Monday, 22 April 2019

Op Compass Game 6 - Surprise, Surprise

Back to the Desert for the 6th game of our ongoing Op Compass, linked scenario Campaign. In this match up the two forces are rushing to their own objectives in the middle of a Sandstorm when the weather clears and they spot each other across the Desert plain.

If you want more information on the Campaign I have set up a separate page which is updated regularly with updates on rules along with links to all the previous games,

The games are based on an excellent book by Robert Avery which is available from The Toofatlardies, there is a direct link to purchase the book on the Resource Page.We use 28mm figures with this scenario taking place on an 12 x 6 table using a home brew set of rules, based on Iron Ivans Disposable Hero's.

Don't laugh, at least they don't have to walk.
Historical Background 

It's the 9th December 1940 and the Italian Forts at Tummar West and Nibeiwa have fallen, it's time for the British and Empire Forces to move onto the Tummar East defences. 

The weather had deteriorated and visibility was poor as British troops raced towards the start line for their attack on Tummar East, Italian Forces drove in the opposite direction to relieve Tummar West, as the weather cleared both sides were surprised by what they saw.

Pass me a Yorkie Bar you big Trucker !
Table Set Up and Terrain 

This game was played on a 12 x 6 table which was covered in areas of scrub and low hills, the area to the top right of the photo below represents the ditch around Tummar East with a lone unoccupied watch tower.

The following Special Rules are in force (see Resource Page for full details.

All vehicles which move off the tracks are subject to a Difficult Going Roll.

Sandstorm  - there are 3 Sandstorms placed down the long center axis of the table, one in the centre and the other two equidistant to the short table edges. I used some randomly shaped pieces of card about 12 inches round to represent, see Resource Page for full details.

British Briefing

The day is going well and Italian Forts have fallen, it's time to move on to the next. No time to rest. Move your forces off the far end of the table defeating any opposition you meet. Don't expect reinforcements, this time you are on your own.

Your troops are as follows,

In the lead of the convoy are 3 Bren Carriers, each contains 3 men who may dismount as either a Boyes AT Team or a Bren LMG team.

Next up are eight trucks, the first four contain,

Truck 1 - HQ Section of Officer, Radioman and Sgt, a 2 man 2" Mortar Team and a 2 man Boyes AT Team.
Trucks 2,3,4 each with 1 x 10 man squad Sgt with SMG, 2 man Bren Team and 7 Rifles.

The following 4 trucks are the same with the rear of the column brought up by two Bren Carriers, one with a 3 man HMG Team, the other with a Mortar.

The front of the column is halfway down the table opposite the front of the Italian column.

Italian Briefing

Things haven't been going to well, reports coming in are all about losses and surrender, Tummar East will no doubt be the next target. It's time to fight back and get troops in motion towards Tummar West and hold the line there.

Get the convoy of trucks off the bottom end of the table as soon as you can, the rest of your troops will arrive on foot. Engage any British troops you find and stop them from exiting the top of the board.

The Italian Convoy sets up on the opposite side of the table with the front of the column level with the watch tower and the front of the British.

1 x Staff Car with 2 x HQ Figs 
6 x Trucks each with 1 x Italian Squad of 1 Sgt with SMG, 1 LMG with two men and 7 Rifles.

The remaining Italian Troops will arrive at random, place an Italian Reinforcements card to the activation deck, each time the card comes out the Italian players will pick one card at random to add to the game deck. The new unit arriving on the next turn of its card.

Italian Reinforcement Cards
4 x Rifle Section each with 1 Sgt with SMG and 10 Sgts
4 x LMG Sections each with 1 Sgt with SMG, 2 x 3 man LMG teams and 2 Rifles 
2 x Tankette Sections 3 x L3 each
1 x Medium Mortar
1 x 3 Man MMG Team
1 x 10 man Bersaglieri Motorcycle Squad 1 Sgt with SMG, 2 man LMG team and 7 Rifles.

Draw 4 cards at random prior to the start of the game and add to the deck, the remainder added as reinforcements as above.

How did we get on

Another great game, what I have really enjoyed about the match ups so far is we are playing with troop types and mixes of troops that we normally wouldn't go near and as a result  having fun.

Before we started the game I thought this would be an easy win for the Italians, dash the convoy off the table and hold the line with superior numbers preventing the British from exiting the table, Bing bang bosh, easy win for the Italians and onto game 7.

It all went wrong for the Italian Convoy very early on, I had command of the rear of the Allied Column and immediately on spotting the enemy trucks, I debussed my Mortar and Vickers. Hands up I got lucky, I underestimated my Mortar aim point and missed by a good 10 inch, spun the spinny thing and rolled my dice and deviated right on top of one of the trucks. The same turn, the truck in the photo two up was bogged down and easy prey for the Vickers. 

Meanwhile at the other end of the table the Italians had got all their Tankettes on the table early doors and formed a solid (ish) line on the hills just North of the Watch Tower. L3s aren't much use but 6 of them with 2 machine guns a piece is a decent amount of firepower.

The British Infantry took up a position on the low ridge in front of the Italians, the Bren Carriers selected Boyes AT mode and a big firefight started up.

But even with some cover the Boyes teams and the Allied Mortars started to pick the tiny Italian Machines off one by one. Things hadn't got any better for the Convoy either, turn after turn trucks where taken out by Mortar and HMG fire until the Italians escaped with only a Staff Car and one Truck.

Under the cover of one of the Sandstorms the South African Infantry dashed across the open gap and into the trench and the Watch Tower in an attempt to break the deadlock.

With the convoy destroyed I had the chance to reposition the HMG and pour some more fire on the Italians.

One red meeple equals one morale fail, safe to say this Italian Tank wasnt happy !

The British and Empire Commander declared that he had insufficient forces to breakout and the game ended in a draw. The Brits had prevented the Italian Convoy leaving the table whilst the Italians had prevented the British from breaking out.

So that's 2 points a piece and the British lead in the Campaign 15 to 9. 

Just remains to say that my brand new Bersaglieri Motorcycle Squad was the last reinforcement card out of the deck and spent a grand total of one turn on the table, on the plus side it didn't take any casualties and avoided the traditional first game drumming.

The Op Compass Campaign will take a break for a while whilst we concentrate on our yearly Naval Campaign. See you all soon.


  1. A great looking game Ken. Love the hairy bikers!

    1. Thanks Ray, they rush in, do a warm hearty meal for the troops and then ride away 😁

  2. Thanks for the report! Italians are damn good 8)

    1. Thanks very much, everyone needs an Early WW2 Italian Army

  3. Great report, maker for bersaglieri bikers please?. Eduardo

    1. Hi Eduardo, they are from Dog Tag Miniatures, I did a full review of them on this very blog not that long ago.

  4. Great, fun looking game! What fun when a boyes anti tank rifle is a threat to armour!
    Best Iain

    1. Cheers Iain, the joys of early war gaming 👍