In mid-November 1942 Easy Company came ashore in Oran, Algeria, too late for the fighting, such as it was. Since then they'd been on one dusty road or trail, marching east to the sound of gunfire. They'd been bombed, strafed, and bombarded, but so far the GIs of Easy Company had yet to see the enemy. The Vichy French had been a relative push over in and around the invasion beaches, and then quickly surrendered and joined the Allies. Allied armor quickly put ashore and then brushed the Italians back on their way into Tunisia. But Tunisia was where the British and US armored formations finally encountered Rommel's famed Afrika Korps, and things were not going well.
Allied forces, previously racing for Tunis and Bizerte, switched over to the defensive, which finally allowed the footsore dogfaces of Easy Company to catch up to the frontline. Allied armor pulled back to form a mobile reserve, while the infantry pushed forward to seize strong defensive positions on hilltops and near rivers. The Skipper of Easy Company received his orders: the company was to move forward and seize the crest of Hill 302, and word was the Germans were thinking the same thing. The Skipper studied the map, thinking it's gonna be quite a hike, but the slope of the hill is pretty gentle before leveling of to a small saucer of a plateau a hundred or so yards across, with a small pimple in the center being the highest point on Hill 302. The crest should be easy to spot, what with the rubble of an old temple sitting atop it.
The Skipper issued his orders, and junior officers and NCOs set about getting the green troops of Easy Company ready for their task, and their first fight, against hardened German panzer grenadiers no less! Easy formed up in route column and set off in the cool morning dark, and a 90-minute hump saw them on a rock strewn trail a couple hundred yards from the base of Hill 302. And that's when it started: "INCOMING!!!"
The Skipper and other leaders of Easy Company pressed the men forward, but scores were dropped by the ferocious German artillery barrage. "Keep pushing!" The men of Easy Company struggled under the weight of the gear, weapons, and ammunition, as well against the fear wrought by the sharp crack of enemy artillery impacts and shrapnel whizzing by. But the Skipper kept pushing, and in the lead, he soon broke out onto the plateau, with the crest not thirty yards away. "Double time!"
The Skipper looked back the way they'd come: the remainder of Easy Company was strung out over nearly a mile, with 105mm high explosive rounds still landing amongst them. Here and there a Lieutenant or Sergeant was trying to cajole the men forward, but the reality was the unit was no longer combat effective, with scores of young men cowering among the scores of dead and dying littering the rock-strewn trail. Still more were tending to wounded comrades, or leading wounded buddies to the rear. At that point the enemy artillery barrage picked up in volume, and shifted very near the backside of the temple; they're isolating the objective from the rest of the company! They must have infantry near...
Nice shooting, !@#hole...
I'm still here, ya damn dirty Krauts.
Approximately 45 minutes later American troops began to appear at the crest of Hill 302, fanning out to secure the ruins. "What the hell happened here?" "Holy cow, look at this place. What a fight!" "Who did this?" "Sarge, look, there's 27 dead Germans up here. Oh no, we've got some dead GIs, too. Hey, Sarge, this one's alive!" "Medic!"
GIs crowded around as the medic pushed in and began treating the lone survivor of the Battle of Hill 302, or what would soon be known as the Battle of Three-Stripe Hill. "Is he gonna make it Doc?" "I dunno, it's pretty bad. He's been hit three times, lost a lot of blood." "Who is this guy?" "I dunno, never seen him before. Check his dogtags." "C'mon, what's it say." Frank Rock.
Well, whaddaya think? I had a good time; sure, I had to cheat a bit. Specifically, once the Americans were down to one, I gave him some extra actions. I mean, it was down to 1 vs 12 at a time, with dead bad guys reappearing on the table edge; so I gave him a few extra fire actions, and twice I let him do more than he should have in a single activation (move up, fire, and throw a grenade; move up, pick up the MG, and fire). I gave him a modest bonus in close combat, and I told myself I'd have him go down the third time he got hit, but I didn't. I then told myself I'd have him go down if he got hit a fourth time; luckily I didn't have to see what I've had done ;) I didn't cheat on shooting though; as a matter of fact, his shooting was quite crappy quite a few times.
Please forgive the ultra simple table. I was more focused on seeing if I could actually do something on a 12" x 12" board, rather than dressing it up. The whole point was to play a quick game with minimal set up and figures, and I think it worked. Having said that, I will try to do better in the future in making the board a bit more appealing.
What I need from you guys is scenario ideas. We're talking about 5-8 GIs vs 6-12 Germans in North Africa; Mr. Rod Robertson has already provided a few good ideas, I'd love to see if anyone has more.
Pvt Rock recuperated quickly and rejoined his unit. There he was offered a battlefield commission, but he turned it down, instead accepting meritorious promotion to Master Sergeant, becoming the "Top Sergeant" in Easy Company, which had just had its ranks brought back to full strength by cleaning out the misfits and rear echelon troops from various headquarters and service companies. More to follow.