Friday, 23 May 2014

"Chain of Command" Maltot Village (5): Tactical Withdrawal

A tense breathless silence consumed the nervous line of advancing Tommies. The wood seemed artificially quiet, too quiet. Then all hell erupted from the barrels of two MG42s. It was horrid, a KIA and multiple shock markers came across the whole of the squad. The murderous MG42 machine guns once again proved how deadly they were in combat. The British advance was quickly thrown into a complete shambles. Again the "unlucky" Second Squad was the hapless victim.

The young, inexperienced, newly promoted, replacement NCO (Corporal Hoops) was being sorely tested in his own personal cauldron of doubt, fear and self loathing (see below):

Then the training kicked in. Corporal Hoops steadied his men, took shock off the Bren section (by shouting encouraging words of advice such as, "Get yer finger out!") so he could get them back into the firing line. "Good lad Hoops" exclaimed the Senior NCO who suddenly appeared at his shoulder. A god-like figure of war McCoy took personal direction of the Bren team and cut down an enemy MG42 team with grim satisfaction. Unbeknownst to McCoy, he had also put a bullet into his opposite number, the commanding NCO of the German squad, wounding him. With that the German fire was halved. Hoops'eyes however were fixed on the two prone, lifeless figures of his squad's casualties. A second KIA from the MG42 menace was grim testimony to the savagery of combat (see below):  

The German Commander knew he had to silence "Timmy the Tank". The crack PanzerSchrek Team (with one 9 RTR Churchill already to their credit, aka "Ken's Tank") hugged hard-cover to get into a perfect "ambush" position, but unluckily ran straight into the Bren Team of the British Third Squad and 16 Platoon's 50mm mortar section. The latter promptly used half of its allotted ammunition for the Normandy campaign on them. The Bren was the real killer though, aka very good dice. Bullets found their mark and "Timmy the Tank" was safe! (see below):

With the initiative dice again falling kindly for the British, Lt Pringle brought up 16 Platoon's First Squad in support of the beleaguered Second Squad. This meant two British squads, that is two full Bren teams each directed by NCOs/officer (12 dice) and one full strength rifle and another one still healthy rifle squad (another 12 dice) let fly at the Germans. Another German KIA and yet 'another' wound to the commanding NCO. This was all too much for the Germans. 

The German Commander called it a day, giving the signal for "Bug Out", his orders were to make a "last stand" at the Alamo, or rather "Maltot Church" (see below):

Lt Pringle was satisfied but a breathless runner from Company HQ ruined his high spirits. 16 Platoon was to conduct a 'hasty assault' with all forces immediate to hand on Maltot Church before the Germans could form a solid line of resistance. Sound strategy, but Pringle knew that the Vickers had overheated and was useless. Also "Timmy the Tank", much to his annoyance had thrown a bloody track and disabled itself, blocking in the process any other vehicles getting to him. Still he got hold of the bossy adjutant (who he was quite impressed with) and told him to "go borrow from somewhere another 50mm mortar". Pringle knew he would need as much smoke as possible, as there was a good deal of open ground he had to cover before reaching Maltot Church.

To be continued in the final episode/scenario of the campaign, entitled "Going to the Chapel."

Watch this space.

1 comment:

Pat G said...

Great series!