Panzer Grenadier Battles on December 17th:
Arctic Front Deluxe #6 - Stalin's Giants Elsenborn Ridge #6 - Twin Villages: The First Night
Battle of the Bulge #12 - Fuller's Counterattack Little Saturn #7 - Buying Time
Battle of the Bulge #13 - The Missing Company Little Saturn #8 - The End of Hope
Battle of the Bulge #14 - Clervaux Little Saturn #9 - Scraping the Barrel
Battle of the Bulge #17 - Fuhren II Little Saturn #10 - Fighting Withdrawal
Battle of the Bulge #20 - The Greyhounds: 17 December Winter Soldiers #1 - Fuel Stop: Bullingen
Elsenborn Ridge #5 - Collision
PG-HQ Library > Games > Desert Rats
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Desert Rats

Desert Rats boxcover
Designer Bennighof
Game Type Standalone
Format Boxed
Release Date 2004-03
Availability In Print
Scenarios 50
Counters 825
Counter Type Die-cut
Maps 2
Immortalize yourself as the first member to complete this game!
Overall Rating, 222 votes
Standalone Rank: 16 of 23
Popularity: Ownership & Activity
Status Owned by 51% Played by 25% AAR'd by 23% Medaled by 0%
Rank 6th of 99 8th of 93 8th of 89 TBD

Overall balance chart for Desert Rats
Side 1 110
Draw 28
Side 2 81
box back

Since the Panzer Grenadier series launched in the year 2000, gamers have clamored to play out the huge battles of the North African desert. Desert Rats follows up the widely acclaimed Afrika Korps, with fifty new scenarios of desert combat. Lead the British, Italian, New Zealand, German, and Indian troops who fought in North and East Africa during the epic battles of 1941 and 1942.

box back map map

Display Scenario List (50)

Scenario Plays AARs Rating
01. Conquista del Somaliland 14 7 3.4
02. Grande Vittoria Italiano 11 2 3.1
03. A Single Day as a Lion 7 2 3.3
04. A Hundred Years As A Sheep 9 4 3.3
05. Libyan Defiance 9 3 3
06. Night Fight 8 3 3.4
07. Breakthrough In Eritrea 7 1 3.6
08. Cavalleria 6 1 3.2
09. Stand At Mekili 3 1 3.3
10. Bir El Gubi 6 2 4
11. Gabr Saleh 1 0 3
12. Sidi Rezegh: First Action 4 1 2.3
13. Advance And Engage 13 4 2.8
14. Bir Bu Meliha 2 0 3.5
15. Sidi Rezegh: Counter-Attack 3 2 3.7
16. The Panzers Pull Back 3 1 4
17. The Tomb Of Sidi Rezegh 5 1 3
18. A Pibroch's Skirl 4 3 4.2
19. The Panzers Return 2 1 3.5
20. Shabash Gora Paltan 3 1 3.7
21. Sidi Omar 2 1 4
22. "We Are Omnipotent" 2 2 3
23. Te Hokowhitu-a-Tu ("War Party") 5 1 3
24. Hill 175 5 2 3.5
25. Ngati Tumatauen-ga ("The Tribe Of War") 1 1 4
26. Link Up 2 1 4
27. "The Bastards Will Kill The Lot Of Us" 5 1 3.2
28. Jock Column 2 1 3
29. The Tide Turns 5 3 4.4
30. Tu-Kai-taua ("Tu, Devourer Of Warriors") 2 1 3
31. Young Fascists : The Morning Phase 8 3 3.8
32. Young Fascists : The Afternoon Phase 3 2 4
33. Young Fascists : A Thousand Bayonets 3 1 3.7
34. Young Fascists : German Relief 2 2 5
35. Young Fascists : Withdrawal 1 1 3
36. Thomson's Ridge : Morning Phase 3 2 4
37. Te Ope Maori Hikoi Kia Toa ("Maori Battalion, March to Victory") 3 1 3.7
38. Alem Hamza : Right Flank 7 8 3.1
39. Alem Hamza: Left Flank 4 2 2.8
40. Agedabia: The South Flank 0 0 0
41. Rugbet el Hagina 6 4 2.7
42. "A whole bloody German armoured division" 5 1 3.4
43. Grants' Tomb 5 3 3
44. Road of Slaves 6 2 3.9
45. South of Gazala 2 2 3
46. Ariete Attacked 2 1 3.5
47. Khamsin 1 1 4
48. On the Trigh Capuzzo 3 2 2.7
49. Sidra Ridge 2 1 3
50. Operation Aberdeen 2 1 4.5

Display Order of Battle

Australia Order of Battle
  • Towed
Britain Order of Battle
Germany Order of Battle
Gurkha Order of Battle
India Order of Battle
  • Mechanized
  • Motorized
  • Towed
Italy Order of Battle
Regia Marina
  • Motorized
Regio Corpo di Truppe Coloniali
Regio Esercito
Maori Order of Battle
28th "Maori" Infantry Battalion
New Zealand Order of Battle
New Zealand Army
  • Mechanized
  • Motorized
  • Towed

Display Relevant AFV Rules

AFV Rules Pertaining to this Game's Order of Battle
  • Vulnerable to results on the Assault Combat Chart (7.25, 7.63, ACC), and may be attacked by Anti-Tank fire (11.2, DFT). Anti-Tank fire only affects the individual unit fired upon (7.62, 11.0).
  • AFV's are activated by tank leaders (3.2, 3.3, 5.42, 6.8). They may also be activated as part of an initial activating stack, but if activated in this way would need a tank leader in order to carry out combat movement.
  • AFV's do not block Direct Fire (10.1).
  • Full-strength AFV's with "armor efficiency" may make two anti-tank (AT) fire attacks per turn (either in their action segment or during opportunity fire) if they have AT fire values of 0 or more (11.2).
  • Each unit with an AT fire value of 2 or more may fire at targets at a distance of between 100% and 150% of its printed AT range. It does so at half its AT fire value. (11.3)
  • Efficient and non-efficient AFV's may conduct two opportunity fires per turn if using direct fire (7.44, 7.64). Units with both Direct and AT Fire values may use either type of fire in the same turn as their opportunity fire, but not both (7.22, 13.0). Units which can take opportunity fire twice per turn do not have to target the same unit both times (13.0).
  • Demoralized AFV's are not required to flee from units that do not have AT fire values (14.3).
  • Place a Wreck marker when an AFV is eliminated in a bridge or town hex (16.3).
  • AFV's do not benefit from Entrenchments (16.42).
  • AFV's may Dig In (16.2).
  • Open-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables, but DO take step losses from X and #X results (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT). If a "2X" or "3X" result is rolled, at least one of the step losses must be taken by an open-top AFV if present.
  • Closed-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables. Do not take step losses from Direct or Bombardment Fire. If X or #X result on Fire Table, make M morale check instead (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Provide the +1 modifier on the Assault Table when combined with infantry. (Modifier only applies to Germans in all scenarios; Soviet Guards in scenarios taking place after 1942; Polish, US and Commonwealth in scenarios taking place after 1943.) (ACC)
  • Tank: all are closed-top and provide the +1 Assault bonus, when applicable
  • Tank Destroyer: do not provide the +1 Assault bonus, even if closed-top (SB)
  • APC – Armored Personnel Carrier: These are Combat Units, but stack like Transports. They can transport personnel units or towed units. They are not counted as combat units for the +1 stacking modifier on the Direct Fire and Bombardment Tables (4.4). They may be activated by regular leaders and tank leaders (1.2, 3.34, 4.3, 5.43). They do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).
  • Armored Cars: These are Combat Units. They are motorized instead of mechanized. All have their own armored car leaders, who can only activate armored cars (6.85). Do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).
  • Reconnaissance Vehicle: 8.23 Special Spotting Powers Both foot and vehicle mounted recce units (1.2) possess two special spotting abilities. The first ability is that they can spot enemy in limiting terrain at one hex further than the TEC specifies for other units and leaders. For example, an enemy unit in town can normally be spotted at three hexes or less, but a recce unit can spot them at four hexes.Their second ability is that they can place a Spotted marker on any one enemy unit they can spot per turn, just as if the enemy unit had "blown its cover" by firing. Such Spotted markers are removed as described earlier.
  • Portees: Trucks with mounted Anti-Tank guns, Anti-Aircraft weapons, or artillery. Stack as combat units. Move like trucks, but fire like guns. Do not limber or unlimber. Have the truck's -1 armor value. Truck and gun are treated as a single unit, and do not transport other units. (SB)

Display Errata (27)

27 Errata Items
Errata item for PG-Tank Dude

Surrender Rule. Certain units listed in the special rules of some scenarios are subject to elimination through the surrender rule. The surrender rule is triggered whenever an active, undemoralized enemy unit with direct fire values starts its activation adjacent to or in the same hex with one or more demoralized units that are subject to elimination through the surrender rule. At that time, the inactive player must roll two dice, and if the result is higher than the current morale of his highest-morale unit in the subject hex, ALL units and leaders in the hex (whether demoralized or not) immediately surrender and are eliminated. If the result is equal to or lower than the morale of the unit with the highest current morale in the subject hex, there is no surrender and the inactive units are unaffected. The active units that forced the surrender roll can take all normal actions during their activation, whether the enemy units surrendered or not. So, that means that a moving tank (or other moving unit) can't force enemy units to surrender, because a unit can only force enemy units to surrender at the beginning of its activation (before it moves or fires).

(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
Errata item for JayTownsend

The Bishop tank needs to be added to the British Order of Battle for Desert Rats. I does not appear in and scenarios but it is included in the game.

(JayTownsend on 2013 Apr 18)
Scen 3

Add 4 British Tank Leaders.

(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
Scen 5

The victory conditions on sentences one and two contradict each other, ignore the second sentence.

(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
Scen 8

Inconsistency. In the Victory Conditions is said: "The Italian player wins if at any time during the course of play he or she controls all upper level hexes of one hill", but Indian reinforcements arrive "three turns after Italian units have occupied all upper level hexes of either hill".

(enrique on 2013 Aug 28)
Scen 8

I propose the following Victory Conditions (Italian): "The Italian player wins if at the end of play he or she controls all upper level hexes of one hill OR six Indian steps have been eliminated".

(enrique on 2013 Oct 14)
Scen 8

Surprisingly, despite the title of this scenario, there are not Italian cavalry leaders. I propose that all Italian leaders are cavalry leaders.

(enrique on 2013 Oct 14)
Scen 13

This scenario has 2x10 OBA for the British side (18 lbrs) but no regular leaders for the purposes of spotting. One is left either to allow all hexes to be spotted/targeted or to include a regular leader as a forward artillery observer (my choice).

(Poor Yorek on 2014 Jan 10)
Scen 22

The German Pz748e is a captured Matilda and should have an armor rating of 6, not 0.

(Brett Nicholson on 2013 Jul 28)
Scen 31

The second hill complex is misprinted as being 2005::2006. It should in fact be 2005::2007, thereby matching up with the levels printed on the Desert Rats Map (No. 5).

(caryn on 2011 Sep 09)
Scen 32

The second hill complex is misprinted as being 2005::2006. It should in fact be 2005::2007, thereby matching up with the levels printed on the Desert Rats Map (No. 5).

(caryn on 2011 Sep 09)
Scen 33

The second hill complex is misprinted as being 2005::2006. It should in fact be 2005::2007, thereby matching up with the levels printed on the Desert Rats Map (No. 5).

(caryn on 2011 Sep 10)
Scen 35

Hill in 2005/2006 should be 2006/2007.

(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
Scen 38

The scenario calls for 6 Italian HMGs, however there are only 5 Italian HMGs in the Desert Rats counter mix.

(tlangston28 on 2012 Aug 14)
Scen 40

Add the following to the German victory conditions "or no British units remain on the map".

(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
Scen 48

2nd Armored Brigade gets 7 Crusader I's and 6 Grants, not the reverse.

(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
Scen 48

If one accepts the map set-up and orientation on page 41 as correct, then there are several problems.

British set-up in hexes xx25 or greater on maps 4 & 5 places them on the EAST side of the space. Thus the Victory Condition as written make no sense. Presumably, the British are to exit off the WEST edge of the boards (also consistent with history as UK forces were attacking from the EAST).

The Italian set-up instructions are either misprinted or broken. As written, Ariete forces must set up in hexes xx10 or less only on board 4. The E/W road on board 5 is 14 hexes away from the map 4/5 boundary. British tanks setting up on xx25-xx28 can exit the WEST edge in two turns whereas the best Italian tank, the Sem. 75/18 takes three turns even to get in range of the road!

Thus, all the British need do is run five Crusader I units (movement of 9) along the E/W road on board 5 and off (five units x two steps/unit x double/tank step = 20 "steps" for VC. Now all the British need do to win is kill 10 IT steps without losing 20. They can keep their armor out of it and let the infantry attempt to achieve this result. Totally a-historical.

My solution is to allow Ariete to set up on xx10 or lower on both boards 4&5, not just board 4 as given on page 41.

(Poor Yorek on 2012 Mar 07)
Overall balance chart for 869

All Bren carriers should have a movement value of 7.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 855

Two British infantry have their full strengths printed on the back. They should both be "2-3" when reduced.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 871

Ignore the direct fire values.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 2

Two 105mms (ID#s 1204, 1205) have "16-31" fire values in black (direct fire), when they should be in white (indirect fire).

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 20

The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Overall balance chart for 486

The Pz IVe appearing in the original Panzer Grenadier game had an Anti tank value of 4-7. As of Afrika Korps (2002), continuing onward through the 3rd and 4th edition games, the anti tank value has been 4-4.

(plloyd1010 on 2016 Jul 25)
Overall balance chart for 63

The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 47

All SPW 251s have an armor value of 0.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 101

The L3/35 with ID# 1505 has the incorrect movement factor printed on it. The movement factor should be 7, not 8.

(plloyd1010 on 2014 Nov 24)
Overall balance chart for 104

Four counters (ID#s: 1502 to 1506) have the incorrect NATO symbol (infantry in lieu of armor).

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)

Display Nations (8)

Display Battle Types (15)

Display Conditions (8)

PG-HQ Library > Games > Desert Rats
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