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.
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.
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.
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…
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…