AKA, the third fight in the Battle of Mar Gush
It is 0505 on 30 March 1948, and while the 2nd Platoon is battling soldiers of the Jordanian Army on the northern edge of the Jewish village of Mar Gush, pickets have alerted Dor Peleg, former Sergeant in the Jewish Brigade, Palmach member returned home, and commander of the 3rd Platoon, of enemy soldiers approaching from the south, where the Nelani River, passing east of the village, cuts back to the west. The Company commander, Captain Avi Peleg, is in the north with 2nd Platoon, and 1st Platoon is manning the roadblock east of the village on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road, so the 38-year old platoon commander does what he must: he immediately deploys his unit to the southeastern corner of the village, where they occupy prepared positions and steady themselves for the coming onslaught.
Dor Peleg, age 38, former Jewish Brigade Sergeant and Palmach member returned home, Sten
Abel Shitrit, age 19, a village youngster, Sten
Bogdan Shalit, age 21, a university student returned home, Mauser
Alon Shahak, former Jewish Brigade Corporal and Palmach member returned home, Sten
Honi Ashkanazi, age 32, former British Navy Yeoman, Lee-Enfield
Ariel Gantz, age 48, refugee from France and member of French Resistance, MP-40
Daniel Eisentkot, age 51, refugee from Bulgaria, Sten
Yuval Matt, age 17, refugee from Norway, Mauser
Aaron Ayalon, former British Army Paratrooper, Sten
Boaz Efrat, age 20, a village youngster, MP-40
Eran Levy, age 25, a refugee from Poland, Mauser
Isaak Naveh, age 47, village dentist, Mauser
And as I'm typing this, I realize I actually used the wrong figure for Dor. The bottom left guy clearly has a rifle, and Dor is supposed to have a Sten... Oh well, Dor's Sten had a malfunction he couldn't clear, so he picked up a spare Mauser, just for this fight. Have to have the armorer look at that damn Sten...
All the figures are 15mm troops from Peter Pig, and I'm playing these fights using Ivan's "Five Men at Kursk," modified slightly.
As a member of the Palmach, Dor had experience in facing off against the Jordanians, and that experience gave him insight. "Hunker down boys, everything will be alright. This will go on for another ten minutes, I promise."
Ten minutes went by, and there was a short pause in the firing. "And now comes the smoke."
A Jordanian rifleman (2 o'clock from the center explosion) pivots and returns fire...
*Despite all my 5Core games, I've actually never run into this situation before: I've got guys that need to fall back, suppressed, but they have to fall back across a river, and even being very generous, I don't figure they could make it all the way across. So I moved them into the river and marked them as suppressed, so when their turn comes up I'm going to make them commit a mandatory move to the rear ,where they can get out of the river, into some semblance of cover, and flop to prone.
In any case, a brave but pinned Jordanian rifleman (yellow bead at center left) crawls over to his knocked down buddy, rolls him over, and checks him out. He's good to go, back in the fight.
*That is the goal for the Jews in this fight: Dor has to essentially eliminate the enemy in the southeast corner of the board; as long as there are Jordanians there, enemy reinforcements will continue to arrive. Or until I get worn out ;)
*Another first: I've got a guy in a trench that tries to rally, but fails spectacularly. I could have him run out of the trench, falling back, but instead I decide to keep him in the trench. But I need to do something more than just keep him suppressed; he's beyond suppressed, more like 'broken,' i.e., completely unable to contribute to the fight or even defend himself, and I decide the only way he's getting out of this state is if a buddy comes over and checks on him. So, I mark him as 'man down,' and treat him as such, though instead of being knocked down by fire, he's just lying there at the bottom of the trench, a wimpering, whining mass. If he fails again he will run out of the trench, and if that happens I can pretty much guarantee the Jordanians will spot him and gun him down :(
Wow, that was some seriously bad die rolling!
Damn, I missed some pics! Honi beats the knocked down assistant, moves up, beats the pinned Bren gunner...
At this point in the fight, the Jews only have three men still in the fight, and one of them (Eran, in the trench) is suppressed. Daniel, the old Bulgarian, and Boaz, a village youngster, are the other two, and they are both on the south bank of the river, hoping to get to Dor an Aaron.
Wow, I needed that!
Holy crap, that was close! The situation was truly in doubt; if Eran hadn't made that incredible shot (with 1D6!) to stop that Jordanian rifleman getting into the trench, it was all over. You can see I 'cheated' by stopping the influx of more reinforcements, but damn, they'd received plenty of reinforcements already, and nothing in the rulebook says I have to keep feeding them more troops ;)
The fight was fun; it was supposed to be a rather conventional attack-defense fight, the 'right-hook' counter was a spur of the moment decision. Not sure where it came from, it wasn't the original plan, but it sure added some spice. I don't know how it seemed to you guys, but from my perspective, when the Jews first came down off Cedar Hill it looked like it was going to be a walkover, and then all of a sudden the 3rd Platoon guys started dropping like flies! The next thing I knew I was about to have the trench overrun and the guys in the south cut off. I was already figuring the next fight would be a counterattack by 1st Platoon to re-take the trench and relieve pressure so the guys on the south bank of the river could escape! But I halted the flow of Jordanian reinforcements, Eran made his heroic stand in the trench, then the guys on the south bank managed to rally and put out some very effective fire both to the east and to the north. So, all's well that ends well ;)
Anyway, Dor set his boys to the task of policing up the battlefield and taking care of their casualties. He'd only just crossed the Nelani River when the company commander, Avi Peled, showed up. Avi lit two cigarettes and passed one to Dor; they both puffed quietly for a few moments, surveying the field. "Sorry, Avi, perhaps I was a bit too bold." "No, Dor, stop it. I demand boldness from my lieutenants. You did the right thing, it's just that our men are still growing into their shoes. We'll get there. I assure you, had you set back in the trench, the Jordanians would have kept coming until you ran out of bullets, then trampled you. Our only hope was for you to drive them back. And make no mistake, my friend, it will always be that way."
Dor and Avi then moved out, checking on their men. They made the enemy suffer: Dor counted the bodies of 21 brave Jordanians, and the platoon captured another three. The situation for the Jews was as follows:
-Isaak Naveh, the village dentist, was killed in action.
-Ariel Gantz, the former French Resistance member, was hit by a Bren gun three times in the left thigh, which had to be amputated, ending his war.
-Honi Ashkenazi, the former British sailor, was shot in the left shoulder, but is expected to make a full recovery, returning at the end of April.
-Bogdan Shalit, the university student returned home to defend his village, was also hit in the shoulder, but not as bad as Honi. He should be back in about ten days.
-Abel Shitrit, one of the village youngsters brought up to fight, was his by bullet fragments in the face, he should return in approximately one week.
Well, that wraps this one up. Next up is 2nd Platoon moving east to eject the Jordanians from their foothold in the village, stay tuned.