SAS In North Africa


Mission Photo Album

Mission Video

A screenshot photo of WWII SAS Maj. Jack Grillo and U.S. Army Lt. Mike Powell blowing up a German Panzer tank with the help of a .30 cal Browning machine gun in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

Lt. Powell shoots explosive barrels near a German Panzer IV tank in the airfield’s supply area, destroying it.

The Special Air Service, more commonly known as the SAS, was created in 1941 by Lt. David Stirling of the British Army, who was convinced that a small team of commandos working with the element of surprise could be more effective than an entire platoon.

This special forces unit achieved world-wide attention when it ended the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980. Today, it is featured in games like Call of Duty.

In 1941, it was created specifically for operating behind enemy lines in North Africa. Many SAS operations targeted airfields, from which the Luftwaffe launched airplanes in support of Gen. Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

Originally five officers and 60 men of other ranks, the SAS’s first mission was a parachute drop behind enemy lines in support of Operation Crusader. However, the attempt to attack enemy airfields met with resistance and unfavorable weather conditions, resulting in one-third of the force (22 men) being killed or captured. Their second operation targeted three Libyan airfields, resulting in the destruction of 60 aircraft and no SAS casualties.

Likewise, an airfield is one of the target of Maj. Jack Grillo of the SAS and Lt. Mike Powell of the U.S. Army Rangers in Allied Assault.

After sabotaging an Afrika Korps motor pool on his own – destroying Opel trucks along with Tiger and Panzer tanks – Powell is extracted by Grillo in a Willys MB “Jeep” armed with a Browning .30 cal machine gun.

Their final objective is to destroy a nearby radar station that can direct artillery fire from coastal batteries onto the invasion fleet. Powell must then activate a lighthouse, which will serve as a signal torch to the Allied fleet that the invasion can begin. Get it now? Lighting the Torch? Whatever, I like wordplay, don’t judge me.

Between the motor pool and the lighthouse, there is one of the most fun, though most annoying (if you haven’t played it a few times already) missions of the game.

As Grillo drives (terribly at times), Powell must stand in the back of the Jeep, totally exposed to enemy fire while operating the Browning. While all Powell has to do is aim, enemies are often hard to see, jump out from hiding, or are just hard to hit with the machine gun. This can result in a few frustrating deaths.

On the other hand, there is a lot of sabotage going on. Contradictory to the usual connotation of “sabotage” (undercover, cloak-and-dagger destruction), this is more of a, “Hey, we’re going to drive around your base, blowing stuff up, while completely exposed… stop us if you can,” kind of thing.

A photo of SAS Lt. Col. Robert "Paddy" Mayne taken during WWII in North Africa.

Robert “Paddy” Mayne in North Africa during WWII.

It’s also fitting that an SAS agent is driving the Jeep, as SAS Lt. Col. Robert “Paddy” Mayne pioneered the use of Jeeps in hit-and-run raids, especially those aimed at enemy airfields.

The airfield presents a new challenge, as Powell must continually fire at grounded airplanes until they explode, while keeping an eye on his surroundings. As Grillo drives, Germans with MP40s, rifles and Panzerschrecks arrive via foot or truck to attempt to stop the pair.

One stubborn Stuka pilot will even take off and attempt a strafing run on the Jeep, giving Powell a chance to shoot him down.

Once the nine Stukas (10 if you hit the one in the air) and three Focke-Wulf Fw190‘s are destroyed, along with any other explosive targets (tanks, trucks, gasoline barrels and a few motorcycles), Grillo drops Powell off at the entrance to a bunker. He plans to “lead their reinforcements away” and meet up with Powell at the light house.

Inside the bunker is the radar station. This, as well as the two Germans guarding it, can be taken care of with one well-placed grenade. It’s hard to place the grenade that well, so Powell may be forced to fire a few shots.

The rest of the mission is pretty straightforward: fight through the bunker, run along the seaside road to the lighthouse, fight through the lighthouse, turn on the beacon and run out, meeting up with Grillo, who slams through a gate in a stolen Opel truck (don’t stand too close, he will run you over, and that’s a terrible reason to restart the mission).

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~ by John on July 20, 2010.

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