Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2nd Alamein 70th Anniversary




On October 27, 2012, we got together at Bob's house for a big game in observance of the 70th anniversary of 2nd Battle of El Alamein.  This battle saw the Desert Fox's Afrika Korps smashed and the Italian elite divisions essentially destroyed.  On D+4 October 27, 1942, the Axis forces launched a counterattack on Point "Snipe" involving the 15th Panzer division and the Italian Littorio armored division.  The Point was held by 2nd Battalion  The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) and relievd by 24th Armoured brigade.   More information can be found here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_El_Alamein

Our scenario involved approximately a Flames of War battle using the North Africa book, at approximately 3,750 points per side.  The British 2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade had 1,750 points of dug in troops to defend Point Snipe, using the Motor Rifle list.  The object of the game was for the Axis to seize Point Snipe, and for the Allies to break the Axis' morale.  2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade was exempt from company morale checks and would fight to the end.  The attack on Point Snipe was led by 2,000 points of the German 15th Panzer division German panzers.  After 3 turns, the 1,750 points of Littorio reinforcements would arrive to assist 15th Panzer.  One turn later, 2,000 points of 24th Armoured brigade units would ride to the rescue of Point Snipe.

To simulate the confusion of the dawn battle, all the German armor around Snipe started pinned and unable to move unless the platoon passed a motivation check.  In the opening two turns most of the German armro could not get their act together.

Disrupted German tanks can't recover.  

Snipe stands surrounded.

More disrupted German armor.  

Snipe viewed from the Axis board edge.  6-pdr guns bristle from every corner.  In the early turns, they would inflict several losses on the disorganized Germans.  

Tommy's eye view.

German panzers finally move!

Panzer Kapitan Bill consults his notes.

Littorio arrives in force.

DAK infantry advance with Italian armor.


Pz IIs support the assault.  

2nd Bn, The Rifle Brigade at Snipe stands strong.

"Crikey, sir! It must be every Eyetie tank in Africa!"

Littorio tanks prepare to assault supported by PzIV Specials.

The charge goes in!  "Avanti Savoia!"


But the British AT rifles and sticky bombs put paid to Mussolini's carristi!

But more carri are coming!  Viva Italia!

After a bloody struggle, Littorio tanks clear Tommy from one ridge of Snipe.

Here come the cavalry, lads!

Allied tanks are on the march.
                          Cruisers lead the way supported by a generous number of Sherman tanks.

German armor suffers from 6-pdr fire near Snipe.

British air power fails to knock out the Italian heavy AA guns.  More wrecked Jerry tanks litter the battlefield.

Allied armor advances!

But Italian heavy AT is waiting!  They inflict losses on the Sherman platoons at long range.  

 As the fighting at Snipe gets desperate, the Bren carriers charge!  Tally Ho!  Brens would also later dispatch the Lancia 90mm guns.

 Allied armor floods into the Snipe depression to contest the objective.  Italian and British tanks trade shots at point blank range.

 Very cheeky Bren carriers move to flank the L6/40 light tanks.

Pennants fly as the Shermans advance, firing on the move.

After heavy losses, the 15th Panzer fail their Company motivation check, leaving the Italians to fight on alone!

 The wrecks of British and Italian tanks smoke as the battle rages.  The British infantry is almost gone.  British armor is down to 4 platoons out of of 7, and the Italian forces also have 4 platoons of 7 remaining! 

 In the Snipe scrum, the Littorio finish off the last Sherman of the 4th platoon in a vicious close quarters struggle, prompting a company morale check for the 24th Armoured!  The British 24th Armoured fails their company motivation check and the day belongs to the Axis!  

In the end, after about 10 turns and a solid 4 hours of play, the Allies lost almost all the infantry defenders of Snipe (as happened in real life) but also the 24th Armoured relief force.  The 15th Panzer suffered heavy losses, until their few remaining troops fled the field.  Yet, their sacrifice allowed the Littorio division to seize victory after losing over 50% of their tanks and a total of 3 platoons.  The result here was a change from history, but success at Snipe would have been unlikely to turn the tide of 2nd Alamein as a whole.  A tactical victory for the axis and a good game had by all.