Scenarios Little Soldiers

World War 2: Break-out at Falaise

Falaise pocket, France, August 1944

Historical Situation

This hypothetical scenario is set in the Falaise pocket in August 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. Allied armies had begun to encircle two German armies, 7 Army and 5 Pz Army. The British 2nd Army was to the north and the Americans were advancing from the south.

On August 16, Hitler finally gave the order to withdraw to the Seine River, though the retreat had effectively been underway for the past two days. The German units fought hard during their retreat, and due to Allied delays, as many as 100,000 were able to escape until those who had not gotten out were persuaded to surrender on August 21.

On 18 August 1944, "B" Company of the Argylls was placed under command of "C" Squadron of The South Alberta Regiment (SAR) which was commanded by Major Dave Currie. This composite group was tasked to close the road running through St. Lambert Sur Dives which was the main German escape route between the towns of Chambois and Trun.[1]

Resisting fierce attacks by the Germans for the next few days, the Canadians, and the Americans to the south, were finally able to close the gap. It's estimated that the Allies killed some 10,000 soldiers, captured 50,000, and destroyed the majority of the Panzer division's armored vehicles.


Map/Terrain

Falaise Map

Key features are:

Map made with AutoREALM


Pre-game Preparation


Canadian Player (Defending)

Objective

Stop the German units from escaping, or destroy as many as possible.

Forces Available

Elements of "C" Squadron, South Alberta Regiment, 4th Armored Div.

1 x Sherman Troop:
3 x Sherman M4A1

Morale: Regular

"B" Company of the Argylls, 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Armoured Div.

1 x CC (+1)
1 x HMG
2 x PIAT (each attached to a platoon)
1 x 2-inch Mortar (12 FM)
1 x FO for off-table 4.2-inch Mortar (10 FM)

3 x Rifle Platoons
1 x PC (+1)
3 x Rifle Squads

Morale: Regular

Deployment

Canadians will deploy first east of line A-A, north of the main road (C-C).

Reinforcements

None.


American Player (Defending)

Objective

Stop the German units from escaping and destroy as many as possible.

Forces Available

"A" Company, 1st Bn, 358th Inf, from the American 90th Infantry Division

1 x CC (+1*)
1 x HMG (.50-cal)
2 x Bazooka (each attached to a platoon)
1 x FO for off-table 4.2-inch mortar (10 FM)

3 x Rifle Platoons:
1 x PC (+1*) 3 x Rifle Squads
1 x Jeep with .50-cal HMG

Morale: Regular

*CC and PC +1 for rallying only

The M2HB .50 caliber HMG has Anti-tank capability

Deployment

Deploys first with the Canadians. The Americans will arrive from the south side of the main road (C-C), east of A-A.

Reinforcements

The American CC can call in air-strikes (using the same rules as for artillery).

2 x P-51D Mustang (2 x Medium Bombs 5/3 SQ, Machine Guns 4/0 SQ).


German Player (Attacking)

Objective

Escape the Allied encirclement with as many forces as possible.

Forces Available

Elements of the 7th Army

2 x Infantry Company
1 x CC (+2)
1 x HMG
1 x FO for off-table 120mm mortar(10 FM)
1 x 81mm mortar, CC acting as FO (12 FM)
1 x Panzershreck (attached to a platoon)

3 x Rifle Platoons:
1 x PC (+2 for 1st platoon; others +1)
3 x Rifle Squads

1 x Panzer IV F
1 x Jagdpanzer IV/70
1 x SdKfz 7/2

Morale: Regular

Deployment

All units are deployed west of line B-B. One company will deploy north of the main road, and the other to the south.

The vehicles can be attached to either company and are considered battalion-level assets so they can be transferred between companies during the game (see the special rules).

Reinforcements

None.


Victory Conditions

Breakthrough (A) and Casualty (AD) objectives.

The game ends when the Germans get their last stand off the table or one side suffers 18 victory points (VP) worth of casualties. A side is awarded VP for destroying enemy:

The Germans get 2 VP for each CC, HMG, Rifle, SMG, Gun, or tank that exits the eastern table edge.


Scenario Special Rules

The road serves as a boundary for the Companies' Operational Zones. In general stands must be within their player's operational zone. A player must roll 3+ on 1d6 for any action involving stands operating outside their zone. Battalion level assets may be transferred between zones on a 1d6 roll of 4+. Company and lower level assets may never be transferred. Failure on any of the rolls looses the initiative.

Aircraft use the special rules from the Balagan web site. Because of air-superiority, aircraft will arrive on a roll of 4+. Only one U.S. airplane may be on the table at a time and only one can be summoned per initiative. Once it arrives on the table the plane must cross the table from one edge to the other in a straight line (as the special rules). It may not attack the same target twice in an initiative, but may continue to move in the straight line during the players initiative until it reaches the end of the table or is driven off or shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Once the bombs are gone, it can still use the machine guns to attack.

Aircraft use Hit the Dirt's Special Rule 7 to attack vehicles with a bomb, with the following changes from Lloyd's house rules. The vehicle cannot have moved in its last phasing initiative. Hit results are as follows:

The vehicles I have available at the moment are as follows:

Name ARM ACC PEN HE/EFF Smoke MG HD Spd CC Notes Pts
Sd. Kfz. 7/2, 3,7cm Flak 36 auf 8t Zgkw.* 1/1 0 -2 5/2 - 0 N 3 +1 360° field of fire 4.0
Pz IV F 3/2 0 0 4/2 - 4 Y 2 +3 12.5
Jagdpanzer IV/70(V) 5/2 0 +2 4/2 - 3 N 2 +2 14.75
Sherman M4A1 (75mm) 4/2 0 0 4/2 - 4 Y 2 +3 13.5
Panzershreck - -1 +3 2 - - - - - 2.5
PIAT - -1 +1 2 - - - - - 2.0
Bazooka - -1 +1 2 - - - - - 2.0
.50 Cal - 0 -4 - - 4 - - - 1.5
P-51B Mustang - - - 5/3 - 4 - - - Has 2 x 500lb bombs and 4 x .50 Cal MG -

* stats similar to the 2cm Flak on SdKfz 10/5 (see Balagan data sheets)

Notes

The American reinforcements are fictional, they arrived later due to having to cross army boundary lines and probably did not participate in any fighting alongside the Canadians. But I had figures I wanted to use in this scenario. :-)

German vehicles were what I had on hand. All of the vehicles were present on the Western Front during this time, but not necessarily with the particular units. Other vehicles may be more historically appropriate, so feel free to substitute.

After Action Report

Thoughts on the Scenario: I played this over the Christmas holiday with my Dad and brothers. A 6 x 4 table is really necessary to give the units room to maneuver -- I only had a 4 x 4. The German advance was disorganized (historic?) but the Allied forces were hampered by limited anti-armor capability and, on the US side, lack of smoke. Otherwise the scenario played pretty well. The Germans eventually organized an advance on the road (led in part by the Jagdpanzer IV) and made progress despite the air-strikes and PIAT attacks.

The anti-aircraft rules might need to be clarified. As it was, any one unit on the table was allowed reactive fire against the fighter plane, which might be too strong. In the game only one air-strike was effective, hitting a group in the road, while the others were usually driven off by reactive fire. On another pass one of the planes was shot down.

As they are written now, the aircraft rules also didn't give enough firepower to replace mortars for the US force. It felt like the US forces were missing a lot of Company-level firepower. I at least need a forward observer to call in smoke and maybe a half-track or jeep with a AT cannon.

Also need counters for the artillery fire missions (FM):

12 (light: 2-inch/50mm)
24 (medium: 3-in/81mm)
30 (heavy: 4.2-in/120mm)
 4 (bombs: 500lb)
--
70 counters


Sources

[1] Falaise Gap: St. Lambert Sur Dives

[2] Falaise Gap

[3] Lone Sentry: Tough 'Ombres!: The Story of the 90th Infantry Division

[4] South Alberta Regiment.

[5] Falaise Gap Photos.

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