Friday, March 16, 2012
Audet Ambushed: A Platoon Forward Game, Part Three
Normandy, June 8, 18:20 hours
The crack of grenades was still ringing in his ears as Audet took stock of the situation. Matthieu's rifle section began to secure the hedgerow, while Pte. Leblanc checked the two prone forms left on the ground after the brief fight. One was clearly dead, but the other German was holding up his uninjured arm in an indication of surrender. Audet noticed that both Germans wore camouflaged smocks and helmet covers, unlike the ones he had seen previously, who wore their plain fieldgray uniforms. "Watch that one", he said to Leblanc.
Climbing down from the hedgerow on to the road, Audet saw Padre Huard praying by the carrier that had contained Matthieu's Bren section. The crew stood nearby, their heads uncovered. Looking into the passenger compartment, Audet saw two bodies, both covered with gas capes.
His Sten gun held loosely, Audet headed for the front of the ruined convoy, passing the burning truck in the centre of the column. It's cab was fully engulfed in flame. The crew of the lead truck were standing back from the flames, smoking cigarettes with expressionless faces. Beyond them, where the lead carriers had been ambushed, he saw Doc Armand kneeling and working beside a prone figure. Close by, two more men sprawled nearby, their battledress dusty. Dark brown stains surrounded the torn serge fabric where the Spandaus had caught them.
Cpl. Legros and several of his riflemen watched the doctor working. Audet didn't like the way they had left the road and hedgerows uncovered. He grabbed Legros' shoulder to get his attention. "Report."
"My Bren team. Arsenault and Gagnon are dead. LaRoche got one in the chest. Looks bad."
"OK. Secure this site. You and your men make sure the doc is covered. I'll call in for help. Where's Sergeant Beaulieu?"
Legros shrugged. "Dunno."
Back in the center of the column, Audet found his platoon sergeant sitting beside the road, smoking a cigarette, his eyes unfocused. One side of Beaulieu's face was splashed with drying blood.
"Is that yours?"
"I said, is that your blood, sergeant?"
Beaulieu shook his head, pointed to the carrier where the two bodies lay.
Padre Huard came up beside Audet. "I think he's in shock."
Audet pushed his helmet back and looked around. "Stay with him, Padre. Corporal Côté !"
Two section's leader trotted over to him. Audet was relieved to see that the man's eyes were alert behind his spectacles. "You're acting sergeant. Send two men with a stretcher up to help the Doc. Get the rest to secure this road until we get some help. I don't want to get hit again."
From there, Audet went over to his carrier to call his Company. He wasn't looking forward to speaking to the Major.
So the aftermath of the action is not great. For each soldier who got a killed result in TW&T, I rolled a 1d6, with the result of 1-2 lightly wounded, 3-4 seriously wounded, and 5-6 dead. The results are unkind. Two of Legros' One Section Bren team are dead, and the third is seriously wounded. Two of Matthieu's Three Section Bren team are also dead.
Since Sgt. Beaulieu's card only came up once at the end of the fight, my artistic license is that he was shocked into immobility during the fight. Having two men killed beside him evoked memories of the Great War, perhaps, hence his being incapacitated at the end.
For the Freeform Event at the end of the fight, Audet wants Sgt. Beaulieu removed from his platoon. That is a possible result on Platoon Forward's All Knowing Odds Table, but a "10" result means not now. That result isn't helped by Audet's abrasive personality and by his lack of success in the mission. Doc Armand thinks a day's rest is all the sergeant needs, and Major Charpentier agrees with the Doc. It looks as if Audet will be stuck with his crusty old sergeant for a while yet.
Now there are two rolls to be made on the Fixed Events table.
The first is a 5, Player Character. The subsequent roll is a 4, Character Noticed. A subsequent roll of 5 means that a squad leader has been noticed, and that squad leader turns out to be Legros. Legros has been noticed by his surviving section mates. His coarse personality does not help, but the roll is a "5" on a 1d6, so that is not a bad result. Turns out that what's left of his section thinks Legros has done a pretty good job of keeping them alive, and they blame Audet for their casualties.
The second Fixed Event roll is a 2, meaning Equipment. The result is a "5". meaning additional rounds of something. I decide that since Division has learned some lessons from its contact with 12th SS, extra PIAT anti-tank rounds will be issued. No 18 Platoon will get a case of three PIAT rounds to go with their PIAT and its six standard rounds. Someone will have to carry that gear.
Sadly, no replacements are available for No 18 Platoon for now.
Audet has limited opportunity to interact with Major Charpentier, but he senses that his Company Commander is acting cool to him. Audet knows thay Doc Armand and Padre Huard have spoken well of his conduct in the ambush, particularly during the melee in the hedgerow. However, he fears that Charpentier may have deflected any displeasure from the Colonel onto Audet's shoulders, rather than accept the blame for ordering a road move in an area that is still unsecured. Audet was hoping for some recognition for bringing back a prisoner from 21st Panzer Division, but Charpentier treated this as nothing very special.
Before he retires for the night, Audet draws up this roster for No. 18 Platoon.
Platoon Commander: Lt. Denis Audet with one soldier as a signaller with the platooon radio set.
Platoon Sergeant: Sgt. Beaulieu (ordered to rest for a day)
No 1 Section: Cpl. Legros and four soldiers, plus one soldier who is recovering from serious wounds. Audet has decided to use the section as a Bren team with one soldier to carry the platoon PIAT and others to carry the PIAT rounds.
No 2 section: Cpl. Côté and six men, plus one soldier recovering from serious wounds and two recovering from light wounds. Cote has the section organized as a two man Bren team and himself with four soldiers as the rifle team.
No 3 section: Cpl Matthieu and seven men. Matthieu has the section organized as a three man Bren team and himself with four soldiers as the rifle team.
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