AM: The Main Attack 1
On June 12th 2011, the Too Fat Lardies Tobruk Games Day was held at Lard Island, St Albans. What follows is one man's report of the action.
The first table was a huge L shape, with Italian blinds dug in on the high ground with some areas of barbed wire. The British and Australians were told they had to assault as quickly as possible to make gaps for the armour to exploit. We weren't allowed to concentrate all of forces on a single table and were told that the minefields had been cleared and that reinforcements were available but whatever we lost wouldn't be replaced for the afternoon.
[L to R] Keith, Dom, Biff, Clive, Nick, Joe, Egg, Chris, Max and Panda
Clive and I were dubiously awarded the roles of chief assault forces supported by Biff's Matildas. We chose to deploy on the extreme left. The other British players were to make pinning assaults whilst we made a breakthrough. On our right were Keith and Dom (against Chris and Max) and on their right, our extreme right flank Zip, Gerrard and Edward (facing off against Elton and Rob). We decided, very wisely indeed it turns out, not to fight in the area where the two sides of the L shape met.
Arriving late no one actually told Clive what troops we had! This lead to confusion where we thought we had on table 3" mortars to be told that they off table for us to direct. No matter.
Clive had a Company HQ of a rifle section and two AT rifles, plus a Platoon of three sections, AT rifle, Light Mortar and a Big Man. I had initially two Platoons each of three rifle sections, AT rifle, Light Mortar and a big man. Mick turned up late, his train hitting a railway workman and delaying him (he's okay apparently, Mick). I gave him one of my Platoons. He'd never played WW2 before let alone IABSM. Mick played a blinder at times though (more later).
We had a hill in front of us with an Italian blind, with another Italian blind on their extreme right rear flank. Another blind was on a hill was on their extreme left flank rear, almost in fact facing our comrades on the next table.
Clive and I decided that he would make a demonstration whilst I tried to outflank the initial hill, assaulting it and ignoring the blind to the rear. We thought it might be a fake. We started off with a Tea Break and initially this was followed by turns where we could move, and then Tea Breaks. Our spotting was shite, as ever.
I moved round the flank with my two blinds and then Mick arrived and took over one of them.
The Italians deployed four infantry sections with and MMG, Light mortar and an AT gun all dug in on the hill. In closing in on their flank they fired and killed my Big Man and caused a lot of casualties. My platoon card then didn't come up. My chaps were taking a lot of fire but were keeping the attention from Clive and Mick. Egg's command was being used against Dom and Keith, not against Clive.
Clive called for artillery support from off table mortars and made the inspired decision not to fire ranging shots but immediately fire for effect. With a 7" blast RADIUS his deviation wasn't much and now it fell repeatedly on the Italian left of their hill position. Mick spotted the Blind to the rear which was not a fake but in fact another full Italian platoon with supports.
[L to R] Joe, Egg, Chris, Max, Panda
Biff's Blinds now arrived...a full Squadron of fourteen Matildas, but with orders not to stop on our table but exit from the Italian base edge. We had been told another table would appear to the rear for a tank verses gun battle.
Pressure was on. On the other tables the Brits were fully engaged where we hadn't done much with our aggressive Aussies. My command was all but shot up but Mick, told to ignore the rear Italian Platoon, assaulted and carried the right of the main position. As Clive switched the artillery to the rear Platoon Mick's guys rolled up the rest of the Italian positions whilst Clive's Platoon to their front poured fire into them. The surviving Italians were all captured.
Biff's blinds continued unspotted (there were no Italians close enough to spot them!) until he was 6" from their baseline when a Platoon of three Matilda's were spotted, by then it was too late as he exited without loss.
We had done our job, though personally I hadn't done much.
Dom and Keith were taking it really bad on the next table from Egg on our table, so Clive and Mick now moved across and started the whole co-ordination thing again, whilst I moved to occupy the former Italian position with my weak sections. With the perimeter breached, however, the game ended as the action moved on...