Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Beda Fomm with FoW

The third and last of our mini-campaign for Early-War North Africa was played today.  We used the 4th Edition charts for Flames of War to resolved the game.  Scenario was a Breakthrough Mission though we skipped the objectives part.

Historically the "Desert Rats" had gotten ahead of the retreating Italians and set up a blocking position while the 6th Australian Division pursued the main body.  Having been repulsed the day before, the Italians gathered up what forces they could and threw them at the British positions in an attempt to clear the way for the others.  Our forces were 1700 points.  The British had immediate reserves and ambush, and the Italians delayed flanking reserves.  As it turned out, the latter did not even get into play.

Pausing at the well, wondering what all the noise it about.  Also
marking the center point of the table.

Broad view of the mainly open table with some rocky outcroppings.

The initial deployment for the Italians and British.
 The dice rolls for "8 Million Bayonets" were kind to the Italians.  Everyone was at least confident and with rolls on the Elite table for the tanks and Bersaglieri it was a formidable force.  I considered lowering them given the long retreat, but decided for these elites and the desperate nature of the battle to keep the dice rolls.

Dug in British infantry, some cruiser tanks and more in ambush.
 The Italians started with two platoons of five M13 "tanks," one veteran and one trained.  A veteran Bersaglieri platoon, a platoon of 47mm anti-tank guns, a battery of 75mm artillery and a battery of 100mm artillery.  Ah yes, and my beloved biplane, the CR42 Falco.  Off table in delayed reserve were L3 tankettes, more trained Bersaglieri and a pair of AA trucks.  The British had veteran infantry and twelve trained cruisers, half in immediate reserves.  British tanks are very spendy compared to the Italians.  Almost twice as fast and with a better gun, but lower armored and only trained while the Italians might be veteran.

Surprise, flanking reserves immediately hit the Italians.

Simultaneously the ambushing tanks were sprung.

Good shooting coupled with poor morale and one Squadron of
Brits take to their heels.

Artillery, anti-tank guns and M13s take out another squadron.

Starting to look good for Italy.
 The British got their other reserve squadron and elected to bring it in on the flank again.  Good shooting but poor firepower rolls bailed most of the veteran squadron of M13s, but they passed morale.  In return the man-handled anti-tank guns and remounted tanks ran off the flanking force.  The Bersaglieri assaulted and eliminated on British platoon but then poor saves and morale forced the remainder to run away.

At the end.  No British tanks remain and the infantry will be
fodder for the tanks.

The Falco appeared in two of our four turns of play but although bomb hits we made, British saves largely negated them.  Italian artillery was intimidating but also unable to do much.  The lower AT values and firepower for bombs and artillery really took the teeth out of them.

All three of our mini-campaign games have seen a blowout of one side.  The first which saw the Italians hitting the Egyptian frontier was shot to pieces by British artillery (3rd edition).  The second game, an assault on an Italian frontier fort area was likewise destroyed by the Italian reserves (also 3rd edition).  None of them even went six turns.  You can read the accounts in the blog archives.  Not certain what to make of the results, but 4th Edition definitely puts a different spin on the game play.

After discussion we decided to continue the thematic games and allow the arrival of the Deutsches Afrika Korps, henceforth referred to as DAK.  The Italians were still running for Tripoli and while perhaps not the historic disaster, still a defeat.  Watch for more game reports.

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