Saturday, October 5, 2013

All Americans, Part 4 (Sicily 12 July 43)

All,

I lined the platoon up again this morning and got after it.  The platoon was in pretty good shape: the HQ element was full strength (PC, Plt Sgt, RTO, and two-man bazooka team), 1st Squad was 100%, 2nd Squad was one man down, and 3rd Squad was two men down.  Lt Shepherd and SFC Ford huddled; both were very anxious regarding the new 3rd Squad leader, SSgt Miles.  As 3rd was missing the Asst Squad Leader, they decided to temporarily switch Sgt Glenn, the hard-charger they just picked up from Easy Company, over to 3B to bolster leadership in 3rd Squad.  This also meant moving Pvt India from 1B to 2B, and promoting PFC Nancy, the 2B automatic rifleman, to Corporal, and he would function as the 2nd Squad A/SL.

The fight is over the north half of the board I fought on last time (with the 'new' northern third being newly rolled up).  Last fight (on 10 July) took over a key German position in "Objective Y," some of 82nd Airborne Divisions initial objectives.  On 11 July, PzGren Herman Goering Division attacked, trying to breakthrough to the US beachheads near Gela.  They just roughed up Dog Company's 3rd Platoon all day on the 11th, and just broke them at ~1300 local time on the 12th, so Capt Linus is committing 1st Platoon to the counterattack to retake the line.  The Company Commander wasn't sure what was left up there holding the line, if anything, but he seemed to think a single 57mm anti-tank gun (ATG) was all that was left.  In we go...

I rolled up my pregame deal and got "Get Moving!" which was cool (in my rules I put an extra card in the deck and one team got to make an extra move each turn).  For my assets, I rolled no on everything except Artillery, but then I forgot to use it!!!  Meanwhile, the Germans started off (officially) with 10 Type A blinds, 1 Type B blind, and 2 Type C blinds.  However, I wanted to simulate PzGren Hermann Goering Division's attacks (trying to breakthrough to the beachheads near Gela), so I gave them two Tigers.  I placed four blinds, two marked dummy and two real ones (after shuffling them so I wouldn't know which was which), and placed them as normal.  Then I placed the As and Bs as normal.  Then I rolled all of them up as normal so I could start with all forces on the table.  Actually, all forces except for one A, one B, and one C, which would enter later (determined by dice roll) as enemy reinforcements.  Regarding Force Morale (FM), I actually started the Germans off higher as they had armor, had just whooped some butt, and were about to whoop some more (theoretically), while my paras are lightly armed going up against some man-eating Tigers that already roughed up one of their fellow platoons.

So, let's get to it.
 Table set up, with German blinds on it.  The white chips are Type A (usually infantry), the red is a B (usually MGs or mortars), and the black are usually vehicles (but in this case I changed the rules, and two of those are dummy's and two are Tigers).  3rd Platoon has manned the three emplacements in the center (after re-orienting them north after 1st Platoon's successful attack two days ago, and the 57mm ATG is in the bottom left emplacement.

 Closeup of the ATG position.

 Initial US deployment on left: 1B (left) and 1A (right).

 US deployment in center: the PC and RTO are in the center with 3A (and the S-bird, SSgt Miles, whom the Lt wanted to keep close), and 3B (with Sgt Glenn) on the right.

US deployment on right: Plt Sgt with the bazooka team in center, Sgt Hurley's 2A on left and 2B on right.

 German left: 3 Assault Group (3AG, a rifle team) at top left, 2AG center, with German PC, and a Tiger (T2).

 German center: 2 Fire Group (2FG, an LMG team) at top left, and the other Tiger (T1).

 German right: T1 again at left, 1FG in treeline at bottom center, and 1AG center right.

Turn 1:
 On the left, German FG1 fires and gets a couple shock on the ATG, while 1AG sprints up to the foot of the knoll.  All of 1st Squad sprints up to counter them.

 1FG and T1, who didn't move but did fire.

 In the center: 2FG moved up to the abandoned position in the center and fired to no effect at the ATG.  The AT activated and bounced one off T1's front armor plate, while the US PC moved up and pulled shock off the ATG, followed by 3B, who entered the position on the right.  Unfortunately, SSgt Miles was earning his S-bird status and barely moved his team forward.  2AG and the German PC moved from right to left at the position recently occupied by 3B, firing to no effect.

 On the right, 3AG was able to move into the treeline and catch 2A on the road, getting a kill and 2 shock.  2A returned fire to no effect, while the Plt Sgt and 2B both moved up and fired at 3AG, managing only 2 shock.  T2 moved up behind 2AG.

Turn 2:
 First of all, let me tell you that 2 German cards came out, then the "random event" card came out (for the second game in a row I had no random events actually occur, after having numerous events in my first two games), and then another three German cards!  Anyway, on the left, 1AG opened up on 1A, putting down the Squad Leader (-1 FM), leaving the left side leaderless.  Then T1 and 1FG both fires at the ATG, getting only 2 shock (the Germans would roll well on activation and to hit, but when it came to hit results both sides were pretty weak).  However, despite losing their SL, 1A managed to activate, and between them and 1B they put 4 kills on 1AG (no FM effect for losing their team leader).

 The ATG popped T1 again, this time immobilizing it (the red bead), but the crew stayed.

 In the center, the German PC and 2AG put three shock on 3B (in the emplacement on the right), while 2FG (top left) fired on the ATG, getting a kill and a couple shock, while the US PC is frantically pulling shock off the ATG to keep it in the game (which is what allowed it to fire and immob T1.  Sorry, it's out of chronological order as I'm writing this moving from left to right).  3A continues to crawl forward, it's SL trying to stay out of the fight.  Meanwhile, T2 pops a round at 3B, getting another 2 shock (this is getting serious), which causes 3B to fail its activation.

 On the right, 3AG got to shoot first, but only got 1 hit and no effect on the Plt Sgt's group (center, with 3AG at top right).  All three US elements fired on 3AG, getting a kill and 3 shock.  2A used the 'special move' to close the distance a bit (top left).

Turn 3:
 On the left, the lone survivor of 1AG sprinted back to 1FG (left, below the Tiger, which is T1) to avoid certain death from 1st Squad (right).  1A spends the turn rallying to remove 1 point of shock, while 1B fires at 2FG (not pictured, in center), getting a kill and a shock.

 In the center, German PC and 2AG again lay into 3B, getting 3 more shock, and the US PC promptly pulls three, while the ATG hits T1 again, destroying the main gun's sight (-1 'to hit' for rest of game).  The ATG is living a charmed life as T1 and 1FG both fire on it to no effect, but 2FG then lights it up and kills the last crewman (-1 FM), while 2AG puts a couple more shock on 3B.  SSgt Miles and 3A finally get up to the position, with a couple rifleman taking over the ATG to keep it in action.  T2 fires on 3B, getting one shock.

 On the right, 2A fired at 2AG in the center, trying to help the pinned 3B out.  The German PC (very top right) got very concerned about his left flank, so he left 2AG to come over and pull shock off 3AG to keep them in the fight.  However, the Plt Sgt and 2B put another 3 kills and a shock on 3AG, and then the Plt Sgt's group used the 'special move' to close into close combat and eliminate 3AG (-3 FM points).

Turn 4: I swear I'm shuffling these cards, but this turn started with 6 straight German cards, and they only have 8!!!
 On the left, 1AG merged with 1FG (with a VERY bad roll that cost the Germans 3 FM points).  1FG put a shock on 1A, which spent the turn removing it, while 1B put a shock on 1FG.

 In the center, the German PC ran away from the frothing US Plt Sgt (who just eliminated 3AG in close combat) to hide behind T2, who fired at 3B and got another shock, as did 2AG, getting two more shock, for 8 total, causing Sgt Glenn (the alleged hard charger from Easy Company) to grab his 3B teammates and skedaddle!!!  This cost the paras 3 FM points.  Meanwhile, 2FG fired on 3A and put their squad leader, SSgt Miles, on his back (the two replacement NCOs aren't doing so well, -1 FM pt).  T1 fires another round at the ATG and kills one, while the PC moves over to pull shock and add moral support.  It seemed to work as the ATG put another round into T1, knocking out its main gun, which finally caused the crew to bail (-1 FM).

 On the right, the ferocious SFC Ford (the Plt Sgt) leads his trusty sidekick, Sgt "Tank-Killing" Carlyle, into a plum of a position to get a flank shot on T2.  Carlyle lines it up and pops a round into the Tiger's engine compartment, causing damage (1/2 move for rest of game).  2nd Squad moves up next to the Plt Sgt's group.

At the end of Turn 4, we've got US Force Morale and German Force Morale tied at TWO, meaning one more negative event could end it for either side.  To make matters worse, it's time for the German reinforcements to come on.  Now, you guys are going to think I'm screwing around, but I rolled them correctly: all three German blinds ended up being ghosts.  So, on to Turn 5.

On the right, Carlyle hit T2 again, but it ricocheted off.  The Plt Sgt and 2A fired on 2AG, killing the last two men (-1 FM).

 In the center, 2FG has a ton of shock but somehow manages to activate, but can only put 1 shock on 3A.  The Lt gives a hearty "Follow Me!" and leads the RTO and 3 remaining men of 3A down the hill into close combat with 2FG.  In the ensuing melee, 2FG is eliminated while the Americans lose 1 man.  The loss of a a team and a leader cost the Germans 4 FM points, breaking them.  The German PC and the crew of T2 surrendered to 2nd Squad, while 1FG and the crew of T1 headed for the hills.

It will sound terrible, but the Lt and Plt Sgt are quite happy to be rid of SSgt Miles (the RTO swears he saw Miles grin when the 88mm shell took off his hand, saying something about a 'million dollar wound').  Far more concerning is Sgt Glenn's performance.  Ford is convinced all the talk about Glenn being a hard-charge apparently came from his performance in garrison, while the Lt is trying to be a bit more even-keeled.  Shepherd was in the central position, and well remembers the feeling of being targeted by two German MG-42s, a German rifle team, and two Tigers.

Shepherd isn't happy, but he's not ready write off the young Sgt just yet.  After all, there is still a whole at Squad Leader (3rd has lost Squad Leaders back to back in the last two fights) that needs to be filled.  Ford is incensed that Shepherd wants to make Glenn the 3rd Squad SL, but the Lt pointed out that, of the other three men who ran with Glenn, one was a recent replacement, but the other two were original members of the platoon that had been steady under fire.  Ford said of course they ran, they saw a Sergeant take off, and it will happen again.

Shepherd is sticking to his guns, partly out of necessity, though he will do his best to shield 3rd Squad and Sgt Glenn during the next fight.  Ford told him he's lost his mind, that so far the fighting has been too intense to be able to hold anyone back.  For his part, Sgt Glenn is feeling the heat and is praying for a chance to redeem himself.  Next game I intend on trying to hole Glenn/3rd Squad out, but I will put in a separate card just for Glenn, who will be looking for a shot to be a hero.  If it goes like he wishes, he's either going to be a hero or he's going six feet under.

The Germans lost:
19 WIA/KIA
5 POW (Tiger crew and German Plt Commander)
2 Tiger I tanks damaged (later destroyed with thermite grenades by 2nd Squad).

Our Casualties:
The three ATG crewmen on the board were WIA/KIA.

Sgt Desmond Hume (1st Squad SL) *Shot in foot, Purple Heart (1); *Shot in bicep, Purple Heart (4);
Pvt Farr (2nd Squad) *Repl (3/4); *Shot in shoulder, Purple Heart (4)
SSgt Miles (3rd Squad SL) *Repl from Supply Bn (3/4); WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (4)
PFC Romeo (3rd Squad) *KIA (4)

Awards Recommendations:
Private Tango (3rd Squad) *For manning an ATG and knocking out a German Tiger under intense enemy fire.
Private Uniform (3rd Squad) *For manning an ATG and knocking out a German Tiger under intense enemy fire.
Sgt Glenn (2nd Squad, though temporarily assigned to 3rd Squad) *Ran in the face of the enemy (4);
Pvt Girardo (3rd Squad) *Repl (2/3); Ran in the face of the enemy (4);
PFC Whiskey (3rd Squad) *shot in hand, walking wounded, Purple Heart (2); Meritoriously promoted to E-3 by Plt Cmdr, named Acting A/SL; Ran in the face of the enemy (4);
Pvt Xavier (3rd Squad) *shot in foot, walking wounded, Purple Heart (2); Ran in the face of the enemy (4);

Post-Game events:
7 -The battalion S-1 is an old college chum of Lt Shepherd and wants to tag along on the next mission.
9 -While Sgt Hume is back at the BAS getting bandaged up, he runs into the 1st Sgt for Weapons Company.  They get to chatting and discover they are from the same hometown.  The 1st Sgt for Wpns Co has a favorable opinion of Sgt Hume.

The next fight will be Card L, "Set Piece Defense."
After stabilizing the position with their counterattack, the platoon spent the night manning the line.  There were numerous skirmishes between their outposts and enemy patrols all night, but at first light (on 13 July) the Germans attacked again...

V/R,
Jack

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