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Subject: Kasserine campaign, 14 AM - 16 PM rss

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Miikka Rytty
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This is a session report from a solo play of campaign scenario. I played it during the last spring. Today I found the notes I took while playing the game, so here is the session report.

The German attack with 10th and 21st Pz division start in south against Sidi bou Zidi and its defenders. Preliminary airstrikes are successful and they completely destroyes US artillery in the area. The German KGs cut thru US defenses and US forces have to withdraw to defend the vital crossroads. The units in mountain tops are left behind. They would have never made it back to the own lines and they force German infantry and artillery to stay behind for a while.

Althought yanks have laid mines into crossroad area, the forces of 21st Pz division succesfully take the crossroad in hex 5423. Another US strongpoint is in the crossroad hex 5223. That one is almost completely cut off from Sbeitla and thus that vanguard position had to be abandoned. Also a small German force manages to cross Oued Hadje and thus the Allied defence has to abandon the river line and concentrate to defend the crossroad in hex 5418. The only bright side for the Allied side is that Axis airstrikes this time are not effective and the battle for Dj. Lessouda attritions both sides.

The dawn starts with some Allied success. US tanks are able to hold their ground in a battle for the hex 5418 and thus first time stopping the 21st Pz division which have been the spearhead of Axis attack in both directions (toward Sbeitla and Hadjeb el Aioun). This causes a major operational decision. 21st Pz. division is completely shifted toward Sbeitla and 10th Pz. division which have been mopping up cut off American units in the crossroad area will take the responsibility for taking Hadjeb el Aioun. To help this northern move, parts of KG Buhse will leave the defense of Fondouk and take part the attack toward Habjeb. The plan is to roll composite American and French forces from the rear after the fall of Habjeb. In order to keep KG Buhse in place US forces start an attack against Fondouk.

The outer defense rings of Sbeitla is pierced by the rest of 21st Pz division. Luftwaffe was decisive in this battle. Their airstrikes were able to eliminate key armoured formations and distrup US artilliry so they could not take part in the battle int he critical moment.

The mopping up operation near Sidi bou Zidi moves on when Germans succesfully take Dj. Garet Hadid and Dj. Lessouda, but Dj. Kaira still holds on for an additional day.

The battle for Sbeitla continues and Luftwaffe proves its worth again when they succesfully wipe out US artillery formations. Thus 21st pz divisions pushes its way thru the new ad hoc defensive ring and arrives next next to the village itself. The situation seems critical, but US reinforcements arrives at the latest hour in order to form a credible line again. Especially new artillery units seems to be more than needed after the heavy casualties.

In northern sector the 10th Panzer fight their way to the gates of Hadjeb el Aioun. The elements of KG Buhse take Dj. Henudi and are thus able to help 10th Panzer.

Whatever hopes US forces got because of their reinforcements got shattered when 21st Panzer rolls the US defenses north of Sbeitla, freely overruns most of US artillery and finally cuts the roads to Kasserine and Sbiba. This signals the end of the battle for Sbeitla, and yanks retreats everything they got while slow moving units have to be left behind.

In north 10 Pz division take Hadjoun in a massive assault. The US and French forces build a defensive line behind Oued Hadjeb.

Finally, the valiant defense for Dj Ksaira fell near Sidi bou Zidi. The passes leading to Thala and Tebessa are being fortified.

In the end of the turn the VP situation is: 13 for losses, 4 for Hadjeb and 8 for Sidi bou Zidi.

A disaster strikes in north. 10 Pz division overruns the US defense near the crossroad in hex 5610. Thus it flanks Allied defenses behind Oued Hadjeb and freely roams behind them destroying artillery units and HQs. In the end the majority of Allied forces in this area is cut off and only a few funny unit is able to escape.

In Sbeitla, US forces sustain terrible losses when 21st Pz divisions tries to take the town, but the defense hold so far. A couple of battalions are able escape from the motti when Germans fully concentrate on the assault against the town.

I had the game in a room where my girlfriend had her wardrope. One morning she has accidently knocked the map which resulted in a massive "earthquake". The counters mingled all over the board and there was no way to salvage the situation. I had to stop the game, which was unfortunately since the situation was very interesting. I suspect that the Axis side was doing very well. Althought Sbeitla would have fallen in a turn or two, the tanks of 21st Pz divisions had already suffered some serious casualties and the critical decision where to drive next was to be made. However the game might have been decided in the north. The collapse of the northern front was pretty complete and after the mopping up which would have not taken long, 10th pz division would have been free to drive against Sbiba or whatever it wanted, which would have probably fallen.

I had fun playing this. The system is pretty clear and offers small meaningful tactical decisions to be made. It also offers some great operational choises. Especially I like how armoured formations (sespecially the german armoured divisions) have the chance to conduct several attacks in one turn and thus completely shatter even a pretty well prepared position. Thus keeping reserves (especially mobile reserves) could help a lot. However, the situation during the first days is pretty grim for Allied side, and there aren't really enough units to have reserves for the whole line. I would have liked to see how the Allied line would have hold when defending a pass where a better line could have been formed with proper reserves. The another thing I liked a lot, was the ability to distrupt enemy forces with airstrikes and thus keeping the enemy artillery quiet during the decive battle. The possible DRM-modifier seemed a really small reward compared to this. The supply strikes I didn't find pretty useful, since with distruptive strikes were "sure" to take out that key unit for a time if succesful and usually they had a chance to inflict actual damage. However, a couple of times US side used supply strikes for a some useful effect that kept at least some units out of the action.
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Mark Mokszycki
United States
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Nice AAR! Thanks for posting.

Even Rommel is no match for the cunning mind of "Girlfriend."
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