Game Settings

  • Game: Wavell’s War
  • Scenario: Desert Cauldron (TEM 36, adapted)
  • Game played: 2011/12

Introduction

The reasons we want to use Watson’s Desert Cauldron (DC) May II 42 Axis turn start date for a Wavell’s War (WW) Western Desert (WD) Scenario is first, to maybe actually finish a WW WD campaign game and thereby hopefully give the scenario’s Victory Conditions a good looking at, and secondly, to study better the ’42 epoch of the historical WW II Western Desert campaign. Earlier we had in fact played a WW WD campaign game up to the end of the Mar I 42 turn beginning with Watson’s Operation Crusader (along with Rogers’ subsequent Crusader update) Nov II 41 start date, but alas had to abandon it in Jan. 2011 after the apartment got flooded due to a broken water pipe. In case anyone’s wondering, we’re intending to retrofit into our games much of the VP and side losses’ information found in Watson’s “End of the Beginning” El Alamein scenario in order to arrive at an “historical” at start VP condition situation for our abbreviated WW WD campaign versions. All the above mentioned desert battle scenarios can be found in old issues of Europa magazine.

Long’s updated WitD version of Watson’s early GDW WD Crusader helped a lot with the creation of a newer WW Crusader update. But updating Watson’s DC, which was created using GDW’s original “Western Desert” Europa game, was somewhat of a headache because of numerous OB changes and its use of an older Europa map version in its set-up (eg., the original WD game maps 18&19, as opposed to the WitD maps 18A&19A), but finally we’ve got it going.

The essence of the strategic problem inherent in Desert Cauldron may perhaps be this: The Dec. 1941 Japanese and USA entrance into WW II has compelled the Allies to withdraw a portion of their military forces from the Western Desert to reinforce the Indian Ocean and the Far East war zones. Meanwhile, as the winter ’41-’42 Allied Crusader offensive inevitability petered out and the desert front temporarily stabilized at Gazala, the Axis has slowly been reinforcing and rebuilding their desert forces and by May 1942 has reached a level of strength such that the desert front’s strength balance has now tipped in its favor; hence Rommel’s decision for a major attack against the 8th Army’s desert front line in the Cauldron battle zone.

Turn Reports

  • May II 42 - Some may be surprised that we were pretty much able to use Watson’s original DC set-up considering all the OB changes required to update old WD Cauldron to a revised WitD Cauldron for WW game play. Just one OB change example would be the addition of at least five light tank/recee batts (2 SA, one […]
  • June I 42 - Allied Turn Even at the beginning of the turn it’s obvious the Allied player isn’t comfortable with the situation in the Cauldron battle zone. There are now no Allied air units based in Libya, neither at Tobruk nor the nearby Desert Cauldron (DC) at start airfields at 4818 or 5018, nor at the field at […]
  • Jun II 42 - Allied Turn Once again in the Western Desert, like in the spring of ’41, the British army is facing Rommel’s Afrika Korps with the Allied military forces split: the isolated and besieged force at Tobruk on one hand and farther eastwards beyond the Halfaya Pass an Egyptian defensive screen on the other. This turn the […]
  • Jul I 42 - Allied Turn It’s Christmastime in July for the Allied player in the Western Desert with an Air Cycle and plenty of reinforcements and replacements pouring into the Mid East Command. This game turn may mark the beginning of a period of steadily increasing strength and quality for the British 8th Army during the second half […]
  • Jul II 42 - Allied Turn First we had to put a patch on the rules errors detected by the EA discussion of Game Report #6. Beginning with the easiest fix, the Axis player moves backwards the two steps of attack supply he air transported with the ’42 Axis Sp Op Ju 52s from the mainland Europe off-map holding […]
  • Aug I 42 - Allied Turn Though stung by the loss of Tobruk, the Allied player is by no means beaten. Indeed, this turn brings on some additional reinforcements for the still formidable 8th Army in Egypt and also plenty of replacement forces. He rebuilds with inf RP’s two 3-8 art Xs and the 0-1-4 const X 64RPC, all […]
  • Aug II 42 - Allied Turn From the turn’s start the worried Axis player watches the Allied player’s actions in an effort to detect whether he’ll now lunge out and attack the Afrika Korp’s desert front line shield in the Sidi Barani vicinity or instead continue to build up his offensive strength in his El Alamein defensive zone bastion. […]
  • Sep I 42 - Allied Turn This turn the Allied player continues to build up his desert force’s strength with good reinforcements and production assets. In the initial phase he has a net of 13 ARP’s, so in the new air cycle he can spend up to 4 ARP’s per turn. In addition to this turn’s five air unit […]
  • Sep II 42 - Allied Turn In his initial phase the Allied player still does no RP builds, although there are available in the replacement pool some attractive ground units. Some examples would be a pos flk unit, the 0-2-8 hv AA X 4 (lost at Tobruk), the 3-2-10 arm X 7, and two lt tnk II’s. He keeps […]
  • Oct I 42 - Allied Turn At the very start of the initial phase both players are probably glad the Allied player rolls a 5 on the weather table, as a 6 would mean desert sand storms. Per Advanced Rule 36D2-Desert Storms and Temporary Airfields, this would require a subsequent die roll on Game Play Chart 6’s Success Table […]
  • Oct II 42 - Allied Turn The weather die roll is a 1, and so the weather remains calm in the Western Desert. But next turn there’s a 2 in 6 chance of mud in the Djebel Akhdar region in the Cyrenaican “bulge,” which throws a new factor of instability into the Western Desert war zone. In the initial […]
  • Interlude: On the Eve of Torch - There’s been a good amount of work done on crafting, improving, and correcting the initial draft of a WW/WitD update of Frank Watson’s original Desert Cauldron (DC) Battle Scenario (for the original GDW Western Desert war game) found in Europa Magazine #36. The initial draft of the DC revision was used as the OB of […]
  • Nov II 42 - Allied Turn This time the Allied player rolls a 6 on the weather die roll, so it’s mud in the E weather zone with rough seas in the Western Desert map group used in the game. Here this includes the Djebel Akhdar rough terrain region of the Cyreaniacan “bulge” region, Sicily & Malta on map […]
  • Dec I 42 - Allied Turn This turn the Allied player rolls a 3 on the Weather Table and there is still mud in the E Weather Zone, but with a calm Mediterranean Sea. The mud weather will put a hobble on the Allied ground advance into the Djebel Akhbar rough terrain region of the Cyrenaican “bulge” region. Later […]
  • Dec II 42 - Allied Turn At the start of the new game turn the Allied player rolls a 5 on the Weather Table and it’s still mud in the E weather zone with rough seas in the Mediterranean. The Malta Status becomes 0 this turn. The Allies get no reinforcements this turn nor do they spend any RPs […]
  • Jan I 43 - Allied Turn Allied Turn. Allied Western Desert air power notably increases this turn with at least 6 good air unit reinforcements and the arrival of 15 ARPs, along with some interesting air unit conversions. Buried in the Allied turn’s long OB listings is a three Ind inf X Mid East Command withdrawal, along with a […]
  • Jan II 43 - Allied Turn This time the Allied player rolls a six for the game turn’s weather die roll; so it’s still mud in the E weather zone and rough seas in the Mediterranean. Per Advanced Rule 36D2-Desert Storms and Temporary Airfields, he rolls again to check for desert storms and they do indeed occur this turn. […]