Battering Cod, Sword Beach, 6th June 1944. 15mm IABCYM.

A fortnight ago I finally managed to get the first game of the year in round at Des’ magnificent shed o’war, and it was a cracking way to hopefully start up face-to-face wargaming again. We would be having another crack at a D-Day game (rude not to really as it was near enough the anniversary!) using Des’ lovely 15mm collection of figures & terrain and our mash-up rules that combine IABSM with the dice activation of CoC which we have, in true Lardy style, entitled “I aint been Coc’d yet Mum” or IABCYM.

In this scenario myself and Andy T. would be assaulting the strongpoint known as ‘COD’ to the allied planners with orders to neutralise it then move forward to clear the exits from the beach to allow the follow on forces to barrel off down the roads to points inland, Des would take control of the dastardly defenders and try to prevent us from doing so. To achieve this task we were given identical forces which were based upon A & B Coys, 2/East Yorks with each of us taking command of a company assault group, both consisting of:

  • Wave one
    • 2 platoons infantry in LCI
    • 1 assault section RE, for beach obstacle demolition
    • Troop, 13\18 Hussars (4 x DD Shermans)
  • Wave two
    • LCT with 22nd Dragoon’s and 79th Assault RE. 1x Flail, bulldozer, AVRE bridgelayer, AVRE facine.
  • Wave three
    • 3rd platoon and HQ section of each company.
    • 2 x Vickers HMG sections
    • Mortar platoon in Bren carriers
    • 6pdr AT troop with Bren carrier tows.

The defensive nest (Wn20, ‘COD’) that we had to take on consisted of 1.Komp/736 Inf Regt/716 Division manning the following defences:

  • 1hmg
  • 2 lmg in tobruks
  • 2x 50mm mortar in tobruks
  • 2 ob posts
  • 1 hq
  • 2x 37mm ATG open positions facing the rear area
  • 1x 37mm ATG in the 180 degree bunker
  • 2 x 50mm ATG in 90 degree bunker
  • Trenches, wire.

Further back and to the rear of the main defence nest were these additional positions:

  • Beach house 1 complex
    • 37mm tobruk
    • HMG bunker
  • Beach house 2 complex
    • 37mm open top bunker
    • Two sections in trenches
    • 1 lmg in tobruk.
  • Rear command bunker
    • lmg tobruk

Our plan was quite simple: hit the beach and Andy’s right hand platoon and my left hand platoon would concentrate on the defensive position whilst the other ones tackle the flanking positions. The DD tanks and ‘Funnies’ would support this effort depending on if they make the beach or not with reserve platoons to be fed in where needed. One of the great things about these D-Day games is the absolute uncertainty in just how much of your force either 1. manages to just arrive on the beach and 2. makes it up the beach to get to grips with the defenders. So with everything ready we launched our attack.

For once the run in to the beach went (ahem) swimmingly for both of us with none of the DD tanks being lost to swamping or crashing into each other (you have to roll each time you move in the ‘deep’ parts to check for swamping and there’s a chance that you can drift too). However upon hitting the beach 3 of my DD tanks promptly hit mines which unbelievably they all managed to survive my LCI’s also made it past the submerged obstacles safely and all my lads managed to exit them without serious losses from enemy fire too. Over on the left Andy had slightly less luck losing one DD tank to a mine and one to AT gun fire and one of his LCI’s also went up which caused serious casualties on his left hand platoon, killing the CO and reducing the unit to little more than an overstrength section. The defending Germans then started up a hail of fire which again I seemed to dodge the worst of whilst Andy’s already battered platoon suffered even more. Notwithstanding this we both pushed our troops up the beach as quickly as possible supported by the fire from the now defrocked DD tanks from the surf whilst our assault pioneers started to clear obstacles.

Pretty soon the assault troops had passed the obstacles but now had to cross the mined area of the beach. It was here that my right hand platoon’s luck ran out somewhat taking the worst casualties yet from mines, however the left hand platoon heading for the bunker complex carried on with their run of good luck and made it to the wire completely unscathed by the mines. Unfortunately for Andy’s left hand platoon they seemed to be absorbing all the bad luck from my lads and by the time they hit the sea wall they had lost so many men that they were broken and completely combat ineffective although his right hand platoon managed to make the wire without too many more casualties from mines.

The next phase of the battle saw our central platoons successfully cross the wire and start to clear the bunker complex, again with the great help from the DD tanks back at the shore, and soon were nearly through the position. My right hand platoon tried to assault the FT turret Tobruk which lay to their front without success but I started to take it under fire from the DD tanks and as the ‘Funnies’ were now inbound I reckoned we’d be able to by sort it out pretty soon. Unfortunately time was getting on at this point and so we called the game but it was clear that ‘COD’ had fallen and the reserve platoons would be used to push through to help clear the exits whilst the DD tanks could have shot up the positions in the beach houses with impunity until the defenders broke. I think that the Germans suffered from some bad luck with their activation dice and had problems stemming from the initial bombardment and us getting a lucky hit on the CO which all helped hamper the defence and our great luck in managing to get nearly all the DD tanks ashore safely helped out immeasurably.

I am looking forward to is the next time we play it in an all-dayer as Des’ plan is to have a further table set up with the area behind the beach so we play through to that table after the defences have been cleared. Having said that these games are so brilliantly unpredictable I bet we get stuck on the beach as all the DD tanks drown and we get slaughtered by mines! Anyway, whatever happens it’ll be ace.

It was a cracking game, just look at the table and toys we got to play with what’s not to like there!, and a fantastic way to get going again. Massive thanks to Mr Darkin for allowing us round to play and to Andy for always being a great bloke to have at the table (and thankfully on my side for once!), I’m a very lucky chap to have wargaming mates like these! Onwards and upwards now, here’s to more games in the near future.