The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Tag: Africa (page 2 of 3)

Dec 1941

Dec I

Allied – The third battle of Alamein begins with a massive attack by several Infantry XXs on the 21 PZ, 102 Mot and assorted odds and sods. Air support is massive from the Allied side, and there is little the Luftwaffe can do to contain them, suffering heavy losses in trying to do so. The battle goes poorly for the Axis who are able to inflict some losses on the infantry, but not nearly as much as was hoped for. (3:1 -2 AECD = HX).

In the exploitation phase, the Allied armoured units enter the vacated positions of the Axis and try to look as enticing as possible to the German armour just behind the line. (Ha – me attack at -4 ATEC, I’d have to be stupid!!)

Axis – Initial news at 10th Army Command in Matruh is bad – supplies are reported to have been sent to the bottom of the ocean by Malta based pirates. In response a massive raid inflicts 3 hits on the defenders. At Alamein, an all out counter offensive is launched to crush the Allies and drive on to destiny. Over the desert, more planes are flung into the repair shops or crash and burn on the desert floor as air superiority is contested. There appears to be no clear winner in the skies. On the ground, the coastal attack on the Allied armour fails badly with the troops fleeing in terror from the resolute defenders. (3:2 -4 ATEC, +2 AECA = AR – call me stupid.) South of this battle the majority of German and Italian Armour is engaged against some Australian and Indian units. Despite rough parity in strength, the armour gives advantage to the Axis and, in exchange for the finest armour in the desert, is successful in routing the defenders from their lines (3:2 +3 AECA = EX).

In the follow up phase, Pz cadres and the 101 Mech with attached riff raff advance to just south of Alamein, over running an empty fort and breaking the allied line – ahead of them is clear terrain until the Nile. The message is sent back to Matruh and there is great rejoicing and a round of medals for everyone. Cairo will be a Christmas present for Il Duce!

Dec II

Allied – Mustering all their forces, the Allies close their trap on the lead Axis force. Attacking from four directions (the southern most being blocked by the Qattara salt marshes), the Allies smash into the defenders who hold out for a short while before panic sets in and they try to flee from battle. Along their retreat path however are Allied patrols and artillery killing zones. Troops begin to surrender en masse and only the remnants of the 101 Mech make it through to some form of apparent safety (4:1 -3 ATEC +1 AECA = DR with ZOC all around).

Exploitation Phase. Italian tankers of the 101 Mech rest from the terrible ordeal they have just been through. They are caught by utter surprise when British tanks and armoured cars over run their hasty defence lines, and all are forced to join their comrades in captivity. (overrun by exploiting armour – boo hoo).

Axis – Disaster, utter disaster. With heavy heart, the retreat begins – airfields and airstrips are evacuated and destroyed by retreating units. The Matruh rail line is blown up and the remaining Panzer forces cover the retreating Italian infantry.

 

Nov 1941

Nov I

Allied – The 6th Indian XX is sent to Palestine to relieve the 2nd SA which returns to Egypt. At Suez, the 8th AS arrives, and with the 6th AS and 38th Ind X attacks into the swamps and canals against the 22 Glider XX at Port Said. Using rafts and locally commandeered fishing craft, the Germans slip away from the overwhelming Allied might to the island north of Damiatta. (5:1 -1 = DR). Meanwhile to the west, the 7th AS and 2nd NZ drive the paratroopers out of their positions in Damiatta to join the Glider regiments. (5:1 -1 = DR)

Axis – All that is written in the Italian CinC’s log for this time period is: “AS to Alamein. Spec Ops withdrawn. WASTE!” No doubt due to the pressure from Allied forces Goering determined it was no longer feasible to maintain his units in the Delta while the main thrust at Alamein had been thwarted. Obviously there were lots of tears and tantrums in the bunker that night. It is believed there was on going bombing of Malta also but the results are lost to history.

Nov II

Allied – The 9th Arm X and Indian 3 Mot X switch positions to maintain the NE Garrison and allow more armoured force in the main theatre. There is a mass build up of XXs behind the Alamein line – 6 infantry, 1 Armoured and a handful of various brigades and artillery units. Allied Fighter strength is rebuilt and supplies stockpiled just behind the main line. The Allied Commander is reported by Italian Intelligence as being seen in a Cairo brothel living it up with his staff and celebrating his forth coming victory. The Italian CinC is not amused.

Axis – The supply trucks work their wheels off getting AS to the front. Units are shuffled to try and get maximum ATEC/AECD. Malta is again bombed to bits by the air units based on Sicily.

Oct 1941

Oct I

Allied – More troops are placed in the Delta, blockading the airborne units, but no attacks are made by the allies. The Allied Commander ignores the furious pleas and demands from Whitehall and remains cucumber cool in the current crisis. The Cypriot Garrison is brought back to Alexandria, obviously there is no danger to the Allied CinC of further landings being made.

Axis – Malta is struck heavily by combined might of the Luftwaffe and Italian airforce. 3 hits are inflicted on the island for 1 Ju 88 destroyed. On the ground outside Alamein, another attack is launched, with another massive air battle occurring overhead. 350 Axis fighters escort 200 bombers and attack craft against 200 British fighters. Losses are heavy on both sides, but the Italian CinC’s handwritten notes of this episode record “Allied Airpower broken!!!” (The multiple exclamation points an example of his unravelling mind) The ground battle goes poorly again, and the valiant troops of fascism are forced back beyond their start lines. (2:1, -1 = AR) What is needed to break these colonials?

Oct II

Allied – Calmly the Allies rebuild the NZ 2nd HQ and a couple of British brigades. The last Aust. X’s arrive from the Near East and again reinforce the Delta blocking positions. No movement or attacks occur at Alamein. Obviously General “Iceman” is unruffled by anything the Axis can do….

Axis – The 2nd and 5th Pz XXs form up at Matruh and march to Alamein. The 101 Motorised converts to Mechanised and replacements are assigned to the Ariete and 21Pz XXs. The Axis units prepare for the final thrust into Alamein to join their brethren awaiting on the Nile, motors on tanks are revved up, smoke is laid down, march routes and timetables prepared. Then the dreaded report from the commissary arrives – no supplies available! Cursing at discovering the nearest supplies are back at Tobruk, the Axis are forced to wait… and wait.

Letter from Tobruk

Dear Il Duce,

Well its been a busy time since I last wrote, what with the Glorious Battles in Iran, Iraq and Syria. I have no doubt had they been stiffened with some of your glorious blackshirts they would have fought harder and lasted longer. Oh well, so much for them.

As you know, I captured Tobruk in a masterstroke – make it look like I was on the ropes, my men tired and hungry (only one kilo of Pasta per man! Mama Mia!) and then, kapow, seize the port in a fine display of Generalship. Hurrah for me! – and you of course most great leader.

I am confident that this latest battle at Alamein will see me through to the Nile within the month. Many British soldiers are still in the Near East and I believe it will be too late for them to return and affect the battle. The paratroopers in the Delta will no doubt be causing my opposite number troubles and soon I believe I will be able to receive you in person at the Pyramids and like that most noblest of Caesar’s, carve our names in one hundred foot high letters in the side of them.

Viva Italia!

your most obedient servant,

Marshal Roberto

(PS, thank Clara for the photos)

(PPS – What is it with all these Germans? Soon they will out number my Italian troops in terms of combat power and may demand an equal say in operations. Never!)

 

Sep 1941

Sep I

British: Scanning the skies fearfully, the allies remain in position at Alamein.

Iran – The 9th Lt Arm X surprises everyone by attacking and nearly destroying an Iranian Corp. (1:1 +2 AECA = DH). Remaining Iranian XX flees into the hills but the rapidly approaching Polish Mtn X will mean they are unlikely to delay the British advance for long. In the south, Australian and Indian forces overrun the 6th Iranian XX just north of Ahwaz allowing a SA Lt arm II to race through the mountains to hold the north end of the mountain pass leading to the plains and Teheran. Right in front of them is the 1st Lt Arm X from Teheran which was on its way to join the 6th XX. The Shah is reported to be very angry. So angry he surrenders!

Axis: The loss of the Iranians is another (inevitable) blow. But fearing nothing but defeat itself, and galvanised by a stern letter from Il Duce, the Italian CinC launches the second battle of Alamein. Massive dogfights break out over the frontline. The Axis attack is powerful but the mixed bag of Aussies, Indians and South Africans hold out (4:1 -1 = DR). The reason for the ferocious attack is soon clear as parachutes are spotted over Damietta as two Para IIIs land, seizing the city. Over Port Said, glider-borne soldiers of the 16/22 III land, overrunning the ME Commando unit (which has been sitting here looking pretty for quite a while). The Special Operations Forces have shown their hand and the drive is on to seize the Delta. The long range of the operation (from Rhodes and Crete) has severely limited initial commitment, but there are few forces available to stop them in the Delta without stripping the Alamein line………. At Bengasi troops of the 2nd and 5th Pz XXs land, unaffected by the British, although the HQ of the 5th and one Mot III is returned to Italy. Over Malta, 4 hits are made for the loss of one Ju 88 to AA fire.

Sep II

Allied – The 1st Tk X rails down from Palestine to Ismaila and joins in with a couple of artillery and rear area units in attempting to block in the paratroopers. Australian forces sail from Iran and Iraq to Port Suez to join in the effort. At Alamein, the line is drawn back onto the second line of forts on the town itself. No attacks are made on the Axis.

Axis – Massive airbattles occur again over the Alamein battlefield as another effort is made to break the line. Unfortunately the vital Ju 87s are beaten back by relentless SAAF and RAF air power. Curse those Hurricanes! The loss is heavy to Allied fighters however (3 Fighters Killed). On the ground, the 10th Army and DAK are exhausted by the dogged defence and make no progress. (2:1 = AS). From Crete and Rhodes, more airborne troops are flown in with Mansura taken by the glorious paratroopers and Rosetta seized by another airborne landing by the 3/7 and 1st St.

 

Aug 1941

Aug I

British: Numerous units are rebuilt in the Delta, especially Australian and New Zealander now that sufficient RPs are available. The Italian CinC is stiff lipped about but does worry about the possibility of future operations against the Alamein line. Who will win the battle of the build up??

Iraq – Newly arrived Indian forces join in an attack by the 10th XX on the Iraqis outside Basra. the results are a smashing victory. (6:1 = DE). Further north, Habforce launches an attack on the Iraqi 2nd XX and with the aid of its superior armour, smashes it into the desert sands. (DE) Showing true cavalry spirit, Habforce charges into Baghdad, capturing all Iraqi coup leaders while in the middle of an emergency meeting. Iraq is free from the scourge of the Germans. No-one can locate the German agents who were last seen heading towards Iran in a black mercedes at high speed…….. In Basra there is much swearing and fighting as Australians and New Zealanders disembark at the port to find all the fighting over. What the hell are they here for when Jerry’s at the front door of Cairo?

Levant – A mass attack goes in against the remaining Vichy forces holed up in Allepo, fighting is desperate, with two British brigades being shredded in the attack, but ultimately the French give way and are marched off into captivity. (3:1 = HX)

Axis: Muffled sobs are heard from the new Matruh bunker of the Italian CinC. Iraq and Levant in the some time period are lost to the cause. Blame is laid squarely on the French by all concerned. An attack is launched by Axis Mechanised units on two Allied XXs (SA 1st and 50th) holding a portion of the Alamein line. Heated air battles occur overhead, with the Stuka air support being chased away by Hurricane fighters at great loss to the RAF and SAAF. The eventual attack is a failure (1:1 = AS). Over Malta more bombing occurs and damage done to the island.

Aug II

British: While on a roll in the Near East, Iran is invaded, much to the annoyance of the Shah. A battlegroup under the command of the Aust 7th HQ attacks the 6th Iranian XX with Air Spt from Bombay Air transports. The Iranians are forced back. (DR) Further north the newly converted 9th Lt Armoured (ex Habforce) crosses the border to seize Karind (sp) and Shahabad.

Egypt/Palestine/Levant – Mass reshuffling of units to set up garrison needs and get troops down to Alamein. The HQ 70th XX, Czech’s and a couple of brigades land in Cyprus to defend the island against reports from SOE operatives in Greece that Goering’s skygangsters have been spotted in the region.

Axis: The bombing of Malta continues unabated. Supplies are hurried to Alamein. The troops are there but no bullets! CinC 10th Army and titular commander of DAK, hears rumours that Rome are most unhappy with his performance to date. Something desperate needs to be done…..

Iran – Shah orders all available troops to head south and west to hold the borders against the British while he fights the Soviets in the north. The long marches begin….

Jul 1941

Jul I

British.

In Egypt, Halafaya is abandoned and the Alamein handicap is underway as a general retreat begins. Obviously with Tobruk fallen, the few units left are not sufficient to face the whole Axis forces. Movement of units is difficult due to tears blurring the British Commander’s vision when he peers at the map. At Alamein, Indians and South Africans arrive to man the forts that are sprouting like mushrooms in the desert. A lone Wellington bomber flies over Bengasi and ignores the severe AA to smash the docks (1 hit).

Levant – Beirut falls in a bloody battle to the British with Frrench Colonial troops lost despite having Lt Tanks supporting them in the city. The triumphant Allies enter and the 1st Tank X moves up the coast to seize Tripoli (the other one) and overruns the French crews of the Leo 451’s based there. The pilots swear in colourful French at the tank boys and refuse to tell them where the best bordello in town is. Inland the 70th HQ with Czech’s and British infantry take the city of Homs.

Iraq – The Allies remain in position, patiently waiting for a build up in strength, confident they will destroy Rashid Ali and his band of criminals. Habforce troopers try to teach Kurdish levies the rudiments of cricket. The experiment is not a success and the English concede they have as much chance as Americans introducing Grid Iron to the Antipodes.

Axis.

Egypt – Flush with success, the Axis troops advance to Matruh, unable to contact the fleeing Allied scum due to the reliance the Italians have on shank’s pony for transport. In celebration, the Italian CinC announces he is moving his HQ to Ain el Gazala “to be with the troops.” In the Med, the German Afrika Const III is returned to base by marauding Allied pirates operating out of Malta. In retaliation, a massive 400 bomber raid scores 4 hits against the allied bastion. The Allied CinC is reported as “pale and shaken”.

Levant – The remaining Vichy forces engage in a tactical redeployment northwards. (“This is not a retreat!” the French commander was reported as saying in The Allepo Tatler) Things look grim however for the plucky Frenchmen as Luftwaffe bombers also “redeploy” to Rhodes.

Iraq – With bad news continuing from the Levant, the Iraqi high command gamble on a desperate attack to try and regain the upper hand before it is too late. An attack on Basra is sent in, but even with Armoured support fails to shake the Indian infantry from the area. (1:1 +1 AECA = AS)

Jul II

British:

In Egypt, the retreating forces reach the vaunted Alamein line, where they meet up with the newly formed 50th XX and Indian 5th XX. British CinC releases a communique that he has drawn a line in the sand and the enemy shall not cross it. There is much flag waving and cheering in Westminster at this news.

Levant – NZ and Free French forces overrun a sad looking construction unit before joining in an attack with other units to force back the remaining Vichy units. The Poles and some Australian brigades and 6th HQ are sent marching across the desert to Iraq. The 1RTR advances along the coast and captures Lattique, ending any chance of Axis ground reinforcements arriving.

Iraq – 10th Indian spooks the Iraqis by forcing them back in a sharp sudden battle (DR) and begins the long march to Baghdad.

Axis:

In Egypt, the Alamein line is reached, and supplies are desperately hurried up along the coast, but many are spread from Tripoli, Bengasi and Tobruk. The HQ is advanced to Tobruk and a round of medals given to celebrate the restoration of tram services in downtown Matruh.

Levant – The gutsy little Frenchmen fall back to Allepo, determined to sell themselves dearly to the Allies. With their single AS with them and a couple of fighters (one Luftwaffe), they await the end with Gallic determination……

Iraq – An attack is made on the defenders of Ramadi (1 AS II and Habforce) with Luftwaffe bomber support. Confidence is high in Baghdad that victory can be theirs, but reports come back from the battle that it has been a disaster. Over half the attacking troops lie dead in the swamps and the road to Baghdad is now defended by a single Division (the 2nd). (2:1, -1 = AH!) Suggestions are made that peace negotiations begin, but German agents urge continued resistance. Such is the will of Allah.

Jun 1941

June I

British – At Haifa the tattered and torn remnants of the Greek Debacle come ashore (2 AS X’s, 1 NZ X, 1 Br X, Layforce Commando X, 6th AS HQ, Blenheims and Hurricanes) These units, despite the ordeal they have just suffered, are thrown into the invasion of the Levant that begins this turn.

Levant – Cavalry, Springboks, Free French, Czech’s, and Brits hit two Vichy units in the hills north of the border, but despite air support the Vichy are dug in and determined, fighting off the allied attack. (3:1 = AS). Further towards the coast, 2 British Xs with artillery support drive back some colonial rabble with cavalry support (3:1 = DR). In the centre of the front, the Polish Karpaty X with SAAF air spt smash the 16TT III and threaten to break the Vichy line. (4:1 = DH)

Iraq – The newly formed Habforce canters along the oil pipeline road towards the far off front. The 2nd Assyrian Battalion occupy Basra against minimal opposition. Here they await the promised arrival of units from India.

Egypt – Under the cover of darkness, merchant ships provide supplies to the defenders of Tobruk. Behind Halafaya Hurricane fighters arrive at the forward airstrips, ready to protect the Allied forces. The Allied CinC is fairly confident that he can hold the line while he tidies up the annoying distractions in the Near East.

Axis – Supplies reach the front at Tobruk. The HQ of the 90th Light XX is returned to Sicily by patrolling RN vessels operating out of Malta.

Egypt – 20REs of units are used to try and storm Tobruk. The attack is hard pressed and should be overwhelming, but to the anger of the CinC, it is beaten off. (4:1 -1 ATEC, -1Fort = AS) This attack should have succeeded, and there is consternation that the Allies may improve the fortress making it next to impossible to seize! To show his resolve at pressing forward, the HQ of the CinC is moved forward from Bengasi to Barce.

Levant – The Vichy commander withdraws his lead units into the mountains while Colonial and Legion units head south to join the battle. He welcomes with open arms the arrival of LW Ju 88 bombers and Me 110D fighters. He is surprised to learn some of these have been assigned to Iraq. Sacre bleu!

Iraq – The newly arrived LW units are received with wild jubilation by the locals. in the south of the country, Iraqi military units advance to Basra, hopefully to block off this access route to Iraq. From Iran, the Shah sends a personal message of goodwill and encouragement to the leaders of the coup. This disturbs Allied intelligence officials.

Jun II

British.

In an ominous sign, engineering units are observed by Luftwaffe recon planes erecting Fortifications outside Alamein. Severe name calling ensues across the frontline between the respective CinC’s. Axis intelligence summaries indicate that either the Allies plan to run away to the Alamein line and draw Axis forces away from Tobruk or that the CinC Middle East is a cautious commander. The HQ 50th XX is observed at Matruh.

Levant – SA and Brit infantry arrive with the 1st Tank X. Two massive attacks are made, one south of Beirut by British Armour, Free French and SA that destroys the Vichy defenders and one at Mt Hermon pass by Aussies, Poles and Kiwis that likewise grinds the defence into small pieces. The French commander signals Vichy desperately for troops to aid him, but the strong control of the sea lines by the British makes it next to impossible to provide any aid other than aircraft.

Iraq – Habforce arrives in the swamps east of Ramadi, much to the relief of the 1st Assyrian II. At Basra the HQ 10th Indian arrives with a single Brigade in support. Many complaints are made about the lack of sanitation and comfortable billets. Overworked supply personnel set about developing a supply terminal at the port. Outside the city, the disappointed Iraqi soldiers arrive too late to interfere and set about wondering how they are going to defend their country now…….

Axis.

The Levant – With the flower of the Vichy Army being decimated by the brutal British and the uncultured riff raff of the Globe, the valiant forces of France fall back again into the mountains, trading space for time and looking rakish in their kepis and chain smoking gitanes, muttering sacre bleu and zot alors as they watch the tanks of the British in the valleys below. They can only hope for good news from Egypt to save them now. By sheer coincidence, a scratchy radio signal is received from Tobruk…………

Libya/Egypt – With no supplies, desperate and hungry, in a vain but glorious all-or-nothing bid for eternal glory, the besieging Axis forces of Tobruk attack at half strength the redoubtable Tobruk defenders. In a what is obviously a surprise, a breakthrough is made quickly and the entire garrison is routed for the loss of a few German tanks of the 21st Pz XX. (2:1 -1 ATEC, -1 fort = EX) Churchill is dumbfounded, CinC Middle East is suicidal, the Italian Commander gracious in victory with only a small amount of war dances and cries of “in your face”. (Truly a jammy moment in wargaming history!) To make matters better, the Attack Supplies hoarded in Tobruk are captured intact. Suddenly the garrison at Halafaya are as nervous as a herd of sheep in a field on a dark night outside a New Zealand pub….

Iraq – The ever victorious forces of the Iraqi military gather outside Basra – 2nd XX, 4th XX and 1st Mech X, with lots of wonderful air support from the mighty Luftwaffe and dashing pilots of the Iraqi air force. Soon the impudent infidel dogs will be pushed into the sea (or maybe the desert depending on what way they want to retreat) and Iraq will reign supreme in its homeland!!

 

Feb 1941

Feb I

British – Supplies and the HQ 9th AS XX arrive at Tobruk. Italian special forces (disguised as camel herder’s) observe a general shuffling of units around Mechili and Derna. Obviously they are preparing for a second offensive to sweep the brave Italian forces out from Bengasi but are awaiting supplies to arrive.

Italian – Running the gauntlet of Allied naval superiority in the region, Italian forces land at Bengasi – the Ariete XX heads for Barce while the 102 Trento XX heads to Zaulet Msus, joining the first of the Tripoli reinforcements in the form of the 25th Bol XX. Surviving Italian units from the 10th Army (a couple of Lt Arm Xs, the 64th XX fall back also to this area. Over Malta, the AA fire is fierce and three groups of bombers call off their bombing runs with the remaining forces inflicting a single hit in the island.

Feb II

British – More supplies land at Tobruk. In a bold move, the 7th Arm XX and three Aussie brigades head north through the stony desert and hills to join in an attack by the 2nd Arm XX and 6th XX on the Barce defenders. The Italians call on their German allies for air support and a violent dog fight occurs in the skies overhead, with Hurricanes and Me 110Ds scrapping it out. The LW is successful in maintaining a presence over the battlefield and causes the odds to tilt slightly in favour of the defence. In a whirling battle of tanks and artillery, the fresh strength of the Ariete XX supported by dive bombers beats off the British and in local counter attacks forces them back beyond their start lines. (2:1 +2AECA, -2AECD, -1 rough = AR) While the ground battle rages, the Allied commander appears to have decided to destroy Bengasi from the air and a Blen 4 port attack savages the port for a hit. AA fire is very ineffective (rolled a 12). At Mechili, the newly converted 22 Guards join W Arty X and the officers talk about polo and classical Greek translations.

Obviously non-plussed by the slap in the face they received at Barce, the British mechanised units wander about aimlessly in their hexes. An Italian staff officer under a white flag spends several hours driving some British Armoured Corp officers over some back trails and gleefully points out the port of Bengasi, defended by some positional AA crews and a goat herder with a shotgun. (The Allied player chose not to use his armoured units in the exploitation segment and I had great delight in pointing out to him my absolute error of leaving Bengasi unguarded. I had kittens throughout the allied turn thinking he would spot my stuff up, but with him concentrating exclusively on Barce and the fact he used all his immediately available AS for the attack, he overlooked the gap and I got away with poor gameplay purely by luck. It was delightful to see his face crumple when I pointed it out to him…..hee hee hee!)

Italian – With the daring planned gamble of leaving Bengasi unguarded having paid off, Axis reinforcements enter Bengasi by sea, with only one unit returned to Europe. A quick shuffling of units and the front is soundly defended. Intelligence sources indicate that the Allies will soon be withdrawing some key units to Greece and preparation is made to make to most of this in a rejuvenated Italian offensive.

 

Jan 1941

Jan I

British – A new year and a new attack by the British. Bardia is overrun by Australian British troops, capturing valuable supplies to allow the offensive to continue. The 7th Arm and 6th AS XXs attack and destroy the Tobruk garrison, supported by the RAF bombers. (4:1 -1 = DR). these RAF forces occupy the airfield south of Tobruk.

In the exploitation segment, the newly formed up 2nd Armoured XX crosses the border to threaten the Italians who remain south of Ain el Gazala.

Italian – In answer to his desperate appeals for aid, more Italian units arrive at Bengasi. particularly surprising is the arrival of Luftwaffe Me110D fighters at Bengasi. It seems the Germans are concerned for their Italian allies. JU 87Bs make the Med crossing to Tripoli and begin rebasing to the main conflict zone. Above Malta, a devastating attack by Italian and German bombers is made, but plucky AA fire sends two bombers back to base, their bombs undropped. Only one hit is scored against the island. In Iraq, on a moonlit airstrip near Mosul, an unmarked recon plane lands following a long journey through Russia and Iran. Disembarking is a team of German Abwehr agents, entrusted with the mission of provoking simmering Iraqi resentment at British interference to boiling point. Over the next few months they will work in Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk and other areas to set the Near East alight……

The 2AC Mot Art III is sent to Derna to provide desperately needed support for the defenders. A line is beginning to be built which hopefully will slow the British. At Mechili, the 1 and 2 Lt Arm Xs join the defenders that include the 64th XX, 3 Arm II and 22C Art III.

Jan II

British – Supplies are moved by sea to Tobruk and supplies captured at Bardia are used to assault Mechili and Derna. the 2nd Arm and 6th XX’s hit Derna with RN gunfire support but to the great joy of the Axis and disgust of the Allies, the Italians are only pushed out of the town. (5:1 -2 AECD/terrain = DR) As the Italians retreat they meet up with the 6th and 21st Arm IIs, making them stronger still. At Mechili, the 7th Arm XX and assorted AS Xs and arty support slam into the defenders. They easily destroy the Libyans but the elusive Lt Armoured forces elude their grasp and the Allies can only satisfy themselves with occupation of the town and half the defenders. (7:1 -1 AECD = DH!!)

In the exploitation phase, the 2nd Armour pushes past the Italians retreating from Derna to advance towards Barce. The Italians can only watch from the distance in frustration as the tanks speed past in a cloud of dust. (Gotta love reduced ZOCs!)

Italian – Units outside Derna retreat towards Barce, marrying up with the 3rd Lt Arm III while overhead Luftwaffe units fly fighter and dive bomber cover. A series of telegrams is exchanged between Rome and Bengasi. The 10th Army CinC is wondering wether it would be permissible to withdraw to El Aghelia and abandon the remnants of eastern Libya, but Il Duce is adamant ‘stand and die’ in position while supporting units (marching along the coast from Tripoli) arrive to turn the tables on the impudent British and their colonial bandits! Stiffened by such resolve, the CinC awards himself a medal and determines to fight it out…….

 

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