Next up for Jeff Buser and I in the desert was G20 Camp Nebeiwa. Another old General scenario which was an ASLUG scenario before that with a decided British tilt, this version is 4-2 Italian on ROAR. Boards 28, 29 and half of boards 30 and 31 with some dier and hillock overlays. It is dry with a mild breeze, so light dust is in effect.
I got the Italians with a nice force consisting of a dozen 1st line squads, ten crappy tanks, three ART guns, an AT gun and a 10-2 led HMG in a pillbox / bunker. Sangers, trenches and foxholes round out the defense and may I add, it’s a bit underwhelming considering the armored behemoths they face.
Yes, Jeff got the British and a fine force it is. Sixteen 1st line squads, very ably led by a 9-2 and a host of leaders, well armed and led into battle by half a dozen Matilda IIs. Yep, the early war desert King Tigers, I had nothing that could take out one of these monsters short of a critical hit. Great tanks for the time period, but they do have some drawbacks, they’re very slow, can possibly stall, and the 40L gun is AP only. Great against the garbage armor that I would be sending into battle, but not so great against the infantry, and this scenario is about the infantry despite all the tanks.
A few pre-game things to keep in mind. British infantry may not move forward from their starting line until all Italian armor is crushed or turn three, whichever comes first (that’ll clue you in to the armor mismatch), and there is a British bombardment at start.
The 10-2 and HMG had to set up in the pillbox / trench respectively, the Italian tanks had to setup in the diers, and the ART guns had to be in sangers. Jeff would achieve victory immediately when I had no good order Italian infantry “unit” (important designation) and no mobile AFV with functioning MA. Ten turns.
The bombardment did a little damage, but I was mostly able to recover before the shit hit the fan, fortunately, none of the guns were affected.
Now, I have made it my mission not to whine about VASL this year and I hope to keep that promise. This is not a whine, I am not complaining, but I thought to myself, “OMG, here we go again.”
Jeff took four shots. The first four shots of the game. Three deuces.
The Matildas entered and made short work of my tanks. I figured the best way to stay alive was to get into motion with the small and double small targets, try to use vehicle dust and actually see if I could get into the stationary line of infantry while it was unable to move forward. I was unsuccessful.
I did get a deuce myself, actually knocking out a Matilda with a critical hit from the 47AT gun.
The last Italian tank went down in turn 4 prep. The infantry was on it’s own now.
Jeff started the scenario with his Matildas CE, but the first time I got a hit with the artillery guns, the 12fp +2 IFT shot got him to button them up pronto.
At the start of turn 4, the wind increased, giving us heavy winds. Adding a +1 modifier for shots into the wind, so mostly me.
Things calmed down game wise for a bit as I had to wait for the Tommies to close the distance. Every weapon in the Italian OB except the AT gun was B11, so firing at distance with a dust roll added was foolish. I had already broken and repaired a small mortar twice. I did keep plinking with the AT gun, just on the off chance I could get another crit. I knew the Matildas would play a big role in the upcoming battle. Overrun and target selection limits for parking them in infantry hexes would kill two birds at once, keeping me from firing at his guys and making them not good order by holding them in melee.
The situation at turn 6.
By the end of his turn 7, he has the top of the board all but cleared. The AT gun is still kicking but the Italian infantry is almost all gone. I had routed a unit to the edge of the board. It self rallied and Jeff had to send a Matilda and some infantry to round him up with only three moves left. This would ultimately cost him as they were unable to get South in time to get in the end game.
The sitch’ at the end of British turn 7, Jeff has three moves left, and plenty to do.
I lost a one of my ART guns earlier, it was probably a crit from one of the Matildas, but I am not totally sure. With all the dice in this game there were plenty of snakes rolled, and plenty of boxcars for that matter.
Jeff started getting some inconvenient results on my units.
At this point I am now opening up with everything I have. The remaining ART guns are starting to take a toll, and the 10-2 with the HMG was a force to reckon with. Eventually a Matilda parked on top of him. I really erred there, I had them in the trench so they wouldn’t be restricted by the covered arc of the pillbox, but if I had moved them into the pillbox before the tank got there they would have been in a separate location, not restricted by the target selection limits and never held in melee, thus good order, but hey, I’m an ASL hack, missing this stuff is why I lose a lot.
The start of turn 9:
As expected, the Matildas started parking on my infantry to allow the Tommy infantry to move up but one of them didn’t go according to plan as I can cross off one of those ASL bucket list items that may never happen in an ASL career. My ART gun got one of the Matildas when it tried to overrun the gun in a sanger, I got the underbelly hit and rolled a deuce!
This however, caused it’s own problem as I was now firing out of smoke.
By the end of turn 9 almost everything was a melee. I had two units (squad and gun crew) holding out at the bottom of the map not in melee, keeping me in the game.
Ultimately, I won a couple of the melees, including a wounded 7-0 eliminating it’s 6+1 attacker, surviving the defensive fire and giving me the victory. A hard fought game and a barn burner at the end.
I was sure I was going to screw this one up, but things turned out well in the end. I felt pretty good about my play except for the Pillbox gack, but I will remember it in the future.
Desert is different, vehicle dust, light dust, the requirement to accept surrender, sangers, hillocks and diers all add up to different experience. This was a good scenario, long, but fun.
Next up for us is 58 Ci Arrendiamo. I have the Italians again, but on the attack this time.
Thanks for reading!