Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Roads of Villers Bocage

When I first started my Villers Bocage project many years ago (2007?) I initially despaired of EVER making/buying/painting a sufficient number of houses to ever run the scenario.  My initial cost estimates of ~100 USD per foot of urban area seemed excessive even for the most obsessive compulsive wargamer.  Well, several years and a whole lot of money later (don't ask how much) I think that not only do I have enough houses to run the scenario as shown in the Battlefront book, I have (or will have shortly) sufficient houses to expand the area of operations.   This is a good thing.  Really!
Let me explain.  The Battlefront scenario really concentrates on the center of town and the two main east-west roads that run through it.  For the forces in the scenario, this is very small as with over 30 tanks blasting away, it doesn't look like the two roads would remain unblocked for long.  This would really negate a lot of the German power which is concentrated in the 5 Tigers and 11 Panzer Mk IV Hs.  Throw in a 7 halftracks and a bunch of motorcycles and it gets crowded fast. 
Rubble, a Tiger and a Panzer Mk IV block a road in Villers-Bocage. 
A little research indicates that while the Brits and Germans did battle down the main avenues, they also fought in the southern portion of the town as well.  Maps from a couple of books on the battle show the Germans lost at least half of their tanks south of the main drag.  Portraying the southern section of the town would allow more space to maneuver and have the players actually use their forces instead of merely generating a huge traffic jam.  The maps and airborne imagery also suggest that the southern part was not as built up as the main road center of town which would be easier to portray with fewer houses.
Typhoon-eye view of Villers-Bocage before the Allies bombed it to rubble. 
Map from Villers-Bocage, Through the Lens of the German war Photographer by Daniel Taylor. 

The Panzers in the Battle of Normandy, 5 June to 20 July 1944 by Georges Bernage.  It looks like more Tigers were lost in the southern area than on the main street shoot out. 
Given the painting I am engaged in, the houses that Battlefront is selling now and a couple of other Crescent Root houses that I got recently, I MAY be able to do more than just the Battlefront scenario area.  I would try that first, but then I think I will expand a bit to try to bring more of the southern part of the town into the fray.  More is typically better, and this is no exception. 

Crescent Root houses.  These aren't the best for putting stands inside but they look really neat. 

Some Crescent Root chateaus.  They will easily fill up the southern part of my basementVillers-Bocage. 

1 comment:

The Kiwi said...

Awesome. Crescent Root buildings are excellent. I have a few and even though getting stands in them is not as easy as other products out there they have a great look about them.