Well EDIT…Double Edit. Looks like we might reconvene~ Next Wednesday which would be groovy!
Looks like this campaign is finishing at turn four which is a bummer. We were having fun. Never thought I’d want lock down to continue! LOL.
Any way we are done. So here is or was my thinking about the scenario in Brazen Chariots.
The BCS title in the Battalion Combat Series represents a swirling knife fight of tanks battles, infantry assaults and all round mayhem. Exactly where I wanna be as a gamer. I’m hoping to solidify my understanding of the BCS mechanics and improve on the application of tactics to the system.
So I thought it might be fun now that we are two turns into the experience to start looking at the map, the goals and objectives of each side and just a little on what has transpired and could well come to be! I’ve also delayed posting this until such time as the Commonwealth player cant benefit from my assessment of his plans.
Firstly the Victory Conditions for the 5.7 campaign.
At start the Axis have Tobruk invested and have been at siege, the Aussies there of course doing the yeoman’s work..[damn he is biased! ] of defending the battered port.
Meanwhile on the right side of the map the Germans have Bardia under control and have setup defences there, as well as extensive mining and wiring of a line that goes inland from the main highway and of course Hell Fire Pass. There is a lot of ground between those two places. It s open, tracked and a challenge to manage supply and movement on.
The Allies job is simple, for an auto victory they just need to secure a clear road link from Tobruk, through to a southern edge supply hex. No enemy units or eZOCs on it. Simple…sort of. Now for the Axis, they need to prevent that AND keep control of Bardia. Ok.. Easy.
We just got to plop a dude down last turn right?…..or something. But the interesting thing is this Allied Victory Condition is AUTOMATIC! A Sudden death situation. So this means really what the Axis must do is keep at least one , two or three units in place to prevent a sudden death loss. The Axis must also keep control of Bardia.
The green dotted paths are possible routes to secure a clear channel from Tobruk to a southern Supply edge. Obviously the CEnter right is another but it is a roundabout way to go heading East then cutting back South West. It is however an option to monitor.
The intersections are the critical points in those chains. Near Tobruk Kings Cross is the first., and we can likely safely assume we will not be able to secure or control that area given the density of 70th Division, despite their low ratings [3’s] . Next down are El Adem and Sidi Rezegh, which are roughly paraellel. These two locations have the high likelihood of seeing a lot of action. If possible, we want to hold these locations or at least deny them for as long as possible at as great a great cost as possible.
Further South the other cross roads will potentially stay in Allied hands if they are garrisioned or protected and subject to the options shared below we need to be prepared to conduct attacks at some or all of these in the late game. Other routes as offshoots from these primaries also exist but are not marked.
In fact now that I look at it. There are only three primary locations that matter. Well possibly four!
Number one -El Adem as it feeds out of Tobruk, and we can safely assume we will not have a chance to block Kings Cross. This roadway locks Southern and Eastern traffic. El Adem is going to be nigh on impossible to hold with the 2 Armoured formations bearing down on us. they have already creamed Ariete. So reinforcement of that location is critical. Some units come on later in gmae that might be able to help with that , otherwise we will need to use the Afrika Korp formation.
Number 2 is Sidi Azeiz as it allows the feed from El Adem to go south if the direct run from El Adem is not an option. Then number 3, Bardia itself blocking the northern most route to the south through it. Location two, I think even one Panzer formation might be able to hold that IF the Allies only use say one of the Kiwi formations. But if he brings armour and one or more of the larger multi step infantry groups, we are going to be hard pressed to hold location 2.
Now forces enter during the campaign and make for some fun. All Allied reinforcements come in on the Southern Map or East of the fortified lines. While the Germans have staggered arrivals from the West. On the 23rd, 24th of Nov. As we are in the 20th of November turn we have already seen the mid quality effectiveness rating NZ and Sth Africans arrive. The Kiwis are rated 4 [pretty tough buggers, while the Sth Africans are just 3’s. Additional Sth Africans arrive late game around December 2nd, and then the 11/4 Indians return after being off map for the 22nd.
The Germans mainly receive some weak Armoured Cav units which maybe can run interference or at least get behind the Allies and cause some supply issues in their rear in the south. Then the Trieste Mot Inf arrive and they have both mobility AND some punch being 4 rated AR. But no armour.
Note that the 3 green circles running West to East are important also. This sort of presents an either or strategy. Either fcus on teh Red circles or default to the Green. I chose the Red ones as they are closer to my supply lines.
Historically the push to relive Tobruk did not go well and was thwarted. But the N.Z. forces and others did penetrate while at the same time the 70th Division attempt to break out.
Losses were high on both sides.
Given that the allied player has drifted a tad off the historical we have some other choices. He has taken Spt and part of 4th Armoured Bde and headed north.
It was at that point where the Allies decided not to deeply pursue the weaker Ariete division with ‘everything’ that I decided to counter attack in the above image. This has the Commonwealth isolated and they will lose steps next turn. Potentially reducing them to combat ineffective by the end of turn 3. This would free up 21st Pzr for other actions. You can see an AAR on this already posted HERE.
Halfaya pass fell quickly! Which really surprised me. So I’m wondering what to do there… but lets come back to that.
Options and Issues
22nd Armoured is alone on one road chasing the Ariete and will run into the Pavia Division which will unlock them if they attack it to clear the road to Tobruk. 22nd could team up with 7th Armoured and cause problems for Ariete. How long could Ariete hold against both of those formations? Probably not long if he got a 1-2 punch in, with both of his formations. Which would then clear the way for him to advance on Tobruk and break out the enemy there. Or will he take some time and try and fight 15th Panzer first?
As I look at it, if the locked up Italians can hold until the reinforcements arrive, they combined could threaten enough of the rear of the 22nd and the 7th to give him pause. He might then unlock his Tobruk forces, and allow me to move a little. IF the RECAM & Trieste are enough to at least slow down the Brits we might have a chance to do a “race to the wire” from a different angle!
The first Option: Reinforce 21st Pzr with the 15th, and smash both formations [Support & 4th Arm Bde] in the rear of our defences. Then carry on to attack the large N.Z force OR the Sth Africans, by going around as Rommel did or attacking the forces as they try and come through the Halfaya Pass!?
option 2 reinforce 21st with 15th Panzer as above. But instead of carrying through, we pivot and attack 7th Armoured then 22nd.
Bringing two panzer formations to bear against his one at a time. Like so:
Lets assume it takes a turn or two to finish of the Spt group, plus 2 turns for the 15th to get into action against the 4th. Another to break them. Say four turns. That puts us at the 24th. This is about the same time as the Axis Trieste arrives and RECAM would be on map as of the 23rd. That might feel like a lot of pressure for the Commonwealth forces.
What will the Sth Africans, Kiwis and Indians be doing at this time? Well the Indians are committed to attacking the fortifications. I am guessing the Kiwis might go around the defences, and that could cause them to get involved with the 15th and 21st… that would be sub optimal for the Axis. This is where we need to revisit Bach and the Hell Fire pass. I think they need to counter attack the Indians, and push them out of the Pass. With the goal being to draw the Kiwis into battle there.
The two armoured formations of the Germans, could potentially drive South, and keep going. With one of them attempting to keep a MSR [supply line] open and the other occupying the two road junctions above. Which would be the ‘reaching’ strategy, focusing on the green circles in our early graphic. This looks and sounds difficult to manage with Kiwis on the right, and amour on the left and a LONG supply tail. Halfaya Pass would also have to be maintained no matter what.
Would one or both of the Commonwealth armoured brigades advancing on Tobruk about face and try and trap me? Or would the need to clear the Route from South to Tobruk outweigh the possible loss of units? So far he seems set on clearing the road through the wire where my pathetic Savona division elements are located…:(. But at least this ties up the Kiwis and Indians a while. Thus leaving his armor to fight its way through to Tobruk. the Support and 22nd Armoured look exposed alone on the road for him….
I think in the 20th of November turn we will see an indication of his intent when he activates the 7th Arm – Mid map. If he pivots and either heads for 15th or 21st OR comes up the road towards Sidi Regezh that could forestall my plan or at worst delay it? As we do not want the DAK dump at risk or the Sidi junction cleared. But if just one Brigade advances, that might open up a chance to do some other attacking
This game is 21 turns long. On the whole the Axis Germans units that are armour tend to have 6 steps versus the Commonwealth who usually have 4. The Allies have often more units per formation though. On the Infantry side both are relatively equivalent with lower quality units generally having more steps. I don’t know that the Axis can go toe to toe with the Allies 1v1 , but if they are smart I think they can beat any single formation in a 2:1 formations scale fight. If the Germans can knock out the Allied armour early, this will allow the Italians to turtle on key transit points and keep the German armour out of range, until they need to engage threats. Lets see what unfolds across the rest of the 20th and onwards!