Flames of War – Battle of Bloody Gulch (Game 2)

The paratroopers of the 6th Fallschirmjäger Division supported by armour from the 17th SS Panzerdivision counterattacked towards Carentan in the early hours of the 13th June 1944. The American paratroopers from the 101st Airborne did not have armour support immediately available to them and had to prevent the Germans from retaking this strategically vital town. Shermans from the 2nd Armoured Division were moving to assist, but initially the troops of the 501st, 502nd and 506th PIR would have to fend off the German advance alone.
IMG 0144
This post presents an after action report for Game 2 of this two game campaign. The background, campaign rules and the Game 1 after action report are available here.

GAME 2: AFTER ACTION REPORT
Dog and Fox companies had successfully stalled the German advance as they strategically withdrew earlier. This gave Easy time to detach some Bazooka teams for form an ambuscade and prepare a PIR platoon in an ambushing position.
SETUP
IMG 0133 For game two the 4′ x 6′ board represented further along Route d’Auvers, closer to Carentan. The road ran lengthwise and was surrounded by hedgerows and fields. Much of the American force was either held in reserve, or was preparing an ambush. The forces that were deployed were dug in in prepared positions and were keeping their heads down. The Germans would enter from the south and attempt to seize key objectives before the American reserves could react. This game was set at about 1500pts with Paul playing an armour supported German Fallschirmjager force and me playing American paratroopers, with some Shermans in reserve.

The German force consisted of –

  • Fallschirmjager Company HQ (2 SMG Teams) supported by 2 Panzerfausts and a Mortar Detachment
  • Fallschirmjager Platoon with three Rifle/MG squads and a HQ with Panzerfaust
  • Fallschirmjager Platoon with three Rifle/MG squads and a HQ with Panzerfaust
  • Fallschirmjager Mortar Platoon with four 10.5cm NbW35 and HQ
  • Panzergrenadier Platoon with three squads and a HQ with Panzerfaust
  • Panzer Platoon with five Panzer IVh tanks (including HQ)
  • Assault Gun Platoon with three StuG III G tanks (including HQ)

A combination of elite troops supported by hard hitting and heavily armoured tanks. Given that all of the German force could deploy and did not rely on fickle reserves they presented quite a formidable challenge to the few American paratroopers that would actually start the game deployed on the battlefield.

My paratrooper force consisted of –

  • PIR Company Command Carbine Team and 2iC Command Carbine Team with three HQ Bazooka Teams (detached as Ambuscade) and Sniper (held in Ambush)
  • PIR Platoon with three Squads (Cmd R/MG, 6x R/MG, 1x 60mm Mort, 1x Bazooka)
  • PIR Platoon with three Squads (Cmd R/MG, 6x R/MG, 1x 60mm Mort, 1x Bazooka) (in Reserve)
  • PIR Platoon with three Squads (Cmd R/MG, 6x R/MG, 1x 60mm Mort, 1x Bazooka) (held in Ambush)
  • PIR Mortar Platoon with two Sections (Cmd/Crb, 4x 81mm Mort, 1x Bazooka) (in Reserve)
  • PIR Field Artillery Battery with two Sections (Cmd/Crb, Staff, Obs/Crb, 4x 75mm PH)
  • Medium Tank Platoon with four Sherman Tanks (2nd Armoured Division) (in Reserve)

IMG 0131
The Germans deployed towards the southern end of the road with the Panzers on the (American) right flank and the StuGs on the left. Each was supported by a platoon of Fallschirmjager. Paul detached several Panzerfausts into an infantry-based tank hunting platoon and deployed them in the middle beside the mortar platoon.

The Americans were mostly in reserve or held in ambush. Only a single PIR platoon and the Howitzers were visible on the battlefield. The PIR platoon was on the left flank with the artillery behind them. IMG 0132 The infantry held one of the two objectives, with the other further back in their deployment area (I had plans that my ambushing PIR platoon and reserves that came on would protect it). With most of my army off the battlefield I felt seriously undermanned. All I could hope for was that my reserves would arrive early and the Bazooka ambuscade could stall some of the German armour.

THE BATTLE
I videoed the game took loads of photos. Here’s a turn-by-turn video combining the footage and photos –

AFTERMATH
The American paratroopers looked to be in real trouble for most of the battle. Their artillery and tanks were mostly ineffective against the German armour. The ambuscade bailed out two Panzers, but that platoon soon got moving. Paul’s decision to mount the Fallschirmjager on the tanks proved costly. He lost a platoon before they could even get into the battle on the left flank. The StuGs more than made up for this loss as they nearly rolled the whole flank.

The timely arrival of all of my reserves helped me to plan the battle. The Shermans were intended to repel the Panzers and looked like they ere doing a terrible job of it until the last turn. With three active tanks (one was bailed-out) I scored three hits, bailing one Panzer and destroying two. This was the turning point as the other platoons went on the offensive. The PIR that had appeared in ambush assaulted the second Fallschirmjager platoon and another assaulted the ad-hoc Panzerfaust platoon. This was enough for the German morale to be tested and again Paul’s dice failed him.

It was a fun game, but I think had Paul been more aggressive with his armour he could have overwhelmed my forces as the reserves were still arriving.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS

Standard disclaimer – I am not a historian and I do not claim that everything written in this article is factually accurate, although I strove to ensure that it is. The battle report is fictitious and does not represent the events of the 13th June 1944.

Owen

2 thoughts on “Flames of War – Battle of Bloody Gulch (Game 2)

  • 23rd September 2011 at 11:55 am
    Permalink

    Hi ya,

    That was awesome! Is that the same fight that was recreated in the most amazing war story ever filmed “Band of Brothers”?
    Top job on the filming.

    I have an entire 2. SS Das Reich Panzergrenadierkompanie (motorised) including all optional units. I just need to start painting and assembling. I should be about 92 once it is all done!

    Cheers
    Grant

    Reply
  • 26th September 2011 at 8:38 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Grant,
    Yes, these games are based on the Carentan fighting (D-Day+6) that was depicted in Band of Brothers. Best of luck painting your army. Will you be posting pictures online?

    Owen

    Reply

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