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!
175th Roll of Honor: Turn 2
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.