Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Operation Battle Axe 15th - 17th June 1941


This was a lad's weekend game, played in March2011

The scale used in this scenario is an "upgrade" as such, where a Battalion on table, represents a Brigade of three Regiments.

The forces were set up as in Colin Rumford's Rapid Fire, Desert book-North African Campaign Feb-June 1941.

I set up a timeline as follows:
Turn 1= 0600 first British advance
All British Columns (apart from coastal force), roll a D3 for which turn they enter the table.
When first shot from British is fired, the German and Italians roll coms dice on beginning of next turn and each turn after, until they reach their Divisional command HQ(for reinforcements). 1 x D6 for each chain of command. To Battalion, to Regiment and then to Divisional(3 dice per turn). If you fail any rolls, start again next turn.
The germans fails on a 1 and the Italians fail on 1 or 2. If successful roll 2 DAVE for German (15th Pazer div) and they will arrive on the turn of the 2 dice added together.
T6 = 1100. 15th Panzer roll D3 to see when they will arrive if all coms failed previously.
T8 = 1300 5th Light Div roll D3 for arrival turn.
Coastal plain is mined upto the "pass" ascent road. Roll 1 and mine blows destroying vehicle, then roll D6 for passengers/weapons
All road movement for vehicles is reduced to cross country plus 6 inches ( as they were little more than tracks ).

British rolled and units turned up as follows:
T1 4th Armoured Brigade and Guards Brigade
T2 7th Armoured Brigade
T3 7th Armoured Support Group and 11th Indian Division

Game set up
All quiet along the border
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Halfaya Pass, Coastal Strip
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The CO of Infantry regt 104 inspects the positions from the bottom of the pass
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Qalala, held by the Italians
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Musaid garrison,also Italian
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The center was also held by Italians, in Fort Capuzzo
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Strongpoint 206, front and center
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Hafid Ridge Point 208,held by the Germans
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The first move 0600 sees the British coastal force moving up the coast road towards the Pass and a Carrier hits a mine destroying it and its passengers
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British fire at pass defending force to no avail. British start to take casaulties

Turn 2 -Successful coms from Germans and 15th Pzr are mobilised (rolled 2 Dave dice and they will turn up on turn 10).
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The Germans fired twice at the Matildas and missed, so then next turn decided to take out Infantry(bad move)
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Point 206 in the center bears the brunt of 4th armoured Brigade and point 208(hafid) supports it with Artillery fire
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Meanwhile, an Italian 81mm Mortar takes out a 25pdr as it deploys close to point 206
View from Capuzzo towards Point 206
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7th Armoured arrives on table edge.
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Turn 3- Hafid ridge observers now spot a new threat and will fire at 7th Armoured this turn.
7th Armoured Support Group and 11th Indian ( to support the coastal force  and attack along the escarpment), both arrive on table this turn.
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The Mahrattas have been badly mauled with fire from two german companies, two 20mm AA guns, the infantry support company and the 88 (in turn two), at the pass and fail a morale check and are forced back, leaving the Matildas without infantry support. The 88 crew are Elimnated by the Matildas mgs and accurate mortar fire

Turn 4- Italians get through and request support which will arrive on T7 from Bardia. Matildas spray the top of the pass with mg fire and eliminate a crew of the SP 20mm AA.

Turn 5-The Mahattas took more fire in previous turn and fail morale again and rout off table. 11th Indian Div start to clear the German positions on the top fo the escarpment
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The German commander starts to pull his support weapons off the top of the pass to support Fort Capuzzo, as the British get to the top of the pass.
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Pioneers at the entrance of the pass, use their flamethower on the leading compay of the Central Indian Horse and stop the attack until the Brits sort out their artillery support.
Another mine in the coastal strip takes victim of a Portee.

Turn6 - The Central India Horse took heavy casalties last turn, fail a morale and are forced to retire for one turn.
An Italian 45mm motar takes a pot shot at a towed Bofors and destoys the gun and 2 crew.
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Turn 7 - German garrison at Halfaya take and fail a morale check and rout  ( there are only 7 figures left from 41).
Central Indai horse take another morale test and pass this time and continue their assault on to Qalala held by the Italians.
point 206 falls and British tanks cross the frontier to attack Fort Capuzzo
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Turn 8 - 7th Armour attack and take Hafid ridge while other elements  move to await the imminent arrival of German 5th light Division
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Turn 10 - British Tanks get to crest of Halfaya pass to link with 11th Indian Division and join in the attack against the Italians in Qalala
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4th Armoured Brigade attack Fort Capuzzo
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British Infantry dig into Hafid ridge
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15th Panzer Division arrives to support Fort Capuzzo, but too late to help the defenders of Hafid ridge.
15th Panzer division's right flank
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Hurriedly deployed 88
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15th Panzer Division's left Flank
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Defenders of Fort Capuzzo
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Turn 11- German 5th Light Div Arrive, in the distance.
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Turn 12 -15th Pzr forced back by the accurate British firing from the Matildas, and one of the Pzr unit routs off table.
Qalala still holds although taken a heavy pounding from the British big guns
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Turn 13 - 15th Pzr start to cause casualties on British crusaders and cruisers
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We then went to the pub for grub and beer.

Turn 14 - German 5th Light sweep round the left flank to attack the tanks and Portees of 7th Armoured(and receive reseved fire). 8 British guns fire and casue one light damage to an armoured car, the Germans then fire back taking out one crusader causing a rout next turn and eliminating various crew members of the portees causing one battery to retire and the other battery needing crews

Turn 15 and Turn 16 saw some more German tanks go up and 5th Light destroying all of the 25pdr crews of the 7th Armoured Support Group. leaving only the Matildas on table.

It was now night time. All visibility was reduced to 12" unless unit fired and then it could be seen at 24"

Turn 17 saw the first Matilda brew
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Turn 19 - 2 more PIIIs from the left flank, another Matilda in front of Fort Capuzzo goes up
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The Italians pull back from Qalala and re-inforce the Mussaid Garrison

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Whats left of German 5th Lght sweep accross the front of Hafid ridge, leaving the British Infantry isolated without armour or artillery support and moves on to take on the Matildas at full speed
The two remaining Matildas take on 5th Light
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Famo moves in the darkness to repair its Division's tanks
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In the end the last remaining Matilda was forced by morale to withdraw to the rear of point 206.

The battle was over with the Brits losing the best part of four Infantry Battalion to the Germans two and all of its armour except the one Matilda, The German armour was decimated also and out of the 15th  Pzr Divs 12 tanks, had 2 serviceable PIIIs and 2 PIVs and 1 PII, and the 5th light had 2 PIIIs and 1 PIV and 1 PII form its 8 original strength
The Italians lost one company of Infantry from Qalala and the 100mm Artillery guns and crew.

This was an enjoyable game which I am sure we would play again and all the players (4) would probably play differently.