Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Desert Campaign Game 2 - Jock Column vs Supply Convoy (Mid November 1940)

Game 2  - Jock Column vs Supply Convoy (Mid November 1940)
 (British harass the Italian near Sidi Barrini)
SCENARIOBritish Scenario
The After the Battle of Sollum on 15 September 1940 the Italians pressed into Egypt, advancing 60 miles in three days. Halting at Sidi Barrani, the Italians dug in to await supplies and reinforcements. These are slow arriving as the Royal Navy had increased its presence in the Mediterranean and was intercepting Italian supply ships. The British are planning to exploit the Italian’s lack of mobility and are preparations for an attack are underway.
In the meantime the British harass the Italians with a new tactic of using mixed formations called Jock columns, named after an officer who was a superb exponent of the tactic and may have conceived it originally, Lieutenant Colonel "Jock" Campbell. A Jock column normally consisted of a single motorised company of infantry, a battery of field guns, support weapons and some armour or armoured cars.
You are in command of such a Jock column that has been sent to disrupt Italian communications and supply. The attack must be short and sharp as dallying may call the Italian airforce on your head and you have no air support.
British Victory Conditions
Shared Objective 1 – destroy the supply convoy (66% +)
Common Objective 2 – Maintain your forces for future operation < 33% losses.
Failure is an option – loose both of the brand new 25 pdrs and you lose irrespective of whatever else happens.

Italian Scenario
After the victories in September the glorious 10th Italian Army has advanced 60 miles to Sidi Barrani and dug in to wait for reinforcements and supplies, which are taking longer than hoped due to the Royal Navy attacking our convoys.
 The Italian army has built 6 fortified camps in front of Sidi Barrani and are in a strong position to hold off the British forces.  The desperate British are sending their Armoured Cars out into the desert and attacking our supply lines, they have some limited success in shooting up a few supply trucks delivering the essential supplies to these camps.  You are in command of the forces that will make sure they won’t interfere with the convoy you are defending, the supplies must get through.
 The Convoy is commanded by a Supply Major who is nervous about attacks as his previous convoy was largely destroyed after the escorting AB41s went to investigate a dust cloud. He is using his rank to force you to keep all your forces within 6” of the convoy.  If the Tommies in their ancient armoured cars are unwise enough to attack your convoy you will be able to act independently and also take control of the convoy to achieve your objectives.
Italian Victory Conditions and Rules
Shared orders get 50% of supply trucks through to the other end of the board.
Command 1 orders – Your commander is furious that British Armoured Cars are making him look bad. If you can destroy 50% of the British Armoured Cars you will almost certainly get the vacant Captaincy in the Regiment.
Command 2 orders – One of the trucks which you can choose before the game contains Colonel Camprizzi’s personal supplies. He has told you in no uncertain terms that if this truck doesn’t get through you will be leading a penal squad of colonial troops on latrine digging duty on a permanent basis.
Additional Information
If you are attacked you can put out a call for air support and after a random number of turns (10+) the Regia Aeronautica will come to your aid. But you are desperately short of radios and you only have 3 which can call in the air support once it arrives, Infantry Commander, L33 commander and the convoy commander in his car. If all 3 of these are destroyed you can not call in air support. If your commander is killed and replaced the replacement does not come with a radio.


ForcesItalian Order of Battle
The Convoy
10 Trucks
1 Fiat 500 Car

Command 1
Light Tank Company (Exp) 6 * L33 (4 *MG + 2 *20mm) (Inc Commander)
1 * L33 FlameTank
1 AB40 Autoblinda Armoured Car

Command 2
Bersaglieri Motorised Co. (Exp)
1 Commander
1 20mm AT
8 Bersaglieri
8mm Breda 37 MMG
45mm Brixia Mortar
1 Model 13 Infantry Gun
1 Car

Motorcycle Scout Platoon (Exp)
1 Commander
1 Motorcycle
3 Motorcycle

British Order of Battle
A Coy, 1st Btn, South Staffordshire Regiment (Exp)
10 Infantry, 3 with Boyes AT Rifle ,
2 Bren Gunners,
2” mortar,

3 Universal Carriers (take 2 Troops)
2 Bedford 3 Ton Trucks.

Support 2lb AT Gun towed by Universal Carrier (Exp)
Elements from 4th RHA & Support
2 * 25lb guns towed by Morris Tractors (Exp)
1 * FOO
1 40 mm Bofors AA towed by Morris 15 CWT truck

Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron from 11th Hussars
2 Rolls Royce Armoured Car (Elite)
2 Morris CS9 Armoured Car (Vet)
1 Vickers Light Tank (Exp)
Dingo Armoured Car (Vet)

How it played outThe 25 lbers and 2 lb At gun open up on the convoy once it reached the middle of the board and some of the trucks are immediately disordered.  The Italians defenders respond and the 2lb AT gun is suppressed, it does seem very exposed with only it's Universal Carrier for support.  The Bofor AA gun opens fire and takes out a motorcycle and continues to be one of the most effective British weapons throughout the game.
In the next turn the 25lbers have some success and 2 trucks are destroyed, meanwhile some L33 tankettes and some of the Bersaglieri overrun the British positions near the road.
In Turn 3 the Rolls Royce Armoured cars attack the convoy from the flank and some L33s respond.  The Italians close assault and destroy the 2lb AT gun.
Over the next couple of turns there is confused combat as the British Armoured Cars and Bren carriers assault the convoy resulting in losses on both sides.  The Autoblinda Armoured car makes a solo sortie against the British infantry dug in on the hill and is destroyed while taking out the British Mortar.
The Italians try a mass attack against the remaining Rolls Royce but the wily desert veterans of the 11th Hussars turn the tables and see off the Italian horde.
At this stage the Italians recognise that they are not going to get the convoy through and having suffered nearly 50% losses to the convoy and heavy losses to the light tank company they withdraw in good order.
The British belatedly realise that time is up and start to load up into their transport to retire into the desert just as the Regia Aeronautica arrives in the form of a  Fiat CR-42 which in the final act of the game shoots up the last Rolls Royce armoured car.
The game is a marginal victory to the Italians as even though the Italians failed to get the convoy through, the British have suffered heavy losses and did not inflict enough losses on the convoy.


The Italian Convoy approaches the ambush site.

The Italians quickly overwhelm the British positions near the road.

British Armoured Cars move to attack and Italian L33 tankettes defend the convoy as the 25lbers continue to shell the trucks..

A Rolls Royce Armoured car harries the convoy

The view back towards the convoy showing the British positions around the ridge and the light tank and armoured cars holding the road.

The Italians try to overwhelm the valiant 11th Hussars in their ancient Rolls but are beaten off.

The Convoy withdraws past the burning wrecks of the fallen

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