Home Forums WWII Hell on Wheels, Operation Torch Fight #3

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    Avatar photoJust Jack


    1600 Local Time
    8 November 1942
    Near Port Lyautey, French Morocco

    Despite the ass-chewing he’d just received from Major Reisman, Captain Henry, commander of the Task Force’s Armored Reconnaissance Company, failed to perform the tasks given him, in a manner appropriate to the situation. The French had a fortress (“the Kasbah”) between the American forces and Port Lyautey, one that was proving severely problematic, but the Major believed a flanking movement to the south (right) could unhinge the defense, if executed quickly and violently. Yes, the situation on the invasion beaches was chaotic, men and gear were intermixed, but the Task Force had just forced the French garrison out of the town of Mehdia and needed to act before the French had an opportunity to establish another line, particularly in that direction. Major Reisman had picked out a small village with a bridge over a tributary of the Wadi Sebou as the correct target of this rapier-like armored thrust. He just needed someone to get there.

    Overview, north is up. At center left, just east (right) of the crossroads, is a small oasis with a couple hovels. Below and at top left are unnamed bluffs, while at left top is a knoll identified as Hill 23, soon to be known as “Purple Heart Hill,” while at far right is Hill 55, soon to be known as “The Meatgrinder.” At top center right is Hill 34, while the village of Barhrein, soon to be known as “Murderville,” sits on either side of the bridged Wadi Sebou tributary.

    The French have their 1st Rifle Platoon dug-into ‘Murderville’ (center top), accompanied by the overall French commander, with their Weapons Platoon (mortar and MG) dug-in right behind them, just across the Wadi Sebou (right top). The French 2nd Rifle Platoon is dug-in on The Meatgrinder (far right), where it is accompanied by one of the 75mm guns. The other 75mm gun is dug-in just behind Hill 34 (top right), and it is accompanied by the two armored vehicles (Laffly armored car and R35 tank), which are hidden between the buildings east of the Wadi Sebou (top right). It should be noted that, save for the troops on The Meatgrinder, which are dug-in and begin the game concealed, the remainder of the French defenders are occupying what I would refer to as oblique, ‘reverse-slope defense’ type of positions, i.e., those that limit their lanes of observation and fire, but generally force the enemy into vulnerable and/or exposed positions in order to engage them.

    For their part, the Americans can be seen coming in on their baseline, with advance elements of the force clustered around the crossroads (left bottom) and approaching Purple Heart Hill (left top), with the Armored Infantry and Engineer Platoons still mounted and off table.

    The opposing forces, with Americans at left and French at right. The Yanks have three tanks, two Scout Cars, a Tank Destroyer, a platoon of armored infantry, and a platoon of engineers, while the French have two rifle platoons, a weapons platoon (81mm mortar and MG team), two 75mm howitzers, an armored car, and a light tank.

    Lt Richards (bottom center) staring into Murderville (top center).

    “Well, I don’t see anything out there, and the Major said we need to move quickly, so…”

    The US mechanized force bravely (rashly?) dashes ahead! The Armored Infantry Platoon, led by a Scout Car and two M3 Stuarts, pushes right, towards The Meatgrinder (just visible at far right), while the Engineer Platoon, led by a Scout Car, pushes left, towards Murderville, as the last M3 Stuart and the Tank Destroyer move up on Purple Heart Hill (left top).

    And then all hell breaks loose!

    This was my favorite fight of the entire campaign in Morocco! To see what happened, please check the blog at:

    So, that was a helluva fight! What’s next? The French, feeling saucy, have launched a counterattack on the invasion beaches, and Major Reisman himself is being forced to fend off!


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