Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Band of Brothers - Brecourt Manor

Here's a WW2 scenario for all you skirmish fans. It is a historical scenario based on Lt Dick Winters' assault on Brecourt battery on D-Day, made famous in the HBO Band of Brothers series. The action at Brecourt is dramatized in Band of Brothers Episode 2: "Day of Days", and Winters' successful use of surprise and supporting MG fire to defeat a numerically superior enemy is still used as a textbook case by the US Army to demonstrate an assault on a fixed position.

As the Brecourt Battery is firing on the US landings at Utah beach, it is important to silence it. Therefore, the US objective for the scenario is to destroy all 4 guns in the battery. The German objective is to defend the guns and prevent the US player from achieving his objectives.

The order of battle is as follows:

US Airborne Forces

  • 1st Group
  • Lt Winters (M1 Rifle)
  • Cpl Joe Toye (M1 Rifle)
  • Pvt Popeye Wynn (M1 Rifle)
  • Pvt Gerald Lorraine (M1 Rifle)
  • 2nd Group
  • Pvt John Plesha - 0.3 cal MMG
  • Pvt Walter Hendrix - assistant
  • 3rd Group
  • Pvt Joe Liebgott - 0.3 cal MMG
  • Pvt Cleveland Petty - assistant
  • 4th Group
  • Lt Buck Compton (Thomson SMG)
  • Sgt Bill Guarniere (Thomson SMG)
  • Sgt Don Malarkey (M1 Rifle)
  • 5th Group
  • Sgt Carwood Lipton (M1 Carbine)
  • Sgt Mike Ranney (M1 Rifle)
  • Reinforcement Group (Appears later opposite the 3rd gun position after it is captured)
  • Lt Spiers (Thomson SMG)
  • Sgt SMG
  • Pvt Rifle
  • Pvt Rifle
  • Pvt Rifle
  • Pvt Rifle

German Forces
According to Winters' after action report, his troops managed to kill or capture 20 German troops out of an estimated total of 40-50 Germans. However, if we gave the German player in this scenario his full historical order of battle, the US troops would have no chance. In order to simulate the surprise and confusion faced by the German troops, it is necessary to give the German player only half of his historical force. In addition, the artillery gunners should be of poorer quality than the defending regular infantry.

Thus, available German forces for this scenario are as follows:

  • 3 German gunners in each gun pit
  • 1 MG34 team (Tripod mounted) between the 1st and 2nd gun pit.
  • 2 MG34 teams and 10 Regular German infantry to enter the game as reinforcements after the 2nd turn. These troops enter at the corner of the board furthest away from Winters' original starting positions.

Special Scenario Rule - To simulate the total surprise achieved by Winters, the first US turn is a free turn without any German reaction.

Tom Weiss and Dom tried out the above scenario using the Disposable Heroes skirmish rule set. The US Airborne figures are 28mm Artizan painted by Tom Weiss. The Germans are a mix of 28mm Crusader and TAG painted by Dominic. The artillery pieces are German sIG33 150mm regimental guns from Force of Arms. (I could not find the correct artillery pieces in 28mm scale.) Even with the German handicaps, it turned out to be a fairly close run thing. I think this indicates that the scenario is pretty well-balanced. Here are some pics from the game, with some brief comments on the action:

Here's the layout of the Battery. Winters' entry area is on the extreme left of the board.

Winters' begins his assault on the first gun. The MG team in the foreground provides covering fire.

Lt Buck Compton and his group secures the 1st gun for demolition, while Winters' moves ahead to silence the MG nest before moving to the 2nd gun.

Winters' blows the 2nd and 3rd guns. Casualties have been pretty high. He moves his MG teams into the trench system to provide supporting fire against the German MG nests and reinforcements.

After the 3rd gun is blown, Lt Spiers and his team appear and request permission to take out the 4th gun!

German reinforcements arrive just in time to hold the final gun pit. Spiers' team is wiped out, and Spiers himself is pinned. Winters makes a hard decision and decides to charge the numerically superior German forces.

A bloody melee ensues in which Winters' is knocked down. US MG fire cuts down the last remaining German. The US player wins the game, barely! Click here to see the above pics in larger format.


At 8:04 AM, Blogger Milton Soong said...

Those Artizan figures sure paint up nicely. Good job!

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Great article. I played the same scenario using the Skirmish Campaigns Normandy - First Hours module and the same rules set, but the US players didnt fare so well, being pretty much wiped out on the way. I found Hobby Armor Depot makes the German 105s at a reasonable price. Great game and great report.

Tom Oxley

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