Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

L Patrol Part VI: Siege of Fort Benzetti

MacCall, walked slowly into the dusty office.  The freshly polished cane at his side reflected slivers of light streaming in through the open windows.  The sounds of a bustling marketplace outside echoed faintly around the oak paneled walls, glimmers of intelligible English periodically cut through the murmur of Arabic.  The growl of a lorry in the distance grew fainter.

"Captain, thank you for joining me.  All rested up then?  I trust the nurses took good care of you" the Major said with a wry grin.

MacCall barely noticed Callahan.  The last time he'd seen this man he was covered in sand, grit, oil, and blood - German bullets filled the air around them.  Callahan was a capable commander, and was well connected.  It was no surprise then, that after his stint in the LRDG, he'd be promoted to a cushy command back in Cairo.  A curling slip of paper hung crookedly on the door outside humbly pronounced "Office of Special Operations, North Africa, West".  MacCall had never heard of that office, but he was sure it somehow had jurisdiction over him now.

"Yes.  Thank you.  May I ask what this is about?".

"I'll cut to the chase Jack.  Command has been reviewing LRDG operations of late, and is questioning their continued viability.  If L Patrol could just deliver a solid victory-"

"Anytime we venture into the desert to launch some high risk low reward attack dreamt up by some Oxford chap in Cairo, just coming home with any men at all is a solid victory" MacCall growled.

"I know your force has been... ill-utilized lately".

"Ill utilized?"  MacCall's fists clenched.

Callahan turned around.  "I'm afraid, the assignment I have for you... is not going to be to your liking."  He turned around quickly and met MacCall's gaze.  "Jack, you must understand that I fought for you here.  I did everything I could to get this mission scrubbed..."

MacCall picked up the manilla folder and thumbed through the briefing with a scowl.  After staring at the last page for several still moments he looked up.  "John, don't send us on this mission - this is a death wish."

Callahan looked away again, pouring 2 drinks.  "As I've said I did what I could.  Command thinks the fort could be used as a launching ground for future attacks into our flanks. We can't allow it to build up...  but I've done what I could!  I pulled some strings to get you a detachment of infantry and artillery..."

MacCall raised an eyebrow "An artillery battery?"  He'd seen the decaying state of these desert forts.  He knew a battery of Royal Artillery guns could bring the walls down.

"Not a battery Jack.  A gun."

"A gun?  A single bloody gun?"

"And as I've said - some infantry.  A small company of French Colonials."

MacCall stared at the ground for a second before sharply saluting.  "Very well, sir."

"Jack -".  MacCall snatched the folder from the desk and briskly left the office.  Callahan slumped into his chair and sighed.  After a few moments he emptied one of the glasses in a single gulp.
The LRDG's objective is to capture the fort.  The Italians must start their turn with 3 platoons in the fort.

L Patrol's "Artillery Support" sets up on a ridge overlooking the Fort.

The Fort

Chev Trucks survey the fort at range

One of the patrols takes up a position near a town well

The LRDG all open up at once, sighting on the towers and raining .50 cal and breda shots to knock out the HMGs

The alarm is raised after both of the Southern towers are ripped to shreds!

An Italian plane on patrol swoops low to investigate...

The LRDG's nemesis arrives!  The AutoSahariana tear into the British raiders!

A 2nd Autosahariana arrives in the East!

Several LRDG chevs burn...

MacCall's jeep explodes in a flash!  MacCall is flung from the vehicle, and takes refuge in the dwelling

The LRDG begin firing torrents of AA fire!

The Italian fighter begins to smoke and then burn

The LRDG let out a cheer as the plane crashes into a rocky ridge

The North West parapet

The LRDG return fire, knocking out one AS39 truck

"Keep firing men!!!"

Two AS39s burn as the breda 20mm tears into them

A French platoon advances across the field, grappling hooks at the ready

The Italians shift to be ready for the Colonial assault!

A second Italian plane swoops low...

Italian guns arrive from reserve directly behind the 25 pounder!

An AS39 patrol races for the fort

The 25 pounder goes up in a ball of fire!

The duel continues

The French take some light casualties, but continue advancing

The Breda sights in on the plane

Two up, two down!

A 2nd French platoon advances

While the first launches their assault on the pinned Italians!

The besieged fort

The french breach the outer defenses!

And attempt to consolidate their gains

An AS39 platoon reaches the fort

The Italians now have 3 platoons in the Fort, can the british kill one of them off?

The French are gutted in return fire.

Only the 20/65 remains

All guns are brought to bear on the Italian defenders, trying to break a platoon

But the British can't seal the deal.  The Italians start with 3 platoons in the fort giving them a devastating 6-1.

29 fallen British soldiers lay in a line.  Sergio stalks the display, studying each man intently.  His lip draws into a snarl as he speaks- furious that he missed the action.  "Is this all of them?".

"Ci, Tenente." a soldier chokes.

"Then he still lives.  Good."  Sergio hisses as he stares off into the desert.

13 Miles East, a small caravan of battered trucks limps across the desert.  MacCall sits slumped in the back of one of the trucks staring into the night sky.  He watches all night as the Pleiades slowly spin overhead.  Finally, just as dawn begins to break in the East, he drifts off to restless sleep.

Read the Previous L Patrol Stories:

Popular Posts In the last 30 Days

Copyright 2009-2012 WWPD LLC. Graphics and webdesign by Arran Slee-Smith. Original Template Designed by Magpress.