Friday, January 14, 2011

Korsun Pocket El Alamein Scenario AAR

(A Korsun Pocket scenario)

October 23, 1942 - November 5, 1942, 26 turns

Axis (Italians and Germans) = Blue, Grey
British = Brown












El Alamein is a 26 turn battle. This scenario represents the 3rd battle of El Alamein during October 23, 1942 - November 5, 1942. In this battle, using the scenario written by Alessandro Bianchini and for download here, I shall play the Axis powers and attempt to rewrite history.
Each day is represented by 2 turns (day and night)

TURNS 1-3

The initial deployment is historically accurate. The Germans had at least 5 miles of mines and strong points laid out in front of the Allied powers the night the offensive started. My plan is to attack once the British are fully engrossed in trying to clear those minefields and I will seize the initiative and trap as many Allied units as possible. It is night time, and the British are about to open their huge offensive after Monty is pressed to produce results by Churchill.

The guns sound and the attack starts. The computer has the first turn in this one so I watch as he clears into the minefield. Not much happens on the first Allied turn. I can see them getting into position the way they want to advance and how they are approaching, now it is time for me to act.

I want to get all my divisional units together into stacks so that they can attack with integrity, and I line them up to hit the Allies at bulge points. I want to cut off as many of their units as possible



First thing I do is have the Luftwaffe bomb the hell out of the north highway, dropping interdiction and slowing the Allies down some. I make sure to get this behind advanced Allied units so that if I cut them off they cant move out fast.



Lets start in the south, where the British 44th Infantry Division is making a move to capture Deir el Munassib. I will stop this and move the 21st Panzer Division into action as well as the Italian 132 Ariete. In the picture below those are the units on the left. the brown units to the right are the British 44th Infantry. Two Italian supply convoys wait in back to keep the men fueled and ready.






I move into my spot and decide to pick on the British 131st Infantry regiment, 44 Infantry Division. He is the one most out in front and I manage to support the attack with 3 artillery regiments and get 9-1 odds. Hopefully my dice roll good. I need anything but a 2,3,5 and I am good. A high roll will force a retreat.



Well I get a 5 and I manage to maul the British unit, and he has to retreat, but I take a 1 step loss on one of my units. Not bad. I'll take it for now. That will teach him to lead with a unit too far ahead. Using the games built in zoom tool, you can see the rubbled hex now where the British unit used to be. The supply crates are the town of Deir el Munassib. The rest of the turn I jockey my units into position to cut off lead British units and to solidify the front.



The place I will have to really be careful is even further south, where the British Desert Rats, their tough 7th Armored regiment, is opposite some really weak Italian units holding that line down there. Each Desert Rat regiment is a strong 12, 13, 14 point attack unit that can easily break a hole in my line if it massed. The Desert Rat counters below sport the kangaroo divisional symbol on them. You can see each unit has 3 steps, or hit points, and it goes from 14 to 11 to 7 when it loses each one. Still a tough unit when it takes losses even. Further east, the Desert Rats have some artillery support as well.



Daybreak. The British Desert Rats attacked hard in the south, forcing me back a hex. They have a load of artillery supporting their attacks and are getting huge odds as a result, in the 6-1 to 8-1 range. I consolidate and shore up my defenses there. To the north, the situation looks better and I decide to advance and pick off some straggling Allies units. Allied air attacks behind me interdict the roads, but since I am not using them I really don't pay attention. Axis air interdicts more roads behind the Allied front lines. I launch two attacks, one on the over extended British 10th Armored Division and one on the British 1st Armored division (1 and 2 on the map). I intend to hold the town of Tell Miteiriya.

I will use all my artillery and air support to make these happen. If things go well I will make one more attack on the weak Australian and New Zealand Divisions (3 on map).



My attack in the north goes well, as I get good die rolls and inflict heavy losses on the allies. They are forced to retreat and the 2nd New Zealand division takes a two step loss, knocking it to a attack strength of just 3 now.


Now to attack the British 1st Armored Division to the south some. That is a two stack hex with some heavy duty British armor in it. The best I can do is 1-1 odds, and though some Generals might frown upon this, I decide to press the attack. The worst I could do is roll a "1". If I roll a 5 or 6 I will take losses, but so will he. It is risky but I need to damage those British Armor early. I have replacements available this turn so I decide to go for it. This is an all Italian Army attack by the Bersaglieri and the Fanteria regiments.



Well that attack didn't go so well as I roll a "2" and the Italian unit takes a step loss and the British unit remains untouched. I pull the Fanteria regiment back one hex because he was out of supply and I didn't notice that. That ends the turn. Now to see how the Allies react.

TURNS 7-12

The Allies have concentrated into two distinct pockets where they are hammering my units hard trying to force a break through. I have managed to hold the line and actually use the Italians supported by the German 15th Panzer Division to drive a wedge into the frontline. This has forced the Allies to shift their units around quite a bit and thin out their strong frontal attack. I do not have the strength however to push any further, although my instincts tell me to just go for it. Nighttime once again on Turn 7 and the northern line looks as below:



In the south we face a little stalemate. I don't have the manpower to launch a major offensive since most of my strong units are tied up in the north. However I form a rugged defensive line using the mountain range to cover my flank. Supply is a problem so I cannot advance that far. The British 50th and 44th Infantry Divisions are holding that line and they are pretty tough. So I have decided to concentrate in the north and hope my line holds in the south. My Italians hold the southern line with a few mixed German regiments. If the British strike they will have to be directed between the mountain pass and I will be waiting.



Looks like the British 151st Motorized, of the 50th Infantry Division, is out of supply. So I am going to attack it while its weak and I can force a retreat. It has a defense of only 11 so I know I can bring all my units to bear and really hurt this Allied unit. It has 4 steps though so it has a lot of hit points. I won't be able to destroy it but I can maul it. After this the rest of the night I will regroup and wait for daybreak when my supplies are better.



Oh boy it doesn't get any better than this! I roll a "6" and inflict a THREE step loss on the British 151st and take it down to a 2 strength unit and it is forced to retreat! I am one attack away from wiping out that unit. I don't think I should stop there but I will as I want daybreak to come before I move in for the kill!



Daybreak, in the south viewing the fragile Allied units I decide to go over to the attack, using the Italian Ariete and Pavia Divisions. This attack will be supported by the 5th Panzer Regiment of the 21st Panzer Division which is refitted and ready to roll out.



I inflict some losses but nothing to report that is major. The battle rages in that sector and the odds I could get were not enough to forces the Allies back. However I have managed to open a huge gap in the front lines. The only problem is I do not have the units to drive through it. Up north the Allies are massing some real strength in that bulge and I think they may try a major assault in the next few turns. Whether I can hold out I do not know but there is a lot of armor about to come down on that north front. I have to wait it out and see and cannot commit forces from that defense.



TURN 17

During turn 15 I made a major error and left a gap in my lines. The Allies exploit this perfectly and push me back more than 25 kilometers from Tell Miteiriya. Further south they launch into my southern most flank, maul the 132nd Ariette Division and punch a gap in my lines with parts of the British 44th Infantry Division. Several days of me feinting in and out down there trying to gain some initiative have failed and now I have to drop back to compensate. I think what we are seeing here, on October 31st, 1942 is a shift in the battle with the momentum going over to the Allies. I am barely holding my line now and I have attacked as much as I possibly can. My strength is just to spread out.



November 2nd, 1942

The Allies make a big mistake and I decide to exploit it. I can't believe my luck but the front line splits into 2 groups, a north and south pocket. I decide to stretch my flanks and speed through the gap with a regiment of the 132nd Ariette Division. I blow a huge gap in the front lines and work to segregrate the allies into a north and south pocket. I am now 20 km from Alam Halfa and some serious victory points. Supply will be hard so I send my trucks racing through after the Italians to keep them fueled. If I can hold the allied counter attacks off, I may be able to pull this off before the game ends and get some serious bonus points.



The German 21st Panzer Division guards the south flank as supply trucks RACE through and the Germans force the 1st Regiment Field Artillery to retreat!



The Desert Rats (British 7th Armored) react quickly and drive north into my southern flank, almost tearing a hole through and isolating the 21st Panzer Division. If I stay this over extended I will have to work some serious defensive maneuvers to pull this off. But Rommel was not called the Desert Fox for no reason!



The southern front collapses as the British 7th Armored does its best to wreck my day, I lose a supply truck and I have to fall back. It was just too deep into enemy territory. I manage to isolate some British Units behind my lines that tried to sneak through and as the game winds down in the south we are all scrambling for territory. There is really no cohesive front line.



November 4th, 1942

The Desert Rats break through and destroy my last supply truck in the south. That is gonna be it for driving on Alam Halfa. I am forced to pull back as now several units are cut off and isolated with not supply.

I manage to solidify the southern front somewhat, and I destroy the isolated British unit behind my lines, only leaving a retreating engineer unit. The game is winding down, just two more turns left, but I lack the strength to really snag anymore territory. Looks like supply and time are gonna kill me on this one. I also do not have the strength to mount an offensive. All I can do now is sit tight and try to hold what I have.



As the last turn approaches the good news is that the little wedge I drove into the Allied lines on that mad dash in the south has gotten me control of Alam Halfa for 4 turns and I have been scoring victory points. Even crazier is you need to see the bulge I drove into the Allied lines to accomplish this. With my supply in bad sorts, I will not be able to keep the bulge closed for long but it did net me about 70 points. Take a look at the wedge I drove into the Allied lines.



THE LAST TURN AND RESULTS

Well I manage to get my units BACK into supply on the last turn by moving my last supply truck down to the south and supplying the 21st Panzer. I tell everyone to dig in and make no moves other than to block the 7th Armored of the British. A few combats break out but I hold the lines. If the game had to go any more turns I would definitely have to retreat. They have too much armor and I am spread too thin. But since this is only 26 turns, I feel I have done what I had to to win. I think that I have changed the way the battle ended historically. I drove a huge wedge between the Allied forces and managed to keep them from linking up.



At what cost though? Were my lines stretched too thin to resist the Allied might much longer. Who knows. All I know is that I managed to score a OVERWHELMING victory for the Axis powers in this one. My strategy paid off in grabbing and holding ground and dashing for as many points as possible at the end. By keeping the Allies out of my back lines, they never got to all the juicy objectives. They also seemed very timid. At some point I would like to play this one again and switch sides.