Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Lt Pringle's "Bloody Battle for Maltot" (Chain of Command): Part 3

Fearing they were in danger of losing the fire-fight the German commander deployed another MG42 team to "suppress the British suppressing fire-team!" (If that makes sense) They took position in the church courtyard. The satuatory British response of smoke failed to cover its objective (see below):

Where smoke failed a Bren team succeeded. The total steadily rose to seven German dead. The Germans were now down to half effectives and with a wounded NCO to boot, things were looking rather bleak (see below):

At this critical moment the German Commander seeing his wounded comrade cradling a MG42 in his arms, but unlikely to make it back through the church door, plunged out into the maelstrom. Braving the incoming Bren fire he ran to his friend, tugging and heaving him to safety (see below):

Rather than admiring the bold courage of the heroic act the British Commander (me) coldly lamented a lost opportunity of finishing off the German "higher command" (war changes people I guess). The sense of this cold hearted logic was reinforced when together with two Landser reinforcements, the German officers re-manned the church steeple and pored deadly fire down on the British First Squad (see below):

Three men down in as many seconds. Lt Pringle was agog. From the cusp of victory the situation had spiralled out of control. Three dead and a squad nearly broken, the situation required desparate action (see below):

Lt Pringle raced forward and took control from Sergeant Hoops. The poor man was frozen in shock, half his men were already dead. As Pringle barked the order to retire, the MG42 spoke again, another British PBI fell and Pringle felt a sharp stinging sensation in his lower arm, his hand going numb with a curious tingling sensation that started to burn and hurt like hell. Swearing like a man possessed somehow Pringle extracted his men despite the zipping hornets of death zipping through the underbrush (see below):

How he had not been killed Pringle simply did not know, but the burst of Bren from the fire-base house brought him to his senses. There was still a job to be done. "Route one" was closed but Second Squad still stood a fighting chance to be able to 'flank right'. However yet another German squad armed with a MG42 barred the way.

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