Juno Beach: An After Action Report

Juno Beach Juno Beach:
An After Action Report

Present by The Regiment

7 June 2014 the Calgary Flames Of War club, The Regiment, hosted our annual D-Day mega battle at our local games store Imaginary Wars. Thanks to owner Kyle for not only providing us the space to showcase our annual tradition, but also for calling in staff to work so he could actually play with us for the day!
This is an event that continues to improve year after year, in our humble opinions, as club members continue to get more units painted up.  We just love to put it on, as it’s a visually impressive spectacle that never fails to garner attention from people in the store.
In our early years, it was just a couple tables, and we used commandos, Fallschirmjäger figures as Grenadiers, way too many armoured vehicles on the German side, inappropriate troops landing on the beaches (like anti-tank guns etc.). But it was fun, and we knew we wanted to go bigger and bigger.

Now, many years later, we are playing on a table 16’ x 6’, thanks to club member Dave who took it upon himself to really plow through it all several years ago. He’s heart and soul of our club, having also fielded no less than three! Canadian Rifle Companies landing on the beach! But it is truly an all-hands-on-deck event, with numerous people bringing armies, terrain, fortifications etc. Even people that can’t attend in given years still provide their figures, terrain or whatever is needed to pull this off! Thanks guys!

Juno Beach
We have six powerful Canadian companies landing against four German companies, with two more German companies in Delayed Reserve.   

The Canadians get access to a wide array of kit, including AVRE tanks, some with landing ramps, Sherman Flail tanks, DD Shermans, floating 8-gun Priest Batteries, Naval Gunfire Support, Typhoons and oh yeah, unlimited recycling infantry! 

The Germans get to die, basically, but they will sell themselves dearly! There are no vehicles on the German side of the table, other than trucks to bring on some of the reserves.  

After years of honing and fine-tuning this scenario, we evolved spawn points for the German Festung Companies, so reserves for the on-table units could come out of ‘underground’ shelters and run right into the trenches. Better Trained troops would come on later in the game using their trucks, or running on from the back of the table if the trucks were just too dangerous.

Our table represents a good section of Juno Beach. Starting in the west, Grayes-sur-Mer is represented near the back of the table with sand dunes at the beach edge, followed by Courseulle-sur-Mer, a formidable objective to be tasked with! In the center we have an open space between Courseulles and the next town, Bernieres-sur-Mer, which is on the last
section of table and represents most of that town. 

In the map below you can see it all laid out left to right.
Juno Beach
Below: The Western Edge – the dunes, with Graye-sur-Mer in the background.
Juno Beach
Below: Courseulles-sur-Mer. 
Juno Beach
Below: In between Courseulles and Bernieres, an open area of dunes, grasslands and high ground in the hinterland.
Juno Beach
Below: Eastern end of the board, Bernieres-sur-Mer.  Note the famous 'Normandy Villa' from photographs, kitbashed by Dave, known and loved as “Canada House”, it was used as the HQ for The Queens Own.
Juno Beach
Our Canadian battle companies are as follows:

Landing in the 4’ of dunes in front of Grayes: The Royal Winnipeg Rifles; covering 4’ of table in front of Courseulles: The Regina Rifles B Company (Coy); in the 4’ of dunes in between the towns: Regina Rifles A Coy; the final 4’ of table is Bernieres, attacked by The Queens Own Regiment of Canada.  

Two support companies will follow up the first wave, starting on turn two. Covering 8’ of table across are the Grayes & Courseulles and the Canadian Scottish Highlanders. Supporting the other half of the table, with the dunes and Bernieres is the Regiment de la Chaudiere.  

Most companies are composed of three Rifle Platoons, Assault Pioneers, 3” Mortars, three DD Shermans, a LCT-landed Sherman Platoon (4 tanks, including a Firefly). Companies then had additional units, depending on their stretch of beach, with AVRE support, Sherman Crab flail tanks, Royal Canadian Engineers for obstacle removal, heavy mortars, HMGs etc. Each 8’ of table had an 8-gun Priest battery, Naval Gunfire Support with an AOP (Anti-tank 5 Firepower 2+) and priority Typhoons which the players were expected to use where needed. The first wave was expected to assault their assigned 4’ sector, while the second wave had the flexibility to reinforce where needed across their half of the beach to affect the decisive breakout.

All together, the Canadians fielded 10,120 points!

Juno Beach ‘Team Germany’ is not without hope though!  

Four Festungkompanies are dug in deep for each sector. Typically they are composed of HQ teams with Panzerfausts, three mortars and a spotter (house rule), and a Sniper in the HQ. Three Rifle Platoons, an HMG Platoon with three gun teams and then some form of AA Platoon – either 2 x 88s or 3 x 2cm FlaK 38s. Each 8’ section of table also had a 10.5cm battery in gun pits.  
For each beach a dense web of fortifications was laid out roughly as the strongpoint’s were (see the map above; WN means resistance nest) so as around Bernieres you’ll see WN28 represented on our table. Miles of wire, numerous mine fields and carefully placed Anti-tank obstacles are covered by HMG nests and pillboxes, 5cm defilade bunkers, 5cm and 7.5cm FK bunkers, one 88 bunker in Courseulles and lots of trench lines. All frontline troops are Confident Trained. 

Left: The calm before the storm. Looking west, from Bernieres-sur-Mer along 16’ of beach.
Finally, two reserve companies will be in Delayed and Interdicted Reserves (only coming on with a roll of a 6). These are each composed of three Fusilier Platoons (Confident Veteran) in trucks; three Ost Grenadier Platoons rated Reluctant Trained and a Confident Veteran 7.5cm PaK 40 Platoon with three guns and trucks. The Ost Grenadier Platoons can use our selected spawn points (about 4’ deep in the hinterland area); unless the points are controlled by the Allies, then they have to walk on from the back of the table.
Preamble done; donuts and coffee consumed; the preliminary bombardment signals the first wave’s imminent arrival!

Right: The first wave lands! A pitiful few have made it ashore in front of Bernieres!

Below: Floating Priests contribute to the preliminary bombardment on the run into the beach.
Juno Beach
Juno Beach
Below: Down the beach, the first wave lands with better results.
Juno Beach
Below: Get to the sea wall!
Juno Beach
Below: Troops begin to push off the beach into the dunes in front of Grayes-sur-Mer.
Juno Beach
Below: But in front of Courseulles, within two turns virtually the entire first wave is annihilated! Only empty landing craft remain.
Juno Beach
Below: Juno beach; looking out to sea.
Juno Beach
Below: The Queen's Own finally lands in force, supported by The Chauds. Bernieres’ defenders grit their teeth!
Juno Beach
But the attack is too strong!  The Canadians break through the frontline and quickly press inland through the town. WN28 falls, outflanked from the dunes and then rolled-up. Canada House is born, as the QoR HQ settles in and sets up shop. In the foreground, Ost Grenadiers swarm out of the spawn point into the trenches and into the woods to form little more than speed bumps.
Below: Canada House is born!
Juno Beach
Below: In the center, the Regina Rifles start pushing up the beach.
Juno Beach
But the Germans aren’t done yet.  The Confident Trained Pioneers prove they’re a match for Hobart’s Funnies and an RCE Platoon, driving back the engineers and preventing them lifting the minefield, then assaulting the AVRE Platoon and killing it. Job done, they settle into their trench, unaware that half a Canadian army is about to be unleashed on them. They were shown where the Iron Crosses grow, that’s all I can say.
Juno Beach
In front of Grayes, the Canadians make good progress through all the chokepoints, but the armoured advance is stopped cold by an 88.
Below: The dreaded 88 strikes!
Juno Beach
In front of Courseulles, Regina’s B Coy has finally pushed over the sea wall, dealt with the bunkers and are pushing inland. AVRE-laid ramps help armour get off the beach.
Juno Beach
Below: Wave after wave of Canucks swarm over the beaches.
Juno Beach
On the edge of Courseulles, forest and orchards cover the advancing armour as it outflanks the town and clears out the strong points.
Juno Beach
Bernieres is overrun. The German reserves buy time, but can’t hold on. The Canadians capture multiple objectives on this board.
Juno Beach
The Canadians storm out of Bernieres, out-flanking the defenders in the middle. The 7.5cm PaK 40s offer some resistance, but arrive too late to turn the tide.
Juno Beach
Final view of Grayes-sur-Mer; the natural terrain has proven as tough as the Germans, and it’s too much to overcome.
Juno Beach

In the end, it was a slight Canadian victory after twelve turns and hours of fun. Bernieres-sur-Mer and Courseulles-sur-Mer, key D-Day objectives, are taken. The open ground on either side of Courseulles remains a battleground, but the Canadians are mostly mopping up. 

Some valiant stands bought the Germans time, and some tough landing rolls and an especially hard time finishing off one Pioneer Platoon in the center kept several objectives in German hands far longer than should have been possible! Sinking DD Shermans, stuck landing craft, AOPs getting shot down…the Allies had their share of turmoil! 

But in the end, it’s a foregone conclusion. Given unlimited resources for the Allies, and no help from the Panzers, the Axis forces are doomed.

70 years later, though we play with toy soldiers, we never make light and we never forget.

~ The Regiment.

Last Updated On Thursday, July 17, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront