Four kilometers southeast of Vire elements of scattered German forces dug in near the Vire river bridge at Le Bény-Bocage. One infantry platoon was placed to cover the bridge and town exits, backed up by a 12cm mortar battery. A "Wespe" batterie found shelter behind a large farm. The recce platoon of SdKfz 250s, an
Artillerie Panzerbeobachtungwagen Panzer III and implaced 88mm FlaK 36 gun number one guarded the left. The three other FlaK 36's from the batterie were in the center (guns 2 forward near the bridge and gun 3 behind) and right (gun number 4). The MG42 platoon was searching for a good position and was not yet set.
Hauptmann Mueller, the local commander, was assured that a small force of Tigers and an infantry platoon were nearby if help was needed.
Forty minutes later US forces speedily approached with one column of infantry in halftracks and a tank destroyer platoon spearheading to the left of the German positions. They were supported by an artillery unit of Priests. Another infantry unit pushed through Le Bény-Bocage, taking up positions in the town with several platoons of US tank destroyers. Mortar halftracks and light assault gun tanks were to their rear. Intelligence estimates that this task force was combined from Armored Infantry and Tank Destroyer companies.
Preparatory to attack, the Scott platoon laid a smoke barrage protecting the US left from the direct fire of the 88s they feared. Across the German lines, mortar bombs and heavy artillery rained down. M10s blazed away. Little damage was done but several near misses increased the tension and one fire team of infantry was killed. The GIs poured heavy MG and rifle fire on gun number one and the crew cowered in their dugouts. On the left, the GIs probed the minefield with casualties taken and the others dug in.
The MG42 platoon marching to the sound of the guns appears from camouflaged positions on the German left and immediately goes to work, killing an infantry element (with 16 hits, Aaron's saving throws were incredible!) and halting the unit near the minefield. German artillery response is weak and sporadic. One mortar halftrack is shaken by a near miss but no other damage is reported. The 88s, undoubtedly still concerned with the heavy bombardment, all miss their targets.
Turn TWO is uneventful, other than the continued US barrages pin most of the Germans. The units on the left continue to trade shots with little effect but the minefield is cleared. It looks like the Americans are waiting for their artillery to do some real damage before they advance.
Again the artillery and mortars pound the Germans, but they keep their heads down in shelter and suffer few casualties. Cheers erupt from the foxholes as both ofthe reserve units have answered the distress call...Tigers on the left and the infantry in the center. The recce platoon shoots up the US halftracks and their 20mm shells kill one and disable another. The Tigers sight in on the Priests across the river and destroy one. 16 more hits by the MG42s do nothing! Wespes try for the Priests but miss. 88mm gun three hits an M10 but just shakes up the crew.
All US units recover and once again lay on the artillery. The Priests re-locate to cover. And finally the Scotts land a round into gunpit three and the position is destroyed.
In the German turn, 88mm fire from Tigers and the recce platoon finish off the halftrack unit on the left. Heavy mortars re-range onto the infantry on the left and kill a bazooka. HMG fire is ineffective. The Wespes fail to range in and the other 88s all miss. Surely the artillery fire is affecting their aim.
The infantry platoon near the minefields re-organizes to get back into command control. Number two gun falls to the halftrack mortars and other fire takes out an infantry team on the right.
Once again the Wespes fail to range in! Tigers kill an M10 in the village and gun four finally manages to hit the enemy, destroying an M10. The recce platoon charges the depleted and strung out platoon on the left. Defensive bazooka fire misses and the team is crushed. The halftracks consolidate their position behind the woods for cover.
The battered infantry on the left have had enough and stream to the rear with their wounded. Mortars lay a smoke screen on the German right to block fire from the Tigers and 88s onto the town. The M10 platoon to the left of the bridge move out of concealment and range in on the Tigers with no hits. After the pounding artillery temporarily ceases, the Americans judge the time is right for an assault on the German right. Scattered defensive fire from the shaken defenders only get one bazooka team. The doughs take out a panzershreck and MG42. The Germans retreat from the onslaught and the GIs regroup behind the village walls.
The German infantry platoon can't recover from the assault, even with the urging of Hauptmann Mueller. Tigers respond to the close threat and destroy an M10. The recce platoon shoots at some American jeeps and hit two, but no damage results. The 12cm mortars target in the town, hitting infantry, an M10 and halftrack with no damage (Aaron's saves are magnificent!). The Wespe batterie finally gets in order and eliminates an M10 and a bazooka team.
Americans all recover and the Priests lay a smoke screen on the German right. Heavy artillery and MG fire keep the German's heads down and chip away at the defenders, killing an infantry section and panzershreck. But once again, the M10s in the center miss the Tigers but destroy one Wespe.
In return, the M10 platoon is eliminated by a combination of Tiger shots and a close assault on the shaken survivors by Feldwebel Streicher's squad. Gun four destroys two M20s approaching the field headquarters objective. The havy mortar section fails to range in, but the Wespes get M10s in a barrage and miss all four targets!
The barrages continue and another German infantry section falls. The Tigers continue to prowl and knock out two M10s and bail another. 12cm bombs kill a light machinegun section and bail out a halftrack. Once again the shaken Wespes fail to range in.
One M10 platoon moves to the rear for resuppply. Things are starting to look shaky as the M10 company is nearing its breaking point. Incessant artillery fire eliminates one 12cmn mortar and another infantry section. Tigers reach out and get another M10 and bail a second. 10.5cm fire gets the American commander and a light machinegun.
Turn TEN and end
With both sides nearing exhaustion, the killing of their inspiring commander Captain John H. Miller rallies the American efforts for one more push. A combination of mortar fire, rifles and machineguns kill the last defenders of the field headquarters are eliminated. (I blew three saves, and Aaron got one with a machinegun! Aaaaack!)
Seeing the headqurters lost, Hauptmann Mueller orders the retreat. Nearby soldats only here him say "Verdammt Mörsergranaten!!" as he slowly walks away.