That's right, i survived The Battle of the Bloody Ford. That crossing cost a lot of men their lives. Why do you want to hear about it? For what? Entertainment! I have a feeling you bit off more than you can chew, son.
Sure, I'll tell you the story, but not to entertain you. This story needs to be told, so's someone out there knows what their up against. People need to learn the mistakes that were made, so they don't happen again and get more kids killed.
The first mistake, and this one is unforgivable, was some piece of malarkey up at regiment gave us the wrong intel. No, it wasn't as if he simply read the wrong report. He read the map wrong! The map! He's an intel squirt and he doesn't know how to read a map! They told the captain he'd be advancing over a river and through Jungle which would offer us cover on both sides. If he'd told our Captain that that Jungle was actually swamp, things might have been different!
I've gone and gotten ahead of myself. *achem* Intel reported that the enemy had a Line of men located on the other side of this river, the north side to be precise. There was at least a detachment of B division troops north of the river, along with a few assorted teams, mortars, machine guns, a sniper, and a scout.
They'd set up a trench line around a trail exit labeled Obj. #5. Most of the enemies forces were set up around this trench-line. It gave them excellent sight lines. This covered the entire left flank and center of the river crossing. It was going to be a tough nut to crack. Watching the right flank was a bunker, trench, sniper, mortar spotter, and enough japs to shake a stick at!
There were a few differences between what we got from regiment and what we found. We simply wrote these off as mistakes or units that had moved out of the area. Yeah, that must be it.
Regiment told us about this bunker the enemy had set up on the right flank. They called it Objective #4. Don't ask me why those division pukes labeled the most important objective "#4," that's just how they do things. Anyway, they made a big deal about that. Told us if we secured objective #4 that we would have been able to make up for 3 days worth of attacks.
They also told us about other important locations in the area, that the enemy probably didn't know about. Told us to keep it secret. Said each of them wast worth 2 companies worth of marines if we could capture them. Well that set our head straight!
Well for the record, we had a lot going for us to deal with that nightmare! A full company of Elite 2nd Marines with mortars, flamethrowers, machine guns and BAR MGs. It was going to be a hell of a firefight!
We set up in 3 platoons, left, middle and center. The plan was to use the jungle close to the river as cover as we made our advance, throwing up a smoke screen for the actual river crossing, then when we get to the jungle on the other side, provide heavy fire and advance under it. First platoon on the left seemed to have the easiest time getting to the tree-line, so they got much of the heavy firepower.
The first problem was that the Japs planted booby traps on our left and right flanks, severely limiting our options.
It wasn't until we'd already set foot in the river that we started to realize...the other side was a Swamp! No way we could take up firing positions from in there! Sure it provided decent cover, but you can't support a machine gun tripod on naught but water!
First platoon on the left flank decided to make the best of it, and advanced out of the Swamp on the far left flank (Charlie6). Sure enough they hit a booby trap. Loads of wire strung out across the beach. Then that Idiot Sgt. Macgowan started laying out demolitions charges! He should have stayed put back in the jungle. After all, he's no use out there in the open! He's a good leader, been through two different island campaigns at least.
Something went wrong that day though, he kept trying to set up the demolitions to blow the wire out of the way for the other men. The enemy just wouldn't stop firing enough to give him time to set the charges. He died there on that beach, with first squad, a flamethrower, and the machine gun team that went out there with him. Poor sap. A small change in luck, and he would have been a hero destroying that wire so the rest of first platoon could surge through and get to the tree-line. As it was, however, he'll just be another name on the memorial.
About the same time, 2nd platoon was in reserve in the center, and 3rd platoon on the right flank was trying to make use of an opening in the wire. They had loaded up on smoke grenades and used them to good effect for the crossing. One of the damned things must have malfunctioned though, because it didn't hinder the enemy much, and a half-squad of guys got shot up in the river.
As it happened, Lt. DeMoss was a little more on top of things than Macgowan. He knew that staying in the jungle was worthless, but sitting around trying to get the wire out of the way was pointless too. He ordered the men out of the river and set forth towards the treeline. "Follow Me!" Those were his last words. At that moment a sniper opened up and picked him off in one shot. Must have been set up in the trees across the way, poor bastard. Never had a chance.
Enraged, his men charged a nearby enemy trench, guns blazing. The enemy must have been broken by the withering fire before those boys even got there, because they got beat something fierce! A whole squad and an enemy scout were destroyed in that fight. From the trench, they spotted the snipers post (position Kilo2 on your map), and 1st squad went after him, to avenge the LT. Oddly, the sniper seemed to relish a good hand to hand fight, because he advanced on them! Got to give it to the boys though, they were smart enough to fix bayonets without anyone telling them to. They set that sniper to rights, and that was that.
That squad managed to pull itself together and slip right past the enemy, capturing the important territory of obj. #1 in the process! I'm told they must have destroyed at least 2 ammunition depots when they slipped behind the lines. When we sent word to regiment that we'd broken through, they sent us reinforcements for a job well done!
Well now the right side was in good shape, but it was still being watched over by a bunker with a very serious Jap commander, a squad, and a mortar team. Our last squad on that right flank just decided to sit tight in the trench, to prevent anyone foolishly running across the open to re-capture objective 1.
About this time we got a radio report from Regiment that told us they had cracked the Jap's codes and received radio reports that increased the value of all the objectives by 1 order of magnitude! Each objective was now classified as a 3 importance, except for #4, which was classified 6 importance! Time to get moving!
Well, 2nd platoon was the only coherent section of our line left and they made way up into the sqamp in the center, hoping to break the enemy trenchline on the left, but not having much hope.
As if in answer to their prayers, Regiment called down to say they had air support in the area, and would we need use of it? "HELL YES!" we replied, and a fighter-bomber started a bombing run on the center trench that contained a machine gun nest, at least a squad of B division guys, and one of the commanders.
You should have seen it, it was beautiful! Perfect release! Perfect drop! It effectively destroyed the trench and produced quite a few casualties. Cpl. Salkovics saw this from the jungle and told the men to advance out onto the beach to get in firing position (Easy6, Fox5). He wasn't as stupid as MacGowan, he stayed right behind them in the swamp, so he was safe enough to construct firing groups and continually punch at the enemy.
Simultaneously, a squad from first platoon advanced out of the jungle on the left flank, got past the wire that doomed their pals, and got into firing positions from the beach(Dog6).
For what seemed like forever, but was probably only a few seconds, nothing happened. Then our side unleashed a hail of bullets that could only be described as a firestorm. Our fire-group in the middle was ordered to sustain machine gun fire as much as possible to try and kill the broken, suppressed occupants of the jungle where there had formerly been a trench (Easy4). Simultaneously, the boys from first platoon also sustained their fire as long as posible, and they had some amazing marksmenship to boot!
Thse fire attacks were at least an 11 or 12 out of 10 in my book. Yet, somehow, beyond all hope, the Japs suffered narry a loss! Sure, some of them got suppressed again, but nobody broke. Those were definitely tough bastards.
We traded shots over the next couple of minutes and the flamethrower that came over the river with 2nd platoon made short work of a closer trench that still had an enemy squad in it (Fox4). Now either that Jap commander was a slow learner or was hoping to get in for some hand to hand combat, but he advanced right into the trench that we had just fried up with our flamethrower! We managed to break them with fire and brimstone, and push our way up to objective #5, where another squad had moved in to defend. We made short work of him, and took the objective.
Now it was about this time that we thought, "maybe we can get something out of this FUBAR mission!" Unfortunately, the Japs had other plans.
Do you remember i said it looked like there were less Japs than had been originally spotted by Regimental scouts? Those bastards had snuck right across the river under our nose, and infiltrated our lines! They made short work of the mortar team guarding objective #2 (King9), and took it from us! Our side of the river! We still had some assorted squads and teams from each platoon in the middle of crossing the river, but they were too far away to help!
It felt like sudden death for at least 3 lifetimes now, and the clock was ticking. Night was almost upon us. If we didn't finish taking these objectives and rooting out the Japs, we'd be in really bad shape.
However, the reinforcements sent by Regiment when we'd broken through the right flank had arrived some time ago, and were awaiting orders nearby objective 3. Then, some guy named Hoss, who would only say he was there to save the day, joined the boys south of the river. Things were looking up! With those forces we could protect objective 3 and retake objective 2! We were so close to victory, just 10 more [minutes]!
Seeking some extra benefit, the squad from first platoon that helped secure objective 5 made a break for the trail leading up north, killed an enemy reinforcement, then disappeared into the jungle. They say that squad single-handedly killed a whole platoon of guys, 3 whole squads, while they were behind enemy lines. Caught 'em all at dinner, they never stood a chance.
But darn'it! It was too late! Even though there were only 4 enemy units left in our area, the sun set, and not even Hoss can see in the dark.
Regiment tried to spare us. Called it a stalemate. But we knew it was really the Japs that had won. Victory was within our grasp, 3 more minutes and I'm sure we'd have attained a winning position!
But, like i said, this story is about learning things. If you take anything away from me, let it be this:
Swamp is a bitch. You can hide in it, but you can't fire from it.
Commanders: Never leave cover unless you have to! You can still direct fire from 30 meters back. Sure, you may not be quite as effective at organizing the fire, but your too damned important to get yourself killed!
When you overwhelm your opponent in numbers, keep a few guys back to defend the vital exit points and objectives. Those Japs are sneaky bastards. If we'd had more there, we might have won the game.
Don't wait in the open in a wire hex for 5 turns for the enemy to discard so you can use demolitions! Murphy's law and all...
Did i mention she rolled an 11 with that sniper when she killed my leader? I had a 7 smoke hindrance in that hex! She had a 28 FP attack after the hindrance! ugh! Even the initiative couldn't help me, as I'd already used it to try to save the left flank...
- Last edited Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:47 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:47 pm
Re: The Battle of the Bloody Ford
Why are there Japanese units on the Casualty track? If this is Scenario C, the Japanese are in Banzai posture, and eliminated Japanese units go on the next space of the time track (to enter as reinforcements) not on the casualty track (17.2 (c))
Edit....or was this a random scenario you played, and not Scenario C out of the playbook. (I was going by just the map, but the Allied leaders you quote aren't in Scenario C, I began to suspect the RSG.)
- Last edited Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:14 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:10 pm
Re: The Battle of the Bloody Ford
Yup, it was an RSG, perhaps i should clarify in the title if i can...
I was going to buy OverText but I didn't know what to say with it!
Sweet AAR! I love the stories that come out of this game.