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La Fiere Causeway June 6th - Updated v2021

Kandu

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I have update M1 Garand's original scenario based on new or other resources. Details here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT by Kandu
------------------------
The original work is entirely M1 Garand's who has obviously spent many! hours making a gorgeous map and has done marvellous work constraining the map features to fit into CMBN's orthogonal/diagonal system. I have similary constrained my revisions to match M1 Garand's layout.

REVISION NOTES
--------------
German Armor: Replaced M1 Garand's German panzers with the historically correct Beutepanzers - Renault R35. This model was not available at the time M1 Garand created his scenario.

Topography: Modified contour lines as per topographical map available at https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/carte and distorted these to match M1 Garand's orthogonal/diagonal distortion.

Bocage: Amount, type, and additional field divisions as per aerial photos taken between 1950 and 1965 available at https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/carte. Most, but not all, low bocage changed to tall, banked, St. Louis bocage.

Flood Level: Made causeway narrower as per veteran's descriptions and modern aerial color photos of a 'high' flood line. Replaced numerous 'marsh' tiles with 'shallow ford'.

Trees: More apple orchards as per near contemporary aerial photos from https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/carte. Quantity of trees as per contemporary photos and not as per overhead google maps views.

Buildings: Some removed as per contemporary aerial photos. Some reconfigured for number and location of windows and doors etc.

Flavour Objects: Milk bottles, crates of vegetables, sacks of grain and all food stuffs, safely brought indoors during the day. Insufficient time during the day to move most of the goods in barrels.

Setup Zones: Minor change for German player.

Artillery: An 'apparently' non-functioning 88mm Flak battery was replaced by a leichte Infanterie Geschutze 75mm. Historically this should have been #4 battery of Artillerie-Regiment 191 with four 105mm guns but I did not want to change M1 Garand's play balance too much.

OFFICER'S NAMES
---------------
Added officer's names where known as listed below.

Lt. Levy commanding D Co, 2nd Bn, 507th PIR - defending western end of causeway at Cauquigny. Historically, the German attack forced his 17 man platoon to fall back on Lt.Col. Timmes' position in the orchard NNE of Cauquiny.

Lt. "Red Dog" Dolan commanding A Co, 1st Bn, 505th PIR. holding le Manoir at the eastern end of the causeway.

A QUESTION OF TANKS
-------------------
A post-battle photograph proves that at least three German tanks were destroyed on the causeway; two Renault R35 and one Hotchkiss. Secondary source authors make contradictory claims. One includes a Panzer III in the mix, another claims two tanks destroyed on the causeway and two more destroyed during the approach by Lt. Levy's men defending Cauquigny. Some reports suggest that Levy was down to as few as 8 troopers in and around the cemetery at the time (the others reportedly having left to join Lt.Col. Timmes) so I consider it unlikely that his men destroyed two tanks. But then, you never know. Since CMBN has no Hotchkiss vehicles I have settled on three Beutepanzer Renault R35.

Revised by: Kandu
 

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Guardsman

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at 24mins on, you may want to put that Pz3 back in to the scenario ;) Seems there were 4 tanks on the day!

1627030755053.png
 

Kandu

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I saw that photo and the video during my research. The video names the person who did the research to claim the wreckage as a Pz. III. A note about sources. There is a dearth of reliable, detailed primary sources. Secondary sources and veteran's accounts are ofter contradictory and confused when it come to times, locations, numbers and vehicle identification.

I have decided to accept that the tank track is either from the M4 Sherman that first tried to cross the causeway and hit a friendly A/Tk mine or from the damaged lead German tank that supported the second German attack along with three others, on the 7th.

The Panzer-Ersatz-und-Ausbildungs-Abteilung 100 had approximately 24 Beutepanzers consisting mostly of Renaults and Hotchkiss, one Char, one something else and a single Panzer III command tank. I have the exact numbers somewhere and will try to look them up over the weekend. I will also see if a friend of mine who has a Scandanavian book with the whole German OOB including casualties and replacement for Normandy, can give me the platoon breakdowns.

Pz.-Aus. 100 made a total of three platoon sized attacks on the 6th and 7th. One on the 6th against the La Fiere causeway, a second against that causeway on the 7th, and a third on the 7th against Lt. Col. Shanley's 508th PIR troopers in le Filiolet preventing German access to the causeway to Chef-du-Pont. The question I ask myself is, where then would the Bataillon Kommandant in his Panzer III have positioned himself? At the point of the assault on the La Fiere causeway? Maybe. But I am not convinced.

I acknowledge that the foregoing are my 'opinions' and may be incorrect. As a scenario designer, I find that many errors are bound to creep in as a result of the lack of quality of available data. I can only do my best to create scenarios that try to strike some kind of balance between being as historical as possible and being fun to play. The latter often requires creating some sort of arbitrary balance.

Thanks all for your support, especially when it comes to pointing me at sources.

LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG

I've put my Otterloo scenario on PAUSE due to frustration with creating new Dutch building skins. The game engine stretches each wall differently causing brickwork to be mismatched between sides. It will need hours and hours of work to fix this. So I got diverted by M1 Garand's Amfreville map and decided to make my own large map of the the area west and east of the Mederet. I previously did "Lt. Col. Shanley on Hill 30."

My plan is to have a map on which the following 15 scenarios can be played individually or as a linear campaign:

Scenario 1 – Chaos at le Manoir
JUNE 6

Scenario 2 – Bounced at Amfreville
0515 JUNE 6

Scenario 3 – Assault on le Manoir
1030 JUNE 6

Scenario 4 – Timmes Holds the Orchard
1400 JUNE 6

Scenario 5 – Holding le Manoir
1600 JUNE 6

Scenario 6 – SHANLEY ON HILL 30
0430 JUNE 7

Scenario 7 – Millet Breaks Out
0500 JUNE 7

Scenario 8 – The 1157 Try Again
0800 JUNE 7

Scenario 9 – 325th GIR Night Crossing
2300 JUNE 8

Scenario 10 – Assault Across the Causeway
1030 JUNE 9

Scenario 11 – Don’t They Ever Quit?
0400 JUNE 10

Scenario 12 – Motey, Strike One
0500 JUNE 10

Scenario 13 – Motey, Strike Two
2130 JUNE 10

Scenario 14 – Amfreville
AM JUNE 11

Scenario 15 – AMFREVILLE - 507th PIR What If?
0515 JUNE 6

What if the 507th PIR made a good landing at DZ “T”?

Cheers

p.s. at 71 this depends on "I should live so long".
 
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Kandu

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I present a number of different OOBS below.

Here is an OOB for Pz. Ersatz und Ausbuildungs Abt 100 as at May 20, 1944

Stab
Stabskompanie

- Nachr.Zug
- Werkst.Zug
- le.Pz.Zug with 5 Pz.Kpfw. Renault R35
1.Kompanie
- I. Panzer Zug (5 Pz.Kpfw. Renault R35)
- II. Schützen Zug with 3 lmg
- III. Schützen Zug with 3 lmg
2.Kompanie
- Grupen Fuhrer with 2x Pz.Kpfw. III 50 mm
- I. Panzer Zug with 1 Pz.Kpfw. Somua, 4 Pz.Kpfw. Renault R35
- II. Panzer Zug with 1 Pz.Kpfw. Renault B 2, and 4 Pz.Kpfw. Hotchkiss
- III.(Pz.) Zug with 1 Pz.Kpfw. III 5 cm, and 4 Pz.Kpfw. Hotchkiss
3.Kompanie
I. Panzer Zug with 5 Pz.Kpfw. Renault R35
II. Schützen Zug with 3 lmg
III. Schützen Zug with 3 lmg

TOTAL = 23 tanks (STAB not listed)

Note:
1. Only the 2.Kompanie is fully armored.
2. The Hotchkiss destroyed on the la Fiere causeway is numbered 224. IF the numbering was up to date and correct then this would suggest that it was II.Zug of 2.Kompanie that made the first attack. But in May that Kompanie has only a single Renault and there are two KIA on the causeway.
3. Paper strength of II. Zug is FIVE tanks but only 3 in the causeway photo (the wreckage of a fourth in dispute). Were one or two destroyed by the Americans in Coquigny during the first attack as one source reports? Or ... were not all operational on that day?
3. 2.Kompanie includes two Pz.Kpfw III command tanks so it is possible that one accompanied II. Zug during the first attack.

Here is a slightly different 'weapons total' as at 6 June 1944

8x Pz-H38(f) a French Hotchkiss Char 1938-H
1x Pz-S35(f) a French Somua Char 1935-S
1x Pz-B2 Flamm(f) a French Char BI bis converted to a flamethrower tank
14x Pz-R35 (f) a French Renault 35
5x Pz-R17/18(f) a French Renault 17 or 18
TOTAL = 29, Kompanie distribution not reported.

And here is the reported STAB composition for June in Normandy
Stab Kompanie (attached to Heeres Gruppe ‘D’ in France).
- 2x Befehls. Pz-S35(f) a French Somua Char 1935-S command version
- 1x BefsPanzer III (Sdkfz 267)
- Le.Pz.Zug
- 4x Pz-H38(f) Hotchkiss Char 1938-H
- 1x Pz-S35(f) Somua Char 1935-S

So what to do with this as a scenario designer? Acknowledge that a range of historical possibilities exists and choose something that fits within that range and will be interesting and fun to play.
 
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Guardsman

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I happily bow to your informed knowledge on this Kandu :) I only raised it as they seemed quite convinced in the film that it was a pz3 in the foreground that the photographer was apparently leaning against. The film was very insightful in a boots on the ground way. Worth checking out many of his other vids as he covers many famous actions in a similar way.
 

Kandu

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Apr 19, 2021
Messages
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Age
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I happily bow to your informed knowledge on this Kandu :) I only raised it as they seemed quite convinced in the film that it was a pz3 in the foreground that the photographer was apparently leaning against. The film was very insightful in a boots on the ground way. Worth checking out many of his other vids as he covers many famous actions in a similar way.
Kind of you to say, but my "knowledge" is pretty shallow on this stuff. I'm just making an decision within a range of possibilities. I'm glad you did raise it. I enoy discussion and being informed by different sources, interpretations and pionts of view. It expands my thinking. Yes, the vid was great, one of the best. I will check the others out. There was a really good one that I watched for my Bloody Buron Overhaul scenario as well.

Cheers :)
 

Kandu

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Below is the web page where you can read the best research that I have been able to find regarding the number of German tanks destroyed on the la Fiere causeway. It includes photos and analysis of various parts of the wreckage that prove that four tanks were KIA'd on the causeway, one Pzkfw III, two Renault 35 and one Hotchkiss. Indeed, a single photos shows all four tanks in their entirety. If we can believe reports that Lt. Levy's small group at Cauquigny knocked out two tanks with gammon grenades during the German advance to the causeway and that one was knocked out in a narrow sunken lane then a fifth one is out of sight with no photographic record. The second tank Levy knocked out would have been the Hotchkiss at the tail end of the four KIA'd. That would concur with "Red Dog" Dolan's report that his men KIA'd only three tanks.

 
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