Brian Ivers sent me another battle report from one of his Combat Patrol games. He agreed to let me post it here. Brian does a great job of taking pictures during his games. I never remember to do that. (And I love the name of the platoon leader in this game.)
Imagine if you will, paratroopers from many different units scattered throughout the Normandy countryside. The full moon overhead is darkened by the shadows of the bocage. The sound of anti-aircraft batteries populates the night air. The constant drone of hundreds of aircraft overhead provides a comforting hum. The sleepy village of St Mere Eglise is fighting a fire near the town square.
Its dark: maximum visibility is 6 inches in the bocage and 9 inches along main roads and in the middle of the fields. The Paratroopers can’t see the anti-aircraft batteries, only the flash and sound of their guns.
Lt. John “Buck” Surdu has 25 Paratroopers, a machine gun team from the 101stAirborne with three men, and a .30 Cal Machine Gun with 400 rounds, a team from his own platoon, 4 men of the 82nd All American, and apparently all lost in Normandy Divison. Buck has his Platoon Sergeant “Mad Mike” Monagan. There are two other rifle sections of 6 men each from various units of the 82nd Airborne plus a bazooka team. The dice seen in the pictures represent the units’ activation numbers. If a figure is a leader it gets a command die that indicates the unit activates when that card is drawn from the Activation deck.
They advance towards the village. They hear anti aircraft batteries peppering their buddies above. The flashes represent the area the fire is coming from. “No animals, real or plastic, were injured during the playing of this battle.” One of the teams lose a Browning Automatic rifleman as they move forward and have to stop to look for him. These random events happen in war, I made a random event table for it. Mad Mike is choking private Jones’ team leader, when Buck interupts his councelling session to deploy the teams for battle.
One of the teams finds a parachute in the bocage, a random event, and with it a weapons and ammo pod containing grenades, .30 cal linked ammo, and bandoliers of M1 ammo. “God must love paratroopers,” Sergeant Masters says to no one in particular. The platoon distributes ammo and moves on. [Editor’s note: Why is the sky blue? Because God loves the infantry. And he loves paratroopers too!”]
The Americans resume their marching to the sound of the guns and their objective past the cross roads in the city. The anti-aircraft position is up ahead. The plastic orange fire markers indicate general direction the flashes and sound are coming from.
The platoon splits once the recon elements discover the Anti-Aircraft positions. One half attacks the Germans on their left of their advance, the other the right.
A base of fire with the .30 Cal, Screaming Eagles team covers Buck’s advance towards the preoccupied German AA team. The AA team is rated Green for Guts (morale in Combat Patrol), while the paratroopers are rated Elite.
Buck sets up a base of fire, leaving Mad Mike and the 101stguys with a rifle section. Buck pushes forward with the assault element, fixed bayonets, and a bad attitude. “Mr. hand grenade is your friend.” Training came in handy as the paratroopers rain grenades on the unsuspecting Germans.
The plastic overlay indicates the grenade blast radius. Cards are flipped, and casualties assessed. One German dies as he is thrown on the grenade by his courageous buddy. Another is wounded, and all are concussed except two outside the cone. The different elastic bands indicate wounds and morale condition. Tipped over figures indicate dead/incapacitated Germans. Buck cleans up the bad guys in the AA pit and pulls his support element forward.
Buck secures the first AA position and displaces the base of fire, who under Mad Mike, push towards Buck’s position. Corporal Josh Cromer handles the rest of the platoon across the road and into an awaiting sand-bagged position. “Geronimo!” and hand grenades take the position. [It’s a good thing they found the weapons pod with all those grenades!]
The paratroopers set up another assault and push into the second AA battery. Cromer’s team lays down suppressive fire as Sgt Andy Krieg’s team rushes to the second AA position. With fixed bayonets and no serious adult supervision, the teenage paratroopers close with the enemy who have been killing their buddies in the air.
Corporal Sanders gets a bullet in the throat going into the bunker and dies with his bayonet embedded in the chest of the man who shot him. The German AA garrison is alerted, and men begin to come out of their quarters to assist their comrades.
An arial shot shows the two AA positions and relative advances of the two teams.
It’s all over. The AA crew lies motionless, their weapon silenced. A fierce hand-to-hand took place, but trained elite infantry will usually defeat untrained artillerymen. The paratroopers must press on. There is a hidden team inside the town who had dropped with F Company where most had been killed or captured. They make their presence known to Sgt Krieg as he occupies the wall across from the road. The team has almost no ammo but a nice .30 cal.
Buck has a determined counter attack heading towards him.
The counter attack is broken up by concentrated fire. Enfilade fire from Cpl Cromer’s team in the sand bagged position and Buck’s forward element firing from behind the cover of a hedgerow. The Germans await the paratroopers in the town.
The German garrison has no idea how many or what kind of support the Americans have, which is good news for Buck, Mad Mike, and Sgt Krieg’s’ teams.
Two groups of paratroopers occupy the road before the town. The Americans have 5 wounded, two dead, and another guy who went missing.
Someone is yelling at them from the bakery in front of them. “Sounds French,” Pvt. King yells. (Another random event.)
Corporal Dubois from Church Point, Louisiana, said, “They are saying ‘don’t shoot.’” It’s a family, and they say the house is empty, but the boche are in the houses across from them. The bazooka team, led by “Lumberjack” Hansen, begins to shoot holes in the house to support Buck’s advance. Buck and his troopers move towards the house. The Germans are stunned and begin to withdraw from the town.
The Germans take casualties and are ready to scram as their morale is low and casualties high.
The team that pushed across the road took 2 dead and 1 wounded. The lower floor opened up on them just after the bazooka round impacted.
The objective is taken, but can they hold? Buck organizes the defense of the town. He places teams in the church tower and places teams in the buildings near the cross roads. It’s getting light.
A team of 101st come running down the road. Mad Mike yells at them to get in a building. “Damn right, Mac. There’s a tank chasing us.”
The 101st team runs into the destroyed house while their brothers attached to the 82nd begin to feed their MG and mow down the supporting grenadiers of the Puma armored car.
The Germans advance slowly.
The machine gun “processes” the advancing Germans.
Mad Mike empties his Thompson into the crowd as his team lays on the lead. “ Where’s that bazooka?”
The Puma can’t see the fire from the church tower, so hoses down the buildings in front of him, wounding a Screaming Eagle and killing an All American. The German grenadiers are caught in a cross fire and are cut to pieces. The Puma begins to pull back. The battle will continue.
Waiting for the Sherman’s to give us a “very nice edge.” To be continued….
The game system is Combat Patrol(TM): World War II. The action is generated by cards drawn for each side. This produces movement morale, casualties, etc. The models are Flames of War. The buildings are a mix of 4Ground. E-plastic, and Flames of War prebuilt. The trees and hedges are from kits and scratch-built railway hobby parts. We have 4 people playing, and I am the Game Master. This plays quickly and has a lot of role play elements to it. The mat on the table is for ease of movement and is GMT product from Command Colors.
Hope you liked it.