After a bit of a break, it is back to the 29! Let's Go! campaign. The campaign has seen me inch forward very slowly and the American advance is in real trouble. After a series of fights around La Cambe, the US moved forward to Arthaney, where an initial probe against German positions was rebuffed. While the US forces were reorganising themselves, an allied air attack struck causing more US casualties. The high casualty rate so far and the air strike has led to Col "Pop" Goode losing impetus. Despite exhortations from both the Brigade and Division commanders, Col. Goode is thinking that it might be time to dig in and wait for more support.
Meanwhile in the German camp, the Wehrmacht has moved a number of unit over the bridge and contact is now re-established with the HQ in Isigny. In a final effort to break through the German lines and advance, Col. Goode orders Captain Ford, commander of A company 175th Infantry to assault Arthenay again.
As always, the US gets a fresh platoon. This time it is the turn of 1st Platoon. 1st Platoon is commanded by Lt Gordon, a 27 year old stockbroker, originally from upstate New York, but living in NYC before the war. He is widely seen as one of the best junior officers in the battalion, being aggressive and dynamic, as well as serving in the short lived 29th Ranger Battalion. He is assisted in running the platoon by SSGT Hobden, 28, a former textile mill worker from Connecticut. 1st Platoon has 3 squad leaders; SGT Wierbowski, 22 a former butcher from Philadelphia (1st Squad), SGT Erevan, 23, a former linesman from South Dakota (2nd Squad), and SGT Richards, 25, a cinema usher from California (3rd Squad)
1st Platoon, A Company, 175th Infantry
The US gets 25 support points for this game, which I spend on a Sherman, a flamethrower, a .50 Cal, a FOO and a 60mm Mortar team.
Having seen 3rd Platoon try and take Arthaney, and get cut up in the process, LT Gordon decides to try another tack. He orders SSGT Hobden to form a firebase on the right flank while he will bring the full platoon forward on the Left flank. LT Gordon is hoping that the fire will keep the Germans occupied while he can maneouvre for the final assault.
The table is set up, with the Jump off points marked. The German jump off point underlined in red is the US objective.
The game is ready to start. US Force Morale is a lowly 8, German not much higher with 9.
The US begins to carry out the platoon commander's plan. On the right flank, SSGT Hobden establishes his fire base, consisting of a 50.cal, the 60mm mortar and the Bazooka team. My plan for the Bazooka team was to act as a scout team to draw out the Germans so they could be hit by the fire base.
Meanwhile on the right flank the US infantry squads start to deploy on overwatch in the orchard.
A sherman rumbles onto the table and the plan is ready - LT Gordon orders his infantry squads forward. The exposed fire base presents an inviting target for the Germans who appear in the small garden and open fire.
One of the Bazooka crewmn and a gunner from the 50. Cal are killed and the rest of the HMG team pick up a point of shock. But the fire base returns fire with both the mortar and the 50. Cal. (the remaining Bazooka team member falls flat and cowers and bullets whistle past. The return fire from the US caused some shock on the Germans in the garden.
Despite this fire, the Germans deploy another squad into the farmhouse behind the garden and both open fire on the US fire base. Over time the fire works. The second member of hte bazooka team is killed, and a number of the mortar team and 50 cal team are killed. Within moments the last HMG gunner flees, leaving the weapon behind. The two remaining mortarmen yell at SSGT Hobden that they have to leave.
"Sarge! We gotta get out of here! PVT Weekes yells out. "We're gonna get killed!"
SSGT Hobden flinched as a german bullet wizzed past his head. He looked around at the still bodies of the Machine gun and Bazooka teams. He nodded. "OK - Pack up the mortar and follow me. we'll set up on the road by the tank!" He jumped to his feet and started to run. Behind him, the two mortarmen began to lift the mortar, but as they did so, both were cut down by German fire. Hobden stumbled into the road as a bullet pinged off the side of the Sherman. what a goddam mess!
Meanwhile, on the US left flank, while the Germans are distracted, LT Gordon orders his squads forward supported by a Flamethrower
The Sherman tank fires in support, but causes limited damage. In return a German Panzershrek team creeps forward behind a hedge and pops up taking a shot.
The shot is highly effective and the Sherman explodes killing the crew entirely and wounding SSGT Hobden who is blown into a ditch beside the road.
With the loss of the Sherman and the fire support teams, as well as the wounding of SSGT Hobden, US force Morale collapses and the US troops fall back to their start line in the Orchard to try again.
With another loss, COL. Goode falls further into despair, dropping form Anxious to shocked. His plan isn't working at all and his 1st Battalion continues to get chewed up!
Despite the urgings from his subordinates, the Col does nothing for an hour or two except try to call up more artillery in support. Meanwhile LT Gordon tallies up his casualties and polices up the dead and wounded. The US took a total of 11 casualties from the infantry - 4 men from the 50. Cal, 5 Men from the 60mm Mortar, and the two man bazooka team. Additionally the whole crew of the Sherman tank were killed. 6 of the Infantry are killed, with another 3 too seriously wounded to continue fighting and two more being patched up.
Roll of Honor
SSGT Marriott 747th Tank Battalion KIA
CPL Tabbot 747th Tank Battalion KIA
PVT Yeats 747th Tank Battalion KIA
PVT Naylor 747th Tank Battalion KIA
PVT Poole 747th Tank Battalion KIA
CPL Sinto 175th Weapons Company KIA
CPL Adler 175th Weapons Company KIA
PVT McAdams 175th Weapons Company KIA
PVT Lester 175th Weapons Company KIA
LCPL Restrepo 175th Infantry KIA
LT Gordon presses Captain Ford for a second crack at the objective. He is reasonably happy with his strategy, although the firebase could have lasted longer. Perhaps its time to bring in the FOO. This time I get 29 support points, but as previously, there are problems actually using this many points, so the support remains unchanged at a Sherman, a 50. Cal, a flamethrower, a 60mm mortar and a FOO.
Very little changes with the table and the jump off points.
This game German force Morale is 10 - they are soon to be evacuated and have gotten most of their forces across the river. US Force Morale unfortunately is at 8 - 1st Platoon are not at all keen on having another shot at the enemy, even if their platoon commander is!
This time things are different. Deciding that the best defence is offence, the German platoon commander orders two full squads forward on their right flank towards the orchard
The LT Gordon orders up a couple of squads to keep an eye on the German advance and orders the FOO team to set up behind the hedgeline
Te first German squad reaches the hedge and peers over. Americans! Thousands of them! (well OK maybe 20 of them...)
The Germans decide that discretion is the better part of valour, and head back the way they came after taking a few pot shots at the Americans moving through the Orchard.
Run away! Run away! (Los! Los!)
Both Germans squads, jump over the walls into the little yard by the barn, picking up some shock as they do so.
Over on the German left flank, a PAK 40 deploys to cover the open ground.
Just in time! A Sherman appears on the road and clanks its way around the burning wreck of its comrade. At the same time, SSGT Hobden, his arm in a sling deploys with the 60mm mortar team in front of the knocked out tank. That will do for a firebase. Seeing the Sherman, the PAK 40 opens up firing several shots over a couple of phases. The first shot knocks out the main gun and kills the gunner. As SGT Forest tried to pull the body of the gunner from his seat, another PAK 40 round knocks out the MG and causes shock. A third round shocks the crew further and they bail out.
Meanwhile, LT Pryor, the Battalion FOO, finally gets a connection to the regimental mortar battery and orders "Fire for effect!". Mortar rounds plaster the small hamlet throwing shrapnel in all directions causing some light casualties in the PAK 40 crew and a German squad in the building.
As the barrage keeps the Germans pinned in place, LT Gordon orders his platoon forward, supported by a flamethrower team
However, the barrage is short-lived as Sigur ends the turn with a chain of command dice. I am short a Chain of Command dice by one point, so can't keep the barrage going. But the US Infantry move forward, using marching fire to good effect. The German Platoon commander, in a scene more suited to a Laurel and Hardy movie, tried to order two squads through the barn door at once, with predictable results. Realising that that way madness lies, he orders the two squads back to line the walls of the little garden. The US 3rd squad takes heavy casualties including SGT Richards who is wounded.
But while the Germans are focusing their fire on 3rd Squad, LT Gordon pushes his flamethrower team forward through 2nd squad. The flamethrower opens up on the walled garden....
....with somewhat limited effect!
The Germans in the walled garden are a little singed and a little shocked. But while the US infantry keep the German's head's down, the flamethrower takes another burst.
This is more deadly with several Germans soldiers incinerated and more shock. An intense firefight is now developing around the little walled garden. Bullets whizz through the smoke and the flame, and the US forces are slowly whittled down. The flamethrower team is wiped out and LT Gordon takes a bullet in the left eye, killing him instantly. Unable to crack the German defence, SGT Erevan orders the two remaining US Squads to fall back, as their force morale collapses, but he is shot down before he can move. Just before the US finally withdraw, PVT Dewey raises his rifle and snaps off a shot....a shot that kills Feldwebel Zausel
As the US forces fall back to the Orchard, the surviving Germans try to catch their breath and process what has just happened.
Well with that US defeat, the game - and Campaign is over! Colonel Goode throws in the towel. Convinced that a massive German counter attack is on the way, he makes no further advances beyond La Cambe. His personal morale collapses and he is too shocked to continue to command.
He is later relived of command and is sent back to the US to manage the US Army paper supply depot. More broadly the US efforts to link up Omaha and Utah beaches fails. And while the two beachheads are linked eventually, it takes several days longer than it should, and the US army suffers more casualties. The Germans have longer to prepare their defensive line beyond Isigny.
The men of 1st platoon trudge back to La Cambe led by the wounded SSGT Hobden. Only 14 of the men remain.
1st Platoon takes 28 casuaties, 14 of whom are killed including LT Gordon and SGT Everen. Another 7 are seriously wounded and 7 more can be patched up when they crawl back to the A Company command post. The flamethrower team is wiped out and one of the tank crew is killed.
Roll of Honor
LT Gordon 175th Infantry KIA
SGT Everen 175th Infantry KIA
CPL Torres 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Gambett 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Hestor 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Doyne 175th Infnatry KIA
PVT Lockhart 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Kalley 175th Infantry KIA
LCPL Royce 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Barlowe 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Walters 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Gillespie 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Martinelli 175th Infantry KIA
PVT Andreski 175th Infantry KIA.
PVT Sharp 747 Tank Battalion KIA
LCPL Remmer 29th Engineer Battalion KIA
Overall the Germans lost 6 killed throughout the campaign, including Feldwebel Zausel.
The German army managed to get 4 companies from Grenadier Regiments 726 and 915 as well as two batteries of Artillery regiment 253 across the bridge at Isigny winning a major victory for the Axis. The remaining men of the German platoon also evacuate across the river, taking with them a wounded SGT Richards and three other wounded US solders as POWs.
Overall in the campaign the 175th Infantry had 75 killed including 6 junior leaders and 1 senior leader. Another 35 were seriously wounded, and were evacuated back to the US. The 747th had 20 killed and lost around 7 tanks. 2 engineers from the 29th Engineers battalion were also killed.
All in all a fund campaign, even though I lost every single game! My thoughts on the campaign as a whole to come.