Sunday, July 10, 2011
A company of GIs in action: Breaking out of the Bocage
The fighting in the Norman countryside has been brutal. After 7 long weeks, the allies are attempting to break out of Normandy into the plains beyond Saint-Lô. Here a company of GIs is launching an attack using a small river as their jumping-off point.
It is a combined-arms operation, involving Infantry and Armor. The Air Force and Artillery have supposedly 'softened up' the enemy already.
Men and tanks rush forward ignoring the unexpectedly thick defensive fire.
1st platoon is charging on the left...
...firing on the go.
2nd platoon is providing covering fire.
Led by Sgt. Guts, 3rd platoon is moving up the road on the right.
Even the supply section is joining in the action.
But the enemy is expecting them.
And in typical German tactical doctrine, they are launching a counter-attack.
They are coming down the river bend trying to split the American attack in two, so they can then roll them up from the flanks.
For a while the situation gets pretty dicey.
Even the officers are drawn the close-quarters fighting.
Not to mention the medic, who has to fight for his and his buddy's life.
But the heavy weapons platoon helps to check the enemy momentum.
The heavy 'stovepipes' decimate the oncoming enemy infantry.
And the MGs pin down the remaining ones.
However neutralizing the enemy armor is a different story. The situation is still hanging in the balance as the guns on the American tanks can't penetrate the German tanks' superior armor.
It's up to the courage of a few individuals to stabilize the situation. A bazooka team steps up to the challenge.
But the German tanks keeps coming, their guns wreaking havoc among the softer-skinned American tanks and raking the GIs with MG fire.
Finally, the Americans take a page from the German fighting book and start firing their howitzers point-blank at the oncoming tanks. The balance of the battle is gradually shifting in favor of the GIs. Looks like a breakout might actually happen after all.
Click here to see close ups of the US infantry figures.
Click here to see close ups of the German Infantry.