Battle for Le Mesnil Patry
(Normandy - 11th June, 1944)
Another game played at Tim O'Connor's place. Base terrain is Tim's, hedgerows etc from my collection,
buildings by Colin Rumford, figures and vehicles from the collections of Ian Fainges and Brad Smith.
The scenario can be found on the scenario page.
Pre-game deployment. 2nd/ 26th Battalion deployed around the Chateau (left). 12th SS Pioneer Battalion deployed on the
high ground west of Le Mesnil Patry (right). Canadian forces wind through Norrey en Bessin (in the distance).
ACTION THROUGHOUT THE GAME
Canadian forces form up in the orchards to the south-west of Norrey for an assault on the 12th SS Pioneers.
Meanwhile German armour moves forward in a counter attack at the end of the game.
The historical situation that the Canadian forces found themselves in on the 11th June is hopefully recreated in the scenario. Initial German deployment had the under-strength 2/26th SS Panzer Grenadier and 12th SS Pioneer battalions dug in around Le Mesnil Patry astride the rode to Cheux. On turn 1 the lead elements (squadron of tanks with an infantry company as tank riders) of the Canadian column had just cleared Norrey en Bessin. Follow up elements were forced to navigate the narrow streets of that village.
The Canadians (Tim O'Connor and Brad Smith) decided to rush up the Norrey - Le Mesnil road in an attempt to split the German defenders. A bold move but one that almost came off. The tank riders debussed along the road and the tanks pressed on surviving anti-tank fire and the lead elements of the 2nd SS Panzer battalion. For once the 17pdrs of the Sherman Fireflies were a disadvantage to the attacker lacking HE fire against the dug in German infantry and unfortunately without follow up forces and artillery the Canadians were forced to fall back towards Norrey. The single Canadian OP tank having been stuck back in the column and not able to emerge from Norrey until late in the game.
Over the next few moves the dismounted Canadian infantry attempted to infiltrate through the wheat fields towards the German occupied Chateau but were unable to mass enough force to seriously assault the position. As each Squadron emerged and advanced towards the German defences it was dealt a blooday nose. At this point the Canadians decided to form up in the orchards to the south of the road in order to assault the high ground held by the German Pioneers.
By the end of the game the Canadians were in no danger of achieving a victory with the German infantry still intact and the German armour counter-attacking but if the game had run for 2-3 turns longer may have seen a different result as the Canadians were able to mass their armour and artillery. The game presented interesting dilemmas for both sides. In the interests of playability the scenario I have since revised to bring the Canadian forces closer by 1 turn and delayed the German armour reinforcements by 1 turn to hopefully produce a much closer but still historical game.
My thanks to Tim O'Connor for hosting the game and Brad Smith and Ian Fainges for supplying the troops and vehicles. Buildings are painted by Colin Rumford with additions of paper posters (see photos below) - both available from the Rapid Fire website