8th Canadian Infantry Brigade Battle for Rots and Le Hamel
Near Rots, Normandy - 11th June 1944
Here are some photos of this battle played by us at Tim O'Connor's place on Sunday 19th August 2007. Base terrain is Tim's magnificent custom built terrain tiles with mostly my bits and pieces on top including the first of my Colin Rumford buildings. I also supplied the bulk of the troops including the new Model Master Centaur (below).
The real thing (photo taken near Pegasus Bridge 1991)
After German forces re-captured Rots on the 8th June, the village formed a salient in the allied front line. It also controlled a part of the Mue valley to the north of the main Caen – Bayeaux road and was defended by a battalion sized kampfrgruppe based around the 1st & 4th companies of the 1st Battalion of the 26th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment supported by the Panthers of the 4th Company of the 12th SS Panzer Division. These forces were dug-in in and around the buildings and woods of Rots and Le Hamel. To eliminate this threat to the flank of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division it was decided to launch an attack by the attached 46th Royal Marine Commando, reinforced by a tank squadron of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment, supported by infantry and artillery. Eventually after a bloody battle and under the weight of overwhelming numbers and firepower the Germans were pushed out of the village.
The German defenders split their forces to cover the three scenario objective i.e. Rots, Le Hamel and the Chateau. All forces started either in buildings or in prepared positions south of line A-B. The single 75mm PAK 40 was sited to cover the western approach from near Le Hamel and the 75mm IG was sited to cover the eastern approach near Rots. In support of both approaches were the 105mm guns and 2 x 81mm mortars.
The Canadians split their assault force with the weight of numbers on the western approach to Le Hamel (north of line C-D). Cover and the road system favoured this effort. On the eastern approach a supporting assault by 46 Commando had Rots as it's objective..
German gun line to the south of the Caen- Bayeauax road. Chateau at the top of picture with mortar just visible near the bridge.
Looking east from the high ground near Bray. In the foreground La regiment de la Chaudiere advances either side of the road with the tanks of the A squadron, 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment in support. In the top of the photo can be seen the dug-in Pioneers and infantry of the 1st Battalion, 26th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Top left 46th Commando supported by a Centaur advance on the eastern side of the river Mue.
Wide shot of the battlefield. Chateau in the foreground with Rots on right and Le Hamel on left. Canadian start at top of photo.
Closeup of the German defensive positions near Rots (left) and Le Hamel (right)
From the attacker's end of the table
Closeup of Rots
German gun line again
After a brief firefight both Rots and Le Hamel fell to the Canadian Assault. As occurred historically the German players used the Panthers as mobile "pillboxes" rushing from one part of the battlefield to another and the pioneers put their flamethrower to good use. Overall a very satisfying and different scenario.