Road Block on Highway 120
Near Vallelunga, Sicily, 20th July 1943
This engagement by Gruppo Mobile "A" was quite typical, by the end of the month the Italian 12th Corps had taken its place more or less intact in the north half of the Etna line though Raggruppmento mobile Ovest was largely destroyed protecting it!
You command the lead elements of your division (II battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment from 45th Division) leading the drive up Highway 120. Your recce scouts have reported a roadblock across the highway up the valley near a small village.
You order your lead elements with some tank support to clear the roadblock.
Jeep W/radio – 3 men
Jeep W/MMG – 3 men
White scout car – 8 men (inc BAR)
* This unit begins the game on table
HQ - CO, NCO, RTO, runner (Jeep)
3 rifle platoons (carried in trucks):
10 figs (BAR, Bazooka team)
10 figs (BAR, 60mm mortar team)
10 figs (BAR, .30cal lt mg team)
4 x M3 Stuart (70th Independent Tank Battalion)
Support (already on table)
81mm mortars (from II battalion 157th Infantry) can be directed by either Company HQ
You command part of Gruppo Mobile "A" of Raggruppmento mobile Ovest your orders are to delay the advancing Americans to protect the withdrawal of the Assietta Division. Your command is expendable, your orders are to fight and hold as long as possible for your honour and the honour of Italy!
3rd Company 448th Mobile Coastal Battalion
CO, NCO, RTO, 2 runners, sniper
3 rifle platoons with:
10 figs (2 have an LMG, the last a Brixa mortar)
Attached from battalion
MMG plus crew
75mm field gun plus crew & tow
Elements of 1st company 133rd AT battalion
2 x Semovente 47L32
2 x 80mm mortars can be directed by Coy CO
As well as a roadblock, the Italians have some wire and enough mines for a small mixed high density field.
Opening moves, US recce and 81mm mortars on table and the first advanced elements enter from the south
The Americans decide not to advance across the tempting bridge, but the first “E” company pulls off the road and deploys covered by the lead tanks.
The Italians respond with directed 80mm mortars which bracket the deploying 1st platoon causing a couple of casualties and destroying their transport!
The leading Stuart is missed by the 75mm!
The US commander calls down smoke to cover the Stuart and his advancing men
The 75mm is spotted and the US commander calls down artillery which smashes the gun after a couple of turns
A general advance is ordered, some US troops moving across the stream bed by foot others following the lead Stuart over the bridge all the time under fairly ineffective mortar fire from the Italians.
The 2nd American company “F” arrives on table and deploys from its transport
The “E” companies 1st platoon supported by 2 Stuart moves right of the bridge and begins to cross the stream via the ford
Meanwhile the US commander calls down mortars on the road block
Lead US elements (the recce platoon) to cross the stream come under small arms fire which takes them a few turns to clear.
The lead Stuart on the right exits the ford and immediately is destroyed by a mine! At the same time the supporting infantry (1st platoon, “E” Company) is hit by a 40mm Brixa mortar losing its platoon commander.
US mortars change target to the first house
The first troops across the bridge come under fire and take casualties, luckily they have the Stuart in close support and wipe out the Italian squad, unfortunately the Semovente by the church pops out and slams a shell into the Stuart`s flank disabling it! The Semovente then reverses back out of sight.
The US position is difficult, even though he has three platoons on the north bank, two on his left (one recce, one infantry), the one in the centre including the coy HQ is pinned at the bridge and the other pinned on the south bank! Thankfully “F” company have arrived at the bridge, also the Recce NCO successfully un-pins 1st platoon and urges them across the stream.
The second house burns, the surviving defenders withdraw
The third Stuart crosses the ford to add its MG and 37mm fire to support 1st/E, but the 2nd Semovente moves forward and although spotted and fired at, it scores a critical hit upon the hapless US machine!
The US commander calls down artillery on both the Semovente and the house with the MMG, both with spectacular success.
In the centre the Semovente by the church fires over open sights from its hull-down position inflicting casualties on the US infantry
Over the next few turns, US artillery and mortars plaster the outlying farm buildings causing the Italians the withdraw
Whilst this was going on, over on the US left the recce platoon slipped behind the church and close-assaulted the Semovente with grenades ending its brave resistance!
At this point with more US troops including armour about to arrive the Italian commander with honour satisfied ordered his remaining men to withdraw.