Operation "Bluecoat" - Armoured Clash at Chenedolle - Battle Report
(Normandy - 2nd & 3rd August, 1944)
This was the first of my scenarios for Operation Bluecoat played at my place on Saturday 28th March 2008
By the end of July 1944, Montgomery’s overall strategy of holding the bulk of the German Army in the east and breaking out in the west had achieved its aim. Operation Bluecoat involved two British Corps advancing through Caumont towards Vire. Opposing them were less than two German infantry divisions however extensive minefields had been laid and the ground was the most hilly and dense in the whole Normandy bocage. The initial breakthrough was slow but threatened to create a significant wedge between German forces. With the vital road centre of Vire under threat by British forces the German II SS Panzer Corps was ordered to stop and eliminate this incursion. This scenario covered the actions of the afternoon of the 2nd August and the morning of the 3rd August.
The British 23rd Hussars support by the infantry of the 8th (motorised) Battalion the Rifle Brigade advance via Presles (foreground) towards Chenedolle (in the distance). German forces entered along the table edge to the left forcing the British forces to deploy flank guards.
This game was a true "meeting engagement" with neither side deployed on board and entering at right angles to each other. The German commanders split their initial force of Tigers with one company supported by the Divisional Escort Company moved through Chenedolle and two companies advancing up the Estry-Vire road towards Presles. Unfortunately the British deployed a strong flank guard that forced back and ultimately eliminated the larger German Tiger group.
Over the next few turns both sides reinforced with infantry and the British main attack centred on the German infantry in Chenedolle. Allied air support was a mix of P47 and Typhoon with a notable friendly fire incident to the west of Chenedolle with the British inflicting more casualties on their own side than the total caused by German fire at that point ! Another notable incident occurred when the HQ vehicle of SS Captain Grabner leaving him as the sole survivor facing an entire British Armoured Regiment and Motor Rifle Battalion (centre photo below). Shades of Tom Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan".
Meanwhile a second British force of another Armoured Regiment and a lorried infantry battalion advanced on a parallel route via Burcy and Point 224 heading for the Chenedolle road. The battle for Chenedolle had effectively bottled the German forces in the area to the east of the town and were not able to deploy sufficient troops to prevent the crossing of the road by the second British column. By the end of the game the British had clearly achieved their objectives despite the Germans holding onto Chenedolle late into the game. In retrospect the Germans would have been better to have used Chenedolle as a "firm base" to push reinforcements along the road system to intercept the heads of both British columns.
(terrain mostly mine except buildings which are painted by Colin Rumford. Figures mostly mine but some Tigers and Stugs provided by Ian Fainges.
Typhoon is mine but the P47 was from the collection of Brad Smith)