Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratz: The Aftermath

Despite the frantic withdrawal from Gratz, one of Lt. Grover's sergeants manages to bring his body out. Falling back to an assembly area – no more than a large clearing in the woods – the company is in complete disarray. First platoon was completely wiped out, second platoon is down to about a dozen men, and third platoon is the only one largely intact, though Pickard's men are fairly shaken. Benedetto watches as some men bring over Grover's body and lay it with the other corpses recovered from first platoon. "I'm beginning to see what old Grinder had against the captain," he mutters to himself. He looks around as if there might be a spare bottle lying around, but of course there isn't. Not in this mess.

"Lieutenant!" calls a voice. Benedetto spins around to find himself face to face with the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Kenison. "What the hell happened here, lieutenant?" Benedetto hesistates at first, but gives the commander his assessment. Kenison nods and pats the second platoon commander on the shoulder. "You're doing a fine job lieutenant. Keep up the good work. I'll make sure you get back to full strength with the replacements coming in."

Benedetto watches the battalion commander stomp off to find Captain Thorpe. The need for a drink gnaws him again. Medics working on wounded men. Soldiers running back and forth. A jeep pulls up and a new lieutenant steps out, in a clean, pressed uniform with a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder. The fresh L-T approaches. "I have orders to take over first platoon. Any idea where those boys are?" Benedetto points to the line of dead bodies where Grover was just laid down. "Over there," he says. The new lieutenant crosses himself. "With the Lord then," he says softly. "Well, I suppose I just better report to Captain Thorpe and wait for the replacements."

Once the young lieutenant is out of sight, several trucks arrive. Sergeants run up to them barking orders. "You men, you're in second platoon with Lieutenant Benedetto. Form up on me! You others, you'll be in first platoon with the new lieutenant. Fall in over there!" Benedetto wonders how long it will be before these men are lying beside Grover and the others.

[Game note: the "after-the-battle" narrative was drafted based on results rolled for with the Platoon Forward rules – Post-Battle Events: Freeform; Encounter; Player Choice (Replacements)]


Revised Company Roster

1st platoon (brought up to two squads; new commander)
2nd platoon (brought up to three squads with replacements)
3rd platoon (intact with three squads, no replacements)



1st Platoon Leader (Replacement): Lt. Clinton Dowler

Description: Lieutenant Dowler is a mercurial fellow, as quick to offer a kind word as to jump into a rage – both perhaps related to what many view as his religious fanaticism. He can be charitable to the men around him when they are in need, and severely judgmental and angered when they engage in any activity he perceives as sinful. The fact that he often quotes biblical verse while addressing his men will no doubt win him points with fellow believers, but will also certainly turn off the foxhole atheists in his platoon.

Traits/Stats: Personality: Mercurial (-1 DRM), Interest: Religion (pious/devout), Combat Temperament: Even, Combat Leadership: Level 1, Below Average/Green (-1 DRM); Background: Average.

Cumulative DRM: -2


Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Max Kenison

Traits: Personality: Likeable; Interest: Engineering; Combat Temperament: Even; Combat Leadership: Level 4 (Excellent); Background: Average).

[Game note: no detailed description or DRM, since he only exists for the purposes of his encounter with Benedetto and will not be seen again (encounters with previously met NPCs are re-rolled).]


  1. Nice post battle scene. I hope you fair better in your next fight.

  2. Excellent piece of narrative and very true from what I've read.

  3. Thanks guys! I'm looking forward to giving it another go this weekend.


Two Up, One Back

"The dominant (though not the only) tactical formation for the infantry in both attack and defense remained 'two up, one back.' This was a product of the triangular organization that the infantry used from platoon to division level. Triangular units had three main 'maneuver' elements (weapons units did not count as 'maneuver' elements). Rifle platoons had three squads; rifle companies three rifle platoons; battalions, three rifle companies; and so forth. This encouraged commanders to place two of their maneuver units forward while keeping back the third so that it could relieve or reinforce a frontline unit."

--John Sayen, U.S. Army Infantry Divisions 1944-45 (28)