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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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 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