1944 Omaha Beach Overlord

(This review is in response to Ben_Phillis; Anniversary game)

This scenario also has an After Action Review, including video, by goncalo; Omaha Beach Overlord - June 06, 1944

Set up: slow
Game time: medium
Solo play: suitable (if you are patient!)

Historical Background:
The US assault waves on Omaha Beach were led by the 116th Regimental Combat Team, destined for Dog sector on the left; and the 16th Regimental Combat Team hitting Easy and Fox sectors. The first wave also included two battalions of tanks from the 741st and 743rd. A persistent swell and strong undertow kept pushing the incoming troops toward the wrong sections of the beach. Heavily-fortified German positions delivered a withering roll of fire the moment any LCA crashlanded in. Exhausted and sea-sick survivors reaching the water’s edge would find no protection, save for a 200-yard dash to the seawall. Many simply collapsed, or tried to find cover behind the numerous beach obstructions. Yet in the face of intense small arms and artillery fire, a handful of young soldiers rallied and began to act. The first infiltrations were made between the E-1 and E-3 exits. Advances against other strong points were also successful and while it was not apparent at the time, German defences were starting to crumble.

Axis 8 cards, move first. Allies 8 cards.

Conditions of Victory:
8 Medals
An Allied unit that captures a town counts as 1 Victory Medal. As long as the Allied unit remains on the Town hex, it continues to count toward the Allied victory.
An Allied unit that exits off the Axis side of the battlefield, counts as 1 Victory Medal.

Special Rules:
The hill that runs along the beach is a sea bluff. Moving up the bluff from the beach is a 2 hex move. Tanks may not move up the bluff from the beach. From the inland side, treat it as a normal hill in battle and for movement.
Treat the Sea Walls as a permanent improved position for the Allied player. The seawall offers protection, but has no effect on the movement of units.
The Axis player is in control of the Bunkers and may claim them as a defensive position.
The Allied Special Forces are Ranger units. They may move 1 or 2 and still battle.
Either side may choose to play a ‘Recon’ command card as a Barrage Tactic card instead.

Scenario link
This is from the original main game, but here is the online version:

Set up: 45 minutes.
Playing time: 60 minutes (much quicker than I expected).

All the early action in Fox sector. The Americans had a number of cards for their left flank so I decided to focus on that section. That was probably a big mistake! There is no cover, and they got cut to pieces. The US used two Infantry Assault cards, one Attack 3 units, and a Move Out. But they got nowhere and were defeated by repeated good German cards. 4-0 after 20 minutes!
I desperately tried to get the Allied armour into action but was totally out of luck with cards and only managed to push a few tanks slightly forward. Then the Germans then destroyed 3 tank units in a Firefight to make it 7-0!
Again the US could not get their forces into any meaningful action and were finished off by a Behind Enemy Lines which pushed a tank unit back into the sea.
An 8-0 whitewash! Not only that – German losses were negligible. This was largely because the American dice kept falling as flags rather than infantry or grenades.
Most of the units in Dog and Charlie sectors didn’t even get out of the water, so it really felt like a bit of a waste of time setting up that end of the board.

So, ultimately a disappointing game.
BUT – there is a solution!
Most (if not all) double-board scenarios (Overlord/Breakthrough) have 12 medals. This would have made this particular scenario more playable. Yes, there would still be heavy American losses, but even at 7-0 I could see possibilities for a breakthrough at E-1 and D-3.
In fact, I have just decided to play it again with a 12 medal Condition of Victory!

Set up:


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Great report, as usual. Very interesting. It sounds like a case of you playing the cards you’re dealt with rather than accumulating the cards you want! Aside from the German artillery, you’re not in too much danger in the sea, so you can use the early rounds to scrap cards as needed and get the ones you would prefer to have. It does seem like a tough task because of the low medal goal, and I’m curious to know how round 2 goes with 12 medals. Would you consider an uneven goal maybe, with different goals for each side?

I have to ask about your landing craft… do tell!

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Quick update, sorry for multiple posts. I haven’t finished my game yet, but it is 6 medals to the Axis and very little Allied progress. The artillery units are killing them on the coastline because they can’t retreat back into the sea. The only hint of Allied opportunity so far was a Behind Enemy Lines card that allowed a two-man infantry unit to attack a bunker in the middle with three dice after climbing the bluff. They were all duds, so the unit just stayed just above the bluff before being killed off. A better roll would have created a nice gap between the artillery points, and potentially allowed more units to climb the bluff. I’ll play the game right through, but I suspect this will follow your score of 8-0.

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Don’t worry about multiple posts - good to hear how you are getting on!
The thing to remember about Omaha is that it was a bit of a disaster. ‘‘The original plan was in tatters, with so many units mis-landed, disorganized and scattered.’’ (Wiki). The first wave failed, and the second (reinforcing wave) also struggled. It took until evening to take some of the objectives, with American losses much higher than those of the Germans.
So this really does suggest a rethink of this scenario - more medals, US reinforcements, fewer Command Cards for the Germans? Perhaps there are better versions of it available - time for some more research!

I haven’t got around to the replay yet - the family came to join me, so no time!

Regarding the landing craft, see my post from a couple of years ago.

Thanks for the feedback and for the information on the landing craft. I love the one that fits the four infantrymen.
According to the Days of Wonder site, we’re not the only ones finding the Allies being utterly overwhelmed. They report an Axis win rate of 79% and most of the battle reports there follow what we’ve talked about.
One possibility would be to add air support. Do you use the flight plan? A few well-placed aerial hits could help either side…

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I’m about to do the replay, with a few extra rules…
Axis 6 cards only (they are mostly sat defending fixed positions, whereas the Allies are trying to advance).
Axis cannot use Air Power (it was non-existent on D-Day); it can be used as a Recon of any unit.
There are only 16 German units, plus 8 Victory Medals (in towns) = 24 in total; there are 25 US units.
So, Axis = 12 Medals for victory, Allies also = 12, but 2 must be from towns.


Axis started with successful artillery assaults, destroying one and depleting another tank unit. The US focussed on Charlie and Exit D-1. They cleared a bunker, but the Germans retook it for a while. The US destroyed the artillery and then took Vieville before running out of cards for the right. This meant they could not take the second Vieville Victory Medal!. Allies 3-4 down at this stage.

The action moved to the centre. Axis had good cards, but poor dice, although Medics and Mechanics helped them to hold Exit D-3. Score 5-5, then 6-8 (so, under the original rules, an Axis win!). The Allies could not bring their remaining tanks from the right into battle, and suddenly they were 8-11 down and about to lose.

Then they played Finest Hour, but only managed two more medals (including the second one at Vievile). 10-11 – could they hang on? Nope! The Germans drew Counter Attack and easily got the winning medal.

So, a much better game than the previous one. Why? The Americans seemed to have more chance on their right flank, where there are seven medals concentrated in a small area (and it was moving to the left which cost them the game). Did the new rules work? I think it did restrict the German options in having two fewer cards. The had Air Power and played it as a Recon (which actually proved more useful than Air Power might have done!).

Other Omaha scenarios (double board)

Bloody Omaha - June 06, 1944

Quite complex, with some interesting use of extra stuff – minefields, mortars, heroic leader, Stug III, roads, engineers, etc. Very tempting!

And by the same author (‘‘50th’’) is
Omaha Break Through - June 06, 1944

Being a Breakthrough board, there seems like a lot of unnecessary inland tiles, when it was all really about breaking off the beach.

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I have just played the other Omaha - here is my After Action Report.

I must say that, although I enjoyed all of this, I am really looking forward to a simple, single-board scenario next!

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Ha, I know what you mean. The bigger scenarios are especially taxing for solitaire players. It was my first dabble with that size, and I enjoyed the fact that there were not too many extra rules this time. I have some of the printed maps (mostly unplayed) and they have a little too much fiddling about for my liking. Anyway, thanks for joining in with the idea, perhaps we can work with other anniversaries, especially as some of the 1944-1945 battles will be having their 80th anniversaries in the next couple of years.

Great idea.
Operation Husky began in July 1943, so I will have a look at some Sicilian scenarios.

Yes please. It’s a lot of work, but it would be nice to have a ‘historical challenge of the month’ here. By focusing on a particular scenario each month, we could compare notes on our own experiences of the same scenario. I think it would be a means of bringing the community together. There are so many scenarios that there is often the problem of knowing where to start, and if we’re all on the same page, the reports will have more meaning. What do you think, pragueimp?

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I really like the idea Ben.

I have been looking online, and the main campaign in July 1943 apart from Operation Husky (Sicily, 9 July – 17 August 1943) is the Battle of Kursk (5 July 1943 – 23 August 1943), which includes the Battle of Prokhorovka (12th July, the biggest tank battle in history).

I have been scouring Days of Wonder for Sicily scenarios and have complied a list of 36! A couple I have already done in the past, and I have had a go at another three this week. What I want to do is go through the actual scenarios of the landings on 9/10th July and choose one that might appeal to everyone. Then I can put a post up on the site at the beginning of July to encourage people to join in.

A Kursk scenario could be the August selection…