a table created for the game. The British units entered the board via a set number of hexes along one table edge. All the positions of the German units present on the table were marked on a hex grid, and it was up to the British players to ‘discover’ these as they advanced to block the road.


Game 1
All German units were on ‘ambush orders’ and so as Chris and I pushed our Stuart tanks and M3 halftracks forward we expected to be fired upon by concealed German assets. I pushed quickly into the small village without contacting any resistance and positioned one of the Stuart tanks to block the road between the bocage hedge. Soon a Stug IV appeared and after a ‘lucky’ close range hit the Stuart popped it and in doing so cut one of the six escape routes.
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Meanwhile Chris advanced his Shermans and M3’s towards the key crossroads. A hidden PAK40 soon opened up taking out a lead tank, which prompted the M3 ‘s to disembark their infantry and prepare for a fire fight. German SDKFZs arrived and more hidden German assets revealed themselves as the British units pushed towards the crossroads.
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On my area of the table a Panzer IV appeared and again my sharp-shooting Stuart tanks dispatched this back to where it came from as it failed its morale test. Within a couple more moves we had secured the first village with tanks and infantry, surprised not to find any more hidden German units, we later pressed on to secure the middle crossroads effectively blocking 3 of the 6 German entry points.
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The dice dictated that the German escaping units appeared at the remaining 3 roads that we had so far failed to secure. And as Chris became embroiled in close quarters fighting with more ‘ambushing’ units, a number of German vehicles and infantry were able to make good their escape.
This first game concluded when all the German assets which had appeared on the table made good their escape.


Game 2
With the experience of the first game the scenario was tweaked a little and Chris and I, now the German defenders, placed our ‘ambush’ units on our hex map. We allocated 3 German infantry sections the task of taking and holding the first village – the same one that the Stuarts had occupied in the first game. Two quick moves and one section was in the house and the other behind the bocage hedge.
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Tony, Dave and Steve were in charge of the Brits as they quickly arrived and advanced towards both villages. The advanced British tanks, instead of advancing into the village, occupied a long, low hill from where they could shoot at the German defenders. The third unit of German infantry took up position in a forest hex adjacent the road which did provide some much needed cover.
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Chris awaited the arrival of the British tanks with his German defenders waiting in ‘ambush’, Pak 40 and an immobilised Stug IV ready to pop any British tanks approaching the second, larger village astride the escape road.
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German infantry and Panzer IV escapees arrived at roads 1 and 2 – the infantry soon made good progress in its escape attempt, but the Panzer IV was popped by the Stuarts on the hill. More SdKFZ’s arrived on road 5, unfortunately 2 turns to late, as the British Shermans were already within shooting range.
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Chris’s infantry was still hidden in ‘ambush’ as the British armour closed in. The PAK 40 was quickly destroyed by high explosive shells from the tanks and only the timely arrival of an escaping Tiger tank prevented the British armoured units advancing to cut the only German escape route. The Tiger fought an extremely effective fighting retreat, accounting for the destruction of 8 British armoured vehicles before successfully exiting via the escape road.
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Unfortunately, my German infantry defending the small village, were been pounded by 25pdrs, 4 Stuarts, M3’s and their unloaded infantry sections. They weren’t going to survive for too many game turns and once they were gone the village was soon overrun. Two more German tanks appeared, but to far from the escape road, and their progress was soon hindered by British infantry units passing through the small village and into the woodland hexes either side of their only escape route.
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After a valiant and prolonged defence, Chris’s units defending the village were finally pushed aside by Steve’s infantry and the advanced units of Brits began to occupy the main village astride the only German escape road. It had been a tough struggle, taking 20 game turns, but the Brits finally achieved their objective – no more German units could escape to fight another day!
Kind regards
Paul

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