The latest battle between myself and The Halfing Hickman saw us say face-to-face across the Memoir ’44 board, with Dave’s plucky Americans facing the might of several Panzer Divisions.
Counter-attack on Mortain – August 07, 1944 – August 11, 1944
‘Operation Lüttich’ began shortly before midnight on the evening of August 6th. Under direct orders from Hitler, four armoured divisions launched a counterattack westward across the Cotentin Peninsula toward Avranches. Their objective: to cut Patton’s forces in half, thereby bottling up the Allied breakout.
The 2nd SS Panzer Division pushed into Mortain before dawn and sent a column toward St. Hilaire. But the value of holding Mortain was severely undermined by the 120th Infantry entrenched on hill 317. The 2nd Panzer Division drove west along the River See until it was halted near Le Mesnil-Adelee. In the center, 1st SS Panzer and Panzer Lehr Division were stopped after taking St. Barthelemy. The northernmost element of the push, the 116th Panzer Division failed to launch its attack.
The US commander, “Lightning Joe” Collins, countered and ordered armoured and additional infantry forward from the reserve. By late morning, Allied aircraft swarmed the area; with a clear view of the German advance from Hill 317, the 120th was able to call in accurate air and artillery fire all day
This is the battle map with force deployments. As you can see, the Germans have a significant advantage in armoured forces.
Special rules mean that as long as Allied forces hold Hill 317 (actually Hill 314 in real life – 317 is a misprint) they can use Recon cards as Air Power cards, thus giving the potential to call in multiple air strikes.
Initial deployment, viewed from the German left flank
The ideal German strategy in this scenario is to attack down the left flank and try to deny the Allied player access to the Hill. Unfortunately, I only drew Centre and Right cards, so this tactic was hampered.
I did, however, have ‘Armoured Assault’ in my starting hand…
What the hell…CHARGE!
The German Armour advanced down the middle of the board to engage the US troops dug into the hedgerows around St. Bartelmy.
At this point I became a little confused – was I playing Memoir ’44 or Flames of War?
Part of the reason for this plan was that victory in this scenario only requires 4 medals – if I could be aggressive I may be able to grab a distinct advantage in the game.
Initial rolls were good, and over the next couple of turns the Allies were driven back and lost a couple of units.
Unfortunately, despite suffering significant loss, the US forces held their ground, and the Infantry, supported by Artillery, inflicted losses on the German Panzers.
Seeing an opportunity, the Panzers tried to make a break for the left flank. If they could reach St. Hilaire (top left town in the picture above) they could gain a victory medal and win the game. Unfortunately the hedgerows slowed the tanks down, so they couldn’t move as far as they hoped.
This presented far too tempting a target for the Allies, and death rained from above as Allied Air Support was called in
Allied Air Strikes cause huge losses amongst the German Panzers
This proved to be the decisive moment of the battle. The remaining German armour pressed on towards its objective, hoping to gain the last victory medals by overunning the US Infantry before them. It wasn’t to be, and as the last Panzer reached the edge of St. Hilaire, it was surrounded and destroyed.
Where have all my tanks gone? Victory to the Allies
This was a fun little scenario which pretty much followed history in its outcome. I had some good early success, and Dave was pessimistic about his chances. However, since I never had cards giving me options on the left flank, I was unable to remove the Allies from Hill 314 and this gave them the extra air support. This proved decisive in the game, as the German Panzers were pummelled from the air.
A very good start to gaming in 2020.