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BATN-PPs 5th MP Game - Tunisia, 1940


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#1 Mark 1

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:20 PM

This is the 5th in a series of AARs that are being cross-posted from other fora. The originals also appeared on TankNet, and the GHQ forum.This series follows the early gaming experiences with the Mein Panzer rules by the Bay Area TankNet Pewter-Pushers, a loose collection of tank afficiados who have come together on several occasions over the past several years to play with little toy tanks.Here is a battle fought out on Sunday, October 19, 2008, at my home.Our setting is in June of 1940. With the Germans running rampant over much of France, and the British BEF leaving the continent (and most of their equipment) behind, the Italians have decided to jump, striking out across the French boarder in the Alps and along the Cote d'Azur. But in our scenario, the Italians have also decided to strike across the boarder from their North African colonies into French North Africa. And so, on this day in June of 1940, we find ourselves on the "west road", which branches off when the coastal road makes a turn towards the north near Medenine on Tunisia's eastern boarder. The Italians have crossed the boarder in some force, and are moving in to Tunisia. French boarder guards have been overrun, and now reserves are moving to take up hasty positions to block further Italian exploitation. On the west road, the French have determined to set up a defense at the mountain pass near the village of Bir Suhdz.Posted ImageHere is a view of Bir Suhdz, looking from east to west. The Italians are coming up this road. The town is located about 3km from the eastern outlet of the Pas de Suhdz, in sandy/rocky gently rolling terrain. There are olive orchards about 1km west of town. The west road is paved, while there is also a dirt road heading north from town that leads off to Mareth.Posted ImageHere is a view of Bir Suhdz from the north. The French quarter is centered around the old medieval church on the western side of town, the Arab quarter around the mosque to the north-east of the town's central wellhouse / water tower. Posted ImageThe French forces, under the command of Chef de Batt. Marc d'Un, have come through the Pas de Suhdz, occupied the olive orchard and the high ground to the north of the road, and are advancing on the Arab quarter of Bir Suhdz.Posted ImageThe Italians, under Colonello Nicholas Manico-Moranni, are racing for the French quarter from the east.At this point all units in the game were represented by paper chits. Niether player knew the other's forces. The French were allowed 20 units, selected primarily from infantry, artillery, and infantry support, with some possible light armor (Renault tanks). The Italians were allowed 25 units, to be selected from a variety of possible choices of infantry, infantry support, artillery, L3/35 light tanks, M11/39 medium tanks, and AB40 armored cars. The Italians were allowed transports at no cost to their unit count. The French needed to pay for their transport from their total of 20.More to come.

#2 Mark 1

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:22 PM

Posted ImageHere we see the French racing for the Arab quarter. Well, not really racing. Marching maybe. Posted ImageThe Italians are also racing, but with the advantage of the high ground the French spot them as they are heading in to town.Posted ImageThe Italians quickly find themselves under fire. A battery of French 75s have opened up on them. No casualities are recorded, but the Italian formation is broken up as they scatter under the falling shells.Posted ImageThe Italian infantry is delayed as the squads seek cover. Moranni orders his armored cars forward to take position in town and delay the French infantry.Posted ImageHere we see Colonello Moranni, plotting his next move. In real life Capt. Nick Moran leads a recon troop in the US Army 11th Cav. He has also commanded a platoon of Abrams tanks in Iraq for a year.Posted ImageThe delay caused by the artillery allows the French to take up positions throughout the Arab quarter. Except for their one, sole, supporting tank. The Renault FT, which can't manage to keep pace with the infantry to start with, elects to halt and open fire on AB40 armored cars as they skirt the churchyard.Unfortunatly for d'Un, the 37L21 gun of the FT is just about hopless for hitting at this range. Posted ImageMore misfortune for d'Un! The Italian artillery now opens fire, and their 100mm howitzers have a substantial and immediate impact, crumbling one of the buildings that had been occupied by the French (represented by black smoke), causing casualties and forcing the infantry to pull back. Posted ImageLooking from the south, we see that the French artillery has shifted to firing smoke, in an effort to block the view from suspected Italian positions on the high ground north of the west road. The FT still stands in the field out of sight to the left, firing now at Italian M11s that are also making the transit past the churchyard in to town. The French 37mm continues to prove itself worthless at the range.This is starting to get interesting.Yet more to follow.

#3 Mark 1

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:23 PM

The critical moment has arrived.Posted ImageLooking from the north we see the AB40 armored cars and M11 tanks are now in the fight, supressing French fire and allowing the Italian infantry to move forward to bayonet range. French artillery now fires smoke in to town, attempting to cover the French infantry as they pull back to the last line of buildings.The French infantry in town were heavily engaged, and suffering, when suddenly ...Posted ImageIn an aggressive move that came to be called "the attack of the ice cream trucks", Italian Dovunques came racing down the north road to the edge of town.Posted ImageLooking now from the south, we see that the Dovunque trucks have dropped a platoon of Italian infantry on the French north flank, and are now scampering away to the east.The Italian infantry (seen with round stands) are advancing remorselessly. The French infantry (rectangular stands) are taking casualties and falling back.Posted ImageThe lone French FT tank engages in a duel with the Italian M11s. Several shots are exchanged. The end is all too predictable. The moral support that the French tank had provided (one would have to call it moral support, as it never hit anything the whole game) is now gone. The French infantry is loosing heart.Posted ImageThe French 75s now begin firing smoke to help the infantry disengage and withdraw from town. But they have been sitting on the hill, firing, in plain view, for too long. The Italian 100's now fall on the French gun line. One of the 75s is quickly silenced.Posted ImageThe French guns have been firing direct, in order to get onto target faster in an attempt to influence to the battle. The Italian howitzers are firing indirect, and so are not visible for French return fire. The Italian artillery is also protected by a section of 47mm AT guns, seen here on the high ground north of the east road, with the scattered remains of a French smoke screen drifting by on the wind. The Italian AT guns were far enough back that they never fired during the game.The French are now focussed on pulling their forces out of Bir Suhdz. But can their infantry cross the open ground without being destroyed in the process?

#4 Mark 1

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:24 PM

The French still have a surprise up their sleeves.Posted ImageThe orchard is still occupied. As the Italians move forward to pursue the retreating French infantry, they discover that not every French gun is a 37mmL21.Posted ImageTheir method for discovering this is by advancing their AB40s to the edge of town, which produces a sudden drop in the number of armored cars available to the Italian force.Posted ImageThe orchard is actually pretty well occupied. An infantry platoon, the company HQ, and a 25mm AT gun now provide covering fire to the rest of the French infantry as they pull back in to the smoke.Posted ImageThe scattered remenants of French infantry work their way back towards the Pas de Suhdz. The French have lost the town. The next question is whether they will be able to hold the pass.Posted ImageBut that question will have to wait for another day. Night has fallen, and the opponants will now lick their wounds before going at it again.Nick out fought me at almost every turn. I made the mistake of trying to set up a defense in depth, while he maneuvered to bring all of his firepower to bear on me at one place at one time. I could not stand up to that kind of firepower.The rules played pretty well. But in truth I could have been more fluent with them -- we stumbled around on a couple of points. Still, even though we did not use the moral rules the mechanics of pinning and suppression gave a very interesting shape to the battle. Nick effectively supressed me to the point where I had only one choice -- stand and die or pull back. He had more units shooting than I did, and once any of my units were suppressed, the only action available to them was to try to un-suppress (meaning no shooting). If they succeeded in un-suppressing, they could move, but not shoot. Standing still without shooting would have led to nothing better than another suppression, and possibly worse. So every time a unit successfully un-supressed, they pulled back.It was an interesting game. A real feeling of un-relenting pressure. In the end the casualties were not that heavy. I lost one two-man tank, one gun (and half it's crew), three squads of infantry, and two squads took casualties to half-strength. One or both of those would probably have been lost trying to get away. But I could not stand my ground. All told I lost about 38 - 42 menNick lost far less. One LMG half-squad, casualties to another squad, and the AB40 armored car. All told maybe 6 - 10 men.It was a sharp and violent fight, and not a good day for French arms. But I found it far more interesting than two lines of tanks, a bucket of dice, and 80% losses.Hope y'all enjoyed the show.




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