Just reviving this thread as I don't want to start a new one. I finally got around to continuing my Firefight campaign today, which had been resting for a few months now. Loading the game I found myself in a not too awesome story, but definitely one of the bloodiest battles I ever had. Following is the written report on Mission 23:
CO: Captain Cadwell, US Army
Date: 4th of July 1944
Mission objective: Capture and hold Dog Hill, east of Matigny
The company was organised in six infantry squads, one heavy machine gun section and four recon squads. We had support from one M8 Greyhound armoured vehicle. I set up the command post on a hill overlooking the flat fields we had to cross. The objective would be just behind another high ridge on which I was certain the Germans would be waiting for us. Our infantry deployed through a forest that extended somewhat to the north, closing the gap of open terrain that was to be crossed between us and them.
I decided to put two squads right on the edge of the woods to provide covering fire, as would the HMG placed near the command post with little visibility but a clear line of fire onto what I at the time considered the center of defences. From this setup I ordered artillery to fire smoke in front of Manor Hill, a 25 meter high elevation right in the center of the ridge that would soon become one of the fiercest battlegrounds our company has seen up to now. Covered by smoke three squads advanced across the open field, taking up positions behind a hedge at the foot of the hill, while a recon squad was sent up to verify whether the hill was defended. The other recon squads were advancing along the flanks at the same time, on the left flank supported by the last infantry squad in hopes to provide suppressive rifle fire onto Manor Hill.
The recon squad was met by a hail of bullets from a hedge running right across the top of Manor Hill resulting in two wounded. I roughly estimated two enemy squads to be holding that position and ordered the original covering squads up for assault with the HMG section providing suppressive fire. Our own artillery would fire onto Manor Hill at the same time. I tried to have two of the three squads positioned up front hold their fire, even though the squad leaders had to repeatedly yell to cease fire as some of the troops returned fire on their own inititiative, in an attempt of disguising the strenght of my troops in place.
At the time the assault element met with the enemy my infantry and recon squad on the left flank ran into another enemy unit, positioned along the very same hedge on the next hill. One of the recon soldiers got killed in the firefight but despite ongoing exchange of fire the infantry squad made it to its position without casualties. The recon squad here pushed the enemy back a bit and managed to hold its own, but it became impossible to use the left flank infantry in support of the main push. I reacted by ordering one of the three squads at the foot of the hill to go up and reinforce the assault element to prevent a stalemate. With our squads very close to the top of the hill the HMG became ineffective for suppression purposes and so was ordered to move forward into the woods.
The center push was suffering many wounded but eventually managed to take the center hedge of Manor Hill. Unfortunately the reserve squads on the foot of the hill were hit by an artillery barrage before they could be moved up, but there were only a few casualties, the HMG section being killed among them, though. Reinforcing the line was necessary as - while the remaining Germans from this position were retreating - other enemy troops were mounting a counterattack, supported by massive rifle and machine gun fire from Weasel Hill, which was the last elevation between Manor Hill and our actual objective Dog Hill. I decided to finally use the M8 Greyhound and ordered it up along the left flank in an attempt to break the stalemate there before proceeding to bring its 37mm gun to bear against the counterattack. I had held back the armoured vehicle previously as I suspected the defending Germans to have at least one Panzerschreck in their position.
In order to advance further I also made preparations to move the command post onto Manor Hill and decided to move one squad from the original assault element to the rear, as there were too few men still ready for action. Just in that moment enemy artillery struck again, zeroed in right on Manor Hill inflicting serious damage on all four squads positioned there, which were just reorganising for another push.
A recon squad in Egg Wood, a dense wood east of Manor Hill, which would make for a good position to attack Weasel Hill from, made contact with the enemy which turned out to be on another counterattack on Manor Hill. Fierce fighting erupted between two recon squads and an infantry squad at the edge of the wood as well as between the other infantry squads and enemy forces on Weasel Hill which were supporting the push. Also the Germans seemed to use the remainder of their forces which had defended Manor Hill for a diversion on the left center. I ordered artillery on Weasel Hill and moved the Greyhound over to the right center to use it against the enemy on Weasel Hill, but eventually had to use it to fire into the woods. The left flank squad, which by now was the only infantry squad that hadn't sustained any casualties yet, was ordered to cross the hill to the east to push onto Weasel Hill. I was planning to use the Greyhound for their support very closely here, which resulted in the armoured vehicle driving back and forth between Weasel Hill and Egg Wood. All men from the recon squads which weren't critically wounded or dead were ordered to engage in the battle of Egg Wood as their SMGs would prove valuable there. The only exception is the recon squad on the left which still occasionally exchanged fire with a German position. The infantry squad which had been taking the brunt of the Egg Wood Flank for now was down to only four men by now and thus got taken to the rear, too. A second squad from Manor Hill was moved onward onto Weasel Hill for support, what was left of the others was commissioned to the Egg Wood battle.
By now half of the company had been killed in the fierce close combat of Manor Hill and Egg Wood and about half of those who were still alive were wounded, some of them critically. While another barrage hammered on Manor Hill missing the command post by just a few feet I considered sounding retreat as casualties mounted and there seemed to be little progress. But the objective already was in sight of our forward troops and I felt my men would never forgive me if I wasted the lives of so many of their comrades just for a failure. Now, at more than 40 minutes into the battle, the Krauts just couldn't have any more reserves themselves! Weasel Hill was nearly ours and there would only be a few routed men from battered squads beyond that on their side, too. Also I was certain their artillery had spent most of their shells already.
Just then the enemy troops on Weasel Hill routed and ran in every direction, a few of them falling to our guns. A few of them surrendered. The squad I had brought in from the left flank as reserve had only suffered two men dead and now all we needed was a final push for the objective itself. Being the strongest force left I ordered the left flank squad up for the final attack, having the Greyhound drive up right next to them and the second squad I had sent to Weasel Hill providing covering fire. Shots rang again as we crossed the road. There still were enemy forces desperately hanging on to Dog Hill. This being the decisive moment I had the Greyhound drive right into their position some 30 meters east of the objective, routing their men and using the short break to inch forward the infantry. At 48 minutes into the battle the objective was in our hand for the first time. The enemy was still strong enough to reclaim it twice as inches of ground decided, but there were no doubts anymore. We had made it and in the final assault the enemy could not bring a Panzerfaust to use, which I considered their last chance to do so. Three minutes of fighting over the objective itself with the remaining hand grenades and the last bullets of ammunition and eventually some hand to hand combat the German troops that did not lay dead or had surrendered made a run for it. Hoping that Dog Hill was eventually worth the sacrifice we had succeeded on that day that sunset wouldn't come.
The following picture was taken by war correspondents at Manor Hill just after the final engagement of Dog Hill had begun. In between shell craters and dead bodies lie a few wounded and the intact command post:
Official numbers: US Army 44 killed, 17 wounded. Wehrmacht 53 killed, 1 wounded, 4 captured. Regiment stated: ?You took the objective in a good time but took very heavy losses despite being up against very strong opposition.? So that's what they call a good time.