29/06/2016 at 01:35 #43937
It’s late December 1943, almost Christmas, and Easy Company is back in the line. After the heavy casualties taken during the Battle of Three-Stripe Hill the survivors were pulled back to refit and regroup. Replacements were plenty, though the quality left much to question with regards to combat effectiveness; with US resources strained while still trying to get on a solid war footing, warm bodies were at a premium, so rear echelon troops at battalion, regiment, and division level were being stripped away to serve as riflemen, so Easy is now inhabited by cooks, bakers, and candlestick makers.
Nevertheless, another hill needs taking and Easy Company is up to bat. The dogfaces moved up to the line of departure under the cover of darkness and went into the attack at first light. Immediately the green GIs began taking casualties as German machine guns on the high ground took them under fire, and Kraut mortars weren’t far behind. The head-on assault wasn’t working, the men were pinned down.
The newly minted Sergeant, Frank Rock, new something needed to be done, and fast. He pointed to a squad, already beat up and down to seven men, and ordered them to follow him. Rock got to his feet, Tommy Gun hammering at the enemy in the distance, and he led the GIs to the left into a shallow depression. There they moved at a low crouch, working their way around the German flank.
The battlefield, north is up. The Germans hold the two peaks of the hill, with the bulk of Easy Company off table to right, pinned down. Sgt Rock and his under-strength squad will enter at bottom right. To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
A quick, decisive fight, and this one wasn’t solo, the boy played the Germans. He did not like the fact I had 8 guys and he had 5 at all (we both started with four then rolled 1D6), but I let him know each fight was going to be different. It was fun, but not super fun; I think the scenario was a good one, and I think the 12″ x 12″ board can work, it’s just not that great for the desert, needs more terrain (and yes, I know those peaks took up a lot of space, but it wasn’t really terrain for maneuver, it just channelized the fight). I must meditate on this; and maybe there’s not an answer, maybe it just doesn’t work for the desert but will work fine once we get to Sicily, where we can fight with trees and buildings (and yes, I know that’s possible for North Africa, but I’m going for a really desert look, so no village fights, no orchards, etc…).
In any case, four more fights to write up and post, so stay tuned. The next one is the second fight for Last Fifty Yards, Canadians vs Germans in Normandy, and then I’ve got three you won’t be expecting. It happened totally by accident (the last thing I need is another project/campaign); I’ve been using Ivan Sorensen’s “Five Men at Kursk” (5MAK) quite a bit lately. As always, I’ve been tinkering with them; I had an idea and wanted to try them out, so I set up a quick table and and grabbed a couple forces. I had so much fun I ended up playing three games before I even knew what happened! I think you guys are really going to like them. Any guesses on what this new campaign might be? 😉
Jack29/06/2016 at 06:37 #43939
You need to invest in a storage system so you can use your table to war game on !!!!29/06/2016 at 14:57 #43959
Brother, I’ve got a bunch of storage; 2 book cases, a half book case, boxes in the closet, and several plastic drawers.
Jack29/06/2016 at 17:17 #43962
12″X12″? Why not just start the game in hand-to-hand melee? What’s the point of an LMG if you can’t ‘spandau’ the enemy at range? Is it possible to simulate close-quarters fighting if the player has any control over all the troops? These US figures represent green and arguably poorly trained conscript troops. How much control should the commander have and wouldn’t most of their actions be to hunker down and fire blindly rather than to maneuver and fight like modern professionals? Does an over-seeing perspective really simulate the decision making and mental/instinctual split-second decisions of combat in N. Africa in 1943?
On the German side, five guys is a reinforced OP at best. Would the Germans try to defend important terrain with so little. Or would they defend in depth and withdraw and then counter-attack in force if the terrain was less critical? That was the German tactical doctrine of the time. Kill at range using forward MG positions, withdraw to stronger positions in depth and then repeatedly counter-attack by fire and maneuver until the objective is recaptured.
I liked the game and your narrative but couldn’t help thinking that this was like dropping a bunch of Chinese fighting fish into a tiny fishbowl and trying to learn lessons about ecology. I guess the one word is ‘why?’. And if the answer is ‘fun’, then more power to ya and I’m clearly over-thinking this. It is after all based on comic books.
As always I enjoyed the fight and your gripping depiction of the action. Thanks so much for sharing this and all your games (except the Nappies).
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.29/06/2016 at 22:19 #43970
Wow. I… Well, I don’t mean to disrespect ya by not composing a suitably long response, but… this is Sgt Rock, a comic book. It was fun, and yes, fun was the point.
I move between playing relatively realistic games to less realistic games based on my mood, and, to be honest, every time I start playing a realistic game I invariably don’t like it because it’s boring, and I end up making it less realistic to suit my tastes.
Im not looking to explore or learn anything via wargaming, I just like to have fun with toys, following groups of men through the travails of combat to enjoy the story, in a highly dramatic, heroic, and romantic perspective.
Jack30/06/2016 at 03:02 #43973
No disrespect was taken and no disrespect was intended. The problem is mine, not yours. I’m the one hung up on wargames being a teaching tool. If fun is the plan then run with it (as long as it’s not Nappies – that’s just sick). I hope I didn’t rain on your parade too much. My apologies if my meandering musing crossed a line with you.
Cheers and keep on gaming you carpet conquering, heroic, romantic fool! You’re wiser in matters of war than I will ever be, god willing; and probably wiser in gaming too.
Rod Robertson30/06/2016 at 04:32 #43977
Yeah man, no sweat! I’m good, you’re good, he’s good, she’s good! I was just laughing; you ripped it apart, and I’m thinking, ‘man, none of my stuff is ever going to be confused with some sort of military simulation. Especially not Sgt Rock.’
And don’t worry, you’re not missing out. Being shot at doesn’t make you wise 😉
Jack30/06/2016 at 05:09 #43981
Been shot at and shot, just never in a real war. I wasn’t ripping you apart. In my own clumsy way I was trying to start a discussion about scale and tactics. I missed the mark however.
Rod Robertson.30/06/2016 at 20:05 #44030
Gotcha man, and sorry, didn’t see you’d already responded! Of course, I’m liking you Canadians less and less the more I get my ass kicked when using them 😉
Regarding tactics, I’ve got nothing to add, I agree with everything you said. But this is just a comic book.
And when am I going to hear some stories, Professor? Shot at, time in Afghanistan. Let’s go, out with it!
Jack30/06/2016 at 21:24 #44041
I have been shot at and missed 3 times in my life so far, once by a random stranger while on my old Triumph Motorcycle. then one each while hunting with my younger brothers…I no longer hunt….30/06/2016 at 22:28 #44048
But, Kyoteblue, the question is, “Are you still being hunted?”
Jack, Iran and Afghanistan were just tourist trips and no ammunition was involved. The people I met were great and so courteous and friendly. This was before the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.
As to shots fired, shot in the left, upper arm by a younger cousin who was playing with his much older brother’s 22 cal. rifle while I was looking at his brother’s old boxed-up train set in the basement. Fortunately he just missed my torso and only chipped the humerus about 8-10 cm below the collar bone. Shot at by a bootlegger Cree Indian with a 10-guage shot gun indoors – it was a warning shot but almost blew out my ears and triggered a panic. This caused me to flee, running at full tilt for a half mile down the main road of the community. I remember virtually nothing after the shot and being peppered with fragments of splintered particle-board until I was doubled over standing in the road sucking -30 degree sub-arctic air into my burning lungs a couple of minutes later. It’s strange how the mind works. I think I even have some phantom memories which I know are not real about that flight. Weird, eh? Shot at outside a bar by a drunken nut-bar who took six shots at the crowd and thankfully only hit one person who was only grazed. We rushed him and disarmed him and kicked the living crap out of him until the cops came. Stabbed with a craft knife by a crazy Cree kid who should have been institutionalized but the remote community had no facility to do so. And stabbed in the thigh during a fight in my teen years – that one was my fault as I started the fight; he ended it. And finally impaled through the right hand and pinned to a school desk by an old mate of mine when I annoyed him during a history class on the Manchurian Crisis. He was a volatile sort of fellow and the history teacher nearly killed him – the teacher was ex-military and nobody messed with him. Let me see, strapped once in primary school, caned twice while in school in Britain, leg cut open by a little (but very tough) black bear, nose mauled by an innocent looking but very disturbed Chihuahua which belonged to the gay nurses who lived across the street, chased along a muskeg trail by a huge moose – the thing about a muskeg trail is you can’t get off or you risk getting bogged and sinking; moose are fast! Lots of fist fights and scraps. That’s about it except for the mortar related fire which got me shipped to England in 1972.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.30/06/2016 at 22:52 #44050
Not that I know of……01/07/2016 at 15:39 #44091
Damn Kyote, a random stranger, eh? I thought only folks that knew you would want to take a shot 😉
Rod – You sound like the Canuckian version of Davey Crockett!
Did either of you see my last batrep, “Royals in Helmand?” You’re always crying (particularly John) about wanting more batreps, so when I post them here you need to read’em and say something! I was pretty excited about it, but so far there are no comments, and I’m pretty keen to see what folks think of it (them, there are two more coming).
Jack02/07/2016 at 02:52 #44125
“Rod – You sound like the Canuckian version of Davey Crockett!”
No, more like a hapless version of Benny Hill blundering through life!
I will go and see the Royals now!
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.08/08/2016 at 21:59 #46102
You do know all fighting had finished in NA by end April 1943 right?08/08/2016 at 22:19 #46105PatGParticipant
Alt history 😉08/08/2016 at 22:35 #46108
Ah! Now I understand – to be honest there is too much “real” history to game for me to commit time and resources to fantasy stuff – there just isn`t enough time in the day 🙂08/08/2016 at 23:21 #46116
Richard and Patrick,
Nah, not alt history, just a comic book adventure and a screwup. It’s supposed to be Decemer 1942 for Torch (well, following Torch), and then on to Sicily in July 43 and then into Italy later in 43.
To be honest, I’m having a hard time continuing this line of fights as its not as fun playing comic book fights. You can’t really lose, and your characters can’t die.
I like doing representational fights rather than actual fights anyway. That way I can use what I want (equipment wise, within historical bounds, but without worrying about the real life consequences of life and death, or having to research the real TO&Es. For example, if it’s the right timeframe for Sherman’s, but the ‘real’ unit had Churchills, and I don’t have any Churchills, I happily throw Ahermans in the table. But that’s just me.
Jack09/08/2016 at 07:15 #46120
Some times you game with what you have, not with what was right.09/08/2016 at 09:32 #46124
For me the fun is building the units then fighting the battles and seeing how our games match the historic outcomes.
We`ve run 3 different Torch games with Yanks vs French
Several Tunisian games (Germans & Italians Vs French and 1 with Brits Vs Italians).
Now I`m planning another Syrian game with Aussies Vs French.
So much real history and so little time 🙂09/08/2016 at 16:14 #46163
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