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Subject: Mission 4 -- 2/3/B/1-506PIR rss

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John Cobb
United States
Conway
Arkansas
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Session Reports for this campaign
Mission 1
Mission 2
Mission 3
Mission 4
Mission 5


Unit designation: 2/3/B/1-506PIR (2nd squad, 3rd platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment)

SSgt. Dansby
Sgt. Hicks
PFCs Barsatto, Tembley, Apone and Finch
Pvts Messick and Morgan

From Dansby's personal journal: What genius back at HQ plans these things? Didn't they learn from Normandy that night drops behind enemy lines never go as planned?

Preface: The U.S.is about to launch a response to the German's latest counter offensive. 2nd squad with its two newbies is tasked with a predawn parachute insertion into a small hamlet. Their mission is to capture two bridges intact for the coming U.S. spearhead. All weapons and ammo too heavy to be carried by troops on the jump (BAR, Bazooka, ammo) are to be dropped in a crate with its own parachute.

Phase 0: Insertion
The drop is a catastrophe. Drifting in from the east, the gusting winds scatter the troops. Sgt. Hicks suffers head trauma and dies after being slammed into a building. The first incident in a string of horrendous luck. Tembley and Finch manage to drop down on the crossroads. It's hard to imagaine a worse position. Not only are they completely exposed in a high visibility area while encumbered with their 'chutes but the commotion alerts 2 Germans to the north (63,83) and 1 to the south(93). Tembley's automatic rifle, which he desperately needs at the moment is in the crate far to the south with Apone. Barsatto actually lands close to the objective but he is isolated from the rest of the squad.



Phase 1: Caught in the crossfire
Before they can do anything, Tembley and Finch are caught in a vicious crossfire. German (83) opens up with a machine pistol wounding Tembley. German (93) sprays wildly with his machine pistol before lobbing a grenade that incapacitates Finch and suppresses Tembley. The mission has just started and 2nd squad has already taken major casualties. Dansby and Apone are working to free themselves from their parachutes. Messick and Morgan are both shaken and tangled in their lines. Neither takes any significant action.

To the west, Barsatto cuts loose his parachute and heads for the nearest cover but a German sentry (51) is already there. Barsatto moves to the side of the building to break LOS but in doing so he alerts another sentry (6). Barsatto desperately dives for cover in the treeline. Fortunately, the German sentry is just as spooked and seeks cover in the building.

Back in town, German sentry (93) continues laying down suppression fire on the intersection while the German officer (63) and Aide-de-camp (83) move north out of the building where a Kubelwagen is parked. Dansby finally clears his parachute as the German Aide starts the Kubelwagen. Dansby tosses a grenade which lands on target but continuing the streak of bad luck it does absolutely no damage to either the vehicle or the officer standing beside it. He is preparing to fire when a German sentry (17) fleeing from the adjacent building nearly runs into him. The veteran U.S. sergeant makes quick work of the startled sentry (KA17).



Phase 2: Becoming the aggressor
From his position in the treeline, Barsatto has a perfect view as the roadway bridge is demolished by preplanted German charges. Guessing that the building to his west holds the demo switches and knowing the last bridge must be protected, Barsatto rushes the building and tosses a grenade. The effect in the confined space is devastating as both German sentries go down. (IF51,IF6) [NOTE: if there had been any witnesses I would give Barsatto a Bronze Star.]

The German sentry (93) in town continues to lay down fire on the wounded Tembley with only a brief respite as he clears his jammed machine pistol. To the north, the Aide-de-camp (83) fires wildly at Dansby from the vehicle while exhorting the panicked officer to get in. Dansby is able to wound the officer (WF63) but it doesn't stop him from joining his aide in the Kubelwagen. The vehicle immediately pulls away headed west. Seeing the Kubelwagen fleeing, the German sentry in town fires one last parting shot at Tembley then abandons the position and hurries west.

Messick and Morgan finally rally themselves and start cutting free of their parachutes.




Phase 3: The best laid plans...
As the Kubelwagen speeds away, Dansby tries to bring it under fire but his weapon jams. After clearing it, he moves up to support the wounded Tembley who is still tangled in his 'chute. Morgan is joined by Messick and the bazooka-carrying Apone.

As the German sentry approaches his position, Barsatto takes him under fire but the horrendous luck continues as his weapon jams. While he is distracted with the malfunctioning weapon, the sentry (93), now out of ammo, charges. Barsatto flinches expecting a grenade but the sentry dives through the window instead. The two roll in vicious hand-to-hand before the sentry gets the advantage and takes Barsatto out. The sentry then activates the switch blowing the railway bridge.

The squad advances west just far enough to confirm that the bridges are blown. With the mission a failure and his squad decimated, Dansby orders a withdrawal.




Post mission analysis:

Another mission where unlucky rolls gave me no chance at success. Barsatto should have easily been able to hold a fortified position against an out-of-ammo opponent standing in the clear. Instead of easily protecting the bridge, he gets killed.

Losing Hicks, Tembley and Finch on insertion hurt bad. Besides Dansby and Barsatto, the rest of the troops were low initiative units continually out of command. They felt more like green draftees than highly trained and motivated paratroopers. It also hurts that I lost a lot of CPs on the dead troopers also. Hicks had been banking his and was up to 5. Barsatto was at 4. Three dead and one wounded. That is the largest butcher's bill I've paid yet (and hopefully ever).

I've never had so many weapons jam on a mission before nor so many 0s and 1s when a trooper was rolling for damage inflicted. Dansby made a beautiful throw with his grenade (roll of 0) then followed with hideous rolls for 0,1 on damage. At one point, I rolled three 9s in a row when firing at a German sentry. It is the closest I have ever come to feeling like a malevolent entity was altering the dice.

Another brutally tough mission that leaves me wondering why I keep coming back. But come back I will. I have to know if any original members of the squad will survive to the end. I have to believe that my luck will turn and the next mission will end in success. I mean, my luck has to turn at some point, doesn't it? Right? Right?
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Ruben Rigillo
Italy
Roma
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Dang parachutes!
I remember many many years ago one of my man hanged on the steeple!
Why not replay your missions with a fresh squad?
I used to do them in chronological order....
And it looks like you have to discover more and more

You reports are very well written and illustrated.
Thanks!
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John Cobb
United States
Conway
Arkansas
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Thanks. I'm enjoying writing up the session reports almost as much as playing the missions.

My enjoyment increased dramatically once I accepted that this game is much like B-17: Queen of the Skies: you don't play the game as much as go along for the ride to see where it takes you.
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Eric Smith
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Albuquerque
NM
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Do not despair, you had just too much bad luck - it will turn.

Eric
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Dale C
United States
Brewer
Maine
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Qwirz wrote:
Dang parachutes!
I remember many many years ago one of my man hanged on the steeple!
Why not replay your missions with a fresh squad?
I used to do them in chronological order....
And it looks like you have to discover more and more

You reports are very well written and illustrated.
Thanks!

Replying four years later, but today I had one miss the steeple but was shot (incap) while parachuting down and then he landed in the river. Talk about bad luck.
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