Endertà: Dawn Fighting at Adi Sembet
Conquest of Ethiopia #21
|(Defender) Italy||vs||Ethiopia (Attacker)|
|Overall Rating, 3 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 609|
|Parent Game||Conquest of Ethiopia|
|Visibility||Day & Night|
|Maps||2: 86, 87|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Conquest of Ethiopia||maps + counters|
On the second day of the Endertà offensive, Marshal Badoglio intended to regroup the units that had pushed forward during the previous day. However, before dawn a brave Ethiopian attack developed against the well-drilled infantrymen of the Sabaudia Division. A battalion of the 46th Regiment easily repulsed the enemy's initial rush, but in the second wave they faced a rude awakening.
The Ethiopians failed in this brief but bloody battle, and lost their brave and competent leader Bitouded Maconen Demissiè. During the fighting his death was kept secret to avoid a collapse of the Ethiopian morale. Later that day, reinforced by a few hundred cavalry, the Ethiopians sallied again only to be immediately checked by heavy Italian artillery support. Over the following two days the Italian advance proceeded without any serious obstacles as Ras Mulughietà's forces were pummeled by heavy artillery and aerial bombardments, including again the widespread use of gas. A favored Italian tactic was to saturate key river fords and waterholes with Yperite, thereby hitting enemy concentrations and poisoning water sources. Furthermore, Italian intelligence had induced Galla tribesmen, traditionally hostile to the Ethiopian people, to launch harassing attacks on the retreating enemy. Ras Mulughietà’s son died from aircraft strafing during the chaotic retreat. Mulughietà, Imperial Minister of War, later tried to recover his son's body personally, but the Galla captured and lynched him.
|Poor choices lead to poor outcomes|
Okay, so let me say that, although I lost as the Italians, I was the much more experienced player in the game, and the Ethiopian player was aided by my coaching. That's actually fine with me, as I play the game to have fun, not for any sort of trophy.
I'll also note that we didn't use Fog of War in this one, as I wanted to keep it a bit simpler for my opponent. Who knows if that would have had any effect on things.
I set up the Italians along the hills near their set-up locations, with one 2 HMG hidden at the top of the hill, and an INF hidden in the rocks. The Ethiopians set up for a charge up the gut. We rolled for night visibility and it was only one hex. This was a bit of a problem for the Italians, as I couldn't take any advantage of longer range. Of course, even at 2 hexes, that really would have nullified the advantage. The Ethiopians in the center tried to work around my flank a bit, and put pressure along the Italian line. Suddenly, they stumbled across the hidden HMG who unloaded at point blank range...and missed. On the other flank, Ethiopians stumbled into the other hidden unit...who missed.
Meanwhile, I relocated my rear Italians to what looked like a more defensible hill, where they dug in and awaited the Ethiopian reinforcements. That clash was very straightforward, and I realized that separating the 2 Italian groups was probably a mistake, as the smaller group of Italians soon found themselves surrounded. All of the Italians were putting murderous firepower into the Ethiopians, who were generally at a -1 column even when adjacent (+2 adjacent, -1 uphill, -1 dug in, -1 night). While not a lot of Ethiopian steps were lost, a lot of units fled, and with their leader shortage, the Ethiopians weren't able to get them back into the fight.
However, the Ethiopian victory bar isn't that high. Eliminate 6 Italian steps. And eventually, a few lucky rolls started to bring the Italians in danger of losing that amount. Plus, I wasn't able to kill the freaking Shambel no matter how many times I shot at him! I pointed out to my opponent that the most effective technique in my experience in a situation like this (he had the big numbers advantage) was to assault, hoping at least one unit survives the first fire, and then rotate in fresh units to keep the assault going. He adopted this tactic, and many Italian troops got locked into the assaults. This meant they couldn't fire at the Ethiopians, which gave them a breather. And, eventually, numbers won out at the Ethiopians got the 6th step loss on turn 13.
Good fun, and definitely replayable.
|More Balanced Tan At First Sight|
Played with Matt W in 90 minutes.
A small force of Italians have to survive against a much larger force of Ethiopians.
Matt launched the Ethiopians on the attack immediately. I made a critical mistake from the outset because I decided to fight (in favorable terrain) instead of just harassing the Ethiopians and fight a moving battle. We both thought initially (after 3 or 4 turns) than it would be a Ethiopian cakewalk.
But it's not, the Ethiopian force which starts on the board have only 2 leaders and their attack lost steam at some point. I should have put my force on the move at that point and force the Ethiopians to leave their disrupted and demoralized behind. I did not realize this in time and lost.
The Ethiopians also receives two more leaders with a several units as reinforcements. So a strategy for them may be to contain the Italians with their initial force and only proceed on the offensive when their reinforcements arrive. Time will be an issue in that case.
Ethiopian major victory.
I gave this one a "4" because I like that it is more subtle than it first appeared, with both sides having important decisions to make.
A very good 90-minute scenario in my book.