Wednesday, November 16, 2011
D-Day plus 1 - British Paratroops in Action
A small group of paratroopers from the British 6th Airborne Division has been holding out in a Norman village since the early hours of June 6th. The unit, a mixed bunch of stragglers from several companies, began its defense of this town in company strength, but has been gradually reduced to a couple squads during the previous day's fighting. The town, which controls a bridge leading to the beaches, has been the focus of repeated German counter attacks. These attacks, which were initially not well coordinated, have gradually grown in strength and determination. Unfortunately for the Germans, their lack of tanks in this sector means that the fighting is primarily a small arms affair, supported by a few artillery pieces. Nonetheless, the defenders find themselves against the ropes, low on manpower and ammo, desperately waiting for the ground troops moving out from the beaches to link up with them. How much longer can they hold? Let's see how the next counter attack unfolds....
As the most recent artillery barrage comes to and end, the British Airborne commander spots a German column approaching the town and readies his few remaining troopers for the next chapter in the ongoing battle.
The paratroopers steel themselves for the upcoming struggle and take careful aim to make sure every one of their few remaining shots count.
The reason for capturing the town is to control one of the few remaining bridges in the region capable of supporting heavy tanks. The routes to the beaches must be kept open for the armor if there is any hope of throwing the invaders back into the ocean.
With machine guns blazing, an armored scout vehicle and a halftrack lead the attack.
Under covering fire of the vehicles, the panzer grenadiers advance forward and fire on the go.
But the British paras are ready and are making it very hard for them to get off the bridge...
... bloody hard.
Also, with their last PIAT round, they have managed to knock out the leading vehicle which is now blocking the bridge.
In the meantime, their requests for support continue. The response for the last 24hrs has been 'help is on the way'.
For now, the fighting settles into a sustained exchange of small arms fire between the men on the bridge...
....and the men in the town's rubble.
It appears that the German attack is losing its momentum.
But in reality, they are adapting to the circumstances. They have setup a MG team across the river and...
under their covering fire, have dispatched a squad to try to outflank the men at the town's entrance.
The action is getting really close and personal.
Just then, the long awaited relief column arrives from the opposite end of the town.
And they brought their friend, Mr. Firefly, with them.
Swiftly moving up the main street,
they move into the town's buildings.
Occupying and firing from every doorway,
and even from the craters left behind by the earlier bombardments.
The town's main square is now firmly in British hands.
British infantrymen, fighting side by side with the few remaining Red Devils.
The King's rifles, converging simultaneously on the bridge and its surrounding area, pour their fire on the enemy.
Overwhelmed by the increased firing power, the German attackers begin to fall back.
Shortly after, the call for a general retreat is heard among the surviving Germans.
The British paras have held.
Click here to see more pictures of British infantry in action.
Click here to see a description of German Waffen SS figures.