16/02/2023 at 01:21 #183460Just JackParticipant
1430 Local Time
10 November 1942
Near Port Lyautey, French Morocco
Normally this would have been a job for his XO, or even one of the better platoon leaders, but his XO was dead and he was still trying to establish himself as a good leader in the eyes of his men, so Captain Henry, commander of TF Reisman’s Armored Reconnaissance Company, was leading a mechanized thrust wide around the left flank of the French defenses in and around Port Lyautey. Despite a couple days’ relatively hard fighting, morale was high as the sense the French, who no one believed were truly the enemy to begin with, were preparing to capitulate and everyone believed the fighting in Morocco was about to come to a joyous end. Major Reisman was quick to stamp out any such thoughts and complacency, admonishing his soldiers that “there was still a war to be fought,” and so he kept the Task Force men busy, to include this scouting party.
Captain Henry had led the column out at first light, and so far, so good. They American column had covered many miles without any real sign of French defenders, just a few stragglers attempting to surrender, not a single shot fired. But the now-seasoned dogfaces were growing a bit uncomfortable, that edgy feeling that something was about to happen creeping in. Captain Henry felt it, too, and as the column approached an oasis and crossroads with a couple stone buildings present, he halted the column to and moved to get his field glasses on it.
Overview, north is up. The hardball roads running north-south and east-west intersect at a crossroads hosting a couple stone buildings on the right side of the table, with a small, natural pond nearby, likely owing to a tributary of the Wadi Sebou flowing to the north. There are plenty of rocky outcroppings and rocky ground, split by the occasional palm tree, but overall it’s pretty sparse. I tried to cut way back on my use of the hedges as scrub brush, I think my first six tables probably had way too much green for Morocco, but I’ll deflect that accusation by stating these fights all occurred near the coast 😉
The only terrain features relevant to this fight are the crossroads/village, ‘The Knoll’ at left top (just left of the pond), and the twin hills just right of them, which will call Hills 36 (just below the road at far right) and 37 (just above the road at far right).
The US baseline is at left; they have their CO and armored car platoon just off road at far left top, while their Stuart tank platoon and tank destroyer platoon is located at bottom left. The French are all grouped just east (right) of the crossroads, with rifle squads, their mortar team, and their platoon leader in the village, their 25mm ATG atop Hill 36 (far right, below the road), and their MG team atop Hill 37 (far right, above the road).
The opposing forces, with US on the left and French on the right. A little bit smaller of a fight than the first six, but not much. The Yanks have an armored rifle platoon supported by understrength armored car, tank, and tank destroyer platoons, while the French have an understrength rifle platoon supported by an ATG, mortar, and MG, with reinforcements coming in the form of a light tank platoon and a mechanized infantry platoon.
Captain Henry, the commander of Task Force Reisman’s Armored Reconnaissance Company, glasses the crossroads and its surrounding environs. “It’s quiet,” states Captain Henry.
“Yeah, too quiet,” replies Lt Stone, his Armored Car Platoon leader.
“It stinks of quiet,” murmurs Captain Henry.* Nevertheless, he orders Lt Stone to advance; Lt Stone, in turn, informs his drivers and Lt Royals’ Armored Infantry Platoon to prepare to move.
*Sorry, I just remember that exact sequence popping up in so many of the WWII comic books I read as a kid 😉
Captain Henry (top left) looks on helplessly as his armor is getting shot to pieces by the French defenders.
The armored infantry aren’t faring much better…
And then the French tanks show up (bottom right, with the US armored infantry on the knoll at top center and the US armor between the outcroppings at top left)!
To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
Thus ends Task Force Reisman’s war in French Morocco! Later that evening US forces from the 9th Infantry Division finally captured the Kasbah, and a cease-fire officially went into effect on the morning of 11 November 1942, signaling a cessation of hostilities between the Vichy French and Allied Forces, who quickly became allies in time for the upcoming fighting in Tunisia.
Task Force Reisman spent a few days resting and helping to police up the area and surrendering French forces, but then received orders attaching them to the United States’ 1st Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division. Upon arrival in Tunisia they were instantly placed under British command in a unit being called “Blade Force,” headed for a place called “Chewey-Gooey,” where they’d gain their first experience of war against the Germans and their Italian allies.
Jack18/02/2023 at 22:34 #183546Tony SParticipant
Great AAR! My thoughts, such as they are –
– I think your tables looked quite attractive… although my ignorance of the geography of Morocco is pretty complete.
– interesting to hear how your characters organically develop. Really contributes to the overall story it seems.
– even if they were only there briefly, very nice to see the French armour. I just love the look of those tanks, not just the R35, but the Somua and the monster Char B. You did a great job on the camouflage.20/02/2023 at 16:36 #183570Just JackParticipant
Hello, Tony, thanks a bunch, I greatly appreciate your comments!
Regarding the tables, I wish I’d made them a bit larger and more sparse. It’s not until fight #13 that I actually get there!
I’ve delved deeper into the character aspect of this campaign and I’m telling you, it really adds a tremendous amount to the games, where you’re no longer simply making the best wargaming move, you’re trying to make the best wargaming move that matches that individual leader. It’s really a lot of fun.
And thanks regarding the French tanks, I’m still not sure whether I’m happy with those paint jobs or not! 😉
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