A Polish Battlefield
A Polish Battlefield is a scenario in Back to Hell, covering the closing of the Falaise Pocket on August 21st, 1944.
A Polish Battlefield covers the climax of the Normandy campaign, when the converging Allies armies trapped the German Seventh Army in the Falaise Pocket.
When a battlegroup from 1st Polish Armoured Division occupied Mont-Ormel on August 19th, it effectively sealed the trap on the Germans. But what could 2.000 Poles against 150.000 Germans seeking to escape?
To do so, the Germans within the pocket organized all the troops still in fighting conditions in two columns: most of the armored vehicles in the South under a core of 1. & 12. SS-Panzer elements, and most of the infantry under 3. Fallschirmjäger control in the North. On June 20th, coordinating with an attack by (what was left of) II. SS-Panzer-Korps from outside the pocket, those columns hurled themselves at the Poles to overrun them on their way to freedom.
Meanwhile, Allied reinforcements were on their way from both North & South to link with the beleaguered Poles attacked from East & West.
Desperate to break out, the trapped Germans hurled themselves at the Polish battlegroup: settling centuries-old scores, the two opponents knew better than to ask (or grant) quarters to their bitter enemies.
The German tide was so overwhelming that it enveloped the Polish position on top of Mont Ormel, reducing it to almost nothing … yet the Poles kept fighting.
When the Poles finally ran out of ammunition, they had to fight off the remaining waves with rifle butts or knives. Dead enemies were found mixed together in the same trenches, and German corpses had to be removed from the top of Polish tanks they had been climbing on to take them out hand to hand.
Meanwhile, the American 90th Infantry Division and Polish battlegroup Zgorzelski were fighting to hold Chambois, sealing the Southern part of the pocket and preventing most germans from escapaing, all the while trying to extend a hand toward the trapped Poles on Mont Ormel.
Already fighting in Saint-Lambert to seal the Northern part of the pocket, 4th Canadian Armoured Division was both too weak and too late to completely seal the Northern route, allowing many Germans to escape to freedom. Yet, Canadian heavy artillery, masterly directed from inside the Polish positions by Captain Sévigny, proved essential to the survival of the defenders.
Finally, the attack from outside the pocket by elements from II. SS-Panzer-Korps failed to crack the Polish position, but manage to help to create a corridor in the Northern part of the battlefield through which several thousand German soldiers, including commander-in-chief Paul Hausser, managed to escape the trap.
- Hold the Mont Ormel at all cost to prevent the Germans from escaping the pocket.
- Inflict enough casualties to break the German moral.
- Capture the Mont Ormel from the Poles to break out of the pocket.
- Avoid excessive casualties.
- 1. Dywizja Pancerna: the main Polish force is the only one able to deploy in numbers on top of Mont Ormel to prevent it from quickly falling to the Germans escapees or relief force. But doing so they'll isolate themselves away from their reinforcement, coming back from the South where they had linked with the American. Well balanced forces, the Polish battlegroups only lack heavy artillery support, to be provided by its Canadian & American allies.
- 4th Canadian Armoured Division: organized as a British armored division but almost entirely equipped with American equipment, 4th CAD relies mostly on tanks, with heavy artillery and bomber support to smash its way to the Poles. Lacking in infantry, it fields an unusual armored recon regiment equipped not with Cromwell or Stuart, but full-fledged Shermans !
- 90th Infantry Division: coming from the South, the « Tough Ombres » rely on a strong core of infantry, backed up with light tanks and a few Shermans. It also gets heavy support from USAAF's fighter-bombers.
- Kampfgruppe Schimpf: formed around a core of battle-hardened 3. Fallschirmjäger-Division's veterans leading the way for the rest of the infantry column, it can rely on a strong AA support, as well as a few individual tanks, including the last functional Tigers.
- Kampfgruppe Wisch: composed of almost all the combat vehicles left in the pocket, mostly from 1. & 12. SS-Panzer as well as 116. Panzer, it relies on tanks, armored cars & mechanized infantry, with only a few individual AA & artillery guns to cover its advance.
- II. SS-Panzer-Korps: elements from 2. & 9. SS-Panzerdivision already outside the pocket are striking back to help the escapees break through the Polish positions. Although taking longer to build up its strength, it is a well-balanced force with ample AA & artillery support, as well as supplies.
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