Blandford Camp Wargames Club
Guards Armoured Division in Operation Bluecoat
Who are the Blandford Camp Wargames Club?
A wargaming group open to the servicemen, civilians and their dependants of the Royal School of Signals at Blandford Camp. Meeting in the Activities Centre on a Wednesday evening, many periods and interests are covered.
Why the Guards Armoured Division?
Clearly Battlegroup South at the Royal Armoured Corps Museum is an ideal venue for an armoured wargame. Of the three British Armoured Divisions in the Normandy Campaign of WW2 the Guards Armoured Division (GAD) is of interest because of the amount of reference material recently published. It was also the first armoured formation to successfully apply the lessons of combined Infantry and Armour working together. Because of the unique nature of the GAD, all its armoured SNCO's and Field Officers would have been experienced Infantrymen before training on tanks. After the lessons learnt from Operation Epsom, infantry and armoured units from the same regiment or brigade were paired off together to provide an especially close level of co-operation, which we attempt to reproduce here.
Why Operation Bluecoat ?
After Operation Epsom had succeeded in drawing the bulk of the German heavy armour to the Eastern side of the Allied lodgement, US Forces launched their dynamic offensive in the Western flank against comparatively weaker opposition. The danger now was that the Germans would be able to use the ideal defensive terrain of the Suisse Normande, particularly Mont Pincon, as the key to a new defensive position, or as a hinge for withdrawal. The British XXX Corps launched Operation Bluecoat to unlock the Normandy
GAD were fed into the battle once the 11 th Armoured were exhausted, tasked with securing the Vire-Estry road. Bluecoat was characterised by the channelling and canalisation of the British thrust in piece meal actions, owing to the intensely wooded bocage country of the Suisse Normande. This offers unrivalled opportunities for the kind of independent company/squadron actions, in close country, for which 1/76 is the ideal scale. Progress was made on narrow fronts with little more than a dozen tanks and supporting infantry, a precursor of to day's all arms Combat Teams.
In this scenario' A' Squadron, 1st Armd Bn. Coldstream Guards, are providing the armoured support to 'A' Company, 1st Bn. Welsh Guards, who are tasked with taking the small hill to their front. Opposition consists of small pockets of heavy armour and Panzer Grenadiers of the 9th SS Panzer (Hohenstaufen) Division.
What kit are we using?
The rules we use are WRG, which we find both authoritative and highly playable. At the 1/76 scale we find a ground scale of 10 inches equals 100 meters works well for operations in close country such as the Normandy Bocage. The soldier models we are using are AB Figures, and the AFV's are predominantly from Cromwell Models' Combat Ready range. The terrain tiles are from Purbeck terrain, the trees from K&M and the Bocage hedges from The Last Valley.
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