Monday 11 May 2020

Op Compass Game 9 - Grand Theft Auto

Before we all got locked down the crew at Yarkshire Gamer finished the ninth game in our ongoing Op Compass Campaign.

If you want more information on the previous games, special rules etc there is a resource page link below,

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. However for this game I thought that the scenario was too close to the previous game so I have improvised taking a cue from the book, The Crucible of War, Wavell's Command by Barrie Pitt.

Steam rises from a broken down Rolls Royce Armoured Car
Historical Background 

It's mid December 1940 and Sgt Charles Galpin is out on patrol on the Torbruk - Bardia road making a general nuisance of himself cutting telephone wires. As the car rounded a corner it struck an exposed rock and stuttered to a halt, steam rising from the broken pipes, in a small collection of buildings by a watering hole.

Stand and Deliver
Observing an Italian Ambulance rattling down the road towards them, Galpin had a clever idea, now theft of an Medical vehicle would be frowned upon in peace time, but this my friends isn't peacetime.

The game begins as Galpin and his crew drive the Ambulance back to the stricken Armoured Car with the Italian occupants "locked" in the rear of the Ambo.

In the distance an Italian section looks on through binoculars wondering exactly what it was they just witnessed.

Set Up and Terrain 

I forgot to take a photo without figures on the table at the start so here is a shot towards the end of the game showing the terrain. You will need a single road running down the length of a 12 x 6 table, the road should wind round a couple of low hills. Looking at the picture above the British troops arrive on the road nearest the camera, the Italians at the other end.

The theft of Ambulance happens between the two small hills about 2/3rds down the table, the Italian observers are on the hill in the extreme far left.

There are no special rules in force other than those given in the briefings.

Get that tow fixed Corporal !
British Briefing 

Get that Armoured Car recovered and deal with any Italian Troops you encounter.

Italian Briefing 

The British have just nicked one of our Ambos, get the thing back and teach the cheeky gits a lesson.

Here comes the Italians
Umpire Briefing 

This game needs an umpire, certainly for the first phase, briefings for the players are deliberately vague, the scenario has a narrative start leading into a more general scrap as the game progresses.

The British player starts by attaching a tow between the ambulance and the Armoured Car whilst "persuading" the drivers to get in the rear of the vehicle. Roll 2d6 each turn needing more than 12 (in cumulative total) to get things moving. The machine gun on the Armoured Car is operational, it moves at half speed with a random plus and minus d6 modifier.

The rest of the Troop return to find out what happened to Sgt Galpin
At the same time the Italians roll 2d6 needing the same score, once they pass 12 they will run back to their vehicles and the game is afoot. The Italians have 3 Tankettes, one with a 20mm Anti Tank Rifle the other two with the standard 2 x MG layout.

When the Italian Tankettes reach the place of the initial ambush, the remaining 2 Rolls Royce Armoured Cars arrive on the road at the British entry point.

A bit of off roading
On the actual day of the incident, the Italian Driver of the Ambulance wasn't to impressed with being hijacked and this coincided with Sgt Galpin not being very good at locking the door between the front and rear of the Ambulance.

The Italian, in true Hollywood style opened the intervening door and started wrestling the British driver of his vehicle, this lasted for some minutes before Sgt Galpin regained control and fired a couple of shots into the rear of the Ambulance from his service revolver, this persuaded the former owner of the vehicle to be more accommodating.

After a bit of zig zagging, the vehicle gets back under control
To represent this when the Ambulance reaches the central village both sides roll 2d6 each time the truck moves. The highest is the winner, draws are Italian wins. If the British win, they drive as normal, 3 wins and they have subdued the Italian Driver.

If the Italians win, roll an additional d6, 1 or 2 the vehicles go straight ahead, 3 or 4 45 degrees right and move forward, 5 and 6 45 degrees left then forward. Our vehicles went off on a merry dance, narrowly missing a large rock formation (which would have been interesting) in the process.

After the Ambulance is back under control the game reverts to a more normal style meeting action.

And they are safe !
When the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars arrive, the Italians roll a d6, the result is the number of turns until they obtain reinforcements, once they arrive the British roll a d6 and that's the number of turns until they obtain reinforcements. It then alternates until all the troops arrive or a result is gained.

New troops arrive at the entry points described in a random order.

Mk VI Light Tanks 
British troops are,
1 - HQ Section of 1 x A10 Cruiser Tank
2 - 3 x Mk VI Light Tanks
3 - 3 x A9 Cruiser Tanks
4 - 3 x A13 Cruiser Tanks
5 - 1 x 25pdr Field Gun with dedicated observer in Number A.C.

More "tanks"
Italian Troops are,
1 - 3 x Tankettes (1 with 20mm Anti Tank Rifle)
2 - 3 x M11/39 Tanks
3 - 3 x M11/39 Tanks
4 - 2 x 47mm Anti Tank Guns with Truck tows
5 - 2 x 75mm Field Guns with Truck tows

Italian Troops secure the village
How did we get on 

Well the pictures to date have shown the initial stages of our game, having secured the Ambulance a group of Italian Tankettes set off in hot pursuit only to be met by the two returning Rolls Royces. Whilst they sniped at each other from a distance the Ambulance driver fought back and very nearly stuffed it into a large rock.

First the Italians got another 3 Tankettes (oh how they were happy 😂) whilst the Brits got some Mark VI Light Tanks for their first reinforcements. The Italians had some proper tanks (thats what i love about early war gaming, you get excited when a M11/39 turns up !) arrive next and rushed them forward to the village and that's where we are with the photo above. Back to our pictures to cover the rest of the game.

The British now supported by an A10 command tank took positions in the hills and a firefight started with the Italians in the village.

The Italians (partially hidden by my finger 😂) tried a flank manoeuvre to turn the Brits position on the hill.

Whilst in the village some Tankettes took advantage of what for them was hard cover.

Next arrival on table was three A9 Cruiser Tanks tipping the balance in favour of the British.

Whilst the Italians received some Anti Tank Guns who began to dig in on the hills behind the village.

It wasn't long before the Anti Tank Guns made short work of the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars who had tried to get round the flank of some Tankettes.

Things started to explode in rapid sequence now, the A10 Command Tank was taken out by a M11/39  after the two had been exchanging ineffective shots for a few turns.

The Mark VI Light Tanks decided to bug out, it was all fun and games when they were fighting Tankettes but it was getting a bit hot.

It was almost hand to hand combat with the tanks at some points.

The three M11/39s were all knocked out by the A9s, one of whom was taken out by the 20mm armed Tankette.

But the remaining Italian tanks held the village, it was a strong position the extra cover making the vehicles extremely difficult to take out.

The dug in Anti Tank Guns secured the Italian rear and flanks.

Losses on both sides were high, the British had lost an A10, an A9, a Mk VI and two Armoured Cars.

The Italians had lost 3 M11/39s in the flank attack and two Tankettes.

So we decided that it was a draw, the British had been successful in getting the damaged Armoured Car away but the Italians held a strong position in the village, losses were about even.

So for our ongoing Campaign it was 2 points a piece meaning that we stand at British 20 points, Italians 16.


  1. Well, that escalated quickly. When Ice Cold in Alex turns hot. Nice game report!

  2. What a brilliant game! Lovely models too and not a period one often sees being played. Oddly enough I found the supplement from the Too Fat Lardies site only last week just by chance, which I swiftly purchased. It is a wonderfully presented and informative book and great value. I am so pleased I bought it.
    Best wishes,

    1. Many thanks Jason, it's a great period to look at but sadly gets missed as everyone gravitates towards the end of the war and King Tigers.
      There are write ups for all of our games on the blog 👍
      Regards Ken

  3. Great scenario, I love that Barrie Pit5 book. Given the amount of kit burning by games end, I think that the sergeant would have been better off leaving the A/C and travelling back by shanks mare.

    1. Cheers Peter, it's a great book managing to bring small action descriptions into the big picture, modern historians just seem to want to make a controversial point rather than tell a story.
      Sgt Galpin had been towed off the table as the carnage began, last seen trying to sell a second hand Ambulance in the local market, one careful owner apparently 😂

  4. Fabulous looking game. You've definitely got the balance right when the A10s turn up like super tanks :)