Rangers Lead The Way


Mission Photo Album

Mission Video

A screenshot photo of WWII U.S. Army Rangers in a stolen Opel Blitz truck from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

Capt. Richards gives the rescue team a few tips before entering hostile territory in stolen Opel Blitz trucks.

“Even the best-planned missions can go awry.”

Col. Stanley Hargrove could not have said it any better in his letter to Lt. Mike Powell following the first mission of “Lighting the Torch.”

Of course, Hargrove’s comment came after the fact.

At the outset of the mission, the rescue team of five Rangers seems poised for success. Bouncing down a desert road in stolen German Opel Blitz trucks with German-speaking drivers and forged papers, the squad expects little resistance.

That is not to be the case.

Something arouses the suspicion of the MP40-toting German who checks the second truck’s papers, and the tension within the first truck begins to escalate. Apparently seeing no other solution to the problem, the passenger in the second truck leaps over the driver and opens fire on the German with his Colt .45.

A screenshot photo of a WWII Wehrmacht (German Army) Opel truck explosion from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

The second Opel Blitz truck takes a Panzerschreck hit, exploding, after the Germans discover the Rangers.

Alerted to the presence of enemies, the Germans spring into action, most notably the sentry on the nearby rooftop who responds instantly, Panzerschreck in hand, to eliminate the threat.

Similarly, the real Operation Torch did not go as smoothly as the Allies had hoped. Because France, which controlled the targeted area, had been an ally of the United States during prior wars, the Allies believed that the French would not resist an American-led invasion.

Prior to the landings, American diplomat Robert Daniel Murphy contacted several French officers in North Africa and learned that these officers were willing to support the Allies. However, many other officers were not. This, unsurprisingly, led to some confusion.

At Casablanca, the Allies attempted to land without first bombing or shelling the French defenses, in hopes that the French would not fire upon the landing troops. Unfortunately, the high commissioner of the Vichy forces was not sympathetic to the Allies. A failed coup d’etat had alerted him to the impending invasion and he had strengthened the shore defenses, which opened fire on the invading force. Throughout the operation, the French offered decent resistance to the Allies, though most surrendered within the next day or two.

A photo of Allied troops crossing the beaches at Algiers during the landings of Operation Torch in WWII, from Wikipedia.

Flying an American flag, Allied troops land at Algiers, hoping the French will not open fire.

At Algiers, the French headquarters in North Africa, confusion over French allegiances reached its peak. This turned Algiers into a maze that could result in Allied soldiers encountering French units that would either receive them with open arms, or engage them in a firefight.

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, the 168th Regimental Combat Team endured one of the more frustrating ordeals when it encountered French troops openly assisting the 168th’s advance during the morning hours. Around noon, the pro-American officer was replaced by a pro-Nazi officer and the members of the 168th found themselves taking fire from the troops that had been helping them earlier in the day.

Thankfully, there is no such confusion in the first mission of Allied Assault. Everyone that is not a Ranger is an enemy. Upon exiting the truck, there is light resistance, but the presence of Panzerschrecks on the walls of the town is a little annoying for the few seconds that they remain active.

Otherwise, the stiffest opposition comes in a courtyard filled with crates, where six Germans, including one on a rooftop, open fire on the Rangers with Kar98k rifles, Walther P38 pistols and an MP40. If Private Allen dodges a Panzerschreck rocket that occasionally hits him in the chest, it is easy to keep the team intact throughout the town.

A screenshot photo of the WWII Wehrmacht (German Army) using an MG42 in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

An MG42 ambushes the Rangers in the courtyard.

But then, the mission goes awry. Upon checking a locked door in the final courtyard, the Rangers are ambushed by an MG42, riflemen on rooftops, rockets and Stielhandgranates. Manning the MG42 in the window will quickly eliminate all Germans in the area, though they will have already killed Powell’s entire team. (I did, somehow, manage to save Private Allen once, but how this happened remains a mystery). Private Wilson usually survives to tell Powell to move out and that he will provide covering fire, but he will be killed by a late-arriving rifleman.

Though an MP40 is available at a few locations during the mission, Capt. Richards’ death will yield a Thompson (a much better gun in my opinion). Once Powell mows down the three Germans that burst in through the previously locked door, he is left to finish the rest of the mission alone.

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~ by John on July 8, 2010.

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