Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hill 1234 Part Two

In which I continue I Company 3/39th's effort to clear Hill 1234 of German defenders.

I'm keeping my armor hidden by staying in the low ground as I move them up the slope. If I were the Germans I'd have AT guns in the woods overlooking the road. Any guns so positioned would have excellent side shots on the thin armor of these light tanks.

My scout teams near the top of the ridge. B Team of 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon hears activity in the scrub ahead.

It may be that the initial barrage wasn't enough to clear out any defenders of the North Ridge objective. Rather than risk scouts by moving them into an ambush, I move my FO up to join them and call fire on the suspected location from the company mortar section.

While waiting for the FO team to get into position, my scouts take a casualty. Another scout team, hiding further southeast along the ridge, spots more Germans in prepared positions.

These guys don't seem to have spotted my men yet, but they certainly are trying to!

No way I'm attacking across that open ground toward a prepared position. The FO team calls mortar fire on the first spotted position, and a 105mm fire mission on the dug in Germans. The mortar fire will arrive in six minutes, the 105s in four.

On my exposed flank, I want to get more eyes on those woods. I send the cavalry section's sniper team up to join my infantry scouts overwatching the road. Sniper teams tend to have better spotting abilities; maybe they'll spot something.

With the scout teams in place observing the objective, I cautiously advance the rest of their squads into supporting positions. Immediately after the artillery lifts I'm going to move my forces into position to build fire superiority over any remaining defenders and drive them off of the objective.

"The other countries have nice symbols, like stars and lions and sickles, we have skulls!" "Sickles aren't nice..." "Well they aren't skulls!  Look...are we the baddies?"
I can see one complete team of German infantry armed with an MG34 and a MP40 along with rifles. The fire my scouts took from the other position was rifle fire. I believe I've identified two thirds of a German infantry squad. The landsers I can see most clearly appear to be the MG team.

Of course, half a battery of 105s don't care if it's the MG team or something else. The first incoming rounds wound at least one landser and force the others to take cover.

The other team isn't suppressed by the incoming artillery and begins firing on one of my scout teams. Again, these look to be just riflemen. I can only see one; I suspect the others don't have LOS from their foxholes.

The mortar rounds start to fall now. I quickly move the rest of 2nd and 3rd platoons, two medium machine guns and a section of light tanks into position to assault the objective as soon as the barrage stops.

Poised to assault! I've tried to position the tanks so they're still hull down on their flanks. I'm hoping that between canister and machine gun fire from the tanks, MMG fire, and the combined fire of four squads of infantry, we'll clear what looks to be a single squad of German infantry from this objective quickly.

What concerns me is that I've yet to identify the position of the third team. I doubt they're suppressed and I'm guessing they're off to my right. If they can cover the approaches to the objective my infantry needs to cross, it could be bloody. I'm going to try and find that position with my scouts as quickly as I can.