The scenario covers the Falaise Gap fight between Canadians and Germans in France, August 1944. The AAR is from a game played on July 7th, 1997, at the Ottawa Miniatures Gamers club and was an early play-test of the vehicle rules.
St. Sylain, France - August 1944
After the fall of Caen, France on July 9th, 1944, General
Montgomery ordered the 2nd Canadian Corp to drive on
Falaise in an operation code-named Totalize. With Falaise
taken, the entire German army in Normandy would be
encircled. The Germans, already under threat from the
American army in and around St. Lo, threw together a
Panzer Division to keep the gap at Falaise open.
This refight is representative of many battles fought by the
Canadians in France during August 7th--16th, 1944. The
present small-scale action hinges on a crossroads near St.
Sylain on August 8th. The Canadians, racing for Falaise, get
caught by the German counter-attack.
89th Infantry Division
4th Panzer Division
- HQ Unit (GER-HQ): Lieutenant Fischer, 1 soldier w/ Panzerfaust 60
- Squad A (GER-SA): 8 men, 3 x MP 40 SMG, 4 x Kar98 rifles, 1 x MG34 LMG
- Squad B (GER-SB): 8 men, 3 x MP 40 SMG, 5 x Kar98 rifles
- Panzer III Ausf N (GER-T1), arriving turn 3
- Stug II Ausf G (GER-T2), arriving turn 4
- Panzer III Ausf M (GER-T3), arriving turn 5
Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
Fort Gary Horse
- HQ Unit (CDN-HQ): Lieutenant Druce, 1 x soldier w/Piat (4 rounds)
- Squad A (CDN-SA): 8 men, 7 x Enfield Mk 9 rifles, 1 x Bren LMG
- Squad B (CDN-SB): 8 men, 7 x Enfield Mk 9 rifles, 1 x Bren LMG
- 3 x Sherman 75mm (CDN-T1,2,3), 1 each arriving on turn 2, 3, and 4
Canadian Squad A (CDN-SA, CA on the map) joined the HQ (CDN-HQ, Chq on the map)
unit in building #1, a barn. Canadian Squad B (CDN-SB, CB on the map)
started to the south of building #1, 20 metres behind the
hedgerow. German Squad B (GER-SB, GB on the map) was positioned in
another barn, building #9. German Squad A (GER-SA, GA on the map)
started on the hilltop north of the barn across the main road,
together with their HQ unit (GER-HQ, Ghq on the map). Armoured vehicles
enter along the main road; Germans from the east;
Canadians from the west.
The CDN-SA moved from the barn towards the south side of
the main road. They wished to take and hold building #4 (a
stucco house). CDN-SB moved the Bren gun and 2 men to
the hedgerow between buildings #1 and #3. The remaining
men of CDN-SB and CDN-HQ (with the Piat) dashed
towards the stucco farmhouse, building #3. GER-SB moved
some men into position in the bushes outside of the barn
(#9) to cover the rest of the squad heading towards brick
buildings #5 and #6. The MG-34 toting soldier of GER-SA
moved into position behind a fallen tree, aiming his weapon
westerly down the main road. The rest of GER-SA and the
GER-HQ unit, together with the Panzerfaust 60, moved
towards the stucco farmhouse, #7.
Two Canadian squads break out from the barn.
The first Canadian Sherman (CDN-T1) tank rolled on to the
board and proceeded down the main road. Assessing the
situation, the tank commander ordered HE. Unfortunately
for the German side (bad die roll!), no armoured
reinforcements arrived this turn. The front element of
CDN-SA began to dash across the main road towards
building #9.The MG-34 gunner of GER-SA opened up and
quickly wounded (immobilized) two Canadians. CDN-SA
found themselves on the road, in the open and under heavy
fire. The rest of the squad only succeeded in crossing the
road through a combination of heroics and good leadership
(actually amazing die rolls by Al).
The remaining elements of CND-SA and CDN-SB (arriving
at building #3) tossed smoke grenades on the roadway to
protect those in the open. CDN-SB and CDN-HQ entered
building #3. The rest of CDN-SB started to fire the Bren
gun and rifles at GER-SB in the brush by building #9.
GER-SB's return fire missed and the remaining men
entered buildings #5 and #6. GER-SA moved into and along
the north wall of building #7. The CDN-T1 rounded the 'S'
curve in the road, fired an HE shell at building #6,
damaging an entire corner of the building. Some men of
GER-SB were injured or shaken by the attack. Once again
in the battle, soldiers performed amazingly to remain and
Canadian troops storm a building. Two brave German soldiers (A7 and A8) attempt an ambush.
CDN-T1 continued down the road and tucked in behind
building #3. The second Sherman (CDN-T2) travelled to the
'S' in the main road. A Panzer III Ausf N entered from the
east edge of the main road and fired HE at the centre of the
crossroads (throwing up a lot of dust and no damage).
CDN-T2 turned towards the hill behind building #4.
CDN-SB was under fire from GER-SB in buildings #5 and
#6. CDN-SB was also returning fire across the street to
GER-SB. The smoke and rubble caused by the HE explosion
hampered the Canadians effort to kill the units in building
#6. Meanwhile, the support weapon of CDN-SB had
GER-SB in the bush near building #9, in their sights but the
weapon jammed. (Note: These two events presaged that
worse things were to come for the Canucks). GER-SB began
to inflict casualties (mainly immobilization/heavy wounds)
on CDN-SB. GER-SB threw a smoke grenade on the road to
cover men advancing in the alley between buildings #5 and
#6. GER-SA, having reached the edge of building #7, began
to fire on CDN-SB. CDN-SB was now under fire
from three buildings (#7, #6 and #5). The Bren
gunner finally cleared his gun, only to misfire
and jam it again (nice dice rolling Will!).
CDN-SB was hard pressed to hold building #3.
Men of GER-SA north of building #7 made a
mad dash across the road to the north side of
building #4. One man was shot but the rest of
GER-SA made it to building #4. CDN-SA near
building #4 had another man immobilized and
failed the morale check. The men of CDN-SA
had to reach the interior of building #4 in order
to rally or be eliminated in the open behind the
A German squad takes up position behind a fence.
CDN- T2 continued eastward, north of building #4. The
third and final Sherman (CDN-T3) entered and speed
towards the 'S' curve in the road. GER-T1 continued a little
further up the road, dodging the fire of CDN-T3
successfully. GER-T1 hid in behind building #6.
Unfortunately for them, CDN-T2 rounded building #7 and
attacked on their weak flank; CDN-T2 scored a hit and set
GER-T1 ablaze! GER-T2 now entered and proceeded
directly down the road. Upon spotting CDN-T3, the two
AFV begin a mad dash to load AP and sight their weapons.
The tanks exchanged fire while they rumbled into position.
Neither hit before stopping to re-load. The main road
through the village became a "fire alley" as the two tanks
faced each other again. CDN-T1 continued around building
#3 to support CDN-SB. After firing HE at building #5, the
tank failed to break the moral of GER-SB. GER-SB and
CDN-SB exchanged gunfire with light casualties on both
sides. The Bren gunner finally was able to fire his weapon at
the men of GER-SB in the bushes. The Piat carrying soldier of CDN-HQ was
immobilized by rifle fire from GER-SA as he readied his
weapon at the crossroads behind building #3. CDN-SA
finally made it to the building to re-group and rally under
Corporal Wilson. The remaining men of CDN-SA were
surrounded in building #4 and in serious trouble. An MP-40
carrying soldier of GER-SA firing from building #7 at
CDN-SB in building #3 also had a malfunction. The
pressure on CDN-SB lifted temporarily.
German Panzer III Ausf N is hit by a Canadian Sherman. The explosion was caused by a lucky ammunition hit.
The Panzerfaust carrying soldier of GER-HQ snuck along
the east side of building #7 and fired successfully at
CDN-T2, penetrating the turret armour, knocking out the
main gun and killing the gunner. The rest of the crew were
wounded, immobilized or in shock. CDN-T2 limped
forward. GER-T2 loaded first and fired its big 75mm gun,
hitting CDN-T3 in the small arms ammunition. The
ammunition failed to explode but the crew were killed or
immobilized. GER-T3 rolled into position beside GER-T2
and readied to take on the last undamaged Canadian tank,
CDN-T1. CDN-T1 was preparing to move away from the
two German tanks and come under the protection of
covering fire from the rest of CDN-SB. As the tank
withdrew, a soldier of GER-SB close-assaulted the tank,
throwing a grenade at the tracks. The soldier was cut down
by the bow machine gun and the tracks held together. A
soldier from GER-SA ran up to the window of building #3
and caught the men of CDN-SB in flank. They were now
under fire from buildings #5, #6, #7 and from the north
flank at the window of building #3. To survive CDN-SB and
the CDN officer would have to attempt a break-out. On the
other side of the street, CDN-SA just regained fighting
capacity (rally!). While attempting to break-out of building
#4, they came under fire from a soldier of GER-SA who had
picked up the abandoned Bren gun -CDN-SA fell in a hail
of machine-gun fire.
A Canadian Sherman supports the infantry.
All the remaining men in CDN-SB were killed or wounded
attempting to exit their building -- the officer almost
reaching the hedgerow before he too was hit. CDN-T1,
turned to flee as GER-T3 gave chase around the buildings.
A lone soldier from GER-SA, coming round the west side of
building #3, picked up the loaded Piat he found lying there.
As CDN-T1 turned to go, he fired and scored a hit. The tank
was damaged but not knocked out. The Stug, GER-T2,
finished off partially-destroyed CDN-T2 with its powerful
The rest of GER-SA and GER-SB advanced across the
north-south road to hold the west buildings. The Piat-carrying German soldier managed to load and fire at the
remaining Canadian tank and destroy it. GER-T2 and GER-T3 secured the crossroads. The game was over.
The Canadians lost three tanks, 10 wounded and 8 infantry KIA. The Germans lost the Panzer Ausf N and had 6 men wounded and 3 KIA.
Operation Totalize was supposed to be a night attack with
elements of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions supported by the 4th
Canadian Armoured Division and 1st Polish Division. The
orders were to "launch a heavy attack in the direction of
Falaise". The attack was going well until units became lost
in the dark and the 8th Air Force bombed much of the allied
equipment. This disruption gave the 12th Panzer Division
time to recover and hold a defensive line at Quesnay Wood
and St. Sylain. The attack ground to a halt by August 10th. It
was August 16th before the Canadians finally entered
Falaise. In the meantime, the Germans, in a mad scramble
to exit France, lost 400,000 soldiers and most of their
vehicles as they fled.