Thursday, 6 January 2011

Club Night 5th January 2011

On a rainy January evening I headed up the Club with Luke and Duncan for my first game of the new year. Duncan and I took a 1,000 points of DAK and Italians respectively against Luke with his British on an 8' x 4' table for an encounter battle. The Germans took the Axis right flank aiming t0 push forward from the objective in their half of the table to take the opposing objective. In the other half of the with the wadi protecting the second British objective the Italians deployed their less mobile force to defend the last Axis objective.

Above: Initial Deployments, Below: British 6 pounder defend their objective

Above: The DAK forces, Below: British RHA battery

Above: Italian forces defend an objective.

The British took the first turn and in a bold move launched the majority of their armour forward at the double in a cloud of dust, striking diagonally, away from the DAK Panzers towards the lightly armed Italian forces. The Germans responded by sending part of their forces towards their objective and swinging a platoon of armour to intercept the British, but the speeding crusaders were mostly out of range and avoided the fire from the German tanks.

The Desert Air Force attempted to intervene for the British, but were constantly drive off by the Regia Aeronautica, who even managed to put in a strike of their own.

Above: The British spearhead, Below: German forces move out

Above: The British Crusader close on the Italians, Below: Italian Air-force chases off the British again

Above: British armour sweeps across in front of the Italians, Below: Italian planes knock out some of the British armour.

Meanwhile on the Axis right the DAK had destroyed the British anti-tank guns, with tank fire and a mounted charge by the grenadiers but were pinned down under a relentless bombardment from the Royal Horse Artillery. However on the other flank things were going as badly as this flank was going well. The Italians defending the objective had buckled under the attack, primarily from the continuous fire from the CS tanks 3" guns. So one flank was almost victorious, but the other was almost defeated.

Above: German advance stalls under artillery fire, below: Italian air-force intervenes again.

Above: Crusader move around the abandoned Italian positions.

The battle would now be decided by the arrival of re-enforcements to prevent defeat, or complete victory. Initially it looked like this was going to be in the British favour. Their first reserves arrived just where they needed them, while Axis reserves were strangely lacking. However after holding off the initial reserves things began to swing back in the Axis favour. The remaining British reserves arrived behind the wadi and had to manoeuvre their slow and unreliable tanks through it to get into action, while the Italians arrived just in the right place to shore up the defence of their objective. Combined with the sacrifice of the combat engineers the Italians manged to hold their objective against the British armour.

Above and Below: The desolate centre of the battle field, littered with burning vehicles.

Above: British reserve arrive to face Oberst Rettemeier, below: Italians rush to secure their objective.

Above: Italians arrive on their motorcycles, below: Assault engineers hold up the British armour

By now the Desert Air force was beginning to make its presence felt and attack the German Panzers. But the final reserves arrive in a flurry (and a cloud of dust) as massed Italian reconnaissance unit rushed towards the enemy objective.

Above: Italian reserves arrive, Below: The Desert Air Force intervenes.

Above: The last British reserves

With the last of the British reserves being armoured cars and being seen off by German tanks, despite the heavy artillery fire, the Italians hung on and claimed victory for the Axis forces.

This was a great game that really swung from side to side With Luke's initial bold move and my lack of Italian anti-tank fire power there was a real possibility of him running over the objective very quickly. But prompt support from Duncan prevented defeat, even though it probably also cost victory ads the force that remained to take the target objective did not quite have the strength to do so. And with no Axis reserves arriving, although the British reserves where misplaced it still looked like they could win, especially once the Grants got in range and the air support started arriving. However a last gasp dash by massed light Italian armour was more than the British could destroy and we grabbed victory.

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