Old Hickory CoC Campaign. Fight 3, Red 2.

“Don’t worry sir, we’ll get it done”, and with that Leutenant Hitzelperger gave a smart salute and left headquarters to see to his men. After 1.Zug had been beaten back, 3.Zug were supposed to have had a go at kicking the Yanks back door in but had been prevented by a Jabo attack. Hitzelperger was still smarting after his unit had suffered the same fate earlier and also wanted to show the CO and that upstart Beckenbauer that he could be successful where others had failed, and if he had been able to carry out his initial attack they would be on the objective by now.

He had taken advantage of some better patrolling and also didn’t want to make the same mistakes as the initial attackers had so had decided to concentrate his attack along the right, hopefully crossing from ‘his’ hedgeline to the ‘American’ hedgeline at the place where the distance was shortest and was out of the view of any men stationed in the houses. As the patrolling had identified this spot as a likely place the enemy would be manning he decided to take it under fire with one of his Gruppe and an Infantry Gun from the support chaps. When this force had won the firefight here another Gruppe spearheaded by a Flamethrower team would advance and secure the hedgeline before rolling up the enemy position. His remaining Gruppe would face across the field to the end of the wood where the wire was located as it was also likely that the enemy had forces there and hopefully they could cover any nasty surprises popping up. He entered the building where his men were waiting, quickly went through the plan again with his NCO’s and that grinning idiot Klopp from HQ who was coming with them to assist, and waited for the guns of the artillery to start up before leading his men out.

Fight 3 Red 2

As soon as they reach the forming up point the Leutenant turned to his men “Right, Krankl move your men over to the left and cover that flank, the rest of us will be moving out soon but we need you to cover us first”. The wiry Austrian’s heart sank, ‘cover us’ actually meant ‘draw the enemy’s fire so we know where they are’ but orders were orders and so he moved off through the orchard and across the next paddock. Soon afterwards some Americans were spotted along the hedgerow and the young officer motioned to Klopp to join him, “Feldwebel, take 2.Gruppe and the gun, get up to the hedge and blow those Yanks away. I’m going to stay here with the rest and wait for the right moment to attack. Understood?”. Klopp nodded grimly and moved his small command out knowing full well that the enemy would have the drop on them.

Just then the horrible sound of exploding mortar shells erupted where 3.Gruppe had moved off to and an agonised scream was heard as they were caught in a well aimed stonk. Pausing for just a moment Klopp told Rumminigge to get his men up to the hedge and to start firing whilst he saw to the siting of the gun. As 2.Gruppe reached the hedge his fears were realised and they were hit by a terrific volley which ripped through the cover momentarily checking the men with the shock of the sudden, violent contact. They quickly regained their composure, however and poured their own fire back which was joined by the fire from the gun. This combined fire must have been effective though as the enemy mortar fire started to slowly shift towards them so as to neutralise the threat they must have been on the enemy infantry. Klopp made sure that they ignored the approaching barrage and kept firing although, unfortunately, 2.Gruppe was not having the best of luck with quite a few men being hit including Rumminigge who suffered a slight wound.

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2.Gruppe take up position…
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… but the Ami’s are waiting
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The Infantry Gun starts its brutal work
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3.Gruppe take a stonking and Krankl is wounded
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2.Gruppe take casualties, Rumminigge is hit but Klopp is on hand to help

Then all of a sudden the mortar barrage stopped. Hitzelperger immediately left the Flamethrower and 1.Gruppe with the Adjutant to await his signal to advance and ran over to see what had happened to 3.Gruppe. He found Krankl wounded but organising his men and helped to restore order. They had lost a few men but were reasonably ok and he ordered them forwards telling the Stabsgefreiter to make for the wood across the road and to try and work round to the left when he thought it was safe to do so. Meanwhile over on the right Klopp and his force had finally won the firefight duel with the Americans who’s few survivors broke for the rear dragging their wounded NCO with them, and he grabbed one of the wounded men from 2.Gruppe telling him to let the Leutenant know now might be the time to launch the attack on the enemy.

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The Americans start to lose the firefight…
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… huge gaps appear in their line…
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… which finally breaks

Before this could be organised however another squad of the enemy appeared in the same position along the hedge but Klopp and his lads had the range good and proper now and laid down a furious fire that seemed to do great damage to the enemy if the slackening in return fire was anything to go by. When the flamethrower then hit the enemy as it came onto the line it helped finish off the survivors with that the flame team surged forwards followed by the newly arrived 1.Gruppe. Klopp was just thinking that the end must be in sight when all of a sudden the world to his left and front disappeared in a maelstrom of noise, dust and metal as another mortar barrage hit. Luckily it didn’t last very long and had missed both the Feldwebel and the attacking force, as well as only hitting one of the gun team but it had destroyed the survivors of 2.Gruppe, all were casualties apart from one dazed landser.

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The charge is on to take out the new American section
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But could this new mortar barrage be the end?
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The assaulting troops luckily manage to dodge the incoming rounds!
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But the damage is already done on the new Ami section
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Although this beast did awful damage to the unlucky Krankl’s men.

As this was happening on the right Krankl had began to move his men towards the wood when they were caught by the combined fire of both a squad in the first house and an Anti-Tank gun that suddenly revealed itself in the wood by the wire. His men were pinned under this murderous crossfire and pretty soon the surviving member and the wounded NCO were running back to where they started. Hitzelperger had also thought that the Americans must have been defeated and now he was worried that his men would be the ones breaking but luckily all enemy fire stopped and soon the men advancing on the right sent back a message that they could see the Yankees streaming for the rear They had done it, only just, and at a terrible cost but they had done it. The road to L’Abbaye Blanche was open.


 

This was one of the tensest and bloodiest games of CoC that both Dan and I had played in a long while with both of us having periods where we were on top and both desperately trying to get that final hit on the other to cause a rout.

I very nearly pulled out early doors after the first gruppe was caught by the initial mortar barrage and the second gruppe started taking casualties from the enemy squad across the field, especially as both their JL’s were wounded too. I managed to roll a triple 6 though and then it was my turn to start racking up casualties on the Americans and I thought the tide had turned. However Dan carried on his great rolling on the BTH chart from last week whilst I carried on my bad rolling which was of some concern as he started with a FM of 11 and I started on 9.

After seeing off the first American squad Dan chucked another into the grinder at the same place definitely looking to finish off 2.Gruppe but I lucked out again with some double phases and poured fire on from the gun and remaining MG42’s with a dash of help from the Flamethrower and some appalling luck on Dan’s rolling for hits saw the second squad finished off with only the wounded SL and JL’s present remaining. I really thought it was game over for Dan but he managed to get the mortars into action again, virtually wiping out 2.Gruppe. He also battered 3.Gruppe, that I had stupidly left hanging out in the open whilst I concentrated on destroying the enemy to the front, with a terrible crossfire virtually wiping them out before they broke. Again, luckily, I managed to cancel the mortars, this time by using a CoC dice which also saw the surviving members of his first squad rout off the table and it was now the last chance saloon for both of us with his FM at 3 and mine at 2.

My intact section with the flamethrower were in a great position to take a JoP and then take on the American’s in the house with the Infantry Gun helping out and I was hoping that would be enough for the win, as long as Dan’s mortars didn’t start up again. When he failed to get the mortars again and wouldn’t be able to call on them for the rest of the battle Dan decided to pull out much to my relief. The one thing I did learn in this fight above everything else was this: if you are playing Germans get yourself a le18 75mm IG, why has it taken me this long! Dan declared it the man of the match, it only has 6 HE but the ability to drop cover by 1 and hitting on a 4+ makes it punch well above its weight.

As for the state of 2.Zug. Their opinions first, they started on 1 & 1 and after the battle these had dropped with the CO’s opinion on 0 and the men’s (not surprisingly given the casualties taken) at -3. They are also pretty much a spent force with 4 men dead in both 2. & 3.Gruppen so I’ve decided to consolidate the survivors into one full strength Gruppe under the surviving 3.Gruppe JL and am sending the 2 ‘spare’ men to 1.Gruppe/1.Zug to replace their losses from the last fight. Next up is the village fight in L’Abbaye Blanche with the full strength 3.Zug taking on what I estimate to be a full strength American platoon backed up with a bunch of MG’s and AT guns so, should be easy?!

 

Old Hickory CoC Campaign. Fight 2, Red Two

Beckenbauer furiously tried to light his pipe after leaving the room containing Company HQ, when he failed for the fourth time he swore loudly and kicked out at the lamppost in front of him. After 1.Zug’s brilliant little action 2.Zug were supposed to have moved forwards to carry on the fight but they were caught moving up to the startline by a JaBo strike and the useless bastards had scattered all over the place so now it was up to his lads to attack once more. He had argued against it of course but 3.Zug were off doing something else and time was of the essence (plus him and the CO weren’t seeing eye to eye at the moment), so his protests weren’t too forceful. He knew the job needed doing and that they would have to do it, he just wanted to keep his lads out of harms way for a little longer.

As they were supposed to be resting, and due to the confusion around caused by the airstrike, the patrolling of the new area to attack hadn’t gone as well as it had previously and the Yankees had managed to secure a nice line centred on a house with good supporting positions to either flank that covered a large open expanse of ground in front of it. There was a nice covered approach to the left flank but that had been somewhat blocked off by a thick barbed wire obstacle. HQ had decided that the open terrain was probably well covered by hidden AT guns so was holding back the panzer support until the positions had been identified and neutralised, indeed the Old Man had stressed that this was the most important element of this attack. To compensate for this though he was being supported by a battery of 81mm mortars from the Support Company which he was hoping would help shoot his lads onto the enemy positions once they were identified and also the artillery would be shelling the American lines as well, also his men’s morale was still very good after their last victory.

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Red dots are German JOP’s, Blue are American
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My freshly made wire blocks the way!

He arrived back to the unit’s forming up area and called his NCO’s around him and they listened to his plan. As usual Beckenbauer would take 1. & 2. Gruppe forward in the attack whilst the ever ready Klopp would take control of the tripod mounted MG42 and the Adjutant would hold 3.Gruppe back as a reserve. The main attack was still going to be through the wood that extended along the left but instead of continuing through the wood they would cross the road once they reached the barbed wire and try and outflank the Ami’s position from the left. While they were doing this the heavy MG42 and the FOO would take any spotted enemy around the house and on the right under fire to keep them busy. 3.Gruppe would support where needed. Once all the NCO’s nodded that they were clear on their parts, Beckenbauer pulled his cap tightly down over his eyes and looked at his watch “Right, those lazy Mummy’s boys in the artillery should start up in 2 minutes, lets get moving. Good luck”.

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The lads of 1.Zug move out again

The advance through the wood was going smoothly enough with both 1. & 2.Gruppe making their way steadily forward when all of a sudden a murderous fire erupted over on the right. From the sound of it, the Americans were doing the shooting which started up again as soon as it finished. Beckenbauer was nudged by Klinsmann ‘I hope Jurgen’s alright over there boss’. Klopp was alright, but the men manning the MMG definitely weren’t. Due to the poor patrolling earlier they had to move quite a way forward to take up a position from where they could take the enemy under fire. Unfortunately the enemy were already in place and waiting when they did so, unleashing a couple of murderous volleys that cut down 3 of the crew and made the remaining 2 run back towards their own lines. They were halted by the big Swabian Warrant officer who temporarily checked their progress but they were too shaken to convince that getting back into action was a good idea. As he was trying to sort the MG team out Klopp did notice the mortar observer moving forward on his left “Get those bastards on the right” he shouted across to him whilst thinking that maybe he should call for 3.Gruppe to come forward to help out. Unfortunately, whilst he was thus distracted, the MG gunners slipped away to the rear their morale completely shattered.

The Amis wait on the right
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The survivors of the MMG team make for the rear

The sound of incoming mortars were very soon filling the air but it was the sound of the enemy’s and not the German’s. The barrage fell across the road quite near to where Beckenbauer had started to move 2.Gruppe over to try and take on the GI’s firing on the MMG, an idea he quickly changed when he saw the mortar rounds seemingly move closer “Jurgen, get your lads back here and follow 1.Gruppe around to the left” he bellowed over the crumping of the incoming rounds, “those damned mortars will get us soon if we stay here”.  As they all moved back to the left another ripple of enemy fire burst out from the direction of the road which was quickly followed by the unmistakable sound of 2 MG42’s opening up in response. At about the same time the mortar barrage stopped and Beckenbauer heard another seemingly more intense round of firing from the Americans and a very feeble return volley from 1.Gruppe. Calling on everyone to follow him he charged forwards to the lane where he was met with a terrible scene. Breitner lay dead in the road and one half of his men lay dead or wounded around him with the survivors pinned by the nearest hedge whilst down the road the opposite hedge was bristling with GI’s who unleashed another volley. “Smoke!, Smoke!, get a grenade in there now!” but the nervous lad that threw it just about cleared the hedge barely covering the survivors who used the cover of it to quickly vacate the death trap they were in and head for the rear dragging their wounded comrades with them.

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American mortars miss their target…
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… but creep ever closer
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Breitner’s lads make it into the ‘Lane of Doom’
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Damned Yanks move across to take them on
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The scene just before the carnage ensued

” Verdammt! Back!, get back now!” bellowed the platoon commander and pretty soon they were all back in the safety of the woods. Beckenbauer stopped to think. He couldn’t hear any sound of the heavy MG or mortars firing over on the right which didn’t feel good at all and looking around at the faces of the remaining troops with him he could tell what they had seen in the lane had shaken them all up too. “Sod it, we are off. Klinsmann follow me, we’re pulling out, send a flare up to signal to Klopp. No sense in dying here for no gain”, and with that the attack failed.

 


 

So another short and sweet fight but this time the Dice Gods had switched sides and Dan had the better luck (hopefully it means that it will be a bit more even next time)!

Dan had called in the airstrike so this was now round 3 of the campaign and, as explained, my plan was to try and find his AT guns and try and take them out if possible so that if we had to attack here again the tanks could be used with a bit more safety, whilst hopefully writing down his infantry. However, I did make some mistakes which combined with terrible luck scuppered the attack which I was quietly confident in succeeding with when we started as I had rolled up 11 in morale to his 9 and my high men’s opinion gave me one extra support point.

Firstly I shouldn’t have deployed the MMG at all, the Yanks were in position and on overwatch already I should have just hit them with my mortars and just used it either to defend my 2 JOP’s on the right (along with my reserve section) or deployed it on the left after moving that JOP forwards with a CoC dice. Over on the left I think my plan to still advance through the wood and around the wire was a good one and it might have worked. Indeed when Dan brought in his mortars he was way off target (was supposed to come in on the wire which might have caught 2 sections and the SL) and was having problems moving the barrage – we are playing that you roll a d6 to see how far you can move it, he rolled a 1 then a 2! However it was creeping towards me so I spent a CoC dice to end the turn which meant the survivors of the MMG team routed off with my rolling on the BTH table starting high and staying high all game.

So what actually happened in the ‘Lane of Doom’? After getting caught with a very ineffectual volley which only caused a bit of shock I returned fire and scored 12 hits which only caused just 2 points of shock, and it was close range too! Unfortunately this fire was on a 2 so I couldn’t order a smoke grenade to be thrown as well to cover myself and Dan made excellent use of the American ability to both move and fire to get more weapons to bear and his next volley caused proper damage including wounding Breitner and reducing his activations to 1. Before I could reply though he used a CoC dice to interrupt and that’s when Breitner and the rest of one of his teams copped it whilst the other one broke. Dan then rolled up a triple 3 ending the turn and thus routing the survivors, on top of the hits to my force morale from the JL being wounded then killed and losing a team my force morale had plummeted to 2 so it was a no brainer to pull out.

Again a cracking game and lessons definitely learned for next time. I know I might have said this before but playing these rules in a campaign just makes them so much better – you stop thinking like a wargamer and start thinking like a commander.

As for the result of the fight: I only managed to KO 2 of Dan’s men but he will get them back thanks to the difference in morale at the end. 1.Zug lost 5 men in total , 2 dead along with the JL and 3 will be returning the next time they see action. Beckenbauer lost 4 points off his men’s opinion but as he was already on +3 that isn’t too bad whilst he managed to not lose any more on the CO’s opinion so starts the next round at -1 & -1.

Old Hickory CoC Campaign. Fight 1, Red One

“Well Franz, at least we will be attacking for once!”, ‘der Kaiser’ looked at the suntanned and grimy face of the big man stood next to him and couldn’t help but return the beaming smile he saw there. “You are right there Jürgen, but let’s hope we have caught the Ami’s napping”. As he spoke the air was rent by the sound of shells screaming over their heads towards the enemy’s lines. “Good to not be on the receiving end for a change” shouted the Feldwebel and he jogged off to pick up the ‘heavy’ MG42 team he would be responsible for in the forthcoming fight.

Beckenbauer moved into the wood where the majority of his Erste Zug waited for him and ran through the plan once more in his head. Luckily the unit had been very aggressive in their patrolling and had caught the Americans flat footed whilst allowing the Zug to both get well forward and to get a good handle of where the enemy was. A minefield had been discovered where the road bent and was hemmed in by a couple of hedges but he had decided to not take the offer of some Pionere to clear it, instead he had told Klopp to cover the area and the likely point nearby where an enemy might appear with a tripod mounted MG42. He would take the majority of the Zug through the wood as quickly as possible to pin and hopefully overwhelm any defenders across the field whilst trying to also close down any attempt of the enemy deploying on the right flank. ‘Der Bomber’ would be holding one Gruppe back in reserve along with a sniper and the hope was that the barrage crashing down on the Ami’s would help this plan unfold before they could react. 

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Red One (craters on the left standing in for minefield)
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Klopp and his MMG lads set up and overwatch the minefield

Upon meeting his lads he nodded to the curly haired NCO looking up at him who turned to his men “Right ladies, let’s go and sort these Yankees out shall we” and with that 1.Gruppe moved swiftly off. Breitner then told off a couple of his men and told them to move over to the right to check out the flank, whilst behind him to the left he heard Klinsmann getting his men forward too. Both of the sections moved swiftly forwards until they hit the hedge surrounding the field when they were taken under fire both from a machine gun across the field and from some riflemen on the right. This fire wasn’t very accurate however and pretty soon both NCO’s had their Gruppen pouring fire back. Over on the right the two scouts were seen running back after taking some withering fire from the squad of infantry that they had run into.

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Breitner and 1.Gruppe move out
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Yanks pop up
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Scouts find them
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1. & 2. Gruppen pour fire on the enemy

Brietner had just told his right hand gun to keep firing on the infantry to the right when another burst of MG fire tore through the hedge knocking over two of his lads and also winging him. “Scheisse, are you alright?” said his no.2, “Aye, keep firing, I’ll be ok in a minute, just keep hitting the enemy”. That they were hitting the enemy, and hitting them hard, was evident as very soon the MG fire to their front stopped altogether and the enemy to the right suddenly disappeared. Klinsmann then appeared as Breitner was being patched up: “Bloody hell Paul I think we’ve made them run!, I’ll send a couple of lads across to make sure”. Soon the scouts jogged back across the field and confirmed that the enemy had definitely gone and the only thing visible was a completely wiped out MG team and a dead officer. “Right then lets let the old man know what’s happened and hopefully we can have a well earned rest” said Breitner and let out a long sigh of relief, not only had he had a close escape but they had seen off the enemy and both men that had been hit were also only nicked too so were ok to get back into action straight away, “a good day’s work lads, well done.”

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So a very quick and quite bloodless game (well for me anyway) aided by some great dice luck from me and awful luck by Dan. I managed to get lucky in the patrol phase and got 6 free moves which helped me get far through the wood and forced Dan’s JOP’s across the field. This (coupled with me ‘winning’ the morale roll too having 10 to Dan’s 8) made me decide to just pile forwards with the sections to try and engage as soon as possible while covering the enemy JOP by the minefield with the MMG. Even though the scouts were broken and I took a few hits I managed to keep my luck going and didn’t lose any morale points. Unfortunately for Dan the combined fire of 3 MG42’s made short work of his MMG team and even worse his Platoon commander, Hiram P. Wilderbeest III, deployed with the team had been hit and wounded 3 times and so was killed. His bad luck with the dice held when rolling on the BTH table and his morale had dropped to 4 pretty quickly, this coupled with the death of his CO made him decide that bugging out was the best thing to do. I’m expecting a tougher fight next time as I reckon there will be more enemy to face. Oh, and the pre-game barrage didn’t stop Dan deploying at all!

As for opinion, 1.zug are now at +3 for the men and -1 for the CO’s (they started at that unfortunately!) with Beckenbauer’s outlook still Thoughtful.

 

 

Old Hickory, a Chain of Command Pint Sized Campaign. Intro.

Dan and I have just started out on this interesting campaign and so I really need to do an intro. This campaign sees the plucky Heer PanzerGrenadiers of ‘Kampfgruppe Fuller’  tasked with attacking the Americans of the 30th Division defending the area north of Mortain with the objective of securing le Neufbourg within a specified time (8 campaign turns). The unit had been included in the attack known as ‘Operation Luttich’ and was at full strength and full of confidence containing 3 PzGren zug, a zug of Pz IV’s and various bits and bobs from battalion HQ. The Yankees would be stretched across the 3 possible routes of attack so might be thin on the ground although we have had intelligence that they would be beefed up with a slew of anti-tank guns.

One thing I’ve said to Dan for this campaign is that I will be restricting the number of ‘spare’ sections that I use as I feel that these can be mis-used as ‘meat shields’ and I’ve always wondered where they came from within the unit so there will be 2 cobbled together from runners, cooks, mechanics etc and they will be either combined after taking casualties or broken up and used as replacements to the other units. Once these have gone any extra sections bought from the support list will be from the other platoons, just adds a bit more realism and another headache for the CO.

Before the campaign gets going here’s a reminder of the lads of the ‘Kampfgruppe Fuller’.

HQ:

CO: Me!

Adjutant: Oberleutenant Müller, 24, Bavarian, short, thin and pale he is the middle class son of a decorated veteran of the First World War. Nicknamed ‘Der Bomber’. Was Erste Zug’s commander before being promoted and posted to my staff. (Will be the second replacement Zug commander if needed)

Feldwebel Klopp. 26, Wurttemberger, a strapping bloke and former gamekeeper. Quite religious. (He will be the replacement/’spare’ Senior Leader if needed, currently with my staff)

  • Ersatz Gruppe 1: Obergefreiter Schweinsteiger, 24, Bavarian, an average sort of lad, another party member.
  • Ersatz Gruppe 2: Obergefreiter Huth, 26, Berliner, another large man, former Cabaret musician with a face only a mother could love.

1.Zug:
Zug Kommandant: Oberfeldwebel Beckenbauer (‘der Kaiser’). 38, Bavarian, an average sort who is an old soldier and a veteran of Spain.

  • Erste Gruppe (Black): Unteroffizier Breitner, 24, Bavarian, slightly on the short side he is a former communist.
  • Zweite Gruppe (White): Stabsgefreiter Klinsmann, 25, Wurttemberger, an average sort from Stuttgart where his family have a bakery.
  • Dritte Gruppe (Red): Stabsgefreiter Ballack, 21, Saxon, a strapping City boy from Chemnitz, favourite number is 13.

2.Zug:
Zug Kommandant: Leutenant Hitzlsperger (der Hammer), 23, Bavarian, former banker, he is tall and thin.

  • Erste Gruppe (Black): Unterfeldwebel Völler, 24, Hessian, Party member, model citizen and popular in the unit.
  • Zweite Gruppe (White): Stabsgefreiter Rumminigge, 21, Westfalian, country lad and close friends with Unteroffizier Brietner from 1.Zug
  • Dritte Gruppe (Red): Stabsgefreiter Krankl, 25, Austrian, a thin and pale city boy from Vienna.

3.Zug:
Zug Kommandant: Feldwebel Hamann, 26, Bavarian, the company gambler and was a journalist.

  • Erste Gruppe (Black): Unteroffizier Schürrle, 22, from Pfalz, a city lad from Ludwigshaven.
  • Zweite Gruppe (White): Stabsgefreiter Rösler, 22, Thuringian, a former gamekeeper.
  • Dritte Gruppe (Red): Stabsgefreiter Pogatetz, 21, Another Austrian, from Graz, nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’.