AKA, the fourth and final fight in the Battle of Mar Gush
It is 0630 on 31 March 1948, and Danny Tzur's 2nd Platoon is preparing to finish its fight on the northern edge of the village. Two days ago, 1st Platoon fought the company's first fight in the War for Independence; Jordanian Army troops advanced on Mar Gush and the Jews were able to deflect it. Rebuffed, the Arabs returned the next morning, and Danny's platoon fought them to a standstill, with both sides falling back. While that was happening, 1st Platoon was manning the roadblock on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road, east of the village. They had not received any direct contact from Jordanian infantry, but as of 0630 on 31 March they'd been under intermittent shell fire for about 24 straight hours. Additionally, yesterday morning, while Danny's men were fighting on the north side of the village, 3rd Platoon was involved in a desperate fight on the southern side of Mar Gush, barely turning back the Jordanian advance.
Overnight, Jordanian infantry infiltrated back into the northern end of Mar Gush, and now that morning has arrived, Danny is leading the counterattack to eject the Arabs from the village.
All the figures are 15mm troops from Peter Pig, and I'm playing these fights using Ivan's "Five Men at Kursk," modified slightly.
Adriel Barak, age 24, village butcher, Mauser
Ephraim Gur, age 25, former member of the Palmach that returned home, Sten
Gabriel Bar-Lev, age 30, former British Motor T, Lee-Enfield
Aram Mofaz, age 18, a village youngster, MP-40
Eli Yadin, age 18, a village youngster, Sten
Davi Yaklef, age 27, refugee from the Soviet Union, Sten
Hiram Laskov, age 50, refugee from Poland, MP-40
Hanan Elazar, age 25, former British Army clerk, Mauser
Let's get it on! The Jews win the die roll for initiative and are up first.
Shaun, if you're still out there, I'm expecting to start hearing about 'magic dice' again ;)
Dammit, it's a lot of work to get those guys in buildings (hard cover) pinned/suppressed, and it sucks no one failed their rally rolls and fell back. That would have been a good time for it; as it is, they're all back in the fight, able to react fire when my men move/shoot.
While I'd prefer to have those two guys out of the fight, it's still good news as knocked down troops can only be gotten back into the fight by a buddy moving into base contact and testing to get them back into the fight, and the Jordanians should have a very hard time getting anyone over there to help them.
The real pisser is that when Davi fired, I actually rolled up a single 'pinned' result, but then I rolled to see if it affected the gunner or the assistant (who was already pinned), and, of course, I rolled up the assistant, so the real effect of the firing was nothing, which allowed the Bren gunner to turn on Davi and gun him down.
Please note that Eli is sheltering behind the building just above the Bren gunner, chomping on his juicy peach.
Dammit, why can't I get anything done with Danny! In the first fight, he whacked a guy, then charged up Cemetery Hill, fired, missed, and got butt-stroked by a charging Jordanian rifleman. Now he can't hit anything, and has spent most of the fight suppressed. And with all this messing around, I don't think I've got anyone in position to keep the northern Bren team's assistant gunner from reaching Giora's House to check the two knocked down riflemen on the roof!
Meanwhile, his assistant climbs atop the roof of Giora's House (top left), though he just got up there, he hasn't actually been able to check either of the knocked down guys yet.
Here you have a good view of the roof of Giora's House (top left): the assistant gunner has just gotten up, and two riflemen (white beads) are lying knocked down and needing assistance.
Man, what a fight! That was a lot of fun, very sharp, and a real pain in my ass. The Jews had an extraordinarily difficult time coming to grips with, and cleaning the enemy out of, the Post Office, the Mayor's Office, and Giora's House (particularly the last two). It was just a helluva time trying to keep the counterattack from stalling out, and I was really on pins and needles wondering if I was going to be able to pull it off. The only thing I question about the enemy's tactics was leaving the Bren up in the northeast corner, but if they hadn't I sure as hell would have swarmed around the north side of The Orchard and enveloped Giora's House and, at the least, made the Bren position in the Mayor's Office untenable. After the Mayor's Office fell, I was really quite aggravated with my inability to keep the northern Bren's assistant from getting atop Giora's House and getting the two knocked down riflemen back in the fight, and then, when I thought Eli had it solved with the hand grenade, the damn northern Bren lit him up. At least it didn't get him killed!
In any case, Danny quickly advanced his remaining men up, consolidating and occupying the Mayor's Office and Giora's House, then turned to tending his casualties. Luckily Avi, the company commander, showed up with a couple men from 1st Platoon to help out, as 2nd Platoon has suffered quite a bit in its two fights. While the enemy lost seven soldiers in this battle, Danny had to look after:
Gabriel Bar-Lev, the 30-year old former British Army truck driver, succumbed to his wounds three days after the battle.
Adriel Barak, the 24-year old village butcher, was gunned down by the northern Bren as he came down Cemetery Hill, dead before he hit the ground.
Ephraim Gur, the 25-year old former Palmach commando, is now the 'butt' of his comrades' jokes, having received a .303-caliber bullet in his right ass-cheek. He should return to duty in about a week's time.
Davi Yaklef, the 27-year old Soviet refugee, now sports a rather hideous scar, but is otherwise alright, so long as they can keep an infection from setting in. He was struck by a Jordanian rifle round that passed through one cheek and exited the other, removing several molars with it.
2nd Platoon is now down to half strength after its two fights in the Battle of Mar Gush, and Avi needs to do some reorganization of the company in order to keep manpower up, particularly as there are rumors in the wind of an upcoming operation to re-open the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road, which the Palestine Arabs and Jordanians have closed. Overall, casualties in the Battle of Mar Gush were as follows:
3 men killed in action
3 men discharged due to permanent injury
7 men wounded but able to return to duty within 30 days
2 men wounded but able to return to duty immediately
55 men killed in action
10 men captured
A tremendous amount of arms and munitions were also captured, and it was all passed along to other Palmach/Haganah units, not even a single Bren was kept in the company (that's for you, Kyote). Avi was quite proud of his lieutenants and his men, they had proven themselves in the crucible of combat. And while this entire ordeal had begun only as a means to defend their homes, to a man they now understood the task that lay before them, the mission to establish a state of Israel. So as Avi, Baruch, Danny, and Dor began reorganizing and preparing the company for action to open the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road, no one complained, all moved with a sense of pride and purpose. The operation apparently already had a name: "Operation Nachshon," scheduled to begin on 5 April 1948, only days away.