Play by Poll [PbP] C.V.

As previously announced The Big Board is going to run a new play by poll  (PbP) game for all of you.

What The Hell is PbP..? I hear you say. Well if you look back into the recesses of the past posts you will see a couple of PbP series. Namely Leros and Austerlitz. But simply put PbP is a run thru of a game where you and your friends vote on the next course of action for a particular side, and then all the mechanics, details, rules and exceptions are taken care of right here.

This new edition will be somewhat simpler than the first 2 editions…. I think….:)

The idea is simple. All the work is done here on this side, you make all the cool decisions.

Kind of like a real General. Or in this case Admiral.

C.V, is a Yaqinto title from 1979 and was a Craig Taylor design. It followed the successful Flat Top from 1977!

Image: BGG Pauolo Robino

Our mission is very simple don’t let the Japanese Imperial Navy (IJN) sink the Midway…well you can’t sink it as it is an Island. But we do not want them to capture it, nor do we desire to lose too many ships and men doing it.

In our game we will have a IJN fleet approaching from multiple directions, using hidden movement, and setting up almost anywhere on the Western Map!

So the first task ahead of the Play by Poll players is to elect aircraft search patterns. We will give you some images, some intel, and ranges that the aircraft can cover. You point them on a search pattern (several craft linked into an interlocking sweep does the trick!).

Once we find the enemy then the fun begins. Over the course of the game we will need to have aircraft ready to launch from your C.V’s..oh did I mention you get Aircraft Carriers too?

The aircraft from those ships and Midway need to rearm (Torpedos/Dive bombers etc) and there will be choices to make there, all with supporting information from your Flight Deck Officers providing information and Intel.

If you get all too excited about this, there is the opportunity to command your very own CV (we have a few lying around.), so if you are interested in being more involved than just voting on the big picture and desire to provide a CV Task Group with orders (once again, all the rules management, paper work and die rolling happens here) that would include – where to sail, what aircraft to keep in coverage, and what flights to have on the ready deck then like this post, and leave a comment. You will be provided with more details, and specifics when the time is right!

Assessing Maximum Supply for the Axis in DAK2

Subject: Looking at shipping supply again – Max capacity for Axis.

From September thru the End of Dec, I wanted to do a check on how much SP I was going to be able be bringing is as it seemed excessive, here is my SP Math!!

Firstly per the rules: If I have ONE Inter Coastal Capacity (ICC) and I move 2T from Tripoli to Tobruk does that use 2t or 4 t of capacity? i.e. 2t ICC out and 2 ICC in? I will play it as a 2T cost.

So help me gut check:

Med Shipping Available Per turn
Sep Oct Nov Dec
2sp. 1sp. 2sp. 2sp.

All the Med shipping goes to Tripoli.
Tripoli has max port cap of 6SP a turn. So by bringing in Med Shipping the amount available for Inter Coastal is reduced to:
4 5 4 4 per turn i.e. 6-2=4 etc in Sept..

Inter Coastal shipping has a variable availability also. It is nearly always less than Tripolis capacity in early game by looks of it.

Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
3sp 1sp 2sp 2sp

Trip. Cap Net of Med:          4 5 4 4 
Inter Coastal Cap available:3 1 2 2

So we can ship FROM Tripoli TO: coastal towns: Tobruk, Benghazi, Bardia etc the full ICC amount above each turn in the given month, subject to their limits.
[EDIT: September is 6 turns not 9 as we start on the 12th.]
9×3 = 27 SP 18SP
9×1 = 9
9×2 =18
9×2 =18

72 63 SP -Less Replacements/reinforcements & Malta(Dec ’40) that you may want to ship, and reductions force by the tables & hedgehog builds. Plus 14.5 SP landing in Benghazi environs over that period.

THAT seems like a LOT of Supply for an itty bitty army.

So then I checked if the minor Ports can handle bringing that much supply?

Port Capacity of all available ‘major’ towns:
Ben. 6t
Tob. 4t
Bar. 2t
Sar. 2t
14t a turn 3 SP and 2t. So yes they can.

How would this play then?

x? SP in Tobruk by end of December.
x? SP split between Bardia and Sollum.

Hmm how many Hedgehogs would be built and where! Darn.

The rest I guess split between Benghazi and some other smaller ports to the South where I would want a store for on coming trucked resources I imagine.

For those reading this and shaking their heads as to WHY you would want to do this, well once you work it out ONE time, its done and the logistical planning, a core part of a Armies ability to execute is in place for a period of time.

Then you can get down to the business of fighting the war.

For those of you that worked this out or have a different answer, why have you not posted it for us noobies!!!!!! cry

oh… and then we need to start rolling for shipping losses in December. BLARGH!!!!

Dak II [Op Compass] and tanks

As we gear up for the opening moves of DAK2 I thought this background reading was worth noting on Compass. It is a compilation of articles and data from the Italian view point, with a lot of details on forces strengths.

The Italian advance had left a bitter taste in Churchill’s mouth, the British Commander in Chief in Egypt, Gen. Wavell, quickly received a massive supply of modern materials, including 152 new tanks (50 of which were the heavy infantry tanks Matilda II), anti-tank and Bofors anti-aircraft guns, machine-guns and ammunition. Wavell immediately planned a counter-offensive but, due to the October 1940 Italian invasion of Greece, he had to divert to the Balkan front-line a good portion of his air force.

The British revenge in North Africa had, therefore, to be postponed.

During the next two months the British Corps underwent a hard drill program, including long lasting day and night displacements, back and forth in the desert, focused to a fast 5-days raid (the “Operation Compass”).

At the beginning of December 1940, the British had gained the supremacy in terms of armoured warfare as the 7th Armoured Division deployed 495 vehicles :

  • 195 light tanks (Vickers Mk VI)
  • 114 medium tanks (Vickers medium and Cruiser Mk I)
  • 64 heavy cruiser tanks (A 10, A 13, A15 Crusader)
  • 48 heavy infantry tanks (Matilda II)
  • 74 armoured cars (Marmon Herrington, Daimler, Humber, and Morris)

The Italian Armour Brigade in the Sidi-el-Barrani area consisted of  275 vehicles:

  • 220 light tanks (L3)
  • 55 medium tanks (M11/39)

Elsewhere in Libya there were, still under fitting-out, the first new M13/40 medium tanks.

During the night between December 8 and 9, 1940 the British surrounded Sidi el-Barrani with their tanks. At 7:00 am the British artillery began a heavy bombardment. Gen. Maletti, one of the base Commanders, moved then his mixed tank batallion (two tank companies : one of L3, one of  M11/39to withstand the British heavy tanks.

The result of the combat was the complete destruction of the Italian tank battalion  as the 37 mm shells could just scratch, without piercing, the thick armour of the British Matildas. Gen. Maletti was killed in action by a British machine-gunner. In the afternoon there was another tank combat around the Alam el-Tummar stronghold : the all-L3 Italian armoured unit was completely swept out.

On December 10, 1940 Sidi el-Barrani was in the hands of Gen. O’Connor while the remnants of the Italian 10th Army Corps retreated to Sollum and Sidi Omar.

As the offensive was a such a great success, Gen.Wavell, urged by Gen. O’Connor, agreed to continue the advance.By the end of December 1940, in spite of the Italian Air Force bombing raids which created serious problems to the British tanks, the O’Connor’s 4th Armoured Brigade and 7th Armoured Division took SollumSidi Omar and Ridotta Capuzzo, the Italian strong points on the Libyan border, but could not prevent Gen. Bergonzoli and his troops from withdrawing into the Bardia fortress, few miles eastwards.

The attack to Bardia was carried out by the 6th Australian infantry division, supported by the 7th Royal Tank Regiment (7th RTR) and, on a second line, by the 7th Armoured Division.

The action started at 7:30am of January 3, 1941, when the Australian troopers cut the barbed wire entanglements with their bangalore and let 22 Matilda heavy tanks to enter within the defensive perimeter. The 12 Italian M13/40 medium tanks, and few L3 light tanks, supported by anti-tank weaponry, moved against the British tanks but the Matildas‘ armour was invulnerable to the 47mm shells. Once again the Italian tankers had to pay a terrible tribute of  blood and tears to the poor quality of their armament.

On January 5, 1941 the Bardia fortress was taken by the British who made a terrific booty : 32.000 prisoners, about 450 guns, 700 lorries, and 127 tanks.

On the subsequent day the British troops were besieging the Italian outposts near Tobruk. The Italian armoured warfare in the area comprised :

  • Tobruk : about 25 L3-type light tanks, 11 M11/39 medium tanks (all under repair and therefore not available for combat), and about 60 M13/40 tanks (scraped together here and there)
  • Ain el-Gazala airport (25 miles west of Tobruk) : 5 M11/39 medium tanks
  • El-Mechili (50 miles southwest of Tobruk) : the armoured brigade with 61 M13/40 medium tanks and 24 L3-type light tanks

The point of this detail is that – there was a mismatch of weaponry and bodies! In the next days Tobruk was captured by the 22nd of Jan.

O’Connor, encouraged by the campaign progress, moved forwards his divisions aiming to Benghazi. The British forces followed two routes : one along the coast towards Derna, Cirene, Barce), the other straight through the desert. This latter led the British units (two armoured brigades with not less than four tank and one armoured car regiments) to a close encounter with the Italian armoured brigade in El-Mechili. Thus the Battle of Beda Fomm was about to commence.

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The last tank battle of the campaign was that fought  in Beda Fomm between February 5 and 7, 1941. In this location, south of Benghazi, the already mentioned two British armoured brigades clashed with a second Italian armoured brigade (about 100 M13 medium tanks).

At the end of three days of furious combats, the British heavy tanks disposed of all the Italian tanks.

Apart from the poor quality of the armament (armour and gun) which had made the Matildas and the Valentines practically invulnerable for the M13s, the Italian armored units were disrupted because they failed to adopt the en-masse deployment strategy, burning hundreds of crews in short range combats conducted by small groups of tanks destined to one fate only : destruction !

Thus we see the third leg of woe for forces fighting here early in WWII. Clinging to tactics used in WWI, caused massive losses in  terrain that favoured the mobile, the hull down and the first to shoot!

On February 12, 1941 the winning march of the British armoured corps stopped in El-Agheila. It had been a remarkable cavalcade which had kicked-off, in less than four months, the Italians from the Cyrenaica … but the Fate was planning a nasty trick on the British hopes.

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On the same day, in Tripoli, Rommel the German general was starting to warm the engines of the Afrika Korps panzers. 

Battle of Buariki: Opening Moves

Welcome back to our play through of a scenario from an upcoming game in the Lock ‘n Load lineup. Here is a shot so that you can pick up right where we left off. Both sides have deployed and we’re ready for the start of the scenario. I should note that I mistakenly did not account for marshes as degrading terrain for these first few moves.

Deployment from our previous installment.

Note: All components seen are playtest material, and have been poorly constructed and put together by yours truly, so they do not represent what the final game will look like.

Continue reading “Battle of Buariki: Opening Moves”