Saturday, September 28, 2013

All Americans, Part 1 (Sicily 10 Jul 43)

     It's July 10, 1943, and the All-Americans of the 82nd Airborne Division have just jumped into Sicily for Operation Husky.  The first order of business is to rally, regroup, and make it to the designated staging area.  On the way to the staging area, a considerable amount of the platoon has already been accounted for, but several are still missing.  In the meantime, the platoon has made contact with the enemy!
    I rolled up to see who would be in the fight, and here's how it shook out:
HQ Element: Everyone is here but the damned Lieutenant!  We have a Plt Sgt, RTO, and 2-man bazooka team.
1st Squad: Sgt Hume has his entire rifle team (5 men, including himself), but only three from his BAR team, including the Assistant Squad Leader (A/SL).  The BAR is missing...  One rifle is split off from the rifle team and attached to the BAR(-less) team.
2nd Squad: Sgt Reyes is present, but with only five other men (including his A/SL).  His BAR is missing too.
3rd Squad: Sgt Dawson is present, but also with only five other men.  He has his BAR but his A/SL is missing.
    I borrowed the Force Morale concept from Chain of Command, and started my elite paratroopers at 10 and the Germans at 8.
 Here's an aerial view of the table from the US baseline.  The paratroopers will start at their baseline and need to move off the table to their staging area just beyond the small village at the top of the photo.
 Another look at the table.
 US deployment on the left.  1st Squad is split in two, with the SL w/rifle team at far left and its BAR team in field at bottom left-center.  Immediately to their right is the Plt Sgt, RTO, and bazooka team.  At right are the 6 members of 3rd Squad, about to put their BAR atop the hill in the foreground.  The poker chips at top are German blinds (white - A, red - B, and black- C).
 US right flank, with 2nd Squad's 6 men moving up.
 The first blind tested for turned out to be a five man LMG team and the German Plt Sgt.  They get first card and rip into 1st Squad's rifle team (1A), getting a kill and three shock, which the 1SL pulls off.  1B and 3rd Squad fire into the German LMG team, killing three, leaving only the German gunner and his assistant.  The bazooka team moved up next to 3rd Squad.
 2nd Squad went tactical (another CoC concept stolen) and moved up, while the Plt Sgt and RTO rushed their way.  The reason for all the hubub was the fact a German rifle group came on the board with their Platoon Commander (top center).

At the start of the 2nd turn the German rifle group went on Overwatch.  1A moved up a bit on the left, but then...
 A German Sdkfz 251 halftrack popped up on the crest of the hill next tot he German Fire Group and Plt Sgt!
 The German FG laid down two more guys from 1A, leaving only the Squad Leader (miraculously).  A Plt Fwd "In Game Event" popped up, and it was a positive result for a NPC.  As I didn't have any non-platoon members on the board and I figured 1st Squad's leader was about to be gunned down, I gave it to 1A/SL, who got +1 for the remainder of the game.  However, losing the rifle team dropped the US FM one point...
    1B moved over to their SL (trying to protect him) and fired, to no effect.  Then the halftrack fired at third squad, getting one kill.  On the right, 2nd Squad and the German RG exchange fire, with the Germans getting the better of it, hitting one paratrooper.  The Plt Sgt moved up to join 2nd Squad.
 The bazooka team broke cover to approach the halftrack.

    The Germans got the first card out again (third time in a row), and the halftrack fired up the bazooka team, hitting the assistant, killing him instantly.  Then the German FG lights up 1st Squad and hits the Squad Leader (-1 FM).  But then the bazooka pops a rocket that hits the top of the halftrack, knocking out the machine gun, which is enough to send its crew running for the hills (-1 FM).
 3rd Squad eliminates the two guys remaining of the German FG, and with the halftrack KO'ed, the German Plt Sgt finds himself alone as the remains of 1st Squad move up on him.  The German Plt Sgt falls back towards the village.
    2nd Squad again exchanges fire with the German RG, with neither side doing any real damage (shock is being racked up, but each side has a Senior Leader present who is removing it as quick as it goes on).
 The Plt Sgt moves 2nd Squad forward, and fire is once again exchanged, with both sides losing a man.
 1st Squad moves up on top of the hill, and the bazooka man (Cpl Carlyle, right) joining them.
 Meanwhile, 3rd Squad double-timed it to the center (left, with 2nd squad on right and German RG/PC at top).
    The Germans are up first again, and their RG hits 2nd Squad but doesn't get any kills, only 4 shock, which is substantial, but the Plt Sgt quickly pulls three of them off.  2nd Squad's return fire is ineffective, but 3rd Squad manages two kills, one of them being the RG leader (no FM effect).
 Next turn and 3rd Squad racks up the shock on the German RG, and 2nd Squad adds another kill, while the RG's fire is ineffective.
 And 1st Squad sprinted up the left side, revealing the last German blind to be a four-man anti-tank gun (far right).  I cheated in that I rolled up the C Blind as a Jeep or Truck (under the "Patrol" heading) but didn't place it on the table as it would have been empty (except the driver) and unarmed.
    Sorry for the terrible photo, I don't usually end up fighting on the table edges...
At this point the Platoon Sergeant let out a ferocious shriek and led 2nd Squad into close combat, where it slaughtered the remaining German rifleman and their Platoon Commander.  This led to me rolling two dice for Force Morale, and the result was 'snake-eyes,' which cost the Germans a whopping 6 FM points and ended the game.
    The German Plt Sgt and ATG crew quickly surrendered to 1st Squad while 2nd Squad pulled security and 3rd Squad policed up the casualties.
    I made up a post-battle wound result table (there's probably one in the Plt Fwd book), and here's what I got:
Sgt Hume, 1st Squad, SL: walking wounded
PFC Baker, 1st Squad: walking wounded
Private Charleston, 1st Squad: walking wounded
Private Delton, 1st Squad: wounds bad enough had to be evacuated to England
Private Quebec, 2nd Squad: succumbed to wounds, KIA
Private Oscar, 2nd Squad: walking wounded
Private Lima, 2nd Squad: evac'ed to England
Private Zander, 3rd Squad, succumbed to wounds, KIA
Private Able, bazooka assistant gunner, killed instantly, KIA

Awards recommendations:
SSgt Ford, Platoon Sergeant, for gallantry leading the close assault on the right flank which killed the German Platoon Commander and broke the back of the German resistance.
Cpl Carlyle, bazooka gunner, for leaving the cover of the woods, closing to within 50 yards of the German armored fighting vehicle and knocking it out, despite the fact its fire killed his partner.

Well, that does it for this fight.  The platoon linked up with battalion at the staging area, and found their Lieutenant (and the rest of the platoon).  But five men are already permanently off the rolls, though the Germans lost 11 WIA/KIA and seven POW.

Tactically, once again I let my forces get too dispersed to support each other properly, and paid for it (all those walking wounded rolls were rather fortuitous, it could have been much worse).  I'm not sure I would have made it if one more of those blinds turned out to be a real unit.  Next up, the platoon is given the task of carrying out a hasty attack to eliminate a German anti-aircraft gun.


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