Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Op Compass - Game 2 Turkey Shoot

"I can see my house from here"
Welcome all to Part 2 of our hopefully 20 plus game run through the early WW2 Desert Campaign between forces of Britain and her Empire and the troops of Mussolinis Italy.

I have set up a separate Op Compass Campaign Resource Page containing links to previous games in the Campaign and any additional rules we are using on a regular basis so you can fit them in with your rule set whatever that may be.

Team GB for Game 2
We use 28mm figures on a 12 x 6 table using a home brew set of rules based loosely on Iron Ivans Disposable Hero's but these games should work with any 28mm set of rules. We use card a activation system with Event Cards to add a bit of "fun".

Historical Background

It's the 16th June 1940, a mere 2 days after our first game. Units from the 11th Hussars are patrolling the Italian side of the Border when they discover a column of motorised Italian Infantry "supported" by some Tankettes. An initial attack by the Armoured Cars of the patrol had caused damage to a number of vehicles in the convoy before they were forced to withdraw by Italian Artillery.

Team Italy, yes I know they aren't all Italian trucks, I don't have 14 ! 
Our game begins with the Armoured Cars returning to the scene with some support to find the Italians stopped, the whole column making repairs whilst the Tankettes circle the edge of the column to provide protection.

The British are ready for a Turkey Shoot but this old Italian Bird ain't dead yet !

Table for Game 2
Set Up and Terrain 

Above is a picture of our 12 x 8 table ready to go. There is a track running down the right hand side of the table (as viewed) with a couple of low hills at either end of the table. Other than that the table is completely flat and open apart from some random areas of scrub which should offer the minimum level of cover your rules give.

"10 - 4 Rubber Duck we got us a mighty Convoy"
The Italian Convoy sets up as shown above (in the Table photo) in the top right hand corner of the table, the British enter from the left side of the table (roll a d12 to determine how many feet from one corner) each troop rolls separately.

The Difficult Going Rule is in play. Every time a vehicle moves it must roll 2d6 see the Resource Page for rule details. Vehicles travelling on the track are not subject to the Difficult Going Rule and don't need to roll.

Truck movement is limited to 10", all other vehicle move as per their move charts.

I gave both sides one full days gaming to complete their objectives.

Arnold and Arry having a day out in the Sun
Italian Briefing

Quite simply you need to get as much kit and men off the opposite end of the table.

At the start of the game you need to roll 1d6 for each of your trucks on, the Breakdown table (see Resource Page) to see how badly damaged (if at all) that vehicle is from the initial Armoured Car attack.

Any truck classed as "buggered" will have to debus their troops at the first opportunity and those lads are on Shank's Pony (Foot).

The Italian Brittle Morale Rule is in force, see Resource Page.

Turn 1 chaos !
The following troops are available,

6 x L3 Tankettes in 2 troops of 3, morale 6

2 trucks each with 1 x 75mm Field Gun and crew. Morale 8

3 x Coys of Italian Infantry each company has,

4 trucks, 1 truck has 1 x 2 Fig HQ and 1 Support Weapon (roll 1d6, 1-4 it's a Lt Mortar, 5-6 a Anti Tank Rifle). The other 3 trucks have 8 Rifle armed Infantry, including 1 Sgt and 1 Corporal, morale 7 Sgt, 6 Corp, 4 Soldier.

1 Staff Car containing the Convoy Commander, morale 8.

The Italian Artillery played an important role

There is a single M11/39 Tank available as reinforcements, it's arrival, or lack of is solely down to the actions of the British player.

If the British Support force 1 is requested role 1 d10 and the 11/39 arrives after that number of turns. If British Support force 2 arrives the tank appears next turn.



British Briefing 

The lead troop of Armoured Cars in your unit has just reported an Italian Convoy moving through the Desert nearby, after an initial attack, having damaged a number of vehicles the troop has come back to you to raise some support to drive home the attack.

As your forces enter the table they spot the whole column stationary in the open, repairing damaged vehicles.

Your Mission is to destroy or prevent all the Italian Forces from leaving the table via the short edge of the board furthest from their set up point.

"What shall I fire at Sir ?" "Stop mucking about Perkins and open up"

Your initial force is, all Morale 8

1 troop of 2 Rolls Royce Armoured Cars

1 troop of 2 Mk VI Light Tanks

1 troop of 2 x A9 Cruiser Tanks

These enter the table on the first turn of their activation card in the random location described in the Set Up phase.

Early in the game the Italian Staff Car nobly abandons his troops and unceremoniously legs it
The following reinforcements are available,

Support force 1 - 1 troop of 4 Armoured Cars or Light Tanks (we had 1 MkVI and 3 CS9 available)

Support force 2 - 1 troop of 3 Armoured Cars (we had Marmon Herringtons) with 2 x 2pdr Anti Tank guns (towed)

All morale is 8, once requested roll 1d4 and that is the number of turns before arrival, they enter the table in a random location as before. However calling for reinforcements reduces the chances of winning the game (see below).

Tankettes push forward behind a Sandstorm
Victory Conditions

Major British Victory - All Italian Troops destroyed or surrendered.
Winning Draw British - 75% of Italian Troops destroyed or surrendered and over 50% of the initial British Force survives.
Draw - Any other result
Winning Italian Draw - 25% of Italian Troops leave the table
Major Italian Victory - 25% of Italian Troops leave the table AND the initial British Force is destroyed.

Each Support force used by the British reduces their success by 1 level, so if support force 1 is used the British cannot achieve a Major Victory, if both are used the best result is a draw. The Italian reinforcements have no effect on the result.

Arry under fire by Artillery eyes up a couple of Tankettes for breakfast
Umpire Notes

With no hidden movement or minefields etc this game doesn't need an Umpire, we played it very comfortably with 3 British and 2 Italian players.

We restricted the A9 Cruiser Tanks by allowing them to only fire one of their two mini turrets per turn.

Avanti !
How did we get on 

I was a bit concerned about the balance of the game before we started but you forget how badly armoured some of the British stuff was in this period an we ended up with a really close game.

Turn 1 determined the damage to the Italian Convoy, 5 of the 14 trucks were broken beyond repair or "buggered" as we prefer to call it, with men spilling out of trucks, trucks under repair and those trucks "fortunate" enough to be drivable heading off into the British Killing Zones.

An Italian Company HQ directs it's baby mortar from the shade of a palm tree.
The British players arrived on table with the MkVI Light Tanks opposite the Italian Convoy, the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars in the centre of the table and the A9s towards the other end of the table.

The Tankettes bravely rolled out of the shadow of the Convoy to engage the British Forces to give the Infantry the best chance of escape.

It's a 2 for 1 deal !
I had decided to throw caution to the wind and go headlong at the MkVIs and with a combination of luck, more luck and an extra side portion of luck, took out both of the British Light Tanks who had decided to try and use the limited cover on the table and shoot it out.

The destroyed tankette in the photo above was finally taken out by a 2pdr shell in the flank but before that it had been damaged twice and passed 5 consecutive morale tests needing 4 or less on a d10, a Unit of the Game award surely for that brave chap.

Lots of burning vehicles, but sometimes you just can't shoot fast enough 
In the middle of the table the second group of Tankettes were taking on the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars. It was a fairly even contest with another L3 going up in flames before the fortunate arrival of a Sandstorm gave them the cover to advance and take one of the Rolls Royces out and damage the other.

Not looking good for No 1 troop
Stationary with Artillery raining down, 2 Tankettes on the prowl and two major mechanical problems to fix the crew of the second Rolls wisely decided to bail out.

It wasn't all Italian joy, remember it's not the Victor that records the History it's the Blog writer (who happens to be playing Italian) so who wants to see boring pictures or burning Italian trucks.

Italian Officers taking advantage of their very fast Staff Car, someone has to report back !
The A9s were picking off as many targets as they could alternating between approaching Tankettes and fleeing trucks. As the Tankettes got closer the 2pdr really started to take over, rapidly taking out the 2 L3s which had taken out the Rolls as they emerged from the Sandstorm.


The British stubbornly refused to take any reinforcements which just left the two A9 tanks left to finish off the Italian Forces, but they just couldn't stop the Italians from leaving the table, they managed to get the Convoy HQ and 3 Sections of Infantry (interestingly all on foot) off the table.


The game ended with good old Arry being taken out by Italian Artillery. So it turned out to be a draw at the conclusion of the scenario and to be fair as an Italian Commander I would have taken that at the start of the day.

Campaign Progress

The second game sees 2 points awarded to both sides so with the Brits getting a winning draw in the first game they lead 5 points to 3.

We move onto our traditional yearly Naval Campaign next before we return to the Desert for game 3, which will see the Italians attacking, gulp.

End of Game