18 April 2012

North Africa mega battle AAR part 2

Day 2

Axis turn 5 – Dawn

Irritated at the slow advance Berlin provides the Axis command with more troops (the Axis general now draws 5 cards each turn!). Line of sight is still only 60cm which reduces efficiency of the newly brought in artillery and mortars.
The mad resistance by British paratroopers at the radio station must be crushed and the radio station must be captured.

The worst thing is that the lack of command points prevent proper reinforcement of the Axis spearhead at the village. The few Axis tanks won’t be able to smash through the enemy tanks and AT guns, and the amount of dug in enemy infantry would massacre any kind of infantry assault.

A renewed assault is launched towards the radio station while the main bulk of the Axis force exchange projectiles with the Allied defenders guarding the right flank of the city.

Allies turn 5 – DawnHaving defended the radio station for this long the Allies are able to set up improved communications and the Allied General will now draw 4 Command cards each turn.  Naval barrage is called in on top of the German Tiger tank and the nearby reconnaissance cards but the artillery simply fails to range in and the Axis are spared a 30x15cm artillery template with reroll to hit!

Lee tanks fire at the Germans and knock out 2 Panzer III J (late) tanks, making the last tank from that platoon flee off table leaving the Axis in the area with only the two Pz III L command tanks and a few Italian tanks. However the German 7.5cm armored cars and the Tiger on the right flank remain in the action.

Axis turn 6 – Noon
Full daylight back again, and normal operations can commence. The German commander draws incredible command cards – which would enable him to bring in lots of heavy divisional support that is badly needed. Cards are spent in a way so that the Luftwaffe 88 gun, Italian bunker busters and German Tank destroyers can be brought onto the table.

However with the Allied control of the radio station, the Allied general is now allowed to disrupt the orders placed by the German general. Cards are shifted left and right amongst the Axis commanders meaning that all plans and all those command points are completely wasted. A devastating blow to morale.

2 trios of German airplanes which have remained unnoticed approach the allied lines, another lone German airplane also takes off from a nearby airfield. The 3 air support forces target the Allied Churchill and Lee tanks. The effect of their bombardment is embarrassingly poor. 1 single Churchill bailed, some dead infantry. Lee tanks remain unscathed. The lonely German airplane is shot down, as is one of the other airplanes flying in formation.

The German general watches all this in between facepalms and cursing. Radio signals tell about dispatched additional German reinforcements to help break through the assault. As such 3 mysterious dust clouds appear at the far rear of the German lines.

The only redeeming action performed this turn is that the  Axis engineers remove some of the tank and infantry obstacles blocking the approach towards the city. They are also able to blow up some of the trenches and tank traps suddenly exposing the Allied defenders.

Fighting continues, Axis artillery tries to soften up the dug in enemy infantry positions but results are poor. The Tiger tanks fires at the Churchill tanks and manages to blow up 2 in one go!
Axis tanks and 7.5cm armored vehicles engage the Lee tanks and the light AT guns in the Allied trenches, knocking a few of them out of action.

Infantry, Italian tanks and German reconnaissance vehicles assault the paratroopers near the radio station but are once again beaten back with losses to men and vehicles taking part in the charge.

Allies turn 6
Allied counterattacks and fire from tanks, infantry and guns pepper the approaching Germans but at least the Allies have the same low effectiveness as the Axis, and they don’t inflict much damage on their attackers. They focus on bringing in more reinforcements which are moving up towards the frontlines.

Axis turn 7
Nothing disrupts the Axis buildup this turn, finally Pz IV tanks and Italian bunker busters are brought up to the front ready to assault the Allied lines. The Germans also haul up the 88gun so that it can fire at the incoming Churchill tanks rushing to the aid of the British paratroopers on the left flank. Some Italian warships arrive off the coast and disrupt the Allied ships, the Allies won't be able to use naval bombardments during the next 2 turns.

The dust clouds arrive within line of sight and they turn out to be 3 Tiger tanks sent by German high command – their orders are to help with the assault on the city. They are strictly forbidden to enter the city itself though as they are far too valuable assets to throw away on risky city fighting. The newly arrived Tigers have “Schnell”, “Clever hands” and “Rapid Fire + Every shot counts” skills.

Two Tiger tanks are diverted to the right flank to help with the direct assault on the city and to knock out the remaining 2 Churchill tanks. The top ace Tiger is sent to the left to get a better view of the incoming Churchills near the radio station and the defenders on the left flank of the city.
Nebelwerfer rounds rain down on the defenders killing a few teams but pinning 3 platoons on the left flank. The Tiger tanks move towards the remaining Churchills and embarrass themselves by failing to either hit or not being able to knock out the remaining 2 tanks by the combined firepower of 3 Tiger tanks!


Allies turn 7
Rushing forwards the Churchills hope to knock out at least one of the Tiger tanks with a flanking shot, but fail to hit. Churchill near the radio tower arrive just in time to open fire at the Axis troops, not many Paratrooper teams remain in the area – mostly diehards entrenched on the hill near the antenna building.

The defenders prepare for the imminent Axis tank assault.

Axis turn 8 -Dusk
Reports of a sandstorm taking shape nearby reach the German command.The Germans manage to sneak up more pioneers to the enemy trenchline and blow up another huge gap to completely expose the city defenders on the right flank.


The Tiger tanks finally blow up the Churchill tank company commander and make the last Churchill tank on the right flank flee. Tiger tanks, Pz IV, Italian bunker busters, Pz III L and German engineers launch themselves at the city defenders.  Italian tanks are first to reach the suburbs, closely followed by German engeineers who get involved in hand to hand combat with enemy infantry in the area. The bailed out British General and company command Lee tank gets captured by the Axis forces – and the information he has reveals (and removes) mine fields on the left flank of town!

German and Italian infantry follow behind the tanks towards the city. Meanwhile on the left near the radio station a desperate assault is performed on the Churchill tanks closing in. Only one out of 3 vehicles is knocked out by the stationary 88 and there is little else in the area that can destroy the Allied heavy tanks.

Allies turn 8 - Dusk
17pdrs reveal their positions in the town and open fire at the approaching Tiger tanks, failing to destroy them as the armor makes the incoming projectiles bounce off. Churchill tanks on the left flank assault the Axis infantry and light tank positions, while British paratroopers continue their small arms fire at the Axis near the treeline.

The assault is unresolved as neither side breaks.

Night falls again. This time however the Germans refuse the ceasefire and press on the attack. The Allies outraged at this breaking of conduct strengthen their determination to almost fanatical levels – completely focused on not letting the city fall into enemy hands

Axis turn 9 - Night
Finally having reached the suburbs the German massed tank force starts to pick off Allied.
Most troops fumble in the dark as visibility is extremely low. Some Allied units are revealed in the night by their positions being located near burning buildings. Those troops receive a majority of Axis fire  and assaults.

Axis forces move further towards the city with their infantry units. The top ace Tiger crosses the bridge and opens fire at the allied Churchill tanks but fails to hit them even with his re-roll.

Allies Turn 9 - Night
Two days of intense fighting has almost exhausted the Allied ammunition supply, all troops except those with a RoF 1 will be firing as if they were pinned down for the remainder of the battle!

The sporadic fighting in the dead of night with the sandstorm upon them makes little impact. Assaults and shelling of the Axis troops yield little reward. The Churchill tanks on the left flank fail to break the now defending Axis troops but the radio station is still under Allied control.


The battle ends.

The Allies are accounted for 5 tactical victories throughout the battle.
The Axis counted 4 tactical victories.

Notable losses on the axis side include

PzIIF platoon
PzIII H platoon
PzIII J (late) platoon
Most of the Fallschirmsjägerkompanie
A couple of reconnaissance vehicles and Italian tanks

Axis leadership suffered the following losses

Italian 2iC KIA
Fallschirmsjäger C.O KIA
Fallschirmsjäger 2iC MIA

The Allies lost

2 Platoons of Lee tanks
1 Platoon of Churchill tanks
Almost all their British paratroopers
A large chunk of their British rifle troops
A chunk of the US rifle troops

Allied command suffered the following losses

Heavy armored squadron C.O KIA
8th Army Rifles C.O KIA
8th Army rifles 2iC KIA
British Paratrooper 2iC KIA
8th Heavy regiment C.O (General) POW
……………….
Thoughts after the battle.

Rule wise the event worked really well. It did feel more like a real battle with random events occurring and changing the tide of battle. The only complaint would be that Divisional support units at 7 command points could range from heavy stuff like Tiger tanks and 88 guns, to light AA trucks and support infantry. The balance between the divisional support units as such were a bit off. I think that future battles could have a price reduction of some Divisional support unit types to make them as expensive as the Weapon platoons instead.

The various terrain features all offered tactical victories and perks, I think it added a lot of character which is missing from regular FoW battles.


Viewing the battle tactically from the Axis perspective there were several things that went wrong.
The palm tree forest on our left flank prevented fast reinforcement of the exposed German paratroopers. The idea was to link up with them with  Afrika Schützen and a light tank platoon – quickly taking the Compound and the radio station. The appearance of the British paratrooper platoons and snipers really messed things up badly. Losing that entire flank in the middle of the battle was a huge blow. But the worst thing was the insane luck which the Paratroopers defending the radio station had.

The paratroopers were also saved by the first nightfall, the Axis troops were just about to overwhelm the Allies in the area when they had to be pushed back 30cm away from the defenders. We never really came as close to capturing the radio station again.

They held platoons pinned down and counter assaulted tanks like there was no tomorrow. The enemy units being too close to drop artillery or bombs on their positions and no points left to spend on tanks which could be diverted to the left.

At the same time, much of the right flank was held back by the 4 Churchill tanks. The Tiger tank tasked with clearing that problem was incredibly ineffective for so long that it really stalled that entire flank.

At the center, somehow the Allies managed to hold out until turn 3 when everything looked certain for an Axis capture during turn 2. This was a setback. But the worst thing was that the allies could reinforce their position in front of the captured village in such force that it was impossible for the Axis to even consider an attack because we lacked tanks to break through their Lee tanks and AT guns. And finally when I drew enough command cards to bring in everything we needed to be on our way the command cards were disrupted and we lost two turns.

The battle ended because we had been at location from 9am and playing to 10pm. People needed to get home as well so we wrapped things up in order to be able to take the train back home. We could have kept playing but decided to end it at that point.

It was an amazing event, and I think everyone had lots of fun. With everything built Patrik can arrange more games like this in the future whenever the interest is high enough.

 

10 comments:

  1. Great batrep! I really enjoyed reading it.

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  2. What a great batrep!
    And tons of pictures too!

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  3. Can only agree, a great report. Good work!

    /Ulfast

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  4. Your AAR is greatly inspirering mw too arrange this again.
    And shorly there Will be alot of changes.

    But next time I think its Axis turn too deffend.

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  5. Sounds like a good idea. Those Churchills are damn scary to go up against as the attacker!
    The ideas Thomas had on 15mm.se about simultaneous mini battles between reconnaissance troops on isolated tables which affected the larger battle sounds like an interesting possible addition for future editions of this event.

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  6. This is quite the epic battle. It looks like it was really worth the effort. Were your buildings hand-made?

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  7. @Meaux, I will post all the WIP pictures Patrik/"Saaywhu" took while building all the terrain and houses. The buildings are made out of dental plaster and cast in custom made moulds - making it all the more impressive.

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  8. Just for clarification, is this FOW?

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  9. @James, yes. FoW v.3 core rules. Though all the order cards, command point system, events, day & night cycle etc was made up for this event by Saaywhu.

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  10. Super in depth report and great table!

    Christopher

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