D-Day Global Campaign

Flames of War Global Campaign

German Defense of St. Lo

Erwin Konig
VS Soviet
Mariya Oktobriskaya

Soviet 26th Guards Tank Brigade attacks the German 352nd Infantry holding the vital crossroads of St. Lo.

Germans deploy behind the main village making use of the large hedgerows for cover and concealment. They send a reconnaissance unit of two Puma armored cars to the southern end of the village to observe the opposing hedgerows. The midday calm is interrupted by the whistling of incoming mortars and the clatter of metal tracks on cobblestone.

German infantry see Russian light tanks and armored cars coming through the village and roads to the east, only to be forced into cover as Russian 82mm mortars start raining down on their foxholes. To the south, the recon unit spots the main armored force of T-34s and T34/85s coming at the town in rows, infantry perched on the engine decks! The first T-34s break ranks and dash up to the hedgerows into cover as the rest fall in behind.

The German commander signals for reinforcements but they won't arrive for a few hours. He is forced to reveal the position of his Pak 40 AT guns now lest his infantry are swept away under the flood of Soviet Steel.

Initial shots are fired, panzerschreck teams move up into the train station knocking out a BA-10 armored car. The Pumas, falling back from the T-34s start pumping shots into the Stuarts and BA-10s. The Russian light armor responds in kind, shredding the wood line and buildings under a withering hail of MG fire pinning the panzergrenadiers hiding there.

German Pak 40s open up, knocking out several Stuarts and T-34s. A unit of 7.5cm armed halftracks pulls up to the hedgerows and opens fire as well knocking out and bailing several other Stuart's. The T-34s, spotting the ambushing Pak 40s return fire with main guns and MG fire pinning the gun crews. A lone T-34 moved up to assault the gun position but was forced back. The Pumas unit commander, realizing he was surrounded, held his ground to try and keep the Soviet horde back knocking out even more Stuarts before succumbing to T-34 fire.

For the moment the defenders seemed to be holding their own. More panzergrenadiers pushed into the train station. Panzerschrecks and supporting 3.7cm Halftrack fire tore into the Soviet light armor. The 7.5cm guns picked off stragglers and destroyed bailed out tanks. But the Russians weren't done yet. Already weakened and pinned from constant mortar attack the Panzergrenadiers in the wood line could only watch in horror as the hedgerows spilled out T-34s and Russian infantry, the Hammer and Sickle waving above them as they charged.

MG42s turned on the advancing infantry and stalled the assault. The retreating infantry took heavy losses as they fled behind the still advancing T-34s. Two of the Russian tanks made it to the woods and pushed in on the panzergrenadiers. Only luck, and thick forest terrain kept the tanks from breaking them. They forced the T-34s back with panzerknackers and stielhandgranates, capturing and destroying vehicles that got caught up on the terrain.

With the Russian light armor knocked out, halftracks moved forward to start suppressing the enemy mortar unit. The Pak40s continued firing, knocking out a T-34 here and there despite being pinned. German reinforcements radioed in that they were delayed but on their way. The Russian commander rallied his remaining tanks for one last charge, finally pushing the panzergrenadiers out of their foxholes. Russian tanks bull dozed into the now abandon positions, knocking out two of the 7.5cm halftracks that had pushed forward to defend.

This was the last stand. German PzIVs had finally arrived, while the remaining panzergrenadiers surrounded the woods for an assault. If the Russians couldn't be dug out, St Lo would be lost and they would have to retreat even further into France. PzIVs, panzerschrecks teams, and Pak40s poured fire into the wood line. Several explosions marked the destruction of a few of the T-34s but return MG fire poured back out.

The Germans charged in. Fighting was brutal and slogged on with each HQ unit rallying their troops to counter attack. Slowly and painfully the T-34s started to be overrun. The last few tanks broke and tried to flee only to be caught up in the dense terrain. The 352nd had recaptured the wood line broke the Russian 26th Guards Tank formation. They dug back in to prepare for the next allied column, knowing they only barely fought off this attack.

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