Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sgt Rock in 15mm, Fight #2, North Africa 1943


It's late December 1943, almost Christmas, and Easy Company is back in the line.  After the heavy casualties taken during the Battle of Three-Stripe Hill the survivors were pulled back to refit and regroup.  Replacements were plenty, though the quality left much to question with regards to combat effectiveness; with US resources strained while still trying to get on a solid war footing, warm bodies were at a premium, so rear echelon troops at battalion, regiment, and division level were being stripped away to serve as riflemen, so Easy is now inhabited by cooks, bakers, and candlestick makers.

Nevertheless, another hill needs taking and Easy Company is up to bat.  The dogfaces moved up to the line of departure under the cover of darkness and went into the attack at first light.  Immediately the green GIs began taking casualties as German machine guns on the high ground took them under fire, and Kraut mortars weren't far behind.  The head-on assault wasn't working, the men were pinned down.

The newly minted Sergeant, Frank Rock, new something needed to be done, and fast.  He pointed to a squad, already beat up and down to seven men, and ordered them to follow him.  Rock got to his feet, Tommy Gun hammering at the enemy in the distance, and he led the GIs to the left into a shallow depression.  There they moved at a low crouch, working their way around the German flank.

The battlefield, north is up.  The Germans hold the two peaks of the hill, with the bulk of Easy Company off table to right, pinned down.  Sgt Rock and his under-strength squad will enter at bottom right.

The opposing forces: Germans (top) have five men, consisting of a Corporal, a two-man machine gun team, a rifleman, and a man with a submachine gun.  The Yanks (bottom) have eight men: Rock (bottom right, with Tommy Gun), six riflemen, and a hulking young lad carting around a .30 cal machine gun.

Initial dispositions: the Germans have their NCO and MG team at top right (firing off camera to right, on Easy Company), and a rifleman and submachine gunner at left.

As Rock (center) leads the doughboys forward, the German rifleman (bottom left) spots them creeping up the crevice and fires on the American machine gunner...

The US MG falls back (red bead at far right), while a rifleman returns fire with his Garand.

Dropping the Jerry in his tracks.

Nice shooting, Rock thinks.  And what's with that guy having a red beard, anyway?

But as Rock ponders the beard, the other Landser (top left) hurls a potato masher into a clump of GIs (blue bead)...

One of the dogfaces goes down (not sure if he's scared or hurt, white bead), and another falls back (red bead at right).

Having does his part for the Fuehrer, the German falls back and readies his MP-40 (top left).  But when the German Corporal comes storming forward (center) to see what the hell is going on, Rock (bottom center) spots him and gives him a burst from his Tommy Gun, pinning him.

Realizing Amis have moved on their flank, the MG-42 gunner races down from the peak (top left, from top right) and sets up the gun, while his assistant moves to help the Corporal (center), though he remains pinned.

One of the Joes moves left (bottom left) and fires on the German Corporal, but misses.

And the German A-gunner (center) returns fire with his K98, pinning the Yank (yellow bead, next to the down man marked by the white bead).

With the flank attack bogging down, Rock dashes forward!  The German machine gun roars...

Rock stumbles as rounds whistle by, ventilating his fatigues and knocking a hole in his canteen, but he returns fire, dropping the Kraut machine gunner!

A GI moves up and checks the down man (bottom center), but he's dead.  Red Beard scales the heights at far left.  The hunkering rifleman and machine gunner (far right) both decide to get back into the fight.

Another Joe climbs up the hill at right, but the German at top left rattles off a long burst from his Schmeisser...

Killing the GI (left) and forcing another to fall back (red bead).

The German Corporal again tries to rally (center)...

But he decides to fall back (top right, from center).  Seeing this, the German A-gunner moves to his teammate (left) and checks on him.  He's good to go, getting back in the fight.

And then the German Corporal tries again to rally, and again he falls back (top left, from red bead at top center)!!!

That's three rally attempts, rolling a 1, 6, and 6, when he needed a 2-5 each time.

The German submachine gunner turns his Schmeisser on Rock, pinning him.  The German takes a deep breath and prepares to fire again...

But the GI with the non-regulation red beard (right) opens fire with his M-1...

Dropping him (left).  Rock looks over his shoulder and nods; "Thanks, Joe."

Before turning his attention back to the German MG crew; he empties a magazine at them...

Forcing the gunner to fall back (center right, from bottom left, with Corporal at top right).

The German A-gunner (left) pulls his rifle to his shoulder and returns fire, but he's visibly shaken and misses.

And then Red Beard (bottom center, with Rock just visible at center) fires several rounds at the A-gunner (top center).  The Kraut falls to the ground.

The American machine gunner sprints up the right side hill, followed by a pinned (yellow bead) rifleman, while another GI sprints up behind Rock (center left).  Red Beard (bottom left) watches as the rifleman at bottom right gets himself back into shape for the fight.

The German Corporal and machine gunner both try to rally; the Corporal is good, but looks on in awe as the gunner drops his MG-42 and sprints off the battlefield!

Red Beard (bottom center) squeezes off a round at the German Corporal (top center), but it's a tough shot and he misses, as the machine gunner (center, next to GI with yellow bead) look on.

This prompts the machine gunner to move up: he struts forward, belts of .30 caliber rounds dragging behind him, pouring fire ahead of him.  As he crests the ridge he spots the German Corporal and turns the gun on him, but the German decides to beat feet, ducking behind the rocks and fleeing the battlefield!

To seal the victory, Rock sprints ahead and finishes off the German A-gunner; Easy has carried the day!  The Americans lost one man, while the Germans lost three and had two run away to fight another day.  Most of the dogfaces were back, huddled around their casualty, but when Rock finally looked up he noticed two men next to him: the bearded guy and the machine gunner.  "You guys did good.  What are your names?

"You can call me Wildman."

"And you can call me Bulldozer."

"I don't recognize you guys, you weren't with Easy from the start were you?"

Bulldozer: "Nah, I'm a truck mechanic."

"You're awful quiet.  Where did you come from?"

Wildman: "The brig..."

A quick, decisive fight, and this one wasn't solo, the boy played the Germans.  He did not like the fact I had 8 guys and he had 5 at all (we both started with four then rolled 1D6), but I let him know each fight was going to be different.  It was fun, but not super fun; I think the scenario was a good one, and I think the 12" x 12" board can work, it's just not that great for the desert, needs more terrain (and yes, I know those peaks took up a lot of space, but it wasn't really terrain for maneuver, it just channelized the fight).  I must meditate on this; and maybe there's not an answer, maybe it just doesn't work for the desert but will work fine once we get to Sicily, where we can fight with trees and buildings (and yes, I know that's possible for North Africa, but I'm going for a really desert look, so no village fights, no orchards, etc...).

In any case, four more fights to write up and post, so stay tuned.  The next one is the second fight for Last Fifty Yards, Canadians vs Germans in Normandy, and then I've got three you won't be expecting.  It happened totally by accident (the last thing I need is another project/campaign); I've been using Ivan Sorensen's "Five Men at Kursk" (5MAK) quite a bit lately.  As always, I've been tinkering with them; I had an idea and wanted to try them out, so I set up a quick table and and grabbed a couple forces.  I had so much fun I ended up playing three games before I even knew what happened!  I think you guys are really going to like them.  Any guesses on what this new campaign might be? ;)



  1. You told us at the end of the last post (2nd Canadian fight) what the three battles were :-)

    Anyway, I do really like these battles on a tiny table - straight into the action!

    1. Did I really? I knew that, just wanted to see if you guys were actually reading them!

      These have been quick and fun, stand by for the next Canucks vs Germans tonight.


  2. Loving the terrain and pics, and the narrative. :)

    1. Thanks Duc, I appreciate it! Sure it's kinda goofy, but hey, it's a comic book ;)