Sunday, 11 October 2015

Preparation for Pouppeville - Devon Wargames Group

This weekend was the October gathering at the Devon Wargames Group and I put on an "I Aint Been Shot Mum" game recreating the fight for Pouppeville on Exit 1 from Utah beach on D Day.

After Napoleonics, my first love, WWII, particularly late war western Europe, is a close second and my family have suffered to allow me the time to take several trips and journeys wandering around the key battle sights of this period with summer holidays to Normandy being a highlight of those trips.

We spent two summer holidays in 2008 and 2011 staying at a lovely holiday let in the pretty village of Fauville just outside of St Mere Eglise and was the base camp for several forays around the beaches and landing areas trying to find and identify locations from battle scenarios and pictures taken at the time

Memorial erected close to Brecourt Manor in memory of the men lost from Easy Company 506th PIR
Trips to battlefields really inspire and inform my wargaming and push me on to play games that capture the feel and the look of the place and period I am seeking to portray. Thus when I was thinking about putting on a game this month my mind was drawn back to playing another one of those hard fought little battles that made up the complete struggle to get control of the landing area in and round Utah beach on D Day.

These were some of the ideas and places considered for my game


The edge of the field at Brecourt Manor where the gun positions were attacked by Easy Company as portrayed in the TV series "Band of Brothers"

The gateway into Brecourt Manor
I have still to game Brecourt Manor. I think I will save this one for a nice little project to build some 28mm models and terrain.


German modified French tanks litter the causeway at La Fiere

La Fiere Bridge over the River Meredet

Remains of the foxhole used by General Gavin at La Fiere

I have played the attack on the bridge at La Fiere a few times and this is always a tough nut for the Germans to crack but makes a good looking game and I will play this again using IABSM3.

Lt Turner B Turnbull

The farm building at the centre of Turnbull's position where he placed the 57mm AT gun and bazooka team
Turnbull's resolute defence of Neuville, north of St Mere Eglise is a fascinating and great little scenario to play and I recorded our last go back in 2012.

Whilst flicking through the photo archive I found some great before and after pictures with a 12 year old Will in 2008 standing in for the warriors from another century.




In the end I settled on a battle that took place at Pouppeville just down the road from, and one that happened around the time this picture was taken in, St Marie du Mont.

Thus concludes my trip through the inspiration to play Poupeville. If you would like to see how the game played then follow the link to the Devon Wargames Group where I go through the scenario and some of the changes I made together with an AAR on our game.

Next up the 2/54e Ligne


  1. Great post, I really enjoyed the comparison photos.


  2. Fine looking game setup.
    I, too, really enjoyed the "yesteryear" and "today" photos.
    Great stuff!

  3. Thanks chaps. Doing the "before and after" stuff is great fun and turns a battlefield tour into a treasure hunt when you have the kids helping to spot the sites before anyone else. Importantly it gives a real sense of the terrain when you stand on the exact same spot and study the lie of the land which, give or take the odd changes in trees and buildings, remains fairly constant and really feeds the imagination when thinking about scenarios and games.

  4. Great post and fantastic photos!

    1. Cheers Rodger, seeing those pictures has put me in a mind to go back. Great food, great cycling country, warm summers and a bit of historical inspiration.

  5. Nice JJ.

    Turnbell's defence at Neuville-au-Plain is one of my favourite scenarios and no cakewalk for either side. I have played it 3 times with varying results and also umpired the game several times. It is particularly interesting if none of the players have heard of the skirmish. It is good to see a picture of the actual terrain and find the road is even more narrow than I thought it was.


    1. Cheers Vince.

      Yes Neuville is one of my favourites and a really challenging fight for both sides. The actual battle area is a bit tricky to visualize on the ground as the main road from St Mere Eglise to Cherbourg is now a fast dual carriage way and it runs behind the dead end of the lane in my picture. The building pinpoints the area at the centre of the battle area with Turnbull's men positioned in the field to the right of the picture.

      The Germans, badly shot up in the first contact, tried to move around the Americans by heading off on the other side of the main road, beyond the blocked end of the lane where presumably the 57mm was set up just in case a German SPG tried to motor down the main road into town.

      I think I will have to re-run the game again soon.