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Old October 11th, 2010, 03:57 PM

RERomine RERomine is offline
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Default DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Italy vs. GB

Mission: Delay, North Africa, 6/1940 - grouped objectives.

Enemy: Regiment Strength – 3-5 Tank Co, 5-7 Infantry Co, 5-7 Artillery Bn, plus ATG and AAA. Strike aircraft unlikely. Average force experience, ~75.

Terrain: Map = 100x100. This is a typical desert map, complete with wadis, soft sand, rough and some impassible terrain. The map appears to be plateau with the low ground the the south and the top in my deployment zone. Elevation ranges from a high of 40 to a low of 0, but the majority of the map is level 30. Criss crossing the map are wadis (bordered by rough terrain with rough or impassible bottoms) and simple gullies (earthen or sand slopes and bottoms). On the enemy half of the map and southern half of my side are where they are most prevalent. The wadis are located in such a way to create channels heading to the west and a barrier from the south with a few passes. Visibility = 88.

Troops: Brigade Strength – 3 Armor Co. (M11/39 type), 6 Infantry Co., 1 Support Co (4xHMG sec., 6x47mm ATGs, 4x65mm IGs, 4x82mm Mort. sec., 1xEng. Plt, 6xAAMG sec., 2xAutoblinda 40 ACs, 1xFO and 4xSupply Trucks plus trucks for transport).

From Support Points: 1xSpotter Plane, 4xLevel Bombers. Average force experience, ~65.

Notes: This is my second campaign battle with the Italians and there was no refit permitted after the first battle. Three tanks were destroyed in the first battle. In addition to that, I have one that took damage immobilizing it and have an additional four sand pillboxes; they got stuck in the sand in the last battle and are still immobilized in this battle even though they aren't damaged. Various infantry and machine gun units also have some carry over casualties as well. I took 70 casualties in that battle, but don't know if it counts tank crews.

Time: 41 Turns

Analysis

The terrain is very nice for a delay. Starting from the north edge, about 500m outside my deployment zone is a gully. It angles toward my deployment line and more or less meanders south once it gets there. This will make a very nice ad-hoc defensive position for my infantry. South of the objectives is a line of wadis that head east-west. It has only three gaps, each no more than 150m wide, that can easily be covered by my infantry. The enemy could try to move through these wadis, but progress would be very slow. This will allow a small number of infantry and guns adequately cover this southern flank.

Approaches from the east are varied. Gullies could be used to get close, but the AI won't use them. This means they will push through one or more of the four channels created by wadis to the east. All of these can be easily covered from the top of the plateau or various positions on my side of the deployment line.

Both sides have tanks that really are bad during this time of the war. Italian tanks are slow and have thin armor. At least they are better dealing with infantry, but I can't help but think the game has made the M11/39 tanks better than they really were. The only advantage the most British tanks have is speed. Their armor on most models are just as thin as on the Italian tanks. A major down side is they typically have one machine gun and the 2-pdr doesn't fire HE ammo, so aren't good at dealing with infantry. If Matilda II tanks show up, I will have problems since my guns won't be able to penetrate short of point blank. I had enough trouble killing three Matilda Is during the first battle. Should Matilda II tanks show up, I'll hit them with indirect fire. Immobilized is good.

One thing that is always a concern against the AI is its use of scads of artillery. I expect the same here. British 25-pdrs aren't really expensive and I found out in my last battle that they can kill my tanks. It wasn't really a surprise. My tanks will have to shoot and scoot a lot because they will draw artillery fire once their position is fixed. Life will be rough for my sand pillboxes, however.

Plan

My defense plan is pretty straight forward. The gully passing in the north half of my deployment line is going to be where I will position my infantry. Four of my Infantry companies will have to push forward to take up positions, but they should be able to make it. My northern most company (Foxtrot) will have to go the furthest.

From south to north, here is how my Infantry will deploy and any support they will have:

Foxtrot: East-west line in wadi south of south objective group. Three ATGs will deploy in this area as well.
Echo: North-south line north of Foxtrot, in gully. One platoon will be held in reserve for Alpha or Bravo.
Delta: North-south line north of Echo in gully. They might have to push forward slightly to get into the gully. Tank company XRay will deploy to their rear.
Charlie: North-south line north of Delta in gully. They will have to push forward about 250m to get into position. Tank company Yankee will deploy to their rear.
Bravo: North-south line north of Charlie in gully. They will have to push forward about 350m to get into position. Tank company Zulu will deploy to the rear of Echo and Foxtrot.
Alpha: North-south line north of Bravo in gully. They will have to push forward about 500m to get into position. Tank company Zulu will deploy to the rear of Echo and Foxtrot.
Support Co: The engineers, infantry, HMG and light mortar will push forward into a wadi forward of the main line where hopefully their special weapons will allow them to deal with some of the enemy armor.

Two infantry guns and the remaining ATGs will deploy on top of the plateau to the rear of the main line, supported by machine guns. Additional machine guns and infantry guns will deploy to the south between the plateau top and the wadi covered by Foxtrot.

Two armored cars are positioned along the south edge. If the enemy tries to push infantry laden trucks through without armor support, they will move out and cut them up.

Just a quick note. I am putting my USSR campaign on ice for a bit. Fighting the same type of battles over and over again gets a little old, so a change was in order. The Italians should present a bit of a challenge, because their armor isn't all that great. Their infantry, once their experience increases, will be as good as anyones.

Below is a screen print of my final deployment. The infantry positions are reversed in the diagram.
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Last edited by RERomine; October 11th, 2010 at 07:44 PM..
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  #2  
Old October 11th, 2010, 04:43 PM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 0 (Prep Fire)

No prep fire by either side. I'm surprised the enemy didn't sling something at me. They have to have tons of it.

Casualties

Friendly: Zero.

Enemy: Zero.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 05:02 PM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 1

The enemy is advancing along the north and south edges in force. There are a few units in between but not many visible at the moment. Matilda II tanks are seen both north and south. I'm going to take a chance and send my level bombers in when it looks like they get near one of my registration points.

Along the south edge, the enemy faster movers will out pace the Matildas so I will be able to take out their light armor with ATGs and then rip into their trucks with my armored cars.

Delta, Echo and Foxtrot are moving forward to their objective positions. Charlie into position, where Bravo and Alpha didn't have to move.

Casualties

Friendly: Zero.

Enemy: Zero.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 05:44 PM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 2

Dingos probing at the north central and salient in my line. The heaviest part enemy push seems to be heading towards the salient and maybe even my refused right flank. It is kind of a bad area, because they are coming in the low ground. My tanks can't draw a bead on this area, so I will have to depend on my ATGs to keep it sealed.

My main concern right now is along the northern edge, with two Matilda I tanks in the lead. I think I'm going to push some tanks up into the position with Foxtrot. This is the only way I'm going to get point blank shots at them.

A little further south some armored cars are approaching. My tanks took a few shots and popped one.

There is a high volume of dust being kicked up, so it is difficult for me to tell what the follow-up units are.

Casualties

Friendly: Zero.

Enemy: 1xRolls Royce A/C destroyed.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 06:59 PM

RERomine RERomine is offline
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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 3

Matilida Is and IIs, with a few A10s are advancing slowly west along the north edge. I plotted my bombers to hit this group, but it will take a while. In the meantime, I've got one platoon of tanks moving up into the gully for support. Foxtrot is almost in position. It is a good thing the enemy is sending slow units here or my infantry would have been in contact before gettting into position.

In the north central section of my line, a couple of platoons of armored cars are moving up to my line with one Dingo in the lead. The Dingo and another armored car have been destroyed.

Armored cars, Dingos and infantry in trucks are starting to spread out around the Alpha-Bravo salient. My infantry opened up, without any success. One of the Dingos was assaulted, also without success. I've got two platoons of tanks moving in this direction, but the soft sand is forcing them to take an indirect route.

Casualties

Friendly: Zero.

Enemy: 1xRolls Royce A/C and 1xDaimler Dingo destroyed.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 07:49 PM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 4

The north edge has 12 tanks moving forward: Six Matilda Is, three Matilda IIs and three A10s. This is going to be a rough spot to hold. I've got bombers coming in, but there was no registration point here, so it will take a while. My infantry is moving into position and popped smoke to cover the advance of supporting tanks.

Tanks supporting Bravo are engaging armored cars to their front. Three more have been destroyed.

At the salient, the support units and Alpha are engaging Dingos and enemy infantry brought up by truck. The Dingos have been assaulted several times by Alpha, but they only have grenades. This aren't very good in assaults. The Dingos have popped smoke, so my tanks can't get a shot at the moment. Small arms fire is being traded but my infantry in the rough is in a better spot and fairing well. Flank AT guns did destroy one Dingo cruising along the flank, but failed against four ACs in the same area.

Casualties

Friendly: Zero.

Enemy: 3xRolls Royce A/Cs and 1xDaimler Dingo destroyed. Estimated 5 casualties.
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  #7  
Old October 14th, 2010, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Probably the only way to sensibly play Italian is with a leg rifle battalion core and hardly any armour.

The only armour you probably should have is a couple of the later semoventes per rifle company - the M42 and M43 with the 75/L32 is marginal but usable from 6/42.

The M13/40 is marginal in 40 and dead meat in 41. A few as mobile AT resource perhaps, working flank ambushes (they cannot stand frontally). But definitely not a tank-heavy core.

Some infantry get the pzgranate A/T grenade 41 in 1942 or so onwards.

The Italian 81mm mortar is good for the time - reasonable range (esp versus the 3 inch the UK has!).

The 3RO 90L53 Was in reality rare as hen's teeth ( a few dozen, if that,deployed). Maybe allow yourself a pair of them for matilda tank plinking. Problem is they are soft, and only 2 wheel drive so stuck to roads and good going.

Armour probably should be limited to a small fast-mover recce type platoon or so to take objectives. A few armoured cars (useful if you have the 47mm ones, the 20mm is only good for daimler dingos) and/or the little baby APC like the AS42 or As47.

If you do not buy lots of expensive armour (and yours are not worth the points - a gift for the enemy AT gunners really - till you get semovente with 75L32), and off map arty then the AI will not have too much points to spend on lots of tanks.

So a rifle battalion core (3-4 companies, maybe one in light trucks), an off map howitzer bty, support company with mortars and ATG and a few semovente and a platoon or 2 of tin can scout vehicles attached. (Play on 80 wide maps and/or add a few turns since you will have a marching force)

Cheers
Andy
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:24 AM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 15

Back to action with what I have at the moment. Thanks for the suggestions Andy.

Alpha assaulted the immobilized Matilda II again. It isn't destroyed, but the crew was rattled enough to bail. They won't last out the next turn. Assaults were also made against a Matilda I, but no luck there. Alpha is a disorganized mess, but still pretty spry.

Smoke is being popped by my infantry along Bravo's line. Assaults tend to work better if the tank blunders into the assaulting unit. At least that is my impression. Even if I'm wrong, my infantry can't move up against a group of tanks without getting shot up. I'm trying to make the battle field smaller in these areas. In the meantime, ATGs from the plateau are still slinging steel at targets of opportunity. There is an A10 with two new holes. Mortar fire is still coming up, but hitting the tail end of the advancing tanks. Further south along Bravo's line, there are a few enemy squads, but they aren't advancing. One fragment was dispatched by machine gun fire from the plateau. Those guns up there are doing a good job of pinning down the enemy infantry.

The north edge of Charlie's line is still getting pressured by two enemy Matilda Is and a platoon of infantry. My tank took some shots at one of the Matildas, but he wasn't close enough to damage. Light mortar fire also pounded on the enemy infantry. Their infantry seems to be waivering.

Still waiting on the advancing Matilda IIs in Delta sector. Most enemy infantry has been sent packing, but at least one fresh squad has been spotted with the lead enemy tank. I have been pelting it with anything I can to keep it buttoned up. Machine guns and infantry guns have been hitting it. With luck, maybe one of my IGs will score a mobility kill. In the meantime, we wait. One thing I have to do is duck a platoon of my tanks into a gully. I've been popping smoke to screen them while they fire at infantry in Charlie and Delta sectors. They need to scoot before that smoke clears and they get hit by the Matilida 2-pdr guns. The enemy truck mounted 2-pdr was destroyed during op-fire by a machine gun. Those things think they are tank destroyers and are trying to advance when they should be picking a spot at long range and plinking away. Two mortar sections have been plotted on the enemy's line of advance. Anything and everything against those Matildas.

Engineers are shifting a bit. Given their position, they might be able to move north and hit the advancing Matilda IIs. The axis of advance is only about 400m to the north and I know my engineers could kill them. The problem is the nearby enemy platoon. They have my engineers pinned in their wadi right now. Light mortars hit the main enemy group, but the results are unknown. Since Echo is more or less behind the line with the engineers out front, I'm going to move them up and try to free up the engineers.

My tank platoon has cleared the wadi and rough in Foxtrot's sector. Once out, they destroyed another Matilda I and Vickers tank. I just noticed the crew bailed on the immobilized Vickers as well. One Matilda I left and this area should be clear of armor. At that point, I will push my units forward and clear the area of infantry.

Casualties

Friendly: Estimated 10 casualties.

Enemy: 1xMatilida I tank, 1xVickers VIb tank and 1x2-pdr Portee truck destroyed. Estimated 15 casualties.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 07:15 AM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 16

Enemy Matilda II crew was sent running this turn. Getting a touch to bold, I tried to move up and take out an A10 that was hanging close by. The squad in question, failed the morale check and ran east toward the enemy. It just so happens another Matilda II was sitting in that direction. They ran again and at least this time they ran in the right direction. Other action just involved some exposed units getting shot at by tank machine guns. It is a good thing the British didn't issue HE for the 2-pdr and tend to have more than one machine gun on tanks early in the war. My troops are still holding.

Enemy tanks are clustering around the immobilized Matilda II in Bravo's sector. It probably isn't intentional. The tanks there are just slow. Anyhow, there are seven Matilda's of one type or another within 150m. Like with Alpha, the enemy tanks are firing at my infantry with machine guns, but the success is limited. Across the gully, enemy infantry is also firing, mainly at one exposed squad. They are taking more damage from a machine gun to the rear of Alpha. Some infantry is trying to push up through the smoke near the gully, but are having a rough time there. I have a lot of tanks and infantry clustered there and they blast anything that comes into sight.

Three Matilda Is with a few squads of supporting infantry on the east side of Charlie's gully. My tank plinked a bunch of rounds off of one Matilda, but the angle wasn't right. It usually works better with two tanks at different angles. The enemy had one squad that was hanging in there for quite a while. I fired everything I could, but he wouldn't budge. Finally, a few well placed hits had him backing up.

Lead enemy tank in Delta sector stopped. I've been hitting it with machine guns and infantry guns, not that they damaged him. A second Matilda II pulled up behind him. It is like they are waiting for my mortars to hit. I fired what I could at the supporting infantry. That squad also stopped. If they hang another turn, they won't be happy.

Pulling the engineers out of the wadi and have Echo moving up. Maybe this is why the enemy tanks stopped. I'm not worrying so much about staying in the gully with my movements. Two support squads are holding in the wadi while one of Echo's platoons moves up to cover the position. A Matilda I appeared just to the east of the wadi, but I don't have anything there to kill it and I'm not going to worry about it.

Capped what I thought was the last tank in Foxtrot's sector. Turns out there is one more Matilda I moving up the hill and two Matilda IIs are heading toward the salient. My armored cars spotted those, but one has a new window for his efforts. I guess I better pull them back. The rest of Foxtrot's infantry is moving forward and will stay in the wadi rather than clear the area of enemy infantry. I need to deal with the new threat.

Casualties

Friendly: Estimated 10 casualties.

Enemy: 1xMatilida I tank destroyed. Estimated 10 casualties.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 07:57 AM

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Default Re: DAR: Italy vs. GB - North Africa 6/40

Turn 17

It may not seem like much, but Alpha put the torch to the abandoned Matilda II. When the points are totaled, that will count as a kill. Another assault on the A10 failed. That squad got cut up pretty bad because it was in the LOS of a lot of enemy tanks. Another squad in the open took a lot of fire, but no damage. Most of the rest of Alpha is huddled behind hills and smoke.

Enemy tanks still milling about immobilized tank. No real movement forward there. They are the ones who spent time firing at my exposed infantry. One of my ATGs did immobilize the A10 with them. With the number of holes I've put in it, I'm surprised it is even alive. Mortar rounds started falling on the tank cluster, but nothing but plinks came out of it. Further down the line, my tanks took out a Matilda I and clobbed more infantry trying to pop out of the smoke.

The Zulu tank supporting Charlie also racked up a kill on a Matilda I. Two to go. One enemy squad popped up on their right side and drew fire from a platoon. He is leaving now Light mortar rounds are still dropping on a cluster of infantry out about 250m.

Enemy moving forward again in Delta sector. They aren't shooting, but I'm still laying into them with everything I've got. One of my tank commanders with a death wish also took some shots. I'm going to have to find out who has LOS and get him under cover. Mortar rounds started falling, but were somewhat off target. The supporting squad took a few rounds close, but otherwise the fire was bad.

One Echo platoon supported by a couple of engineer squads are moving north to support Delta. The other engineers were caught in the wadi when enemy mortars started to hit. They won't be of any use for a while. Enemy Matilda IIs pushing into the salient, but don't seem to be supported by infantry. If they are, the enemy is trying to make sure it won't last because they started firing 25-pdr artillery, but it was short. It is hitting very close to the only enemy infantry squad I see in the area.

Foxtrot shifting around in the wadi. I also moved a platoon of XRay tanks up to help. This is where I think the fire on the Matilda IIs came from. I still have another platoon in front of and to the south of the wadi, maneuvering against the Matilda I. They need to be careful because I think there is another Matilda II around. So far, they have all showed up in multiples of three, but I only see two here so far. My armored cars were able to stay put because the Matildas pushed on into the smoke. They lit up a couple of routed enemy squads and made sure the Vickers crew wouldn't come back.

My antitank guns, infantry guns and light mortars are starting to run into ammo problems. I've got supply, but they are keeping my medium mortars in business.

Casualties

Friendly: Estimated 10 casualties.

Enemy: 2xMatilida I tanks and 1xMatilda II tank destroyed. Estimated 20 casualties.
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