Sunday, October 6, 2013

All Americans, Part 5 (Sicily 13 July 43)

All,

Got another fight in this morning before football started.  The platoon was on the defensive; the tanks and panzer-grenadiers of the Hermann Goering Division had taken the hill from 3rd Platoon, then 1st had moved up and taken back.  After scattered firefights all night long between 1st Platoon's outposts and HG patrols, the HG launched another attack at first light, on the heels of a preparatory artillery barrage.  

The platoon reorganized during the night.  Troops were shuffled around, bringing 1st and 2nd Squad's to full strength, while 3rd Squad had only one team led by Sgt Glenn.  As they were lining up their defense, the Lt was flummoxed that he couldn't really hide Glenn (after his poor performance last fight); Ford muttered an "I told you so" under his breath...    Pre-game we got an on-call arty barrage, an ATG, and a 1 four-man.30 cal MMG team.  Also, I got the "Get Moving" trait again (and boy would I need it).

 The table, from the US baseline.  All blinds have been rolled up and all forces are on the table.

 On the US left we have team 1B, but with the Squad Leader pulled from 1A and placed with them.

 In the center, the left emplacement has the 57mm ATG, the right has the .30 cal MMG.  The forward position has 3A; the Lt (who is in the woods in the center with his RTO) decided if he couldn't hide Glenn he'd keep him nice and close).  In the rear/reserve, we have 1A (minus the SL) on the left, the Plt Sgt and bazooka team in the center, and 2A (minus the SL) on the right.

 On the right is 2B, plus the 2nd Squad SL.

 The German left has (from left to right) 3AG, 3FG, and 2FG (which has an MG-42 on a tripod instead of a bipod LMG), and 2AG (far right, barely in the picture opposite US 3A in the forward emplacement).  A German Pz Mk III (P3) is also on this side, just off camera to bottom right).

 German center, showing (again) 2FG and 2AG in center, with P2 at bottom left, a Sdkfz 222 armored car at center right, and P1 at far right.

 The German right, with 1AT in field at top, 1FG at ford, arid P1 at  center bottom.

Turn 1:  The Germans had a pre-game barrage: Left - 1B had 1KIA; Center - ATG 1 KIA and 1 shock, MMG 1 KIA and 1 shock, and 3A 1 KIA; Right - 2B had 1 shock.
 On the left, 1AG, 1FG, and P1 all move up and fire on 1B, managing only 2 shock!  1B returns fire at 1AG, getting a kill and 3 shock.

In the center, the German 2nd Squad moves forward, and P2 and the A/C move up and fire.  The ATG fires at P2, missing everything.  Things are looking a little dire on the right, so the Plt Sgt sends 2A (in reserve) right to link up with 2B and brings the bazooka up to the right emplacement with the MMG.  The MMG swings its gun right and fires on the German 3rd Squad opposite 2B.  The bazooka gets in place and puts a rocket into P2, immobilizing it and causing the crew to bail.

 On the right, 2B trades fire with the German 3rd Squad, while P3 moves forward and fires ineffectively.

Turn 2:  On the left, 1B mows down 1AG.  In the center, the ATG knocks out P1, blowing its turret clean off!  The bazooka fired at the A/C but missed, while the MMG fired at 2FG, getting a couple hits.  3A manages to kill 2FG's NCO, while 2FG puts some shock on the MMG.  On the right, 2B gets a couple kills on 3AG, while 3FG and P3 get a couple kills on 2B.

At this point, the Germans have lost three NCOs, two tanks, and a fair few of their infantry.  They decide on an operational pause to pull back, regroup, receive reinforcements, and try again.

Less than an hour later 1st Platoon again heard the rumble of tank engines...  The German plan was to use 1st Squad on the center right to demonstrate and hold the attention of the Americans there, while the main effort would come on the left.

 The German left: P4, P3, P2, P1, and the armored car, followed by 2nd Squad (2FG on left, 2AG on right), followed by 3rd Squad (3FG on left, 3AG on right).  The German PC is between the two squads, and there is a 2-tube section of 80mm mortars at bottom right.
 On the right is 1st Squad (1FG at far right, 1AG in center), with a four-man HMG at center left.  The Plt Sgt is right behind 1AG in center.

Turn 3:
 On the left, 1AG and 1B trade fire, with 1B losing a man.

 In the center, the German HMG, 1AG, and 80mm mortars went after the ATG, getting a kill and three shock.  The PC pulls shock and the ATG hits P2, destroying its main gun, but the crew is fanatic and stay in the fight!  3A put a few hits on 1AG, while the MMG swung its gun right and started firing on the the two German squads marching on 2B (killing one of the German NCOs for -1 FM pt).  This caused the German A/C to come over and fire at ti, getting only a couple shock.  The bazooka moved from its reserve position up next to the MMG.

 The short story is that every German on the American right moved forward and shot at 2nd Squad, getting a couple kills (there's a stiff penalty 'to hit' when you move and shoot).  Sgt Hurley took stock of the situation, then he and his sole remaining teammate both grabbed a wounded man and began falling back.

Turn 4:
 On the left, Sgt Hume realizes what's going on and, on his own initiative, grabs his wounded and falls back towards the US center position.  The German 1FG sees this and moves forward.

 In the center, the German HMG and mortars again go after the ATG, wiping them out (and causing a loss of 3 FM points!), while the A/C and 1AG move up and fire on the MMG, to no effect.  Sgt Carlyle pops his head up and puts a rocket into P2's flank, destroying it.  The bazooka team then used the 'special move' to sprint right to help 2B (that's them at far right).

The start of Sgt Glenn's heroics began with his sending the remainder of hit team back to the ATG position.  Then he drew a deep breath to calm himself, said a prayer, climbed over the sandbags, and charged the German armored car!  He fired hit Thompson SMG the whole way, mounted it, reloaded, and began spraying lead into the vision slit.  He killed the driver through the vision slit, and the vehicle commander when he popped the hatch with pistol drawn.  The radio man popped his head out of the hatch with his arms raised, but it was all happening too fast and Sgt Glenn shot him too!  (You can just see Glenn in the center next to the burning A/C)

The PC moved over to the MMG and pulled shock from them, and they continued to pour fire to the right to try and protect 2B.  1A used the 'special move' to haul butt from the reserve position to 2B's position.  At some point during all this, the Plt Sgt sprinted right to help 1A and 2B.

On the right, 1A laid down (ineffective fire) then, with three Panzers and two rifle squad bearing down on the position, grabbed the last wounded guy and began falling back too (2B is at far left, 1A at center left, with the whole German Army coming at the hill).

Not to be outdone by Sgt Glenn, SFC Ford sprinted up to P3 as it was cresting the hill, and mounted it.  He fired his Tommy Gun into the vision slits until it was empty, and when the bow gunner's hatch opened he stuck the barrel of his .45 into it and started squeezing rounds off.  For all that, the Panzer crew received two shock, while they got one hit on Ford, but no effect.  The remaining German tanks and infantry continued to advance.

I know I haven't been putting in each paragraph as it happens, but let me update you on the Force Morale situation: the US is down to 2 and the German are down to 4.  The US is currently pulling off a fighting withdrawal to get all their troops out of there; if their morale breaks before they get their guys off the board, a good number of them will be captured.

Turn 5:
 On the left, 1FG sprinted up to 1Bs old position.  Sgt Hume sends the man carrying the WIA off the table, while he leads the rest of 1B up to the ATG position.  The 80mm mortars crash down on the MMG, but only get 1 shock, while the German HMG puts two kills on 3A (at the ATG position).  Sgt Glenn can't believe he's still alive, but gathers his wits and sprints up to the ATG position.  1AG moves up and fires at the mass of paratroopers on top of the hill, to no effect.  The PC and RTO return fire, mowing down four men.  The MMG continues to burn its barrel out firing to the right, trying to cover the withdrawal of 1A and 2B (both carrying wounded).  The remainder of 3A grabs some wounded and starts making their way off the board.

 On the right, Sgt Carlyle fires and knocks out P4.  The Plt Sgt and the crew of P3 go at it again, but all they manage is for each side to put two shock on the other (normally shock doesn't effect leaders, but I figured this was melee and so I let it stand).  As the German infantry moved forward the Plt Sgt decided to hop off the Panzer and make a run for it.  Meanwhile, 2B and 1A continued to move toward the table edge.

Turn 6: The US Arty finally arrives, and wreaks havoc on the Germans bunched up on the right.  Okay, not havoc, but 4 kills and 4 shock were spread between the four infantry teams, with another two shock going on P3.
 On the left, the MMG keeps firing into the German infantry formation to the right, while the 80mm mortars drop on it again, getting 2 shock (the MMG's been leading a charmed life on the 'hit effect' table).  1B and 1FG exchange fire, with 1FG losing a man.  The German HMG, 1AG, and the German Plt Sgt sprint ahead in the center, determined to not let the Americans in the center escape.  Sgt Glenn sees this and lets loose a burst from his Thompson (hitting nothing), then grabs a wounded man and bolts down the hill.  The PC continues to bounce between the two emplacements, pulling shock to keep the MMG and various rifle teams in the fight.  3A gets off the board with a couple wounded.

 On the right, Sgt Carlyle sees P2 pop out on the other side of the trees (at the extreme far right).  The team loads its last rocket, and Carlyle promptly puts it into the flank of P2, knocking it out (German FM is now at ZERO; one more 'event' and they break).  Seeing 2B and 1A successfully withdraw off the board, the Plt Sgt sprints left to the meet up with the Lt.  The German P3, PC, 2nd Squad, and 3rd Squad all take an operational pause to get rid of a bunch of the shock they've acquired via the MMG fire and the Arty barrage.

Turn 7: On the right, the entire German force cautiously moved forward, but no one was home as the bazooka team had just sprinted off the board.

In the center, the MMG continued firing right, while 1B and the PC all fired at 1FG, reducing it to one man, before the PC and RTO both picked up wounded and sprinted down the hill.  The Plt Sgt signaled the MMG, and they packed up the gun and sprinted to the rear, while Sgt Glenn got off the board carrying a wounded man.  The Germans in the center continued to move forward, and the mortars fired blindly at the US forces in the center but hit nothing.

The three remaining men of 1B (at top), holding off the enemy while the Plt Sgt (center), Plt Commander (bottom left), and RTO (bottom right), all carrying wounded men, make their way to the board edge.

In turn 8 the remaining paras were able to safely exit the board.

So, the game was not supposed to go this way (with the German reinforcements), but somehow they were getting their butts kicked in a pushover, so I decided to have them reload and go at it again, and boy was that crazy!  Despite getting my butt kicked, it was really a great time!  In game terms, perhaps I could have held my position and died in place (or died at least until the Force Morale broke), but I actually liked the idea of transitioning mid-stream to a fighting withdrawal, trying to save all the wounded men.  It was really testing in terms of balancing the fighting with the withdrawing, and I can't believe I pulled it off (both sides almost had their morale break).  And I'm happy to report that the platoon's leadership (more so Ford than Shepherd couldn't have been more wrong about Sgt Glenn!  

The Germans lost:
53 WIA/KIA
0 POW
1 Sdkfz 222 armored car damaged
5 Panzer Mk III tanks damaged/destroyed

Our Casualties:
Pvt George (1st Squad) *KIA (5)
Pvt Hotel (1st Squad) *WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (5)
Pvt Alston (2nd Squad) *Repl (2/3); Shot in calf, Purple Heart (5);
Pvt Beetle (2nd Squad) *Repl (2/3); WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (5)
Pvt Farr (2nd Squad) *Repl (3/4); Shot in shoulder, Purple Heart (4); Shot in foot, Purple Heart (5); 
Cpl Nancy (2nd Squad) *Meritoriously promoted to Cpl by PC (3/4); WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (5)
Pvt Hubler (2nd Squad) *Repl (3/4); KIA (5)
PFC Whiskey (2nd 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); Transferred from 3rd Squad (4/5); WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (5)
Pvt Johnson (2nd Squad) *Repl (3/4); Shot in thigh, Purple Heart (5)
Pvt Tango (3rd Squad) *Submitted for Bronze Star (4); Shot in shoulder, Purple Heart (5);
Pvt Sierra (3rd Squad) *shot in thigh, walking wounded, Purple Heart (2); KIA (5)
Pvt Girardo (3rd Squad) *Repl (2/3); Ran in the face of the enemy (4); Shot in face, Purple Heart (5);
Pvt Clue (MMG Team) *Shot in hip, Purple Heart (5);
Sgt "Penny" Widmore (ATG) *(4); Shot in head, Purple Heart (5);
Pvt Ackerman (ATG) *(4); KIA (5)
Pvt Pippen (ATG) *(4); Shot in groin, Purple Heart (5);
Pvt Vinson (ATG) *(4); Shot in arm, Purple Heart (5);

Awards Recommendations:
2Lt Shepherd submitted for the Bronze Star for leadership under intense enemy fire which allowed for the orderly withdrawal of his force.
SFC Ford submitted for the Silver Star for stabilizing the position on the right flank by attacking a German Panzer, allowing members of 1st and 2nd Squads to escape with wounded members of the platoon.
Sgt Carlyle submitted for the Distinguished Service Cross for knocking out three German tanks.
Sgt Hurley submitted for Bronze Star for holding the platoon's right flank against overwhelming odds, then successfully withdrawing under intense enemy pressure to preserve his squad.
Sgt Glenn submitted for the Distinguished Service Cross for remaining behind to cover the withdrawal of the Platoon's central position, charging and destroying an enemy armored car in close combat, then falling back to carry a wounded comrade off the battlefield.

The Lt and Plt Sgt know what needs to be done; immediately they set to reorganizing the platoon to launch a counterattack as soon as possible.  The HQ element is still 100%, but the rifle squads are down to 18 men.  As the platoon still has all three squad leaders, Shepherd and Ford decide to make three 6-man squads.  The MMG team is sort of milling around in the absence of orders from higher, so the Lt makes decides possession equals ownership, and he lumps them into the platoon for the counterattack.  After a few words from Ford, Carlyle and his partner disappear for a bit, then reappear with ammo, grenades, and rockets for the bazooka.  The Lt's happy to have more rockets, but really hopes to see no more German armor...

So far my 35-man platoon (5 HQ element, three x 10-man rifle squads) has suffered 29 WIA and 12 KIA (this does not include attachments, such as mortars, MGs, and ATGs).  12 of the wounded are 'walking wounded,' with two of them being hit twice, and three of the non-walking wounded were locally evacuated and will return during this campaign.  So, not including the walking wounded and three that will return, the platoon has lost 26 men, 6 of which were replacements. 

So stand by for the counter-counter-counter-counter (1st Plt took the hill, Germans counterattacked 3rd Plt and took the hill, 1st Plt took it back, Germans just took it again) attack.

V/R,
Jack

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