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Allied AAR: TRtE Mini Battle 2 – take the bridge


IanL

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Here is the briefing as provided by @kohlenklau:

CMPzC The Road to Eindhoven Mini-Battle 2 (ALLIED BRIEFING): 18.9.1944, 0610. About 450 meters south of the bridge over the Dommel River....Weather: warm, gentle wind from the south. Looks to be a lovely day brewing...

 

Your mission is to proceed up the road and capture the Dommel River bridge intact and get across and on towards Valkenswaard. This is in preparation for XXX Corp's later attack on Eindhoven.

 

You are British Army Lieutenant Ronald Jeremy of 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards. In just a few minutes you and your Sherman V "Black Sod" will be one of the first headed up the road to Eindhoven as your 2 Troop is the point for the entire 3rd Squadron this morning. You are down to just 2 tanks (including yours) this morning. As your escorts, you have a rifle platoon on foot…the poor bastards. Not poor because they're on foot, better down and out there than inside a big green target your lads always say, but poor because they drew the short straw to be in the lead as well. You look up the road to see “Broadsword” ahead of you and give a slight wave…"Back in the fight for more, sir!" cheers Sergeant Hennessey over the intercom as he waves back at you. You glance to your right as your tank slowly passes "Bollocks"...<thinking that WAS Lovelace's Sherman!>....still slightly smoking from yesterday. But there is no time for sentiment.

 

Yesterday 17.9.1944, was the start of Operation Market-Garden. The Division stepped out in fine fashion with the Irish Guards in the lead. It started off smoothly but in a flash that all changed. Casualties were heavy among some fine friends and the brew ups outnumbered the tanks which just had minor damage. The O-Group with Captain Ferguson was short and to the point: "Advance slowly towards the bridge over the Dommel. Infantry on foot shall accompany the tanks and scout the sides of the road for enemy troops. 25 pounder light fire on pre-call at standard linear spread. At T=3 minutes, vehicles and troops pause at Phase Line Fox, T=8 minutes same pause at Phase Line Squirrel, T=13 minutes pause at Phase Line Badger. XXX Corps wants casualties kept low so let the artillery do its job and then press forward slowly each time. All units should proceed slowly as to not get ahead of the creeping barrage. Seems too dark but RAF Tiffies should be on call with the ALO at Brigade HQ on Channel Baker Three. Purple Smoke for marking any targets for air support gentlemen. Dutch Underground reports that Jerry has pulled back beyond the Dommel and all the troops in the Valkenswaard area are 3rd rate blokes. Any questions? Good hunting Ron. Give 'em hell for yesterday!

 

Plan:  Your forces will arrive on the small map in stages to simulate the arrival of your troop moving slowly along the road. Sergeant Hennessy is in “Broadsword” and will be 5 minutes ahead of you along with some infantry and a forward observer party. You arrive at T=5 with more infantry. CAPT Ferguson in “Bugger” will be 5 minutes behind you. Stay on the road with your Shermans. It is unknown if the roadsides are mined. Additionally, some of the ground is soft and the tanks may bog. Move forward at slow if necessary with pauses for your artillery prep fire but do not stop as you engage any defenses in the area. Continue forward, the bridge must be taken.  Control the ground troops carefully to clear the roadsides.

Primary Objective: The bridge is our objective. Destruction of bridge defenses will gain points as well as the elimination of German engineers who will attempt to blow the bridge with explosives. Specific accomplishments will be reflected in your final game end scorecard. The artillery plan is formulated by the XXX Corps Ops Boss. You are not authorized to adjust or ceasefire. Hit Alt-J to read the remarks on the Phase Lines for the timing of the advance. Keep on schedule, not ahead nor behind!

 

This battle is primarily for fun and as a change of pace from the normal set-piece battles of CMPzC Operations. I hope you enjoy it.

 

And the tactical map:

 

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Figure 1: Briefing map

 

The plan is straight forward.  I will follow the guidance I have been given and move up according the to the rolling barrage timetable.  As I go I will clear the road edges and eliminate or take prisoner any enemy I see along the way.  Once I get to the bridge I will attempt to secure it and the nearby buildings but I will not have much time.

 

Sgt. Jameson’s tank is in the lead with the lead squads of our infantry support.  Next to him is the still smouldering Sherman from yesterday’s attempt to push through.  This whole thing is getting under way before dawn so it is quite dark at the moment. 

 

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Figure 2: It is still really dark

 

Let us try that again with the artificial lights on.

 

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Figure 3: Sgt Jameson's tank

 

Here is the view from the other side of the road.  In between those buildings up there is the goal – the bridge.

 

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Figure 4: View of the bridge from the other side of the road

 

Lt. Ron Jeremy looked out from the top of the tank he could not see very far because it was still dark.  He could make out Stg Jameson’s tank and the platoon of infantry that was to lead with them but that was pretty much it.  He really only had a short nap of a few hours before getting ready for today’s action.  He was tired but driven.  He landed with the Guards in Normandy and had been grinding away ever since.  It felt like forever but as this latest operation had begun he allowed himself to feel some hope that things might be over soon.  If they could succeed at this, the war could be over in a matter of months.  He even believed it might be possible. Yesterday was tough, as tough as any other bad day.  They had failed to meet the schedule right out of the gate and his platoon was down to just two tanks.  Now they had a chance to make it up. To avenge some of the losses of yesterday. He was determined.  He watched as Stg. Jameson pulled out with the lead infantry and hoped today would be better.

 

A few minutes later the radio crackled to life:

 

BLACK SOD, THIS IS BROADSWORD...SIR, THERE'S A JERRY PRIVATE UP HERE OFF TO MY RIGHT TRYING TO SURRENDER!..

 LT JEREMY COULD HEAR THE ARTILLERY PREPS COMING OVERHEAD, THEY SEEMED TO BE ON SCHEDULE AS HIS TANK SLOWLY MOVED FORWARD...

 

And with that we begin!

 

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I will answer that one. Sorry fellas, I had brainstormed 4 mini-battles and this was number 2 but became the first one to take wings.

We'll see if the other 3 see the light of day before the real battles of the Operation begin. :D

 

Enjoy!

 

Smashing good job here Ian! Thank you. :D

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Minute 15-14: Initial situation

 

Sgt Jameson’s tank and the forward elements of Lt. McDougal’s platoon (his HQ team, on squad and a couple of  FO teams) are on the map edge waiting for the first phase of the rolling barrage to end.  Once it does they will begin to creep along the road.  Here is the goal – the bridge itself on the way to Eindhoven.

 

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Figure 5: The bridge

 

As the turn ends the final rounds from the first phase of the barrage are ending too.  They move out next turn.

 

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Figure 6: Final rounds land

 

Lt. John McDougal was right where he always was near the front.  When he landed on the beaches as the senior sergeant in his platoon he lead the first men into the water.  That was how he liked it.  That was where he was supposed to be.  His company CO insisted that he could no longer be the first man forward, and he knew he was right, but he was never too far away from the front of his platoon.  Becoming an officer was never his goal but he was a natural leader and the men in his platoon where happy with the choice when the time came.  Lt. John McDougal never liked moving up in the day light so pre-dawn assaults were his thing but something about this morning he did not like.  Perhaps it was the odd chill in the air, perhaps it was the action from yesterday that had not gone well.  He pushed the feelings aside and ordered his platoon forward to protect Sgt Jameson’s tank as they moved down the road.

 

 

Minute 14: Orders

 

The orders are simple: split the squad keep the Bren gun team back and send the other two teams ahead of the tank on the road edges.  One of the FO team will move off to the East slightly to a cratered area for some cover.  No one is to stay near the brewing Sherman.

 

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Figure 7: Setup along the road

 

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Also there is one small continuity error I made. Too many late nights this past week. In my initial briefs to Ian, the tank Sergeant was named Hennessy after a military service member I personally served with over 30 years ago. I was just wanting to use Irish sounding names. Then somehow when at midnight I made the editor "rename" entry it became Jameson after the Irish whiskey. I really apologize. I like to do top quality work. Never a typo, never a goof. But this one and maybe a few others slipped by. Gomen Nasai!

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Minute 14-13:

Nothing much happens.  The infantry take up positions around the front of the tank and slowly move forward.  An abandoned AT gun is spotted on the right side of the road.
 

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Figure 8: Found Abandoned AT Gun

 

Clearing the road sides as they go the infantry move forward a bit. 

 

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Figure 9: Out front

 

No artillery actually fell this turn the next phase of the barrage will arrive in two minutes. The barage on Phase line fox just ended and the artillery for phase line squirrel is due in two minutes.
 

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Figure 10: Overview
 

Minute 13: Orders

The orders are simple.  Two teams leap frog each other along the sides of the road while the tank moves slowly behind them.  The Bren team will cross the road to cover the FO team as they check out the abandoned AT gun.  Lt. Douglas will follow close behind his lead troops next to the tank.
 

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Figure 11: Orders

 

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Minute 13-12: Found Them
 

Sgt Jameson calls in the German offering to surrender.  “BLACK SOD, THIS IS BROADSWORD...SIR, THERE'S A JERRY PRIVATE UP HERE OFF TO MY RIGHT TRYING TO SURRENDER”  Finally some traction he thought.  Then came the call from Pvt O’Brien “AT Gun 2 O’clock”.  Sgt Jameson spotted it almost right away.  Crap, this close how come we are still alive?  Then he realized why.  The artillery had done its job and the gun was tilted to one side looking broken.  Not taking any chances they ignored the surrendering German and fired on the AT gun position.

 

Lt McDougal’s lead teams move up the right side and the left side of the road while he follows behind the left hand team next to the tank.
The FO team accepts the surrender of the German private and spots an AT gun crew next to their disabled gun.  They open fire.

 

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Figure 12: AT Gun Spotted

 

Sgt Jameson spots the At Gun at the same time and directs his gunner to let them have it.
 

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Figure 13: AT Gun at 2 O'clock

 

The tank fire is effective but one survivor escapes and runs.  The Bren crew opens up.
 

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Figure 14: Fire on the Stragglers

 

Off in the distance the lead members of the platoon spot an enemy MG and start firing at them. Lt McDougal calls up to Sgt Jameson to let him know that his men have spotted an MG team off to the right.
 

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Figure 15: MG Team Spotted
 

Minute 12: Orders
Just like in the plan – we move forward and destroy anything that we find along the way.  The Bren gun team and FO will deal with the running AT gun crew while the tank and the platoon’s left hand team fire on the MG team.
 

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Figure 16: Orders

 

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Minute 12-11: Forgot Them

 

The MG team starts loosing men right after the HE starts flying.

 

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Figure 17: Fire on MG Team

The Bren team cuts down the running remaining member of the AT Gun crew.

 

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Figure 18: Gun Crew Taking Fire
 
Meanwhile on point the right hand team spots an enemy MG way off in the distance on the other side of the bridge.
 

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Figure 19: More Enemy Spotted
 

Minute 11: Orders
The orders are again simple.  The tank will continue to fire on the remaining member of the MG team and after 30s or so it will continue along the road.  The Bren Gun team will move up to where the lead team spotted the enemy near the bridge in case he needs to be suppressed.  Lt. McDougal will move up to behind the left side team.
 

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Figure 20: Orders

 

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Also there is one small continuity error I made. Too many late nights this past week. In my initial briefs to Ian, the tank Sergeant was named Hennessy after a military service member I personally served with over 30 years ago. I was just wanting to use Irish sounding names. Then somehow when at midnight I made the editor "rename" entry it became Jameson after the Irish whiskey. I really apologize. I like to do top quality work. Never a typo, never a goof. But this one and maybe a few others slipped by. Gomen Nasai!

What?  You are using casual to your superior? 

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Y

So far so good.  The fire for effect was called for the next barrage so I have some moving up to get done but I'll only do that after eliminating threats I spot along the way.

Nice and systematic. Clearly you're not like Ken (c3k) with YOUR men! :D

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LOL no.  I tend to be very methodical but I try not to be slow either.  I very much like to follow @JasonC's advice: move up with scouts to find the enemy then only move to arrange a winning fire fight and use overwhelming firepower to kill the enemy.  No, messing around trying to close assault just get the guns on and blast em.  After there is no one left to kill scout forward to find more.  This mission is right up my alley.  I just hope I can be fast enough to secure the bridge...

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