Saturday, 16 January 2010

Club Night 15th January

With the snow finally clearing the club was active again, with a 'Hey you in Jail' western game, a POW Marlbourian, a 40k and Luke and I did a Flames or War desert with his new Italians. After setting up the table using the table in the main rules to generate the scenery and using some desert scenery Luke found he had from his 1/300th Arab-Israeli which we had both forgot about it was looking good already. Then we rolled the scenario and I found myself commanding the Italians on the defensive in a cauldron battle. I set up my Bersaglieri platoon in a circle formation around one of the centre ridges with the 88mms on the hill and the Semovente in immediate ambush. Luke set up his forces and having got the armoured cars and crusaders in the same are, added the Shermans when he had the choice and his HQ.

I started the first turn by deploying the Semovente and opening fire on the British. Good fire, especially from the 88mm that was able to target the Shermans destroyed a dingo armoured car, a crusader and a Sherman, and forced the other two Shermans to bail out. Even with the steady influence of the C-in-C directly behind them, the crew fled, abandoning their vehicles (see below). The British then advanced, using maximum speed to get within short range to sue their Tally Ho! skill to engage us at short range with maximum fire-power. The British forces where reinforced by the arrival of the Grant platoon that began to engage the 88s with semi indirect fire and destroy one of them.

The Bersaglieri 20mm cannon began to engage the Grants only to find their rounds would only harmlessly bounce off them. The surviving 88 also engaged the Grants and destroyed one of them, while the Semovente engaged and destroyed another of the crusaders. Again, ignoring higher ups (in the case the 2-in-C), the remained of this platoon fled. The Brits did not seem up for this engagement. However the commanders in their crusader where still keen and engaging the Italian lines at very short range by driving back and forth in front of them, while another crusader platoon arrived and moved forward and began to engage the enemy infantry, while the Grants saw to the last 88, freeing the British armour up to operate more freely. Despite this success the fox-holes of the Italians where protecting the infantry from most of the fire and they where still securely holding the objectives. The British infantry arrived and began to advance on the Grants left towards the most exposed objective, using the scrub-land for cover.

Now the Italian armour arrived (see below) and advanced on mass on the more open left flank with the aim of flanking the British and rolling the up while they where stalled on the Italian defences. Opposite them the crusader platoon swung to face them and another arrived from reserve and joined them and a typical desert tank battle seemed in the offing (see below). Rounds whistled between the wrecks of an earlier engagement and tanks began to brew up or be abandoned by their crew. One Italian platoon fled almost as quickly as they arrived, but where replaced by the third platoon of the company that had finally arrived. The it was the turn of a British tank platoon to flee.

Things where hanging in the balance. The tank battle could go either way, the British infantry where bringing their full weight against a small section of the Italian lines, although the fox-holes where protecting them from most of the fire, and the British commanders where driving recklessly directly through the middle of the Italian positions having destroyed the Semoventes. The Italian infantry was forced to redeploy to bring some fire to bear on the opposite numbers, but in doing so exposed themselves to HE fire from the Grants. Then the British cracked, machine gun fire caused heavy casualties on the infantry, and the final crusader platoon was destroyed, leaving the remaining British no choice but to retreat leaving the battered Italians victorious.

This is one of the most fun WW2 games I have played in a very long time, and I would happily play one again today, when I usually enjoy a bit of variety. The desert terrain looked good and seemed to affect the game in the right manner, and even using cotton wool the tanks looked brilliant leaving dust clouds behind them (see the photos above). Looking forward to the next game!

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