by Alan Kirk
1000 6 June 1944 - South East of Chef-du-Pont, FranceMen from all units of the 507th and some from the 508th PIR reached the railroad station in the center of Chef-du-Pont with little opposition. A small but important bridge is to the southeast. Whilst the remainder of the force clears the town, you have been sent to clear the the road to the southeast of the station.
The players had two squads supplemented later by a third and their objective was to clear the buildings and secure the road so the main force could advance.
The first two squads decided to concentrate and advance on the right flank. They successfully crossed the crop field and hunkered down behind the hedgerow. As a few were pushing their way through to observe they were spotted by a lone German rifleman who opened fire. He missed and quickly ducked back into cover when the paras returned fire. One group then rushed across the road to the churchyard wall.
One man was sent to recon the church and found nothing but when another group popped up to take a look at the adjacent houses they came under fire again from the rooftop sniper; however, this time a BAR was in place and swept the German's window silencing the threat. They then advanced into the church.
With Germans obviously occupying some of the buildings on this side of the road, one squad decided to rush across the main road to try to outflank them. Unfortunately this took them straight across the front of an MG42 team emplaced on the cafe balcony at the far end of the village.
The charge was led by the man carrying the .30 cal and he was hit. The man carrying the tripod thought better of the advance and darted back to the cover of the field but a couple of the others made it across safely. With their only machine gun now stranded in the middle of a road swept by enemy fire things were not looking good.
The other groups continued their advance, one squad through the woods to the rear of the buildings and the other to try to clear the first building, the one occupied by the sniper. One man rushed forward, primed his grenade and tried to throw it through the nearest window. Unfortunately it ricocheted back and landed nearby! He clumsily threw himself to one side but, fortunately, was only stunned by the blast. The remainder of his team tried a more direct approach and assaulted the building neutralising the occupants.
The squad advancing through the woods moved into position to cover both the buildings and engage the MG team in the cafe. Unfortunately they were spotted and came under heavy fire, taking several casualties; however, whilst the MG42 was reloading they managed to neutralise its crew. Two Germans, reluctant to surrender their primary weapon, crept out of the cafe under cover and took over the MG. Meanwhile the other buildings were slowly being cleared.
The MG42 came back into action but despite cutting down several of the paras the new crew came under heavy fire and suffered the same fate as the first. The Germans were clearly coming off worst in the firefights, largely due to their poorer quality troops and several casualties were captured as the next building was cleared.
Having heard the exchanges of a fire a third squad had been sent to support the first two and they were slowly advancing down the left flank. Advancing through an orchard they came under fire and took a casualty but their response silenced the opposition. An aggressive assault on the building secured it, despite the grenade blasts causing some structural damage. Moving forward to observe the road, this group spotted and engaged a lone German rushing from one of the buildings about to be assaulted on the other side across to the cafe. Despite several bursts he managed to throw himself through the open cafe door and out of sight.
This firing gave the assaulting paras pause and luckily they spotted the fact the building they were about to enter had been booby trapped. A lucky escape.
A small group of Germans now engaged the squad on the left flank but, after several exchanges of fire, they were badly mauled and withdrew.
With the upper hand now moving to the Americans, things were looking up when a disturbing noise was heard from the road into the village - the round of tracks!
A Panzer IV and a section of Germans had been sent to support the section holding the village.
The German tank advanced slowly with the infantry split to both the right and the left of it.
The group on the left had a nasty shock as they were outflanked by some paras who soon put paid to them.
The squad on the left flank prepared themselves for the assault but when the tank swung into view the first man's nerve broke and he ran. He fell in hail of bullets from the tank's machine guns. The NCO, however, was made of sterner stuff and he threw his Gammon grenade at the tank. It was a desperate move but his aim was spectacular and the explosion brought the tank to a grinding halt as it burst into flames.
Several exchanges of grenades and automatic fire between the infantry caused casualties on both sides but with their armour support destroyed the Germans decided to withdraw and the engagement went to the Americans.
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