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"Hell on Wheels, Operation Torch Fight #3" Topic

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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2023 5:47 p.m. PST


1600 Local Time
8 November 1942
Near Port Lyautey, French Morocco

Despite the ass-chewing he'd just received from Major Reisman, Captain Henry, commander of the Task Force's Armored Reconnaissance Company, failed to perform the tasks given him, in a manner appropriate to the situation. The French had a fortress ("the Kasbah") between the American forces and Port Lyautey, one that was proving severely problematic, but the Major believed a flanking movement to the south (right) could unhinge the defense, if executed quickly and violently. Yes, the situation on the invasion beaches was chaotic, men and gear were intermixed, but the Task Force had just forced the French garrison out of the town of Mehdia and needed to act before the French had an opportunity to establish another line, particularly in that direction. Major Reisman had picked out a small village with a bridge over a tributary of the Wadi Sebou as the correct target of this rapier-like armored thrust. He just needed someone to get there.


Overview, north is up. At center left, just east (right) of the crossroads, is a small oasis with a couple hovels. Below and at top left are unnamed bluffs, while at left top is a knoll identified as Hill 23, soon to be known as "Purple Heart Hill," while at far right is Hill 55, soon to be known as "The Meatgrinder." At top center right is Hill 34, while the village of Barhrein, soon to be known as "Murderville," sits on either side of the bridged Wadi Sebou tributary.

The French have their 1st Rifle Platoon dug-into 'Murderville' (center top), accompanied by the overall French commander, with their Weapons Platoon (mortar and MG) dug-in right behind them, just across the Wadi Sebou (right top). The French 2nd Rifle Platoon is dug-in on The Meatgrinder (far right), where it is accompanied by one of the 75mm guns. The other 75mm gun is dug-in just behind Hill 34 (top right), and it is accompanied by the two armored vehicles (Laffly armored car and R35 tank), which are hidden between the buildings east of the Wadi Sebou (top right). It should be noted that, save for the troops on The Meatgrinder, which are dug-in and begin the game concealed, the remainder of the French defenders are occupying what I would refer to as oblique, 'reverse-slope defense' type of positions, i.e., those that limit their lanes of observation and fire, but generally force the enemy into vulnerable and/or exposed positions in order to engage them.

For their part, the Americans can be seen coming in on their baseline, with advance elements of the force clustered around the crossroads (left bottom) and approaching Purple Heart Hill (left top), with the Armored Infantry and Engineer Platoons still mounted and off table.


The opposing forces, with Americans at left and French at right. The Yanks have three tanks, two Scout Cars, a Tank Destroyer, a platoon of armored infantry, and a platoon of engineers, while the French have two rifle platoons, a weapons platoon (81mm mortar and MG team), two 75mm howitzers, an armored car, and a light tank.


Lt Richards (bottom center) staring into Murderville (top center).


"Well, I don't see anything out there, and the Major said we need to move quickly, so…"


The US mechanized force bravely (rashly?) dashes ahead! The Armored Infantry Platoon, led by a Scout Car and two M3 Stuarts, pushes right, towards The Meatgrinder (just visible at far right), while the Engineer Platoon, led by a Scout Car, pushes left, towards Murderville, as the last M3 Stuart and the Tank Destroyer move up on Purple Heart Hill (left top).


And then all hell breaks loose!

This was my favorite fight of the entire campaign in Morocco! To see what happened, please check the blog at:

So, that was a helluva fight! What's next? The French, feeling saucy, have launched a counterattack on the invasion beaches, and Major Reisman himself is being forced to fend off!


foxbat17 Jan 2023 12:40 a.m. PST

Did you proxy the French AC? The model is a Panhard P 178, not a Laffly.
Nice reports BTW

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 11:21 a.m. PST

Jack, great battle my friend! Can't believe you are such a terrible leader your folks can't win an engagement but makes for great reading. It is neat when you do develop drama with some of the characters. As you know I just let it ride my friend!


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 7:29 p.m. PST

Foxbat – Thanks, and yes, those are 178s I was calling Lafflies, because I thought they'd be more appropriate for Morocco and wasn't going to buy any more French vehicles ;)

Joe – Thanks man, and yes, my leadership skills have certainly atrophied over the past twenty years (yes, next year will be twenty years since I left the Corps!). And you're absolutely right, nowadays I'm all about the drama, it's a blast. My only problem is I sort of can't help myself in wanting to weed out the shitbirds and get them replaced with better guys, but I've got to fight it, it makes the story so much more entertaining.


Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2023 11:06 a.m. PST

Jack, you can always use the AKOT table to help see who gets weeded out. That way you can want to can people all you want but sometimes you can't and have to live with imperfect people. [ am playing a P-39 mission currently, evil hotshot wingman was read the riot act about never leaving his wingman by the captain. He just left his wingman! This should be good.]
Will try to post Lt LaRoche today.



Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 1:08 p.m. PST


Yessir, you see some of that in fight #4 (albeit a simpler model), to determine 'will he or won't he' for the 2nd Lieutenant left in charge ;)

"He just left his wingman!"
Don't they always? Sure makes for a better story, though ;)


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