"War is a drama, not a game of chess."
Gen Eisenhower

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gung Ho!

"Listen up Lieutenant!" Captain Middlebrock was irritated. "I'm not really sure what you 90-day wonders know, but you have your stripes and it's time to prove you deserve them! I don't care if you got off the boat yesterday, the rest of us got off our boat the day before that, and the germans didn't give us any time to catch our breath. I have a leaderless platoon and a section of french land I need patrolled! You can do it, they are good men and they long to get some revenge for Lt. Ingram. Oh, yes, he's your predecessor.Unfortunately I can't give you any transport, the last patrol got their halftrack strafed by our own flyboys, and I can't afford to lose any more vehicles. Now get to it!"

The table and entry points.
My second mission in Platoon Forward was Patrol. The mission, naturally, is about patrolling an area, which basically is all of the board. Somewhere along the way you will encounter the enemy.
I rolled up the board and got the outskirts of a village, a small stream, a big area of light woods and a smaller area of heavy woods. I also got an empty area so I put a stone wall in their to create a field. I placed a burning M3 on the road through the village for some flavour.

I planned to advance through the heavy woods, skirt around the field and then sneak along the river. I would try to sneak at the edge of the village and then through the light woods back to my own lines. Hopefully I would avoid detection and get the drop on any enemy troops I encountered. I decided to use both squads so one could support the other if they ran into a problem.

1st squad on the left, Lt. Caulfield and Sgt. Sipowitz  in the middle. 2nd squad on the right lack in camoflague skills!
So my forces are as follows: 2nd Lieutenant Caulfield, grade 1.
Staff sergeant Sipowitz, grade 3, reckless.
1:a grupp, sex man ledda av Private 1st class Dimitriou, grade 1.
2:a grupp, ├ątta man ledda av Corporal Dever, grade 1, brave.

I got the pre-game event Gung-ho! which means one squad got a bonus in close combat and decided that 1st squad is out for revenge. Since they have lost two men I attached Sgt Sipowitz to them, while Lt. Caulfield went with Dever and 2nd squad.

This time I had some new, american, patriotic dice!

Lt. Caulfield rushes 2nd squad through the heavier parts of the wood while Sipowitz guides 1st squad along the edge of the heavy woods. Sipowitz' trained eyes pick out the easier route and 1st squad pulls ahead, out for payback. In the village there is some movement on the road, and is that the sound of an engine on the far side of the river?

Take cover!
Cpl Dever spreads out 2nd squad along the stone wall at the field while Caulfield tries to detect any enemies across the river. Meanwhile 1st squads sneaks closer to the village, almost as if Dimitriou and Sipowitz challenge eachother in bravery. (I was a bit impatient and split my squads a little bit to get an early spot on the two enemy blinds on the board.)

Les Boches!
Sure enough, there are germans in the village! A small patrol consisting of a halftrack, a squad of infantry and a heavy MG team. Dever moves 2nd squad up along the edge of the field to be able to support 1st squad, even though the range is too long for them to see anything right now. Dimitriou' squad take cover behind the hedge of the petrol station, but the germans has seen them! The HMG team dismount and make their way up to the second floor of the building across the road, where they set up their weapon. In a classic example of fire and maneuver the infantry squad split in two teams with a MG42 covering the others who rush across the gravelled yard, aiming for a flank attack on 1st squad. However, the americans are able to react and gun down two of the germans. The three survivors turn on the spot and high-tail it towards another building and safety.

Caulfield is still content to let Dever decide and 2nd squad slowly move toward the river, to creep to the other side of the village. But Caulfield suddenly becomes unsure, wasn't there a mine field somewhere here? He calls a halt and digs out his map while the squad drop where they stand, afraid to move as much as an inch. So where on the map is this village? This one, or this one? Caulfield can't remember what the Captain said. Wait, the map is upside down! No it isn't... The men start to look around nervously, but daren't move in case there really is a minefield here. From the village the sound of gunfire echoes. (I got a random event and rolled Distracted. Caulfield and 2nd squad is out of the fight unless some other Big Man manages to contact them. Ouch!)

Dimitriou crawls around the hedge
In the village 1st squad ducks back behind the hedge when the german HMG opens up. Nobody is hit but they have to keep their heads down. (The Shock points started to rack up...) Sergeant Sipowitz wonders where the hell the lieutenant is? He turns around and can make out the shapes of 2nd squad lying down among the trees without moving. He waves and tries to get their attention, but Caulfield is still bent over his map. As Dimitriou starts to move his little squad sideways along the hedge to get out of the fire Sipowitz decides to do something, and runs back to try and shake the lieutenant into action.

Sipowitz notes that the shortest way to 2nd squad is covered by the HMG on the second floor, but he doesn't hesitate a second -- he's reckless after all. His heart pounding, trying to outrun the bullets chasing after him, Sipowitz is hit in the back and is dead before he falls to the ground, only a few yard away from Caulfield. (The Heroic Leader card came up and I decided to chance it instead of waiting to draw Sipowitz' card again, you never know when that will be. Of course I rolled snake eyes for Sipowitz, and then proceeded to roll a six for damage. So much for new dice...)

Unbeknowst of Sipowitz' fate, Dimitriou instills new courage into his men and they continue to crawl around the hedge, meaning to try and flank at least one of the MG:s. The crew of the german halftrack decides to interfere and drives off the road, around it's burning american counterpart. They open up with their 37mm "door-knocker", which might not be the best gun in the world, but still one of the americans are killed. Dimitriou and his men are in trouble but suddenly they hear more engine noise coming from the trees behind them. A Sherman rolls forward and opens fire on the halftrack but the first shots all miss. Desperately the german driver slams in the reverse and tries to get out of there. (Another Random Event, this time the dice were on my side!)

The halftrack tries to get away from the Sherman, but in vain. Two shells slam into it's side and set it on fire. The light machine gun team on the road pulls back to the ground floor of the building the HMG is in. They obviously felt a bit exposed with the halftrack destroyed. Seeing the opportunity 1st squad then jumps across the hedge and into the garden, sheltering behind the small house. They then realise the momentun is on their side and runs out of the garden again, taking cover behind the burning M3 and prepares to storm the house. (I got yet a third Random Event: Leaderhip Check which resulted in a bonus flanking move.) Meanwhile the Sherman hoses the upper floor with MG fire to keep the HMG from firing. 1st squad then storms across the road with grenades and bayonets! For the price of only one american they eliminate the MG team and take their squad leader prisoner.
Here I ended the game. I judged that the HMG group on the top floor would surrender, they were leaderless and started to accumulate shock, and being stuck in a building with the enemy below and a tank parked outside. All in all I suffered three KIA which is a fair price to pay for five enemies killed, three prisoners and a half-track knocked out. Unfortunately the platoon sergeant was among the casualties, and he was the only really capable leader left! Typical that I had to roll a six, since on any other roll he would only be wounded.

Postgame I tried to get Dimitriou noticed but no luck. Obviously Caulfield tries to cover his own cock-up, and with Sipowitz killed there is nobody to report what Dimitriou achieved. Two other post-game events had the squads brought up to strength with one man to spare each, but the platoon is short on grenades. I decided against rolling up a replacement for Sipowitz though, Caulfield has to manage on his own next time...

1 comment:

  1. Great report! Patrols are some of my favortie scenarios; you never know what is going to happen. Sounds like Lt Caulfield is a doozie!