The Counter-Attack, 1st May
Afrika Korps #33
|Australia||2/23rd Infantry Battalion|
|Australia||2/24th Infantry Battalion|
|Australia||2/48th Infantry Battalion|
|Germany||15th Motorcycle Battalion|
|Germany||33rd Reconaissance Battalion|
|Italy||27ª Divisone Fanteria "Brescia"|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 521 of 579|
|Parent Game||Afrika Korps|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Afrika Korps||maps + counters|
Finally seeing the whole picture of the Axis penetration in the Ras El Medauuar area, General L.J. Morshead, the Tobruk garrison commander, ordered an immediate attack. Using only a single battalion, the 2/48th of 26th Brigade, the Australians laid on a hastily-arranged counterattack. Morshead ordered the battalion to attack the entire German-Italian penetration. Staff officers managed to add a few other companies, but the attack went in badly outnumbered from the start.
The 2/23rd Battalion's attack cleared the Italians from the vicinity of posts S8 and S9 and reinforced the survivors there. The attack by 2/48th Battalion was repulsed with heavy losses. Despite the failure, the attack further demonstrated the defenders' determination to hold Tobruk. No further attempts to take the fortress were made before relief came in the CRUSADER battles at the end of the year.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|6 Errata Items|
The Victory Conditions are in error. Ignore reference to S4. There is no 'S4' entrenchment hex. Therefore VC's referring to hex control should state S6,S7,S8 and S9
(vince hughes on 2011 Mar 20)
Entrenchment S10 should set up in 1826 and NOT 1827
Entrenchment S8 should set up in hex 1920
There are not enough Australian LT's and CAP counters in the leader mix. Therefore randomly draw the 'missing' leader counters from the British leader mix in the Afrika Korps box-set.
All Bren carriers should have a movement value of 7.
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
|WARNING : Its A Bit "Design Your Own", But Ends In A Good Desert Battle|
Game played face-to-face with Wayne Baumber over 3 sessions. As Wayne and I continue our 'random' selection of scenarios for 2011, we were very pleased to randomly select a desert battle. There seems to be something about the desert war that appeals to British gamers. Maybe its the almost exclusivity of Empire and United Kingdom troops involved against the enemy. Maybe, albeit fable or true, the more 'knightly' way the war was conducted by both sides ?.
WARNING : But then, upon reading the scenario, it soon became apparent there are many errors in the printed material. Wrong locations for map set up of troops, not enough counters, wrongly named objectives. A REAL MESS. However, with some assiduous reading, some investigations deeper into the book and some plain common sense, we finally came up with the correct locations and answers for the anomalies. These are all now shown in the errata section and should be checked before setting out with this one !!
As the Australian advance began in the growing darkness around 7.15pm, Italian and German troops were attempting at that point to finish off the remaining pockets of Allied resistance around the fortified S8 and S9 areas. Meanwhile, a tiny force composed of a company of German infantry had positioned themselves along the main trails that the Aussies would have to advance along from the east. The Australians also had a few more troops in the north, and at the same time as the main body pushed westwards, these too began an advance in order to relieve S8 & S9. However, Italian troops had overrun what remained of S8 very quickly, but S9 continued to stave off a large attack by German troops. In fact, given the resources allowed for this particular German assault in S9, the German effort there proved very lackluste indeed despite being given engineer and MG support. On the outskirts of the battle, the smaller Australian force attacking from the north met with some success early on. Italian troops that had been positioned in front of them to stave off any relief effort surrendered themselves after suffering just a handful of casualties. This now meant that pressure would already be building on the Axis effort from the north side. However, the line was soon stabilised somewhat as other troops, albeit from precious resources, were released to hold that line.
From the east, the large number of Aussie foot-sloggers pressed on and there were far too many for the small company of Germans to contemplate fighting off. Instead, they fell back slowly and began the first semblance of a defensive line made up of a mixed bag of both German and Italian soldiers. As this was being carried out, the German attack on S9 continued, but even after around 3 hours of fighting had still failed to overpower the lone enemy infantry platoon in there. By this time (about 9.30pm) it was going to be far too late to contine efforts on S9 as the massed Allied counter-attack was gathering momentum and was now just 200-300 yards away from S9 in the north. Also, from the east, the Australians there were slowly grinding their way forward against a crumbling line of Axis troops. Casualties had been lop-sided too. The Aussies could probably count around 4 steps lost, whereas the Germans and Italians had suffered around 9 step losses including those surrendered Italians.
By 10pm, the German command instructed that the forts already captured should be the main focus of remaining Axis defence efforts. The disappointing three hour German assault on S9, which appeared just at a point that it might fall had to be called off in order to use those men to man other already held Axis locations. The Australians had pushed their attack far too close for German comfort and were now threatening to attack the former attackers! This had left the German commander furious at the officers in charge of the S9 attack. There could be no excuse for such a wretched failure to invest S9 other than a lack of gusto from those involved (in game terms, 10 turns of rolling consecutive 1's or 2's in assault... Grrrr !). Now, the Germo-Italian force was going to have to cling on to what they had.
With S9 remaining in Allied hands, S4 fell to them with little fight as once more, Italian troops threw their hands skywards in meek surrender rather than show any fight. However, the early captured S8 was being held by determined Afrika Korps resistance and S6 had been fully manned by similar troops in expectancy of Australian attacks. Some braver and more determined Italian troops, commanded by their Maggiore had also been positioned around its perimeter. The Australians tried for some 2 hours to now achieve what the enemy had failed to do. Invest all four strong-points. But unlike the Axis effort, the Diggers would find that these strong-points were now manned by adequate numbers that would be able to hold them off for some time. By 1am, the counter-attack by the Australian troops was finally called off. Both sides held two strong-points apiece with no chance in the time available for either side to gain an advantage. The Axis troops had suffered many casualties when those surrendering were included. About 15 steps eliminated and 6 steps surrendered. They no longer had the numbers to be aggressive. Australian losses had mounted towards the end of the battle once they began fighting against the defended strong-points to some 10 steps lost lost and most platoons either reduced or disrupted. There was no offensive capability for either side left.
So there it is, a whole lot of effort by both sides only to end in a draw. The Axis failed because of the 12 turn failure of the attempted capture of S9. A ridiculous series of rolled 1's and 2's in assault left them performing a miserable attempt to capture the target hex. They were obviously not very up for it on the day. Had they captured this early on, then maybe a fighting defence could have been put up, but the failed attempt meant that the Axis were never in possession of all 4 strongpoints so as to win the game. For the Allies, they fought out a pretty much well thought out attack, but perhaps suffered by not particularly pressuring the fragile Italians enough and forcing surrenders. This may have freed up some useful Allied platoons that could have been used aggressively elsewhere and assisted on efforts to capture the remaining strongpoints. I think we were agreed that the draw seemed about right, and that the battle was enjoyable to replay. A standard '3' from me considering we had to design and clean much of it up. DO READ THE ERRATA if you plan on playing
|A Hard Slog : and thats just to set the game up|
Those of you you have read Vince's report on this on will know what I mean by the above title. In effect we had to complete the development of this scenario as there were errors in the set up and VC. A shame because this is a good little scenario with some interesting points. The Axis troops set up next to the positions that have to be taken and then will have to fight of the Aussie counter attack.The Axis are hampered by the surrender rule and are outnumbered, The Aussies are spread around the board and when night falls can only move one hex a turn or be disrupted. In our game Vince was unable to take one of the entrenchments, due to poor dice rolls on his part, before the Commonwealth steamroller was threatening his flanks. He rightly pulled back to defend what he had and I was unable to force the issue. As either side has to be in control of the four strong points for a win a draw was declared, I suspect that would be most likely outcome in most playings. This was a better game than it sounds and both Vince and I would rate it higher if the scenario instructions had been correct.
|Decent scenario ruined by the surrender rule|
This scenario was played as a team event by my gaming group. I act as moderator and facilitator for each game, and I do not participate directly as a player. My listing of “winning” is based on the PG HQ site cannot support a neutral role in AARs.
The Italians set up to maximize an assault into S8 and S9, while the Germans set most units up near 1614, hoping to delay Australian reinforcements. There were a couple German units available to assist the Italians. The initial assault went in well, but not without some shaken Italian morale. The Australian reinforcements started their slow crawl forward, with the Germans trying to best interdict them.
Then the craziness of the surrender rule raised its head. The Australian infantry in S11 leapt out of their position, ran up to S8, called for the surrender of Italians based on one unit being demoralized in the assault, and took out a significant chunk of the Italian forces. At that point it was very apparent that the Italians had little staying power, the Germans were too far away to protect them, the reinforcements would eventually reach the positions regardless of German efforts (happy to have an Aussie or two in assault with Germans so they cannot pull back to the positions while the hoard of Aussies move on), and even the forces in S10 and S11 were sufficient to deal with demoralizing and collecting the surrender of the Italian army. With no shared command ability on the Axis part it took significant time to shore up the Italian capture of S8 and S9.
Surrender rule aside, it played like a pro wrestling match, with the Aussies handing out an early pounding, then the Axis starting to crawl back. A lot of reinforcements were held up by the Germans, but the Germans needed to fall back to support the Italians. Some reinforcements were still getting through. The loss of a couple Italian leaders left the Italian player with insufficient and poor leadership, causing massive Italian collapse. The Australian counterattacks against S8 and S9 went in against a mixed German/Italian defense, but with no Italian leaders the defense continued to crumble. The Australians took a wicked beating, but eventually got the pin. The Germans just didn’t have the numbers to resist the Australian wave when the Italians fled the battle or just plain surrendered.
At the outlook this seems a pretty even scenario. Despite the scenario description of “badly outnumbered” Australians, the sides are reasonable even in force structure. The weight of attack lies first with the Axis, then the Australians as reinforcements arrive. While the Axis are slightly better armed overall, the low morale of the Italians makes up for it. The surrender rule is what breaks this scenario, especially coupled with the nationalism rule. The Italians are a paper force waiting for total collapse. I really hated the surrender rule, and saw it as a potential weak spot for a large portion of the boxed set. We all felt very sorry for the Italian player, and agreed that this rule is best left off the table. At least in an otherwise balanced scenario. I decided at this point that the group would not be subjected to another scenario using the surrender rule. The night rules also reduced scenario enjoyment, but that was a quibble compared to the surrender rule. My rating of 2 is based on the surrender rule, and would be a 3 without it.