Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack

Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack Strike For The Sea:
Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack

When informed of the landings, the commander of 84. Armeekorps (84th Army Corps), General Erich Marcks, wanted 21. Panzerdivision to attack east of the Orne against the British airborne landings. But as the strategic picture became clearer, stopping the amphibious assault that was quickly gaining a beachhead became the priority.
Only part of the division was thus sent to attack east of the Orne, a Kampfgruppe (Battlegroup) under von Luck containing most of his 125. Panzergrenadierregiment, one of the division’s five Panzer companies, assault guns, the reconnaissance battalion, and supporting elements. However von Luck was driven back by the defending British paras calling on support from the Royal Navy.

The task of breaking through to the sea fell to the remainder of the division. Kampfgruppe Oppeln, comprising his own 22. Panzerregiment, part of I/125. Panzergrenadierregiment, the self-propelled guns of III/155. Panzerartillerieregiment, and a company of pioneers, would attack on the right.
Below: Kampfgruppe Rauch Attacks scenario table.
Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack
Kampfgruppe Rauch with 192. Panzergrenadierregiment (less the battalion still detached to 716. Infanteriedivision), the self-propelled guns of II/155. Panzerartillerieregiment, and most of the divisional pioneers would attack to Oppeln’s left, aiming for Lion-sur-Mer and the radar station at Douvres-la-Délivrande.

As the invaders poured inland, further time was lost in reorganising the men who now had to re-trace their steps through Caen, now choked with rubble following naval and air bombardment, which also created hordes of refugees.

Oppeln’s tanks did not begin to deploy near the village of Lebisey until 1600hrs. Frustrated with what he saw as Generalleutnant Feuchtinger’s delay, General Marcks arrived to take charge of the deployment of the Kampfgruppen. He remarked to Oppeln ‘If you don’t succeed in throwing the British into the sea, we will have lost the war.’
Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack
Just how hard this was to be was quickly demonstrated. Oppeln’s first objective was the high ground of the Périers Ridge, thought to be German held. It was not. His spearhead ran headlong into troops of 185 Brigade Group, British 3rd Division, who were pressing inland from the beaches.

The 2nd Battalion, The King’s Own Shropshire Light Infantry were in the process of attacking Lebisey themselves with the support of the tanks of the Staffordshire Yeomanry. Hearing tanks they prepared for the onslaught, siting their antitank guns carefully. They held their fire until the first wave of 40 Panzer IV tanks came into view and then opened a devastating fire, quickly destroying sixteen of the attacking tanks. The Panzers tried to move around the British flank, but running into more British troops, ground to a halt.
Below: Kampfgruppe Oppeln Attacks scenario table.
Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack
Further to the left however, Kampfgruppe Rauch found the gap between the Canadian and British beachheads. The Battlegroup forced their way through to the coast, linking up with troops from 736. Grenadierregiment still holding coastal positions to the west of Lion-sur-Mer. This breakthrough caused considerable alarm among the Allied command who rushed troops to deal with the breakthrough. Rauch’s men had no sooner reached the coast than they heard and saw masses of gliders flying over head. Fearing he was about to be cut off, Rauch ordered a withdrawal, giving the initiative back to the Allies.

Overnight, Rauch’s men, along with the remnants of Oppeln’s group, dug in north of Caen. They had denied the city to the initial thrusts to take it, but their own strike to the sea had amounted to little. With Panzer Lehr and 12. SS-Panzerdivision failing to arrive on D-Day, the planned hammer blow against the landings had fizzled. 21. Panzerdivision was down to 70 of the 104 tanks with which it had begun the day—losses that it could ill afford with the Allies landing another 300 tanks the next day. The Allies were ashore to stay.
Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack Strike For The Sea: Kampfgruppe Oppeln & Rauch Attack

Strike For The Sea in Flames Of War
As the afternoon of D-Day wears on, the British forces are nearing Caen. One last village stands in their way. As they launch their assault, the German counterattack begins. Can the British and Canadians secure the city of Caen our will the combined efforts of Kampfgruppe Oppeln and Rauch thwart their efforts?

Now updated for 4th Edition Flames Of War.

Download a PDF version of the Kampfgruppe Rauch Attacks Scenario here...

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Last Updated On Thursday, December 15, 2022 by Wayne at Battlefront