The Vercors Massif
The Vercors massif is a gigantic natural fortress in France’s southern mountains. Atop the heavily forested plateau, some 4,000 resistance fighters declared themselves a free republic in the summer of 1944. With few access roads, protected by soaring cliffs, the Vercors was considered impregnable by the maquis defending it. The Allies had dropped hundreds of canisters containing small arms, medical supplies and ammunition during the summer, along with an OSS combat team.
The German response was slow and deliberate. Probing attacks by reserve Gebirgsjagers and regular infantry units assessed the Maquis’ strength, locating the main centres of resistance for a single devastating strike. On 21st July, 3 Go-242 Gotha and 20 DFS-230 Gliders landed a company of Osttruppen and a platoon of paratroopers near the Maquis strongpoint at Vassieux, while columns of regular infantry and Gebirgsjagers attacked up the plateau’s main access roads.
The final battle for Vercors had begun! Presented below is a scenario that allows you to re-fight this dramatic confrontation between the French partisans and their German oppressors.
The French Maquis
- 1x Regular 2nd Lt. + Attendant
- 1x Veteran Liaison Officer + Attendant
- 2x Guerilla Fighter squads with 6x SMGs.
- 2x Partisan Squads with 9x Rifles + 1x LMG.
- 1x Regular MMG team.
- 1x Regular medium mortar team.
You can find information on all these units in the France and the Allies army book.
The German Landing Force
- 1x Veteran 1st Lt. + Attendant (Glider 1)
- 1x Veteran Sniper Team (Glider 1)
- 1x Veteran Light Mortar Team (Glider 1)
- 1x Veteran MMG Team (Glider 1)
- 1x Fallschirmjager Squad (Later War) with 2x Assault Rifles, 1x SMG + 6x Rifles (Glider 2)
- 2x Osttruppen Squads with 10x Rifles. (Gliders 3 + 4)
You can find information on all these units in the Armies of Germany army book.
Scenario Special Rules
The German force is split between 4x gliders (as indicated above) and enters the battlefield on turn 1 using the glider landing rules as described on page 201 of the Campaign: D-Day: Overlord book.
The Maquis player deploys his forces anywhere in the marked area.
The German player’s force arrives by glider on Turn 1.
The Maquis player must defend Vassieux from the attacking Germans!
The German player must neutralise resistance fighter activity around Vassieux.
The battle begins! The German force arrives by glider.
Keep a count of how many turns have elapsed as the game is played. At the end of turn 6, roll a die. On a result of 1,2 or 3, the game ends. On a 4,5 or 6 play another turn.
At the end of the game, calculate who has won by adding up the Victory Points as follows: The Maquis player gains 2 Victory Points for each enemy unit destroyed!
The German player gains 2 Victory Points for each unit within the Maquis player’s deployment zone at the end of the game.
The sacrifice of the Maquis on the Vercors was ultimately in vain – Allied High Command did not support the rising with anything more than drops of small arms, and the overwhelming might of the Werhmacht crushed the partisans, reducing villages to rubble and murdering hundreds in a series of brutal reprisals.