In honor of Martin Luther King Day, here is the January Grumble Jones Scenario GJ053 "Roll Jordan Roll" which is based on the actions of the African-American 333rd Field Artillery. This unit was originally raised and trained at Camp Gruber in Oklahoma and then later at Fort Sill to hone their artillery skills.
The unit endured the racism which was unfortunately normal for that time both in the civilian and military communities. They would overcome this and other hurdles as they were deployed in Western Europe. During the Normandy campaign, they would prove their worth while providing critical fire support to the 82nd Airborne and other units. As an independent unit, their skills were in high demand.
By the time of the Battle of the Bulge, the 333rd was a veteran and highly capable unit.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the 333rd was supporting the 106th Infantry Division in the Schnee Eifel. As the 106th crumbled, the 333rd would itself be overrun by units of the 18th Volksgrenadiier Division.
Unable to stand up to the attack, the 333rd initially tried to escape, but when it was clear that there was no escape, the unit surrendered. During the march to the rear, 11 men of the 333rd Field Artillery escaped into the woods. They sought refuge with a Belgian Family. They were treated well and had food and a warm place to stay. Unfortunately, other villagers informed the SS Grenadiers in the area that Americans were in the village. Captured a second time, the African-Americans were marched away. But this time, their captors massacred them. All 11 men were brutally killed near Wereth, Belgium.
Today, the only WW2 monument to African-Amerians soldiers is the Wereth Memorial, which was paid for largely by the local Belgian inhabitants.
This month's scenario takes a hypothetical look at the events leading up to the demise of the 333rd Field Artillery and imagines what might have happened had they been supported long enough to limber the artillery guns and move them out of harm's way.
The 81st Engineer Battalion was in the same neighborhood as the 333rd. So the scenario asks what might have happened had the 81st Engineer Battalion linked up with the 333rd Field Artillery to hold the line.
Hopefully, this scenario will give some flavor of those dark winter days in 1944 Belgium.
The Grumble Jones January Scenario GJ053- "Roll Jordan Roll" is dedicated to the African-American veterans of the 333rd Field Artillery and their 11 brothers who lost their lives at Wereth, Belgium. May we never forget.
As always these monthly "Basement Quality" Scenarios are offered for fun only and as a thank you to the readers of this blog.
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And as always, the PDF's for these scenarios can be downloaded from The ASL Scenario Archive (just search on Grumble Jones).