SAS On The Warpath

Mission Photo Album

Mission Video

A screenshot photo of WWII SAS Maj. Jack Grillo from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

Maj. Grillo of the SAS, around whom this mission is based.

While this post’s title is a spot-on description of the in-game mission, it’s nowhere close to the historical events upon which this portion of Allied Assault is loosely based.

After surviving a German ambush that killed Capt. Richards’ entire team of Rangers, Lt. Mike Powell finds himself in the midst of the German-occupied town of Arzew. Alone, but heavily armed – with a Colt .45, an M1 Garand, a Thompson, eight grenades and more than 500 rounds of ammunition –  he continues to search for Maj. Jack Grillo of the SAS.

Although the Special Air Service was created for covert actions behind enemy lines in North Africa, the U.S. Army Rangers had more to do with Operation Torch, since the Allies felt that the French would be more receptive of an American-led invasion than a British-led one. This assumption was based on the fact that the British had destroyed most of the French Navy at Mers-el-Kebir in 1940.

After watching three German riflemen load two other prisoners of war (POWs) into an Opel truck, Powell follows the soldiers into a nearby building.

Including the three that just entered, there are six Germans inside, not counting a sentry patrolling a nearby balcony. The first gunshot will alert all seven to the presence of an enemy, so it’s best to take them by surprise.

A screenshot photo of WWII U.S. Army Lt. Mike Powell using a Thompson from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

Fleeing a grenade, the Germans run into Powell’s line of fire.

Tossing a grenade through the door will do two things. One: it will completely ruin the card game going on inside; two: it will panic three to four Germans and funnel them into the doorway, where Powell is waiting with his Thompson.

Once the soldiers waiting upstairs are dealt with, Grillo can be found in a corner cell, staring thoughtfully out the window. Upon being freed, he tells Powell “they would’ve killed me for certain.”

Once equipping an MP40, which Powell can obtain as well (adding a second submachine gun to his unreasonable arsenal), Grillo is off and running. There’s not much resistance, with the exception of a supply yard, so Grillo can take care of most of the enemies the two encounter on their way to finish Grillo’s mission: destroying the 88mm guns covering the harbor.

A photo of WWII U.S. Army Lt. Col. William O. Darby.

Lt. Col. William O. Darby, the commander of Darby’s Rangers, was promoted to Brigadier General after his death in 1945.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, 1942, “Darby‘s Rangers,” the 1st Ranger Battalion, disembarked from landing craft to perform roughly the same mission Grillo is assigned in the game.

Col. Hargove informs Powell at the start of the rescue mission that Arzew is built around a desert fort occupied by Germans. In fact, the area around Arzew contained two forts – Fort de la Pointe and Batterie du Nord – both occupied by Vichy France.

The force was split into two – Darby’s Rangers were to attack Batterie du Nord while the rest, under the command of Maj. Herman Dammer, renamed “Dammer’s Rangers,” targeted Fort de la Pointe.

Fort de la Pointe was located on the Arzew harbor and consisted of three coastal gun batteries and a fortification with 20-foot walls. Batterie du Nord was situated on a ridge near Arzew and housed four 105mm howitzers, while Fort du Nord stood nearby.

Given that the fortress in Allied Assault appears to have 20-foot walls and an artillery battery overlooking the water, it is likely that this mission, to some degree, is based upon the actions of Dammer’s Rangers.

After landing unopposed, Dammer’s Rangers entered the fort, and after a short firefight, captured the guns and about 60 prisoners. Meanwhile, Darby’s Rangers captured and destroyed the guns at Batterie du Nord. Fort du Nord was soon talked into surrendering.

A screenshot photo of the WWII Fort de la Pointe in Arzew, Algeria, from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

The fortress in Arzew as seen in Allied Assault.

Atop the walls of the in-game fortress, MG42 gunners with spotlights scan the surrounding area. Getting caught in the light usually results in instant death, as will shooting them. Following Grillo’s lead, it is easy to sneak past them and into the fort. He will also take care of the few German sentries. The only challenges are the officer in the room where Grillo’s documents are located, and the three riflemen in the basement where the explosives are stored.

Along the way, Germans can be heard interrogating the two POWs from the first scene, a conversation that soon ends with a gunshot. Grillo observes that it “sounds like they’ve got more Allied prisoners,” and continues his mission.

While he doesn’t seem to care, the player should. Rescuing Pvt. Jury, the surviving POW, will result in Powell being awarded the Legion of Merit. Jury and his recently-executed comrade appear to be paratroopers, some of which were actually captured in North Africa after bad weather and communication problems scattered the planes and men of the 509th Parachute Regiment all over North Africa.

This time, following Grillo’s escape plan will usually lead to Jury, who isn’t the fastest runner, getting caught in the lights of instant death. Instead, when Grillo runs, break right along the wall and retrace the path that was used to enter the fort, ensuring Jury’s survival. After using the explosives on a gate and two 88mm guns, Grillo leaves to find some transportation and Powell is left to sabotage more German equipment alone.


~ by John on July 12, 2010.

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