This is report from the mission “Bloody St. Mick” from the solo WWII wargame “Ambush!”
Assault on St. Michaux Road
They weren’t the best squad I had… they were the only squad I had. If I’d had my druthers, I would have held out for a more experienced team, but there wasn’t time. We did our best to outfit them with whatever equipment we could, and sent them on their way. While the mission didn’t go as smoothly as planned, I take full responsibility for any mistakes that may have been made by the men.
I managed to roll only 30 squad points, the bare minimum. Luckily, I got 46 weapons points, and picked up a couple of BARs for the commanders, Andelman and Boris. This was my real play-through after a botched attempt a few days prior, so there were numerous tactical mistakes, plus a couple minor of rules errors.
This report is pieced together from the various accounts of the surviving squad members, as well as the testimony of the British pilot the team recovered from the wrecked fighter. Operations commenced at daybreak, and the squad entered from the north.
Lieutenant Andelman and Private Gooch entered east of the river, followed closely by Cutter and Eggers, two buck privates. Sergeant Boris led Private Huckleberry into the operational area just west of the river, flanked by the other two privates – Dagwood and the kid they named ‘Flash’. The four pairs were within shouting distance of each other, and leapfrogged from cover to cover.
Andelman spotted an enemy in the woods to his left, and opened fire with his Browning. He caught the soldier unaware, dropping him with a single round.
Incapacitated soldier: 1 VP
An enemy sniper in the woods between the east and west teams spotted Dagwood, and took a few shots. Dagwood and Flash returned fire blindly, hitting nothing but trees. Hearing the commotion, two more enemy soldiers to the south revealed their positions. Dagwood caught one with a lucky shot, wounding him. Boris and Huckleberry advanced cautiously, hoping to attack the enemy positions, but Boris’s rifle jammed as he attempted to fire. Huckleberry bought him time to clear it, with a close shot that panicked the sniper. The favor was returned a few moments later, when both of our men hit the deck due to heavy fire.
All the Germans are in woods hexes, and keep alternating between crouching and lying prone. At this point I can hope to roll ones or zeroes, or get a little closer, catching them when they pop up for shots. Boris has a BAR, which gives him a bit more range to hit the sniper from his position. I bring the grunts closer to the pair to the south. In hindsight, I should have fired upon the pair with Boris, to get the +1 bonus for his automatic weapon. Of course, it didn’t help that Boris spent a lot of time jamming his gun and being panicked.
As the teams west of the river exchanged fire with the three active enemies, Andelman led his men slowly through the woods to catch the sniper off guard. An overzealous Eggers strayed too close to the edge of the woods, and the sniper wounded him with a well-placed round.
I had intended to assault the sniper with Cutter and Eggers, but was hit by ending my turn adjacent to the sniper. It was the first time my guys had been so close to the enemy, and the first time I’d guys has been in LOS due to intervening woods hexes. Plus I didn’t realize how good the adjacent hex bonus was.
By this point, the battlefield was split between Boris and his three men fighting the two enemies to the south, and Andelman’s group creeping up to the sniper.
The team suffered their first loss of the mission when Flash foolishly left his cover to join Boris and Huckleberry in theirs. The former track star didn’t live up to his name, and caught a bullet in the temple just as he slid behind Huckleberry.
This was my first really big mistake, as I moved Flash into cover without time to crouch. I didn’t realize until then that cover was useless to a standing soldier. Oops. I did this sort of thing a couple of times, but this was where it really hurt me.
Unaware that their squad mate had just been killed, Gooch and Eggers dove upon the sniper and attempted hand-to-hand combat. Faced with two GIs, the German panicked. In an instant, Gooch slit his throat. This was not the last hand-to-hand victory for Private Gooch on the day, and he has been commended for his accomplishments. It almost makes up for his spotty record to this point… almost.
Killed sniper: 2 VP. I received my copy of Ambush from eBay, and was missing a few counters. The only important one was for US Soldier G. I took a blank green counter from another game I had, and made standing and crouching sides for him, hence the “spotty record”. I kind of wanted to get him killed off ASAP, since his counter looked crappy, but he ended up being a beast for me on this mission. Now he’s my favorite. Go figure.
Following his fallen comrade Flash’s idea, though much more carefully, Dagwood reached Boris’s position. Boris had another jam with his rifle, but Dagwood’s timing was excellent, and he managed to wound the second enemy in the woods. Boris, Huckleberry, and Dagwood were now together in cover, pinned by the two Germans.
Andelman’s group, fueled by the victory over the sniper, approached through the woods. Private Cutter attempted to flank the enemy position, but his M1 jammed right as he had the enemies dead to rights. Seeing his predicament, one of the German soldiers gunned him down, incapacitating him. The other enemy, seeing Eggers and Gooch approaching, threw his weapon down in surrender.
Captured soldier: 1 VP. Of the three gun jams during the mission, this was the most costly, as I had the advantage and had brought Cutter adjacent to the enemies. While it would have given me a pretty good chance to wound one of them before they could act, the situation was reversed, and Cutter was an easy target. This was also weird, because Cutter’s adjacency caused one German’s self-preservation check to force him to surrender, while the other’s preservation check told me to roll a new action number and use a regular paragraph. I hadn’t expected that, for sure.
Private Gooch then leapt into the fray, killing the German who had caught Cutter off balance.
Killed soldier: 1 VP. I told you Gooch was the man.
Before the team had time to tend to their wounded, two more German soldiers responded to the battle and revealed themselves within a building on the opposite side of St. Michaux road. At this point, details are tough to determine. A good amount of fire was exchanged between the combatants, Andelman took a wound, and Dagwood was knocked out of commission trying to reach him in the woods.
It appears that Boris and Huckleberry were trying to make their way up the hill towards the building, Andelman was lobbing grenades in the rough direction of the enemy, and Gooch and Eggers were looking for an opening to dash across the road and jump on the enemies.
The two Germans in the building were activated when my guys entered the hex to kill what would’ve been the last active enemy of Rounds. I thought that was a neat bit of scripting from the people who designed the mission. There was a bit of a slowdown here, as the Germans in the building were hard to hit. Andelman couldn’t use his BAR, nor could Boris, who was also wounded. They were both by themselves in their hexes, so there wasn’t anyone to take their guns. Poor planning on my part. I wasn’t sure the best option, so I hoped grenades would do something.
Boris found the target with one of his grenades, and one of the enemies was wounded in the blast. His ally was panicked by the explosion, and Gooch and Eggers took the opportunity to sprint across the road and enter the building. Before the enemies could recover, Gooch and Eggers finished them off.
Killed soldier (Gooch), incapacitated soldier (Eggers): 2 VP. Is there nothing Gooch can’t kill? Boris had no real chance to hit his target, and I would need a zero. Between Andelman and Boris, I had four grenades, and it took three of them before one found the mark. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done had the grenade plan failed. Probably take potshots until I ran out of ammo, then charge with everybody.
Mission parameters stated that in order to secure the area, the team would need to secure buildings on either side of the river, and get a pair of eyes on the hill to the south east, overlooking the road. Leaving Andelman and Boris in the secured buildings, Gooch, Eggers, and Huckleberry took the automatic weapons and headed towards the unsecured building. They had no way of knowing that they’d wandered into a minefield, and Huckleberry was knocked out in the blast. Gooch was wounded, and was helped through the field by the unscathed Eggers.
I had earned 7 VP now, but would lose a ton for having my soldiers incapacitated. Bloody St. Mick has a win condition that gives 4 bonus VP, and ignores the loss of points due to incapacitation. Counting the death of Flash, I was going to be short – I needed 13, but would only have 9.
After getting Gooch in position, Eggers skirted the base of the hill to an area where the team had earlier spotted a British Typhoon fighter crash land. He rescued the pilot, and the two men climbed the hill to watch the road until reinforcements arrived.
I was wary of sending Eggers by himself to gain some more VPs, but needed the other three active guys to be in those particular positions to win. I couldn’t climb the hill, because that would cause the mission to end immediately. I had no idea what the wrecked fighter paragraph was going to entail, but the pilot was worth 2 VP, and worth 2 more if he survived the mission. Since I just had to pop up the hill with him, it was practically automatic.
Flash’s family has already been notified of his death, and I have put in for commendations for Privates Gooch and Eggers. The squad is recovering from their wounds now, and are eager to go out again. Especially Gooch. He’s a madman.
Seriously. Gooch is awesome.