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Full version of Desert Rats scenario #42
#1
Sources differ on whether the 3rd Indian Motor was trampled by the Ariete on its own or with German support later in the overrun. Col Filose's comment just before the battle goes down in legend! However, I've put together the whole enchilada to be playable based on the more recent histories that it was Ariete on its own. The scenario is a recreation of history and I've not really thought much about play balance. Feel free to tinker if it's important to you. You're going to need additional counters than supplied with DR, but if you've got a copy of AK sitting around, you've have nearly all of what you need. I only had to sub a few units so no big deal.

So on the Order of Battle, I've included the ENTIRE Ariete, based on the nice OB found on this link. Also, I've included the ENTIRE 3rd Indian Motor Brigade.  

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=104408

The histories state that the whole action was effectively over by 9am, so some special cases are required to achieve that result. I played the scenario out of the box and found that resistance was too tough for the Italians to quickly overrun the position. For the full version, I implemented the Surrender rule applicable to the Indian Brigade. Faced with the whole of the Ariete, the game pretty much ended around 9am. So not a bad simulation of history! All artillery is on board, and it was the 25 pounders which claimed a lot of the Italian tanks in the engagement. The Indians and 25 pounders can begin dug in with the 6 entrenchments as in the vanilla game. However, the 2pdr AT guns cannot set up in entrenchments (historically they arrived on the scene late and were not properly dug in). Morale and Initiative is the same.  

Here is the historical OB and equivalent Panzer Grenadier units I've estimated:

----3rd Indian Motor Brigade 
------2nd Bn / Royal Lancers: 12xInf, 2xHMG, 1x3in.
------11th Bn / Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry: 12xInf, 2xHMG, 1x3in.
------18th Bn / King Edward’s Own Cavalry: 12xInf, 2xHMG, 1x3in.
------3rd Indian Motor Brigade AT Co: 4x2pdr AT
------2nd Field Regiment, IA: 4x25pdr
------31st Bengal Field Squadron, IE: 3xEng

Across the whole Brigade (subject to interpretation!):
1xCOL, 2xMAJ, 8xCapt, 10xLt,4xSubedar, 3xNaib Subedar

Transport: Most of the Brigade transport was sent away before the battle so I played with the vanilla scenario's 12xTrucks. I added 4xBren carriers which brought the 2pdr AT guns.  

(Some TOE sources show that Commonwealth infantry battalions had a 2pdr AT battery attached, which would give three additional 2pdrs to the game if that is implemented. I did this for my scenario and found that the Italians suffered greater than historical tank losses. About 80 tanks were destroyed instead of about 56 historically)

--Divisione Corazzata 132. "Ariete" - de Stephanis 
----Reggimento Corazzato 132. 
------Battaglione Carri 8: 9xM13/40, 2xM14/41
------Battaglione Carri 9: 9xM13/40, 2xM14/41
------Battaglione Carri 10: 9xM13/40, 2xM14/41
------Compagnie Controaerea: 2x20mmAA

----Reggimento Bersaglieri 8. (motorized) 
------Battaglione Bersaglieri d’accompagnamento 3. (HW) - 1 x Compagnie Controaerea, 1 x Compagnie Mitraglieri
--------1 x Compagnie Mortai: 3xHMG, 3x81mm, 3x20mmAA 
------Battaglione Bersaglieri 5. – 2 x Compagnie Bersaglieri, 1 x Compagnie Controcarri: 6xBers, 1xBersHMG, 1xMotorcycle, 3x47mm
------Battaglione Bersaglieri 12. – 2 x Compagnie Bersaglieri, 1 x Compagnie Controcarri: 6xBers, 1xBersHMG, 1xMotorcycle, 3x47mm
----Battaglione Carri 3., Reggimento "Lancieri di Novara": 6xL6x40
----Battaglione Autoblinda 3., Reggimento "Nizza Cavalleria" (2 Co.): 8xAB40-41 (debatable if this was on site for the battle. In my engagement it was assumed the pursued any forces scooting away in trucks and Bren carriers and if they didn't escape, they were rounded up as prisoners).
----Reggimento Artiglieria 132. (motorized) 
------Battaglione Artiglieria 1./132: 4x75mm
------Battaglione Artiglieria 2./132: 4x75mm
------Battaglione Artiglieria 3./132: 3x105mm
------Battaglione Semovente 551: 2x75/18 Semovente
------Battaglione Semovente 552: 2x75/18 Semovente
------Battaglione Controaerea 4./132: 2x90mmAA
------Battaglione Controaerea 2., Reggimento Artiglieria 24.: 2x88mm (Italian manned. Just use German counters)

Across the whole division:
2xCol, 4xMag, 5xCapt, 16xTen

This actually plays quite quickly with the surrender rule in effect. As mentioned, the Italians lost about 80 tanks, equating to roughly 40 step losses of armor. Take away the three doubtful 2pdr AT guns attached at Battalion level, and that figure could come down. Roughly 1/3 of the Indians were shattered in combat; 1/3 surrendered; 1/3 escaped with the transport when the situation started to look hopeless. No guns escaped from the Point as they were firing till the last minute. Perhaps victory should be based on purely combat losses and not those units which surrender or escape. I wouldn't count tank losses as double or the Italians can't win I don't think.  

In my game, I placed the 25pdrs in entrenchments at the top of Point 171 and the infantry deployed in multiple layers around the point, dug in. The Italians hit initially with 2 tank battalions from the NW. The third tank battalion hit a turn or two later and I committed one Bersaglieri Battalion which started to get traction about 6 turns into it. By this point, the tanks were making inroads. I kept the Italian artillery as far off as possible to avoid counterbattery fire (those 25pdrs can see 24 hexes distant from that height!). I also used smoke between the tanks and the 25pdrs to shield them from excessive hits while they cleared the infantry and 2pdrs in the dugouts. This was actually quite a fun scenario to play and should be over in 10 turns at the most. Once the Bersaglieri get involved the Assaults become devastating for the 3rd Indian. However, the gunners can arrange lots of flank shots and it's like shooting fish in a barrel with those 25 pdrs!  

Hope you get a chance to give this a try.  


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#2
That looks very cool. You should submit it for a Daily Content article.
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#3
Hi Zaarin, thanks for the comment! I'm not sure how to submit but will have a look into it. I'm not a special member of AP website.

Apologies all for the poor picture attached. I also put this up on the Geek where there's a few snapshots.
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#4
Nice picture Special K!
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