The Fighting Men of Han-sur-Lesse

Pvt. Piotr Kowalski - XXX Corps

Pvt. Kowalski was originally a sergeant in the Polish army. He fought during the German invasion of Poland, ultimately escaping to France after the defeat. He then went on to join a Polish brigade in the battle of France. After the fall of France, Kowalski was taken prisoner. He was interred in Stalag VIJ for years. However, a bombing attack of the camp in early November provided Kowalski and several other POWs an opportunity to escape. They headed south looking for the Allied front line. He was the last survivor of the group when he arrived in Belgium. A British patrol found him and after a brief interrogation and some medical treatment, he was pressed into service. Pvt. Kowalski is a mountain of a man with a commanding presence and a thick accent. Needless to say, years of internment in a German POW camp has instilled in him a strong antipathy for Germans, but even he will admit the Nazis weren’t as bad as what they face now.

Pvt. Oliver Jamieson - XXX Corps

Pvt. Jameison was born in Manchester and grew up always wanting to wear a uniform, although before the war, he figured it would be that of a policeman. Following the invasion of Poland, Jamieson signed up and was assigned to XXX Corps. His marksmanship was first-rate and he served as a sniper in North Africa and Sicily before heading off to participate in the Normandy landings. He has seen it all and killed more Germans than he can count. He is the most battle-hardened of all the troopers and that combat experience is what has gotten him through this far.

Cpl. Gordon MacGregor - XXX Corps

Cpl. MacGregor, a lowland Scot from Dumfries, has seen action in Sicily and France. He was a private in the BEF during the Battle of France and escaped at Dunkirk. He was badly wounded and barely escaped alive, but after a long convalescence, he was fit to return to duty. He joined the XXX Corps just in time to participate in the invasion of Sicily, before returning to England to prepare for the D-Day invasion. Once again, MacGregor found himself fighting Germans on French soil. Despite some lingering pain from his old wounds, MacGregor is as tough as they come. Some of the lads joke that the last man standing in Europe will be Cpl. MacGregor.

Cpt. Richard Billingsley - OSI

Despite being the ranking officer in Han-sur-Lesse, Cpt. Billingsley is a mystery. With a slight build and upper-class mannerisms, Billingsley is a stark contrast to the rough men he leads. Nonetheless, he commands respect and not just because of his rank. He has an unusual understanding of the events that have changed the world so profoundly and a force of will that inspires his men. Most secretly believe he is the reason they have survived, although they don’t know quite how. Billingsley is a sorcerer with the highly-secretive Office of Supernatural Investigation. When pressed, however, he will only describe himself as a military intelligence officer.

Pvt. James Mayweather - 23rd Hussars

When the war started, James Mayweather was a lorry driver in London, with a knack for fixing engines. He enlisted shortly after Dunkirk and spent the next three years driving supply trucks throughout England. In September 1943, he was reassigned to the 23rd Hussars and trained to drive Sherman tanks, as the Allies prepared for the eventual invasion of western Europe. Mayweather and his crew participated in several engagements through France and Belgium, although they never distinguished themselves, that is, until the events of late December 1944. At the start of the Ardennes offensive, the 23rd Hussars had been taken off active duty in order to rearm with the new Comet tanks. They were quickly reactivated with their old Shermans to halt the German advance in eastern Belgium. So it was that Mayweather and his tank crew found themselves when a battalion of Panzer IVs and Panthers, their crews maddened by the first waves of horrors, bore down upon them on the morning of December 27th, 1944. Manning obsolete tanks, outnumbered and outgunned, the men of the 23rd Hussars fought valiantly. Two hours of heavy fighting left virtually every tank on both sides destroyed. Tankers who escaped their burning hulks were quickly slaughtered by the waves of arachnids that followed. Mayweather was one of handful of lucky souls to survive that day.

Louis Declercq - civilian

A former police officer in nearby Rochefort, Louis Declercq was incarcerated for a few months by the Nazis on suspicion of resistance activities. He was eventually released when it became clear he was innocent, but spent the next couple of years working as a general labourer for low wages. Of all the civilians in Han-sur-Lesse, he is the most skilled with firearms, especially the Walther P38 he took from the body of a dead German officer. Because of his training and his ability to speak English, French and Dutch, he was asked to join the squad as an interpreter. He is haunted by atrocities he has witnessed and sometimes talks to himself.