Take The Pass
Well after painting up four forces for our group for North Africa within 10 days, I thought we should start the ball rolling.
I concocted this very basic scenario so that we could get at it ASAP.
Clivey's newly painted DAK consisted of a reinforced Company of Motorised DAK, with an attached Panzer II and Panzer III Platoon, plus a section of light scout cars.
My 8th Army consisted of two Platoons of four squads each, an MG Platoon of four Vickers HMGs, a mortar section of two 3" mortars and a Company HQ of light mortar and At rifle. Attached for support were a pair of 2pdrs, two Platoons of three Grant I tanks and a four gun battery of 25pdrs for off-table artillery support. Also available to me were the resources of the Desert Air Force (DAF).
Clive and Max were told that they had to exit the eastern table edge with as many units as possible to win.
I obviously had to hang on and prevent them from doing so.
The table was 6' x 4' and, although largely flat and open, had low rocky rises to the north, east and west, with a small area of desert scrub to the south. The north east corner had several low rises blocking line of sight.
After Clivey and Max had rolled D6+2 for fakes I asked them to collect a pack of blinds together. I then chose 3 blinds and removed them from the pack. I rolled for my fakes D6, and allowed them to remove 3 of my blinds too. This equated to roughly a third of the forces involved on either side.
As it turned out The Germans lost two SdKfz 222 scout cars and four 81mm mortars. I only lost my Forward Observer.
We then marked our on table start positions on our maps. Clivey and Max were permitted to deploy up to 6" on the northern table edge. I could deploy anywhere on table. I allowed us to keep units off-table as reserves. These would appear at the rate of one blind per turn for the British, and two per turn for the Germans, when their respective nations 'Blinds Move' chip was drawn from the hat.
My whole plan was anticipating that the Germans would head for the northern half of the table in an attempt to break through my lines. With this is mind I tried to meet them head on with HMGs allowing my 2 pdr to hit them in the flank and then hoping my Grants would counter attack.
The game started with a Platoon of Panzer II's advancing towards the low rises on the northern half of the table. An infantry Platoon manoeuvred onto the rocks in the north too.
It looked like I had been correct reading my enemies minds.
I was forced to reveal my MG Platoon which was behind the low rise adjacent to the rocks and move them, with accompanying Big Man, onto the crest of the rise.
Deciding I needed to dictate the pace of the game I revealed my dug-in AT gun, a 2 pdr, just east of the southern rocks. I had cunningly placed this so that it was out of LOS from the west but had an enfilade position right across the table to the northern rocks. This fired and jammed the turret of the leading Pz II. Surprised the Panzer II's decided discretion was the better part of valour and retreated until they were out of LOS and protected from the 2pdr.
My MG Platoon however found themselves outflanked by enemy infantry in the rocks and fired on frontally from Pz II's. They managed to pin the enemy infantry for a couple of turns but eventually were wiped out.
This led the German's to throw in their main Panzer force, four Pz III's, up the centre of the table. Luckily the Desert Air Force arrived and, after dicing randomly, knocked out the Pz III 'Special' with the long 50mm. What luck!
The Panzer II's advanced rapidly using their Blitzkrieg and recce card and crossed the rise formerly occupied by my MG Platoon.
The German's used blinds in the western rocky area to identify my Company HQ and mortar section in the scrub. They also spotted the southern rocks and realised that a Platoon occupied this area.
Blinds shifted to the south, and were identified as a lorried Infantry Platoon of DAK trying to outflank my left.
It looked as if my position was going to be overrun very quickly...where were my reserves!
The infantry dismounted and then my mortar card appeared. The mortars smacked dead on pinning and causing significant casualties on the DAK.
My first platoon of Grants arrived and I decided to deploy them out of LOS behind the southern rocks. These were spotted by enemy blinds however.
The enemy attack stalled, albeit temporarily. The shock of seeing Grants caused initial apprehension. My mortars continued to drop their fire spot on causing further casualties. The Panzer II's had cleared the rise though and discovered a Platoon of my infantry. These lobbed grenades at the tanks from close range but took heavy casualties.
Next turn my second Platoon of Grants arrived just north of the scrub. This really caused panic in Max and Clive. I hadn't told the guys I owned that many British tanks and it caught them totally unawares.
Whilst Clive asked Max to reinforce him on the right and disengage on the left my Grants destroyed all three Pz II's and advanced.
However, the German chips were just not coming up.
My advance continued. My first Grant Platoon crossed the battlefield and engaged the enemy infantry. My second Platoon of Grants then destroyed the last three enemy tanks!
Max finally managed to pin my troops in the southern rocks and then assault. My troops fought remarkably well but eventually had to give ground.
As it was past midnight we decided the game to be over. A huge victory for the Brits.
Essentially the Grants were decisive but it was the positioning of the 2pdr that did the damage. It forced Max and Clive into a defensive posture when they should have advanced.
An excellent game played in great humour as usual, though Max had to give up his German accent after only half an hour.
Bring on the eyeties.....