Airborne Engineer Platoon
with 2 Operating Squads and Julian Cook.
Airborne engineers gave an Airborne company extra pioneer supplies to clear mines and traps or set up their own. Or they could just shove all those explosives into a Jerry tank's vision slits, road wheels or open hatches!
Major Julian Cook
Julian Cook graduated as an officer from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1940. In 1942 he volunteered for the 82nd Airborne Division and joined the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).
On 9 July 1943, Cook made his first combat jump during Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. On his way out the door of his C-47 transport plane, he was hit ‘in the can’ and in the leg by flak, narrowly missing his artery. Nevertheless, he made the jump.
Cook made four more combat jumps—Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy—before being given command of 3rd Battalion, 504th PIR just prior to Operation Market Garden.
On 17 September, Major Cook jumped into Holland at DZ (drop zone) ‘O’ near the Maas-Waal Canal. After helping to secure the canal crossing, Cook and his men marched to Nijmegen.
General Gavin ordered a daylight crossing of the Waal River to outflank the stubborn German defenders entrenched around the city’s important bridges. Cook was given command of the crossing and joined his men in the first wave across the river.
Allied artillery and tanks opened fire on the northern bank as Major Cook’s first wave began their crossing. The wind blew the smoke screen away, revealing the paratroopers to the German machine-guns.
Major Cook noticed the paratroopers wavering under the intense German defensive fire. Being a devout Catholic, he loudly recited ‘Hail Mary’. Cook took charge of the chaotic boats, redirecting disoriented assault boats and pushing his men along.
Once ashore Cook and his men cleared the river bank and assaulted the highway bridge. After a sharp fight the 3rd Battalion, 504th PIR at 1900 hours, captured the bridge.
The British general, Sir Miles Dempsey, witnessed the 504th PIR’s crossing, shook his head in amazement and simply described the crossing as, ‘Unbelievable’.
Major Julian Cook is a Warrior and a Higher Command Rifle team rated as Fearless Veteran. Major Cook is an Independent team.
Major Cook may join a US Parachute Rifle Company from the 82nd Airborne Division for +50 points.
A Daring Plan
In Cook’s plan the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion assaulted with his men across the Waal River. They knocked out enemy positions while Cook charged towards the bridge.
A force led by Major Julian Cook may include a second Airborne Engineer Platoon as an additional Support Platoon. If you choose to do so, your force will always attack against any other Infantry Company in a mission with the Defensive Battle Special Rule.
The paratroopers assaulted across the river in rickety canvas boats. They frenziedly stormed the opposite river bank relentlessly as the German mortar shells fell around them.
When crossing rivers using the River Crossing special rules, Parachute Rifle and Airborne Engineer Platoons in a force commanded by Cook that are not Pinned Down may attempt to Get Out of the river during the Assault Step. Roll a Motivation Test for each platoon attempting to move out of the river:
If they pass the Motivation Test, the platoon may Get Out of the river and immediately move or assault up to 4”/10cm.
If they fail the Motivation Test, the platoon cannot move any further this turn and must wait until its next Movement Step to Get Out as normal.
As bullets and shrapnel tore through the vulnerable paratroopers, Cook, a devout Catholic, recited the Rosary loudly, giving his men inspiration in a desperate situation.
Cook, and any platoon he is currently leading, always passes Motivation Tests on a roll of 2+.
Soften ’em Up!
Cook’s parachute field artillery batteries and mortars saturated the opposite bank of the river with high explosives and smoke to conceal and support the paratroopers as they furiously paddled across the Waal river.
Parachute Field Artillery Batteries and Parachute Mortar Platoons in a force commanded by Cook may fire a bombardment using the Soften ’Em Up! special rule. This is a mixed bombardment of high-explosive and smoke shells and must be fired at the beginning of the Shooting Step along with any Smoke Bombardments before any other shooting.
When using the Soften ’ Em Up! rule to fire a bombardment with three or four weapons, place a Smoke Screen under the same template used for the bombardment. The bombarding platoon counts as only having two weapons firing and must re-roll successful to Hit rolls.
The Smoke Screen is always one template in size and is aligned with the bombardment’s template rather than the wind.
As with normal Smoke Bombardments, a bombardment using the Soften ’Em Up special rule cannot use the All Guns Repeat! rule, nor may it use the Time On Target special rule.