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Resuming Carillon Nose campaign project


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Work and computer power permitting, I am going to resume work on this long shelved BN base game campaign, which includes a 2 x 3 km master map of the east bank of the Vire River above Pont Hebert, from la Meauffe to the German fortified heights at le Carillon.... 

On 4/25/2011 at 5:01 AM, LongLeftFlank said:

 

mp16.jpg

Below are a few key snips from the old thread... 

On 9/5/2011 at 1:53 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Eglise St-Martin was heavily fortified and anchored the German left. It took a day and a half for 1/137th Infantry to reduce with the help of TD direct fire on July 11-12, 1944.

LE-MEAUFFE-1944-2.jpg

LE--MEAUFFE-1944.jpg

 

On 9/8/2011 at 10:42 AM, LongLeftFlank said:

German MLR, including 2 Pak 40s, covering Route Nationale 3 and the St Lo railway cut.

Bocage8.jpg

La Meauffe had been the front line since mid June, when 175th Infantry occupied it, then withdrew (under fire) to higher ground further north.

Quote

June 18. 0500 175 Inf moved out of La Meauffe before the 1st Bn relieved them. Enemy moved in and 1st Bn unable to move into this point. Skirmished all during the night. 119 began attack 0530 this morning to take this point.

1200 Col McDaniels requested that the Bn of the 119th Infantry move and occupy high ground south of La Meauffe

1845 Inf jeep blown up. La Meauffe in our hands 1840.

1945 Civilians state that Germans have mined road at 493762 reported by K Co.

2000 La Meauffe - counterattack in progress. 49537280 - house with IGs and snipers being fired on.

469775 - Enemy CP in house, Ln 1, 1940. 433763 suspected battery position fired on.

2040 Town of La Meauffe is now in our hands. Enemy is still in outskirts.

19 June. 1/119th moved to defensive positions leading north from La Meauffe.

1/119th withdrew north both because their left (east) flank was exposed and they were under nonstop fire from St Martin tower and Le Carillon. GIs did keep an OP in town during June, on the 150 foot smokestack of the ruined Claudel distillery!

The Germans outposted the village in early July to bring the Vire river crossing 500m north under direct fire, but also being aware that it was a death trap, they kept their MLR west and south in the hedgerows and thick-walled church/chateau Vermanoir.

2/137th Infantry medic, Dr Leroy Malleck:

The next afternoon found our regiment marching forward to relieve elements of the 119th Infantry Regiment of the 30th division in the vicinity of La Meauffe, north of St Lo.... They had been in this location for the last two weeks. Those weeks of preparation had improved their foxholes to the acme of doughboy refinement. They were covered with logs and earth and were lined with corrugated board from their ration cartons.

The bedraggled infantrymen of the 119th were deliriously happy to see fresh troops arrive. They had suffered heavy casualties and had been under continuous shellfire for over two weeks. The men were dirty and jittery and told us horror stories that caused a slump in morale. They showed us the various booby traps, mines and trip wires in the trees the Germans had installed in the area and the places to avoid....

The men of the 137th now learned what it was to be shelled.... The importance of overhead cover as protection against the deadly tree bursts became apparent

XIX Corps chronology, 29 June: German 352nd Infantry Division makes minor penetration of XIX Corps right flank with recapture of La Meauffe.

This isn't recorded in the 1/119th diary, probably because the Yanks had by then given up a permanent presence in town and were entrenched less visibly in the quarries and hills to the north.

 

On 9/5/2011 at 5:49 AM, LongLeftFlank said:

The attached graphic summarizes the attacks of the 137th Infantry from July 11-14th between the east bank of the Vire River and the higher ground anchored by the (famous) fortified German positions around Le Carillon. It draws on multiple sources.

Crudely, the chronology starts in the northeast corner and then reads in both directions to the southwest corner.

This material will form the basis for the actions to be covered in the proposed campaign.

137thInfAttacks11-15JulyLaMeauffe-Carillon.jpg

 

Quote

10 July 1st Battalion, 119th was relieved by elements of 35th ID at 100100B

On July 11th, 1/137th swept down the north road and rail cut from the quarries at 0600 after intense prep bombardment. The green Prairie doughs overran the distillery and the outpost "pillboxes" in the shattered town within an hour. Moving west into open country they quickly hit the MLR around the church, losing the Regimental CO and several other senior officers at 0715 when they came forward to see what was holding things up.  

So I did some more research online and was gratified to find a French chronology of La Meauffe's war. And it turns out the elusive "Gestapo château" which anchored "Purple Heart Corner" is the Chateau Fors, commanding the key T junction and railway crossing at the south end of La Meauffe. Many historians place it wrongly at St Gilles, which was the LXXXIV Corps HQ, rocketed by Typhoons on D-Day and also heavily fortified.

So at long last I have confidence in the start lines and the July 11th objectives for 1/137.

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Work and computer power permitting, I am going to resume work on this long shelved BN base game campaign, which includes a 2 x 3 km master map of the east bank of the Vire River above Pont Hebert, fro

My ADD/OCD fidelity mapping project for tonight: Claies de Vire. 1. Overview  2. A nice back door into the German anchor position at St. Martin for Company A, 119th Infantry? 3

Ok, enough history, what's going on with the map? First objective: La Meauffe. Vermanoir and Eglise St Martin, linchpin of the German left. The thick-walled sandstone church and c

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Some more history and context.

On 13 July, the two attacking regiments of the 35th Division again scored only limited gains. The principal reason, not realized until later advance had cleared the ground, was a German defensive system described by XIX Corps G-2 as representing a "school solution" for the enemy's problem of stopping our attack.

Just west of the hamlet of le Carillon (Map 16) the Germans had organized on a north-south nose of higher ground, between two small creeks, in a fashion not matched elsewhere on the division front. Using every advantage offered by the hedgerow terrain, they followed the principle of defense in depth. The main enemy positions began 500 yards from the northern end of the nose, on the line le Carillon-la Mare; from here, for 1000 yards to the south, the rising ground was organized as a defensive base. From it, small combat groups worked out to the north and on both flanks to prepared outpost positions; if pressed, they could retire easily to the base. The nose was only 50 to 100 feet higher than the low ground on the approaches from the north, and less than that above the draws to either side, but this was high enough to afford good observation, and enemy automatic weapons and mortars were sited to deliver effective harassing fires over a wider radius. Heavy hedgerow dikes and a few sunken roads gave the Germans opportunity for movement under cover from American artillery fire. Enemy forces in this area were estimated at about a battalion....

The problem of cracking this German strong-point was never really solved; success on other parts of the front settled the issue during the next few days.

Buckley, The Normandy Campaign 1944: Sixty Years On

On 11 and 12 July the 35th Division assaulted a most elaborate defensive position at Le Carillon. The 2/137 found the armoured support provided [3 tank platoons of the 737th Tank Battalion and 654th TD Battalion] entirely ineffective. The tank destroyers were wrecked by mines and mortars, and of four tanks sent in, one was blown up on a mine and two became bogged in the mud. These misadventures reflect the German policy of always separating enemy armour from infantry where they could do so.

The 2/137 was more successful in changing tactical organisation and procedures for the infantry and their own and attached fire support weapons. Colonel O'Connell decentralised his forces, attaching a platoon of heavy machineguns and a section of 81mm mortars to each company. The rifle companies were ordered to abandon conventional formation and create attack groups of four or five men. O'Connell remarked, "The best tactic was to first place very heavy concentrations of mortar fire on all suspected enemy lines and then to follow this up with a liberal use of grenade launchers and hand grenades."

On 4/25/2011 at 9:00 AM, LongLeftFlank said:

If you go down an echelon from the Green Book corps/divison level history ("On 13 July, the two attacking regiments of the 35th Division again scored only limited gains.") to the regiment and battalion level AARs, you start getting a feel for what the poor bastards at the pointy end were enduring. This report is essential reading -- check out the observations at the end.

Here's the regimental history for 137th Infantry on the fighting on July 13.

On 13 July 1944, the regiment attacked at 0800, with the 3rd & 2nd Battalions again leading. Visibility was poor, and aerial support was called off, but the artillery support remained excellent.

The 3rd Battalion moved 500 yards before being held up by machine gun fire. The 2nd Battalion on the right, received heavy shell fire and made no marked advance. These forces received heavy fire from enemy 88mm artillery regularly during the day, although at 1145 our own artillery knocked out two enemy mobile 88’s. Time burst was also used by the Germans.

It was evident that the hedgerows so common in Normandy were being used to the maximum in the plan of the German defense.

Forty-seven prisoners were taken during the day. Some of these surrendered as a result of our speaking to them across the enemy lines by means of a loudspeaker, encouraging them to give up the fight. Propaganda leaflets had also been dropped over the enemy lines during the night, which may have had some results. The prisoners were mostly of Polish, Czech and Austrian descent, and appeared glad to be out of the fighting.

After being held up in the early part of the day, the 2nd Battalion broke through for a gain of 500 yards. An enemy counterattack forced the 3rd Battalion back to its original position at 2200.

Our casualties on this day were the heaviest yet, with 21 killed, 87 wounded and 17 missing in action. The casualties were particularly costly in that Capt Orren L. Biesterfeld, 1st Lt. Ralph H. Johnson and 1st Lt. John T. Graham Jr. were killed.

****

And now here's the blow-by-blow at battalion level (3rd Battalion). This document is essential reading

http://www.137thinfantry.org/opsreport.pdf

The 219th Field Artillery was to fire a thirty minute preparation across the battalion front. H-5 minutes the concentration was planned to fall within 100 yards of the front line [!], at 0800 hours lift 100 yards at which time the battalion was to attack. Thereafter the fires were to lift 100 yards successively on call of the Battalion Commander.... The machine gun platoons remained with Companies I and K, mortar observers were replaced during the night and were to fire on the sunken road in front of I company and the one between I and K....

During the night the enemy maintained concentrations of mortars and artillery within the battalion area, which were amazingly accurate, resulting in a number of casualties throughout the night and a complete loss of rest for all....

At 0730 hours the artillery preparations began to cover the area as planned....

Company I requested the lifting of artillery fire about 0810, followed closely by K company. Company L on the right reported receiving fire from their right flank, but reached their 100 yard objective about 0830.

These same tactics were repeated three successive times for an advance of about 350 yards. Little resistance was encountered except on the right flank of L Company which consisted of some small arms fire and mortar fires.

About 1000 hours the same plan of fire maneuver was attempted again, but with no success. As the artillery lifted and the companies jumped off they were met with a blast of machine gun and small arms fire all along the line. Within a matter of minutes the enemy ranged in with mortar barrages on the positions of the front line companies, causing a large number of casualties.

No further gains were made during the day.

About 1400 hours the battalion began to receive intensive artillery and mortar fire along the front lines, and extending about 800 to 900 yards to the rear

I Company reported a counterattack. The Battalion Commander directed I Company to hold, and artillery fire was requested and received on the area to the front of I company.

I company was successful in stopping the counterattack but not without severe losses in men and officers. The Company Commander and Executive Officer were killed, the Weapons Platoon Leader, the Artillery Forward Observer and the Machine Gun Leader of M Company were wounded.... coupled with the loss of a number of excellent NCOs and riflemen, left I Company badly disorganized.

The Battalion S-3 [the author] took over the task of reorganizing the company under the command of young 2d Lieutenant Ashley, the junior officer of the company, a few minutes prior, but now the senior and only officer remaining....

During the days operations all companies reported our artillery falling short causing casualties and considerable mistrust of the artillery among the men. This is explainable by the methods the enemy used in ranging in with counter-fire of mortars each time our artillery fired. In the battlefield noise and confusions, that faint whisper of mortars falling in could not be heard, therefore officers and men alike in their confusions blamed the artillery for short rounds....

During the night, rations, water and ammunition and medical supplies were brought forward and distributed by the personnel of the battalion train.... This was strictly a hand-carried operation, due to the lack of roads or trails available and also due to the heavy shelling the battalion was subjected to twenty-four hours a day. Further, the noise of a few vehicles would be easily located, and result in additional shelling....

Sniper action had increased during the day to such an extent that the Battalion Commander directed that no individual was to move about singly, but to travel in pairs and small groups.

Yeah, I'd say that's "limited gains" all right.

And btw, that day Third Battalion weren't even attacking the main German position on the "Nose" (shown on the map) -- that delightful task fell to the Second Battalion.

And here are some foxhole level memoirs:

Quote

www.137thinfantry.org/schoonover/LETTERS.doc

Soon after the attack began, Col. Layng our regimental commanding officer received wounds to his face and legs by enemy machine gun fire--he never returned to the outfit, and was replaced by assisant division commander Brigadier General Edmund Sebree at 0830 and he was replaced by colonel Harold Emery that night. The Germans facing us were the 879th, 898th, and 899th infantry regiments of Kampfgruppe Kentner commanded by Col. General Kentner....

When we received replacements for the regiment, they were all young men who had had only 6 weeks of training and no furlough home before being sent overseas---some were crying and I personally felt sorry for them. I wrote home to brother Bill to join one of the services and not to be drafted and end up like the first replacements we had received!!!

First Sgt Bob R. Adams, 3rd Platoon - C Co - 137th Inf

Our packs were rolled by dawn. Once again we stacked our bed rolls and prepared to attack. This time our first battalion was in reserve, and we moved forward in the column keeping in close contact with the company ahead. Our own artillery was again pounding the German strong point that had stopped us the day before. The shells were exploding uncomfortably close, and the barrages were so mighty I marveled how any German soldier could be left alive.

A great pall of smoke and dust settled over what had once been a small French chateau. The German resistance had crumbled, and now we made a shall gain of a few hundred yards. Vacated German positions were in evidence and we could observe how deadly accurate our artillery barrages had been. A number of dead German soldiers were lying about, and equipment of every kind and description had been abandoned and left in disarray. The German foxholes had been cleverly dug. Using every advantage of the hedgerow they had tunneled and bored into them from all angles so that only a direct hit from artillery could dislodge them. They were deadly elaborate in every respect. Abandoned machine guns had strings attached to the trigger so they could be fired at intervals without exposing the gunner.

Dugouts were constructed by tunneling under the hedgerow, and the entrance was covered with layers of hugs poles and dirt. The dugouts were equipped with mattresses and cooking utensils. These had been pillaged from French homes. Many of the trees were equipped with a ladder leading to a "crows nest" that was neatly camouflaged in the top of the tree for observation and sniping.

Every conceivable angle had been taken into consideration. How many more of these honeycombed hedgerows lay ahead only the Germans knew. Attacking such ingenious positions seemed futile.

Once again the Germans began artillery and machine gun fire and the advance stopped. Once more we dug in when the order came to withdraw about 200 yards. The reason was to straighten our lines, and thus protect our exposed flanks. Our positions were protected by a hedgerow. Once again, every one started frantically digging in before the German artillery could be zeroed in on our new positions.

A few shells roared in, but they were slightly low, and we felt more secure as our foxholes went deeper and deeper into the hedgerow.

Attack orders were coming down in rapid succession from higher headquarters. Company C was now to be attached to the 3rd battalion, which at present was engaged in a terrific fight. This time as we moved out my squad was leading the company. Sgt Ira Austin and I were leading the column as we advanced along the hedgerow. These hedgerows offered much protection from enemy observation and fire, and no movement was across open space. We always followed the pattern of the hedgerow, and advanced along their bulwark of dirt and growth of trees and underbrush.

This was a lesson quickly learned in the fighting throughout the hedgerows of Normandy. The third battalion, to which we were now attached, was engaged in a furious battle a few hundred yards to our right front. The Germans were sending over round after round of heavy artillery and it was landing to our left rear with shuddering impact. Most of it was time-fused and exploded just above the ground. This had maximum effect on advancing troops since the shrapnel would strike about the same level as a soldier's body. The column now stopped as the battle to our front increased in fury, and the men scurried into the protection of the hedgerow, and began digging foxholes again.

I observed the Germans in their withdrawal had abandoned two excellent dugouts, almost perfect in construction and equipment. Occupying an abandoned German position was always dangerous because of "booby-traps." These two dugouts had been dug down deep into the ground, and then tunneled into the side of the hedgerow. On the floor were mattresses and bedding which had been pillaged from the French farmhouses, and cooking utensils taken from the same source. As the column halted, I cautiously entered and examined one of the two dugouts for any booby traps that might have been left behind. Finding none I called for the platoon sergeant to join me.

The sniper activity was increasing. It was not uncommon to hear the silken whisper of a German smizer bullet sing through the air. The company commander called on my squad to try to clear the menace, and with my automatic rifle team and three riflemen, we raked the tree tops with volley after volley in a vain effort to clear the area of any snipers the Germans may have left behind to slow our advance. Any tree or shrubbery that appeared suspicious was riddled with rifle fire.

Our company awaited orders to be committed. The wounded from the battle to our front were filing by in a continuous stream. Those who could not walk were being carried on litters by medics and assisted by those less seriously wounded. The reports coming back indicated a terrible slaughter was taking place among our third battalion and particularly I Company. The sickening sight of the wounded hobbling by verified the reports. The call coming down was for more medics and more litter bearers. The battle raged on and word came that four German prisoners had been taken and were coming back. As they came past our foxholes with their hands clasped over their heads, it was the first sight of a live German soldier that we had been fighting for two days.

As night drew near the fighting slackened, and the report was that very little advance had been made. The German artillery again went into full action. The heavies opened up and were landing uncomfortably close to us. Round after round was crashing a few hundred yards to our rear, and the foxholes went deeper and deeper. As night came on the artillery increased and was now exploding throughout our positions. The most terrifying danger from the artillery was in the overhanging trees and shrubbery along the hedgerows. A "tree burst" was when a shell struck a tree, causing a premature explosion, showering hot, deadly steel shrapnel down into the very pit of the foxholes. Tree bursts were common in the hedgerows.

Tonight I placed two men on sentry duty. All of my men were badly shaken and were showing the effects of battle from being under constant fire. Some had become almost rebellious. It was going to be a bad night with the Germans sending in barrage after barrage of artillery shells.

Each squad member would be on sentry an hour, and must remain out of his foxhole and walk up and down our sector and take a chance of leaping into a foxhole during an artillery shelling. Each foxhole had been dug very deep along the hedgerow, and as an extra caution, some men had tunneled back into the sides in order to avoid the shower of deadly steel shrapnel coming from tree bursts. The dugout which I occupied and which the Germans had so carefully constructed, was now so full of men that another could scarcely have squeezed in.

No rest was possible for anyone. All we could do was sit and wait for dawn, hoping and praying a shell would not crash into the dugout. Our platoon leader left the dugout to check the platoon shortly after midnight. A few shells had landed near our positions, and although we had escaped, the shrapnel had whizzed all around us. A few moments after the lieutenant had left, a shell screamed in and struck a tree directly over my squad's position. It had such a shuddering force I thought momentarily our dugout had been hit.

Now the screams of the wounded and dying filled the air. "Help!" "Medic!" "Help!" "Medic!" came the cries from the wounded. Although their cries had become common the past two days it immediately filled me with a sickening fear, and knotted my stomach. I knew my squad had been hit badly because the shell had crashed so close by. Even as the thought flashed through my mind, the door flew open and the lieutenant fell in. For a moment I thought he had been hit, but it was only shock, and he babbled incoherently. The wounded continued to cry out and plead for a medic, and I shall forever remember that brave medic who left the shelter of the dugout and went forth into God knew what, to administer aid, and comfort to the dying and wounded. Shells continued to crash all around us as he bound their wounds and loaded them on stretchers for the rear. Those not badly wounded helped carry the others who couldn't walk, and they made their way amid the burst of shells to the rear.

None of my squad had been killed, but five had been seriously hurt. One of the wounded was the soldier with whom I had shared a foxhole the two previous nights, and with whom I would have been with again had I not discovered the German dugout. The remainder of the platoon was badly shaken, and a few cases of shell shock developed. One soldier lay in the foxhole shaking and crying. He appeared as someone having a seizure.

We tried, but it was impossible to help him. Another man lay in the foxhole frozen with terror, unable to move. He was totally paralyzed with fear. It would have been a human act of kindness to send them back to the rear, but in war everyone who experiences the agony and horror become inhuman, so they were ordered to stay put.

During the night orders arrived to move into the line before dawn and be ready to launch an attack at 0800.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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Ok, enough history, what's going on with the map?

On 11/13/2011 at 11:11 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

 Le Carillon-La Meauffe master map: 2736w x 2816 h. The little yellow squares are orchards, the dark green are woodlands.

My source material is primarily the 1947 aerial imagery together with the St Fromond one sheet. The German fortified area depicted in the famous Green Book map lies just south of that barren "triangle" in the lower center of the map.

Carillon_MasterMap_Nov11.jpg

 It contains the full regimental frontage for the 137th Infantry (and defending 897 Grenadiere) for the entire 5 day battle of 11-15 July. The battalions fought shoulder to shoulder, and often overlapped.

First objective: La Meauffe.

On 11/24/2011 at 12:28 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

View north up RN.3 out of La Meauffe, facing the 1/137 start line.  

LaMeauffenorthexit.jpg

Google Maps image of the same spot

LaMeauffenorthexit-photo.jpg

180^, looking southeast toward part of the German-defended rise on the 'unvegetated' master map.

NorthedgeSE.jpg

On 11/25/2011 at 1:14 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Claudel Calvados distillery at the north edge of La Meauffe.

ClaudelDairy.jpg

The sleepy little railway station:

LaGare.jpg

 Norman farmsteads in Vire landscape (sans vegetation).

Farmstead1.jpg

Vermanoir and Eglise St Martin, linchpin of the German left.

The thick-walled sandstone church and cemetery "bristled with firepower and atop the bell tower was a German machine gun nest that commanded the approaches to the area. Close behind the church was a chateau, another thick-walled building with excellent facilities for fortification.... A labor battalion of impressed Russians had been forced to build heavy reinforcements and a bomb shelter of concrete with walls three feet thick." Moreover "every house and shop had been converted by the Germans into individual pillboxes."

On 11/29/2011 at 2:11 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Another fidelity check

Vermanoir1.jpg

VermanoirLaMeauffe-oldphoto.jpg

On 11/27/2011 at 5:45 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Aerial shots, showing how hard this position is to outflank

Vermanoir_aerial.jpg

Vermanoir_aerial2.jpg

On 11/27/2011 at 5:48 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Vermanoir_pano.jpg

On 11/26/2011 at 3:51 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

The former LXXXIV Corps HQ chateau" at Château St Gilles. With its thick walls "studded with MGs" and commanding fields of fire, it anchored the right wing of the German defense along the Vire river. It had to be close assaulted over 2 days by two US battalions supported by TDs. The Cherbourg - St Lo railway cut is visible in the background.

St_Gilles.jpg

Gentle slope of the grounds to the Vire towpath.

StGilles2-1.jpg

A suitable terrace for the guesthouse overlooking the river.

StGilles1.jpg

On 12/22/2011 at 12:28 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Norman hamlets and farmsteads, enshrouded behind overgrown walls, bocage and orchards.

Hamlets.jpg

LeGermaineriefarm.jpg

LeHameau.jpg

LeCaillourie.jpg

Launay.jpg

 

On 12/17/2011 at 2:32 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

La Caillourie, with rail cut.

LaCornicaillerie.jpg

On 1/7/2012 at 1:55 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Northeast quadrant submap ( 1500 x 1100m)

TronquetW2.jpg

On 12/28/2011 at 3:00 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

 

E-SPanorama.jpg

On 12/27/2011 at 2:54 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

Ajoncs1.jpg

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7 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

 

On 11/29/2011 at 1:11 AM, LongLeftFlank said:

Another fidelity check

Vermanoir1.jpg

VermanoirLaMeauffe-oldphoto.jpg

 

First of all - very cool project. I am curious about why you used buildings to make a church like structure in this instance instead of one of the in game churches with perhaps an additional building. Please note this is not a criticism - it is a question. I am curious how you made the choice.

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8 hours ago, IanL said:

First of all - very cool project. I am curious about why you used buildings to make a church like structure in this instance instead of one of the in game churches with perhaps an additional building. Please note this is not a criticism - it is a question. I am curious how you made the choice.

Certain Norman church towers have a "tented" roof shape, per the photo. Since that screenie, I reverted to the dense walled cathedral and Sauron tower for tactical reasons (yeah, that topic 🕍). 

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7 hours ago, rocketman said:

Cool project 👍

Looks like you have great map resources. Will keep an eye on this.

Cheers, all. 

Yeah, the richness of mapping and documentation is what attracted me to this particular battle, vs. more 'CM-friendly' actions (i.e. more tanks) taking place east (Hill 192) and west (V. Fossard, le Dezert etc.) at the same time.

Most CMers are to a greater or lesser extent aware of the history, but game mainly for the pleasure of 'fighting in the style of' a historically accurate force. Fair enough, but I am more of a digital historian, and like to get deeper into the boots of the participants.

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Nice timing. With the patient assistance of @Elvis (his Aim is True), I got CMBN reinstalled on my MacBook. I am now trying to reorient myself on the project, in fits and starts between business trips (btw, last year I stayed at that hotel that fell down in the recent Indonesia earthquake/ tsunami/ volcano. Heartbreaking).

Here's a couple of historical photos of the vicinity of "Purple Heart Corner", on this French language site chronicling the WWII experience of La Meauffe and the Meauffois.

It seems even prior to D-Day the distillery had been bombed, as had V-bomb storage tunnels in the limestone quarries just north (occupied in mid June by 119th Infantry), along with several area chateaux housing German command staffs. And the Germans were demolishing bridges, fortifying churches, etc.

distillerie-vue-aerienne.jpg

distillerie.jpg

The granite "Gestapo Château" guarding the Fors crossroads (actually a Feldgendarmerie detachment guarding LXXXIV Korps HQ at St. Gilles):chateau%20de%20Fors.JPG

The adjacent rail crossing. Yup, Purple Heart Corner fits the bill. pont%20de%20fors.JPG

 

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Many thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I'm basically an amateur historian who uses CM as a medium to get in the boots of the tactical (infantry) commanders.

So I'm drawn to very thoroughly documented actions, whether JOKER 3, Le Carillon, Eliane 2, or Makin. The only semi-fictional stuff I put any time into was Baba Amr 2012, and even there I tried hard to approximate reality by watching hundreds of videos.

Work doesn't leave much time for it these days, alas.

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Found another rare free evening for mapmaking over Christmas. Unfortunately my Macbook doesn't offer a Prtscrn, so a low rez phone shot will need to do to show progress.

The white text area is the 11 July attack frontage of 137th Infantry, as viewed from the left flank of the German MLR (897e Grenadiere), anchored on the Vire. 119th Infantry had occupied the left bank on July 9th, but not in enough force to support this attack.20181229_104442.png

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I am also pasting this very useful post by the ever ingenious @Kaunitz here,  for my own reference. I used a similar approach of gapped bocage segments to represent dense jungle undergrowth in my PTO Makin scenario.

On 5/29/2017 at 7:26 AM, Kaunitz said:

I want to share what might be an interesting idea for fellow scenario-designers. I've been thinking about woods and thickets for my scenario lately. Looking at the maps featured in CM, planting trees on top of forest-ground seems to be the most common method. But then I asked the internet. And the internet gave me the idea that there might be a better way to give woods a bit more love, both in terms of gameplay-mechanics and aesthetics. :) 

The problem I found with most woods on CM-maps is that they lack a proper woodland-edge (http://www.spektrum.de/lexikon/geographie/waldmantel/8789) - a rim of ca. 10-20 meters (1-2 squares) of very thick bushes and small trees. Basically, you want to create a rising, unbroken forest canopy, with bushes on the outside, followed by trees growing in size as you go deeper, first leaf trees, then conifers. A proper woodland-edge should block any LOS into the wood and provide excellent concealment. Once you're "inside" the wood, you'd get larger trees, i.e. no more treetops blocking your LOS. 

Right now, mapmakers seem to rely on an increased density of trunks in order to block LOS into woods. This looks and feels wrong and severely restricts the ability to fire "out of the wood". Also, as long as concealment in woods comes from tree-trunks, moving to the edge (from inside) is very dangerous as the number of trunks between you and the enemy decreases. Breaking up forests into an edge-zone and an "interior"-zone is the way to go! With those dense hedges at the edge, you can quick-move units to the edge and only let them crawl the very last square safely. With treetrunks only, quick-moving towards a forest-edge was a game of roulette.

After quite a lot of testing and fiddling around, I'm quite happy with my result (see screenshots). The most important finding was that - in CM:BS - you must not use "bushes" (foliage terrain) but bocage (fence-terrain) to represent thickets in the woodland-edge (or thickets in general!). What I've done is to simply place hedges in totally random patterns to create thickets. In my playtesting, the results were superb. Not only does the "low bocage" that I used provide excellent concealment (and still let's you see out), but also, a 2-3 square-wood-land-edge gives the enemy a much harder time when it comes to selecting suspected targets for area fire.

Also, I placed smaller random patches of bocage/hedges "inside" the wood. This was a real relevation. The combination of readily available lines of sight (because there are only high trees "inside" the wood, so LOS is only obstructed by spaced-out tree trunks) and drastically increased concealment potential (hedges everywhere) led to very satisfying engagements in which firing almost never gave away the position of a unit to the enemy. Of course, in such a setting, you simply need to area-fire, and the AI cannot make use of it in a way an actual player could. But I'm really looking forward to testing my "wood" in a H2H game!  

Some screenshots of the map for the scenario:

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(woodland-edge with gapless canopy of leaves)

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(inside the wood - relatively good lines of sight, but there could be an enemy hiding behind every single one of the little bushes. Most of them are not "bushes" (foliage-tile) but rather proper "hedges" (wall/fence-tiles). I had instances here in which the unit that was getting shot at did not even get a suspected (!) contact-marker. Total ambush!)

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(the forest-edge is missing for obvious reasons here)

 

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(thicket on the right side of the path)

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(another dense thicket)

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(note that one can barely see the hedge/bocage-tiles at the woodland-edge because of the tree-symbols on top of them)

 

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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8 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

I am also pasting this very useful post by the ever ingenious @Kaunitz here,  for my own reference. I used a similar approach of gapped bocage segments to represent dense jungle undergrowth in my PTO Makin scenario.

 

Using similar approaches with some variants. (Examples from "You Enter Germany" Scenario)

For deciduous forests using gapped bocage in irregular patterns, brush and positive ditch locks (blue +1) for the edges and mixes of light/heavy forest, modded red dirt, brush and modded grass XT (bracken) for the interiors. For more density and cover might add some gapped bocage, blue ditch locks (+ or - ) and extra brush as well.

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I handle coniferous forests slightly different. Patterns for the edges are similar, while interior ground tiles are mixes of dirt, modded red dirt and far less underbrush (light forest or brush). For cases of really dense pine forests with branches reaching almost to the ground, I toyed with modded bocage/high bocage where leaf bitmaps are replaced with the needle ones (tree 6 i.e). This is a less than perfect method, but the overall looks at least are coherent. Also occasional bumps, holes and ditches (blue + or - ) add to realism and some cover if needed.

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Edited by RockinHarry
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37 minutes ago, LongLeftFlank said:

I toyed once with doing an artillery shattered treescape using modded phone poles but soon gave it up.

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this one  is a bit misleading. It actually shows the "Wilde Sau" area of the hurtgen forest after huge forest fires raged there post war. The pic is 1948 I think. For wartime conditions you´d see still lots of undamaged trees mixed with the bare trunks and stumps. Also the ground would be filled with all the branches and fallen trees still having needles attached and not completely burned off, like in the photo. This makes for excessively difficult and jungle like terrain, with very low LOS´s as one could expect. I used a telephone pole mod as well (similar to the Hurtgen Mod at CMMODSIII) and the main issue is an excessive frame rate drop due to the shadows used (drop shadow AND receive shadow) for flavor objects. This is somewhat different for regular trees. However, one can make a sound mix of regular trees, stumps and poles, with modded bocage and additional logs distributed to get a halfway realistic feel and looks. I´ll show some examples later this day.

These wartime pics show the forest more realistically, although more devastated areas existed. Can´t find an example in the net, but I have some in my books.

huertgen_forest_1.jpg

Hurtgen.jpg

Edited by RockinHarry
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More source material on the attack

The first combat order of the 137th Infantry during World War II called for an attack at 0600 the following morning, 11 July 1944, on German positions from the Vire river near St. Gilles, extending southwest through la Petite Ferme toward le Carillon.

During the night of 11 July 1944, the 1st (A,B,C) and 2nd (E,F,G) Battalions were in position for the attack, with Company G in reserve. The 3rd Battalion (I,K,L,M) was held as Division reserve, due to their late debarkation and arrival in the area.

In the early morning, both 1st and 2nd Battalions received enemy mortar fire. Company C encountered an enemy patrol, which was driven off, in the first actual contact with the enemy. Company F also encountered an enemy patrol during the night. 

The attack jumped off at 0600 after an artillery preparation from 600 guns. Corps artillery was in support of the operation. 

With the attack scarcely begun, the 137th encountered a fortified church on Highway 3, north of St. Gilles, and for most of the morning was pinned down by heavy machine gun, mortar and artillery fire.  Regiment commander, Colonel Layng was wounded in the face and leg by machine gun fire at 0715. At the same time the commander of the supporting 219th Field Artillery Battalion and artillery liaison officer, were killed, and the first platoon of Company G suffered heavy casualties. After being pinned down for over two hours, when an artillery barrage forced the German machine gunner to take cover for a brief instant, Lieutenant Simpson was able to drag a wounded fellow officer to the slight protection of a tree and some hedge.

On 11 July near St. Gilles, Company M medics rescued an injured soldier of the 219th Field Artillery Battalion who was enveloped in the flames of a burning quarter-ton truck after a direct hit from enemy artillery.

Medic Sergeant Spengler, attached to Company F, at 1000 on 11 July ignored enemy machine gun and sniper fire and left the concealment of hedges to rescue a wounded soldier from an open field.

Despite pounding by artillery, the fortified church north of St. Gilles could not be taken out. This, together with a fortified chateau in the same vicinity, held up 1st Battalion most of the day.
2nd Battalion made advances up to 400 yards, with Company F making the greatest gain until a shortage of ammunition held up their advance. 

3rd Battalion was committed at 1830.

The first enemy prisoners captured indicated that the Division was facing elements of 897th, 898th and 899th Infantry regiments, and composing Kampfgruppe (Colonel General)  Kentner. 
Throughout the day the regiment was subjected to heavy machine gun and mortar fire from well dug-in positions, and from 88mm and 150mm artillery fire from the rear. Due to allied aerial superiority, no enemy air attacks were encountered.  Casualties in the 137th for the first day’s operations were 12 killed, 96 wounded and 18 missing in action

The regiment again attacked at 0800 on 12 July 1944, with 2nd and 3rd Battalions in the leading echelon. The weather remained cloudy, with intermittent showers. Tank destroyers were attached to the regiment and heavy artillery support was continued.

Enemy fire continued from the church north of St. Gilles, and at 1045 1st Battalion stormed that stronghold and took it and the surrounding buildings. 1st Battalion then moved on and contacted elements of 3rd Battalion, which had cut in behind these strong points. 1st Battalion cleaned out remaining hostile resistance in the vicinity of St. Gilles by 1400. 
3rd Battalion pushed on to Highway 3 southwest of St. Gilles, where they were held up by machine gun fire, mines and booby traps. At 1600 a strong enemy position was captured about 1000 yards south of St. Gilles.

Company I. On 12 July, after his Platoon Leader had been killed, Sergeant Gonzales took command of the platoon, which had been under heavy mortar and machine gun fire. Using sound judgment and quick thinking, Gonzales commanded an attached Tank Destroyer, whose crew had been reduced by enemy fire, and blasted out a gun nest. When this TD bogged down, he returned to bring up another which pulled the first to safety. The Sergeant then blasted out the remaining nests and his platoon was able to advance.

Heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire continued, and snipers were active. Casualties for 12 July 1944 were 7 killed, 74 wounded and 7 missing. 

On 13 July 1944, the regiment attacked at 0800, with the 3rd & 2nd Battalions again leading. Visibility was poor, and aerial support was called off, but the artillery support remained excellent. The 3rd Battalion moved 500 yards before being held up by machine gun fire. 
The 2nd Battalion on the right, received heavy shell fire and made no marked advance. 
After being held up in the early part of the day, the 2nd Battalion broke through for a gain of 500 years. 
An enemy counterattack forced the 3rd Battalion back to its original position at 2200. 

Company M. On 13 July, after several unsuccessful attempts of his platoon to cross a field which the Germans had well covered with machine gun fire, and after his Platoon Leader was killed, Sergeant Hupp determined the location of the enemy emplacements, obtained a light machine gun, and firing from the hip, killed three Germans. This neutralized the first nest. He then led his platoon to clear out the remaining two nests. The entire battalion was then able to advance.

During the afternoon of 13 July, southeast of la Meauffe, two members of Company A observed a disabled tank in an area in which they knew an artillery barrage was due to fall. A wounded member of the crew was still in the tank.... Private Nichols was wounded during the barrage, but after he and Sergeant Blair evacuated the three wounded men, Nichols joined his platoon in the attack until ordered to the aid station by his commanding officer.

Executive Officer of Company A, assumed command of a provisional platoon on 13 July and carried out an attack upon a position where all previous attacks had failed. Exposing himself to enemy machine gun fire, he pointed out enemy emplacements from his position at the head of the platoon, and five emplacements were successfully disposed of. Eight of the enemy were killed, twelve taken prisoner, and a large amount of enemy materiel captured.

Late in the afternoon of 13 July, two platoons of Company L were pinned down by machine gun fire. After the company radio man had been killed, Sergeant Hughbanks removed the radio from the dead soldier, called the battalion OP and requested artillery fire on the German position. For almost an hour he directed the fire, until the enemy emplacements were neutralized.

These forces received heavy fire from enemy 88mm artillery regularly during the day, although at 1145 our own artillery knocked out two enemy mobile 88’s. Time burst was also used by the Germans. It was evident that the hedgerows so common in Normandy were being used to the maximum in the plan of the German defense. Forty-seven prisoners were taken during the day. Our casualties on this day were the heaviest yet, with 21 killed, 87 wounded and 17 missing in action.

On Friday, 14 July 1944, the regiment attacked again at 0800, with one platoon of medium tanks in support of each battalion. 
By 1300 the 1st Battalion had advanced up to 300 yards, but were meeting stiff resistance at la Pte Ferme. By 1630 the 1st Battalion was attacking the enemy stronghold at la Mare, where German troops had assembled in the stone buildings in that area. 
The 3rd Battalion, on the right, had established contact with forces on the strongly held road junction of Highways 2 and 3. 
All elements were encountering heavy minefields and 88mm fire. Casualties in the regiment totaled 127. Of these, 17 were killed, 106 wounded and 4 missing. Forty prisoners were taken. Some of the prisoners reported that many German soldiers wanted to surrender, but were being closely watched by officers and non-commissioned officers.

On 15 July 1944, the regiment attacked, for the fifth consecutive morning, and were met by heavy artillery fire. 
With the 3rd Battalion established 200 yards north of Highway 2, main road to St. Lo, Company K pushed forward to the road at 0910, but was held up there by machine gun fire. No large gains were made by any battalion during the day. (The main effort for the Division was made by the 134th Infantry). 
Our 1st Battalion turned back a strong German counterattack at noon. 
The loudspeaker method of contacting the enemy troops was again used, and 25 prisoners were taken. The 137th lost 16 men killed, 100 wounded and 1 missing in action. 

On Sunday, 16 July 1944, the battle slowed down considerably. The weeks attack and the heavy artillery pounding was beginning to tell on the enemy forces, and reports began to come back of their units attempting to operate with a drastic reduction of men, with no replacements; of a shortage of food, water and ammunition; and of extensive use of horse-drawn vehicles due to lack of gasoline. 

Our forces consolidated and strengthened their lines during the day. The 2nd Battalion operating in the vicinity of le Carrillon, advanced 600 yards at one point. Casualties in the regiment showed a marked decrease as the action slowed down and as the men were becoming more battle-wise. On the 16th, 5 men were killed, 23 wounded and 2 missing in action. 

 

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On 12/29/2018 at 10:52 AM, LongLeftFlank said:

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My ADD/OCD fidelity mapping project for tonight: Claies de Vire.

1. Overview 

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2. A nice back door into the German anchor position at St. Martin for Company A, 119th Infantry?63681443.jpg

3. Simple. Just cross this weir, single file.

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4. ... and hop the open barge lock (US engineers subsequently shut it btw, flooding German footbridges upstream as far as Pont Hebert).

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5. ....But wait, it gets *better!* You then cross the dam and take the solid stone powerhouse/mill by the old mill pond. (No chance the Krauts have turned that into a blockhouse or anything).

 LA_MEAUFFE_-_Les_claies_de_Vire_-_tr_s_b

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