Sidi Rezegh: Counter-Attack
Desert Rats #15
|Britain||2nd Royal Tank Regiment|
|Britain||4th Royal Horse Artillery|
|Britain||6th Royal Tank Regiment|
|Germany||361st “Africa” Panzergrenadier Regiment|
|Italy||39º Reggimento Fanteria "Bologna"|
|Overall Rating, 3 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 588|
|Parent Game||Desert Rats|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Desert Rats||maps + counters|
Alarmed by the fall of Sidi Rezegh airfield, the Axis command ordeed the Afrika Division to take it back. Reinforced by an Italian battalion and some engineers, the one-time Foreign Legionaires launched a dawn attack on the Desert Rats.
The German attack faltered and finally collapsed under British artillery fire. The Italians managed to drag their anti-tank guns within range of the British tanks of 2nd RTR and drove them away, but they could not reach the airfield. More fighting would have to rage here before Crusader ended.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
Ignore the direct fire values.
(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)
Before I begin with the results of this scenario I'll just briefly state that my Grand Uncle Basil served in the British Army during the North African campaign and he never discussed what he did there or what battles he took part in. All he had to say about his experiance there was that it was horrible and would quickly change the topic. Perhaps that's what inspired me to go through with 'Afrika Korps','Desert Rats' and 'South Africa's War' to more or less experiance, in some degree, why. This scenario was a fine example of a horrible yet heroic ending.
First off, the set-up was fixed with little flexibilty for initial unit placement but very logical for both sides concerned: The 361st "Afrika" Regiment on the Eastern portion of the ridge and the Italian 39th reinforced with German engineers on the Western side. The British had the 2nd RTR to delay the Western assault and the 6th RTR and artillery to defend the airfield proper. My only mistake with the British deployment I am aware of was with the 25-pounders which perhaps should of begun in hill hexes but even if they had dug-in there, once they had fired and been spotted they wouldn't have lasted long in either way. So thus they were the first British units to be eliminated by German OBA.
The opening British strategy was to delay both advances and take out all A.T. guns before they could be transported (dragged in the case of the Italian 47mm's) within range of Crusaders defending the small airfield. The German strategy was simple -knock out as many tanks as possible with the 37mm and 47mm while they were available and then, at the right time, with or without A.T. guns charge in at close quarters.
The Crusaders were able to hold off the attack, mostly with the aid of OBA, until 11:15/Turn 24 when Germans began to encircle the armored garrison from both the East, clear and in the open, and from the North with Engineers who waited unspotted directly North, on the ridge. At 13:00/Turn 31, with time running out, German forces assaulted with everything thing available while what few Italian units that chose to join in the attack were easily pushed back towards the ridge. By this time only maybe half of the tanks were left to defend and had just enough time to dig-in and stack up for maximum fire values.
The German assualts prevailed and by 13:30/Turn 33 the only Hail Mary the British had was to keep firing artillery into the assault hexes risking friendly fire results as all remaining tank platoons were pinned down with three separate assaults. However, the defending Crusaders did not give up easily and held out until 14:00/Turn 35 when the airfield was taken after a vicious struggle and for the German efforts, the (1-10-1) Lieutenant of the victorious assault was killed immediately afterwards by incoming artillery fire. At the scenario's end only one platoon of Crusaders were left and could not retake the airfield which had now been fortified and secured.
So, a German victory -yes, but a very hard-won one. Timing was essential, had the assault begun any later, even by one turn, the British would of most likely been able to hold the airfield, even if it was with just one platoon of tanks and retreating officers remaining by then. This was a very intense scenario and play. I wasn't certain of the outcome until just about at the scenario's end. The only thing I would of done differently with the British would have been to pull the 2nd RTR back sooner to dig-in below the ridge and just let the last of the 47mm A.T. guns be slowly dragged along after delaying them. But also, I felt it cowardly to leave one disrupted Crusader unit behind to be overrun by Italian forces, so it was defended until it could recover and join in the withdraw. If that disrupted unit had been left to it's fate ( it took many turns to recover) then possibly those units would of arrived earlier and been able to change the outcome. However, Crusader tanks, with a direct fire value of just 4 do not make a good defense unsupported, even triple stacked the highest that could be hoped for in defending an assault is a 9 but they did do a fine job of trying.
|La infantería italoalemana derrota a los "Crusader"|
En este escenario una fuerza conjunta italoalemana, integrada por más o menos un batallón de infantería de cada nacionalidad, ataca a los fuerzas británicas que ocupan el aeropuerto de Sidi Rezegh. Las fuerzas del Eje están apoyadas por artillería fuera del mapa (3 x 10), dos secciones de AT de 37mm (alemanes) y tres secciones de AT de 47mm (italianos). El problema para ellos es que solamente disponen de dos secciones de camiones para transportalos. Los británicos cuentan con aproximadamente tres compañías de tanques "Crusader I" y el apoyo de dos baterías de artillería de 25-pdr, sus correspondientes transportes y una potente artillería fuera del mapa (3 x 13). El problema para los británicos es que solamente tienen un observador de artillería (un capitán), y que eliminado éste la artillería permanecerá muda.
La batalla tiene lugar de día. Los británicos despliegan en torno al aeropuerto. Las tropas del Eje lo hacen en una colina próxima.
Los del Eje inician la aproximación al enemigo y nada más empezar su artillería pone fuera de combate a una batería de 25-pdr enemiga. Poco tiempo después la otra batería también es destruida, con lo que los británicos sólo pueden contar con la artillería fuera del mapa. Los alemanes despliegan y ponen en posición sus dos secciones AT de 37mm y envían los camiones a recoger a los AT italianos y situarlos a distancia de tiro. Sin embargo, el contraataque de una sección de "Crusaders" destruye los camiones, lo que supone que los AT italianos de 47mm permanecerán demasiado lejos e inútiles.
Los del Eje van cercando lentamente a los británicos, que van formando un perímetro defensivo en torno al aeropuerto. La artillería del Eje consigue un gran éxito al aniquilar al observador enemigo, por lo que la artillería británica permanecerá muda a partir de ahora. Los AT alemanes disparan continuamente a los "Crusaders", aunque sin éxito. Sin embargo la artillería fuera del mapa del Eje concentra su fuego sobre los tanques británicos. consiguiendo desorganizar y desmoralizar a algunos. La ocasión es aprovechada por la infantería italoalemana, que asalta las posiciones enemigas. El perímetro defensivo blindado británico es arrollado. La lucha es furibunda, pero los tanques no pueden competir sin apoyo con la infantería enemiga a tan corta distancia.
Al final del turno 13, habiendo perdido el aeropuerto y sin posibilidad de recuperarlo, el comandante británico y los supervivientes se retiran vencidos.