Home Forums WWII The Hill of St.Giacomo – A WRG 1925-75 Infantry Action AAR

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  • #93576
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Please see here for an AAR of a WW2 skirmish using the old WRG 1925-75 Infantry Action rules.

    With apologies to Just Jack for adapting one of his scenarios…

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #93598
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Wow, super cool, and so much to say!

    First,no apologies necessary, I happily share, and it’s really awesome seeing someone else doing the same stuff you did.  We even have the same US troops! But you can’t do Italy yet, I’ve gotta do Sicily and then get to Italy! 😉

    Second, man, I wish I had your Sgt Cherry, I think mine is broken! Yours was a stud, leading a team past the MG-42’s field of fire, up, close assault a house, run back, bring two other teams up, and assault the other two houses!  That’s it, my Sgt Cherry is fired! 😉

    Your table looked fantastic, I absolutely love the terrain under the mat, it made the various folds and rises very impressive visually, and key to the game tactically.  My board was literally flat, with precious few places to get out of the enemy’s line of fire, and my guys really paid for it.  It was awesome to see a more nuanced, maneuver-oriented view of the fight.

    Can’t wait to see more, John!

    V/R,

    Jack

    #93655
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Thanks Jack.  I was kind of forced to bring it forward to Italy, since I don’t have any buildings in 15mm suitable for Tunisia, and no Germans in tropical uniform (which I imagine they were in Sicily?).  And thanks very much for the kind words about my set-up; I think it needs “a lot” of work before it is where I want it to be but for various reasons that will have to wait for 12 months or so.  So the focus will be on the figures and vehicles until then.  I have taken a bit of inspiration from your small unit campaigns and there are a couple of areas I would like to explore.

    Sgt Cherry definitely showed why he was wearing the extra tapes in the attack on the first house, which was taken with a mixture of skill (using the ground) but also encouragement (keeping his men going in the face of fire – in game terms, consistently high rolls in the reaction to fire tests).  After that, it was lots of breathless work, getting his commanders together and re-organizing for each attack  – I am hoping that John D Salt will be pleased with the O Groups in the game!).  Of course, the Germans were ‘helping’ by carrying out a simple static defence.   Incidentally, right-flanking was definitely the way to go here: the left-flanking attack was a death-trap.  I played it so that the Germans would shoot as soon as they could draw a bead on a target, but it would have been much better for them to hold fire and then open up a bit closer.  I figured that the Germans wouldn’t know that they were left-flanking and it might just be a recce patrol moving up into the trees.  As luck would have it, the German main position around the two buildings was fairly blind towards the US right flank, so Sgt Cherry could carry out his “textbook” assaults – more knowledgeable people than me will have to comment on whether US troops would have approached the problem this way in the ETO 1943.  Anyway, as you say, although it looked similar, your Sgt Cherry actually faced a much tougher problem than mine did.

    Hopefully there will be a couple more games over the next 10 days or so, then there will be a summer break for a month.

     

     

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #93673
    Just Jack
    Participant

    John,

    The Italian table looked amazing, very impressive, I wish I could show the terrain relief in that fashion. I need to figure something out, because all my scenarios for Sicily and Italy are showing a distinct lack of vertical (buildings, trees, brush, walls) cover, making those folds in the ground all the more important.  So is that a homemade mat? It’s got great color and texture.

    I’ve got Americans and Germans for Sicily and Italy, working on some Italians (plus a little surprise!), as well as 6mm vehicles (Wolverines, Marders, Stugs, Panthers, and a Tiger) for the armored portions (that should take me all the way to the end of the war, so long as I can live with Pz IVs without schurzen).

    Regarding Sgt Cherry, I screwed mine by not really providing any covered avenues of approach, that MG-42 ate his lunch. But the good Sergeant didn’t help himself; every time the gun roared he wet his pants, and then he failed most of the rally attempts! Also, I think fire combat in 5Core is a bit more deadly than in WRG, but I chalk that up more to the game scale, where you were looking at 400 x 200 and mine was maybe 100 x 75.

    The three right hooks worked like a champ, and is certainly plausible.  If you’re really looking to what-if this (from a ‘real life’ standpoint), I’d say the big mistake your Sgt Cherry made was copying my Sgt Cherry, going with a double envelopment rather than a single envelopment (the right hook). My opinion on the best course of action would be for the base of fire element to defilade itself to buildings 2 and 3 (counting 1, 2, and 3 from bottom to top) and take bldg 1 under fire while Sgt Cherry leads the maneuver element on bldg 1.  Once in position to close assault, Sgt Cherry signals the base of fire element (via flare or smoke, most likely) to shift fire (move to position to fire on bldg 2, hopefully still defiladed to bldg 1). Sgt Cherry leads the close assault; assuming it wins, he consolidates, checks ammo and casualties, drops couple/few guys to hold bldg 1, guard the prisoner, sit with the casualty until he can be evacuated, and keep an eye out to the east (right of the table, watching for German counterattack).

    Sgt Cherry sits tight until the base of fire element is in position and firing on bldg 2, then leads the maneuver element forward to take it out.  Rinse and repeat for bldg 3.

    So the big deal is don’t follow my terrible lead with the double envelopment, and then use a signal plan to make things happen rather than wear Sgt Cherry out and expose him to hostile fire by running him back and forth.  Of course, for the signal plan to be that developed would require this was an attack/movement to contact (I.e., we know, or at least suspect there are enemy troops up there and at least a rudimentary plan on how we’re going to clear/secure it), but even if this was a patrol (a combat patrol) you always have a generic signal plan: green flare means shift fire, red means we need help immediately, green smoke means we’re falling back, red smoke is CASEVAC point, and the like are all pretty common), briefed as part of the Op Plan prior to departing friendly lines.

    I’s have to say the US doesn’t have ‘O Groups’ per se, certainly not at this level.  Battalion is the lowest level with a staff (S-1, 2, 3, 4, etc…), so the battalion commander just gathers his staff, conducts the planning process, and issues the order to subordinates (generally a five-paragraph Op Plan, though “mission type orders” on occasion, depending upon the type of planning process and tactical situation), and even then the Op Plan is not prescriptive in nature for lower level units, so as to give them freedom to maneuver to accomplish the mission as the local commander deems best.

    Once has hat is received, company pushes out a Warning Order to the effected platoon/platoons, who call together their platoon commander, platoon sergeant, and squad leaders (and guide, plus attachments, such as intel, FO, engineers, EOD, if you’ve got them) to start creating their Op Plan, or to come up with a Frag O (a change to a current Op Plan). This is then reconned, issued, rehearsed, inspected, and carried out, time/tactical situation  permitting.

    So with regards to your game, in simple terms, your platoon commander provided orders to Sgt Cherry: “Big Sarge (it is the Army, after all), we’ve got lots of stuff to do today.  Company is going to move up that road at 1100, and the Captain is worried those three houses might have Krauts (forgive me for the period vernacular) in them that would hold us up.  Me, I’m not all that concerned, so I want you to take your squad up there and secure those buildings not later than 1030. You’ll have no supporting fires, either planned or on call, and you’ll have no supporting units for this task.  Adjacent units are the rest of the platoon, the rest of the company, and the attached tank platoon, but we’re all just going to sit back, have breakfast, and watch to see if you get your ass handed to you.  If you’re forced to fall back on account of enemy action, pop green smoke, and if someone is paying attention and sees it, maybe we’ll support by fire so you can get back here.  Oh, the casualty collection point is over there, so if anyone gets hit you’re going to have to drag them back here.”

    Sgt Cherry salutes and steps off smartly, gives his squad the warning order: ‘grab your gear, draw ammo and frags, give your packs to 2nd Squad, be back here at 0830.”  Then Sgt Cherry conducts a map recon with his assistant squad leader, then they most as far forward as they can to get a look at the three houses (without getting shot and leaving themselves enough time to get back to the squad and take care of business).

    Then they write up the Op Plan on a C-ration box, make a little drawing in the dirt (full sand table if you’ve got time, or there’s brass nearby!), determine their comm/signal plan, determine any special gear or training they need for the mission, run it by the Lieutenant (change a few ands, thats, and these), brief the squad, inspect their gear, rehearse the plan, then step off.

    Whew, sorry about that! But you asked… sort of 😉  With regards to Sgt Cherry falling back in your game and holding an O-Group, with US doctrine you could technically call that a FragO (a modification to the original Op Order), but from that standpoint, troops in contact, under fire, that’s really just a small unit leader providing oral tactical commands.

    Please feel free to use whatever you like from any/all of my blogs, I love your games and can’t wait to see what you come up with next! And a summer break??? Surely you mean a break from work so you can get more games in 😉

    V/R,

    Jack

    #93684
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Sorry, I’m late, great AAR  love the terrain.

    #93716
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Thanks kyoteblue – you  are too kind!

    @JustJack – Thanks very much for the kind words and detailed comments.

    Quite a few gamers have made DIY mats in the same way I have: some examples of the instructions are here and here and here

    Agreed on the tactics side!  I wanted to at least start it out as you had in your game though and then see how it progressed from there.  Thanks very much for taking the time to detail how you would do it.  It does lead me onto a question though: were low-level signal plans common in WW2?  I have no real idea myself, except to say I don’t think I have read of many incidences of such things at low-level (section and platoon) although I have read of it in bigger operations.  Where any such plan is used, whistles and bugles and so on still seem to occur.  My sense is that runners – or if the commander does it himself, running – seemed to be used a lot more than in more recent times.  I would welcome some more knowledgeable input here.

    And a summer break??? Surely you mean a break from work so you can get more games in 😉

    I’m off work, but away from my stuff!  Some boardgames might happen.  August on the other hand is looking great so far for getting a ton of games in…

     

     

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #93734
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I lost my hobby room and have been banished to the garage, so I have to game vicariously thru yall!!

    #93753
    Just Jack
    Participant

    John,

    Regarding signal plans, they were around in the US military in WWII.  I found some period US Army Field Manuals discussing the generic use of flares, smoke, pigeons, and semaphore (in addition to radios and field phones, of course), but it seems directed at higher, HQ-level, and FM 24-5 states you need to look at the applicable infantry manuals for specific, lower-echelon guidance, but I’m too tired to look it up, sorry man.  So I can offer only anecdotal evidence from WWII US Army veterans I had the privilege to speak to (including my paternal grandfather, who joined in 1936 as a means to get three squares a day during the Great Depression).  Looking back at fading memories, as well as drawing on my readings, I know they used flares/star clusters, smoke, and panels for signaling, though I can’t really say definitively if it was intra-squad/platoon/company, or if that was battalion and higher level communications.

    Either way, it seems like as the war went on there was less reliance on signals and more on VHF radio, while field phones were ubiquitous throughout.  It seems to me that early the war the US Army was more proficient with basic things like this (fieldcraft), with skills eroding in the meatgrinder/appalling replacement system post-D-Day, where the sort of professionalism I discuss above (in terms of doctrinal command/systems of orders) was largely absent due to units that hadn’t trained together and refreshed skills (a lot of folks don’t seem to understand the need for continued training for troops in combat; I can tell you the pressures of combat and the occurrence of casualties leads to certain issues of ‘field expediency’ that improves professionalism in some areas and creates deficiencies in others, so it’s important to pull troops out of the line, not only for their mental well being, but to survey gear, re-train, and integrate/indoctrinate replacements).

    Regarding runners, hell man, runners are still used (well maybe not now, I’ve been out for awhile now, but they were in 2004).  Despite the ‘current’ capabilities and widespread availability of radios, things still break down (jamming, batteries running out, dropping fills/not able to roll to new fills, not having the correct comm channels for adjacent units, etc…), or simply won’t be as effective as face to face, and so guys are sent over to convey something important, rather than use the radio.  But that would be the point regarding the signal plan: the signals can only convey very simple messages, and anything specific will be suited only to Plan A, so if the situation is such that Plan B or C needs to be put into affect, you’re going to have to have a dialog, meaning radioman or runner up!  My two cents, anyway…

    Kyote – All the years and you haven’t been paying attention!  You don’t need a large space to game, you can play on a 2′ x 2′ board with your individually-based 15mm troops, no problem.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #93754
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Oh, I have a 4 by 8 table but no A/C in the garage..Oklahoma is not quite as hot as Texas but it’s close.

    #93755
    Just Jack
    Participant

    That’s what I’m saying man, you should be able to steal enough space for a 2’ x 2’ in the air conditioning, or a 1’ x 1’ with lots of terrain (back to your Marines in Hue, for example, or Marine Recon in some thick jungle).

    V/R,

    Jack

    #93756
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Now that is weird, I finally got my BF Ontos today!  I needed them for my Hue Marines, still have to put them together and paint them. I still need more than a 2 by 2 table.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by kyoteblue.
    #93898
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    @Just Jack,

    Interesting.  That seems to mirror UK WW2 experience, but with less radios so more runners.  One surprising thing that I found was when researching for stuff in a recent thread – possibly the one on fire teams – a US Army study decided that radios actually made the soldiers carrying them slightly less effective at fighting, although it was still maybe worth doing anyway.  As you say, runners were very widespread in the British Army at the lower levels too until the widespread adoption of PRR, although there were lots of the improvised signal device type things too.

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

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