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French Farm Size Info Link

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For those of you create your own maps here is some info on typical French farms in the 1940's. What type of farms, where the farmers lived in both Normandy and outside of that region, and size of a farm. I did the math. 20 Hectare average size for a farm is 200,000 square meters and divided by 10 meters (which I understand is one tile) for a action section equals 20,000 of those.

Feel free to correct me if my understanding is incorrect.

https://books.google.com/books?id=wQlCGi0L0zAC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=average+farm+size+in+france+1944&source=bl&ots=td6I8MvmW8&sig=-oJYwRNoI8jT8iKrAGc8CREu1Z0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj65N7M_6TSAhUDz2MKHaSrAbIQ6AEINjAF#v=onepage&q=average farm size in france 1944&f=false

Best Regards,


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Thanks mech, thats useful.

Tiles are 8x8. But that doesn't matter too much in this context.  What is more significant is that you should be dividing by 10x10=100 (or 8x8=64), not 10. That gives an avg size of about 2,000 tiles, or a square that's around 45x45. Of course, farms would practically never be square,  and probably not even contiguous fairly often. But it's still a useful rule of thumb to remember and apply.

Edited by JonS
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Many thanks for this. Clearly the author fought and bled over this ground himself, at a guess in the BHQ of 3/134th.  Below are a couple of other interesting snippets from the chapter, providing some 'grit' and paralleling the Green Books and the works of Doubler, Balkoski, et al.

"The farms in Normandy, like those in Brittany, generally are in contiguous tracts where the farmers live near the center of their own land in relatively isolated farmhouses. This is in contrast to other parts of France, and much of Europe, where farmers live in villages and go out to till widely separated fields.


These earth and plant fences enclose fields - usually meadows or apple orchards - of irregular sizes and shapes which seem to average toward a rectangle about a hundred yards long and fifty yards wide. A wartime aerial photograph of a typical section of Normandy showed more than 3,900 hedged enclosures in an area of less than 8 square miles.


As a matter of fact the terrain is so difficult that the local inhabitants did not believe that the landings would come in this area.

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By digging a deep foxhole behind these hedgerows and covering it with logs and earth, the defender could make himself almost immune to practically all ordinary small arms or light artillery fire. Moreover, he was able to maintain observation which was denied the attacker. He could have his guns zeroed in, put an observer up in a tree, and wait.
The attacker, on the other hand, usually could not see more than one hedgerow ahead, could seldom see any enemy activity, and when he did discover the enemy's presence by coming under his fire, he was too close to employ his artillery.
In a well-organized system of defense in the hedgerows, the Germans usually would hold the first dike with only a few men - frequently armed with machine pistols - as an outpost line.
The second row was likely to be defended more strongly; it would have riflemen and machine guns well dug in, with firing slits through the hedgerows.
The third line, also held with machine guns and rifles, was more thoroughly prepared, with extensive tunnneling and digging. Sometimes machine guns were mounted in trees on the hedgerows and then fired from a covered foxhole by means of a wire.
The entire position was covered by well coordinated artillery and mortar fire.
When a heavy attack came, men from the first hedgerow would withdraw to the second or third to continue the defense.
Key positions were those at the corners, near junctions of hedgerows, where machine guns could cover the entire field in an exchange of fire with a machine gun in the next corner. These automatic weapons would pin down the attacking troops - would fix them on a target where they would become easy prey to the bursting shells of high angle mortar fire.
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Yup, the author was here all right.

"The only way really to appreciate distances in infantry battle is to get out and walk over the ground.

"Here is the hedgerow where LtCol Alfred Thomsen and his battalion staff had their foxholes after the first day's battle; there is the field where Lt. Halley Dikey and an aid man who had come to pick him up were killed by mines, and where Major Foster H. Weyand and another aid man were painfully wounded; down there is the bridge where mines blew up a tank, and then a jeep of Company I; up the slope is the ruined house which burned all one night and became a reference point for the infantrymen; that curve is where a German tank rolled head-on toward a battlion column; there is a house where a German machine gun team held up a company until billows of white phosphorous drove it out; there is the farm known as Emelie, the first objective where so many men were hit; there is the orchard, near the church, where Colonel Thomsen had his command post at the edge of St Lo.
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Also interesting how the mid '44 US Army seems so dogmatic about night laager when they can't tie in to adjacent units in the line. (Same story with the 27th ID in Death Valley on Saipan). Was the night infiltration threat really worth presenting this kind of dense artillery target?

[Bloody Sunday, July 29, La Buste] "The battalion's [3/134th Infantry] attack had moved off at 0900, in about the same way that it had on many previous monrnings through this country, except that almost immediately it had run into heavy opposition. The battalion had not had a chance to deploy fully from the wagon wheel formation which it had adopted for night security. As a consequence, all its elements were close together. The battalion CP was only one hedgerow in rear of the front line. Other parts of battalion HQ and the battalion therefore came under fire when any part of it did. Hours passed with nothing to show but casualties.... Tree bursts caught the battalion CP."

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