Panzer Grenadier Battles on February 21st:
An Army at Dawn #34 - Kasserine Pass: Duel at Dawn Nihon Silk #3 - Koepang, Day Two
An Army at Dawn #35 - Kasserine Pass: The Reports Were Wrong South Africa's War #3 - Battle on the Equator
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Battle on the Equator
South Africa's War #3
(Defender) Italy vs Britain (Attacker)
South Africa (Attacker)
Formations Involved
Italy 196º Battaglione Coloniale
Italy 49º Battaglione Coloniale
South Africa 3rd Armoured Car Regiment
South Africa Duke of Edinburgh's Own Rifles

Overall balance chart for SAWa003
Side 1 0
Draw 0
Side 2 3
Overall Rating, 3 votes
Scenario Rank: --- of 608
Parent Game South Africa's War
Historicity Historical
Date 1941-02-21
Start Time 06:30
Turn Count 30
Visibility Day
Counters 79
Net Morale 1
Net Initiative 2
Maps 4: 1, 4, 6, 8
Layout Dimensions 86 x 56 cm
34 x 22 in
Play Bounty 147
AAR Bounty 163
Total Plays 3
Total AARs 1
Battle Types
Urban Assault
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Desert Rats counters
Eastern Front maps
South Africa's War counters

With the Juba River line broken, the South Africans along with two African divisions began to roll up the Italian positions and advance toward Mogadishu. The Italian colonial troops still had a good deal of fight left in them, and two battalions of them dug in at the village of Margherita, around a huge Fascist monument marking the Equator. It was an imposing marble construction, and the Italian officers did not want to yield it up without a struggle.


The 196th Colonial Battalion did not put up much of a fight, but the 49th more than made up for it and both sides inflicted serious casualties with their artillery fire. But the South African guns were bigger and more numerous, and by mid-afternoon both towns were in South African hands and their officers were posing for photographs with Mussolini's monument.

Additional Notes

Use German trucks for some of the British trucks, or use British trucks from Afrika Korps or Cassino '44

Display Relevant AFV Rules

AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle
  • Vulnerable to results on the Assault Combat Chart (7.25, 7.63, ACC), and may be attacked by Anti-Tank fire (11.2, DFT). Anti-Tank fire only affects the individual unit fired upon (7.62, 11.0).
  • AFV's are activated by tank leaders (3.2, 3.3, 5.42, 6.8). They may also be activated as part of an initial activating stack, but if activated in this way would need a tank leader in order to carry out combat movement.
  • AFV's do not block Direct Fire (10.1).
  • Full-strength AFV's with "armor efficiency" may make two anti-tank (AT) fire attacks per turn (either in their action segment or during opportunity fire) if they have AT fire values of 0 or more (11.2).
  • Each unit with an AT fire value of 2 or more may fire at targets at a distance of between 100% and 150% of its printed AT range. It does so at half its AT fire value. (11.3)
  • Efficient and non-efficient AFV's may conduct two opportunity fires per turn if using direct fire (7.44, 7.64). Units with both Direct and AT Fire values may use either type of fire in the same turn as their opportunity fire, but not both (7.22, 13.0). Units which can take opportunity fire twice per turn do not have to target the same unit both times (13.0).
  • Demoralized AFV's are not required to flee from units that do not have AT fire values (14.3).
  • Place a Wreck marker when an AFV is eliminated in a bridge or town hex (16.3).
  • AFV's do not benefit from Entrenchments (16.42).
  • AFV's may Dig In (16.2).
  • Open-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables, but DO take step losses from X and #X results (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT). If a "2X" or "3X" result is rolled, at least one of the step losses must be taken by an open-top AFV if present.
  • Armored Cars: These are Combat Units. They are motorized instead of mechanized. All have their own armored car leaders, who can only activate armored cars (6.85). Do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).
  • Reconnaissance Vehicle: 8.23 Special Spotting Powers Both foot and vehicle mounted recce units (1.2) possess two special spotting abilities. The first ability is that they can spot enemy in limiting terrain at one hex further than the TEC specifies for other units and leaders. For example, an enemy unit in town can normally be spotted at three hexes or less, but a recce unit can spot them at four hexes.Their second ability is that they can place a Spotted marker on any one enemy unit they can spot per turn, just as if the enemy unit had "blown its cover" by firing. Such Spotted markers are removed as described earlier.
  • Portees: Trucks with mounted Anti-Tank guns, Anti-Aircraft weapons, or artillery. Stack as combat units. Move like trucks, but fire like guns. Do not limber or unlimber. Have the truck's -1 armor value. Truck and gun are treated as a single unit, and do not transport other units. (SB)

Display Order of Battle

Britain Order of Battle
  • Motorized
Italy Order of Battle
Regio Corpo di Truppe Coloniali
Regio Esercito
  • Motorized
South Africa Order of Battle
  • Motorized

Display Errata (2)

2 Errata Items
Scen 3

(Regarding pieces from Desert Rats) The Italian setup lists a 75mm Portee and a 77mm. There are no 75mm’s listed under Desert Rats’ Portee rules, and there are no 77mm units either (they exist only in Afrika Korps). If you don’t own AK, substitute a 47mm Portee and a regular 75mm, respectively. If you do own AK, use the units as the scenario indicates.

(Shad on 2010 Apr 29)
Overall balance chart for 871

Ignore the direct fire values.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)

Display AARs (1)

A monumental struggle
Author Brett Nicholson
Method Solo
Victor Britain, South Africa
Play Date 2013-12-02
Language English
Scenario SAWa003

This was a very hard fought minor victory for South Africa and even that wasn't secured until the last few turns. Casualties were high on both sides and the first half of the battle belonged to the Italian colonials. To begin with, the Duke of Edinburgh's Own Rifles and 3rd South African Armoured Car Company are compelled to achieve 3 of 4 victory conditions for a major victory and 2 of 4 for a minor victory. The conditons were:

1.) Eliminate at least 10 Italian steps; 2.) Control at least 7 town hexes at the end of the battle; 3.) Control the Equatorial Monument (hex 0412) at the end of battle and 4.) Lose no more than 8 South African steps (armoured cars counting double)

The 196th Colonial battalion deploys dug-in on the southeast fringes of map 6 with the 65mm and 77mm field batteries deployed north in the thorn forests and within AT firing range of the Equatorial Monument in case the South African MHII armoured cars became too ambitious. The 196th with a morale rating of 8/6, equal to the Springboks, would make for the southern town along with the 75mm portee unit out of spotting range from enemy OBA. The lower moraled, surrender-prone, 49th Colonial Battalion would deploy in Margherita, the northern-most town near the monument with the 81mm out of spotting range in the center of the town.

The South Africans advance from the south mobile, loaded on trucks. The southern-most town is quickly encircled while some foot units splinter off towards Margherita with the armoured cars and 3-inch mortars, most behind the field hexes initially to avoid being spotted for indirect fire. After about ten turns of direct fire against the defiant colonials in the southern town, with only a few failed morale check results, the encircling attack force closes in for urban assaults. Meanwhile, the Italian 75mm portee comes into it's own by eliminating one of the 3-nch mortar units that emerged from the cover of the fields with it's indirect fire and then taking out a step of the MHIIs with reduced AT firepower at maximum firing range already placing South African losses at 3 steps.

The assaults don't go so well against the stronger moraled colonials in the southern-most town and get bogged down with neither side giving ground for most the battle. It becomes clear that controlling 7 town hexes for the Boks is unlikely so the prime objective becomes seizing control of the Equatorial Monument from the east while the remaining armored cars, 3-inch mortars with a other foot units harass the west flank. The remaining MHIIs get too close to colonial units that were judged ineffective and get a nasty surprise when some FAN units with a good aim take out another step of the armoured cars with opportunity fire rolling "snake eyes" as the MHIIs are open topped vehicles. Now South African losses are at 5 steps as the MHIIs count double.

The next move from the colonials was to get to the monument first, which was easy getting there but then the incredible South African OBA batters them into a demoralized stack. This was in perfect timing as South African INF advanced adjacent, then won the intiative next turn and convinced those units to surrender along with a tenente and then took control of the monument hex. This is where the tide began to turn for the Boks but holding the monument hex was difficult. Twice South African units were disrupted or demoralized attempting to dig-in there. Some of the higher moraled colonial troops gave up a few town hexes further south to advance north to retake the monument and were almost successful, inflicting a few step losses in the assault. At this point it would be difficult for South Africa to achieve a minor victory as their losses passed 8 steps but the timely arrival of reinforcing units eventually strengthed the monument hex before it fell back to colonial control. Soon the assaulting units were all eliminated or demoralized and with time running out, in desperation, directed artillery fire into the assault hex and only caused friendly losses.

So, at the end of the battle South Africa was able to eliminate over 10 steps of enemy units and keep control of the Equatorial Monument, just barely squeezing out a minor victory. It was a viscious and bloody struggle from the onset and really thought the Somalis would hold out but their nerve broke once they lost control of the monument and also, once it is in South African control, the 196th's morale drops from 7/5 to 6/5 to make things worse. This scenario requires a lot of patience from each opposing side and little mistakes cost heavy and equally. Despite this being the third South African victory recorded here with no Italian victories I believe this scenario is well balanced. I give it an unshakeable '4' and believe a shared play should warrant the same if not better.

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