On 13th September 1944, the Free French Groupement Tactique Langlade (GTL) of the Free French 2nd Armored Division - 2eme Division Blinde (2DB) destroyed Panzer Brigade 112 which was attempting to escape from the area around the French village of Dompaire, Lorraine.
There were a string of three villages along the valley of the Guitte river, Lavieville nearest the camera below, Dompaire, and Lamerey on the far edge of the table occupied by these Panthers.
|View from Dompaire looking S.E up to the wooded heights.|
|M10 Siroco's crew of Fusilier-Marins|
destroyed 3 Panthers at Dompaire
Threatened with encirclement, Pz Brigade 112 attempted to infiltrate south out of the valley to re-establish a coherent defence... The Panther crews of I/Panzer Regt. 29 were inexperienced, being described as 'children' by the villagers of Dompaire. However their age did not hinder them from spending the night before the battle consuming large quantities of Kirsch cherry liquor they had 'liberated' from the villagers...The sailors and soldiers of Group Massu instead spent the rainy night occupying positions on the heights above Dompaire, ready to prevent the Panthers from escaping...
This scenario just reflects about a third of this battle, the part played by Group Massu versus I/Pz Regt. 29, played down a 8 x 6' table. Pz Regt. 29 has 9 moves to seize 1 of 2 objectives in the far corner of the table, representing their escape from encirclement. Group Massu is deployed just behind the ridgeline, and has 1 unit in ambush.
Since the Free Frenchmen received plentiful air support from P47 Thunderbolts s of the 406th Fighter Bomber group, a single strike alone accounting for 8 Panthers, a scenario rule allowed the French to reroll the call for air dice if any Panthers ended their move on a road or track.
Because the French had the first move, and inevitably the Panthers were starting in the villages, there would be at least one airstrike!
I/Pz Regt. 29 was represented by 2 x Platoons of 5 Panthers and Coy HQ of 2. These were given the SS stats, given the inexperience of their crews, i.e hit on a 3. I also threw in a platoon of heavily armed Panzer Grenadiers, as infantry support is mentioned in some accounts...This brought the Germans up to 109 points.
Group Massu consisted of various arms and services, [= table top strength ] for 197 points. Given the experience of these tough colonial troops in the Western Desert and in liberating Paris, these were all classed as Veteran formations:Infantry - 6eme Coy, 2eme Bn. Régiment de Marche du Tchad. Commandant : Cdt Jacques Massu [ 1 x Rifle Plt with 2 x Bazooka teams and 3 x .50 M3s]Recce - 3eme Plt, 4eme Escadron, 1er Regiment de Marche de Spahis Marocains. Chars légers M1 Stuart, Automitrailleuses M8 "Greyhound" et Half-Tracks. [Not represented]
Armour - 4° Escadron, 12ème Regiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique
Artillery - 3rd Battery, 1er Groupe du 40eme Regiment d'Artillerie Nord Africain (1/40° R.A.N.A) (Probably 4 x M7 Priests but accounts mention additional support from 105mm Field Battery, possibly on attachment from XV Corps) [3 x M7, 4 x 105mm Lt Gun]
We have already seen the Panthers were forced to start the game, historically, dispersed throughout the villages, whilst their young crews caroused the night away. The infantry formed up on the left opposite the distant objectives.