|Carenvan town centre before the battle|
In Carenvan, as in other small towns dotted along the French seaboard, the Germans had had a small garrison, mostly Poles, Russians and other oddities from the East, and these had disappeared from the town along with their German officers and NCOs with the coming of the dawn. Where they had gone, M. Moreau did not know, all he knew was that the Allies were coming.
Already he had seen and spoken with some of the tall, lean, gum chewing and frankly frightening looking paratroopers. One had even given him a cigar; magnifique!! It had seemed at last the little town of Carenvan was liberated from the hated Boche. But he had thought too soon.
In the western and eastern parts of the town there were already battles taking place between the Americans and Germans and now it looked like the centre of the town was going to become a battle ground too and M. Moraeu, aware of his civic duty, was attempting to get the local inhabitants to stay indoors to avoid becoming casualties in the coming battle. So, with his mayoral red, white and blue sash around his shoulder and a white flag in his hand he was hurrying from house to cafe to church to house again urging his neighbours not to stray outdoors but too little avail.
As he dashed across the small town square towards the Cafe Normandy he became aware of the sound of engines and the squeal of tracks on cobbles from both sides of the square. To his right he saw with joy an American half track rumbling into view and he started to slow down when, glancing to his left he saw trundling towards him the squat, ugly shape of a German tank crash through the garden of Rene Boucher......
|The quaint streets of central Carenvan|
|A liberated people?|
|Signs of a hasty German departure|
|The view from the US side of the table|
|Abandoned Luftwaffe car|
|German objective 1.|
Leutnant Willi Schmelling took a long draw on the Lucky Strike cigarette in his hand. Sheer bliss, he thought, the Amis make good cigarettes. Flicking the very small butt of the cigarette into a nearby garden he turned to the men behind him, crouching along the fence and wall that lined the street and waved them forward .
He let two squads go past before nudging the man beside him. "Let's go" he said, standing up. Further down the street he could see the Panzer IV approaching. Higher command obviously wanted the Amis in Carenvan destroyed and the town retaken. They had ordered up a Panzer regiemnt in support of the Fallschirmjager already engaged in the town.
Schmelling waited till the tank drew level with him and flagged it down. It came to a halt and the commander leaned down from his cupola towards Schmelling, lifting one earphone as he did so.
"As best we know, the Amis are just up ahead" Schmelling shouted, making himself heard above the noise of the idling engine. The commander nodded "Tanks?" he shouted in reply ." We think so; certainly vehicles. Hard to tell in such a built up area". The tank commander gave a thumbs up and shouted "We'll lead from here but tel your men to stay near, we can;t see everything"
It was Schmelling's turn to give the thumbs up sign. He knew his men would stay near the Panzers without being told to. Too many years of fighting in co operation with tanks had taught them well. The commander disappeared into his cupola and, engine revving, the tank moved forward...
|Leutnant Schmelling orders his men forward|
|An American half track makes it way forward warily. Spotting a |
German light mortar team, it opens fire, but misses
|The light mortar retaliates and, two rounds later, the M3 is burning. |
It's passengers have dismounted and are hell bent on revenge
|...with the assistance of some US Armour|
|The German mortar wasn't the only ones blessed with an efficient crew. After killing |
an American sniper, the Lorraine Schlepper is hit by a medium mortar and catches fire .
A Panzer IV moves up to bolster the Fallschirmjager position on that flank
|A squad of engineers spill from their truck and take shelter behind a nearby house. |
The .50 cal gun on their truck fires on the Germans holding the second objective;
the ruins by the exit road from the town.
|Meanwhile a squad of Fallschirmjager crouch on the other side of the building. |
In the ruin, the Germans holding the objective lost two men to the .50cal
|Gefrietr Schnabel's squad head to take on the US Armour|
|View of the right flank at the end of the battle|
|Lt Schmelling takes control of the right flank|
|Another view of the destruction on the German right flank|
That was fun. Plenty of action and some incredibly bad shooting. Yet again the dice gods bared their bottoms at me. My Panzer IV was less than six inches from the M4A3 and I rolled a 1!! Then the American mortar dropped a mortar on my Panzer IV and it gained 3 pins. A failed orders test in the next turn saw it pulling back and going Down!! Come on!
Fortunately my commanders Panzer IV had better luck. But before that Sgt Cumberpatch's M4A3 had destroyed the panicked Panzer IV. With another Sherman and a squad from the 82nd bearing down on the objective, all looked lost and sure enough the Fallschirmjager squad there was almost wiped out, with only the NCO hanging on and denying the American's the objective thereby turning an American victory into a draw and I'll take that over a defeat,
Right, I need a stiff drink after all that fighting,