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Panzer Grenadier: Afrika Korps» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Scenario 50. Fort Capuzzo AAR (Solo) rss

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Ryan Powers
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I hate to do a session report of a scenario that just got a report, but I'm recently embarked playing through them chronologically. And despite being at the end of the book, Scenario 50 is the first one.

For those who want to arrange them in order, I've submitted an excel spreadsheet to the files section.

This has way more pictures than this scenario deserves, and the quality is erratic. One of the goals this time around was to work out some systems for dealing with large #s of pictures. SO I took a pile, even though the scenario really doesn't warrant it. I also learned that my wonderful table, which earlier this year was great for taking pictures, now gets some pretty harsh glare with the sun lower in the sky like it is now. A curtain or the like is definitely in order.

With all that out of the way, let's begin.

The Italians don't get much to work with, 4 reduced platoon, a reduced HMG platoon, a 65mm gun, 2 leaders and a truck. With that they have to hold off a much superior British force of a (not reduced) company with tank support and ample leadership.

The Italians do have some trenches however to help them hold, and the British player has to work the Italians out of the trenches while losing at most one step. The British are also operating under a 16 turn (4 hour) deadline.

With that in min,d the Italian setup was as follows. One platoon of infantry in each of the trenches, the HMG platoon in the northern northern trench, the 65mm gun in the center (along with their Capitano) and the final platoon, the truck, and the Tenente Behind the trench lines. The basic plan was to use the Tenente + the truck as a spotter to hopefully land some bombardment hits on the British transports and their infantry. The odds were low, but even forcing one platoon to lose some time regrouping would be valuable as the rest would either have to wait, or attack understrength. The non-entrenched infantry platoon was to fill in against the expected attack once it materialized.

The British start mounted in transports off the East side of the Board. They have a road that allows quick access to the fort, some wire blocking some other routes, and a hill to potentially screen their activities to the north. The British plan is essentially to harass the 65mm gun and HMGs until the infantry can get into place to storm the trenches.

Setup:


Turn 1. 0730 June 14th, 1940

The British A9 tanks and the Bren Carrier carrying a platoon of infantry and the captain move up the road as far as they can. With the trucks advancing more cautiosly.

The Italian Tenente takes off in the truck to begin trying to hunt British trucks and infantry, and the Italian reserve infantry unit begins to dig in. This is most likely pointless, as they will likely move, but it doesn't hurt.

Thus the situation after the first 15 minutes looks like this:


Turn 2, 0745

The British continue to advance along the road, The armored vehicles (tank + Bren carrier) pull up just short of 65mm Anti-tank range, but in range so that they can fire on the gun and the Italian HMG crews. The British HMGs and their trucks pull just south of the armored transports and unload, the HMG can fire at the 65mm gun hex, but not the Italian HMGs. They are only in range of bombardment from the gun, no direct fire. The remaining two platoons in trucks pull south of the HMG team, but as it involves offroad movement, do not have the movement available to unload. This almost proves deadly.



The Italian Capitano knows when opportunity is knocking, and orders the gun to open fire on the congested hex with two full platoons still loaded in their trucks. [I hadn't realized until I was done moving as the British that there was an extra column shift for loaded trucks]. The Bombardment begins to fall among the trucks and it takes every bit of will the British officers have to maintain control. [both leaders passed, and their both infantry platoons only passed due to the leader's bonus] With the trucks and infantry already in close the Tenente is recalled and he and the reserve platoon take positions in the southern trenches.



After 2 turns:



Turn 3, 0800

The British HMG, having finished setting up, begins to fire on the gun emplacements in the trenches, trying to take the heat off their company mates still in trucks. Their fire is tellingly accurate, and it disrupts not only the gun, but the infantry platoon. And completely demoralizes the Italian Capitano directing the artillery fire.



With the gun at least temporarily neutered, the armored vehicles turn their fire on the Italian machine gun positions, but achieve no real results. While the guns are suppressed, it was also time for trucks and their infantry cargo to close the gap. The original goal of walking from this point is scrapped and the trucks hit the gas while the fire of the guns is suppressed. Both unload their infantry near the trench lines.





The Italian HMG fire at the closest British Infantry. [This was illegal as it traced through Italian units] but achieved no results. The Tenente ordered the platoons in his section of trenches to open fire at thee newly dismounted British, but they too achieved no success. Doubtless overwhelmed by the speed of the British advance. The Capitano did manage to bring himself more or less under control after his initial shock, but the gun and infantry platoon remained in disarray.

After turn 3:



Turn 4 0815

The British HMGs continued their deadly fire, mounting enough casualties in the gun crews to make the 65mm guns next to useless. Having spotted the leader of the fort and his staff, the armored vehicles changed fire from the Italian HMG to the hex that the British machine gunners just hit. The extra fire caused the Capitano to again cower in fear instead of leading his troops.



The souther two British infantry teams stormed the souther trench works, sending their trucks back up the road and out of the fray.



The defenses of the Italians hold, and a British platoon is shaken upon seeing it's sergeant's cowardice. The Italian Tenente however is also shaken by the combat swarming towards his trench.



After turn 4:



Turn 5, 0845

One of the British Lieutenants manages to get his sergeant back under control, though he and the platoon are still shaken.

Seeing the plight to the south, and with the nearby defenses in disarray, the HMG platoon mounts its trucks and advances to just short of the trench lines.



The Bren Carrier and moves to reinforce the now exposed HMGs and dismounts its infantry nearby. Italian HMG fire [against the rules] is ineffective against this British concentration.

The remaining British Lieutenant in the southern trenches leads the good order platoon against the Italian defenders once again. Neither side accomplishes much of anything, and the Lieutenant has to pull back again.

Meanwhile, the Capitano, seeing the forces arrayed just beyond his trenches snaps out of it. It's now or never! [Rolled snakeyes on recovery, allowing him to skip past disrupted and go straight to good order]

After turn 5:



Turn 6, 0845

The rally attempts continue for the British in thee southern trench area, and order is completely restored. To keep pressure off the Southern soldiers, the Captain sends the HMGs to join them. But the stalemate remained, with no side gaining ground.



Meanwhile the Captain himself led the infantry (and the Bren carrier) into the central trenches.



This attack wreaked havoc among the Italians, completely demoralizing the men, and again shaking the Capitano's nerve.



And if that wasn't enough, the tank platoon conducted an assault of the same trenches form the other side, causing more panic by the Italian leadership.



This was more than the Capitano could take [rolled 12 on the recovery], and he deserted his men. Strangely enough, devoid of the constant wavering by their superior officer, the rank and file found at least some more reserves of will to fight on.



His loss while not necessarily detrimental to Italian morale still did cause confusion and chaos at time when it could least be afforded. in teh confusion, the Italian HMGs managed to gett off some shots at some British trucks, and even land a few hits, but the trucks continued down the road.

End of turn 6:



Turn 7, 0900
The british captain led his troops on the final assault for the central trenches,



eliminating the last resistance in that sector.



The Offensive was underway again in the southern trenches, and wiht the infantry platoons both working together again, and with HMG support, one of the Italian platoons was eliminated, and the other demoralized.



Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the Tenente abandoned his demoralized troops to go lead the defenses in the remaining (northern) trenches. And the British trucks scooted a bit farther along the road to get out of range of the HMGs, who now that the Italians in the central trenches were no longer an issue, opened fire on the nearby British, to no effect. The trenches the British now occupied provided more than enough protection.

After turn 7:


Turn 8, 0915

With the Tenente gone, and the infantry demoralized, it was all mopping up in the south. Even so they refused to surrender and had to be cleared from the trenches by assault.



The British men and vehicles in the central sector, under the command of the Captain, moved on to the final defensive positions still in Italian hands.



The devastating assault shattered the cohesion of the Italian defenses[demoralizing both units and the Tenente] but still they fought on.



The Tenete did manage to more or less pull himself together, as did some of the HMG crews.

End of turn 8:



Turn 9, 0930

Perhaps the British Captain was overconfident in his demands for surrender, for the Italians fought on. ANd not only that, managed to shake the morale of the Bren carrier crews, and the infantry platoon.



After the assault petered out, the Tenente even got enough of a breather to get himself the rest of the way under control. The British troops in the southern trenches moved up to thee central ones to provide assistance as needed.

End of turn 9:


Turn 10, 0945

Further attempts to get the Italians to surrender failed like the rest, and the disrupted units moved out of the trenchworks taking the Italian trucks [Pretty sure this is allowed as it's a move and not assault if the trucks are unarmed. Not really important in this game anyhow]. An infantry platoon and some HMGs form the central trenches moved up to assist the Captain, and the assault was on again.



The only real result was the Tenente being disrupted again.

End turn 10:


Turn 11, 1000
A final call for surrender was issued, and failing, the assualt was resumed. The remaining Italian infantry and machine gunners were eliminated, and their Tenente surrendered to the British, having nothing left to defent with.



Conclusion
The quick strike against the 65mm gun really set the tone for this scenario. Both sides were scrambling to adjust plans to the newly accelerated timetable.

As the British are the ones with a timer, speeding it up definitely helped them. But the Italians outright refusal to surrender, after demand after demand after demand kept the timer ticking. That long holdout at the end could have been devastating had the beginning phases not progressed so swiftly.

With the gun gone, the Italian chances dwindled quickly. In hindsight, once that had occurred, I perhaps should have abandoned one trench hex to reinforce the others. As it turned out the Italians proved stunning resilient in their trenches, and maybe this would have bought more time

[EDIT: Added the following:]
Stay tuned for Scenario 15: D'Avanzo Raggruppamento
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David Murray
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Thanks for posting - looks tough on the Italians.

Great report, don't worry about lots of photos they really help your narrative along. Haven't taken this game out for a while - will have a look through this weekend, choose a scenario and get a buddy to give it a whirl.
 
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Ryan Powers
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TrotskyTrotsky wrote:
Thanks for posting - looks tough on the Italians.


It is very tough on the Italians. The only thing they really have going for them is the short time limit.

The gun being neutralized early offset that advantage, but the stubborn (and surprising) refusals to surrender almost won the day for them. Even if the "win" would really just have been the fort falling a turn or two after the end of the scenario.
 
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George Haberberger
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I find it annoying that AP's mixed up the scenarios, I would have been happier if they were chronological.

Nice writeup and good pictures, I don't think the Italians have much of a chance without a lucky artillery shot.

My next one may be the next one chronologically, the small armored car engagement. I don't have the space to leave a big scenario up for days, so I have to stick with small.
 
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Ryan Powers
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GeorgeHa wrote:
I find it annoying that AP's mixed up the scenarios, I would have been happier if they were chronological.



Yep. Their sees to be no logical arrangement.

They're not chronological, they're not smallest to biggest, they're not simplest to most complicated, they're not alphabetical...

Like I mentioned above, I've submitted a spreadsheet with the scenario names/numbers/dates to the files section. Makes it easy to rearrange them chronologically. But it's still pending.
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Enrique Aynat Eknes
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Very good AAR. Thanks.
 
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Ryan Powers
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Just adding a note here to say the Excel File with Scenarios/dates/etc has been accepted.
 
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Ryan Powers
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I haven't forgotten the next report. I'm rearranging some of my gaming area to make it easier to do these. Right now the gaming table is too full, and I end up having to do these on the dining room table. makes it hard to do it right as I can't take as much time, and the pictures and such make even small scenarios time intensive.
 
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