Sunday, October 20, 2013

All Americans, Part 8 (Sicily 23 July 43)

    I got another couple fights in this morning, and here's the first one.  1st Platoon was pretty beat up, but the Lt reorganized and prepped for the assault in the morning.  The platoon was up and at it, moving into their jump-off positions at 0330, and launching their assault at sunrise.  However, the Germans had recently vacated their positions, so the Dog Company was able to rack up a cheap victory.  However, Capt Linus ordered the company forward, with 2nd Platoon straddling the road, 1st Platoon off the road to the right, and 3rd Platoon in reserve, and soon Germans were spotted.  Lt Shepherd, having become a big fan of infiltration tactics, i.e., getting as close to the enemy as possible prior to the onset of shooting, was a bit perturbed to see 2nd Platoon opening up on the Germans at a range of about 600 yards.  

While 1st Platoon's scouts had spotted a tripod mounted MG-42 atop a hill to their front, the Lt oversaw the emplacement of the .30 cal MMG, then split the platoon in two, leading half to the left while SSgt Ford led the other half to the right.  Everyone had orders to hold fire until the last possible moment.  White chips are German Type A blinds (potential enemy positions).

US left: bottom center is the two-man bazooka team led by Sgt Carlyle (left) and the two-man MMG team led by Sgt Lapidus of Wpns Plt (right).  Ahead of them on the left is 2nd Squad's BAR team led by Cpl Keepers, while the Lieutenant, tired of (what he sees as) Sgt Reyes' lack of motivation, takes control of 2nd Squad's rifle team himself.  All the green beads mean the teams have gone tactical, i.e., are making best use of the terrain, and thus are harder to spot and shoot.

On the right, the Plt Sgt (SSgt Ford, dead center), is leading 1st Squad's BAR team (left), led by Cpl Locke, and 3rd Squad's rifle team (right), led by Sgt Glenn.

Atop the hill in center is a German MG-42 (HMG) on a tripod.  These are the only Germans that are starting on the table, all others are on blinds that will be rolled up once the HMG team spots the American paras advancing.  This position is the US objective, while holding it is the German objective.

 Turn 1 and 2 amounted to the bazooka and the MMG sitting tight, while the Lt led 2A up to the wall ahead, halted them, then 2B started on their way up to the wall;

and the Plt Sgt led 1B and 3A into the woods on the right.  At this point, US forces were spotted and all the German forces were placed on the table.  The Germans in the center are AG2, and are the only Germans are on their weak left flank.

The German right: top left is a German assault group (AG1), while their accompanying fire group (1FG) is immediately to their right (behind some bushes on the hill), just below the HMG at top right.  At bottom right is another fire group, 2FG, who's accompanying assault group (AG2) was shown in the preceding pic opposite SSgt Ford, 1B, and 3A.

Turn 3:
On the left, the Lt and 2A hopped the wall moved forward, while 2B rushed up to the wall and opened up on 1FG on the hill, getting only one shock.  1AG, on the far left, decided to sprint right to the German held hill.  2FG, at ground level in the center, opened up on 3A, getting a couple shock.

Then a ferocious machine gun duel ensued.  The US MMG fired on 1FG (on the hill below the HMG), getting an amazing 2 kills and 3 shock.  But 1FG managed to activate and unleash a torrent of fire, getting three kills, which knocked out Sgt Carlyle (our now famous bazooka gunner), Sgt Lapidus (the MMG team leader), and the MG a-gunner.  The bazooka assistant gunner then moved over and took control of the MMG, returning fire at 1FG, getting another kill and another shock.  The paras lost 2 FM points.

On the right, 3A, now on the left, 1B (on right), and the Plt Sgt all fired on 2AG, getting 3 kills and 6 shock, including their NCO (-3 FM), while they and the HMG returned fire but only managed a couple shock.  The German Plt Sgt, with 2AG, managed to rally a few shock off of them.

Turn 4:
The MMG again cut loose on 1FG, killing the NCO (-2 FM), and causing the gunner to flee (another -1 FM).  The Lt and 2A rushed to the wall (at center left) and opened up an enfilade fire on 2FG (behind bushes at center right), and 2B opened up on 2FG also, but the whole mess didn't kill anyone, but managed 5 shock.  Atop the hill, 1AG now sees the Lt and 2A, and decides to sprint back to their original positions.

On the right, the Germans activate first, and the remainder of 2AG and the German Plt Sgt decide to make a run for it (top center, behind knoll).  Then I rolled up a random event, which called for a non-player character to do something stupid...  SSgt Ford heard a 'follow me, men!' and thought, 'what the hell is going on?'  Cpl Locke decided he was not going to let those Germans get away, and so he got 1B to its feet and took off in hot pursuit (top right, on knoll).  Ford was not happy in the least, knowing that 2AG running was already a victory, and the BAR team's firepower was necessary to cover 3A advancing on the HMG position.  Instead, the German 2FG somehow manages to activate and gets a bunch of shock on 3A.  Ford pulls shock, but 3A fails its activation roll.  Locke will be scolded for his zealousness...

Turn 5
But Locke would be exonerated, and actually carry the day.  US activated first, and Locke led his team into close combat with the German Plt Sgt and 2AG, who promptly surrendered, costing the German forces 3 FM points, breaking them.  Another victory for the platoon, though there was still work to be done.

The Germans lost:

Our casualties:
Sgt Boone Carlyle (HQ Element) I *Submitted for Bronze Star (1); Submitted for Bronze Star (3); Promoted to Sgt by Comp Cmdr (3/4); Submitted for Distinguished Service Cross (5); WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (8);
Pvt Noonan (3rd Squad) *Repl (6/7); shot in neck, Purple Heart (7); WIA, evacuated, Purple Heart (8);
PFC Ertz (3rd Squad) *Repl (3/4); Transferred from 1st Squad (5/6); shot in groin, locally evacuated and treated, return 18 July 43, Purple Heart (6); Promoted to PFC by Lt (6/7); shot in calf, locally evacuated and treated, return 26 July 43, Purple Heart (8);
Sgt Frank Lapidus (Wpns Plt/MMG) *(2); (3); (5); (6); shot in shoulder, Purple Heart (7); KIA (8)
Pvt Clue (Wpns Plt/MMG) *Shot in hip, Purple Heart (5); (6); (7); shot in shoulder, Purple Heart (8);

Awards Recommendations:
-PFC Ignacio submitted for the Bronze Star for performing life-saving medical care on Sgt Carlyle under intense enemy fire, then manning the platoon's machine gun as the sole survivor of a four-man team and delivering timely and accurate fire which destroyed an enemy light machine gun emplacement.
-2nd Lt Shepherd and SSgt Ford went round and round about this; on the one hand, Cpl Locke led a pursuit and then close combat with an enemy team that resulted in (due to the drop in enemy force morale) of the reduction of the entire enemy position.  However, he did so without orders and with a total disregard for the safety of his own men and the tactical situation of the platoon.  Had the German platoon not broken, it's likely the platoon would have found itself overextended, out of position, and defeated piecemeal by the remaining enemy forces.  As such, the platoon's leadership simply could not support rewarding Cpl Locke's reckless, though valorous behavior.  Cpl Locke stated he understood when counselled by the PC and Plt Sgt; only time will tell if he truly accepted this reasoning.

In any case, those conversations took place later that evening, as immediately there was business to tend to.  There are more enemy forces nearby, giving 2nd Platoon a rough time.  The loss of Sergeants Carlyle and Lapidus (though a Wpns Plt attachment, he had spent quite a bit of time here in Sicily in support of the platoon and was widely respected) was a large blow to the men's psyche, but there's work to do.

On a side note regarding the Platoon Forward system, you'll note that the platoon has taken a lot of casualties but is still succeeding in its missions.  The reason for this is that Plt Fwd bases the enemy forces proportionately to your own forces, meaning its most likely you will be given just enough enemy forces that you can handle, though (through dice-rolling) it's possible every now and again to come up against too many or too few.  I think it works like a champ (nobody wants a string of walkovers or a string of butt-whoopin's, I think).


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