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D-Day Campaign Pt. 2 - Strike at 'WXYZ'

Background

As the 6th Airborne Division of the United Kingdom touched down south of the eastern landing zones, the American 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were aloft and coming close to their own drop zones at the base of the Cotentin Peninsula and abreast of Utah Beach. Their mission was to divide and disperse the German forces on the peninsula, destroy any inland batteries trained on the beaches and secure the exits of Utah Beach. The later was important as much of the area adjacent to the beach was flooded, leaving exposed causeways as the only way out. Control of these causeways would be essential to expediting the safe movement of American soldiers off the beaches. To facilitate this, the Paratroopers had to also secure any outlying villages and fortified complexes from which a German counterattack could be launched against the beaches or the exits.

Under intense fire and suffering from navigational confusion, many of the planes carrying members of the 101st Airborne overshot their drop-zones (DZs). As a result the Paratroopers were very badly scattered across the Normandy countryside. Each battalion had to carry out their objectives with a shortage of men and a mish-mash of unfamiliar soldiers form different outfits.

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Cassidy was the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion of the 502nd Airborne Regiment. By good fortune he landed more or less on his DZ by the St. Germain-de-Varreville church. He quickly discovered that only three of the other men from his ‘stick’ had landed with him. Around the DZ troops from all manner of regiments milled about as Commanding Officers tried to marshal together the disparate soldiers and get on with their missions.

This situation had left Lt. Col. Cassidy with related challenges for his mission. His objective was to secure the building complex at Messieres codenamed ‘WXYZ’ and establish his command post there. Gathering what men he could, he set out for the first building of ‘WXYZ’. This building was empty and a few hundred yards from the others and so served as a temporary command post for the time being. With only fifteen mismatched soldiers from different units, Cassidy selected Staff Sergeant Harrison Summers to lead the attack on ‘WXYZ’ proper.

At 0900 hours, the mixed squad had approached the outskirts of the village. Most of the soldiers encamped here were eating breakfast, unaware or unconcerned about events elsewhere in Normandy. Activity was light and the perfect opportunity for an ambush lay open to the squad. Seeing that the soldiers following him were a little nervous about the leadership qualities of this unknown Staff Sergeant, Summers’ would have to lead by example and begin engaging the German forces at ‘WXYZ’. He charged building number 2 and the battle was underway.

Scenario: D-Day Pt. 2 - Strike at 'WXYZ'

At 0900 on June 6th, 1944 a Paratrooper squad of the 502nd Airborne Regiment under command of S/Sgt. Summers assaults the building complex code-named ‘WXYZ’. German soldiers are caught unawares, but must make a hurried defense against the sortie.

Allied Objectives

If left to their own devices, the soldiers quartered in ‘WXYZ’ will soon move out once word comes of the invasion on nearby Utah Beach. Other soldiers are also bound to travel through here on their way to reinforce German positions. Of chief importance is that the main bunker is taken and Axis Forces are set to rout. If this is accomplished then the area will be secured and denied to the Whermacht.

Axis Objectives

The American Paratroopers will definitely get the drop on your on the garrisoned soldiers, and despite their lack of numbers, their superior training will be brought to bear. The Paratroopers must be stalled and convinced to retreat. This can be done a number of ways, either through stiff resistance in the ‘WXYZ’ area, the elimination of the Allied leader, or by inflicting enough casualties to make control of the buildings seem untenable.

Aftermath

S/Sgt. Summers proved his valor as he singly charged the first defended building in ‘WXYZ’. Observing his actions, the rest of the squad fell in and joined the attack on the surprised Germans in earnest. The element of surprise was balanced by their small numbers compared to those of the German forces. Despite a shortage of men, WXYZ was cleared of enemy activity and became the 1st Battalion Command Post. Without this key position, German soldiers hoping to mount a counter attack were forced to gather away from WXYZ and Norman villages, exposing them to aerial attack and forcing them to face well defended American roadblocks. Forces from Utah beach had a clear area to push into and establish themselves well from the flood zones. (Allies 10-0)










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