Monday, May 28, 2018

Blood & Guts, Tunisia, Fight #9


It's now 1200 on 10 April 1943, and aside from a lot marching and counter-marching, not much has happened to the squad.  Sure there's been the odd Messerschmitt or string of enemy mortar rounds, but thankfully no one has been hurt.  Just lots of hard-marching, digging in, and then falling back or pursuing, depending on how the German counterattacks went.  But now, eight days after the Lieutenant led the attack to knock out the German panzer, the squad has been tasked with moving up to the crest of Hill 475 and establishing an Observation Post.  Things are looking up: SGT Cherry is still out, so the Platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Thomas, a large, corn-fed former school teacher from Iowa, is leading the squad.  The boys are starting to question SGT Cherry's uneven combat performance, but SSG Thomas is solid, and good thing, too, because as soon as the squad crested the summit they came across a German patrol that was apparently intent on doing the same thing!

Overview, north is up.  The crest is at center, with Yanks coming from the southwest (bottom left) and Germans from the northeast (top right).  This whole thing is simply showing the various peaks on a very large hill, with some scattered scrub and trees, and some loner's mud hut at bottom left.

The opposing forces, with Americans at left and Germans at right.  The Germans keep getting screwed with not very many troops (I'm using a version of Joe Legan's "Platoon Forward," using blinds to determine who and what shows up to each battle for the bad guys).  These photos are actually staged after the game is over because before the Americans hit the table I don't know how many enemy troops will show up, or where they'll be.

The figures are all 15mm troops from Battlefront, and I've graduated from using Ivan Sorensen's "Five Men in Normandy" rules (used for the first couple/few gunfights in this campaign) to his "Five Men at Kursk."  No real reason other then 5MAK is a bit faster paced than 5MIN, and I've grown accustomed to it.  And love it ;)

The American patrol is led by SSG Thomas (bottom right), then has PFC Burress (bottom center) on the BAR, his assistant (bottom left), PVT McGovern, the platoon runner, CPL Birden (top left), and three riflemen (top center left to top right): PVT Eatman, PFC Graham, and CPL Saxon.  Graham and CPL Saxon have really been the backbone of the squad, their heroics leading to a Bronze Star with 'V' and Distinguished Service Cross, respectively.

The German patrol, veteran Afrika Korps members, beatdown and footsore.  They have a Corporal with MP-40, a rifleman with Mauser 98K, and an MG-42 team.

Overview, this time with troops.  You can see the two sides reaching up the crest, with the doughboys having won the race to the top, and only now becoming aware of the other's presence.

The US, from left to right: CPL Birden, PFC Graham, CPL Saxon, SSG Thomas, PVT McGovern, PFC Burress, and PVT Eatman.

The Germans, looking east to northwest: their MG gunner has hung back (bottom center), while his assistant has split out right (top center), the rifleman is scouting ahead (top left), and the Corporal is at center.

Time to fight!

The hillside is steep, and Eatman is sweating like a... well, let's just say he's sweating pretty bad as he pulls himself up onto the crest.  He reaches up to wipe the sweat from his brow when he notices movement.  It takes his eyes a moment to focus, but when they do he realizes he's staring down on several German helmets moving up.  He quickly raises his M-1 Garand and jerks the trigger as fast as he can, pinning the enemy Corporal (top center).

With Eatman blazing away (top center), the BAR team (Buress and McGovern) dash right to get the automatic rifle into action.

But the enemy scout (right) spots them and begins banging away with his Mauser...

McGovern dives for cover (red bead at bottom left), while Burress (center) blindly returns fire with the BAR, hitting nothing.

Graham dashes right and rallies McGovern (red bead at right).

While CPL Saxon dashes left (top left) to get on the other flank.

He (left) and the German assistant gunner spot each other and exchange fire...

That drops the German (top left, with pinned NCO at right).

While that's going on (top right), the Germans get their MG-42 into action (bottom right), and the gun immediately begins spitting led at the American right (top left)...

Dropping McGovern and suppressing Burress and Graham!!!

With the enemy machine gun (top right) putting the serious hurt on his buddies, Eatman (bottom left) redirects his fire at the MG-42, but the volume of incoming fire is just too much, causing his to be ineffective.

The German scout (bottom right) turns his rifle on Eatman and fires...

Eatman is pinned and the burly German infantryman pulls himself up the peak, intent on finishing off the 17-year old high school dropout from Virginia...

But CPL Saxon (bottom center left), on the American far left flank, spots the encroaching enemy rifleman (top center) and pops away with his Garand...

Driving the enemy soldier back, suppressed (red bead at far left), and while he probably just saved Eatman's (top left) life, CPL Saxon (top center) has draw the attention of the enemy Corporal (bottom right), who opens up with his MP-40...

The rounds snap by CPL Saxon's head, dropping shreds and bits of leaves and branches, pinning him, but he's able to duck down, reload, pop back up (bottom left), and return fire, knocking the enemy NCO (top right) down!

The enemy MG (top center) has to stop to reload (his assistant is dead), and Eatman (bottom center) is able to raise up and fire, suppressing the enemy gunner!

While Eatman (top center) is blazing away, SSG Thomas dashes up to PFC Burress (center, from bottom left) and rallies him.

Burress (center left) then adds his BAR to the volume of fire on the enemy machine gun (top right), knocking the German down!  Meanwhile, PFC Graham (bottom center left) self rallies. 

The Germans are pretty much finishes, with their assistant gunner dead, their scout suppressed, and their NCO and machine gunner knocked down.

And then SSG Thomas quickly forms skirmish line and pushes the squad forward, down the back side of the hill, where they capture the three remaining Germans.

Graham watches the POWs (bottom left) while Eatman checks on McGovern (center): he's okay, just needs a little light duty for the rest of the week.  Meanwhile, SSG Thomas, CPL Saxon, CPL Birden, and PFC Burress stand up the Observation Post (center top).

And it's not a minute before SSG Thomas, peering through his field glasses, spots trouble.  "CPL Birden, get yer ass back to the CP and let'em know we got enemy panzers on the way, moving north to south, 500 yards west of Point 33!"  CPL Birden did as told, sprinting all the way.  The battalion commander immediately went to SSG Smith, the acting platoon leader for the attached Tank Platoon, and sent them into action.  SSG Smith quickly devised a battle plan: "SGT Ross and SGT Snow, I want you two to set up 1000 yards east of Point 33 and sit tight, let them come to you, while I take CPL Grunhard and we go scout up nearer Point 33.  If this works out like a planned, we'll catch them in a vice."

Which is the next fight, so stay tuned.



  1. Great little game again.

    Are you using the scenario generator in platoon forward too or making up the narative as you go along?



    1. Thanks buddy! Right now I’m just making up the campaign narrative, but I imagine at some point I’ll run out of creative juices and use the mission generator from Platoon Forward.


  2. Thanks very much for posting. This one seemed to go from quite nasty to quite easy very quickly.

    1. John,

      Yeah, mostly down to poor German rolls for forces. With only 4 guys, they don't have much staying power.


  3. At last, and "easy" one. We have had this discussion before but it is always nice to have a game that is not full of continuous see-sawing nail-biting action!

    1. Yeah, they’re a real necessity in campaigns, lest you run out of troops ;)