This is a blatant example of frivolous geek gold spending.
I spent 100 geek gold and all I got was this lousy overtext.
This is the sixth campaign game in a series. The fifth one is here. I refer to my leaders by name, often omitting the troops with them for brevity. Greenwood is a 9-2, Truitt is a 10-2, and Burk is an 8-1.
For the last time before winter, I was still on the offensive, and rolled up Pockets yet again. Knowing better than to reroll an already determined mission, I went with it. So far, I'd had good luck with this mission, and I was hoping it stayed that way.
From FBE to EBE, boards 16 and 4 were set up with their numbers to the south. After three attempts to get at least 15 S?, 20 S? were set up in three clusters on board 16, and two on board 4. Without the grain, I was going to be advancing through an awful lot of open ground. I prayed for the weather die rolls to be in my favor.
Weather was Clear, EC were Moist, and there was a Mild Breeze blowing to the southwest, across my line of advance. Had it been two months later, I would have rejoiced at being able to use the mortars to lay a nice smokescreen in front of me. But unfortunately, I didn't get WP for them until '45. Unless I got some OBA early on, I'd have to settle for throwing smoke grenades in the movement phase.
I set Burk up on the far left with two of the bazooka teams. His job was to skirt the edge of board 16 and make his way to board 4, where he could come in across the flank and push any Germans back toward Greenwood and Truitt. Greenwood was in the center with one of the bazooka teams. Truitt was on the right, with the mortars, their spotters, and the last bazooka team between them. Greenwood was going to advance directly ahead, while Truitt inched across the open ground toward the woods on the right flank containing the largest concentration of S?, covered by the mortars.
Gusts happened immediately. There were no fires to spread and no smoke to disperse, so they didn't have any appreciable effect.
Everyone except the mortar teams kept concealment as they entered, because they had to use non-assault movement to enter woods while portaging the assembled mortars. I'd kept them assembled, as I wanted to start firing with them immediately. Fortunately, the lone S? that activated didn't hurt them with its defensive fire. However, the first MMC generated was a 6-5-8 squad, meaning I was facing SS again, just like the first time I played this mission. That did not bode well, given the open terrain.
German prep fire was ineffective. Truitt broke the SS units, while Greenwood and the mortars cleared a couple S?.
The mortars cleared another location, but one of them malfunctioned. Greenwood took out one of the SS units, and forced the other to rout upstairs. Truitt threw down smoke to cover his advance, and cleared another enemy position with advancing fire.
A dispatch rider showed up, entering at 4Y10 and heading for 4A5/A6. He was going around the long way, as he had to pass right by pretty much everybody I had. If I captured him, I could get some valuable information. He panicked, however, and didn't move this turn.
Greenwood eliminated the remaining SS half squad, while Truitt cleared another suspected enemy position. Truitt's attack, however, activated the German sniper, which broke both mortar crews.
Neither mortar crew rallied. Truitt again advanced through smoke, while Greenwood advanced slowly across the open ground using the wall around the 16L6 building as cover. Burk moved into an excellent position adjacent to the road, from where he could ambush the unsuspecting dispatch rider.
The mortar crews rallied. The dispatch rider moved along the road nonchalantly until Burk sprung his trap, killing him instantly. (A 42-2 attack is absolutely deadly. You should never ride a motorcycle adjacent to an entire U.S. paratrooper platoon.)
The mortar crews managed to repair the malfunctioned mortar. However, they panicked and didn't fire at anything. Truitt again advanced under cover of smoke. Greenwood made it to the 16L6 building.
Burk found the papers carried by the dispatch rider, and decided to hang onto them himself.
During the German turn, the other mortar malfunctioned. Then Greenwood panicked, and didn't fire on anything.
The malfunctioned mortar promptly became useless. I was down to one mortar now. I decided to keep the mortarless crew with the other mortar, just in case.
Truitt advanced into the woods, and Burk closed in on the suspected enemy positions. Greenwood more or less stayed put. Burk and Truitt grew concealment at the end of the turn.
On the German turn, Greenwood eliminated another S?. Every S? except the very first one had failed activation. With the measly four VP I'd accumulated so far, I wasn't actually going to win because the enemy VP bonus for remaining S? at the end of the game was going to easily outnumber my total. The papers probably weren't going to be enough to overcome that kind of difference.
Again, I eliminated a lot of S?, but only managed to activate a single half squad. If I could kill it, that would be another VP, but not enough to make up for the remaining S? still on the map. This game was going to be close.
The SS half squad fired at Greenwood, but they cowered and had no effect. Greenwood returned fire and eliminated them.
Greenwood, having eliminated all the S? and enemies with LOS to him, moved under cover of woods toward board 4. Truitt assault moved adjacent to the last S? on board 16, and it failed activation. Burk assault moved behind a hedge but within activation range of a couple S?. The first failed activation, but the second turned out to be a squad, leader, and MMG. Their fire broke Burk's entire platoon. Burk routed to the adjacent woods, out of LOS.
The Germans entrenched, but nothing else happened during their turn.
Burk rallied his platoon. However, he apparently didn't like what I was planning for him to do this turn, because he panicked.
Even though Burk didn't do what I wanted him to, I decided to go ahead and assault move Greenwood into range of the Germans. I lucked out, as their fire didn't even strip his concealment. He dropped concealment to fire, and managed to break the SS squad.
Truitt moved at speed toward the last remaining S? on the board, maintaining concealment by staying out of LOS. He advanced within activation range, and the S? turned out to be nothing.
Greenwood advanced back outside of LOS of the now broken SS to grow concealment.
The German leader rallied the SS squad. They decided to abandon their foxhole, and assault-moved west. Truitt opened up on them, CRed the squad and broke the survivors. (The half squad failed its MC by 6, and became disrupted due to ELR failure.) The leader stayed with the disrupted squad rather than routing away.
The Germans didn't rally. Truitt's prep fire wounded the leader and put them back under DM, and Burk and Greenwood surrounded them. Advancing fire eliminated the lot before they could surrender. Burk captured the foxhole, and Greenwood the MMG.
Nothing happened in these turns, but I had to keep playing them out in case a random event gave the enemy reinforcements before I finally rolled low enough to end the game. The game could have ended as early as turn 7, but it wasn't until the 9th end of game roll that I finally got a 2.
Since Burk survived, the papers made it out intact, giving me another 2 VP. The VP total wound up being 11 to 0 in my favor, quite a bit better than I had been expecting around turns 5-6. That was a strange victory, as I only had to fight 3 squads and a pair of leaders, one of whom I ambushed. Out of 20 S?, only 3 successfully activated. That made this one of the quickest sessions to date. Even counting all the time I spent doing the simultaneous write up, it was only about 4 hours total.
I really enjoyed the ability to use smoke grenades to cover my advance across the open ground. For the most part, it let me avoid activating S? by movement. I was looking forward to getting WP capability for my light mortars, so I could drop smoke directly on top of enemy positions.
Both Greenwood and Burk were up for promotion, but only Greenwood's came through. After hunting around in the leader compartment of my Plano for a 10-2, I replaced him with Suchar.
Being short only a half squad meant that I still wasn't going to get any MMC replacements. The MMG I lost 2 missions ago was finally replaced, although I was still waiting on the mortar.