My first game was a meeting engagement against Steve H's Russian Guards, with 11 T-34s I could have a bit of a problem. Fortunately with more units I could respond to his deployment and bring my artillery to bear on the first platoon, eventually breaking it. His second platoon moved at the double and I managed to catch it with my 90mms on Lancia trucks, but only two were in range. They then hid until the 90mms were destroyed by artillery. I tried to force the mountain with my L6/40s but could not overcome his infantry. However by this time, in common with all the other opening games we had run out of time. (Draw 3 to 2)
The second game was against Steve K's Canadians in the desert. With a hold the line mission I was the attacker, so I surged forward with my reconnaissance moves and was assaulting the forward infantry positions during my first turn and driving them back. With inefficient artillery fire the infantry assault was unable to drive me off and I secured my position during the second turn, and was victorious by the 3rd. A great triumph for the Italians. (Victory 6 to 1)
As the game had been quick I managed to take a few snaps during the second game.
Above: The Italians overrun the Canadians.
Below: British Artillery defended from Stuka attack by Bofors AA guns.
Above: Russian tanks attack the German held village.
Below: Russian hordes overrun the village and abandoned Tiger tank.
My Third game was against another Russian army, this time commanded by Mike and very different in Character to Steve's high quality Guard tanks. With masses of infantry he still managed to include a company of T-34s and a battery of 8 Katyusha rockets. With Mike defending in a cauldron battle in the boggy, rain sodden ground of Anzio I was going to struggle with my light armour which was not mobile in bad terrain. Still it started well, using the cover of a wood my engineers deployed close the Russians and charged forward with artillery support and assaulted the Russian defences. Despite being outnumbered their quality told and they made spectacular progress, and for the next two turns the game hung in the balance as the Kommisars ensured the Russians narrowly stayed in the fight. But then the Russian hordes arrived and only the game time limit saved me from being overrun by the T-35s, my artillery and some of my reserves already having been smashed by the devastating bombardment of the rocket artillery. (Draw 3 to 3)
Game 4 saw me face the familiar sight of Luke and his Crusader tanks, but in the unfamiliar (except for our practice game) setting of the Russian front! I was defending in a breakthrough mission and Luke immediately started very cannily. Using the village as cover for his small infantry detachment while his armour deployed in front of my machine guns where it was quite safe, blocking lines of fire to the Bofors which proceeded to dig in and then became a menaces driving off my machine guns and effectively preventing any of my reserves from arriving over the bridge. Around the village I was holding off his infantry and had destroyed a couple of Crusaders as they flanked it, but the mass of 25 pounders was seriously damaging my force. I managed to hold on of the objective for a couple of turns and destroy the armoured cars before the inevitable and the British claimed victory. (Defeat 2 to 5)
The final Standings:
2. Rick 13 points, 2 Wins, 2 Draws
3. Mike 13 points, 1 Win, 3 Draws
4. Luke 12 points, 2 wins, 1 Draw
5. Steve H 10 points, 0 wins, 3 Draws
=6. Steve D 9 points, 1 win, 2 draws
=6. Steve K 9 points, 1 win, 2 draws
7. Jim 9 points, 0 wins, 2 draws
Yes somehow the Italians have managed to snatch victory. It just shows that good leadership and having the best hats is all you need...
Everyone said they had a great time and seemed to really enjoy themselves (apart from Steve K's paddy when his 5.5" guns missed for the 20th time!) and I shall have to arrange another one for early war once the desert book is also out.