Wednesday 29 May 2024

IPMS Show 2024: FOW - Sword Beach and beyond...

View from SWORD Beach QUEEN RED to PEGASUS Bridge
View from PEGASUS Bridge to SWORD Beach

With the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, our grand finale at this year's IPMS show just had to commemorate an aspect of that great crusade to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.

The concept was to link up 6 objectives stretching from SWORD Beach to PEGASUS Bridge. Ed, above centre in the white shirt, lead the project and did all the terrain work, which left us stunned:

Obviously a big part of the day was to engage with members of the public about commemorating the history and explain the wargaming aspects of what we were doing. 

But we also wanted to have some fun!

Making full use of the various background publications provided by Battlefront Flames of War, and also with heaps of online research, Ed produced a challenging scenario worthy of the occasion. There were six objectives for the landing forces to take, or in the case of Pegasus Bridge, keep hold of. If the Allies took only three objectives of six with their overwhelming force, that would be a minor victory for the defenders...

We made full use of the amphibious procedures detailed in the various D-Day supplements, including some very useful naval bombardment!

The German defenders on table was the 1/736th Grenadier Regiment from the 716th Static Infantry Division, mostly low quality Beach Defenders but with a good sprinkling of heavy weapons, particularly around the bunkers. 

COD in the foreground, TROUT in the background. 88s in both!
They would be reinforced by a counter attack from the famed 21st Panzer Division, who would arrive on-table from Turn 3...

The overnight Glider landings from the Oxs and Bucks Light Infantry (6th Airborne Div) had captured the key objective over the Orne canal so the German team had to decide how much, if any, of 21st Panzer to divert to retaking that objective.

So, when all was ready, we took a deep breath and began the action. The dawn of D-Day: the sea lined with ships and boats from horizon to horizon; overwhelming devastation and concussion of large calibre shells and rockets!

The first assault wave was a complete shambles as the landing craft went horribly off course and swamped in the heavy surf. The single platoon that managed to land was pinned and cut to pieces!

The only thing that went right was a strike by roving RAF Typhoons, who gave some German light Flak teams a nasty fright!

Then in the next wave Lord Lovat's Commandos from No. 4 Commando 1st Special Service Brigade managed to get ashore opposite Objective TROUT, piped ashore by Piper Bill Millin: We were the first out of our troop to reach the shore. The ramps on the boat went down and as we stepped off, Lovat ordered me to play ‘Highland Laddie’. 

Opposite Objective COD the second wave also managed to gain a small lodgement:

The Allies were ashore in reasonably good order and forming up to put in assaults on the first two objectives!

The RAF were tasked with attacking the 716th's artillery, which was causing the allies major grief. Unfortunately the arty was well defended!

With hindsight, as the 21st Panzer was coming up from the hinterland, they would have a been a more worthwhile, and easier, target.

After considerable effort and sacrifice, Objective COD finally fell after teamwork from the infantry, sappers, and hussars.

The Commandoes and Hussars had also taken objective Trout...

We had gained a lodgement and two of six objectives, and, after a tea break, pushed inshore...

Unfortunately for the allies, 21st Panzer had not stopped for tea breaks, or indeed Kaffee und Kuchen!

They had however assigned a platoon of Pz IVs to retake PEGASUS!

It looked like the Oxs and Bucks's PIATs were going to be busy! 

Around Objective HILLMAN, the 13/18th Hussars were on a collision course with the remainder of the Panzers. The Navy was tasked with laying a smoke screen to allow them to deploy...

Once the smoke had cleared, it was the 21st Panzer who had grabbed all the cover!

However the naval bombardments must have played havoc with their optics as their initial volleys were mostly off target, and the 13/18th Hussars were holding their own, even able to spare a troop to contest Objective HILLMAN!

The Oxs and Bucks fought tenaciously to retain PEGASUS and saw off the tank attack!

With the Allies holding 3 objectives and contesting another, Ed declared the game a draw.

But we were all left with a sense of achievement: a gripping and exciting game fought over stunning terrain in good company. Showcasing our hobby, and commemorating the sacrifice of D-Day, hopefully made Ed and everyone else's efforts worthwhile.


  1. An excellent photo and AAR, thanks for sharing.
    Wonderful looking table and models BZ.


  2. Now that really is spectacular and the sort of game that you just want to play! Very inspirational and well done to all involved:).

    1. Thanks Steve as always your kind comments much appreciated!

  3. That looks like a great game and excellent scenario. We'll done!

  4. The first thing I do at work on Monday morning is read Sparker's wargaming blog.... Your witty comments on the fantastic pictures sweeten my start to the week - now it's time for Kaffee und Kuchen. Greeting s from Germany!

  5. Fantastic looking table and an excellent report