Point du Hoc - A Crossfire WW2 scenario
The Napnuts played a short scenario based on the famous Pointe Du hoc raid initiated by the 2nd Ranger Bn on June 6th, 1944. For our game, the size of the battle was reduced considerably: Pointe Du Hoc battery was reduced to 2 guns, and all other units were generally at half strength. Where OOB was incomplete, we winged it.
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The initial B17 bombardment was ineffective but managed to suppress the single MG-firing pillbox.
Preparatory fire from USS Slaterlee, which placed a highly effective smokescreen ahead of the Rangers, allowed about half the Ranger force to make the shelter of the cliff-face in the first bound. However, BOTH 0.30 cal MGs were suppressed and out of the fight for the position due to effective fire from a single German section with a clear view of the beach. In addition, about half the company were pinned/ suppressed. Faced with a choice between getting his remaining men over the cliff or pushing on, the Ranger CO decided to push ahead at half strength.
The Rangers stormed the main line of resistance, which fell easily. Unfortunately, the 155mm bunkers were empty (we played fair: a roll of 6 on 1D6 meant the guns had not yet withdrawn). At this point, the game dragged down, due to prolonged fighting in the rear line of infantry trenches between the Rangers and the local garrison. To make matters worse, a platoon of German regulars was rushed from the nearest garrison and in the savage hand to hand fighting which ensued, the Rangers lost approximately half their effective strength. Things were looking desperate.
Undaunted, the remaining Rangers made it up the cliff face, and rejoined their brethren in the fortifications. While one of the remaining platoons held the Pointe, a single platoon with an attached 0.30 cal MG pushed ahead with the Naval Gunfire Team to secure the crossroads. Aggressive patrolling on the part of the Ranger located the 2 guns we had cleverly concealed in the woods and destroyed them.
At this juncture, the German counterattack, 2 platoons strong with a supporting Panzer III, hit the Ranger platoon, reinforced by a stray section of 101st paras, at the Crossroads. Despite taking about 30% casualties, the reinforced platoon at the Crossroads managed to destroy the Panzer III and destroy about half of the attacking force, with a great deal of help from the Naval Gunfire Team (which was far too strong and should have been limited to either 2 barrels or only a 50:50 chance of a successful shoot as opposed to a 5:6 chance of a successful shoot).
With the Crossroads holding strongly, the Napnuts called it a day.
The Ranger attack looked precarious at the start, with the German defense proving more resilient than our playtesting of 2 weeks ago suggested. This was exacerbated by the early release of a full platoon to support the defenders. Casualties in the assault were horrendous, with a platoon-plus of Rangers and one of the 0.30 MGs destroyed.
However, the Rangers came into their own in the defensive phase, where the guns of the Slatterlee broke up virtually every attempt by the Germans to come to grips with the platoon-plus at the Crossroads. In spite of armoured support, the Germans could not dislodge the defenders from the Crossroads.
Despite the imbalance caused by the overweight Naval Artillery, the scenario has great potential, and would be worth replaying with USS Slaterlee firing just her forward guns.
Report by WW2 Coordinator: LK Tho