If indeed there were an enemy set on inflicting harm, they would have no trouble locating Lt Abnett and Captain Mercury’s men. They were breathing hard, from the midnight route over rough terrain to the base of Darwin Ridge.
This was the third waypoint, light was breaking and the element of surprise was lost.
The wet breeze off the bay did not refresh the men, the heavy salty air just made breathing that much harder. Not that they noticed. All to a man were focused on supporting the fight raging to their NW, they were late but that was another story.
Historical Course of Action Image
Right now they had to get down into Goose Green to cut off the Argentine forces break their control of the isthmus.
One of the 9 Squad’s of 2nd Para from Company A armed with L7A2 light machine guns moved across rough terrain of the crest of a slope just below the higher Darwin Ridge. Wet tufts of spindly grass covered the boots of British in dew amongst the rock and gravel strewn ground. They took up Overwatch positions to cover the dangerous advance. To their right a single squad advanced flanking the main force and scouting for enemy who were likely entrenched on the hill.
Tragically, a gunho Para miss identified what he thought was large concentration of the 25th Infanteria! Lt Abnett called in their Harrier Strike. They could not tell the effect, but cries of pain travelled down the hill through the thick salty air. The lack of secondary explosions suggested little damage had been inflicted.
Up on the Ridge, Estevez did what 1,000’s before him did. As a Medic his job was to run to the danger without gun.
He began treating the wounded from the Harrier strike, even before the deadly craft had left earshot.
The breeze stiffened as the first squads of Co A moved cautiously from rock to rock, easing their way up towards the higher ground looking for dug in fighters.
If the Argentines are up there thought Mercury, they are playing it safe and exhibiting excellent fire control he mused.
A miscommunication inadvertently ends the turn.
“Spotted, Enemy bunker 500m, fire for effect!” Sgt Hill called in the Naval bombardment.
Shells rained in and around the bunker housing the 12.7mm and peppered men in foxholes nearby.
Now, the Argentines who were nervous, fire at the approaching Paras wounding the leader and forcing the squads to ground.
Paras dive for cover as the cry “incoming” is heard.
At the outset of turn 3, the flanking forces are forced to seek refuge and recover from heavy fire. Lt Abnett and Captain Mercury confer on the danger posed by the clear ground. From their vantage point they can see the bodies of fallen comrades. Smoke grenades were having no effect for covering the advance as the breeze off the bay had stiffened appreciably.
There was no other way.
Except forward. He had to rely on Sgt Hill and his Mg’s to suppress the enemy so they could advance.
On Darwin ridge, the men foxholes spat deadly fire. A lone figure, Private Beckin, rushed along the base of the ridge to the enemy’s right flank, stumbling into a sniper hidden in the brush who he dispatched with a single shot to the face.
Pausing Beckin looked around. He could see the fire pouring down on his squad members. There was nothing for it. He reloaded his sten gun, checked his grenades. “Righto, lets set to it” He said to dead sniper.
It was the Chaplain that saw Beckin first. He and a squad of men were moving quickly to support Lt Tanier’s suppressed men. The Chaplain rushed with the men of the 25th into the series of foxholes, watching the lone British paratrooper racing up the hill in amazement towards his certain death. The Chaplain murmured a prayer for the lone soldiers soul. For surely he would die at his mens hands.
An unusual thing happened. One man, fought 6, while a dozen or more cowered in fear. Beckin ran from foxhole to foxhole like a demon possessed, firing from the hip, throwing grenades. The Chaplain stood still, and prayed for all.
2 or 3 stragglers from one of the other foxholes, cut off reinforcement to Beckin. He was now alone with the enemy. His bravery however inspired the rest of the troops from A company to race down the enemies flank, in an effort to support him. Racing past the wounded, the shocked the dead, they stormed the hill as well.
From the bunker the 50 cal spat its deadly venom, cutting down all who moved in the open.
Beckin succumbs but not before killing all of the men along with the Chaplain.
The battle swirls and rages around the ridge top. The ½ squad that is screening the suppressed men in the foxholes are killed outright by a Melee, from the Paras who advanced up the ridge. [Note here that the British Paras roll a 1d8 and 1d6 versus 2d6 in Melee actions.] Brutal.
Below the bunker suppressed British are attacked by the enemy charging from their foxholes. The Paras attempt to rally against their morale before they are wiped out by the angry Argentines. They fail. Their bodies fall amongst the rocks and plants, leeching blood into the dewy ground.
The stack below is large here due to the wounded marker, special weapons (blow pipe, MG’s and Leaders), Hill and his men are too late to rescue Beckin. But they will avenge his loss.
The 2nd squad of Argentines enter the fray with mg’s blazing, move along the ridge line firing an the advancing Brits. The injured, fearful and wounded hug the ground.
Hill waves on the commander and encourages him to press forward down to Goose Green. With the Argentine left flank now abandoned the British seek a way down to Goose Green, going around the Ridge on both sides.
Both sides remain locked in melee around the foxholes.
Lt Tanier’s reinforcements hit the edge of the road. Lt Sanchez takes up positions to cover the exits using heavy rough terrain to their advantage. Down the hill Argentines press forward and look for more wounded and suppressed Brits, to rack up the kill count [VP’s for Dead and reduced British paras for Argentina, VPs for exits for the 2nd Para].
British forces prepare to exit the map, confident their comrades in arms will be able to handle the remnants of the force on the ridge.
The Melee hex is finally cleared all are dead. Both sides wipe each other out in fierce fighting. Wounded aid each other as best they can. The carnage is horrifying.
The British cannot exit enough men to overcome the VP tally accrued via kills and reductions by the Argentines.
Desperate to slow the exit of the Leader and his squad, the Medic holds up his hands and advances towards the Brits. Will they mow him down?
The British realize they have failed. Too few men can exit to be an effective fighting force to support the attack on the township.
With the company in tatters and Leaders lost the 2nd Para capitulate, their unit history shall reflect great heroism, and much loss.