Screening Cagny 18th July 1944
Platoon size game
The table layout
from 2nd Grenadier Guards
2x Sherman Tank Squadron
each with 2 Sherman V tanks and 1 Sherman Firefly
(I used Cromwell tanks for the 75mm armed Sherman's with my opponents agreement)
1 FAO tem in Daimler Dingo.
1 3rd priority artillery request.
BR 19 Officer 3
from 3rd Luftwaffe Flak Corp
4x 88mm Flak 36 gun and crew ( we used 3 Pak40's to stand in for 88's)
1 Grenadier Squad with 1 Panzerfaust
1 MG42 team
(3 of the 88mm Flak 36 survived the battle and were added to the forces in Battle 4 Evening Assault on Cagny)
BR 18 Officer 0
In an attempt to outflank and surround Caen the General Montgomery has decided to commit the bulk of his armoured forces in an attack East of Caen. Preceded by a massive bombardment by RAF Heavy bomber force that left the German defenders shattered. However as the tanks of the Guards Division made there way through narrow channels in the minefield to begin exploiting the gap the German defenders began to recover. Resistance formed around the fortified villages scattered across the open terrain east of Caen. One of these was Cagny where a hasty screen of 88mm antiaircraft guns had already accounted for many tanks of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry. The 2nd Battalion the Grenadier Guards where sent to screen these guns whilst the rest of the Guards Armoured Division move past to the west of the village.
The German player is the defender in this scenario and the British the attackers so the Germans deployed first and the British had first move. There are no objectives for this battle but it will last only 6 turns before the British tanks disengage from screening the rest of the Guard Division. Surviving German 88's will be added to the forces in Scenario 4 Evening assault on Cagny.
|Panzer Grenadiers with camouflage zeltbahn in the woodland|
|88 Flak defends the outskirts of Cagny|
The German defenders deployed first their table edge within there table edge. Cagny outskirts is represented by a single complex of farm buildings of there board edge. Inevitably the 88's lined up along the hedge line close to the board edge. The infantry deployed forwards in the wooded area the MG42 covering the squad with there panzerfaust.
The 2nd Grenadier Guards tanks and supporting scout car all deployed within 8 inches. Recognising that the Firefly's 17 pounder gun lacked any HE at this stage of the war. I opted to try to close with the Germans with these tanks to use there MG's whilst the other tanks tried to supress the 88's from range with there 75mm HE. The Firefly's hooked left through the woods before dashing for the line and the 75 Sherman's would try to keep moving and make use of the cover.
The British tankers took first turn the Sherman 75's advancing to the hedge and the Firefly's pushing to the edge of the woodland.
In the German turn the Flak 36's split there fire keeping two guns on ambush whilst the other took pot shots at the British tanks taking cover behind the hedge. The Panzer team and MG42 took ambush orders to cover the advance of the Firefly's
In the next turn I decided that fortune favoured the brave. Despite the infantry skulking in the wood the Firefly pushed onward. Stick to the plan is my motto!
Shermans began to lace the 88's with HE pinning one gun. The fire from the two on ambush pinned one tank leaving it vulnerable.
The next German turn saw the Panzerknacker in the wood taking a pot shot that destroyed one Firefly. The pinned Sherman 75 a sitting duck was knocked out. Two tanks lost in a turn- ouch. This battle was to prove a tall order for unsupported tanks of the Grenadier Guards.
The firefly tried to push on but close range MG fire pinned the tank.
The Sherman's failed to pin any guns with there supressing HE fire but the FAO called in fire from the divisional guns pinning and 88 behind the hedge but not doing an further damage
The deadly duel between the Sherman 75's and the 88's continued The tanks concentrate there fire on the pinned 88 and managed to destroy the gun. The price was to be paid next turn when the guns pinned and destroyed another of the Sherman 75.
Chits are starting to build up for the British. Stick to the Plan... the Firefly gets moving in and all or nothing attempt the Sherman's break cover to split the 88's fire. But the German gunners pin the Firefly on ambush fire .
In there own turn the remaining German guns concentrate there fire on the Firefly knocking it out and forcing another morale chit on the British .
With the Firefly knocked out and the German PaK screen holding the British withdrew to the hedge line to a long distance duel until the pre agreed end of the game in turn six. The remaining 3 tanks withdrew along with the supporting scout car the rest of the division now out of range of the 88's
The German's hasty PaK screen had held and the British would have to give the village a wide berth and return to clear Cagny in the evening. When they would face 3 of the deadly 88mm Flak 36 guns again.
Comparing the BR totals show a clear victory for the Germans.