Monday, June 10, 2019

D Day 75th Anniversary battle

 Over the past weekend Kent and I headed up to Christchurch to take part in Andy Tucker’s Sword beach landing multiplayer game of FoW to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings. Andy and the other Christchurch gamers really put in a mammoth effort in getting the game together and countless hours of work in creating fortifications, terrain and making sure the whole event went off without a hitch. Having organised events myself I really appreciate the work that went in behind the scenes to make sure this game was a huge success, we even managed to get on the national news!

Anyway, Kent and I headed up on Friday afternoon. We were both running British lists, I had some commandos and Kent was taking a confident trained 3rd infantry division force- once we’d locate his army and borrowed it off Martin who was also gracious enough to host for the weekend.

It was a great game. On day one we landed and stormed the beaches. Re were six British players (me, Kent, Jonathan, Graham, Lionel and Jamie) vs three Germans (Andy, Thomas and Josh) so from the get go the Germans were seriously outnumbered but their fortifications, bunkers, HMG nests, sea walls , minefields and other defences mitigated this somewhat.

As the allies our objective was simple, storm the beach, overcome the beachfront defenes and push inland as quickly as we could before the Germans could counter attack.

My commandos landed at the far left end of the beach and used a lot of smoke (once my artillery support arrived) to neutralise strongpoints and avoid as much damage as I could as we struggled through the initial rows of fortifications. On my immediate right Kent’s confident trained infantry got badly chewed up but eventually made it over the seawall and took out the first line of fortifications and, with the help of Jonathan’s troops, spent a large part of the weekend clearing the very tough casino complex and nearby bunkers. Beside Kent Jonathan’s forces stormed over the wall and into Ouistreham and pushed inland, decimating his son Thomas’s defending forces in the process. On our far right Jamie, Lionel and Graham (our Wellington import for the weekend) also ground out a bloody toe hold and by the end of the day vs Josh and Thomas and by the end of the day on Saturday had too had overcome the beach defences and were starting to push inland in the face of fierce resistance.

Sunday morning we resumed the game which had found the allies firmly ensconced in Normandy- having cleared almost all of the first table of enemy though the flak tower in Ouistreham cotinued to hold out for most of the day- though Kent used smoke to neutralise its use as an observer platform. The beaches were reinforced with several armoured squadrons landing whose assistance was greatly appreciated. My commandos had dug in as they were were somewhat exposed to counter attack on the far left of the British front line but Jonathan and Kent soon moved armour and tank destroyers over to support and Jonathon’s other armour started to push out of Ouistreham and so outflank the next line of defences.

Day two turned into a major tank fest as the Germans counter attacked with several companies of panzer IVs, panzer grenadiers and other assets. As I said, Andy ended up commanding the entire German right flank vs Jonathan, Kent and I so did a sterling job trying to keep track of everything we were up to whilst still managing the overall game- ah the joys of higher command.  

The Germans had random reserves and luckily for my commandos most of the German armour ended up pushing against the British right flank and so for most of the day Lionel and Graham were hard pressed defending vs large amounts of massed German armour. As part of the game rules Andy had assigned possible air or naval support each turn and the British had 3 such units available (depending on dice rolls- which we tended to divvy up as one per pair of players). However, on day two we all gave all our artillery assets to Lionel and Graham as they needed everything they could to hold off Thomas and Josh. By late afternoon however the situation had improved considerably. Our AVRE Churchills were pretty hard for most of the German tanks to deal and were ably supported by numerous troops of Shermans and Cromwells so slowly but surely the balance swayed in our favour and in the end we blunted (aka destroyed) the German counter attack and the Germans were forced to withdraw inland.

Final result:  A very hard fought minor victory to the British.

It was a great game andI love games where the table is so big that artillery assets need to redeploy forward to get back in range of enemy forces, really adds another dimension to the game, and the result. It probably was close to reality in that the Germans faced overwhelming numbers and their counter attack, s in the real one od D Day stalled in the face of overwhelming numbers. In the actual battle the commandoes managed to link up with the paras at Pegasus bridge whilst the counter attack by the 21st panzer prevented a link up between Sword and Juno beaches.

Inspired to get back into gaming
Before the event I’d been a tad reluctant to take part. I’d not taken part in a Flames of War games for quite a long time but this game has once again inspired me both the play Flames (V3) and also rekindled my love of large multiplayer big battles- they can be a hell of a lot of fun.

Truth be told over the past few years I’ve really pulled back from organised gaming, comps and events like this and this year with everything else that’s been going on have had little motivation or interest in gaming in general. In fact more often than not this year Kent and I have postponed our scheduled games as a range of other things have cropped up to get in the way of our regular game. So long story short I wasn’t that keen to get involved and almost decided to pull out a couple of weeks ago. I had too much other real life stuff I was dealing with and really wasn’t that motivated to play so told Andy I wasn’t going to be able to make it but after a few messages between us I  changed my mind  tans in the end thought bugger it and went.

I am really glad I did go. Not only did Andy put on a fantastic weekend but the guys participating were a great bunch that really got into the spirit of the event. Andy not only ensured that everyone had fun but also bravely took command on the entire right flank of the German counter attack on day two and fought vs Kent, Jonathan single handedly so was a tad busy all day ensuring things ran smoothly whilst still trying his best to focus on the game. 

But for me, more important than the gaming was getting out and having a chance to catch up with Martin Wilkinson, Stephen Stout, Eric Juhl, Dave Dreaver and a few other old  lags, reminisce about the various Day of Days weekends we had ran, other events we’d gamed, the pros and cons of the various rulesets we were playing, and so had a great opportunity to just shoot the breeze and reconnect with a great community of gamers. It really was the pick up I needed so thanks Andy.

 A few pictures follow: 




  1. The table was really nice and everyone looked like they were having fun. Well done.

  2. Agreed it was a great looking event, and glad you got a boost from it too!

  3. Yeah, Andy and his team put a great effort in both with the table and also keeping the game fun and light hearted so was a real blast to take part.