Friday, 28 December 2012

Skirmish Campaigns: Red Devils of the Orne

The final WW2 book in my Skirmish Campaigns collection is also one of my latest acquisitions and it's entitled Normandy '44 - Red Devils of the Orne.  It centres on the fighting east of the Orne river in June 1944 involving the British 9th Parachute and 1st Canadian Parachute Battalions.

Normandy '44 - Red Devils of the Orne is a 60 page, black and white, staple bound book in US letter format which includes 12 scenarios forming three campaigns.

As before the book follows the standard Skirmish Campaigns structure, starting with a single page introduction, a two page explanation of the Skirmish Campaigns format, a table detailing how to translate the scenarios to various sets of rules and a strategic map; however, it doesn't contain the usual background history, but has a two page annotated bibliography before moving into the actual scenarios.

There are three campaigns:
  • Critical Moments - 3 scenarios covering the Merville Battery assault and the actions around Varaville
  • Mesnil Crossroads - 3 scenarios covering the desperate fight to hold the crossroads at le Mesnil on the 8th June
  • Chateau No-Man's Land - 6 scenarios surrounding the battle for the Chateau St. Côme from the 9th to the 12th June
The first scenario is an assault on a casemate and so, whilst infantry only, requires the casemate itself and the surrounding trenches, bunkers and magazines.  The second and third are played on the same terrain which requires a number of buildings, including the gatehouse which is the centre of the scenarios, along with some trenches and bocage.  Other than some motorcycles the first of the two is infantry only  whilst the second requires 2 x captured R35 tanks and a possible truck mounted AA gun.  Incidentally the last of these three scenarios requires 6th Commando rather than airborne troops.

As might be expected the three scenarios making up the Mesnil Crossroads campaign are all played on the same terrain representing the crossroads.  This time a walled farm and smaller walled house along with a hill, woods, bocage and fields are needed.  The first of these is really infantry; however, the second and third require a StuG III.

The final campaign is also played across the same terrain centring around the Chateau although two of the scenarios do have a slightly shorter version as they are more condensed.  Obviously a building suitable to represent the chateau itself is required along with some stables and a barn; whilst the remainder of the table is woods and a little bocage.  The first and second scenarios are principally infantry with a jeep with a gun mount and a horch car as a variable attachment for the Germans.  The third introduces 2 x StuG IIIg and an SdKfz 233 as a variable attachment.  The fourth provides for a German base force with 1 x SdKfz 250/1 and a couple of french civilian trucks but allows the selection of additional support (at the expense of victory points) which includes 2 x StuG IIIg, 1 x SdKfz 250/9, 1 x SDKfz 233 and 1 x PzKpfw IVd (the latter being a speculative addition in any event).  The fifth has only the StuG, an optional SdKfz 251/1 and a universal carrier for the paras.  Whilst the final scenario has either the StuG or a Marder III and 3 x Shermans and a Firefly to support the paras.

As I only received this book a few days ago, I have yet to play any of the scenarios; however, I fully intend to remedy that as I have almost enough kit in 28mm for the infantry scenarios - I'll need to do a little more collecting for the armour required though.


  1. Interesting
    From the title I would have almost put money on Pegasus Bridge being mentioned!

    I am scoring the land for suitable scenarios for CrossFire at the moment ;)

    1. They've concentrated on the engagements covered in the Day the Devils Dropped in which covers the preparation for D-Day and then the Merville Battery and subsequent encounters. I think the assault on the canal and river bridges, though interesting, wouldn't have enough scope to fill a Skirmish Campaigns book.

      I haven't played Crossfire is absolutely ages - I've been hooked on Nuts! and IABSM.