Desert Rats #24
New Zealand (Attacker)
|Britain||8th Royal Tank Regiment|
|Germany||361st “Africa” Panzergrenadier Regiment|
|Germany||5th Light Panzer Division|
|New Zealand||25th Infantry Battalion|
|Overall Rating, 6 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 245 of 588|
|Parent Game||Desert Rats|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Desert Rats||maps + counters|
As the New Zealand Division approached Tobruk, General CWM Norrie commanding XXX Corps ordered its 6th Brigade into a headlong assault on the Germans besieging the fortress. With little time to prepare, the Kiwis went at the task with great enthusiasm if not coordination.
The 88mm battery borrowed from 21st Panzer Division proved the key to the German defense, destroying many of the approaching Valentines. But the tough Kiwi infantry managed to take most of the position with sheer determination and very heavy casualties.
|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 reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The Pz IVe appearing in the original Panzer Grenadier game had an Anti tank value of 4-7. As of Afrika Korps (2002), continuing onward through the 3rd and 4th edition games, the anti tank value has been 4-4.
(plloyd1010 on 2016 Jul 25)
My first game against the now PG legendary VINCE HUGHES. All by text e-mails and a free DR server (PBEM). VALENTINES, PANZERS, DAK and KIWI New Zealanders to boot! Worth the space on your tabletop!
|Fancy A Desert Battle - Play This One|
This one was played over PBEM with John Legen. It was my first PBEM game at the time and John showed me the ropes. We were both fairly inexperienced PG players at the time and some rules may have been played wrongly. For all that, its a very enjoyable scenario
'German' Legionaires Steel Themselves
The 25th New Zealand Battalion was tasked with the capture of point 175. They would be supported by a few squadrons of Valentine tanks from the 8th Royal Tank Regt. The order was for this to be a diversionary attack so for that matter, losses were to be kept at a reasonable level. At 1130 hours this force begana westward advance along a high ridge north of hill 175. The hill was defended by elements of the DAK 361st infantry regiment. An ex-French Foreign legion unit now in the employ of the Germans. There was also a vague promise of panzer support if required. For just under an hour the allies pressed along the high ridge, though also being hampered by some German OBA. The allied artillery had managed to knock out the German 88mm in the meantime making their own tank crews much happier. Around 1230 hours, the Kiwis advanced toward the north and west faces of hill 175.
The Shooting Begins
German fire was initially quite ineffective as the NZ's skillfully used what little cover there was and kept losses to a minimum. They even managed to inflict some casualties on the Germans defending the west face as they closed into a 50m range. But once the Kiwis were on the slopes of their objective, the DAK fire began to take a horrible toll. Close range fire and melee, plus a platoon of 37mm AT guns sliced down the foot soldiers and supporting bren-carriers. By 1330 hours, 150 New Zealanders lay motionless on the hill and about 12 bren-carriers had been knocked out in these scenes of carnage.
Despite the losses, many of the ANZACS kept good order and continued to press at the enemy. What was supposed to be a diversionary attack was now beginning to show signs of a full scale assault as neither side would give up a claim to the hill. At 1345 hours, the west slope had its length covered by close range fighting. Both sides were running out of reserves with which to plug the gaps and German tank support showed no signs of appearing despite the Kiwis now having the edge in numbers and winning the close fighting duel. On the north face of the hill, ANZAC machine gunners had been ordered forward in the belief that resistance had finished there, only to have 75% of their number plus other friendly infantry forces shot down by unseen German troops. By 1400 hours, the New Zealanders were ceratinly edging ahead in the melees and slowly forcing back the DAK troops from the west face. On the south side now, two platoons of Valentine tanks busied themselves trying to clear out the enemy mortar pockets in that vicinity.
For the next hour, a deadly close range tussle continued all round hill 175. At one point, the Germans seemed to have the advantage as they suddenly hit back and successfully inflicted unexpected casualties on their opponents. This included 2 Valentine tanks and around 75 infantry casualties. Also, it had been discovered that German armour was now just a tantalising 3km away and heading for the battlefield. But despite all this, the Kiwis continued with the savage fight on the hill, and while inflicting 70 odd German casualties, they had also, at 1440 hours, finally forced a breach on the east side of the hill. Could this be exploited ? Had the advantage finally swung their way. It certainly appeared to be so. The New Zealand troops were able to gush through the breach and over the following 45 minutes, slowly prise the limpet like Germans from the hill, causing many casualties amongst them. But as was the way with this encounter, losses had been inflicted both ways. The German armour had now reached within firing range of some of the allied troops. The Valentines loosed off the first shots at a troop of PzII's. Over a half hour period, they knocked out 6 DAK tanks, whilst at the same time, the PzIV's mopped up the Kiwi Bren-carriers that had been attacking the German mortar platoons on the west side.
The Battle Draws To A Close
With the time now 1600 hours, the DAK had one small toe-hold on the north-east corner of the hill. This brave MG platoon and its captain had taken the first brunt of the NZ attack and were still holding out. It was now simply a question of whether their artillery and panzers would be enough to help save them and the hill position? Despite frantic efforts by the Germans to lever out the New Zealanders , there were just not enough German troops to achieve it. Hill 175 had now to be vacated and left in the allies possession.
The battle overrall was inconclusive in the longer term. Over its 5 hour length the battle had yielded far too many New Zealand casualties with 6 tanks lost, 10's of bren-carriers and around 448 casualties. The Afrika Korps counted 548 losses and 6 tanks. A costly draw for both sides.