Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All Americans, Part 11 (Near Naples, 6 October 1943)


A couple days later and it's October 6, 1943, with the regiment having just forced the Villa Literno river.  On its march towards the (fictional) village of Alfredo Ravioli, the regiment once again finds itself squaring off against a dug-in German defensive line.  1st Battalion is thrown at the first of a series of hills, Hill 125.  Able Company is again in the lead, following Baker Company's unsuccessful attempt at cracking the German line.  More air and artillery is called up, and once again the paratroopers prepare to cross the line of departure.

Once again, heavy fire pours into the company almost from the start of its advance, and platoon movement quickly breaks down into squad rushes urged on by battle-wise officers and NCOs.  As the moment for the final push arises, we find Lt Shepherd at the head of Sgt Bettis' 1st Squad.

The board, 2' x 2', German position atop Hill 125 at top center, Americans coming on the table from the bottom.  North is up.  Once again there are craters from arty and air strikes.

The opposing forces: US, from right to left: Lt Shepherd (with only a pistol after being chastised by his battalion commander for acting too much like a 'damned rifleman'), Sgt Bettis, Cpl Fox (with BAR), Pvt Ivers, Pvt Chisholm, Pvt Calhoun, and Pvt Swenson.  Germans have a Lieutenant (I rolled up a German officer for all three games), a MMG gunner and A-gunner, and a LMG gunner and A-gunner (interesting, eh?  But that's what I rolled up).

Setup.  Tripod MG-42 is in dug-in position with German Lt, LMG is to the left, though it will displace once spotted.   The US force is split into a base of fire element, led by Sgt Bettis on right, and a maneuver element, led by Lt Shepherd, on left.

German MG position, the objective.

Supporting LMG team, set to cover their right flank.

On the US right, Sgt Bettis, flanked by the BAR gunner, Cpl Fox, on left, and Pvt Ivers on right.

On US left, Lt Shepherd leading, followed by Calhoun, Chisholm, and Swenson.

The game starts with the BAR (off camera to right) firing on the German machine gun position, pinning the gunner (I forgot to apply extra dice to the A-gunner and Lt!), then Pvt Chisholm (bottom center) moving up and firing, causing the MG gunner to flee!  I had the German A-gunner move over and handle the gun, though it would be less capable without an A-gunner (and the German Lt wasn't going to lower himself to do that).

The LMG team displaced, actually moving closer to the MG position.

The German MG pinned Cpl Fox (BAR gunner, at bottom right), while the LMG team fired at Chisholm (bottom left) and pinned him.  Again, not sure what to do regarding the rules.  The LMG team rolled snake-eyes (two 1's) on its shock dice, which is two pins, but the rules only discuss a pin or a hunker (which occurs on a 6), so I left him at pin.

Calhoun moved up next to Chisholm on the knoll (bottom center) and fired his M-1 Carbine at the LMG, to no effect...  

While Lt Shepherd charged past the knoll, screaming like a demon and firing his .45 pistol, to no effect.

The German MG fired at Swenson and Calhoun, pinning Calhoun (Chisholm is still pinned as well).

Swenson (bottom left) rushed forward and fired, killing the LMG gunner.  While the A-gunner was moving over to take over the gun, Lt Shepherd rushed forward, still blasting away with his pistol, causing the A-gunner to run!

The German MG opens up on the entire US left, pinning Swenson and causing Calhoun to run like a girl...

While the German Lieutenant moves over and fires his pistol at Lt Shepherd.  A good, old-fashioned pistol duel!

Just when I think I can finish this off, the US rolls up a 'scurry,' meaning everyone can move but no one can shoot...  Shepherd moves ever closer to the German MG position (the Germans can't 'Guard Fire' during scurry, but I probably should have allowed the German Lt to 'Snap Fire').  Meanwhile, Cpl Fox, Chisholm, and Swenson unpin themselves.

While Bettis and Ivers move up on the right.

Bad news, the Germans roll 'firefight,' but it's really not that bad because they only have the MG gunner and the Lt can fire anyway.  But it's still bad news because the German MG cuts Sgt Bettis down, and pins Ivers.

And the German Lt fires his P-38 at Lt Shepherd missing, but Shepherd returns fire and puts a .45 ACP right between the German officer's eyes.

Return fire from Chisholm, Swenson, and Cpl Fox manage a knock down and to pin the German MG gunner.  Lt Shepherd takes advantage of the German gunner's poor physical and mental shape by jumping into the MG position and finishing the last defender!

Urrah!  Or 'Currahee,' or whatever paratroopers of the (made up) 499th PIR say (every Army unit says something different).  The Germans suffered 3 KIA, while one ran away.  The platoon suffered Sgt Bettis being wounded bad enough to miss the next 16 days of combat, while Lt Shepherd was recommended for the Bronze Star for personally leading the attack into the German MG position.

Once again, a good time, just still not all that enthralled with the morale system.  Once again there were times when I got double pins and didn't know what to do, and two men (one German, one American) ran off as soon as they were fired at, which seems a bit steep a 'punishment' to me (to go from a 'good' mental state to running from the battlefield, abandoning your buddies at the drop of a hat).  I'm going to change some things up next game, we'll see how it goes.



  1. Author guy here :)

    Bailing should be viewed as less of "screaming panic" and more of "situation not sustainable, falling back". Bailed troops generally rally easy (though that eats an activation unless you move a guy into contact) but it means when a position is abandoned, it can take precious time to reorganize to take it back.

    For double pin's on the same model, no additional effects. Rolling multiple Shock dice just significantly increases the chances of getting an effect.


  2. Ivan,

    "Bailing should be viewed as less of "screaming panic" and more of "situation not sustainable, falling back"." Yeah, but it's funner for me to berate my little toy men for running from the battlefield, sobbing like little girls ;)

    The other thing this brings to mind is that a panicked guy would run off by himself, regardless of what his comrades were doing, while the 'situation not sustainable' seems more rational and that the guys near him would similarly assess the situation and fall back with him. I'm not sure how carrying that out in the rules would occur or affect gameplay, but I've been giving some thought to "all men within 6" of the guy that decides to leave also leave."


    1. Strangely enough, I have just been looking at this in my NUTS! streamlining. In NUTS! the worst a fired-on solider gets in run to cover and stay put until rallied; but a failed rally attempt may see him running away. It is possible though that a soldier will run away if a soldier next to him is knocked out of the fight. While I don't know how realistic it is; I've carried this concept through to my "Fast NUTS!" rules.

      Oh, and a good batrap. I am resisting getting 5 men in Normandy. I am likely to only do a few more skirmish games in the next year and I have already acquired about 4 sets of rules in the last month or so. I do like the mechanisms I read about in 5MiN and may end up with it anyway :-)

      And a good battle report too!

    2. Hey Shaun,

      Yeah, for me, morale stuff is always interesting to toss around. I think you could come up with a million different reactions and mechanisms to carry out those reactions. That's a lot of playtesting!

      I foresee only skirmish gaming for the foreseeable future, so these better work! ;) I'm liking the rules; my biggest issue with skirmish gaming is scenarios. For me it's tough to fight a bunch of battles without it feeling like you're just doing the same thing over and over.

      What other rulesets did you pick up? Anything I'd be interested in?

      Take care.


    3. If you have the Rifleman's Guide, there's a random scenario generator too, you know ;)

    4. Jack,

      The only WW2 skirmish rules I've picked up in the last two months are all PDFs:
      Patrol:WW2 (I've mentioned this I think already - have some nice rules in it and 20 missions)
      NUTS! the final edition
      Some Corner of a Foreign Field (blaming you for this one!)
      GUT Check! (free and like a streamlined NUTS!)
      Rate of Fire (by Crusader, looks good and high on my list to try out)

      I would check out GUT! check for streamlined NUTS! ideas. Patrol WW2 is a bit expensive ($20?) but has a lot of stuff in it. Rate of Fire is platoon level but I really like it from reading it.

      Of course, I have acquired some other non-skirmish WW2 rules in the last few months too...

    5. Good Lord, Shaun! If you have time to buy all those rules and read them, you've got time to game ;)

      I'll have to check out Gut Check.


    6. I read them on the train to work and at the of lunch break I still get. Places I can't really set out the board to push figures!

    7. Just think of the crowd you'd draw if you broke out a mini-table, some figs and dice on the train! This could be the next big trend in gaming. Take care man.


  3. Yeah, that's one of those sticky points where it gets a bit iffy. Since we only have a squad at most, having half of them bail might be a bit too much :)

    One option might be: Either this guy bails (as normal) or everyone in the terrain feature pulls back 3".

    Give the player the option of pulling out a coordinated retreat, or just let the one guy loose his cool for a moment and hope the sergeant can kick him back in the line.

    Not sure if it'd work though.

  4. Ivan,

    I think I like the idea of having the player decide: everyone in the terrain feature calmly pulls back to cover, or (change from what you have above) one guy runs off screaming.

    "Not sure if it'd work though."
    Only time and playtesting will tell ;)