Monday 22 January 2024

Collecchio game 1

The Battle at Collecchio

With the Brazilians in Italy April 26 - 27, 1945 by Richard Baber

Game 1 – The Brazilians Assault Collecchio

I laid our my plan for a couple of games based on this late war action in an earlier post and suggest anyone reading this refers to that piece for a more complete background.

For the first game I decided to concentrate on the evening attack by 5th company (II/11th infantry) and 2nd company (I/6th infantry) supported by the US tanks. The Brazilians had none of their organic artillery present due to a tactical decision where the artillery transport had been utilised as infantry transport to assist the divisions speed and movement during this final pursuit phase in the occupation of Northern Italy. I allowed Lt. mortars from the other dug in companies to be used in support of the attacking units.

 By evening the Germans had established themselves within the town and had set up defensive positions facing northeast up highway N62. Their artillery (what there was of it) is positioned in the south of the town in the groves and orchards. They have no tanks, but a few armoured cars from 90th PG, the `88 was positioned off the town square deployed without tow.

 Brazilian units

5th Company, II Battalion, 11th Infantry

Coy HQ – CO, RTO, NCO, 3 runners

3 – 10 man platoons (1 BAR)

Support platoon - .30cal, Bazooka, 60mm mortar (10 men)

2nd Company, I Battalion, 6th Infantry

As 5th Company above

Elements US 751st Tank Battalion

4 – M4 Sherman (75)

Off table

60mm mortar support fire

 Special rule: these 60mm mortars can only fire 40 inches onto the table at which point they are out of range.

German forces

Recon Elements 90th Panzergrenadier Div.

Sdkfz 222 armoured car

Sdkfz 232 armoured car

Photo includes the Panzersheck and MMG teams (see below)

Elements – 281st Infantry Regiment (148th Div.)

HQ – CO, 2IC, FOO, 2 X RTO, NCO, 4 runners, sniper, medical unit

6 - weak 8 man platoons (including – 3 LMGs, 3 Panzerfaust)

Support – 1 panzershreck team (1D3 rockets), 1 Pak97/38 & crew, 1 88mm Flak & crew

Off table

3 turns of 105mm artillery (2 guns)

5 turns of 81mm mortar (2 tubes)

Some soft skinned transport is scattered through the town, short on fuel.

Brazilian orders are to clear the town, the Germans are trying to stop the Brazilian advance southwards.

My Table

Looking north along the N62

River Taro

Industrial area in the northern part of the town heavily bombed

Industrial area in the northern part of the town heavily bombed

Industrial area in the northern part of the town heavily bombed

Church and graveyard

looking south towards the town square

Town square

Looking west across the town towards the river

The game started with the two Brazilian companies moving down towards the town along with their US armour support.

Even though I knew there were no Germans I deployed a couple of platoons to check out ruined factory buildings.

In the town the German defenders waited

On turn 3 the German FOO called down artillery on the leading Brazilian company, luckily for the Brazilians it fell short

The advance continued through turns 4 and 5, even though the Germans continued to throw shells, the Brazilians remained amazingly unharmed!!

On turn 5 they did however received small arms fire and took a couple of casualties from a MG42 by the church. The supporting Shermans fired on any spotted positions causing casualties themselves.

Turns 6 to 9 saw the Brazilians with their armoured support moving forward against stiff opposition within the outskirts of the town. Even though the German defenders had good positions, once they exposed themselves to fire the Shermans opened up with their 75s and the Brazilians plastered the buildings with .30cal, BAR & rifle grenades.

Turn 8 saw the Brazilian platoon on the far right (1st platoon of 5th company) crossing more open ground towards a farm, they came under small arms fire and took casualties. Luckily the FOO for the off table 60mm mortars was close by and called in fire against the two shacks.

On turn 9 one shack was hit, a role for effect was devastating killing all inside!

Turn 10 the first German line collapses, survivors break and run! On the Brazilian right the 60mm mortars drive out the remaining defenders of the farm shacks! On the left the platoon there (3rd of 2nd Company) clears the graveyard and moves to clear the church.

Turn 11 in the centre 2nd Company get hit from dug in Germans across the park, an Sdkfz 232 adds its 20mm fire to the mix causing further casualties.

The armoured car is immediately spotted and knocked out by a Sherman!

Turn 12 2nd Company go to ground under heavy German fire, but the German position is wiped out by several HE hits from various supporting Shermans!

Further right the lead Sherman supporting 5th Company is fired on by a concealed Pak 97/38 (miss)

Turn 13 the Sherman supporting 2nd company continue to blast the area around where the German machine guns were.

This causes more casualties among that German platoon and causes a morale check!

On the right the Sherman engages the AT gun, which fires again and hits but fails to penetrate! The Sherman is bang on and wipes out the gun……

Turn 14 2nd and 5th Companies continue their push into the town. The German platoon across the park having suffered 50% casualties breaks and flees.

Turn 15 2nd and 5th companies push forward, some Germans are still hidden among the houses and cause casualties.

On the far right 1st platoon of 5th Company finds more German in the buildings across the road from the farm, luckily they have a Bazooka team attached and decide to engage the buildings with it.

Turn 16 a Panzershreck scores a hit on one of the Sherman supporting 2nd Company

Men from 2nd company destroy a shack killing all the defenders

On the far right the Bazooka goes to work

Turns 17 – 19 With the Shermans somewhat reluctant to advance into close terrain with Panzershrecks around the infantry are forced to clear houses one by one, they have good results but do take casualties.

Turn 20 members of 5th Company approaching the square get a nasty shock when an 88 opens up with HE

Turns 21-23 The 88 continues to blast away at anything visible, this shot on the inn caused the death of 1st platoons CO!

The Shermans now with a cleared path move forward and give fire support to 2nd company on the left, destroying a couple of German emplacements.

Turn 24 a brave Sherman commander (a successful heroic test) orders his crew to move against the 88. The 88 is surprised and misses the tank, which in turn nails its deadly opponent!

With most of their infantry dead, captured or running and all the guns destroyed, I think this is a good place to call time.