Panzer Grenadier Battles on February 25th:
Desert Rats #8 - Cavalleria
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Ons Is Helsems
South Africa's War #8
(Attacker) Germany vs Britain (Defender)
South Africa (Defender)
Formations Involved
Germany 200th Infantry Regiment
Germany 5th Panzer Regiment
South Africa 1st Transvaal Scottish regiment
South Africa 4th Anti-Tank Battery

Overall balance chart for SAWa008
Side 1 0
Draw 0
Side 2 2
Overall Rating, 2 votes
Scenario Rank: --- of 609
Parent Game South Africa's War
Historicity Historical
Date 1941-11-23
Start Time 10:00
Turn Count 20
Visibility Day
Counters 57
Net Morale 0
Net Initiative 1
Maps 1: DR5
Layout Dimensions 88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
Play Bounty 142
AAR Bounty 163
Total Plays 2
Total AARs 1
Battle Types
Road Control
Rural Assault
Off-board Artillery
Terrain Mods
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Afrika Korps counters
Desert Rats maps
South Africa's War counters

Ordered to join its sister brigade on the Sidi Rezegh escarpment, 1st South African Infantry Brigade stopped during the night to avoid confusion from its lack of desert training. They had not moved out when the Afrika Korps made its morning attack on 5th Brigade's transport echelon, and as the German columns made their way southwest after devastating the South African supply columns, one of them blundered into a 1st Brigade position.


In a brief action, the South Africans destroyed several German tanks, captured a number of prisoners and drove off the probe. The encounter became legendary in the Union Defence Force: Lt. N.S. Stranger of the Transvaal Scottish appears to have become totally berserk, leaving his post to commandeer a truck and force its startled driver to chase a German tank across the desert while he waved a "sticky bomb" anti-tank grenade at the Germans. The sight unnerved the German tank crew to such an extent that rather than blast the crazed Boer into oblivion, they surrendered their intact vehicle and Stranger was awarded the Military Cross on the spot. Division commander Maj. Gen. George Edwin Brink considered Stranger's bravery living proof of his unit's informal motto ("We are tough bastards"), but within a few hours all his pride would turn to horror.

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.
  • Closed-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables. Do not take step losses from Direct or Bombardment Fire. If X or #X result on Fire Table, make M morale check instead (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Provide the +1 modifier on the Assault Table when combined with infantry. (Modifier only applies to Germans in all scenarios; Soviet Guards in scenarios taking place after 1942; Polish, US and Commonwealth in scenarios taking place after 1943.) (ACC)
  • Tank: all are closed-top and provide the +1 Assault bonus, when applicable
  • APC – Armored Personnel Carrier: These are Combat Units, but stack like Transports. They can transport personnel units or towed units. They are not counted as combat units for the +1 stacking modifier on the Direct Fire and Bombardment Tables (4.4). They may be activated by regular leaders and tank leaders (1.2, 3.34, 4.3, 5.43). They do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).

Display Order of Battle

Britain Order of Battle
  • Motorized
Germany Order of Battle
  • Motorized
  • Towed
South Africa Order of Battle
  • Towed

Display Errata (4)

4 Errata Items
Overall balance chart for 871

Ignore the direct fire values.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
Overall balance chart for 20

The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Overall balance chart for 486

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)
Overall balance chart for 47

All SPW 251s have an armor value of 0.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)

Display AARs (1)

Transvaal Scottish live up to motto -("We are tough bastards")
Author Brett Nicholson
Method Solo
Victor Britain, South Africa
Play Date 2013-12-23
Language English
Scenario SAWa008

After I read the historical outcome of this battle and then checked the deployment and OOB of both sides I didn't see where the South Africans had an incredible advantage over the DAK. On paper it looks like a reasonable match-up. The German victory conditions looked easier to achieve a major victory than a minor one by just having to eliminate 8 South African steps and suffer no more than 5 German step losses. The minor victory conditions were to clear all road hexes within a certain radius of enemy units.

The South African forces deploy in plain sight, dug-in within and around 4 road hexes. Two trucks are loaded with 2-pdrs ready to track down approaching panzers. The Germans enter from the north edge of the map. To the northeast there is a hill area but this only benefits South African forces initially as the trucks take cover behind it waiting for German armored units to move and to stay clear of being spotted by the 50mm AT gun or the 81mm mortar unit which have immediately unloaded after arriving on the map. The SPW251s and panzers of course go in the opposite direction to support an attack on the left flank of dug-in defenders.

5 hours/20 turns is not a lot of time to attempt to clear a lot of units off the road so the DAK foot units advance straight on. At 10:30/turn 3 a full German HMG platoon is wiped out by South African HMG opportunity fire after "snake eyes" are rolled on the 16 column and right away the Germans are down 2 steps. Then, at 11:00/turn 5, the Germans lose an INF step attempting to advance closer from opportunity fire. Things were about to get a lot worse for the DAK. The 2-pdrs have been able to deploy within firing range of German armored units as the 81mm and 50mm had been kept in check by South African OBA and the trucks waited until armored units moved first before unloading. At 11:30/turn 7 South African Opportunity fire eliminates another advancing German HMG pushing German step losses to 4 and then one of the 2-pdrs scores a 12 result against one of the PzIIIGs. Now that Germany has taken over 5 step losses and cannot meet major victory requirements less caution is exercised and the remaining units push forward to meet the defenders head-on.

The first German assault at 12:00/turn 9 causes losses to both sides and South Africa takes it's first step loss losing one INF. Then, at 12:15/turn 10, the panzers attempt an assault on their own but the SA first fire leaves the PzIVE demoralized and the PzIIIF disrupted. A check is made for surrender but luckily it is passed (in this scenario German tank units are subject to the surrender rule). So midway through the battle the Germans have taken severe losses and not one road hex has been cleared. At least half of the German foot units are in some sort of disorder and have fled away from the attack. At one point three German leaders; Major, Captain and Lieutenant are all left on their own, adjacent to the South African machine-gun nest, scratching their heads wondering where the hell all their infantry ran off to. Before the German Major can retreat to try to track down, scold and possibly rally the units that had abandoned him he is mowed down in hail of lead. Things keep going from bad to worse for the DAK. All their support units; 50mm, 81mm and halftracks all eliminated. Only one step of HMG remains but that has long fled the battle. The only thing they have left to try to finish this attack are a few panzers and one good order INF unit. All other leaders and units have been scattered in almost every direction but south attempting to rally and with not much luck.

Towards the end of the battle one more push is made with one PzIvE, one PzIIIF, Lieutenant and INF unit and this assault starts to roll on and grind through enemy units but time is almost up and South African forces have still not given up one of their controlled road hexes . Then the 2-pdrs get lucky again and take out two more panzer steps leaving one reduced PzIIIG demoralized which actually surrenders on the last game turn. So it ends with a Major South African victory and the DAK are devastated. This was probably one of the bloodiest German desert war defeats I've experianced, as the attackers, since some of the earlier Tobruk trench battles from 'Afrika Korps'. However I found it to be a great solo play and give it a '4'. I really think that Germany could win this one and that it's not impossible however South Africa continued to get good dice rolls from the start and the 4X13 OBA did help a lot but overall not that imbalanced, it just wasn't the DAK's day. The Transvaal Scotiish truly lived up to their motto ("We are tough bastards")

Ending losses were:

Germany: 1 Major, 1 Lieutenant, 6 INF, 3 HMG, 1x81mm, 1x50mm, 3x SPW251, 1 PzIIIF and 4 PzIIIG (one of which surrendered).

South Africa: 9 INF and 1x3-inch.

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