Total Pageviews

Thursday, 2 June 2022

29 Let's Go! The Probe at La Cambe (Part 3) Turn 3 Map 1

 Back to La Cambe!

The first two turns of the campaign have been a bit of a disaster for B Company of the 175th Regiment.  In the first game, 6th Platoon ran into some initial German resistance, fired a few shots and pulled back.  In the second game, 5th Platoon moved forward to clear the German positions, only to find that the Germans were dug in more than expected.  This time the Americans took heavier losses and had to withdraw, even though they got much closer to victory the first time round.

The shocked survivors of 5th Platoon take a rest and wonder how many more of them are going to get killed by the Platoon commander! 

The Regimental Commander, already a bit shaky, is getting even more concerned about a German counter-attack pushing him back into the sea and is thinking about digging in, which would hold up the American advance and prevent the linking of the beaches at Omaha and Utah. 

Captain Whyte, Commander of B Company orders 2LT Hendry to collect some of the wounded under a temporary truce while ordering 4th Platoon to get ready to push forward. 

The men of 4th Platoon

As before, it is not necessary to come up with the details of the US platoon for this campaign, but I like doing it, so here they are:

The platoon is commanded by 1LT Jameson, 29, from Georgia.  He is an average sort, and a bit old for a LT as he was promoted from the ranks following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

He is assisted in the running of the platoon by SSGT Krychek, 27, a former travelling salesman from west Virginia.  He is short and full of fight.

1st Squad is led by SGT Croft, 25 a stockcar driver from Oklahoma who, surprisingly has put on a lot of weight since joining the army.  Probably because he enjoys too many beers in the local English pubs.

2nd Squad is led by SGT Roth, a teamster from Utah, also aged 25.  He is completely average in height, weight and looks.

3rd Squad is led by a spritely 22 year-old, SGT Waterman, a farmer from Arizona.  Bored of a potential life on the farm for ever, he joined up at age 19.  As with Roth, there is nothing particularly distinguishing about him. 

The game.

As before, there is little changed about the map (Sigur spread a lot of extra vegetation around to break up the straight lines which was nice). 


After the patrol phase, I ended up with a jump off point behind the farmhouse on the right flank as usual, one in one of the buildings overlooking the ploughed field and one behind the hedge in front of that house.  Sigur again got a jump off point in the hedge in front of the orchard, one in the hedge in front of the barn and one further back by a hedge along the road.  

As before, the yellow triangle on the table represents where the worst casualties took place last game - LT Hendry wasn't lucky enough to collect the dead and wounded so close to the entrenched Germans.  Any team moving within 4 inches of this pile of dead and wounded takes a point of shock.  Also, as in the last game, the tank that was knocked out in game one remains on the board blocking line of sight but fortunately has stopped smoking.  

I had even more support than before, which I spent on extra BARs for everyone, a 50 cal HMG, 3 tanks, a flamethrower and a forward artillery observer.  I am not a big fan of these as I think at times they can dominate the game, but by jove I need all the help I can get.  If this amount of firepower isn't enough to blast my way through, well I don't know what is.  

Despite the losses the US are keen to push on.  US force Morale is 11, while the Germans seeing endless waves of Americans get a force morale of 9.

With that, the game is ready to go.  

-----

If you want a job doing well, leave it to the professionals! 1LT Jameson thought to himself. He had seen the work of the "volunteer" officers and while he was grudgingly impressed - at least with LT Hendry - he felt he could do better.  The military taught him never reinforce failure and having seen two attacks cover the same ground with no success, he felt that it was time to try a new tack. After a brief discussion with his squad leaders and the officers from the artillery he decided that maybe the left flank would be a better approach.  But first he'd try and expose the entrenched Germans and blast them with fire to reduce the strong point.

With that in mind 1LT Jameson orders the 50 cal. back into its position in the roof of the house on the left flank, which is then supported by the Forward Observers.  Although not planning to reinforce failure, LT Jameson sends a squad forward on the right flank to hopefully draw the Germans out of cover. 

                                                             A squad pushes forward...


..                                               ...as the heavy firepower gets into position.


As before, a new tank from the 747th tank battalion rolls forward along the road, while LT Jameson leads a squad forward on the left flank.  He thinks this is a better opportunity for an assault.  


In line with the plan, the US squad on the right flank moves closer towards the entrenched Germans in the hedgeline.  As they approach they head the calls of their wounded alerting them to the German position.  A sputtering of fire from the entrenched Germans in the hedge doesn't cause the Americans much concern.  Their return fire is more devastating. 



With a clear line of sight, the 50 Cal also opens up on the German strongpoint and the combined fire causes almost 50% casualties on the German squad hiding inside.  

As the US troops on the right start to pin down the Germans in the strong point, the main advance starts on the left.  The rest of the tank troop moves up, avoiding the road where their colleagues were destroyed, instead heading towards the ploughed field, while LT Jameson and his squad wait for the tanks to come up so they can advance with armoured support behind them.



LT Jameson orders his squad forward

Although the LT's plan was not to reinforce failure on the right, SSGT Krychek has other ideas.  He moves forward bringing third squad in on the right.  The SSGT seeing that there isn't much fire coming from the German strong point and knowing that the  50. Cal is providing support, sees an opportunity for glory.   


LT Jameson looked over to his right and saw SSGT Krycheck moving forward with the platoon's reserve squad in tow.  "What the heck!" he muttered.  "That's not part of the goddam plan!"  But he had to admit there didn't seem to be much return fire coming from the german strong point so...maybe it would work...maybe....

The entrenched Germans in the hedge start getting their act together and fire into the lead squad.  They take casualties and the remaining BAR gunner drops his weapons and heads to the rear, ignoring SSGT Krychek's orders. 

Sigur actually is playing a very clever strategy with the germans in the strong point.  Hoping for double phases, he moves troops into and out of the entrenchment firing at half effect each time.  Its just enough to whittle away at my advancing troops while protecting his from the worst of the return fire.  This time however, the strategy goes tits up. 

This is the second time we have a 4x 4, 1 x 5 roll in this campaign - the first being on my first turn of the first game.  I think this is probably the worst roll you can get especially for the Germans.

The advancing US troops on the right sense that the German fire is slacking and push forwards to close the gap and clear out the entrenchment.  An enterprising GI lobs a smoke grenade forward to cloud the German position and help the US forces move up.  Meanwhile next to the 50 Cal in the house over on the US left flank, the FOO sees the smoke and thinks its a marker for fire. 

"This is LT Pryor, requesting heavy mortar support!" The FOO barks into the handset, ears ringing from the sound of the 50. Cal firing.  "Fire one round, ranging shot, at the following co-ordinates!"
On the other end of the phone the Mortar battery officer acknowledges the request and within moments a single round falls just short of the hedge.

Boom!   



Everyone hits the deck expecting the full wrath of the mortar battery to come down on the German position.  The US infantry mutter quiet prayers, knowing that if they are unlucky they will get caught in their own bombardment.  But...nothing.  Its strangely quiet.  So quiet in fact that birdsong can be heard over the battlefield.  Cautiously the US troops stick their heads up to see what is going on. 

In a stroke of bad luck for the US, the turn ends  The mortar barrage is halted, requiring reconnection and the smoke in front of the exposed squad drifts away.  Things are not looking good on the right flank...again!

Goddam it! LT Pryor cursed as he peered out of the window of the house.  The ranging shot had landed bang on target but before he could order "Fire for effect!" the connection was lost.  After a few moments of  static, the Mortar officer comes back on the line.  "Fire for effect!" Pryor yells. "That's a negative!" Comes the reply.  We are getting calls for mortar support from all over.  Wait out." Banging his Radio receiver against the wall in frustration, Pryor curses the world in general. 

On the left flank, LT Jameson leads his squad forward.  He heard the first mortar round land but then nothing.  He puts it to one side as he is distracted by the rumble of a tank passing by his position and heading towards the German line.  If he can get his troops forward with the tank support, Jameson thinks he can push past whatever resistance is there.    



 But then, there is another boom, this time from up ahead of Jameson.  An anti tank gun fires and hits the lead tank.  Jameson is confused - he thought Hendry said that the anti tank gun was in the hedge? But despite a couple of shots hitting the machine, it doesn't seem to have much effect and the tank lumbers forward.  Jameson orders his squad to fire into the gun position as well and he can see a number of gunners fall to the ground.  In return, a German squad rushes out of the cellar of the barn and opens fire on Jameson and his squad.  A round catches LT Jameson in the throat, missing anything vital but causing him to fall to the ground.  

As LT Jameson falls wounded, the two squads in front of the German entrenchment take a significant amount of fire.  It takes all of SSGT Krychek's efforts to keep the men in action.  But this is unsustainable.  If they don't move they will end up like their comrades in the other platoons.  SSGT Krychek pushes the remains of one squad forward towards the road and away from the German guns in the entrenchment. Led by SGT Waterman, the small group hope to break through the German lines       


With luck they can make a dash for it.  Unfortunately a small group of Germans spots the move and rushes through the orchard to head off the US squad.  


With LT Jameson bleeding out in the field and the tank engaged in a fruitless battle with the anti tank gun and the remainder of the squad in a firefight with the Germans, the attack on the US left flank is going nowhere.  On the right most of the advancing  US troops have fallen.  This could be the only chance for a US victory!

But no...The crafty Germans hurl grenades at the tiny US squad which has finally reached the road.  All the troopers are killed leaving only the SGT Waterman and SSGT Krycheck, neither of whom count for purposes of winning the game.  Not that this deters them. 


 SGT Waterman makes a dash for it, while SSGT Krychek simultaneously tried to administer aid to the fallen and provide covering fire.  But to no avail.  SGT Waterman is picked up by a passing officer in a little tank and SSGT Krychek is captured at gunpoint by the small German squad.  

                                       Lt Gruber and his little tank, intercepts SGT Waterman.

With the LT down, the SSGT captured and most of the squad leaders either dead or in German hands, once again US Force morale collapses and the men run to the rear.  

------

Well, that was another terrible game for the US.  Too be fair, this time I think I had everything in place, but the turn ending at a critical moment threw it for me.   I had a nice base of fire and was doing well against the strongpoint while other troops including armor moved up on the left.  For a moment it looked like the German strongpoint would be cleared - I had caused enough casualties, had a sufficiently strong force in place and was expecting a devastating Mortar battery strike.  But no... in the end the single mortar round wasn't followed up and the smokescreen drifted away in the wind.  Once LT Jameson went down and the German strongpoint continued to blaze away, it was pretty much all over.  Despite a very cinematic effort by SSGT Krycheck and SGT Waterman, ultimately it would have no effect beyond them ending up in the bag.

The US took another 28 casualties from the core platoon.  Plus SSGT Krychek and SGT Waterman were captured - I roll next turn to see how they fare.  LT Jameson, is too badly injured to continue to fight and SGT's Croft and Roth were both killed.  So 4th Platoon has lost all of its NCOs and officers. 13 of the platoon are killed, another 7 are too badly wounded to fight and 6 return to the company after being patched up.  This includes a Corporal Marlowe who finds himself in the unfortunate position of acting platoon commander for now.  

175th Roll of Honor Turn 3  

SGT Roth 175th Infantry - KIA
SGT Croft, 175th Infantry - KIA
Cpl Manning, 175th Infantry - KIA
LCPL Dean, 175th Infantry - KIA
Lcpl Guzman, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT McManus, 175th Infantry- KIA
PVT Drew, 175TH Infantry - KIA
PVT Derwnt, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Carpenter, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT McItyre, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Javez, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Pugh, 175th Infantry - KIA

SSGT Krychek - POW
SGT Waterman - POW

It's all getting a bit too much for LT Col. Goode whose outlook drops from worried to Anxious.  Time to get Brigadier Cota on the scene!



To read the AAR from the German perspective, see Sigur's Tabletop stories blog: https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2022/05/29-lets-go-game-3/ 

--------

Captain Whyte looked on as yet more of his men streamed back to the command post.  He couldn't see anyone in charge.  In fact, it didn't look like anyone more senior than a Corporal was left in the platoon. This was not how it was supposed to be!  He felt another tug on his sleeve and his RTO handed him the phone. "Call for you, Sir!" The RTO said. "This time it is the colonel for you..."  Captain Whyte sighed again and began to wish he'd joined the Coastguard, like his brother in law....

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

29 Let's Go! The Probe at La Cambe (Part 2) Turn 2, Map 1


So, onto the second game in our "29 Let's Go!"  Campaign.

In the first turn, 2LT Morrison led 6th platoon forward into La Cambe and ran into some German resistance.  The US troops - shaken by the march past the carnage on Omaha Beach - fired a few shots and retreated.  Captain Whyte, B Company commander, now orders 2LT Hendry and 5th Platoon to push into the hamlet and break the resistance of the German defenders. 

The men of 5th Platoon

Although its not strictly necessary to roll up the details for the US Platoons, I like doing it anyway.  So the key men of 5th Platoon include:

2nd Lt Hendry, 24 A Farmer's son from Connecticut, an average sort.  He Was identified as a leader during basic and was sent to OCS where he passed with flying colours.  Has a reputation for being a bit of a bad-ass.

SSGT Davis, 28, a former office clerk before the war, from New Mexico.  Despite basic training and limited rations, the SSGT is rather on the overweight size...but remarkably can keep up with the platoon on exercise.

SGT Corossi, 27, a former law clerk from Washington DC.  Another average and unremarkable sort.

SGT "Frenchie" Deveraux, 28, a farmer from down south in Louisiana.  A barrel of a man

SGT Frantzen, 36 also a farmer from the endless cornfields of Minnesota. Short, with a bit of a Napoleon complex, he is full of fight and eager to get to grips with the krauts.  

The Map remains the same as the first game. 


 After the patrol phase I ended up with Jump off points in the house on the left flank, behind the hedges in the centre and behind the house on the right flank.  Sigur put his jump off points behind the hedge in the orchard, one behind the hedge next to the farmhouse and one further back towards the hedge along the road.  Two additional points for this map.  In the last game, a Sherman tank was knocked out on the road - I figured that should stay in place, smoking away, so it would block line of sight and blocks movement. Also we figured that there were a number of dead and wounded left on the battle field near the track leading to he farmhouse - any team within 4 inches of the point on the table would gain one shock to reflect the green nature of the troops.  

I gained extra support points for this turn.  I picked two Shermans - the remains of the tank troop from the first game - a 50 cal machine gun, a 30 cal machine gun, extra BARs for the new platoon and a flamethrower.

Force Morale for the US was 11 

Force Morale for the Germans was 9

with that, the game was ready to go.

-----

SSGT Kartner, of 6th platoon crouched in the road next to 2LT Hendry and SSGT Davis of 5th Platoon.  He scratched a quick map in the dust, and chewed on a new piece of grass.  He glanced over at 2LT Morrisson who was sat on the edge of a ditch, head in his hands.  The L-T wasn't going to be much help at the moment, Kartner thought.

"OK, Sir.  We got up to the track by the farmhouse, then started taking fire from Krauts by the hedge here"  He drew a line in the dust.  There's a light anti tank gun off to the left by the houses and we took some rifle fire from there as well."

2LT Hendry nodded. "Right.  Davis, get those BARs off of 6th Platoon and hand them out.  The extra firepower will come in handy. We've got some engineers with a flamethrower and the weapons company have given us some heavier firepower. I think we'll overwhelm them with firepower and bust our way through."  Davis nodded, shifting his bulk and moved off to collect the BARs.

"Good luck, Sir." Kartner said.

Hendry nodded.  "Thanks.  We'll try and bring your wounded in. 5th Platoon!  Let's Go!"

-----

The US advance began with the 50. cal from weapons platoon setting up in the farmhouse.  Having gotten into position the crew realized smoke from the burning tank on the road blocked their view of the right flank, but they had a good coverage of the left flank.  The command sherman tank commanded by LT Roberts creeps forward. 

   


 All seems quiet so 2LT Kartner orders a squad forward.  Not bothering to send a scout team out, the squad rushes forward.  A second squad moves up behind them, along with the LT and a flamethrower team, and the second sherman rumbles along the road.  


The lead squad crosses the track, past the bodies of the previous assault.  Shaken by the casualties, each team picks up some shock, then starts receiving fire from the hedge-line. 

"Keep going!" SGT  "Frenchie" Deveraux yells.  The squad pushed forward towards the hedge supported by a second section and the flamethrower, led by the platoon leader.  Suddenly grenades fly out from behind the hedge, exploding in the middle of the squad.  Blasts cause a number of casualties including "Frenchie" who falls dead with a piece of shrapnel through his helmet (and head). The remains of Deveraux's squad hit the dirt and dig in, taking pot shots at the hedgeline.  

Off to the US Left flank the 50. cal gunners hear the sound of gunfire but can't see through the smoke of the burning tank.  LT Roberts in the command sherman crosses the farmhouse track to support the infantry.  Supported by the other sherman and a squad of infantry under the command of SGT Frantzen. 



Suddenly there is a whooosh, like the sound of a freight train passing and the command sherman explodes, killing the entire crew.


As SGT Frantzen's squad moves up on the left flank, suddenly the farm buildings up ahead of them disappear in a series of mortar explosions (A random event was rolled causing mortars from who knows where, to plaster one section of the german line.)  As the mortars land, the last sherman tank moves forward past the burning remains of his commander in an effort to support the infantry assault on the right flank. Another whoooshing sound, and SGT O'connor's tank explodes as an 88 round takes him out. 



Lt Hendry ducked as mortars crashed onto the battlefield and the tank behind him exploded.  Goddam, this was getting tight!  Up ahead he could see one of his squads hunkering down exchanging shots with  Germans in the hedge-line, behind him the flamethrower and another squad was moving up.

"Keep moving!" Hendry yelled. "If you stop, you're dead!  Get some fire on that hedge-line!"  His men, ignoring the explosions around them moved forward. "Keep firing!"

The random mortar barrage suddenly stops.  SGT Frantzen's squad is halfway across the ploughed fields when a german squad rushes out of the cellar of the house in front and opens fire.  SGT Frantzen takes a round to his leg and collapses while several other men fall, dead and wounded.  One man - the survivor of the BAR section flees in terror while the rest try and dig in. 


Seeing the attack on the left flank begin to stall, SSGT Davis enters the fray.

Meanwhile on the right flank LT Hendry needs to push things on.

LT Hendry grabbed the flamethrower operator by his belt and drags him forward. "Burn them out!" A jet of flame bursts forth washing over the hedge.   


The remaining US infantry on the right flank are slowly pushing forward despite the fire from the hedgeline. That's not a hedgeline! Hendry realises.  That's a goddam strongpoint, dug into the hedge. Even the flamethrower doesn't seem to have much impact.  More machine gun fire comes out of the strong point causing more casualties among the US troops.  "You're mad, Sir!" Private Hicks on the flamethrower yells over the fire. "I'm not staying here, with all this fuel on my back!" Despite the officer's orders, Hicks turns tail and runs for the rear. 


Hendry curses and orders the remaining troops to keep firing.  Suddenly there is a blast from the hedgeline. The german anti-tank gun has now been repurposed for anti-infantry work.  Rounds from the American infantry pepper the gun, bouncing off the armour plate, but a ricochet hits the gun commander wounding him.  

On the left flank, the US advance falls apart.  The squad, minus SGT Frantzen, takes more casualties and heads for the rear, and a stray round hits SSGT Davis in the arm, felling him as he moves forward to try and take command.  The turn ends, and a number of broken troops leave the table for the safety of the company command post.  Fortunately, the smoke from the burning tank clears and the 50. Cal team fire into the strongpoint dug into the hedge causing casualties among the German squad and the anti-tank gun.  

However, LT Hendry looks around briefly.  There's hardly any of the men of his two squads left, the flamethrower team has been decimated.  The armoured support is burning away behind him and off to the left his last squad has run away.  The 50. Cal fire is welcome, but Hendry knows he doesn't have a chance to storm the position.  He curses, fires a round from his carbine and orders the remain men to fall back - to their relief. 

----

Sgt Connor from 6th platoon, lay in the ditch by the farmhouse track, clutching his wounded leg, and watching 5th Platoon's attack stall.  The whole field had been in chaos - tanks exploding, mortars going off, bullets whizzing everywhere and 50. Cal rounds going overhead.  Screw this!  He thought, jamming his helmet tighter on his head and trying to make himself as flat as possible in the muddy ditch.  War is hell!

----

Well if I though 2LT Morrisson's attack had gone badly, this one was even worse.  The US suffered 28 casualties among the platoon, plus lost two tanks and some engineers.  This was a long game - over two hours I think - maybe closer to three.  In part that was because I kept rolling 5's which gave me a number of chain of command dice.  I used these to avoid the "bad things happen" rolls for several events such as squads breaking and leaders getting hit.  My starting force morale was very good as well which meant the US could take a lot of punishment.  And take punishment they did!  The 88mm Flak guns made short work of the sherman tanks and the basic infantry platoon was torn apart, with two squad leaders killed and a senior leader wounded. I also badly placed the 50.cal support.  I could have done better to fire into the entrenched Germans as the squads advanced but putting it in the house meant its LOS was blocked by the smoke from the tank.  This turn was much closer than the first, but still a defeat. 

As before, the US platoon casualties do not need to be tracked tracked for campaign purposes, but I'll do so anyway.  O the 28 casualties, 14 were killed, including SGT Deveraux and SGT Corossi.  7 were wounded too seriously to continue to fight, including SSGT Davis and 7 will be patched up at some point to continue the war - lucky them.  One of those who will live to fight another day is SGT Frantzen, who, after a trip to the medics, is promoted to SSGT as platoon SGT.  2LT Hendry, picks up a Bronze star for his bravery and efforts to storm the position - but behind his back the remaining men of 5th platoon nickname him "butcher" Hendry.  

Among the support units one engineer is killed and another wounded.  Heavy losses were suffered by the tankers who ended up with 10 killed including the troop leader.

Unsurprisingly, LT Col Goode's reaction falls further - one point to worried.  Things really aren't going to plan!


To read the AAR from the German side, go to Sigur's blog tabletop stories: https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2022/05/29-lets-go-game-1-2/ 

175th Roll of Honor: Turn 2 

SGT Deveraux, 175th Infantry - KIA
SGT Corossi, 175th Infantry - KIA
Cpl Wilmott, 175th Infantry - KIA
Cpl Greene, 175th Infantry - KIA
LCPL Miller, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Davis, 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Young 175th Infantry- KIA
PVT Lewis 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT King 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Kaiser 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Ramirez 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Gadden 175th Infantry - KIA
PVT Horvath 175th Infantry -KIA
PVT Goldblum 175th Infantry - KIA
1LT Roberts 747th Tank Battalion -KIA
PVT Emmerly 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
PVT Adams 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
PVT Beck 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
Lcpl Dannett 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
SGT O'connor 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
CPL Black 747th Tank Battalion -KIA
PVT Dorne 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
PVT Riker 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
PVT Wells 747th Tank Battalion - KIA
CPL Smith (eng)  - KIA

------

Captain Whyte watched as the remains of 5th platoon struggled back to the start line.  A grubby private with a flamethrower staggered past the captain.  "That goddamed officer is a manic", the private muttered to himself.  Captain Whyte had seen LT Hendry rushing around encouraging his men in the fight.  He certainly showed bravery the captain thought - probably worth a bronze star at least.  But the officer had been somewhat ruthless with his men's lives. 

Lt Hendry strode up to the captain, covered in smoke smuts and dust.  He had a hard stare in his eyes that gave the captain a chill.  

"That's not just some krauts hidden in the hedges, Sir." Hendry said. "They've dug themselves in deep, made themselves a nice little strongpoint.  And there's some 88's firing at us from somewhere.  Those Shermans went up like fireworks."  He spat on the ground. "With your permission I'd like to gather up as many of the wounded from mine and Morrission's platoon as we can."    

Captain Whyte sighed and nodded.  "Yes, go ahead, police up your wounded."  His radio operator tapped him on the arm. "Sir, Major Miller on the line for you.  Wants to know what the hold up is."

Captain Whyte sighed and took the receiver, yelling out: "4th Platoon - get ready!"  It was proving to be a helluva war. 


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Chain of Command: The Probe at La Cambe. Turn 1. Map 1

 So, to the first game in the Campaign!

I start with the standard US platoon from the rulebook, to represent 6th Platoon, Bravo company. 



We played out the patrol phase.  As hoped, I ended up with a jump off point by the Farmhouse on the right flank, with the other two behind the hedges closer to my table edge.  The jump off points are shown below.  Once the jump off points were established, Sigur laid some barbed wire and a minefield on the two flanks.  


With that, we were ready to start.  We rolled for force morale:  The Germans ended up with a force morale of 11, while the US rolled 9 - clearly the march up from the beach past the bodies of their comrades had shaken the platoon, and they weren't at all keen on getting into the war! 

----

2LT Morrisson jogged forward, peeking over a hedge to spy out the land.  Still no sign of the enemy.  Looking behind him, he could see his platoon hanging back. [Out of Character: My first roll of the game was terrible 4 x 4's and 1 5.   2LT Morrisson was on his own!]


    
2LT Morrission leads from the front - he's the point man for the whole 175th Regiment!

    2LT Morrisson was shortly joined by 2nd Squad under  SGT Connor, while SGT Dean and 1st Squad rushed for the cover of the Farmhouse on Morrisson's right flank.  Off to the left the officer heard the sound of a Sharman from the 747th tank battalion start to crunch up the road.  Peering round the corner of the farmhouse SGT Dean ordered two of his scouts forward.
"Mancelli! Porter!  Advance towards the orchard.  See what's up there!"
The two scouts exchanged nervous glances then advanced by rushes before hitting the dirt.  The tank rumbled further forward.  Things seemed to be going OK, Morrisson thought to himself, as he ordered 2nd squad to push through the hedge and advance towards the orchard.


Boom!  Suddenly off to the left came the sound of an anti-tank gun firing.  The shell roared across open ground striking the lead Sherman in the turret and killing the gunner, Pvt Andrews, instantly.  Inside the tank SSGT Barron cursed and started trying to move the body of the gunner out of the way of the main gun.  "What the heck do we do sarge!" Pte Waldeck, the driver yelled as the tank stalled to a halt.  2LT Morrisson flinched as a second anti-tank round whistled over the stalled tank to explode behind him.  As the scouts Porter and Mancelli advanced further on the right flank, fire exploded from the hedge lining the orchard.  Mancelli fell dead and Porter hit the ground, dropping his rifle and trying to dig a hole in the ground to shelter in.  1st squad took more fire and shock and casualties began to pile up.  Along the road the Sherman troop commander appeared heading towards his stricken colleague.  Another boom - and another round from the German anti-tank gun struck SSGT Barron's Sherman, but failed to cause damage.  SSGT Barron was still trying to drag the body of his gunner out of the way so he could fire, all the while trying to ignore the panicked yells of his driver.

Morrisson's advance was beginning to falter.  Further fire from the Germans entrenched in the hedgerow struck 1st squad.  As more bodies fell to the ground, SGT Dean and the BAR team beat a hasty retreat.  Seeing his men hesitate, 2LT Morrisson rushed forward to try and retrieve the situation.  In the rear, SSGT Kartner nodded to himself - the young LT was demonstrating bravery in the face of the enemy.  


2LT Morrisson tries to save his advance


As Morrisson rushed forward, he heard the sound of another tank advance up the road. But a fourth shell blasted out from the German anti-tank gun and finally knocked the lead Sherman out.  As flames started spreading around the interior of the tank, SSGT Barron ordered his crew to bail out, the tankers rolling into a ditch on the side of the road.  3rd Squad, under the command of the wiley SGT "Pops" Herbert moved into position in an attempt to bring fire from the left flank against the Germans


The lead Sherman goes up in Flames

By now the advance was falling to pieces.  Despite Morrisson's best efforts no-one was moving forward or firing.  "Get some goddam fire on those Krauts!" Morrisson yelled.  But his orders were drowned out by a new line of fire coming from the buildings up ahead, in addition to the Germans in the hedgeline  Rounds struck 1st and 2nd Squads, causing additional casualties, including SGT Connor, who fell wounded by the side of the road, and the scout, PVT Porter who was shot dead in his shellscrape.  A few of the GI's finally managed to work out how to fire their rifles and a spatter of bullets hit the German position, but by then it was all over.  2LT Morrisson ordered his men to fall back to the start line. 

----
Well, that was a bit of a disaster for Bravo Company!  Although Sigur is kind enough to say my command dice rolls weren't too good, I still made lots of mistakes.  I spent too many activations trying to replace the gunner on the Sherman while sitting out in the open - I should have moved the tank back into cover before trying to swap the gunner out.  The infantry advanced OK but hardly fired except towards the end, when it was too late.  I forgot that the trees along the track to the farmhouse didn't block line of sight. As such, 6th Platoon were essentially repeating the tactics from the First World War, walking into a hail of machinegun and rifle bullets.  By the time Morrisson moved forward to rally his troops, the US had lost a Sherman tank, a scout team and had shock piling up on the rest of the troops, which ultimately became impossible for him and the squad leaders to manage.  I brought 3rd squad on too late and my idea for them was to start putting fire on the anti-tank gun team, but by the time they deployed it was all over. 

So 2LT Morrisson falls back, leaving a burnt out tank and a number of dead and wounded on the battlefield.

Although in this campaign tracking the losses for the US platoons is not required, I am still going to track casualties.  So 6th Platoon has 5 dead, 3 seriously injured left on the battlefield, and 2 who stumble back to the lines to get patched up, plus SGT Connor who lies wounded in a ditch by the track leading to the farmhouse.  The supporting tank troop lose one man killed.  

175th Roll of Honor: Turn 1
Pvt Mancelli, 175th Infantry - KIA  
Pvt Porter, 175th Infantry - KIA 
Lcpl Dubray, 175th Infantry - KIA
Pvt Walton, 175th Infantry - KIA
Pvt Perez, 175th Infantry - KIA
Pvt Andrews 747th Tank Battalion - KIA

----
"What the hell happened, Lieutenant?!" Captain Whyte snapped, as Morrisson stumbled back into the company command post.
"I..er....I don't really know" Morrisson stutterd.  "We were advancing smoothly, then out of nowhere, we got hit by an anti tank gun and then machinegun and small arms fire.  My..my men tried their best but.. well..." He faltered.  "What do I do about my men, Sir? I..I mean, my casualties." the LT asked forlornly.
"Never mind them for now.  We'll worry about that once we clear this Hamlet." Captain Whyte turned to 5th Platoon.  "OK LT Hendry.  Get up there and clear that goddammed village!"

----
The only tracking the Americans need to do for this campaign, is the opinion of the Regimental Commander Colonel Goode.  As the Americans lost this game, Colonel Goode's opinion drops by one level.  He is now troubled rather than concerned. 




So, it is now over to LT Hendry and 5th Platoon to to try and clear the Germans out of La Cambe.

Credits:
US Troops - Perry Miniatures
US Tanks - Warlord games
Buildings - Charlie Foxtrot Models
Scenery - Various
Rules and Dice - Too Fat Lardies.









Wednesday, 11 May 2022

29 Lets Go! Chain of Command Campaign Game 1 - Map 1

 At last!!

Finally a game with a real live opponent after all the disruption caused over the past couple of years by COVID-19.

I've been a big fan of the Too Fat Lardies "Chain of Command" rules set, but have not really had much of a chance to play except for a couple of solo test games.  So what better way to jump back into wargaming than with a full on pint sized campaign?

I've chosen to do the 29! Let's Go! campaign to start off.  It looks interesting and is a classic match between US and German forces in Normandy in 1944.  The aim of the campaign is for the Americans to Push the Germans back so they can take the bridge at Isigny and link the Utah and Omaha beachheads.  The Germans must delay them for as long as possible.  The campaign follows the US 175th Infantry Regiment as it moves inland to complete the objective.  



I'll be taking the role of the US 175th Infantry - chum Sigur from Battle Brush studios will be taking the role of the Germans. I plan to write a narrative to accompany the campaign from the US perspective....perhaps Sigur will do likewise for the Germans?

-------------------------------------------------

29! Let's Go! Campaign Turn One

05.30 am 8th June 1944

2LT Morrison bit his lip nervously and scanned the terrain in front of him.  He was crouched by the side of the road, his platoon sergeant, SSGT Kentner beside him.  The sergeant, a former farmhand from Missouri was chewing thoughtfully on a stalk of long grass. Up ahead Morrison could see a small hamlet – La Cambe – looking quiet and deserted.  He was a long way from Idaho, he thought to himself.  The easy life of college, of books and girls and beer, seemed a world away. He and his men had marched up from the Omaha beaches overnight, passing captured Germans and dead and wounded Americans.  The sight had shaken the whole battalion.  While the 115th and 116th regiments had assaulted the beaches the day before, it was now the turn of the 175th regiment to continue the advance.  Morrison raised his binoculars and peered through them.  Still nothing.  He glanced to his side and saw the men of his platoon – 6th Platoon, looking at him expectantly.  He peered back through his binoculars.  All seemed quiet.  He heard a whistle behind him and turned to look back.  Captain Whyte, the B company commander was indicating forcefully that he should move forward.  4th and 5th Platoons were, like his own, crouched in the ditches beside the road, also watching him intently.  The pre-briefing earlier this morning had made it seem so easy.  B company was to probe and capture La Cambe, A company would advance through them to assault Arthney, and C Company would act as reserve.  Simple.  Except now he was here, right at the sharp end of things, and suddenly it didn’t seem so easy.  He heard another whistle behind him.  He didn’t need to look back to get the impression the captain was growing impatient.  He let his binoculars fall, checked the action on his carbine and turned to SSGT Kentner. 

“OK.  Let’s go.”

SSGT Kentner nodded and spat the stalk of grass from out of his mouth. “OK you heard the officer! 4 Platoon, lets get in the war!” 

Morrison whispered a short prayer to himself and moved forward."



Lt Morrisson's View

-----------------------------

The first Game map in the campaign is "Probe at La Cambe" The US forces need to get a team off the opposite end of the board:




My interpretation of the map



The core force for this game is the standard US platoon - the US gets a fresh platoon each game.  For this first turn, I am taking 6th Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 175th Regiment.  Lets look at the key leaders in this platoon.

First we have the 23 year old 2LT Morrisson, a law college graduate who enlisted after finishing his studies.  Seeing his potential, the army sent him to OCS.  He is from Idaho.  He is ably supported in the running of the platoon, by SSGT Kentner, a 26 year old, former farmer from Missouri.  Squad 1 is led by SGT Dean a 24 year old former grocery store clerk from Alabama.  Second Squad is lead by SGT Connor a 32 year old former farmer from South Carolina.  The third squad is led by the oldest man in the company, the 37 year old SGT "Pops" Herbert, from Texas.  Unlike the others in the platoon, "pops" is a "Lifer" - one of the rare breed of pre-war soldiers.  Despite joining the army in 1934, he is still a squad leader having risen up the ranks and been busted down again more times than he can remember. 

For support, I'll bring 3 Sherman tanks which allows me to upgrade one to a senior leader, and a mine detecting team of engineers.  The Commander of the Shermans is LT Roberts, 31, a pre-war soldier from Maine who was commissioned after Pearl Harbor.  The other tanks are commanded by SSGT Barron, 25, from Ohio, who was a teacher before the war - an intellectual looking sort, and SGT O'connor, a 41 year old former farmer from west Virginia, a real barrel of a man who can barely fit in his tank.   The engineers are commanded by Cpl Proctor, a 26 year old from Oregon who was a labourer before the war. 


6 Platoon, B Company, 175th Infantry plus support.

On to the game!