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Coming Soon: Palma di Montechiaro

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Palma1.jpg

Palma2.jpg

Palma3.jpg

Palma4.jpg

This scenario is based on the battle of Palma di Montechiaro, 11 July 1943. Modelling the entire battle in full scale is difficult, due both to the size of the town and lack of specific resources relating to the battle. I have chosen to model a small segment of the town (based primarily on modern sources) and a portion of the forces engaged - elements of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry (part of 3rd Infantry Division), and the Italian 207th Coastal Infantry Division and 177th Bersaglieri Regiment.

A little background from the U.S. Army's official history:

The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry (Lt. Col. John A. Heintges), led the advance on Palma di Montechiaro early on 11 July. Crossing the Palma River bridge without incident, the battalion encountered heavy fire from Italian troops who occupied strong positions along a line of low hills just south of the town. Deploying his troops, building up a base of fire, and using supporting weapons to excellent advantage, Heintges pushed slowly ahead and drove the Italians into the town itself. As the battalion prepared to push into Palma around 1100, numerous white flags appeared on buildings in the town. Colonel Heintges dispatched a small patrol to accept the surrender. Unfortunately, civilians, not soldiers, had displayed the white flags, and the small American patrol came under fire. Two men were killed, another two were wounded. Enraged, Heintges gathered together ten men and personally led them across an open field to a building which seemed to house the heaviest fire. They reached the building safely, planted demolitions on the lower floor, withdrew a short distance, and set off the explosives. The blast signaled start of the attack, and the battalion swept into town behind its commander. The Palma defenders had been reinforced by a task force that had moved down from the Naro River, and heavy fighting erupted up and down the main street. For two hours the battle raged from house to house. Around 1300, having had enough, the surviving Italians began pulling out westward along Highway 115. Quickly reorganizing his battalion, Heintges followed in close pursuit, rapidly cleared the hills on the south side of the highway, and dug in there to await the rest of the combat team.

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Gorgeous town map.

Makes me wish for another flavor object -- one that really would make Italy come alive and the towns feel lived-in...

Clotheslines across the alleys -- some even with a bit of tattered laundry on them.

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Tables outside the cafe; some cars parked here and there; sleeping dogs and cats... Also, in a pristine new-looking town you'd expect people.

If the town now gets the benefit of massive bombardment with debris in the streets and burned out buildings etc. that would look really impressive.

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Funny. Today I was wondering when all the user-created scenarios would start appearing. And this shows up. Will be interesting to see how urban combat works in CMFI. Looks like it would be an nightmare with all the multi-story buildings.

Gerry

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It is going to be messy to fight in there. I've spent more time than I care recall going in and making sure that there are no unintended movement paths through adjoining walls, so movement is very much restricted. I'm still finishing up the map, so I haven't started playtesting the scenario, but I'm guessing it's going to be a very bloody fight.

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Looks really nice, Bimmer! I am glad to see a liberal use of flavor objects they help make the maps less static. I wish we had access to more.

Mord.

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Quick update on forces: on the Italian side there is some conflicting information, but looking through some things I believe it was in fact the 171st CCNN (Blackshirt) Battalion, not the 177th Bersaglieri Regiment as noted above. The CCNN battalions were sometimes organized as mobile forces on the bersaglieri pattern; I believe this is the case here, as sources indicate the 171st was part of 28th (Aosta) Division, which in turn was part of XII Corps mobile forces.

I will be using this formation in the scenario.

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For comparison, a contemporary photo of Palma di Montechiaro from the U.S. Army's official history.

USA-MTO-Sicily-p193.jpg

If anyone has any other photos of the town from that time period, or knows where to find them, I'd love to see them.

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Battle testing is underway.

Palma6.jpg

Palma8.jpg

Palma7.jpg

Palma5.jpg

In a week or so (maybe two), I'll be looking for two volunteers to play the final pre-release version of this one and do an ongoing AAR similar to the excellent one being produced by Bil Hardenberger and Normal Dude with "Clearing the Road to Niscemi". Watch this space.

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No fakes here. All the pics are taken at high zoom in-game. The shots are cropped and run through a few filters in GIMP, but that's it. I'm using FIL (I'd have to check the specific settings) for the film effects and adding a little blur and adjusting contrast.

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Yep, they are really nice; just look at the actual photo I posted above and you can see how close they are to the real thing. I just wish there was a way to add them to the modular buildings rather than just on the few independent ones.

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Beautiful screenies and map (although the shadows could use a little tweaking)! just gave me an intense urge to buy CMFI, but I want to release my little PTO project before spreading myself even thinner.

The "real" town shot actually reminded me of something I noticed in Tuscany; the extremely thick doors on "prewar" houses.... basically wooden gates, with bars. One doesn't simply run in and out of these doors if they're locked and barred, and there isn't an obvious way for squaddies to jimmy or shotgun a lock to get in -- you either need some serious HE or a vehicle as a battering ram.

I've longed for some kind of rules around such secure building doors and locked security gates (in high compound walls) since Ramadi days (e.g. you can always exit a building freely, but it could take infantry up to a minute to destroy a specified "heavy door/gate" without using a BLAST command). But I suppose that needs to go on the "if wishes were horses" list....

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Bimmer,

Most impressive! And that Priest rolling through would make a lovely target for some enterprising lad with a hand grenade.

Broadsword56,

So you want sheets as flavor objects, eh? I submit, then, that some should be dazzlingly white, with a bit of blood in the middle. Use sparingly!

Regards,

John Kettler

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.... if that enterprising lad then wanted to get his town intensively shelled by the irate artillery unit for no good purpose.

This actually happened: Fred Cederberg's excellent combat memoir The Long Road Home relates how a Canadian got his throat slashed by some locals (a mugging I think) in a village taberna and his unit then basically leveled the place with mortars; the CO papered over the incident. We Canucks can be right bastards if you offend our sense of fair play.... just ask the SS. No, never mind, you can't (without a Ouija board).

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Bimmer,

While not pics, I believe you'll find these awards of considerable interest, for they say something eloquent about the battle.

World War 2 Awards.com - SLAVIK, Francis A.

www.ww2awards.com/person/43062... 11 July 1943 in Palma di Montechiaro/Province of Agrigento, Sicily region, Italy . ... States Infantry in World War II, Keystone Print Inc., Brockton, Massachusetts, ...

World War 2 Awards.com - PIPER, Raymond H.

www.ww2awards.com/person/43144... 11 July 1943 in Palma di Montechiaro/Province of Agrigento, Sicily region, Italy . ... States Infantry in World War II, Keystone Print Inc., Brockton, Massachusetts, ...

World War 2 Awards.com - MACKLIN, Lenny A.

www.ww2awards.com/person/43143... 11 July 1943 in Palma di Montechiaro/Province of Agrigento, Sicily region, Italy . ... D. G., History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II, The Battery Press, ...

Regards,

John Kettler

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Bimmer,

If you don't have it, you need this book.

American Courage, American Carnage: 7th Infantry Chronicles: The 7th ...

By John C. McManus

Excerpts are available online, the writing's wonderful, and it specifically covers your battle (330-333) in the context of overall operations. Believe you'll recognize some names when you do.

Regards,

John Kettler

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I agree that entering buildings is far too easy. Worse, the independent row houses have doors on both ends, and even when you back them up to a modular building with a solid rear wall, the game allows movement between the two. It is, in essence, impossible to totally prevent movement between buildings if you use the independent buildings as part of a city block. I've done everything I can, but there are still places where movement is possible where I wish it weren't.

Those awards are indeed interesting, and certainly show it was not an easy fight, but I wish I could read the citations. I do not have that McManus book, but I'll have to look into getting it.

I will look at putting one or two of these shots in the screenshot thread.

Thanks for all the interest and comments - I hope the end product lives up to expectations.

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