Clive did a bit of scenario writing and came up with this, his first IABSM scenario.
The Italians have occupied the village of M'Jaffi Kak near the Iwannakish road. British recce forces have been watching the Italian position from around D'Jellibebe railway station, awaiting reinforcements to be able to tackle the enemy. The small hamlet of M'Jaffi Kak sits in the north of the table, on rising ground, adjacent to the main Iwannakish road.
D' Jellibebe railway station sits in the south west. A road crossed the railway line here and runs north east.
The table is largely flat with just a few contours. However there are a couple of low rises running up the centre of the table plus the edge of a ridge in the south eastern corner. In addition there are a couple of patches of dense scrub, extending down the southern edge.
The Brits are charged with taking the hamlet and forcing back the Italians.
Capt. Pratchett (D6)
Sgt McNab (D6)
Three rifle sections (8 men each)
Boys AT rifle (2 men)
Two Dingo Scout Cars
Observation Platoon HQ Carrier
Major F Wally (D4)
Sgt Ryan (D6)
Four rifle sections ( 8 men each)
Boys AT rifle (2 men)
Lt. Bryson (D4)
Lt. Brown (D4)
Three Grant I
Lt. Lawhead (D4)
Three Grant I
Forward Observer in Carrier in contact with 2 x 25pdr guns off-table
The Italians have dug in at the village of M’Jaffi Kak next to the important Iwannakish supply road. You are to command a small armoured column. Team up with the recce troop that are watching over the Italians and clear the irritation.
The Carrier Platoon and light tank troop can deploy in the vacinity of D'Jellibebe station. Other forces arrive on turn one anywhere on the southern baseline. You may have D6 fakes.
Max's Bersaglieri Company (Monte Cassino Regt)
Capitano D'Avola (D4)
Rifle squad (8 men)
Caporale Luigi (D4)
Three Rifle Squads (8 men each)
Tenente Alfonso (D4)
Three Rifle Squads (8 men each)
Sergente Guido (D6)
Three Breda MMGs (3 crew)
AT Gun 1
47mm M32 AT guns (5 crew)
AT Gun 2
47mm M32 AT guns (5 crew)
Forward Observer in contact with 3 x 75mm M15 Skoda field guns
You are to defend the village of M'Jaffi Kak. The village sits next to the important Iwannakish supply road and must be defended at all costs. Local goat herders tell you a party of British Infidel Pigs are lurking around the D'Jelebebi Station. A nice Chianti buys a lot of loyalty in these parts. You may get support from a local DAK force if you ask nicely, and it's not the night Herman washes his hair.
You send Luigi to have a look at the Inglese. He reports back that it is nothing but a carrier platoon with some little tanks. When you report this to HQ you are told to deal with this little force pronto, before it can attack the supply road.
All infantry can be dug in at the beginning. You may set up anywhere up to 3' from the Northern edge. You have D6 fakes.
Clivey's DAK Reinforcements
Three DAK PzKpfw III H
Three DAK PzKpfw IV E
Three Rifle squads (8 men each)
Three SdKfz 251 halftracks
[The Germans may turn up in the NE corner, D6 turns of the reinforcement card, after they are requested by the Italian Big Man 1]
My initial plan upon looking at the battleground was one of caution.
This is rare for me. I decided to deploy my initial forces behind the station at D'Jellibebe, hiding from the enemy eyes. These would then re-position, when my reinforcements arrived, to the low rises in the centre of the table. At an appropriate time they would race for the hamlet of M'Jaffi Kak.
My Grants would arrive on the southern table edge, behind the low ridge, out of LOS and then advance and use their sponson guns to batter the enemy when required, acting more as mobile artillery than tanks per se.
My leg infantry would dismount from their trucks and advance down the western flank into the cover of the scrub drawing enemy fire.
My FO would set up shop on the low rises in the centre, and call in fire on targets identified by the infantry's advance.
The first few moves passed quickly as Clivey drew 'tea break' early on. My reinforcements arrived exactly as desired and set up in their positions. Most had remained totally unspotted and I think Max and Clive found it most disconcerting that I was not showing my hand (LOL, the wizened one, with the claw)
I decided to recce by sacrifice the left. As my leading section raced up the table it was hit by fire from entrenched Italians around the hamlet and decimated.
My FO coolly called up his limited artillery support, which then started dropping on the enemy the next move.
My infantry hit the dirt and replied with small arms with limited success, from effective range, against the dug in Spaghetti eaters.
One troop of my Grants revealed themselves and started to pepper the enemy with 37mm shells - no real effect other than keeping their heads down and pinning them, reducing their capacity to fire at my chaps.
A fake blind spotted yet another Italian Platoon to the west of the hamlet, dug in and supported by an 47mm AT gun.
I gingerly began to advance my Grants to the centre of the table, utilising as much cover as possible. Two were hit and bailed out though with relative ease by the small, but very effective enemy 47mm. At one stage my entire tank force was lying in the dead ground provided by the low rises! With the notoriety of air support going rapidly awry in IABSM Max and Clive were avidly rubbing their hand praying the RAF would arrive and mistake the dust thrown up by the Grants for their armour. Luckily this didn't happen.
I was aware that Max was ignoring the constant reminders from Clive that he was but a phone call away, though at this stage I had no idea what the "Ring, ring" meant.
My second troop of Grants revealed themselves and took up positions where their 75mm sponsons could do damage, and what damage they did. Shells whizzed back and forth as the Italian infantry took a real pounding. Very few were killed initially as they were dug in, but wounds piled up and pins were placed really effecting their infantry, and particularly the AT gun's, ability to cause casualties.
My PBI at this time had taken significant casualties with one section completely destroyed and both big men killed. I was resolutely hanging in their with my infantry whilst shells and aircraft passed overhead hitting the Italians.
The knocking out of the Italian 47mm AT gun was the signal I was waiting for. It had proved very effective, knocking out three Grants at long range. Not bad at all, then artillery was the only Italian arm that I was concerned about.
Revealing my Carrier Platoon and Stuart troop these drove straight forward to engage the dug in Italian's around M'Jaffi Kak who lacked AT weapons.
Max revealed an MG platoon on the hills in the extreme NE corner of the table and another 47mm AT gun just east of M'Jaffi Kak.
Unperturbed, I engaged the Italians with MG fire from my Carriers and Dingos. No need to dismount the protected infantry yet. These caused a multitude of wounds on the defenders of the hamlet.
Max was frantically looking for reinforcements but no sign yet.
He then placed three Italian tanks on the table, north of M'Jaffi Kak. As most Italian armour is nothing to write home about, to say the least, I decided to engage with my Stuarts. Using their fast speed, these raced forwards knocking chunks off a M13/40. It was partially immobilised, had its main gun destroyed, and took two potential engine damages in one turn.
Max's HQ section arrived also, supporting the tanks.
The Italian surviving AT gun knocked out a carrier and a Dingo ran out of fuel. I dismounted some of my infantry to take cover behind the vehicles, whilst some stayed mounted in their versatile carriers.
As my Grant's now advanced, a building in M'Jaffi Kak took three critical hits in a turn and collapsed, killing all defenders. The fight now went out of the Italians and Max who realised the end was nigh.
Around M'Jaffi Kak the Italians were down to 25% of their original strength, with no big men and firing with one initiative die.
Their second Platoon in the scrub had suffered 50% casualties.
To make matters worse another M13/40 was destroyed by a beauty of a shot from a Grant.
As my artillery switched target to the MG Platoon on the hill and my infantry prepared to assault the pinned and multiple wounded Italians, we decided the game was over and that it was inevitable that the hamlet of M'Jaffi Kak would fall.
Clive revealed that he had rolled a 6 for reinforcements and as the chip had only appeared once, the DAK were clearly a long way off.
Max had done nothing wrong at all in deployment of his execution.
I had chosen not to throw away my armour, for once, but use the powerful 75mm guns of the Grant's, Air support and my off-table artillery to batter the enemy.
Keeping most of my troops undercover, and unspotted meant that Max delayed phoning for reinforcements until he was sure what I was up to. By the time he called for support, and was unlucky enough for Clive to roll a 6 for turns of arrival, things were almost over.
Max's FO had started calling for his support early on but it had taken ages to arrive, and thereby when it did I had moved past his targeted location.
My artillery had been potentially inaccurate with 5D6 variation, but luckily had been on target almost every time. However, it was quick response and when viewed by the FO, this proved to be very effective in pinning and causing a great many wounds.
My carrier Platoon had proved its worth, advancing to close range and sitting there in relative safety pouring a hail of fire into the dug in defenders causing more wounds.
I had lost three Grants, all of which were repairable, a dingo out of fuel and a carrier destroyed. In addition I had lost about 15% casualties, mostly in my leg infantry, and two big men.
The Italians had lost two tanks, an AT gun, over 50% of their infantry force and of course M'Jaffi Kak.
A nice scenario, well conceived by Clive, who didn't actually get to play. As a first IABSM scenario it was a real challenge.
He's written another for next week....