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AAR Scenario 3 No 1

Page history last edited by Paul 10 years, 4 months ago

After Action Report

Benghazi Handicap – Scenario 3 – First Battle of Mechili

The game was played using the Blitzkrieg Commander rules, 2nd edition.

To read the scenario background, set-up, and rosters, follow the link Benghazi Handicap - Scenario 3.docx

Deployment

The table laid out as per the map in the scenario is shown below, as viewed from the Italian baseline. The low rises are not hills and don’t provide any height benefits but do block line-of-sight. The deep wadii is the dark strip across the table. Better wadii models are needed but the dark strip will have to do for now.

With the scenario being a counter-attack, the defending British deployed first, as shown below.

 

On the left, the bulk of the British armour, consisting of 2 A9’s, 1 A10, and 2 A13’s, and supported by a recon unit of Rolls Royce armoured cars, deploy ready to blunt any attempt by the Italians to by-pass the wadi by entering on the left flank.

Despite this show of force, the Italian commander chose to take it head on with a force of 8 M13/40 tanks support by a recon armoured car unit and led by a motivated leader (an HQ with a CV of 8, which is good for Italian command units).

 

In the centre, British forces consisting of a few light tanks, an A10 support tank (the model is actually a cruiser tank so it is easy to tell apart from the other A10), the sole British infantry unit, two 2-pdr portee units, and a recon unit of Rolls Royce armoured cars, are poised to cross the wadi and secure the village to gain its protective benefits.

With plans to thwart the British, the Italian commanding officer (CO) is poised on another low rise ready to strike with a force of light tanks and infantry supported by a flamethrower tank, towards the bottom and left sides of the small village.

 

On the right, a large force of British light tanks (MkVI Vickers) lurks behind a low rise ready to strike out across the desert. They are supported by one of two forward artillery observers (FAO) ready to call in fire from off-table 25-pdr artillery units.

The Italian commander plans to contest the British position by placing a HQ at the right hand end of the Italian baseline to lead a smaller force of M13/40’s, with some infantry support, across the desert supported on its left by another HQ leading a force of towed infantry guns, mortars, and anti-tank guns.

The stage is set with the Italians due to go first in a game of eight turns.

Italian Turn 1

The right hand HQ succeeded in entering the table despite having penalties for slow units. However, the HQ failed to issue a second order before being able to spread out.

To support this force the next Italian HQ also succeeds with entering the table, again despite the slow movement penalty! However that HQ also fails to issue a second order and the towed units look tempting targets for the British artillery spotters even after their attempts to spread out.

The Italian flanking force has a harder chance to enter as not only does it have some slow units, it is attempting to enter in the centre third of the flank, attracting another command penalty. However, the HQ has a higher command value than the others and also succeeds in entering the table (can nothing stop the Italian command?). As the units enter the table they take opportunity fire from the nearby British armour and suffer various suppressions. However, the number of Italian units exceeds the amount of fire from the British and they succeed in advancing slightly to take up firing positions. If only the HQ can make a second command roll.

In a surprise move the HQ does succeed in a second roll and takes advantage of it to knock out one of the A9’s and move other units up to better firing positions. The HQ failed to make good on his advantage by failing the third command roll.

The Italian CO then adds to the disappointment of the end of the Italian turn by failing to enter the table despite having the best CV and no slow movement penalties!

British Turn 1

Despite the tempting targets, neither of the British FAO’s succeeded in calling in the artillery support.

In the centre the British HQ ordered his units across the wadi and head to the village, but then failed to make the next command roll.

The British HQ leading the armoured force facing the Italian flanking force then failed a critical command roll and thus lost their best opportunity to swing their close range battle in their favour.

The British CO now ordered his forces out towards the enemy in order to close with the enemy where their weapons can have an effect.

With a second order the leading light machine gun the soft transport units of the Italian support force while the other tanks take up positions but Italian opportunity fire succeeds in knocking out one of the MkVI’s and the CO fails to issue a third order.

The British light tank line:

Italian Turn 2

On the Italian left flank, some of the tanks use their initiative to fire at the British tanks but only manage to inflict one hit, although it does suppress the unit.

The flanking HQ succeeds in issuing its first order with devastating effect on the British armour, knocking out two more tank units and suppressing another. The remaining unsuppressed British tank units uses some weak opportunity fire to suppress one Italian tank unit in order to reduce the power a second Italian order will no doubt inflict. However, the Italian HQ fails the second command roll, but it’s not looking good for the British right flank.

On the Italian right flank, the second tank force engages the British light tanks at long range and, as a result of two successful orders and a bonus, destroys two more tank units, and sends infantry out across the flat desert.

From a low level, the Italian infantry can be seen in the middle ground whilst, in the distance, smoke can be seen rising form the remains of various MkVI’s.

The Italian HQ commanding the towed support units succeeds in issuing an order that spreads out the support units ready to deploy but a failed second command roll leaves them still looking vulnerable to enemy action.

The Italian CO finally manages to enter the table but a failed second command roll leaves his forces also looking vulnerable.

At the end of the Italian turn 2, the situation is shown below.

British Turn 2

The British open their turn with a successful command roll to call in their artillery support knocking out various units and suppressing others. We use a house rule for dealing with hits on transport units and don’t force passenger units to dismount if the transport takes hits. Also, we don’t allow passenger units that need to deploy before firing to automatically deploy if the transport takes hits, but we do allow such suppressed units to deploy if ordered to do so, providing the command roll was passed at an addition penalty of -1.

The template has a 20cm diameter hole so that affected units can be identified and markers placed without removing the template.

The British HQ commanding the remains of the armoured force succeeded in issuing one order but the effect was minor resulting in only suppressing one tank unit. To make matters worse, the returning opportunity fire destroyed the last unsuppressed British tank. In an effort to save the suppressed unit, the HQ tried to issue an order to allow it to withdraw but rolled a command blunder that resulted in the unit being knocked out! The only unit left facing the Italian main armoured force was a single recon unit of Rolls Royce armoured cars. Things are not looking good for the Brits.

In the centre, the British HQ managed one command roll to move units into the area around the village.

 

On the Italian right flank, the British CO managed two orders but the fire had little effect apart from suppressing one infantry unit.

Italian Turn 3

With the British armoured force destroyed, the Italian armour HQ could easily advance towards the British rear but failed to make its command roll so sat there and looked at the burning wrecks.

On the right flank, the Italian HQ succeeded with just one order but it was enough to knock out another couple of light tanks, and a further successful order from the support HQ inflicted further losses on the British.

In the centre, the Italian CO used two orders to close in on the village but return fire knocked out a couple of units including a unit of tankettes.

British Turn 3

By now, the British had suffered enough losses to force it to take a break point test at -1, which the British player promptly failed and the battle came to an end with the Italians achieving a major victory and the British a major defeat!

Conclusion

Although the battle only lasted a few turns out of the maximum of eight, it was such a good battle that we reset and played again, but this time with different tactics and deployment. The resultant battle lasted until turn six when the Brits once again broke and the Italians achieved their second major victory!

 

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