I have another Battle Report for you all. This time the Italians faced off against a British Heavy Armored Squadron in the deserts of North Africa! The Scenario was Pincer, which felt almost exactly the same as No Retreat from last week, just with delayed reserves and the reserves enter from the edges of the table.
This is a photo of our initial deployment, the Italians were defending.
You can see from the deployment pictures that I began with my trusty Bersaglieri defending my objectives to start. These are "short platoons" that only have 9 tabs per platoon. The objective outside of the city is being held by confident veterans, the objective in the city being held by confident trained troops (I rolled a 2).
For those of you who don't know the Italian special rules, they are a box of chocolates force. You have to roll a dice every time you deploy a platoon, refer to a grid, and then determine what their rating is. You truly never quite know what you are going to get!
My 90/53 guns I held in ambush, in this role they are DEADLY!!!
Here are the lists, and then I will move right into the play by play.
The British advance!!! Well to be honest John rolled his tanks forward like a pansy, terrified of where my 90/53s would pop up! He also did a preparatory bombardment against my Bersaglieri, hoping to soften them up prior to his armor's arrival. He managed to range in on his 3rd attempt (He needed a six, veteran/gone to ground/concealed). What it boiled down to is that he couldn't hit a broad side of a barn, his guns' aim was worse than the guy spotting!
Oh guess what, the Italians stuck their heads in the sand, tried to disappear, didn't move, didn't shoot. Basically tried their best to maintain historic accuracy!
In turn two the British charged forward once again in heroic fashion mimicking the spectacular action of General Meade in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg!
To begin, the Royal Horse decided to repeat bombard the Bersaglieri.....to no effect. I am betting John was beginning to regret that 420 points about now....
The Grants, anticipating the appearance of the 90/53 guns on the Italian right flank crept forward and stayed hidden behind a hill. On the the left flank however his Honey Stuart platoon charged forward with the intent of putting the "hurt" on the trained Bersaglieri. Unfortunately the British Intelligience office had not managed to inform the commander of this company prior to the assault that the Italians had restructured their forces in response to earlier clashes made in 1941!! The Italians have embedded 47/32 A/T guns in every infantry platoon! Woops!
Once again no movement, but the opportunity to strike down an entire platoon of Honeys in one round was too sweet to pass up! FIRE!! The effects were DEVASTATING!!! One destroyed, one bailed, unfortunately the platoon commander was able to slip away at the start of his next turn.
After seeing the general noneffective nature of his artillery on this day the British Commander decided to lay down a smoke shield and advance on the Italians directly with the main force of his armor column. In fashion for the day, the Royal Horse managed to confuse the wind direction and lay the entire smoke shield across the wrong flank. Thus leaving his entire armor column exposed on the Italian right flank! The remaining active honey retreated to the cover of the dunes, while the bailed out team remained so rattled by the ferocity of the two elephantino guns that they refused to remount their vehicle and retreat! Even under the cover of smoke! Having gotten word of the possibility of Italian reinforcements arriving soon, the British motor platoon took cover in the safety of the ruined fort in the center of the battlefield. Hopefully they would have a strong enough position to mount a counterattack if need be.
BEHOLD THE COMING OF THE 90/53!!!! If only the Italians could have had people in charge of all weapons development like the ones who created the 90/53 gun. If that would have been the case we might have all been speaking Italian and eating pasta today! Well they certainly showed up and put the fear into the British commander! Only 1 tank was destroyed in the hail of shells thrown at the first British Grant platoon, but no worries, the guns were now in play! Oh and for a nice bonus the First platoon of Italian reinforcements came this round, and they brought the Company commander with them, he was off in the rear having some wine and cheese, but he ran forward like the confident trained individual he was to join the fight when he heard it was on! Unfortunately the first group of guys that were able to respond were also just trained...so there was room to be desired in their skill level. None the less they managed to bail and destroy two Grants respectively out of the second Grant platoon!
Not bad for round three!
OK, so the British really fought back this round. The Royal Horse ranged in on the 90/53s on the first attempt. They then hit all 3 targets. They pinned the battery and destroyed the platoon command. Next the lead platoon of Grants, which had lost their platoon leader in the previous round, opened up and detroyed one of the 90/53 Guns. The 2iC opened up on the Italian tanks and managed to bail one and destroy one.
It looked like they were going to put up a fight!
The 90/53 Stays! The Tanks opened up with the 90/53 and managed to break the Grant platoon in the open on the right flank. The left flank say the 47/32 guns open up the the still bailed Honey Stuart. Destroyed that tank, and broke that platoon! It is beginning to look bad for the British again...
TURN FIVE AND SIX
In turn five the British attempted to counterattack the Italian Armor arriving on the board. While they managed to destroy a few more vehicles, they were unsuccessful in breaking any of the platoons on the field of battle. In turn six the British did manage to destroy one platoon of Italian 75/18s, but with the arrival of the rest of the Italian reinforcements, and the total destruction of all of the British combat platoons, the British commander conceded defeat and withdrew the Royal Horse from the field of battle to hopefully use in support of a breakthrough attempt against the robust Italian defensive lines in the future.
It was generally decided among the British commanders on that day in 1943, after this resounding defeat that there would have to be a year long pause in the fighting to give enough time to build up ample force numbers considered to be enough to overrun the Modern Roman Empires expeditionary forces. It had been estimated at that time that in the future a ratio of 15:1 British to Italian forces would be necessary to be able to secure a shaky victory on the field of battle.