Saturday, May 19, 2018

Blood & Guts, Tunisia, Fight #2

All,

It's now 1430 on 31 March 1943, three days after the squad's first fight.  The division has been pushing north by northeast, chasing the retreating Germans towards Tunis, with not much luck in slowing them down long enough bite off a sizeable piece of them, and always worried they might turn around and bite back.  The squad once again finds itself up near the head of the column, and this time the Germans have established defensive positions on a small hill off to the right of the road.  A German machine gun opened fire at about 800 yards, forcing the American column to halt and the GIs to dismount.

Their platoon leader, Lt Pelluer, dashed to cover, gathered his squad leaders, and briefed them: "Men, the Company is pinned down!  The other platoons are going to do their best to establish a base of fire, and we're going to string this out to the right, continuing the base of fire as we go, with the last squad slamming the door shut to flank that damn Kraut machine gun!  So move right, keep your interval, and as I give the order, have your squads halt, drop, and open fire.  Sgt Cherry, you're squad is last in line; you'll drop your BAR team to add to the base of fire, and then YOU will lead the final assault to knock that gun out!"  The Lieutenant dismissed the squad leaders, then grabbed Sgt Cherry by his lapels: "You'd better not let me down, Sergeant, or I swear you'll pay!"



Overview, north is up.  The US column, pinned down, is off camera to far top left, with the rest of the platoon strung out, off camera, from top left to far left.  Sgt Cherry and his assault team are at bottom left, looking to flank the German machine gun position at top left.  They are about to round a dense thicket, then push up the hill, but what they don't know is that a depleted German squad is rushing up the wooded draw at top right to reinforce their comrades on the hill.  The US must knock out the MG, the Germans must prevent this.

Sgt Cherry urges his men on, from right to left: Pvt Saxon, Cpl Hackett, Pvt Eatman, PFC Petry, and Pvt Jones.

The Germans, moving hastily through the wooded draw: a Corporal with an MP-40 and four riflemen.

Both sides double time (bottom left and top right) dash forward, looking to get up the hill...

When suddenly Pvt Saxon (bottom center) spots movement; he halts, squints, and yells "contact!" having spotted the German Corporal (top center).

But the Germans haven't seen the Americans (top left), and continue double-timing up the hill (right), heading for the machine gun position (top right).

A little confused at having announced the presence of nearby Germans but not receiving any orders from Sgt Cherry, Pvt Saxon decides on his own to open fire.  He raises his M-1 Garand and fires...

Saxon (top center) misses, and the German NCO (bottom center) swings and returns fire with his submachine gun...

Cpl Hackett (center left) stands tall and returns fire with his Tommy Gun, but Saxon has been suppressed (bottom right) and Sgt Cherry pinned (top left)!

The German infantrymen, veterans of several campaigns, hold steady and return fire, suppressing Cpl Hackett, who dives behind a nearby mound for cover.

The Germans continue pouring fire back at the Americans, and push a rifleman left to flank (far left)...

Eatman (bottom right) and the German flanker (top right) trade ineffective fire...

Before Petry (bottom center, with Sgt Cherry pinned to his left and Cpl Hackett suppressed to his right) levels his rifle...

And pops a German!

Petry then takes off running (center top), looking to help his buddy, Saxon (suppressed at top).

Enemy fire pins Petry (center), just short of Saxon, while Eatman (bottom center) continues trading ineffective fire with the German flanker (top right).

The firefight continues to blaze at close range (Germans on bottom, Yanks on top), with no one hit, but men constantly suffering morale then rallying back into the fight.

Petry (center) pops up and fires on the German flanker (top right)...

Bagging his second German of the day!

Spurred on by Petry's bravery (his base is just visible at top center), Sgt Cherry snaps out of his funk and moves up, rallying Eatman and Cpl Hackett.

Petry (bottom center) opens fire on the German NCO (top center), and misses.

He dashes up to Saxon, who's still suppressed. The activity draws more German fire, but Saxon is rallied and gets his rifle back into the fight.



Sgt Cherry and Cpl Hackett (bottom center) get their Tommy Guns going, pinning all three remaining German soldiers.

The stud, Petry (bottom center, with Saxon) rolls over and fires...

Dropping a third enemy soldier (bottom center), which is enough to send the German Corporal fleeing for his life (top left, from far left)!  And, with three men down and the Corporal run off, the last German rifleman (bottom right) also decides discretion is the better part of valor, leaving the way to the German MG open.

And this time Sgt Cherry is quick to capitalize, advancing the assault team hurriedly up the hill.

Capturing the German machine gun team and allowing the US column to get moving again.

The Lieutenant is quite pleased with the platoon actions, and particularly Sgt Cherry's assault team.  PFC Petry has turned out to be quite an animal, fearless and a great shot, and Sgt Cherry might just be alright.  Perhaps he just needed to get his feet under him.  The assault went off admirably, with three Germans killed in action, three captured, and no friendly casualties.  PFC Petry is meritoriously promoted to Corporal, and awarded the Bronze Star with combat 'V' for his actions.

Next up, something a little different.

V/R,
Jack

8 comments:

  1. Another great report: an (almost) textbook assault! Is Petry just having a great run of luck with his shooting dice?

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    1. Thanks John, and yes, that was pretty easy, wasn't it? Petry was indeed having a great streak of luck, and about halfway through this game I decided he's a sharpshooter and started giving him an extra kill dice.

      V/R,
      Jack

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  2. Everything seems believable - from the basic soundness of the rules?

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    1. Yes, I think so, but I'm not sure if I follow you. I certainly love the rules (more 5 Men at Kursk for skirmish now, than 5 Men in Normandy), but, like any other set of rules, they're not for everyone.

      V/R,
      Jack

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  3. I just meant that in the way that you write up these skirmishes, there isn't anything happening that jars and makes me think "that doesn't sound right" and that is often down to a mixture of the scenario and the rules.

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    1. Oh, hey buddy, glad to 'see' you! Hey, thanks a bunch for all the comments; as you know, taking the time to play and write up your games, it's really fulfilling to know there are folks out there actually reading and enjoying them, so thanks.

      And gotcha. The only thing that stands out to me is how guys get pinned or suppressed, then rally and get pinned/suppressed again, or fail their rally rolls and stay pinned/suppressed or fall back.

      I think it's absolutely fair and accurate, it's just that it, at least in my mind when I'm typing up the reports, it really parses the narrative into game turns and terms, when I'm striving for a smoother flow of events. So lately I've been trying to cut out some of the more formulaic stuff that I've typically done; you know, the "MG-42 fired on Sgt Cherry, pinning him. Next turn, Sgt Cherry tries to rally, fails and falls back. Next turn, Sgt Cherry tries to rally, fails and falls back. Next turn, Sgt Cherry successfully rallies. MG-42 fires on Sgt Cherry, suppresses him."

      What I'm trying to do now is cut that back, down to "Sgt Cherry moved up, MG-42 spots the movement and puts accurate fire on him, basically rendering him a non-factor during the firefight."

      It's tough, not always working the way I want, particularly because the nature of the wargame is that I start turn 1 by doing something with Sgt Cherry on the far right, then moving left while continuing to activate my troops, then the enemy acts, then I come back to the my troops, and go through the same process. So it's hard write the story from the aspect of "this is what's going on in the fight," rather than "this guy activated, that guy reacted, then this guy activated and that guy reacted, then the other guy activated..."

      But I'm doing my best! ;)

      V/R,
      Jack

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    2. You are doing great with the narrative. I think that is why I end up doing the skirmish games in comic form as you tend to need to make the report flow. It also allows you to focus on the actions of what happened to one section for a while and only flick back to the whole action when you need to do so. I think this is because the comic style is generally all about images with a few main characters rather than the bigger picture. I do find they take a long time to write up that way though :-)

      Anyway, enough on me! As JWH said, a good take on the interrupted flank attack. And I did mention Sgt Cherry did just have poor dice last game. I do not want to know if he becomes a target for you to hang some sh*t on him again :-) I will find out for myself!

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    3. Shaun,

      I appreciate it, hopefully they're fun for you guys. I really enjoyed you and Panda doing the comic format, but with all the stuff I want to do, I just can't see spending that much time on each batrep. They are super cool, though.

      If you want to know how Sgt Cherry does, read the damn batreps!!!! ;)

      V/R,
      Jack

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