From: Southern California
In the North, the 15th Army Special Service Brigade consisting of 3 US Ranger Bns (1st, 3rd and 4th) and British Commando Bns (No. 2 Cmdo and No. 41 Royal Marrine), under the command of Col. Darby, land on the very small rocky beaches of Maori and Vietre sul Mare. The beaches are really not suitable for vehicles and there are no significant harbor facilities, just smalll jetties for fishing boats. The Americans at Maori are completely unopposed initially. 1st and 3rd Bn, along with a battery of "four deuce" mortars on hand carts move quickly up to secure Chiunzi Pass and the high ground around the pass. The Chiunzi Pass is a very narrow pass with a paved road providing access to the Sarno Valley and eventually, Naples. This was important as the goal of the landing ws to seize Naples.
Unfortunately, the German team has also perceived the importance of the pass (they were aided in this effort by a 30 pt victory location right on the pass). As 1st Bn approaches the pass (about 05:00), they encounter a group of Pz Pioneers in apparent company strength sitting astride the pass. Remember, this is a WEGO system, the Pz Pioneer Komp. didn't start there, it was ordered there and both sides move at once. As the Pioneers were embarked aboard their vehicles and the rangers were walking, the Pioneers got there first in this instance
1st Bn Rangers has been moving in tactical mode, in order to avoid a disaster of an ambush. Their movement general order was set on stop, so when they encounter an enemy unit at their planned destination hex, they stop and do not attack. Had they been set on Hasty Assault as a movement general order, they would likely have gone over to the attack, and might well have succeeded. This, in retrospect, might have been a better idea, for, as they clamber up to the top of the ridge, they spot half a dozen Tigers coming up from the valley . This is bad news as the ranger have a low antitank strength owing to the fact that they have no antitank guns, just bazookas and antitank mines. Oh well, **** happens. They will simply have to attack next turn and try to drive off the Pz Pioneers before the Tigers arrive (they are still several km away)
More to come..gotta throw some worms down the gullets of the kids before they head off to school!
OK..back. I'm pretending I'm writing an email at work Meanwile, back at the pass (sorry couldnt resist)..the 3rd Ranger Bn has fallen short of it's goal, the ridge between Nocera Superiore and the little burg of Tramonti on the Chiunzi Pass road. It seems another PZ Pioneer Komp. is scouting a new homesite at the top of the ridge and is currently debating about the best location for the new picture window in the living room to give the best view of the Amalfi Coast. as they debate, 600 Green Army Men clamber up the rocky slope below. 3rd Bn Rangers will also have to attack next turn in order to secure the heights and threaten the position of German units moving down the Cava defile (the next valley to the East which contains the best road North out of Salerno).
4th Ranger Bn crosses over the ridge into the Cava defile and comes in behind a coastal battery strongpoint which must be eliminated. This battery above Vietre has only 1x100 mm gun, but also has infantry and HMG support, making travel up the defile or along the coast road difficult (and, of course, threatening combatant vessels and LSI's).
The job of capturing that strongpoint falls to the Brits. About 2/3 of the strength of No 2 Cmdo is ashore at Vietre sul Mare. The remainder of No 2 Cmdo and No 41 RM Cmdo are aboard (or boarding) landing vessels for the trip in (2nd and 3rd waves). As they are hours away, those portions of No 2 Cdo already ashore are ordered to attack the Vietre Battery. A peek at the attack planning screen shows the attack is well coordinated with very little delaly (these are elite troops, the Brigade HQ is already ashore and is highly rated for command efficacy and all the attacking units are from the same parent unit. looks like they sould easily capture the battery.
Unfortunately, the German team has anticipated the attack and has ordered harrassment fire on Vietre as soon as the turn starts. Evidently, this is from the heavy mortar battery up in the hills above Vietre with a perfect view of the assembly area and beach. No 2 Cmdo has to endure an hour or so of pounding before the attack goes off, with the loss of perhaps 2% casualties, but fatiguing the units. At least an hour behind schedule, the attack begins with support from HMS Blackmore. After several hours of fighting, they are beginning to put a real hurt on the defenders of the Vietre battery and the remainder of No 2 Cmdo and later, No 41 Cmdo are approaching the beach to aid in the attack.....but....unfortuantely, the German team has ordered reinforcments that had been unspotted (in Salerno itself). Elements of the 16.Pz Armored Flak Abt. show up to reinforce. Still later, a Komp. of Pz Mk IV's show up . Even with the arrival of the remainder of the British Cmdo's there is now no hope. Despite this, they soldier on, taking casulaties and, eventually, breaking off the attack one by one. Time for plan B.
In total, perhaps 40 Panzers and half again as many Sturmgeschutz are bearing down on the Special Service Brigade. This is disappointing as HMS Abercrombie was tasked to bombard the crossroad East of Salerno to prevent exactly this kind of thing. Apparently, somebody screwed up (bobmardment attacks from Naval vessels have an assigned probaility of success ) For now, the Brits need to go over to the defensive.
Towed German AA gun in action in the fhills above Saleno
The Vietri battery
< Message edited by Cap Mandrake -- 3/24/2005 5:05:47 PM >