Thursday 20 September 2018

Op Battleaxe - Game 4: British Attack on Fort Capuzzo

The second turn of the Operation Battleaxe Campaign saw the British launch three attacks, on Point 208. on Fort Capuzzo, and on Musaid. For Game 4 of the campaign we played the British attack Fort Capuzzo with the 7 RTR Group.

The Germans had not been idle however: Point 206 had fallen and Rommel, now assured that a major British attack was underway, has released the Panzer units to counter British moves. A Panzer Battalion has moved to reinforce the motley defenders in the Ft. Capuzzo territory.

Fort Capuzzo: the German left.

The German right.

British Vickers light tanks scout ahead, intent on causing mischief.

A Matilda and some infantry probe forward.

The Vickers round the corner of the tower and spray MG fire, inflicting a casualty on the German HMG. The Germans respond with a moving PaK38 shot with KO's a Vickers, and an AT Rifle shot (two men by the wall) which hits but fails to damage the second Vickers.

Clearly sensing the danger they are in, the second Vickers rolls a BTCOD test and promptly guns-down the AT Rifle team with one burst and inflicts a casualty on the PaK38 with the second.

On the British right, more Matildas trundle forward but do little damage.

The Vickers lets rip once more, eliminating the PaK38! Infantry race forward in support.

The re-deployed PaK36 exchanges fire with the lead Matilda and successfully immobilises and pins it with a luck shot.

The Vickers prepares to enter the fort, while the German HMG has just evacuated to the rear of the fort, straight into a 25-pounder shell...

With infantry now in support, the Vickers prepares to move forward but is pinned by small-arms fire...

...and the Panzers have arrived! But they only hit the Vickers once, and the armour somehow holds!

With their tank pinned, the two lead sections both launch close assaults into the fort...the first kills two men from the German Forward HQ, but crucially one man survives! The second assault eliminates the German LMG team, but with heavy losses: the British section takes their wounded and withdraws.

On the right, Matildas still exchanged fire with the PaK36, successfully eliminating it,
then killing one man on the PaK38 and pinning it.

Panzers Marsch! A platoon of five Panzer III G arrives to stabilise the line.

Matildas lead,with Carriers coming up behind and infantry on foot following: but the advance is glacial as British reserves have come on very slowly. Sporadic German artillery fire pins a few things.

A second wave of attackers, lead by a Matilda troop, advances on the British right.

Panzer III Gs....hide. For now.

The pinned Vickers is finally KO'd by the Panzer IIIs, who then re-deploy behind the fort.

The German FHQ, down to one man, decides to re-locate to the rear of the fort, but unfortunately walks into a 25-pounder stonk which eliminates him and a Panzer III!

The Germans draw two chits for the FHQ...both Beyond the Call of Duty chits! Played on the PaK38, their effect is mediocre as they only manage to pin an advancing Matilda.

With one Matilda pinned and another immobilised and pinned, the Panzer IIIs move to engage, successfully rolling equal on the nearest Matilda: Pinned, followed by a roll of 1 sees the crew fail morale and abandon it! A Panzer III is then Immobilised by a Breakdown chit.

One Matilda successfully enters the fort, but is suppressed by small-arms fire.

The other moves to engage a Panzer III: on Ambush fire, the Panzer fires first but the hit is deflected and the Matilda crew promptly KO the Panzer!

The British attack on their left finally gets going, but it's really too late. The PaK38 pins the mobile Matilda and KO's a Universal Carrier, which see the British force morale fail.

The dice hated the British players...they rolled poorly when it really mattered, far too many 1s and usually at the worst possible time. Early attempts to un-pin were extremely unsuccessful, unpinning just one or two units each time for a significant BR loss. Reserves came on in one and twos for several turns, Arty comm checks were terrible the first few turns and the left side attack just never really got going. Despite this they managed to inflict a fair few losses on the German defenders, but the BR losses eventually caught up on them faster than their opponents.

With the attack repulsed, the next game will be the second attack on Pt. 208/Hafid Ridge: another tough ask, but where a solid win is sorely needed for the British side, and where the DAK must hold to keep their flank secure.



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