Afrika Korps #25
|Australia||18th Infantry Brigade|
|Italy||132ª Divisone Corazzata "Ariete"|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 343 of 554|
|Parent Game||Afrika Korps|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Afrika Korps||maps + counters|
Within the Tobruk perimeter, Australian Lt. Gen. John Laverack decided to defend the fortress with the aggressive tactics that had worked so well for the Australian Corps in the last war. The Australians saw night combat as the key to seizing the battlefield advantage. On 22 April, a series of dawn raids set out in accordance with Laverack's policy. One of the three groups, made up of a mixed force from 2/17th Infantry and 2/lst Pioneer Battalions and accompanying tanks, was to eliminate an Italian artillery position.
Gathering before dawn, the elements of the raiding force did not depart friendly lines until early light. While the Australians counted on superiority at night, they soon found that the Italians also preferred to fight after dark when their inferior weapons proved less of a liability. The raiders quickly came under heavy fire. After several vain attempts to continue, they retreated back to their lines.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
Other: Ignore instructions.
(campsawyer on 2010 Apr 29)
All Bren carriers should have a movement value of 7.
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
|Raiders Stopped At The One|
The Australian Raiding party approached the Eastern part of the Italian lines under cover of darkness. They hoped to soften up the easternmost entrenchment before assaulting, but were hit with heavy artillery fire. They took numerous losses that guaranteed at least a draw for the Italians. The Aussies used their tanks and an assault to reduce and eventually eliminate the entrenchment and the required four Italian steps, but in the end the game was a draw as both sides took heavy losses. Fun scenario that can go either way.
|Italy now hiring forward observers -inquire at Tobruk location|
This was a fun little scenario which was played in one session against the venerable Vince Hughes via skype. I had played this one solo before with similar results and it is a very tough one for either side to meet victory conditions, that is suffering less than 4 step losses and inflicting at least 4 step losses on the opponent. Both sides have great OBA but Italy does have the advantage of being dug-in and entrenched.
The Italians had set-up in and around three of the four entrenchments, leaving the one furthest east vacant, as defending entrenchments or keeping control of them were not part of the victory requirements. This allowed Italian units to consolidate and leave very little space between them. It seemed as if the Australian attack was anticipated on the right flank as that is where most of the machine gun platoons were placed and it was at a closer distance from the raiding party's intitial deployment.
I had observed the Italian deployment the night before and deemed that the safest approach would be towards the left flank under the cover of darkness and though it was further away I could get my units within direct fire range before sunrise and also it seemed to allow the safest distance away from AT guns for my armoured units to play a supporting role.
Somehow I thought that my initial advance would be unopposed for the first three turns but right away some either very brave or foolish Italian forward observers were sent out right away to spot for OBA. This seemed to be a logical move as some of these leaders were tenentes with a mere 6-0-0 rating. This stunned me at first knowing that there was more than just OBA fire threatening my raiding force but also 3 x 81mm mortars, 2 x 75mms and a 105mm for additional indirect fire support. Here I got lucky with the initiative more than once and in turn was able to demoralize the first forward observer before it could spot. Of course more spotters were sent out but those too were taken care of and soon there were four Italian leaders eliminated! But one of them was actually taken out by friendly fire so I could actually only claim three of those from my personal efforts.
Once the sun began to rise my luck changed for the worse. I had moved one A13 tank out too close after rolling over one of the spotters and in attempt to move it back out of harm's way. It took a step loss from a very well aimed 47mm AT gun straight away, counting as two step losses, already meeting half of the Italian victory requiremants with 8 turns left to go! Now with the sun up and visibilty increased the batlle began proper. However, this was to be more of an artillery slugfest with the Italians being able to inflict a lot more damage with their indirect fire support units. My raiding party was not able to advance any closer than 3 hexes away and were kept pinned down but luckily I had two leaders with morale modifiers at a 2 rating so units were able to rally quickly. I was able to eliminate the one 47mm that had forced a step loss from my armour support but soon lost 2 steps of INF and was fighting for a draw as my step losses reached 4 very soon.
Eventually I did manage to bring the Italian step losses to 3 with mostly OBA and mortar fire and it was a question of if my opponent could endure four more turns without a further loss. Unfortunately fleeing Italian units had retreated back to one or two entrenchments making the posts stacked three high and one of those were with support units so this is where I chose to direct my OBA and finally found my mark and forced the 4th Italian step loss with just two turns left to go. At this point, on turn ten, we stopped play. A draw is a draw but the Italians did hold the upper hand most of the time. Of course they had the defensive advantage of being dug-in and entrenched along with better support weaponry. I suppose that since OBA was really the deciding factor here I could of just called the raid off but then that wouldn't of been very sporting. Basically, as the scenario title suggests, the raiding party was "Turned Back" but it was a fun match. I do believe that Italy has better overall odds of winning this one but in most cases will end with a draw as it is tough for either side to not suffer 4 step losses. Ending losses after 10 turns were:
Italy: CAP(7-0-0), TEN(7-0-0), TEN(7-0-0), TEN(6-0-0), 2 INF, 1 x 81mm and 1 x 47mm
Australia: 2 INF and 2 ENG
Britain: 1 x A13
|On & Off Board Artillery Determines The Result|
This scenario was played over Skype in 1 session against PGHQ member, Nebelwurfer. This was our second scenario and Brett was looking forward to utilizing his growing nouse of the rules in another PG encounter. This scenario is all about an Australian dawn raiding party with intent to inflict some damage on the Italian lines and then flit back to their own. In doing so, neither side must lose 4 step equivalents or else they lose. (Unless you reciprocate the 4 step loss on your opponent in which case it’s a Draw).
The Australian raiding units are high-moraled 8/8’s mixed up of some infantry platoons, engineers and some light tanks. They are adequately laced with good Australian leaders, two of which had that horrible ‘2’ morale factor. Their home lines are also a strong force of everything really, but these will sit in place unless the Italians are forced to chase the raiding party back to their own lines and come within 3 hexes of Australian positions. Because of that, it has much importance for the Italians not to allow the enemy to get their 4 step-losses on you first otherwise they will probably run back to their own lines forcing you to advance within activation range. The Italians? Well what can I say? Their morale is 7/7 and consists of 12 x INF platoons, some HMG’s, and quite a few pieces of ordnance. They have 4 entrenchments strung out and can start dug-in. But their officers? Good grief. Of 9 Tenentes’ in the game, no less than 8 of them had the zero modifier! (drawn by Wayne Baumber for me!!!) Fortunately, a Capitane and Maggiore had a ‘1’ so all was not lost I suppose. The Italians decided that with both sides able to muster a 30col OBA attack, they would be better off placing their ordnance in three of the entrenchments, thus reducing OBA attacks to a 21col and making it far harder to achieve an X result. The fourth entrenchment was abandoned as it was too far away and would stretch a pretty low efficient force such as they were. The infantry and MG’s dug-in around the front and sides of the trenches to at least ensure a large direct-fire hit on any assaulting ‘Cobbers’.
At 0500 hours the raid began in darkness. The night would persist for the first 3 turns and this worried the Italians. They assumed the high-moraled Aussies would go for it under darkness and benefit from the col.shift on DF and bombardment, but once again, Brett surprised me with his opening gambits as he did with the last game and instead of a direct night-attack, he sent them out on a flanking maneuver. This would at least eat the night away for the Italians. For their part, they sent out a leader to go spot for their artillery. The spotter, through Aussie OBA was soon disposed of before he was able to call in Italian OBA and on-board shots, and this began a string of no less than 4 x leaders in total suffering the same fate as spotting suddenly became a dangerous activity due to Australian OBA accuracy and also being captured. When the Italians did spot, the fire effects were negligible. This all meant by the end of turn 3 (0530), the Italians had lost a Captain and three tenentes’ and the Allied force nothing!
However, at 0545 hours, the light began to breakthrough and with visibility 4 hexes, the raiding group came into sight. Once more Italian OBA was ineffective. The Australian then tried to get their armour into a position away from Italian 47mm AT guns, but whilst doing this a step of A13’s were hit (counting as 2 steps) putting the Australian raid in jeopardy as they had only to lose 2 steps more over the next 8 turns. The Australian infantry now started to form long range fire lines rather than go for assaulting their enemy and this now meant that both sides started to exchange DF at each other. There were a few cases of disorder caused through this fire, but the well-trained Aussie officers generally kept their troops in good order. At 0615 (turn 6) Australian OBA scored a hit on the dug-in AT gun that had taken out the A13’s. This produced a cheer around the Australian lines but it was soon hushed when Italian OBA likewise came down on them taking out an INF step too. (3-1 Italian favour). Italian honour was ensured the same turn when their on-board 105mm in tandem with a mortar also hit the Aussie infantry for a 4-1 step-loss lead and a guaranteed draw their worst outcome possible. Knowing this, the raiding force now had nothing to lose and set about attacking weaker parts of the Italian set-up. At 0630 hours, turn 7, Australian OBA again displayed their accuracy by smashing down on the Italian infantry to decimate a step (4-2). It did the same next turn too, again removing Italian infantry (4-3 now the score). The Italians hit back still in an effort to at least weaken Australian infantry positions that were firing at them. With this, an Aussie ENG platoon double-demoralised from the Italian on-board mortars to lose a step (5-3 Italy).
At 0700 hours, Italian OBA finished off the damaged ENG platoon with yet another X result.(6-3). Now the Italians would need to hunker down and see if they could avoid a step-loss over the next and final three turns. Whilst all these shells were being thrown out by both sides, the infantry of both combatants and the Australian armour were gripped in a direct-fire battle with mainly low-odds throws. Overall, I think the Italians surprisingly got the better of it, but neither side inflicted a step-loss this way. What both sides did do though was to cause disruption and demoralization. This in turn weakened the Australian line as some of these, including officers, had to flee out of enemy range, and for the Italians too, they had to retreat a hex. On a couple of occasions this meant they would stumble into the ordnance occupied tranches thus making them a 3-unit stack. It was at one of these stacks at 0715 hours (turn 10 of 12) that the Australians zeroed their OBA. Rolling a 12, it meant that an Italian mortar had to perish for a battle tally of 6-4 in the Italian favour. Nonetheless, both sides needed to inflict just 4 steps for a win and with both sides now recording a win the game was officially a draw. That hit closed proceedings as the raiding party melted back towards its own lines. The Italians had fared well, but a little short for a winning performance.
Personally, given my leaders and the fearful prospect of a whole force of 10 moraled Aussies coming at me in the darkness, I was happy to get a draw. Of course, having attained the 4 step-losses on the enemy before he did, you are going to hope you can hold out for the win. But I’d rather lose that 4th step on the 10th turn rather than the last throw of a game and therefore any such disappointment was avoided. I thought I would rate this a ‘2’, but after playing it and having fun in a fairly close battle, I’ll give it a decent ‘3’. One last thing to mention. As can be seen if you read the whole report, of the 9 actual steps that were removed as caualties in this game, no less than 8 were from some form of artillery bombardment. The other, an A13 step came from a 47mm AT shot. Bombardment was certainly the queen of the battlefield in this encounter.
|Turned back! - Bad dice: Aussies concede|
The Australian player conceded after 4 turns after losing 1 plt of Mk. VI tanks and 1 step of INF. The dice favoured the Italians heavily, leading to frustration of the Aussie player.
Not a very intersting scenario: the IT just have to defend and have no tanks (what use are the two 2 pdr. units?). They could counterattack, but there's no point in doing so, therefore the whole AU defensive deployment is useless (they can move only if the IT do). Perhaps it would be better to put the mortars and artillery only.
The Italians have too many leaders, it's unlikely that they'll be needed.