Operation Epsom was the British attempt to encircle Caen, a city that had become a bit of a bugbear for Montgomery. This 400pt game of Battlegroup represented the infantry of the 15th (Scottish) Division, supported by 31st Armoured Brigade, attacking as part of that operation. They faced the fanatical youths of the 12th SS Panzer Division (Hitlerjugend) near St Manvieu-Norrey early on the misty morning of June 26th 1944. Read more about their attack here.

We played the game using the Better Lucky than Good module for VASSAL and used the Defence Line mission (P.58 of the core rulebook). This was such a fun game. The Battlegroup rules led to some classic narrative moments…

Here’s the deployment.

I’ll be adding some more toys to it soon!

The initial British plan was to push along the northern flank and it worked well for them. Things started slowly, with the MG34 in the house spooking and pinning the half-track.

The arrival of the Sherman and Firefly gave the Germans something to think about. The Firefly destroyed one of the Panzer IVs and then things really sparked off. The unit in the half-track disembarked and assaulted the PAK40. They came under fire, but passed not one, but two Beyond the Call of Duty tests and pushed their assault right into the building with the MG34, taking out the MG team and two rifle squads.

Cpl Alastair Ross, former docker on the Clyde, was the sole survivor and he claimed one of the objectives for the British.

Things were looking bad for the Germans. None of their reinforcements were due to arrive yet and the British force was advancing aggressively.

Eventually some German armour turned up, just in time as the lone Panzer was Low in Ammo.

The German force was hurting, but things can change quickly. The original Panzer took out the Firefly and the newly arrived ones destroyed the Stuart.

The original Sherman took out another Sherman with his final round, but one of the new Panzers struck a mine and was destroyed. A brilliant shot from the last remaining Sherman took out another Panzer and that was it for the Germans.

This was such a fun game. The Germans were on the back foot from early in the battle, but they still put up a decent defence.

Steve and I will play another couple of games in this series, following the fates of the 15th Scottish Division.

Until next time,

Owen