Afrika Korps #41
|Australia||2/43rd Infantry Battalion|
|Italy||102ª Divisione Fanteria Motorizzata "Trento"|
|Italy||7º Reggimento Bersaglieri|
|Overall Rating, 9 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 566 of 609|
|Parent Game||Afrika Korps|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Afrika Korps||maps + counters|
In another attempt to keep the besiegers on their toes and distract them from the British attacks on Halfaya Pass, the Tobruk garrison planned a large raid on Italian positions opposite the northern portion of the perimeter. With tank and artillery support, the Diggers hoped to rough up the Bersaglieri unit holding the head of the Wadi Sidi Belgassem.
The attack fell apart as the tanks first became separated from the infantry and then began mistakenly firing on them. Thoroughly alerted, the Bersaglieri shot up the carriers and destroyed two tanks. The incident enraged the Australian government, which reiterated its demands that Australian troops be withdrawn from Tobruk immediately.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|3 Errata Items|
All Bren carriers should have a movement value of 7.
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The L3/35 with ID# 1505 has the incorrect movement factor printed on it. The movement factor should be 7, not 8.
(plloyd1010 on 2014 Nov 24)
Four counters (ID#s: 1502 to 1506) have the incorrect NATO symbol (infantry in lieu of armor).
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
|Well Wadi Y'Know ! - Never Say Never|
A Fascinating Desert Scrimmage
The Report Title is a kind of reference to the previous AAR that placed this as a rather poor unbalanced scenario that the Italians could not win. My game was played PBEM with my overseas friend, John Legan living in Illinois. Our game certainly was not anything like the previous AAR and was what I would say a very exciting encounter. This scenario come heartily recommended as it has soooo many variables and with this is very replayable by the same person. Play It !
Object - Inflict Most Step-Losses : Tied Step Loss Count Gives Italians The Win
The Italian Bersaglieri, not aware of any impending attack, were situated just outside the wadi, but did have one entrenched position set in the wadi’s edge. Meanwhile, the Australian attack set-off at 0700 hours and was supported by some British tanks. From the outset, this attack was dogged by a dreadful run of luck. A sandstorm was blowing and should have covered the initial advance leaving the Italians little time to react. But almost immediately, the Australians blew this cover as in their haste their lead advance elements got ahead of the storm and revealed the impending assault! With a forward Italian OP spotting the enemy and reporting this back, the Italian Maggiore, knowing how his men were susceptible to surrendering, wasted no time in ordering his troops into the relative safety of the huge wide wadi. The Bersaglieri to a man followed these wise orders and at a stroke were to negate the allied armour advantage as they would not be able to overrun the infantrymen but instead, only be able to fire at them from outside the wadi and at long range.
But this gets ahead of ourselves. Around 0730, the British tanks became confused in the sandstorm and loosed a few long-range shots at what they thought were Italian L3/35’s. Fortunately these tankers missed as the ‘enemy’ turned out to be Australian bren-carriers! Other British tanks became disorientated in the storm and began heading the wrong way? Eventually order was restored amongst these British tanks and they followed on after the Aussie infantrymen. As the Australians closed on their enemy, the Italians had already ensconced themselves within the wadi in a long defensive dug-in line and at some range let loose some AP shells from their 47mm AT platoon. Two A13’s from one of the Cruiser platoons were stopped dead as some of the Italian shots fell spot on and despite the range, these shells cleaved through the A13’s armour. Obviously feeling their job was done, the AT crews, who were now being bombarded by some light Allied OBA, soon slunk away from their positions leaving their guns behind. Closing in on the wadi, one Australian platoon took some casualties from Italian OBA and as they tried to close with the Italians in the difficult wadi terrain, another platoon was horribly cut up by Italian rifle fire. The attack was not going well.
Despite the adversity, one high moraled well-led Allied platoon did manage to close with a reduced enemy Bersaglieri platoon in the wadi and commence a close assault. These attackers were being backed up by the coy.MG platoon. A short but vicious close range fight followed, where initially, the Aussies got the advantage on outnumbered Italians. But seeing a chance to over-power the attackers, the Italian Maggiore threw in two more platoons to assist the out-numbered reduced platoon. The move was a success. Between them, the now more numerous Italians destroyed the attackers including the Captain in charge of the attack. However, the victory celebration for winning the assault was very short lived. With no friendly troops nearby to stay their hand, the supporting Aussie MG’s let loose numerous belts of ammo at very close range on the bunched up Italians and cut down many of them where they stood. As other allied OBA and AFV fire piled in on this target, the Italians lost near 50 men of their own. They too called in OBA support as they tried to extricate themselves, and as well as this artillery causing some Allied casualties, their 77mm artillery battery also knocked out a few over-confident bren-carriers that had gotten too close to the action.
By 1100 hours the battle had definitely gone the Italians way even though promised reinforcements to them had never arrived in time to fight. The Australians simply had no more infantrymen to throw at the enemy positions and their armour simply could not assist with an enemy hiding in the rocky depths of the wadi. In the dying stages of the battle, the Italian Artillery crews ran from their guns as the enemy MG Coy fired at length from close range at the gunners entrenched position. But no sooner had these machine-gunners seen off the artillerymen, they themselves were horribly targeted by Italian OBA reducing them to half their number The Commonwealth troops were counting some 140 casualties, 2 x A13 tanks and a number of Bren –carriers as casualties (9 steps total). The Italian list of losses included 75 infantrymen, and a platoon each of AT guns and Artillery. (5 steps total).
The move to the wadi had probably proved to be the saving factor in this encounter, though this would never had happened had the Allies stayed behind the sandstorm at the outset of the advance.
And there you have it. In this case an Italian victory! Plenty of different things can happen in this scenario, and the Maggiore sending his men into the Wadi wiped out anything the British tanks could do against them. The Italian reinforcements never showed up and attention was paid to rallying Italians as a priority in order to avoid surrender chances against enemy infantry.
|Failed Foray - Aussie win|
All starting Italian units surrendered, reinforcements arrived too late. The Australians suffered NO casualties at all! Aussie tanks were confused only in Turn 2, without any significant effect on the scenario. The Italians are too vunerable to the surrender rule and have 1 AT gun battery only, too little to stop the Allied tanks. The artillery arrived too late, when the Italians had no leaders left to direct it. Italian numbers were no match for Aussie tanks and better morale, plus the surrender rule.
|Failed Foray For Sure|
The Italians established a type of "hedghog", placing shorter ranged units in the exterior positions while keeping their longer ranging assets to the rear. This defense proved to be a tough nut to crack. The Australians came on in column leading with the A13s followed by the Matilda, loaded Brens and then the remaining infantry. On turn two the Italians failed to gain control of the British Armor (this variable made for some excitement and could very well spell doom for the Australians fairly early... The A13s proceed west and assumed a fire support position up on the ridge overlooking the Italian position. The remainder of the Australian force swung north and then approached the Italian position from due east. It took approximately an hour to establish the jump off positions for all Australian units. The wind storm played havoc with the Italian long-range assets and limited their effectiveness until the Australians had closed within 500 meters. The Australians deployed in line and "went in" with the Matilda in support. The Australians attempted to soften up the Italian front line and were moderately successful. The Italian artillery was not very effective until the attacking forces were within 500 meters of the frontline. The Brens were the first to go and then, most curiously, Australian leadership began to melt away. The Matilda was impervious to all Italian fires. After braving Italian Bombardment and direct fires for about thirty minutes a combined assualt consisting of the Matilda an infantry platoon and two leaders closed with a dug-in reduced Italian platoon and overwhelmed them. That is as far as the Australians got. Opportunity fire and Bombardment played havoc with the exposed infantry and leaders and forced a withdrawal. It was a failure of Australian small unit leadership that caused the collapse. Leaders were demoralized and disrupted. By the time of the withdrawal the Australians only had one good-ordered Leader.
I picked this scenario for two reasons. Both had to do with my opponent who is new to the system and interested in playing the Italians. We both felt that giving him a defensive mission would keep it simple for him to get used to the sequence of play, capabilities of the various weapon systems and the rythm of the game.
Some of the scenario rules (the windstorm and potential Italian use of British Armor) add a lot of spice/fun/excitement to the game.
I gave this scenario a 2 because, in the end, the defensive mission of this scenario is so passive in nature that the Italian really doesn't do anything but sit there and watch. For a beginning player, I don't think it showed off the system like I wanted to. I will revisit this scenario again after we have played a few other situations where we both have fire and movement options.