Darkest before the Dawn:
It seemed like it was well and truly falling apart for the British. The advance of the German Panzer Grenadiers on the British Right seemed to suggest 16 Platoon were going to go the way of 12 Platoon in a viscous MG42 crossfire. Even the first attempt at bringing in a ranging shot for the mortar landed off-table somewhere near Caen. This did not translate to a portent of good fortune.
However the second ranging shot was "spot on" (see below):
This was translated into an immediate "Fire For Effect" (see below):
This had a devastating effect on the Germans, not just the German Squads underneath it but the German player morale. The German defensive strategy was suddenly scuppered. They had already used their scenario freebie "Chain of Command" dice to gain a tactical advantage earlier on and could not simply end the turn, which would stop the murderous barrage.
Each German team (two teams to each German squad, so four teams in total were effected) caught in the barrage was attacked with 4d6 with a 50:50 chance of a 'hit' and then a subsequent 'roll for effect' with a 50:50 chance of attaining an effect (shock or KIA), thus hurting the affected team. Nasty odds in an gaming system. Hunkering down in hard cover was no longer a sound defensive option but more of a coffin-maker.
The only way out the German Commander could see was to squeeze the hard pressed British right flank even harder with the German Panzer Grenadiers to enfilade the whole British position (see below):
Just as the German commander's morale was wilting the German luck gets a lucky break and he gets his long sort after "Chain of Command" dice to to end the turn and the three inch mortars, what had been thought of as the saviour of the British PBI, falls deathly silent.
The situation was critical. The last thing the British needed was the German baseline infantry squads to recover and suppress the British Infantry in "Grey House" while the Panzer Grenadier enfiladed them from the rear.
The young British Commanding Officer called to his FOO in the upper floor. "We need those mortars now FOO!" To which the cool reply came, "We need to register again, I've got a new battery on the net, they'll be firing off co-ordinates." The young Lieutenant knew this would take too much precious time. "Now 'Bomber'! Now! I need them now! We don't have any bloody time!" Again a cool calculated composed response from the FOO, "Risky 'Sir'?" This time the Lieutenant's response was cool and calculated but rather curt, "My call, bring it in."
The most important roll of the game was made, needing eight or more on 2d6 (slightly against the odds). The umpire nodded at the call, it was desperate times and risk now could make the difference. A nine was rolled, hell was once again unleashed on the German baseline squads, the German Commander grimaced and the British Commander gave a sigh of relief (see below):
Using the cover of the barrage and direct-fire smoke from the platoon's integral two inch mortar, 16 Platoon's Second Squad moved down the hedgerow to get into an assault position (see below):
Crossing the open ground at a run was not without misfortune though as a rifleman was dropped in a KIA result from what defensive fire the Germans could muster. However Second Squad managed a perfect assault position (see below):
It was now the Germans who were feeling the pressure despite their wonder weapon MG42s.
Next: For Who the Die Rolls