Games from “Commands & Colors” theme are pretty popular in our baordgame group. I am mainly focusing on Ancients (and soon medieval), Piotr plays and owns all Napoleonic sets and Lukasz is huge fan of Memoir’44. Of course we all play with each other, simply collecting different game lines 🙂

Lukasz latest addition to the Memoir’44 Collection is marvelous D-Day Landings expansion – and what game is better for 75th anniversary of the largest seaborne operation in the world history? Today, I would like to share with you one of our session in that great game.

We had four players so decided to play a two-beaches variant – we decided for westernmost part of the operation – brave Airbone landings and fight on Utah beach. To set-up the game I used all the tables in my house:

Memoir_1
Glace at the initial set-up. White circles mark where Airbone landed (click to enlarge)

Lukasz commanded defending Germans as overall commander, with Konrad being his subordinate fighting on Airbone flank (left German section). On the other side Marcin become the overall Allied commander while I took rightmost section facing Konrad.

Below close-up on most heated points of the soon to be struggle – first, Utah beach itself:

Utah landings - as we will see, not so comfortable as historically they were (Click to enlarge)
Utah landings – as we will see, not so comfortable as historically they were (Click to enlarge)

Point du Hoc was a key area, with  devastating gun battery:

US Rangers ready to take Point du Hoc (click to enlarge)
US Rangers ready to take Point du Hoc (click to enlarge)

And the game itself:

The end situation, main points of interest plus moves of the forces (click to enlarge)
The end situation, main points of interest plus moves of the forces (click to enlarge)

(1) Long, bloody, mutually-exhausting battle on Utah beach was – in the end – won by US troops lead by Marcin – only thanks to reinforcements. Lukasz showed great class here, even having one round during which he destroyed four (4!) allied units!

(2) Point du Hoc was a hard nut to crack for Rangers and the struggle here lasted almost til the end of game – again US reinforcements prevailed, as the initial commandos division was entirely wiped out by Germans in bunkers and two batteries of guns.

(3) On my wing, I started with my Airborne troops from eliminating encircled German units, focusing on epic St-Mere Eglise (who did not play Call of Duty!) Unfortunately, Konrad nicely counter-attacked and I had to suffer heavy losses to clean German defenses.

(4) A-historically, but very thematically as far as our session is concerned, Lukasz prepared troops and launched full-blown counter-attack on Utah Beach. Two brigades of Infantry supported by tanks wreaked chaos and destruction. Only planes, reinforcements and the iron will of US troopers allowed Marcin to repel the attack.

(5) My Airborne troops started to do better and better and soon occupied four critical bridges in area of Carentan. Well, that was their main target – to prevent Germans panzer reinforcements from reaching the beaches. However, soon after SS panzers arrived and I had to fall back a little – still, keeping enough points for Allied victory.

End status and some close-ups – first on Marcin and Lukasz area:

The Utah beach sections at the end of the game
The Utah beach sections at the end of the game

Now the airborne part of board – me vs Konrad:

The airborne section at the end of the game
The airborne section at the end of the game

In the end the Axis lost 13-21. The US reinforcements, constant pressure – mainly on Utah beach – resulted in final breakthrough on key directions which forced Germans to gradually retreat. Still, the US losses and multiple counter-attacks from Lukasz and Konrad were top-class and we had moments of being on the verge of collapse.

21-13 seems like piece of cake; the historical records of Airborne fight and especially Utah landings also provides insight as “minimal German resistance” (although many Airborne died due to miss-landings and intense AA German fire). But even playing that simplified version of this great operation I see that there is a lot “below” the official stories – we were really couple of time at the verge of being driven from beaches out to the sea…

The game was very enjoyable and really best way to commemorate all those who perished bringing freedom back to Europe in June 1944. Thank you!

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