Chuckadice: Band of Brothers

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Briefing 2: July 1943 - Sicily

The Allies are pushing north. E company has been in action since day one and gained experience of both the enemy & the rough Sicilian terrain.
The German troops are experienced, many having served in the Afrika Corps, although their Italian allies are less well equipped & are more inclined to fall back before a determined advance.
The terrain is mountainous & rugged. The few rough roads link villages & hamlets and tracks lead to ancient farms which scrape a living from the stony ground. The Sicilians seem to welcome the Americans and invariably greet the troops with home made wine and cheese.

The front line has halted temporarily along the line of the R Platani. The Germans hold the opposite bank and the area beyond and both sides subject each other to intermittent shelling & bombing. In a day or two however the Americans intend to resume the advance by attacking across the river.

You have been called to Battalion HQ.

The Mission.

You are to take around a dozen men and conduct a recon. patrol behind the enemy lines. Under cover of darkness you are to penetrate the lines unobserved and patrol as far as Santa Biagio, a village 2 to 3 miles north near which you will hole up for the daylight hours before returning the following night. You are to record enemy strengths, positions and movements and if possible, return with prisoners for questioning.
It is important that HQ has reliable information prior to the attack and the quality & extent of your information will be paramount in its successful execution.

The maps of the area are not detailed but you can expect to encounter dry-stone walls, stony fields of crops, vineyards which provide good visibility cover, occasional streams & ditches and a few small woods other than those shown on the map. Most buildings will have been shelled and there will be few if any civilians remaining in the area having moved out taking with them those flocks of sheep & goats which wear those cute little bells.

Day 2

The squad crossed the lines & penetrated the German positions encountering & routing a work party collecting wood for a bridge and taking a prisoner. They also avoided units moving up to the front and an artillery battery deploying on the edge of a wood. It was approaching dawn when they came to & holed up in the deserted farm marked on the map. From the highest point of the farm buildings the rooftops of Santa Biagio can just be seen about a mile and a half to the north-east. The sergeant was despatched to the north slopes of hill 401 to get a better view of the town & valley to the east.
At dawn it became clear that the Germans were attacking as heavy fire was heard to the south and aircraft & vehicles were spotted moving up to the front. There is a road barely a quarter of a mile away and troops & vehicles can clearly be seen moving south. The day has been passing relatively uneventfully.
Possible encounters.

  1. Troops are moving towards the front. Some stray personnel may well approach the farm and be silenced or taken prisoner.
  2. A vehicle may stop close by to correct a mechanical fault. Crewmen may approach the farm seeking oil or water.
  3. Civilians may approach the farm seeking loot or shelter.
  4. Artillery can be heard to the south. A few allied rounds may land nearby.
  5. The Lt may well lose track of the Sgt who may be killed, taken prisoner, MIA or make it back to the farm or safety.
  6. Radio Comms- The Lt will be able to raise HQ on the radio at least once to report German movements. HQ will inform him that the Germans are attacking and HQ is pulling back. The squad is on its own and must make its own way back across the lines.

Encounters on the way back.

  1. Broken down tank with crew awaiting spare parts.
  2. Units in reserve awaiting orders.
  3. Support units- artillery, supplies.
  4. Bridge sentry guarded.
  5. Advancing allied forces are about to be ambushed by Germans. The squad might try to take them out before this happens.
  6. Following a woodland path the squad find themselves walkinHQHHg out into a clearing scattered with German troops who are lounging on the grass, smoking and otherwise relaxing. A road passes close by and 2 hanomags are parked up. The squads see each other simultaneously but many of the Germans are without weapons at hand.
  7. Once over the original lines the squad might stumble across lost friendly troops.
  8. Whilst being pursued the squad find their route blocked by Germans. They must fight their way through or be caught between them and the pursuers.



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