Private Goodbody scanned the hedgerows through his telescopic sights. There was just enough light now to properly make out the shapes of trees and bushes across the wide fields of wheat. He shifted his weight slightly, as his left ankle was still sore after the drop. Laden with extra kit and plenty of ammo, his landing had been heavy. His ‘stick’ had been fortunate as they’d landed close to Ranville but plenty of his fellows in 12 Para were still unaccounted for. The drop had quickly become a shambles as aircraft weaved to and fro through heavy flak. He wasn’t too concerned though as the lads were gradually turning up in 1’s and 2’s, sometimes more.
Sergeant Cameron appeared at his side and held out a tin cup of scalding hot tea.
“Movement?” he asked, his broad Scottish tones barely a whisper. Private Goodbody was the sniper in No. 3 section and had the sharpest eyes in the platoon; if anyone could spot Jerry approaching it would be him.
For reply Goodbody simply shook his head. He and Cameron were the furthest pickets out on what was known as the ring contour. The Germans would be looking to re-take Bas de Ranville and the most likely route was right through this position.
At last Dave and I have got Kampfgruppe von Luck up and running! It’s taken a while to post up though (sorry Dave) as things have been pretty hectic recently. Anyway, this will be one of those fairly lightweight AARs ;o)
Rolling for the random structure of my platoon I got 1 Senior Leader, 1 Sniper and the 2" mortar team for the HQ. Sections two and three came out as just one Junior Leader and a Bren team each.
|A quiet piece of Normandy...|
|The Paras take up position|
|The Germans arrive!|
I played it fairly cautiously through the early stages of the game and was doing well in terms of keeping my distance and inflicting shock and kills on the advancing Germans. I had expected Dave to rush my position but thankfully he deployed troops then paused for a few phases of shooting. Even with his superior numbers that was a contest I felt my men could do well at, and they did! With his troops closing in on the hedge line I was still doing fine in terms of both casualties and morale.
Then I let it all fall apart ... For some bizarre reason instead of withdrawing with most of my platoon intact I threw a whole yet-to-be-deployed section of Paras straight in to combat with the Germans.
Working through the combat dice table I began to realise the dreadful mistake I’d made. Dave was chuckling maniacally! Sure enough the combat was bloody but the Paras came off worse by far and those were men I simply couldn’t afford to lose. We agreed that the Para JL, Sergeant John Cameron, was captured by the Germans as then we might be able to play a rescue mission at some point as a little extra for the campaign. Utter madness! Oh well, lesson learned.
|Germans hold one JOP but the Paras deploy from the other straight in to combat!|
|It looks like George rolled my dice!|
|One Para flees in to the wheat field as the retreat is ordered|
Following that disaster I sounded the retreat. Thankfully everyone managed to withdraw successfully, well, everyone who wasn't full of bullet holes!
The Butcher’s Bill
The Paras took 11 casualties, so 5 dead, including a JL captured, and 3 missing the next game (9 of those casualties were from that fateful combat!)
CO’s opinion: Dropped from +1 to 0.
Men’s opinion: Dropped from +2 to +1.
Neither the CO or the men are particularly happy with Lieutenant William Campbell after that debacle.
German 1st Platoon, CO Lt Klinsmann
Squad 1, 2 casualties including JL Matthaus.
Squad 2, no casualties
Squad 3, 1 casualty. JL Trochowski – Awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class for destroying a Para squad in combat & capturing 2 JOPs.
CO’s opinion: Up from 0 to 1.Men’s opinion: Dropped from +1 to -1. (ouch!)
The German CO is pleased but Dave's men took a dim view of the death of Obergefreiter Matthaus.
- Remember your objective! Don’t pointlessly throw men in to combat, doh!?