Saturday 22 April 2023

Von Martin`s Last Stand

 Von Martin`s last stand

August 1944

Following a thread over on “The Friends of Rapid Fire!” Facebook page about German units equipped with old French tanks in Normandy, I thought this could make an interesting one-off game, so knocked this up. This is a fictional scenario, which I wrote to pit captured French armour in German service against US troops.

 The German counter offensive at Mortain (Operation Lüttch) has ground to a halt and the Allies have launched their own attack; which has brought an overwhelming wave of Allied soldiers and equipment supported by their ever present air-power and except for isolated places the Germans are being driven back.

The small hamlet of San Marie de Normandy sits close to the highway west of Gathémo the hamlet is garrisoned by elements of the 1051st Grenadier Regiment (84th Infantry Division) under Major Von Martin. The Major and his command had been tasked during the division`s initial deployment with protecting this stretch of highway to keep the supply chain open to the division.

The 84th Infantry was a reserve formation created from the Ersatzheer with only two infantry regiments, and was poorly equipped, with artillery and support weapons being mostly captured enemy weapons, and limited motor transport. While in Normandy the division had Panzer Abteilung 205 attached with various French vehicles.

 German briefing

The war has arrived, the Allies have stopped your offensive and have themselves gone over to the attack all along the front and an American column has been spotted moving towards San Marie. Your Regimental commander has tasked you delay the American advance, giving him time to save what he can. In an boost your defence, the commander has left a small number of old French tanks (which had been used in anti-partisan work), which probably be couldn`t be withdrawn successfully anyway. So with this miss match of troops under your command, here you are, you are not a fanatic but are determined to do your duty.

 German forces

Kampfgruppe Von Martin


CO, 2IC, RTO, NCO, 3 runners, 2 Medics, 2 feldpolice, sniper

2 infantry platoons with:

10 men (LMG, Panzerfaust)

Pioneer platoon with:

8 men (flame-thrower)

Attached support weapons

20mm Breda + crew

Hotchkiss MMG team

Pak97/38 + crew

Ersatz tank platoon with:


Somua S-35

2 Renault R-35

You have a small number of mines enough for two low density mixed fields 3x2”

 American briefing

You command a column from the 9th Cavalry (9th Infantry Division). Air recon have informed your commander that the village of San Marie de Normandy ahead is probably occupied and you have been tasked to investigate and eliminate any such unit. Local French civilians have informed your scouts the Germans are in full retreat and of low morale, but you are under orders not to take any chances with your men, air support is available if required.

American forces

Team Hitch


CO, 2IC, 2 RTO, NCO, French scout (carried in halftrack)

M20 Armoured car


2 recce troops with:

M5 Lt tank

M8 armoured car

2 Jeeps (one w/.50cal) 6 men

Armoured infantry platoon with:

10 men (inc BAR) carried in halftrack

On call artillery (off table)
1 battery of 28th Field Artillery (105mm) can be directed by either troop RTO or the HQ 

Air Support

Arrives over the table on turn 8

1 x P47 Thunderbolt

 This can deliver one bombing attack and then circle around to deliver a strafing run as required.

Turn 15

Elements of 2nd Armoured

Tank destroyer section

1 x M10

Tank platoon

2 x M4

2 x Armd infantry platoons, each with:

10 men (inc BAR) in half-track

 My table

The game

The Americans decided to deploy one troop along the road and the other cross country

Turn 1 saw them advance without incident, the Germans quietly wait their arrival

 Turn 2 the R-35 by the T-junction pulled out of its hiding place and slaps a 37mm shell into the lead M8 knocking it out! The following M5 fires at it but misses.

The other R-35 fires on the M8 advancing cross country but misses, return fire from the M8 and M5 both either miss or fail to penetrate!

Turn 3 sees the troops moving cross country engaging the R-35 hidden among the trees, neither side manages a hit. The recce infantry dismount and begin to deploy. On the road the M5 and R-35 exchange fire both hit but fail to penetrate, the recce infantry on the road also dismount.

Turn 4 bad turn for the Yanks, the M8 going cross country is knocked out

The recce infantry come under machine gun and sniper fire

On the road the R-35 once again hits the M5 (no effect) but the M5s 37mm jams! I rule the crew must make a morale check at the end of the turn – facing an opposing tank without a gun!! They fail badly and abandon their tank!

Turn 5 the cross country M5 exchanges fire with the R-35 and manages to knock it out

Unfortunately the Germans throw forward their Somua and the Ft17 moves out from cover to attack the recce infantry too

On the road the Yanks call down artillery on the T-junction to try and knock out that R-35

Turn 6 on the left the recce infantry are forced to ground by concerted MG and sniper fire, the Somua and M5 exchange fire (both fail to penetrate).

The farm at the junction is smashed by 105mm fire

 Turn 7 On the left the recce infantry are still pinned, taking casualties all the time. The M5 and Somua continue to fire at one another ineffectively. On the road a near miss knocks out the R-35

Turn 8 The US HQ troop joins the troop on the left.

The commander calls down artillery against the Ft17 - overkill much! The Ft is wiped out!!

The Somua and M5 once again fail to do one another any damage, but the Pak97/38 has been manhandled by its crew into a firing position and it nails the M5

The US Airforce arrives over the tabletop

The recce infantry by the road have moved forward and have now reached the junction.

Turn 9 the P47 targets the Somua and wipes it out with a precise bomb strike

US artillery hits the first on the village buildings wiping out the Hotchkiss team

At the junction the recce infantry move in and attack the Pak97/38 from the flank and wipe out its crew

At this point with the Germans have no tanks left, the Breda AA has jammed. But the Yanks don`t have enough infantry to storm the village. So they spend several turns plastering it with artillery and call in another P47 strike, while they await the arrival of 2nd Armoured, which I feel is an historic way to finish the game.