Afrika Korps #5
|Australia||17th Infantry Brigade|
|Australia||2/6th Infantry Battalion|
|Britain||1st Royal Northumberland Fusilier Machine-gun|
|Italy||158º Reggimento Fanteria "Liguria"|
|Italy||63ª Divisone Fanteria "Cirene"|
|Overall Rating, 11 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 293 of 560|
|Parent Game||Afrika Korps|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Afrika Korps||maps + counters|
In support of the main attack on the defenses of Bardia, the 2/6th Battalion, opposite the southern portion of the Bardia perimeter, launched a diversionary attack. These Aussies had orders to attract Italian attention and hopefully reinforcements, but the division command did not expect them to penetrate the fortress defenses. Local commanders took the orders somewhat differently.
The Australians carried out their attack with enthusiasm, in fact, perhaps too much enthusiasm. This part of the Cirene Division proved ready for a fight, and put up fierce resistance. The Diggers took only two posts and suffered heavy casualties, especially in officers, for what should have merely been a diversion. 2/6th suffered the heaviest losses of any battalion involved in the attack on Bardia.
|Can the Australians overcome their greatest enemy? Their own casualness!|
January 3, 1941 – In support of the attack on Bardia, the 2/6th Battalion of the 17th Australian Brigade (with a platoon of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) launched a diversionary attack against elements of the Italian 63rd “Cirene” Division…
The mission begins at 0530 just before the rising sun.
Special Rules: Italian Surrender rules are in effect.
Australian Casualties will be presented by (#). Italians win by inflicting 7 or more steps.
0530-0545 – Australians advance against the entrenched defenders pushing forward despite Italian Fire. They suffer their first casualty. (1)
0600 (Full Visibility) – The British Lt is shot (2). The first of the Italian line surrenders to the advancing Australians.
0615 – Italians are hit by friendly fire from their own artillery which allows the Australians to advance. The Italian AA Gun crews are eliminated
0630 - 0645 – The Italians lose the next entrenchment to the Australians, but the Fusiliers are eliminated by Italian artillery (3)
0700 – The Australians charge for the Italian back line where their mortars and artillery are positioned. Two more entrenchments retreat from the Australian assault and are eliminated.
0715 – Australians lose a full Infantry platoon to Italian Opportunity fire! (5)
0730 – Australians HMG platoons are hit hard by Italian artillery.
0745 – Australians push against the Italian back line and the Italian off-board large gun battery is reassigned to Bardia.
0800 – The Italian artillery surrenders. Australia loses another half platoon advancing (6). In a sneaky move, the Italians opt to flee from the Australian assault exposing the Australians to point blank HMG fire! The Australians suffer more casualties (7) and the Italians reach their victory condition!
0815 – The Italian mortars surrender to the Australian assault.
0830 – Australians retreat from the Italian HMG nests successfully but lose another half platoon to Italian off-board artillery. (8)
0845 – Italian off-board artillery is almost all reassigned to Bardia except for a single 77mm battery (6 bombardment value).
0900 - 0915 – Australians make little progress as they recover from disruption and prepare for a final push.
0930 The Australians clear out the last of the entrenchments except for the major Italian HMG nests.
0945 - 1015 – The Australians form fire groups under HMG fire.
1030 – The Australians begin to dig in, drawing Italian fire.
1045 – As the Italians are “distracted” by the feint, the Australian Infantry charges!
1100 – The Australians initiate assault. One of the Italian entrenchments surrenders! Only one more entrenchment to go and three hours to accomplish it in! Bring out the beer boys!
The last of the Italian artillery batteries is reassigned.
1115 - 1145 – With the Italians pinned in assault the Australians manoeuvre to surround.
1200 – The Australians initiate a final assault and eliminate an Italian HMG platoon. They were a bit lucky not to receive any casualties.
1215 – Regroup!
1230 – The Australians assault again and suffer a loss of half a platoon but make no more progress (9)
1245 – Regroup!
0100 – They assault again to no effect.
0115 – Regroup!
0130 – Italians eliminate an Australian HMG (10) but their HMG is demoralised!
0145 – Italian HMG flees and surrenders! The Italian infantry is reduced to half a platoon. The final half platoon and their Capitano need to hold out another half hour!
0200 – The Italians hold, surviving the major Australian assault.
0215 – The Italian infantry is disrupted but their Capitano holds them together.
The Australians are out of time!
1215 – Regroup!
The Italian Capitano (morale:10 1-2 leader) allowed the Italians to hold out and win the scenario. The Australians were assaulting hard, but had terrible luck near the end. (otherwise it would have been a draw.) They should have pressed against the HMG nest earlier and spent less time “preparing” But the Australian Major thought they had enough time.
As historical, the Australians were a bit too gung-ho and suffered too many casualties.
A fairly quick battle despite going the full 35 turn limit.
|Where's that white flag! What!!? I ordered you yesterday to prepare that white flag!!|
Played solo in three sessions
Deciding to go straight towards the major objectives, the Aussies marched up to the 2 western entrenchments (2003 & 2004). One hour and a devastating artillery barrage later both 2003 and 2004 surrendered to the Australians (high surrender rolls) who could use some cover (although the Italian artillery would perform dismally throughout the battle). Without respite the Australians, who by then only lost 2 steps, cut straight through the Italian lines and lay a siege on entrenchment 2204. The ensuing assault took about an hour and a half to be decided because of the valiant defense by the crew of an 81mm mortar pltn.
What could the Italians do? Stay in their protective entrenchments and shoot, or counterattack and leave their entrenchments unprotected? The dilemma resulted in utter indeciseveness. Some counterattacked (2401) out of their trenches to be decimated by Australian fire. The others, mainly on the northern flank, had to stay there, because the Australians detached some troops up north as a binding force. The northern approach however, became not more than that: an approach. One Australian Inf was demoralised outright and never recovered. The only British leader in the OB which accompanied the Brit HMG on that northern diversion was constantly disrupted. So much for that stiff upper lip..
To be short, a couple of hours later the Italians ceased to exist as a coherent fighting force. The counterattacks were to weak and uncoordinated through the lack of leaders. Besides, too many surrendered. At 9.30 it was all over. The Aussies had captured 5 entrenchments for a loss of 3 steps and a leader. The Italians lost about three-quarters of their force (mainly to surrender).
Nice and tight scenario, get to the objectives and hold them, that's it. Apart from the sensible binding action up north, there is not much tactics involved. The surrender rule had an important impact on the flow of the scenario and the Australians were very lucky in their first four turns. That made their day. Is there anybody who needed the full 54 turns to accomplish a decision? I can't see how that could be done apart from waiting about 8 hours..
|Valiente resistencia italiana|
Un batallón de infantería australiana, apoyado por potente artillería fuera del mapa (2x13, 1x24) debe desalojar de un campo atrincherado a aproximadamente un batallón de infantería italiana. Los italianos reciben el apoyo de artillería fuera del mapa (1x6, 2x10, 1x15) y artillería desplegada en el campo de batalla, con la peculiaridad de que la artillería fuera del mapa puede reducirse aleatoriamente a partir del turno nueve. (La partida dura 35 turnos). Los australianos gozan de mayor moral. A los italianos se les aplica la regla "Rendición". (He aplicado la regla restrictiva indicada en esta web, en lugar de la regla original del libro de escenarios). Los australianos obtienen la victoria si consiguen conquistar al menos cuatro trincheras enemigas, tres de ellas predeterminadas. Los italianos ganan si logran causar siete "steps" de bajas a los atacantes.
La partida es muy interesante, ya que los australianos no pueden permitirse lanzarse a un ataque indiscriminado y deben actuar cautelosamente. Los italianos despliegan sus unidades en las trincheras y a retaguardia, con una reserva que reforzaría las bajas producidas en las trincheras.
Los italianos basan su defensa en la artillería fuera del mapa, que les permite bombardear en la columna 30 de la tabla y con una agrupación de morteros y baterías de 65mm coordinadas por un líder, que les permite lanzar andanadas en la columna 21 de la misma tabla. Ello enlentece el avance de los australianos, que pierden tiempo reorganizando a las unidades desorganizadas y desmoralizadas por la artillería. Los australianos, por su parte, utilizan como ariete principal sobre las posiciones enemigas su potente artillería fuera del tablero, que les permite golpear contundentemente con la columna 42 de la tabla.
Conforme transcurre la partida los australianos consiguen conquistar lentamente una posición italiana tras otra, aunque las posiciones adyacentes en los hexes 2003 y 2004 resisten desesperadamente. La balanza se inclina definitivamente del lado australiano cuando los italianos dejan de beneficiarse de au artillería fuera del tablero y pierden dos secciones de morteros, una batería de 65mm y el líder que los coordinaba. Ello hace que los australianos se muevan con relativa impunidad por el campo de batalla y acaben asaltando y venciendo la última resistencia enemiga.
Al final (turno 29) los italianos son prácticamente aniquilados. Los australianos pierden tres "steps" de bajas. No obstante, la batalla ha sido más reñida de lo que estos números dan a entender.
|Tough Situation for the Aussies|
I am new to the PG system and this was my third Afrika Corps scenario. I am still learning basic tactics, so I know I made some tactical errors. I realized at the end of the scenario that I did not roll for redirection of Italian artillery as required in the scenario conditions. This was likely an important factor in the outcome.
Similar to the historical outcome, the Australian aggressiveness was repulsed by stiff Italian resistance and accurate artillery fire. For the Italians, the combination of extended availability of off-board artillery, entrenched positions, and consistently good combat, morale, and recovery rolls resulted in the loss of 14 Australian steps, compared to only 8 Italian steps. By noon, the Aussies had taken three entrenchments, but lost one to a counterattack, and was in an ongoing battle for another. At this point, it was clear that the Australians would not be able to force a draw; they just did not have the units. Victory to the Italians.
I am replaying this scenario, and will ensure that the potential for redirection of Italian off-board artillery is included. I am also introducing the "fog of war" option.
|Italians Did Not Put Up Much of a Fight|
The attack started at dawn. By 0800, the Australians had taken three entrenchments without suffering a casualty, and were taking positions to assault a fourth entrenchment. Italian artillery and direct fire were ineffective (lots of sevens were rolled), and they had suffered six step losses. By this time, it was clear that the Italians would need to counterattack to slow down the Australians and force a draw, but several demoralized platoons had fled. Italian officers were trying to get them organized and back into the fight.
Only an hour later, the Australians had taken the fourth entrenchment, meeting their victory conditions. They just had to hold these positions for five more hours and keep casualties to a minimum.
By 1015, the Australians occupied five entrenchments. The Italians had lost all off-board artillery support, and were taking accurate direct fire and mortar fire that resulted in more demoralized, fleeing units. One Italian officer rallied a couple of reduced platoons and attempted to recapture one entrenchment. Fifteen minutes later, the officer was the only survivor of that effort. By this time, the Italians did not have enough units (they had lost about 20 steps) to challenge the entrenched Australians, and the Italians quit. In their victory, the Australians did not lose a step! This was opposite of the historical outcome.
I am still learning the P-G system. This was my second play of this scenario. This time, the Aussies got great dice rolls, and employed better assault tactics. The Italians had chances, but did not get the rolls to make a difference. They lost their off-board artillery. Next time (if the random selection of officers allows), I will place the 10-1-2 Capitano in one of the objective positions with a HMG and INF. That might result in some Australian losses.