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Spoiling attack into A2
Chris Grau (British 50 th Div.) vs. Jacob Markson (Italian 102st Trento Div.)
Battle 3 British launch spoiling attack in to A2
Scenario: No Retreat
British Core force is a Rifle Company supported by a platoon of Valentine IIs, and a battery of Royal artillery also with the assigned firestorm troops.
Italian force is a Bersaglieri Weapons company supported by two batteries of captured 25 pdrs, a five-tank platoon of PzIII Hs, and the firestorm troops. The British commander foolishly chose to attack during daylight.
With the minefields and additional sections of wire (we used four) this was a tough slog for the British. There was a hill in the middle of the board with a cliff face on the side facing the attackers that split the battlefield in
half. The Italians place all of their mines on their left flank with the sections of wire directly behind them, with one 8” section deployed at a right angle towards the British blocking access to the side of the central hill. The
tanks, pioneers, and 90 th Lt firestorm troops were in reserve. A weapons platoon was deployed on each objective. The 25 pdrs were on each flank, and a lone Flak 88mm was deployed on a hill in the rear center of
the defensive position. The British deployed their mortars in the middle of the board and a battery of 25 pdrs were on each flank. The tanks and Commando platoon deployed in the center with the carrier platoon. Two rifle platoons deployed in line on each wing.
The early part of the battle saw Italian artillery kill a Valentine in a barrage and pin the mortars for several turns. A rifle platoon on the British left entered the wire obstacle to clear it, and the SA rifle company moved up on the far left. The tanks remained behind the hill, and the right two infantry platoon moved forward as well. Italian fire wiped out the rifle platoon attempting to breach the wire. Through the middle turns of the game the SA Riflemen destroyed an Italian AT battery, and a 25 pdr battery with just a remaining single stand, after staying on the board despite their terrible morale. They were eliminated the following turn. All through the game whenever the British Kittyhawk air arrived they attempted to bomb the Flak 88, but were unsuccessful.
On the right the British braved a ton of enemy fire, moved up to the mines, and eventually dug in. As they were within 8” of the objective they kept the British in the fight after turn six. In the later stages of the game the defending weapons platoon on the British right was destroyed by artillery.
By then all of the Italian reinforcements had made it on to the board, and were supporting the Italian left.
The final turns of the game saw the Flak 88 finally destroyed by artillery. The Commandos, and the two Valentines began moving on the left to attack the Weapons platoon defending the Italian right objective.
Artillery was steadily whittling down the defenders. While this was happening, the Italian artillery continued to work over the dug in rifle platoons. They eventually tried assaults with the 90 th light platoon which was eliminated, and the Italian Pioneer platoon which was able to destroy the British platoon closest to the central hill. This left just a single weakened Rifle platoon keeping the British in the battle.
During the last two turns of the game the Valentines destroyed the Weapons platoon defending the right objective and the Commandos moved up to eliminate some AA guns near the objective. On the right, the three
remaining stands of Pioneers, as well as the PZ IIIs tried assaulting the British defenders. Three of the tanks struck mines and were destroyed. The last unit killed a stand, but then failed its counter attack and fell back
without hitting another mine. This unit would break the next turn. The remaining Italian 25 pdrs killed one of the Valentines. The Pioneers assaulted, lost two of three stands to defensive fire, stepped on a mine, saved from the mine hit, and killed the last British light mortar. This left the British with just a single core unit and the formation broke just as it was securing the objective.
The fight ended in a 6-3 win for the Axis. The SA Rifle Platoon, and the 90 th Light Platoon Firestorm units were destroyed.
Deliberate attack C2 into C6
Afrika Korps Force:
Results: Axis Victory 6-3
German: Panzer III Tank Company
1x Panzer III (short 5cm) 5pts
2x Panzer III Short and 1 long 17pts
2x Panzer III Short and 1 long 17pts
3 x Panzer II 6pts
3 x Diana 10pts
4 x Schleppers 12pts
Africa Rifle platoon with ATR and HMG 8pts
Firestorm: 3x Panzer III Short and 1 long
Firestorm: 3 x Italian M14/41
British: Rifle Company
2 x Rifle Team HQ 2pts
Short Rifle Platoon 7pts
Short Rifle Platoon 7pts
4 x 6pdr 12pts
4 x 6pdr 12pts
3 x UCs 2pts
3 x UC 2Pts
4 x 25Pdrs 14pts
Full US Armoured Rifle Platoon 15pts
Firestorm: Full Motor platoon
Deployment – British Rifle Platoons deploy around each of the German objectives while UC patrols spearhead out to the flanks. Minefields are deployed in blocking positions and at the main rail and road intersection and 6pdrs lay in ambush for the approaching Germans. On the opposite board edge, German Pz IIIs and Pz IIs deploy on the left flank and the Firestorm Pz IIIs and M14/41s deploy on the right. Dianas and Lorraine Schleppers deploy in the rear area near the HQ Pz III and infantry.
Turn 1 – German Artillery opened fire on one of the British Rifle Platoons but only pinned the unit. The Afrika Rifles moved up to the nearest building and began suppressive fire on the British HQ. Both German flanks pushed up in an effort to engage the UC patrols. The M14/41s were the only ones to score hit bailing one and destroying another. In the British turn, the damaged UC platoon fled the battle after one of its crew failed to remount. The 6pdrs revealed themselves in the tree line overlooking the objects and with the 25pdrs attempted to knock out the incoming tanks, only managing to bail to M14/41s while the 25pdrs claimed a Pz II kill. The remaining UCs began a mad dash for the German rear to harass the artillery and draw fire from the infantry.
Turn 2 – German artillery performs a repeat bombardment, pinning the rifle platoon and the 6pdrs. The Pz IIs turn around to deal with the UC patrol but fail to cause any damage as they continue to speed toward the German rear areas. The Pz IIIs and M14/41s (after remounting) advance on the AT guns and infantry. MG fire from the tanks and the advancing Afrika Rifles manages to pin all of the rifle platoons as the Firestorm PzIIIs start their assault. One tank is destroyed by defensive fire but the rest make it into base contact. Fighting is fierce and neither side wants to back down. The tanks make 5 motivation checks before they fail and are driven back, leaving the British rifle platoon badly mauled and down to 3 stands. The British know they have to call in everything they have otherwise the next assault will break the line. A reserve platoon of 6pdrs arrives on the flanks on the PzIIIs and M14/41s and opens fire. The 6pdrs and 25pdrs also add their fire but hits are few and only one Pz III is bailed and 2 M14/41s are bailed with a 3rd destroyed. On the other flank, the 25pdrs manage to knock out a Pz III.
Turn 3 – Germans had to push hard this turn. There were no more forces to commit to the attack and the British were getting reinforced. The remaining Pz IIIs and M14/41s moved into assault positions and open up with main guns and MGs pinning units and gun teams. A few stands were knocked out by fire and artillery impacting on the British positions but not as many as hoped. The German assault phase was intense starting with the Afrika Rifles moving in on the weakened British Rifles. After a few rounds of attacks and counter attacks the German infantry were driven back but at great cost. The Pz IIIs moved in to finish off the remaining infantry stand losing one to defensive fire. Pz IIIs on the left flank managed to assault and kill a single stand but also lost a tank to defensive fire. The Italians suffered complete casualties as they attempted to assault the British 25pdrs. The Germans were now holding an objective and prepared to hold on with everything they had. British forces knew this was their last chance, bolstered by their remaining reserve units, they moved in for the attack. The American ARP let lose a volley of bazooka rounds knocking out the remaining Pz III on the left flank. The UCs finally broke into the German back lines despite losing a unit to the chasing Pz IIs, but there MG rounds bounced harmlessly off the Lorraines. 6pdrs and 25pdrs fired at the Pz IIIs holding the objective only managing to kill two and bail two more leaving both platoons in bad spirits but also leaving the objective uncontested. If they Pz IIIs broke formation, the British would win, but if the Pz III crews remounted the Germans would secure the objective and win the game.
End of Game – German Pz III crew managed to remount and secure the objective for the win.
C2 into C5
Battle 5: C2 into C5
Mission: Bridgehead with British Defending
Level: 100 Points plus Firestorm Troops
Axis (Greg): German Panzer III Up-armoured Tank Company from Afrika Korps
Formation: HQ of 1 up-armoured Panzer III, 3 Panzer IIIs, 3 Panzer IIIs (2 up-armoured); Support: 3 Marders, 1 Tiger with 1 up-armoured Panzer III, a light scout troop, an 88, 2 Stuka, a full, motorised Africa Rifle platoon and Lucky;
British (Brent): British Rifle Company from Armoured Fist
Formation: Rifle HQ with tenacity, and a full and a small platoon both with Sticky Bombs, 4 mortars, 4 6-pounders, 3 Carriers; Support: 4 17-pounders, full Indian motor platoon, 3 Honeys, 3 Churchills;
The Battlefront desert mat was used and the pictured scrubby terrain on it was played as concealing. The British held their Churchill platoon and full rifle platoon in reserve. Minefields were laid on the left and right flanks to make a mess of attempted recce spearheads. The carriers also spearheaded out to the left under cover of the buildings to stop the Axis being tempted to do this anyway on that flank. Honeys joined them to assist if needed, or look for opportunities to flank attackers. The Indian motor platoon defended the left objective, the short rifle platoon the right one. 17 pounders were positioned centrally with two within 8” of the front of each platoon. The commanders centrally to give re-rolls to all – possible with the small defensive area box of Bridgehead. Mortars also centrally to bombard infantry attacks or guns. 6 pounders were held in ambush.
The Axis decided their hammer blow would fall on the British right flank and deployed behind or along the sides the palm groves.
View from British Left Flank at Zero Hour
View of British Centre and Right at Zero Hour
View of the Axis Attack at Zero Hour
The battle began reasonably well for the Axis. The Luftwaffe would be joining in the attack. Recce flanked to try and get a few lucky shots. The two platoons of 3 Panzer IIIs, one of which was mostly up-armoured moved to the right of the palm groves supported by the lone HQ Panzer III. They were expecting to draw the ambush and hoping to weather it. The Tiger and its Panzer III escort moved through the palm groves, and Marders and infantry advanced in the scrub to the left of the palm groves. The infantry and Tiger were hoping to assault early. In shooting, the supporting infantry mortar managed to range in and target but, crucially, not hit (through having to re-roll hits) three 17-pounders and the Co HQ behind the threatened British right objective. The Luftwaffe also hit all three 17-pounders and the HQ, but miraculously all the guns and officers survived. Shooting from the 88, Marders, recce and tanks on the entrenched and gone to ground British proved to be ineffective.
In return the British unpinned the 17-pounders and Rifle Co HQ. They then deployed the 6-pounders in ambush from the scrub behind the palm groves. No reserves arrived. The Honeys moved closer to the centre hoping to run out and get side shots on the Marders next turn or so. The British carriers were happy their commander forgot to give them orders. Unfortunately for the British, their mortars were unable to range in on the German infantry. But the 6-pounders fired on the German infantry and a Panzer III platoon, killing two of three Panzers and almost pinning the infantry. A 17-pounder finished the Panzer III platoon commander off and another managed to bail a Marder. In perhaps a risky move, the rifles then opened up on the German infantry killing a stand and pinning the platoon. The British commander was worried.
However, the German second turn was a mixed bag. The Luftwaffe would be turning up again. But the remaining up-armoured Panzer IIIs and the Panzer III HQ largely failed to cross into the relative safety of the palm grove leaving one up-armoured Panzer and the HQ tank exposed. The Tiger and escort Panzer III also failed at least one cross check so no German assaults would be possible this turn. The German infantry dug in to await proceedings and the bailed Marder remounted. Again shooting by the German ground forces was ineffective. However, the Stukas killed a 6-pounder, a 17-pounder and also pinned the rifle platoon and the HQ.
The British second turn was to prove pretty pivotal. All of the British platoons unpinned apart from the infantry who went to ground. The Churchill troop then arrived from reserves right where the British general wanted them, on the right flank, allowing flanking shots on the German up-armoured panzer III platoon and HQ panzer. In the excitement the Carriers again were over looked in the orders stakes. The subsequent shooting resulted in an up-armoured Panzer being brewed up and the German HQ Panzer bailed by the Churchills. The mortars ranged in this time and pinned the German infantry with another stand biting the desert dust. And between them the 6-pounders and 17-pounders were able to destroy the 88 and two Marders. The Honeys were too far away from the remaining Marder to hit it.
The start of the third German turn saw the Panzer III HQ remain bailed despite having Lucky, the remaining Marder running away, and the Luftwaffe thinking better of another sortie. The Tiger and escort, and the up-armoured Panzer IIIs were now exposed and really had to assault to attempt to squeak a win. German shooting was ineffective, but what to do. Both assaults went in, but only one Panzer III made its cross check in each case – crucially the Tiger failed a cross check once again – and both Panzer IIIs were then destroyed by defensive fire. A picture of this situation was captured by the British battlefield reporter.
View of the stalled German attack at the end of the German third turn.
The British third turn saw the destruction of the remaining up-armoured Panzer III and the breaking of the unlucky German formation on the British guns. A British 8:1 victory. Huzzah!
C2 into C5
British list: Full Honey Squadron of 16 Honeys. Rifle company with two small rifle platoons, two platoons of 3 6-pounders each, and 12 Universal Carriers in four patrols. In support were a battery of 4 25-pounders, a Honey OP, a flight of Kittyhawks, and the Firestorm platoon of Indian Motor infantry.
German list: Panzer III company with a single HQ tank, a full platoon of 5 uparmored PZIIIs, a full platoon of 5 short-gun PZIIIs, a platoon of 3 PZIIIs with short 7.5cm guns, and a platoon of 3 PZ IIs for spearhead. In support, the Firestorm units of Stukas, and a DAK infantry platoon with transports.
The mission was Bridgehead, and the British set up their defenses,
The Panzer IIs spearheaded forward, and took the infantry, the HQ, and the uparmored Panzers with them on an end-around the hill.
Neither side saw their air support for the first five turns. The British reserves failed to arrive the first couple of turns. The infantry assaulted the 25 pounders and drove them from the field. The Panzers set in to bombard the 6-pounders at range. The German mortar pinned the British infantry on the near objective.
The British counterattacked the DAK infantry, but suffered horrendous casualties in defensive fire. The Panzers moved up on either flank of the hill, but then the first Honey Reserves arrived to the German rear. The alpha strike failed though, and the Panzers wheeled their turrets around and blasted the entire platoon.
To the British front, the platoon of 3 Panzers drove up and assaulted the other 6-pounder unit in the flank, wiping it out. A very bloody assault and counter-assault then took place between the Panzers and the British infantry. Eventually the Panzers broke off first, but at great expense to the British infantry.
Turn 6: Both sides poured reinforcements to the objective. The lone 75mm PZIII charged the British infantry and company HQ. The uparmored PZIIIs faced a platoon of Honeys in a close gunfight. This time, it was the British who broke first and retreated from the close assault. However, at the start of Turn 7, the British had at least two units still in contesting range of the objective. The Germans had three, the lone PZIII, the uparmored PZIIIs, and the gray PZIIIs charged in from the right.
In the German Turn 7, I stole the victory by killing or driving off the Universal carriers and infantry still in contesting range of the objective. It cost me the final 75mm PZIII. This unit, combined with losing the PZII scout platoon (proxied by PZ38ts), meant a 7-2 victory for the Germans. The only battle we have left to play is #4 with the right hook into C-6