Friday, January 23, 2009

D-Day Landings Commence

This week was dedicated to our first battle of the D-Day Landings Tournament. Our first battle was actually Yellow Beach, one of the failed Dieppe landings, a whole two years before what we usually think of as D-Day. We played this battle as an introduction to the Allied invasion efforts on the French coast and next week will jump forward to June 6, 1944.

At the beginning of our session on Tuesday, January 20th, we read through the historical background of Yellow Beach and discussed some of the reasons for the failed invasion. The students were a little disappointed, but we skipped snack and hurried out to the library to set up the battle and get started. I had hoped that we would have time for the teams to play both sides.

I hadn't anticipated how long the set-up would take or how difficult the process would be for the students. It was only their second time setting up a board and they still haven't learned any of the tricks to setting up quickly. Some students watched as their friends worked while some goofed around, further slowing down the process. They searched for each Terrain Tile as they went instead of collecting them at the beginning and they waited until the very end before setting soldiers on the board. Needless to say, they only had time to play one side of the battle before 5:00 when parents came to pick them up.

Thursday's session was much more efficient. Students set up the battle much more quickly and we even had time for a brief snack. I encouraged them to also play faster and think about their moves while their opponent was taking their turn. The second Yellow Beach battles were finished in time for students to get on the computers and experiment with the scenario editor.

Next week begins the June 6th landings with Gold Beach. I'm hoping that because the set-up is less complicated and students have more experience, we'll have time to play both sides of the battle in one session. More important than anything else, though, is that the club members are having fun and learning about World War II history!

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