Set in 1944 on the 6th of June this scenario aims to replicate the D-day battle of Sainte-Mère-Eglise. Sainte-Mère-Eglise is a town in Normandy, north-west France. The town is used as the central setting for the board, as can be seen in the layout diagram below. The fight began with Allied paratroopers landing at 0140; this is simulated by the dropping of four units of Allied men onto the board from a height of around 12 inches. If they land on a empty hexagon they become a full unit, however, if they land on a German unit, or off the board, they are considered a failed drop. Many drops failed that night as buildings in the town were on fire. This lit up the sky making the paratroopers easy targets. There were also incidents like that of John Steele who’s parachute got caught on the church tower and he could only observe the battle and there were others who got caught in trees.
At around 0500 the town was taken by the 505th parachute infantry regiment, it was then heavily counter attacked by the Germans, but the infantry held until they were reinforced from Utah Beach in the afternoon of June 7th.
Historically speaking this was an Allied victory, however, the success of your parachute drop at the start strongly influences your chances of success or failure.
Strategy and Tactics:
The first thing to focus on when playing as the Allies is your parachute drop. You get four units that you have to drop from 12 inches above the board, if they land on an occupied space or off the board they are taken out of play, so you want as many of them to land safely as possible, so drop with care. Additionally, depending on where they land this effects what you do next.
As the Allied player it makes sense to take the Axis unit that holds the town in the center first; depending on your command cards and on your parachute drop this can be quite easy as this unit is cut off from the rest of the Axis forces. Then holding the town and waiting for the Axis player to come to you is a fairly sound strategy as you then have the added bonus of the protection of the town at -1 against infantry and -2 against tanks for dice roll because of obscured line of sight.
What I found while playing is that while the hill on the left side of the board looks like a good position, if you don’t reinforce it you may as well pull out because with the right command cards and a couple of moves that unit will be eliminated with ease.
I also found that the single unit on the right is easily forgotten about by both sides, if it’s left by itself, as, if you’ve enforced the town in the center, the Axis player will move their right had units in towards the center in an attempt to take the town. So to move this unit into the cover of a hedgerow makes sense and, if possible, to reinforce it, depending on where your parachute men dropped.
The Axis players are not so lucky as to have anything as fun and useful as the parachute drop, they do have one unit of tanks, but they also get one less command card. Assessment of where the parachute men fell is essential for the Axis player; the thing to keep in mind is that the win criteria is four medals (four completely destroyed enemy units). So seeing where their weakest units are and destroying them speedily makes good sense.
I found that the unit on the left up the hill was most often left by itself so that was a good place to start, even with the -1 for shooting up a hill. Additionally withdrawing your unit from the town in the center to prevent its quick destruction was also a good idea.
If the Allied player were to fill the town in the center it is highly possible to lose more men than it’s worth trying to retake the town; however they cannot hide all of their men in the town and will undoubtedly have some out in the open, here getting your tanks into play and focused on units not in cover is a good move, but to fire tanks into a town is close to a waste of a move as they fire at -2.
Remember to try to keep units in all sections of the board as it will always be the section of the board you have no units in that you have all the command cards for!
This is a good scenario with a lot of replay value due to the parachute drop creating a slightly different set up every time. Also being only the second scenario in the rule book it gives a small, basic introduction to tanks with one tank unit in play. It also introduces you to hedgerows and hills and is a well-paced second scenario for people still learning the game.
However it lacks the fun of some of the later scenarios due to its relative simplicity and lack of lots of heavy weaponry!