16. Feld-Division (L) engaged in ferocious combat in Coutances with the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade supported by elements of a British Armoured formation. Combat around the town was ferocious and bloody, and despite continual artillery pressure on buildings held by British, 16. LwFD were forced to withdraw into the bocage to regroup and launch a counterattack at a later date.
With only moments between first sight and combat with the enemy, 16. LwFD deployed hastily. Fighting would take place over exceptionally short ranges due to the bocage, but for positions with long lines of sight could be held- such as crossroads or the tower of the local church.
Tigers sat on the far right flank to counter any armoured push around the church as well as to offer machine-guns if needed to clear out the church. Behind a hedgerow, in a small field, artillery was placed at the back zeroed in on the crossroads, Pak40s crept up against the hedges, to cover an armoured counter push by Fireflies, and my own Firefly loitered nearby.
On the left flank, a platoon of StuGs, a full strength Mortar Platoon, a platoon of infantry prepare in a field while the Company HQ sets up in a house on a hill overlooking the village and bocage.
The British first turn saw them advance to get a foothold in and around the church, with as many tanks as could be fit behind the church hidden there. Moving towards the centre objective, Paratroopers set up in a two-storey townhouse overlooking the town's central crossroad, giving them an excellent vantage point to cover the angles of the roads in and our of town.
Snapping into action, my pair of Tigers put down one Sherman who couldn't get behind cover as one Infantry Platoon gunned it towards the church. I had intended to Blitz them up to get them into the church for some butchery, but being Lufwaffe, one shouldn't rely on them to perform anything particularly skillful. They failed their blitz, and couldn't reach the church in the first turn.
In the centre one platoon to up positions in a house of their own with eyes on both the church and the house across the streets.
My HQ, from his point of relative elevation, ranged in both my mortars and guns.
British paras managed to occupy the church, catching my Infantry out in the open. They gunned down three teams immediately.
I decided that the strategy would be to take out the Shermans and Fireflies first, because infantry holed up in buildings is less a threat. My Firefly went out Sherman Hunting, but my Tigers continually failed their cross checks to get over the Bocage.
My artillery and mortars began bringing rounds down on the church and townhouse while my infantry and StuGs on the far left flank moved forward.
As the battle progressed, my infantry advancing on the church were gunned down swiftly and decisively.
My tiger tanks split, as one made it through the bocage and the other still failed to cross. The PaK40s moved forward to the edge of the bocage, and the three AT guns, a Tiger, and the lone Firefly began opening up Shermans.
The StuGs seemed to be doing a fine enough job of dissuading the paratroopers in the field from advancing, but they weren't getting anything done so I pushed them through the bocage to cut into the centre of the town. One gets stuck.
My artillery bombardments fails to shift many, if any, paratroopers from their buildings. On the other hand, my tanks and assault guns make short work of the Shermans one-by-one.
Under intense pressure from both para-occupied buildings, the platoon of Luftwaffe building holed up in a building in the town takes severe losses, knocking them down to two teams.
Although I have Armour that can barely be touched (as all my enemy's anti-tank weapons are forced to hide for fear of being rolled) and can therefore move about the town largely without worry, my ability to actually push then enemy off objectives in buildings is rapidly being depleted as my own infantry is turned to mincemeat by machine guns and artillery bombardments being spotted from the bell tower of the church.
With now no enemy armour roaming around, it's up to my own to blast the infantry out of their buildings. My infantry don't have the heart to continue the fight and abandon their positions in the building. This is a major blow, leaving me with only one infantry platoon.
The British take this opportunity to cross the bocage, lay fire on that lone platoon and assault it with unbridled ferocity, killing two in the fire, and wiping the rest out in one round off assaults.
The pressure is now on me to dislodge one of the para platoons from their hides, as we are in turn 7 now, and I need one more objective at the end of my turn to win before I'm rolled up on my left flank.
Despite the sheer weight of fire being laid on the buildings in a desperate attempt to clear them out, the British AT guns have found their moment to strike, and begin to punch holes in the StuGs, leaving 16. LwFD dangerously under-strength should the engagement last much longer. Bombardments and machine guns, main guns and AT guns couldn't shift the Paratroopers from either the church or the house.
The assaulting British paras don't slow their roll for a moment, pushing up into the building and killing the Company HQ. All that's left between me and complete morale breakdown is a platoon of very unmotivated mortars.
Look's like the jig is up.