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Paratroopers clear the exit to Utah Beach

Rob Wubbenhorst sent me pictures of his When Eagles Drop Scenario. He also sent me an after action report in the form of a letter home that is interspersed with the pictures.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Dear Cousin Timmy,
Well I can tell you that I'm in France. The Regiment including my Easy Company dropped into Normandy during the night of June 6. It was a hell of a thing, lots of antiaircraft fire and planes going down. We wanted to hit the silk as soon as possible and get on the ground as fast as we could.
When I landed, I was totally lost. Our mission was to secure a road exit from Utah Beach for the 4th Infantry Division, but I didn't know how to get there. Along came a bunch of guys I didn't know from Fox Company, and even some troopers from the 82nd Division. Things were really FUBAR.
Dog Company
Dog Company
One of the U.S. Paratrooper companies is allowed to start the game as a unit. Here the chosen company, Dog Company, advances through the woods toward their objectives.
Anyway, we set out following this officer. Suddenly, we run into Dog company who was totally intact. Unbelievable I thought, we can't find 1/3 of our company, and Dog is at 100%!! Lucky guys. Well, there weren't a whole lot of officers around. This Dog Company LT takes charge and tells a LT in our group to follow them across this road and head toward the objective through some woods. Because there weren't many officers around our Provisional company as we started calling ourselves, the Sargents stepped up to lead like the officers would. We all wear the same jump wings, so all of us troopers goes along, but boy is it FUBAR.
I saw Tom and Jerry from the weapons platoon, they emplaced their 81mm mortar battery right there in the woods without crossing the road and I don't think they moved the rest of the day.
20mm under assault
20mm under assault
Paratroopers assault one of the German gun positions from inside the woods.
Anyways, we cross this road and can see this town, St. Marie du whatever to the North. Our pre-jump briefings told us this was a garrison town for some Kraut Brigade or whatever, I don't remember cause I was tired from an all-night crapgame. We're going through these woods, and just as we reach the other side, there's all these German guns! 88s and other big cannons that looked like Anti tank weapons. Well we took care of those guys. The 88 spun around and shot at us as we ran into them, but nobody got hurt. The guns crews of one of the ATGs ran away, but we didn't let the rest of 'em get far. Let's just say in the tradition of the Apache that I've bit my first bone.
Well, some of the Dog company guys get into trouble when they run up to this antiaircraft 20mm heavy weapon. It chewed some of them up in the woods, but they finally got the better of it.
Task Force Mulvey
Task Force Mulvey
Lt. Mulvey gathers scattered paratroopers in the swamp gather to move on the causeway exit.
While all this is going on, I can see some other troopers way out on the causeway to the East. It looked like some officers, a mortar team, a LMG and rifle squad were fighting a battle by themselves against this guard house at the end of the causeway. There was lots of fire coming from the guardhouse directed at our guys who were exposed on the causeway. We could see some dug-in Germans shooting at our buddies that was across a small clearing from us. One of our squads saw some signs that said "Achtung! Minen!" but they didn't pay any attention cause they don't read French so good. These guys runs across the Minen field to get at those Krauts shooting up our guys. Unbelievably they made it across without any problems, but in the close-in fighting, nobody came back. At least the Krauts appeared dead too.
U.S. Reinforcements
U.S. Reinforcements
As the Paratroopers attack the causeway exit, they call for reinforcements, the lead elements of these move up the causeway.
Anyways, we get ready to jump off from the woods to hit the causeway exit and the guard house. A bunch of us move out, when suddenly some Sherman tanks come up the causeway from Utah Beach! It was so great to see some of our tanks arriving. As we took out the guards on the causeway, this German officer jumps up like some sort of Sgt. Rock and blazes away with his pistol. Tim, this guy was like Annie Fricken Oakley and took out these guys I had just met from the 82nd and Fox Company to my left. Well, that German officer didn't last long. We took care of him, and I even got to keep his Luger. I'll show it to you when I get home, but I'm hoping to take care of some Krauts with it first.
IX Tactical Luftwaffe
IX Tactical Luftwaffe
U.S. airplanes attack the wrong people!
Suddenly the guys start shouting to take cover. These idiots from the airforce were overhead, and apparently are color blind. They line up down the causeway and strafe our own guys. I sees bullets everywhere! Some of our guys on the causeway had no cover and got hit. We were really mad and wanted to shoot at the planes, but Sarge wouldn't let us. Man if I ever see some pilot in a bar bragging about how great he is a close-air support, I'm going to knock him out!
Assault on the Town
Assault on the Town
The Paratroopers advance on the rear echelon battalion in the Town.
Well, after this we move up toward St. Marie the whatever town, and begin an assault. We had to secure a field on the other side of town for glider troops, and the LTs in charge decided to do that by assaulting the town. I was a little surprised, but orders are orders. I knew we could take this town, but with tanks coming, why not goto the field and shoot the town up from long range with tanks? We'd been through a lot already.
All Tanks are Tigers!
All Tanks are Tigers!
German Armored reinforcements move up. The American player sees Tigers everywhere.
U.S. Artillery
U.S. Artillery lends a hand!
The German reinforcement column comes under artillery fire.
Armored Duel
Armored Duel
U.S. and German armor engage.

Well, some of the Dog Company guys were hitting the town from the woods and making good progress, when all this noise from the woods happens. Trees were snapping and lots of heavy machinery clanking. It seems that some Krauts had just come up the road with a Tiger tank, half-track, and some trucks of Kraut troops. We get into a fight in this small field between the town and the woods. Somebody laid some smoke to screen some Germans in the town and we start a hell of a fight. Lots of guys are running in and out of this rubbled building. Germans and Americans, ownership changed several times every ten minutes or so. By this time, our tanks come across the causeway and join the fight. They shoot at several German squads and then the Tiger comes out of the woods. I heard some Corporal who thinks he know's everything say that it was a Panzer IV, but I think it was a Tiger. Anyway, the Shermans and this Tiger duke it out for a while with nobody getting knocked out.
Some other guys from Utah came up the causeway, a couple of Jeeps and a M8 armored car. They whiz by us and turn into these hedgerow fields. I yelled at them to join our fight, but they had other plans.
Well, in the end we pulled back from the town. The Germans just had too many guys, and we didn't have many rifle guys left seeing how we lost 1/3 in the drop, and had fought to take the causeway and an initial town assault. No Germans were getting out of town back to re- take the Causeway from us. We had two tanks and some guy LT Cantwell was talking to the airforce about a bombing mission on the German tank and town. I never saw any planes again, and it's a good think cause me and some other guys wanted to shoot at any P-47 I saw after that strafing run.
What happended later was that our Gliders had to go somewhere else because we didn't secure the landing field. Some COL was pissed, but he wasn't with us, so we didn't really care. If he wanted that field right then, he could take it by himself. We dug-in and told Utah Beach that the causeway was secure. The airforce did eventually show up and blew-up a bunch of stuff, even though this LT Cantwell of the FAC couldn't talk to them very well.
The beach sent a armored infantry company up the causeway and they took the town. There were some cracks as they drove by us about sending in the "Men of the 4th" to get the Paratroopers' job done, but we knew what we did was good enough. We took the causeway and allowed the war to start. We did it with 1 company intact, and a provisional unit of guys from all over. Later that day, some of our boys came in with stories of a whole other fight way on the other side of the glider field. Some of our machine gun sections ran into a German patrol or two. They fought between the woods and this French manor house. There were some close assaults, but eventually the Germans were defeated by combined US MG fire into this house. So much for the legendary MG 42 weapon we've heard so much about.
The troops we fought in the town at first and at the causeway were not that great. Once we had them supressed or disordered, it was easy to close assault and kill. The German Tiger unit was a bit tougher, and gave us a bit of a bruising. A bunch of my buddies ran up to kill the Tiger and never came back. I'm going to think twice if anyone tells me to run up to a Tiger.
Well, we gotta move out for some place called Carentan. There's going to be another fight, so I'll write soon after.
My Luger sure is pretty. Say hi to Mom and Dad for me.
Sincerely, Private Ryan
Rob also sent me some photos from OwlCon, where he played the Eagles Drop scenario again and also a PTO battle.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
An view of the board before the game begins.
Causeway Exit
The Causeway Exit
A view of the causeway exit buildings. Rob says that he really liked these buildings
Town Square
The town square
A view of the buildings around the town
Still in the swamp
Still in the swamp
The paratroopers get organized and move towards the causeway exit.
Battle for Causeway
Battle for the Causeway Exit
The paratroopers take on the causeway exit.
Battle for Causeway 2
Battle for the Causeway 2
Another view of the fight for the causeway.
Hedge attack
Fight for the Hedge
Moving beyond the checkpoint, the troops assault the guns in the hedge under cover of smoke.
Town attack 1
Other paratroops assault the Town
While the battle for the causeway was getting under way, other paratroops attacked the town. They run into some German Artillery
Town attack 2
Town Attack 2
But recover and continue their attack.
Armor Fight
Armor Fight
U.S. Armor moves up from Utah Beach and engages the German reinforcements.
Air Strike
Air Strike
In this game, the Airforce attacks the enemy targets, not friendly ones
French ambush
Vive La Résistance
The German reinforcement column gets ambushed by some FFI.

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