Defiance Campaign Scenario #1.5: A Chance Encounter

Scenario 1.5: A Chance Encounter

NOTE: This scenario is an optional one that takes place between the 1st scenario and 2nd scenario of this Defiance campaign. However if you choose to run this scenario, there will be bonuses or benefits for each side in upcoming scenarios depending upon the outcome.

To skip this narrative story element and go directly to the scenario, click here.

Somewhere Just Outside the Allied Lines

“Well this is awful.” The smell filled his nostrils despite every attempt to stop it. Ever since arriving in Italy as a replacement a week ago, Private Joe Tito had to adjust to a lot of new experiences, but the smell of dead flesh was something he knew he’d never grow to ignore. He’d rather clean latrines and scrub out waste barrels; the smell was more pleasant and bearable.

Joe’s stomach churned. He gulped down the nausea that had begun to creep up on him since his squad had dismounted. Had he eaten anything today, he probably would have vomited.

It might have once been human. It had a face, eyes, teeth, hands, and other human-like appendages–most no longer attached to the torso. The dirty black ooze that stained the dirt and several bushes along the side of the dusty mud road appeared to have once been blood. Despite being mostly dismembered from what appeared to be a high explosive shell that landed nearby, the corpse was still moving its mouth–or what was left of its mouth. Mostly just exposed bone, tissue, and muscle covered in mucus and gore. It’s jaws opened and closed. Opened and closed.

“Damned Meat.” Sergeant Christ–pronounced ‘Chris with a T’ as the Sarge explained it–spoke through a torn piece of drab cloth, waving away flies that had gathered in a swarm around the decomposing flesh, roasting in the heat of the mid day sun.   Christ pointed at Joe, “Yo, kid.”

“Y-yes?” Joe stammered; he had been treated like an outsider since he was placed with this squad–probably the worst behaved in the whole 104th Mechanized Cavalry Group’s Reconnaissance Squadron. Despite being roughly the same age, they kept calling him ‘kid.’

Christ shifted the strap of his M1 Carbine on his shoulder over an inch or two using his free hand, “This your first time seeing a Meat?”

Meat. That is what they called it. It may have been human once, but now it was just Meat. A term used by the Squadron to refer to German Totenkorps, or dead soldiers who were somehow resurrected. Well, maybe not resurrected so much as they were reanimated.

He’d heard rumors prior to enlisting and saw classified images of them during his debriefing upon arrival with the Squadron, but he’d never seen one until now. And this was was very dead. More dead. Well, at least it didn’t seem capable of much movement.

“Heard about them. First time seeing them.” Joe’s eyes widened, “Will there be more around?” His palms began to sweat through the grip he had on his carbine.

“Nah.” Christ noted, “Sometimes one of these buggers escapes the German front lines. They don’t really have a purpose except when it comes to tearing apart living things, so they ramble about until they find some unsuspecting person or animal.” Christ pursed his lips, “Be thankful we don’t have a situation like that on our hands, kid.”

“Meatie here is pretty far from the front lines.” Who did that deep voice belong to again? Hughs? Hudgens? No, Joe thought, that isn’t right. “Looks like a butchered hog in a uniform.”

“Hersch, you’re such a stupid farm boy.” That was Ricker, whose whinny voice was as memorable as his lopsided and beat-up radar cap he insisted on wearing all the time, “Is livestock all you farmboys think about?”

“No,” Hersch smiled, “Sometimes I think about your sister.”

The group of them laughed except for Ricker, whose grin faded into a scowl. “Well at least you like girls. I was thinking you were only into cows, being from the country and all.”

Hersch rested his fists on the sides of his winter combat jacket and retorted, “Why do you think I like your sister?”

They all laughed again, even Ricker this time.

“Alright, that’s enough you two.” Christ bellowed out; he crlimbed up the side of their M8 Greyhound armored car and hung off the side of the turret ring with his right hand and pointed at the corpse with his left. “Torch that Meat off the road and let’s mount up.”

Meat. There it was again. Joe had a hard time coping with military life. The schedules, the regulations, it was all so foreign to him. But he couldn’t fathom becoming so disconnected from the world that a thing that had once been a person could simply be referred to as meat.

Ricker climbed up on the Greyhound and unhooked some cans of gas, tossing one to Hersch. Both men promptly doused the remains until they were completely saturated.

“Kid, you’re up.” Hersch grumbled, holding out a box of matches. “Welcome to the Mechanized Cavalry.”

Joe felt his nausea getting stronger. He reached out and took the matchbox from Hersch and slid the case away to expose the matchsticks inside. “You want me to do this?”

“Let’s go, Tito! We don’t have all day. Get it done and mount up.” Christ, now within the turret ring, pounded twice on the side plating of the turret itself, “We have another job to do.”

“It’s nothing, kid. Just do it.” Hersch nodded.

Joe stared at the decaying remains. The Jaw kept moving. Open and closed.

“Yeah, it’s just a Meatie. You’re doing that poor bastard a favor.” Ricker snorted.

Tito pulled out a match and stared at the ignition tip. They refer to these things as Meat; just chopped up parts of an animal. Does that make me a butcher? He slid the match across the side of the box and it sparked to life. The tips of his fingers stung as the flames licked across them in the breeze. Joe extended his arm and then, his mind in a haze, he released the match. A warm fire bloomed to life across, catching on the clothes and bits of hair, and finally completely encasing the remains. The smell. I’ll never get used to the smell. 

“Alright, good job kid.” Hersch’s normally green eyes looked black against the glow in the fire light, even despite the brightness high sun. “It isn’t pretty, but if don’t do it, and that thing isn’t entirely dead, someone else bites it.”

Ricker crackled, “You mean it bites someone else.”

Christ pounded on the side of the turret again, “Time’s wasting boys. Let’s mount up and get moving.”

“Where are we headed, Sarge?” Ricker clambered up the front metal paneling of the Greyhound and slid into the right right driver’s compartment. “Somewhere nice? Are there beaches?”

“You guys from Erie are always thinking about beaches.” Hersch chuckled as he climbed over the turret ring and sat down next to the Sarge in his gunner’s seat, “Ain’t you ever get tired of em?”

“Have you ever been to Erie? The beaches there are cold and windy. Not like here in Italy.” Ricker shook his head, “Every day is like the Jersey shore.”

Joe continued to stare at the fire. It was gruesome. But the jaw…it kept moving. It still hadn’t stopped opening and closing. It was horrific. That may have once been a person. They may have had a family, a life, a reason to live each day. What did this creature have? Did he…

A hard smack landed on the back of his head and nearly knocked him off balance. Joe regained his footing and turned around to see a scowling Sergeant Christ with his right hand in the air. “Kid, when I say to mount up, I mean mount up. It isn’t a suggestion.”

Christ looked over at the burning pile of flesh and bone, “They say war is hell. But what’s out there, what we’ve seen, well…” Christ shut his eyes, “I think I’d rather be in hell.” Christ breathed in deep. The smell didn’t seem to affect him at all. “C’mon kid. Grab your helmet.”

Joe looked down at his feet. Apparently the smack Christ had delivered had completely knocked off his helmet and he hadn’t even known it. Was I that out of it? He leaned over and grabbed his helmet and jogged over to the Greyhound.

Joe grabbed a hold of the right-hatch of the co-driver’s station and pulled himself over the hull. He crawled in, literally, to his seat. The space was so cramped and full of additional stowage that movement was very limited.

“What’s the plan, Sarge?” Ricker placed his helmet over his hat and strapped it under the chin.

Christ called down from his place next to Hersch, “We’re meeting up with the rest of the squadron near D Troop’s OP. Apparently we are to move out and recon the area north of their position and report back.”  Christ’s voice grew more solemn, “Seems like top brass is preparing something big soon.”

Joe took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, though the metal plates did nothing to stop the smell from seeping into the Greyhound and nearly suffocated him. He coughed heavily a few times and then flexed his fingers–a nervous habit he had since he was a kid. He let the words sink in; OP sounded familiar. Oh right, he remembered now. During his rushed training at boot camp, he learned that OP stood for ‘Observation Post’; something about reconnaissance forces setting up a radio outpost on the flank of an enemy’s position. He had gotten so little sleep that week he was lucky he could recall any of the information.

“You going to be ok, kid?” Ricker looked over at him.

“I don’t know.”

Hersch called down, “Good answer, kid.”

“Let’s move out, fellas.” Christ loaded an HE shell and shut the hatch on the 37mm gun. “We have a war to win.”

A Chance Encounter

As the transport planes were beginning to do a pre-flight check, and paratroopers were preparing their gear in anticipation for the airfield night drop (Scenario #1), members of the 104th Mechanized Cavalry, Reconnaissance Squadron were about to meet up just shy of enemy lines to scout out the area in preparation for a major allied assault.

What they didn’t know–but would come to find out–is that a German detachment from one of the Aufklärungsabteilung (reconnaissance battalions) and some Italian scouts in armored cars and transports were reconnoitering that same area for Allied troop movements.

Map Setup:

scen1-5

Explanation of the Map:

  • This mission plays very similar to that of ‘Meeting Engagement’ as laid out in Konflikt ’47 Resurgence, pg. 95. Both sides have established OP’s–or Observation Posts–at different sides of the town (within their deployment zones). However there are some changes.
  • Rather than 8″ deployment zones, each team starts off with 6″ deployment zones.
  • The OP should be represented by some sort of model, though as long as both sides specify exactly what their OP is, that is what is important.
  • Set up tow, ruins, and streets in an approximate fashion as above: grey buildings designate contemporary Italian homes and churches and businesses (not destroyed). Yellow marks the location of ancient ruins (this is Italy after all) and walls.
  • Attackers and defenders deploy at opposite sides of the table. Both sides deploy up to 6″ from table edge as shown on map.

Scenario Goals (within 6 turns):

Allied Player and Axis Player: At the start of the game, your objective is to annihilate as many of the opponents’ units as possible until turn 3. At the start of turn 3, you receive new orders from your headquarters; to represent this, each player rolls a dice:

  • On a 1: Press forward and continue the attack! Advance as quickly as you can and penetrate the enemy lines!
  • On a 2: Hold the line! No ground must be ceded to the enemy.
  • On a 3-4: Secure that enemy radio! Your mission is to capture the enemy OP.
  • On a 5: Get that officer! Your objective is to capture or kill the enemy HQ. If the highest ranking officer is dead, the opposing player will need to determine the next highest ranking NCO or officer on the field and point him out.
  • On a 6: Pull back! Your objective is to tactically withdraw and report on the enemy.

These new orders do not have to be secret unless the players both agree to keep them secret.

If both players decide to replicate more authentic conditions by keeping the orders a secret, roll so the other player can’t see and then write down your objective on a piece of scrap paper and place it somewhere near the table face-down. This way neither player knows which is the primary objective of their opponent until the turn is underway. When you complete your objective, flip over the scrap paper so your opponent knows you have completed the task.

See Victory Conditions below for additional details.

Special Scenario Rules:

  • (Optional) Hidden Set-Up (see Konflikt ’47 rulebook, page 120)

Scenario Preparations:

  • Deployment:
    • Each player rolls a dice to see who sets up first. Whoever rolls the lowest will deploy half of their forces (rounding down) in their deployment zone. One squad must occupy the OP. The rest of their forces remain in reserve and can come in as normal starting in turn 2.
    • After the first player has finished deploying, the second player does the same.
    • All units that are deployed can use the ‘hidden set-up’ special rules.
  • Weather Conditions
    • The day started out hot, but that doesn’t mean that the sun will stay shining! The Mediterranean has fickle weather. It was something that mobile units had to deal with on a regular basis, even during combat. Roll a D6 at the start of the game and once again at Turn 3. Then consult.
      • On a 1-2: Rain and fog: Muddy muck plays havoc with your vehicles and visibility is limited. You can hear the enemy but you can’t always see the enemy.
        • Before moving a vehicle, make a morale check. If you fail, your vehicle is considered ‘stuck in the mud’. If you pass, your vehicle moves at only half their normal distance (taking into account terrain and obstacles).
        • Before your vehicle shoots, make a morale check. If you fail, then it is presumed the unit is having weather-related difficulties. If you pass, then the shot is taken as normal. However if your target is over half range, add +2 to hit.
        • When one of your infantry units is shooting at any enemy unit not within 10″ that hasn’t fired, take a morale check. If you fail, you can’t see them. If you pass, you can barely catch their outline and reduced visibility makes the shot very difficult to hit. For every unit over 10″, add +2 to hit.
        • Once a unit fires (infantry or vehicle), their muzzle-flashes pin-point their location, though not exactly. Once a unit fires, they should be marked with a token to indicate that they have. Any unit firing on them can forgo a morale check, but still needs to add the +2 to-hit.
        • No unit wants to run headlong into fog hoping to meet an enemy firing line. As a result, assaults can only be made within half their normal distance.
      •  On a 3-4: Foggy: Rain may be coming, but it isn’t here yet. For now a fog has drifted into the area. You can hear the enemy but you can’t see them.
        • Before your vehicle shoots, make a morale check. If you fail, then it is presumed the unit is having weather-related difficulties. If you pass, then the shot is taken as normal. However if your target is over half range, add +2 to hit.
        •  When one of your infantry units is shooting at any enemy unit not within 10″ that hasn’t fired, take a morale check. If you fail, you can’t see them. If you pass, you can barely catch their outline and reduced visibility makes the shot very difficult to hit. For every unit over 10″, add +2 to hit.
        • Once a unit fires (infantry or vehicle), their muzzle-flashes pin-point their location, though not exactly. Once a unit fires, they should be marked with a token to indicate that they have. Any unit firing on them can forgo a morale check, but still needs to add the +2 to-hit.
        • No unit wants to run headlong into fog hoping to meet an enemy firing line. As a result, assaults can only be made within half their normal distance.
      • On a 5-6: Sunny! It’s a normal sunny day. No weather restrictions or penalties for this part of the game.

Mission Force Selectors:

Note on Points: 1000 pts is recommended for this scenario.

ALLIES:

US forces draw from the US Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Platoon list and follow the rules laid out here:

AXIS:

The RSI and German units worked closely together; the Germans often used Italian vehicles, equipment, and small-arms as well. To represent this, the Axis player can choose to take a mixed force of up to two platoons–one German and one Italian–though that may limit their options with only 1000 pts.

ger1cav

The points cost and information regarding the Aufklarungs infantry can be found in the Osprey/Bolt Action book Market Garden, but I will reproduce it here for the benefit of all involved.

auflar1

Image Source: Bolt Action: Campaign: Market Garden (Osprey), pg. 41.

Game Duration:

It is recommended that the game go for 6 turns, however at the end of Turn 6, roll a D6. On a result of 1, 2, or 3 the game ends. On the result of a 4, 5, or 6, the game goes on for one additional turn.

Victory Conditions:

Throughout the game each player receives 1 Victory Point for each enemy unit they destroy. These points are awarded no matter what objective the player is currently working towards at the end of the game.

The objective your force rolls starting at Turn 3 and until the final turn of the game determines how many additional Victory Points you may claim.  You cannot claim Victory Points earned for an objective you received later whilst your force was not yet under those orders earlier in the game. For example, if you happen to kill an officer in the first turn, and the on Turn 3 received orders to kill that officer, you cannot claim those victory points. Points are awarded as follows:

  • Attack: Gain 1 Victory Point for each unit which has exited off your opponent’s board edge.
  • Hold: Gain 3 Victory Points if you hold your own OP.
  • Capture OP: Gain 3 Victory Points if you hold the enemy’s OP.
  • Capture HQ: Gain 2 Victory Points if you have captured the enemy HQ; Gain 1 Victory Point if you have killed the enemy’s HQ.
  • Withdraw: Gain 1 Victory Point for each unit which has exited off your own table edge.

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