Yesterday, the Ordo Ineptus gaming club fought our long-anticipated first battle of D-Day with Flames of War, and with it, another entry has been scrawled in the book of war-gaming legends.
The game would be bittersweet for me. I was eager to get stuck in, with one of the largest games I’ve ever taken part in, however it would also most likely be my last battle at the club. Moving 2500 miles back to Southern California can really put a crimp on your weekly Connecticut gaming routine.
Still, nothing is forever, and the time for goodbyes would have to wait – there was a battle to be fought… and what a battle indeed. 6 players on each side, with the Allies taking 1500pts each, and the Axis taking 1350pts each plus fortifications, meant this would be a bloody, all-day affair.
Fighting on some beautiful new terrain boards, the Allies made their beach landings, while myself and George, another able general, took on the role of commanding the airborne forces dropping in behind enemy lines on my bocage table set-up.
A tremendous amount of preparation went into organizing the game, almost as much as the real D-Day landings themselves! It had been determined that the American and British paratroopers would both start the game with two combat platoons and the company HQ on the table, with everything else coming in reserve. They would face a number of units from three separate German players, as well as the terrifying prospect of .21 Panzerdivision beginning to arrive on turn two.
At the same time, the remaining four Allied commanders would face the unenviable task of storming the beaches by any means possible. With so much action going on, it was impossible for me to keep track of everything on the other end of the table, but as you’ll see below, there was no shortage of breaching groups, Rangers, DD-Tanks and landing craft desperately trying to get a foothold in France. Special mention has to go to the naval artillery bombardments, AKA “The Pizza Box of Death” for causing severe amounts of carnage on the defenders early on in the game.
With games this size, it’s often a challenge to keep things moving without getting bogged down waiting for everyone to make their move, or confusing things by people playing out of turn sequence. Fellow gamers Rod and Tom both did a stellar job of keeping everyone on track.
Unfortunately for the Allies, the density of the German defenses, combined with a number of choke-points in the terrain meant very few platoons were able to gain any kind of meaningful ground. By turn seven, only a few teams had made it off the beaches, at a terrible cost. Meanwhile, my dire reserve rolls meant George had to fend off enemies from all sides single handed. By the time I had platoons on the table, they were either overwhelmed or left with no targets.
At the end of a hard days fight, both sides had taken a considerable mauling, however it was the Axis commanders who were able to keep the Allied invasion in check, and win the battle. Perhaps we should’ve gone after Calais instead!
With the dust settling, it was time for me to bid farewell to my friends. I have many happy memories of playing with the club, and hope to return soon.