Afrika Korps #3
|Australia||16th Infantry Brigade|
|Australia||2/1st Infantry Battalion|
|Australia||6th Infantry Division|
|Italy||157º Reggimento Fanteria "Liguria"|
|Italy||63ª Divisone Fanteria "Cirene"|
|Overall Rating, 21 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 352 of 607|
|Parent Game||Afrika Korps|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Afrika Korps||maps + counters|
The Australians began their assault on Bardia, with 2/lst Battalion assigned to make the initial penetration of the perimeter. The battalion was to take posts 45, 46 and 47 in the Italian main line. Following the capture of the three posts the battalion would swing north and clear additional posts as well as an artillery battery to the east.
The Australian infantry attack broke through the Italian defenses and cleared the way for 2/2nd and 2/3rd Battalions to drive deeper still into the fortress. The poorly-trained Cirene Division, suffering from bad food, low spirit and inadequate medical care, could not stand up to a coordinated assault. Only the artillery, with many long-service professionals in their ranks, showed a willingness to fight.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
IT begins in 2416, not 2616.
(campsawyer on 2010 Apr 29)
All Bren carriers should have a movement value of 7.
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
|A Down to the Wire Nailbiter!|
January 3, 1941 - Our Australian troops of the 16th Brigade, 6th Australian Division are advancing on Bardia. In advance of the main force is the 2/1st Battalion. They are expected to face weak resistance from elements of the Italian 157th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd “Cirene” Division.
The primary worry for our boys is the Italian Regimental artillery. Intelligence reports a large number of heavy artillery batteries in the area.
Our objective is to fill-in some of the Anti-Tank Ditch (to allow our armour through) and to eliminate all Italian entrenchments in the area. This will allow a safe and quick passage for our advance against Bardia. Minimal losses are expected.
Austalian Casualties will be presented by (#).
The Battle (brought to you by Victoria Bitter)
Under the cover of night, the 1st Battalion advanced towards Bardia. At 5:30am our boys from D Company reached the Anti-Tank Ditch.
The Sun began to rise at 5:45am and the shells began to fly! Our artillery targeted the Italian Maggiore with his AA guns and HMG platoon. A successful barrage cleared the way for our boys from D Company to charge. Unwilling to face our fearless boys, the Maggiore and his men surrendered! The first entrenchment is neutralised.
Leaving our engineers to fill in the anti-tank ditches, D company moved left and faced heavy Italian artillery with no cover at all! Half of D Company’s HMG platoon was wounded, and was forced to withdraw (1).
The visibility at 6:00am increased to about 1 mile. (Aside: Australia became a signatory to the Metre Convention in 1947)
C Company moves right (south) to assist D company who continue to come under heavy fire of the Italian artillery. (2)
A and B Company continue to advance facing little resistance. After our artillery has a platoon of Italian infantry fleeing from their entrenchment, Lt. Down Under fearlessly charges the suppressed Italian HMG. The Italians surrender and a second entrenchment is captured!
Our Boys in D Company receive a flogging from the Italian Guns (3&4) as their brothers in C Company come to their aid.
Lt. DownUnder begins to assault the Italian Infantry in the centre entrenchment as Lt. Colonel Wattle moves left and Captain Kangaroo takes a few platoons north toward the Italian guns.
The first of the Anti-Tank ditches is removed.
For the past half hour, our British allies with their 25-pdrs have been completely off-target. Lt Col Wattle has requested a change in duty. (last 4 rolls for Australian Off-board artillery have been 7,7,7,7!)
Captain Kangaroo and Lt Col Wattle take A Company to the northwestern entrenchment.
By 6:38am, two more Anti-Tank ditches are neutralised. There is enough of a whole in the Italian line for our armour to quickly advance through.
Back on target, our 25-pdrs demoralize the entrenched Italians who surrender to Captain Kangaroo.
Lt Down Under is still unable to force the centre entrenched Italian infantry to lay down their arms, as they continue to hold out against our boys.
At 7:00am, Lt Col Wattle leads A Company east toward the Italian artillery and AT guns.
Covered by artillery, Two platoons of C Company head SE towards the entrenched Italians.
Our guns hit the Italians hard, and after breaking under rifle fire from C Company the Italians surrender.
Italian artillery hits our engineers and half a platoon is forced to withdraw. (5)
It is now 7:30am and we only have 1 hour to achieve our objectives. We’ve already lost the equivalent of two platoons and cannot take any more casualties. There are six more entrenchments to capture. This mission appears to be getting down to the wire…
Lt Col Wattle assaults the rear AT Gun and Artillery post.
Australian Focus is now on the few Italian entrenchments in the southwest.
The closest entrenchment is overrun and surrenders when they are hit by our 25-pdrs and they see our engineers advancing.
Far to the northest, Lt Col Wattle is successful in eliminating the Italian AT & Artillery outpost.
The Italian infantry in the centre finally surrender to Lt Down Under of B Company. This Italian platoon displayed incredible bravery and managed to hold off our boys for over an hour, and therefore wasting some precious time. The Italian command should decorate these unknown Italian soldiers, for the part they played in the Bardia Breakin was critical.
It is now 7:00am and we still need to neutralise the last three Italian entrenchments. The boys from B Company are having difficulties against the Italian Tenente in the east. C & D Company are moving south to the Italian AT Gun entrenchment and the Capitano in the southwest with his infantry and HMG platoons.
Lt Col Wattle, Captain Kangaroo and Lt Down Under are too far away to assist.
The clock continues to countdown.
We order an artillery strike against the Capitano, but it has little effect.
Major Matilda and Captain Billy from B Company move in for a close assault against the Italian Tenente. It is a dangerous and risky move, but the clock dictates it must be done.
Italian artillery busts around our engineers, but to no effect!
We are now down to the final 15 minutes. Neither side has yet completed their victory objective! It is now truly down to the wire!
The Capitano’s men are hit by our 25-pdrs and are demoralised, but they refuse to surrender! Our engineers move in for close assault… the Italians lose half a platoon and flee the entrenchment! Two more to go.
Our second barrage of 25-pdrs hits the AT Guns eliminating about half of them. Our boys advance, but are unable to dislodge them.
Meanwhile Major Matilda and Captain Billy continue their assault, but they also fail to break the Italian Tenente.
Two Italian entrenchments hold on by the skin of their teeth!
In a final gesture, the Italian Capitano orders an artillery strike against some of our demoralised boys. The shells land accurately and our platoon is shattered! (6)
At 8:30am, our boys were ordered to withdraw, as the rest of the 2nd Regiment of the 16th Brigade would take over in the push to Bardia. Our 1st Battalion took too many casualties and failed to eliminate all the Italian entrenchments. I’m fairly certain that another 15 mins is all that would be needed, but we were too late.
The battle is lost.
This was a very enjoyable and nail-biting scenario. An absolute Ripper!
I knew the Italian off-board artillery would be a major issue, so it was important to keep my mortar out of sight of the Italian officers. Even with average rolling and no infantry support, I was expecting 3-4 steps lost to the Italian Guns. This left little room for tactical error on the field.
Can the Australians win this scenario? I think so!
In hindsight I sent too much infantry north with Lt Col Wattle, as half the force could have taken the objective. They finished with about 45 mins to spare, but were too far northeast to get back to assist in the rest of the fight.
A fantastic mission indeed!
|Against the odds - solo|
At 5.30 the Aussies went up there full swing, at 5.30 everything went against them as well.. I've never in all my PG games seen a luckier side than the Italians in this game. Accurate artillery. Morale checks? Djeezz no problem! Recovery, even without leaders? Piece of cake!
On and on it went for 12 turns. The Aussied were struggling for control of the trenches and despite the fact that the odds were against them they managed to fill 3 AT-ditches, control all but three entrenchment and eliminate/surrender more than half of the Italian OOB. It looked for a long time that a draw was imminent, but at 8.00 a 30 strength artillery barrage made an end to all Australian hopes. A DR2 was rolled which X'ed the last steps needed to make it an Italian win. The 2119 trench had by then been impossible to occupy (tactical blunder), so no draw could have been gained by the Australians.
Conclusion: Very nice scenario because it's very balanced. It comes down to the last few turns.
Je découvre le désert avec ce petit scénario : des australiens motivés (moral 8/8 ) attaquent des italiens peu vaillants (moral 7/5) qui tiennent toute une série de fortifications derrière une tranchée anti-char. Les australiens doivent prendre la dizaine de fortifications et remplir la tranchée sur trois hexagones en 12 tours seulement. Vu les délais, ils passent à l’attaque immédiatement sans préparation d’artillerie. Une fois de plus à PzG, la précipitation n’est pas bonne conseillère. Très vite, les tirs d’opportunité et l’artillerie italienne démoralisent pas mal d’australiens. Deux pas de perdus au bout de deux tours.
Je décide d’essayer deux tactiques. Au centre, les australiens essaient d’aller le plus vite possible à l’assaut. Au nord, ils essaient de bombarder pour exploiter ensuite la règle de reddition (si des italiens sont démoralisés, on peut demander à tout l’hexagone de se rendre). Au centre, un assaut réussit effectivement grâce à la reddition, mais dans un autre assaut le capitaine héroïque (moral 10, bonus de 1 et 2) fait résister ses troupes et use les assaillants tour après tour. Plus au nord, l’artillerie australienne use quelques italiens, mais eux aussi ont de quoi bombarder. Une série de bons lancers de dés démoralisent plein d’australiens. Au bout de huit tours, les australiens ont perdu plus de dix pas. Défaite piteuse du Commonwealth. La tactique « charge de la brigade légère », ça ne marche pas, même face à des troupes inférieures. Heureusement que je ne pousse que des bouts de carton !
|Aussie's can't escape the Italian artillery|
This is a short scenario that has the Australians looking to break and Italian fortified line and capture entrenchments. The Aussies have an uphill battle as there are 10 entrenchments to take but they cannot take more than 6 step losses. The Italians are in poor shape and the surrender rule is in effect so they will give up with a little bit of fire.
In my solo play the Italian artillery was right on the mark, 5 of the 6 Aussie steps lost we KIA's with OBA and on board artillery. The Aussies had a good attack and captured 5 entrenchments and cleared the 3 AT trench hexes, but the Italian artillery was just on target today.
|Italians notch up another win in this scenario|
I am amazed that the Aussies have won this scenario a couple of times in its 15+ plays. If you have read the other AAR's you will know that the Australians have to take all ten entrenchments to win and not lose more than six steps in the process. With 2 X 30 Italian OBDA units available every turn I would say that the Eyeties have more than a good chance of causing six step losses with artillery alone let alone the OF opportunities which will present themselves during the game. In my game the ENG rushed to fill out the AT ditches and lost heavily in doing so 3 strep losses in the first 30 minutes. The Aussie attack rumbled in but the Italian commander had gone for a forward defense and by 0615 and already disposed of the six Aussie steps required for Victory. Could the Australians push on and force a draw, well no he couldn't, in fact more than half the game had passed before the first entrenchment fell, and by that time the Italian commander and pulled back some INF who had dug in around the most westerly entrenchment making it impossible for the Aussies to even get adjacent to the last entrenchment let alone take it. By game end only half the required number of entrenchments had fallen. In fact helped by an Capitano 10-1-2 the leading entrenchment with had been under assault for 9 game turns still held out. A easy Italian win then in an interesting puzzle of a scenario but very unbalanced IMHO. Losses were 5 Aussie ENG steps, 5 Aussie INF steps to 8 It INF steps 1 45 mm and 2 x IT 65mm. OBDA caused 6 step losses v the Aussies 2 more in Assault and the last 2 fell in OF. I did not keep track of how the Italian steps losses were caused, but the 65mm were wiped out by the Aussie OBDA.
|"Cirene" Division steps up to the plate|
This was my first match versus Dale of New Zealand via skype where he bravely led his Aussies to take on ten entrenched Italian positions held by the "Cirene" Division. British Intelligence reports suggested that this would be a cakewalk and that there would be little fight left in the Italians, that Bardia was ripe for the picking. The Italians on the other hand did have a wide variety of both on-board and off-board artillery available to them and that alone was supposed to play the key role in this battle as the infantry's morale was on the verge of collapse and defending units were expected to surrender in the masses.
The Australians have an arduous task at best as they only have three hours to take out all the entrenchments without taking more than five step losses and are also required to fill in three AT ditches on the fly. The attack begins just before dawn under the cover of moonlight and both sides attempt to hammer the other with artillery but with no clear effect straight on. Knowing that time was short the Aussies brave opportunity fire right away to tackle the trenches and immediately begin to take some losses and failed morale checks. The Australian attack becomes disorganized right away and is not able perform at full capacity with the lead elements. Italian small arms fire plays a larger role than expected while the artillery keeps missing it's targets, rolling an unheard-of amount of "7"s on the 30 column! Soon a few of the entrenchments are assaulted but again small arms first fire has devastating results. To make matters worse demoralized Italian units refuse to surrender at first and won't budge without a fight. Then, while OBA flounders, the lowest of the low, the 65mm pea-shooters come into their own and manage to extract another Australian step loss through compound demoralization.
While a few entrenchments hold out a lot longer than expected in assaults the one Itlaian 20mm AA gun manages to keep demoralized Aussie INF units fleeing back behind the AT ditches but still in spotting range for artillery. The attacking force continues to get broken and scattered. Midway through the battle the Australians take their 6th step loss from on-board artillery while the Italian OBA continues to roll "7"s. The Australians refuse to concede and bravely press on to attempt to force a draw. Finally entrenchments begin to change hands and some Italian units do end up surrendering but not in the numbers expected and not without a fight. As time begins to run out the Australians do manage to score a few morale victories and do as much damage as they can; the offending 65mms along with the 20mm AA gun are eliminated, the three required AT ditches were filled in unopposed and by battle's end three entrenchments have been taken with three more on the verge of collapse. Fog of war also managed to spoil a few of the last turns, cutting short further Australian activations. However, had there been more time allowed, even just a few more turns a draw could of been managed as the attack had just begun to gain momentum then and get fully organized.
It goes without saying that the odds are highly against the Australians in this one but still not an unwinnable scenario. When I played this one out solo over a year back I somehow managed a draw; somehow the Australians then managed to keep their losses under 6 steps but were still not able to take all ten entrenchments. If you forget about the play balance this is a very enjoyable and replayable scenario. This being Dale's first FTF PG match I believe he did as well as could be expected given the odds against him; he did not give up the attack and saw this one through until the end. This was a win for the overall battle aspect of it with no shortage of action or calamity. Italian losses were: 2 leaders (CAP,TEN), 9 INF, 1 HMG, 3 x 47mm, 1 x 20mm and 2 x 65mm. The Australians lost a LT along with 11 INF and a step of ENGs. As the Italian player I enjoyed this much more than I imagined as it was more than just throwing down OBA to try to manage a victory, that would of been boring. Small arms fire really decided this one and was responsible for at least half of the Australian step losses. Also it was quite amazing that by the luck of the die only three steps of the Italian INF surrendered; one reduced and demoralized INF unit passed it's surrender morale check twice and refused to give ground before it was finally taken out. This may have not been the best balanced scenario for a first FTF match but do believe Dale got plenty of experience out of it. There were some really strange dice rolls, for better or worse and the game was full of surprises on both ends which made for a decent session and looking forward to our next match.
|Learning the Art of the Assault - Lesson One: A Bloody Disaster|
A very interesting scenario, where the British must assault an Italian fortified position. It was an easy Italian victory largely due to my inept handling of the British. Both sides have plenty of artillery support, but I found the Italians were far more effective in disrupting the enemy and ultimately inflicting casualties. I am not sure the British can win this scenario, give the ground they have to cover and their sensitivity to losses, but they can do much better than I did. This will be a scenario I will come back to at some point in the future.