World War II D-Day game – The Pouppeville Exit

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The once peacful little village of Pouppeville in 15mm — from the collection of Curt Daniels. Houses have lift-off roofs to allow troops in hide in the buildings. There are some nasty surprises awaiting the oncoming Americans, including a pesky sniper hidden in the upstairs of the building on the left center of the photograph. The actual village is near the mouth of the River Douve about 5 miles northeast of Carentan.

On June 6, 1944, Allied troops headed inland after landing on various beaches along the coast of Normandy in northern France. Several routes led from the beach, allowing an egress from the bottleneck at the beaches themselves. Among the exit points was the crossroads village of Pouppeville, where scattered elements of American paratroopers, including the 3rd Battalion of the 501st Regiment and members of the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” attacked from behind German lines. Col. Julius J. Ewell (West Point, Class of 1939) was in command of the 3rd Battalion and the overall advance into Pouppeville. (During Viet Nam, Ewell  commanded forces in the Mekong Delta).

Curt Daniels, Billy Ray Wagenseller, and I played a 15mm game of this D-Day small unit action using the company-level WWII miniature rules, I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum, by TooFatLardies.

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To the southeast of Pouppeville in 1944 was a fairly complete field position with a tall observation tower in the center and a perimeter established with a few machine gun emplacements, foxholes and several dugouts. But there were neither works nor barricades in among the houses and the buildings had not been fitted with fire ports.

These very nice model houses come pre-painted for a very reasonable price. I learned the hard way not to keep troops in the road, even behind the stone ways. A hidden machine gun next created havoc and forced the War Department to send out a lot of telegrams after the miniature battle. I was able to clear the village with some hot die rolling from my northernmost platoon, but the guys in the middle were slaughtered.

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For this squad, this was their last few minutes on earth as they slowly advance through an orchard toward an innocent looking farmhouse. The squad to their right annihilated a German mortar squad, but this paratrooper squad was caught in the open in front of the house and massacred. The machine gun was later cleared by another squad. Orchard trees were made by Larry Reber of Gettysburg Soldiers. From the collection of Curt Daniels.

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None of the Americans knew an enemy machine gun was drawing a bead with a perfect flank shot. A commander’s blunder cost the paratroopers their lives. It was not the first time in the history of warfare (or miniature gaming) that an officer goofed up and his men paid the ultimate price for his stupidity. (No one said I knew anything about WWII tactics! I’m a CIvil War guy, and lining up the boys behind a stone wall worked in 1863.) The Rebels didn’t have machine guns however, unless you read Harry Turtletaub…

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Billy Ray’s Germans were outnumbered and outgunned, especially when the Shermans arrived from the nearby Utah Beach. However, he delayed the Yanks for several hours before he surrendered. In the actual battle, the German leader indeed raised the white flag after sustaining high losses in house-to-house combat.

Here is the official report from the actual battle…

The enemy force soon fled the prepared ground to the southeast, the riflemen dropped back to the houses. Even there, they did not stand. As rapidly as the Americans came to the nigh wall of a house and began moving through or around it, the enemy withdrew from the next house beyond. EWELL was bothered only by his lack of numbers: he had but 40 men present from his line companies and he found that the Headquarters specialists were of slight value in the skirmishing and sometimes got in the way.* The only harassment to the advance was that the enemy kept pushing small patrols around both of his flanks and he did not have enough men to attempt a counter envelopment. Most of his losses came from this cause. His men would be engaging opposition close at hand within the houses; from somewhere far off on the flank an unseen rifleman would pick off one or two of them. It slowed the advance a little without stopping it. The Americans moved along from house to house. After their first few losses, the enemy seemed to lose heart for the contest; the sound of a grenade blowing off outside was enough to make them stampede from one building to another. Having begun the action at 0900, EWELL had worked his way to the enemy CP in the center of the village by a few minutes past noon. That was enough for the German commander and he surrendered the town. EWELL had lost 6 killed and 12 wounded. The enemy losses were 15 killed, 10 wounded and 38 captured; most were non-Germans from the 1058 Grenadier Regiment (91 Division).
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Categories: Wargaming in general | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “World War II D-Day game – The Pouppeville Exit

  1. Great terrain and most importantly looks like fun :)

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