Canadian Crucible: Brigade Fortress at Norrey

The Tactical Combat Series (TCS) made its debut in 1989 with the game Bloody 110. The series, published originally by The Gamers and currently by Multi-Man Publishing (MMP), provides a common set of rules for brigade-level tactical engagements fought out at a games scale of 125 metres per hex, 20 minutes per turn and unit counters depicting platoons and individual vehicles. The common rules are supplemented in each game of the series by historically accurate maps, orders of battle, and special rules to depict actual engagements ranging from a few hours (as in The Bloody Beach: Omaha, TCS  3) to several days. Each game includes multiple stand-alone scenarios as well as campaign games which link play over several days of game time.

Subject material for the TCS was varied (though concentrated on the Second World War, with one exception set in the first Gulf War).  The first dozen games in the series, published between 1989 and 2000, covered both well known battles (such as the OMAHA Beach landings, the Hürtgen Forest, the tank battle at Stonne, Guadalcanal, Maleme airfield on Crete, and the Battle of the Bulge) as well as more arcane subjects (the German invasion of Leros, British troops at Anzio, Spanish troops in the siege of Leningrad, and the Russo-Finnish War of 1939). Just two more titles followed in the new century, in 2005 and 2009. With sixteen titles (including Force Eagle's War, the only title not set in the the Second World War) in print over a fifteen year publishing history of the system, TCS had not covered the Commonwealth forces in Northwest Europe. In 2013, the 16th game in the TCS line was published, featuring Canadian troops in Normandy.


Game designer Larry Brien notes that:

I am very proud of our Canadian Military tradition and decided to design a game that would show the tenacious will of the Canadian soldier in the midst of battle. I hope you will find a place in your site to mention this product and let Canadians know we are remembering our Armed Forces.

As further background, Brien writes:

I'd been a TCS fan since the early 90's and had by that time a more in-depth knowledge of what our troops were doing in (the Second World War). So in 1991 I started compiling information about an idea I had for the TCS games, shot a note to Dean (Essig) in 1996 and the long and slow process began. Just as a side note the new pre-pub SCS game Days of Days is supposed to have a short scenario regarding the Canadian struggle between June 7 to June 11 as per Lee's asking me about some ideas.2

Image of the game as shown on the MMP website

The Game

Canadian Crucible depicts actions between units of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade and units of the 12th SS "Hitler Youth" Panzer Division in the period 8 June to 11 June 1944. Three Battle Honours were awarded to the Canadian units that participated in these actions:

The game includes eight shorter scenarios and a full-length campaign game that makes full use of all the components included in the product.


The scenarios depict smaller parts of the overall brigade action. The map depicts terrain west of Caen including the villages of Rots, Le Hamel, Norrey-en-Bessin, Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse, Le Mesnil-Patry and Putot-en-Bessin.

Scenario Turns First Turn Last Turn Main Canadian Units Main German Units Map Area
5.1 Fortress Norrey 14 0300, 8 Jun 0800, 8 Jun The Regina Rifle Regiment I./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt Row 27-62
5.2 The Little Black Devils 28 0620, 8 Jun 1520, 8 Jun The Royal Winnipeg Rifles II./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt Row 1-23
5.3 The Canadian Scots Counterattack 9 1940, 8 Jun 2300, 8 Jun 1 Bn The Canadian Scottish Regiment II./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt Row 1-23
5.4 Kampfgruppe Meyer 20 2200, 8 Jun 0820, 9 Jun The Regina Rifle Regiment I./12 SS Pz Regiment
I./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt
Row 21-62
 (N of RR)
5.5 Panzergruppe Attack on Norrey 11 1240, 9 Jun 1600, 9 Jun The Regina Rifle Regiment
10th CAR (Fort Garry Horse)
I./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt
3./12 SS Pz Regiment
Row 30-62
(N of RR)
5.6 Third Attack on Norrey 38 0300, 10 Jun 1600, 10 Jun The Regina Rifle Regiment
10th CAR (Fort Garry Horse)
I./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt Row 21-62
5.8 Le Mesnil Patry 19 1340, 11 Jun 1940, 11 Jun The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
6th CAR (1st Hussars)
II./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt All
5.9 What If 51 0600, 7 Jun 2400, 7 Jun The Regina Rifle Regiment
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
6th CAR (1st Hussars)
I./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt
II./26 SS Pz. Gren. Rgt
I./12 SS Pz Regiment

Campaign Game

The Campaign Game (described in the rule book as Scenario 5.7) depicts the entire span of events in this area using the 7th Brigade order of battle and has several optional lengths:

  • 44 turns (03:00hrs 8 June to 18:00hrs 8 June)
  • 104 turns (03:00hrs 8 June to 18:00hrs 9 June)
  • 164 turns (03:00hrs 8 June to 18:00hrs 10 June)

Game components. CSC collection.

Ops sheet showing the full map. Ops sheet and other resources are available from the publishers website at


  1. Email correspondence with the webmaster, Sep 2014
  2. Ibid. SCS is "Standard Combat Series," another line of games by MMP/The Gamers but with units depicting companies/squadrons rather than platoons.

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