The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Tag: Africa (page 3 of 3)

Dec 1940

Dec I

The planned “raid” by WDF is unleashed. Moving swiftly from their positions around Matruh, and despite the best Italian planning, a motley crew of 10REs worth of Indians, Brits Aussies and Frenchmen slam into a Libyan and Italian force, supported by an armoured II and Artillery. The Italians are forced back by Brits, but remain a cohesive fighting force. (3:1, AECA/AECD cancels each other out, DR result)

In the regular turn, the whole of the Allied force around Matruh lunges forward. The 7th Armoured XX and 22nd *X fight an inconclusive battle in attempting to drive to the sea and pin the Italians into a pocket. (1:1 +2 AECA = AS). Along the coast line west of Sidi Barrani, a battlegroup under the control of the 4th Indian XX with Aust. Brigades, Tank battalions and Frenchmen under the cover of guns from the Royal Navy hit the 2nd Lib, 63rd Cir XX and odds and sods for six, but the Indians and French suffer heavy casualties in clearing them from the battlefield. (2:1 = EX). From Alexandria, the Australian 6th HQ and odds and sods force march along the coast to Matruh (no rail available for Dec I turn).

In the exploitation phase, the 7th Armoured and motorised 22 *X swing south behind the Italian line to threaten Halafaya.

Feeling pretty pleased with weathering the initial British attack for fairly minimal losses, the Axis commander announces a readjustment of his lines, drawing his frontline out of Egypt into Libya. Halafaya is garrisoned by retreating Italian units and in a replay of the previous movements by the British, the motorised Libyans and Italian Lt Arm Xs swing south behind the 7th Arm XX before swinging north to block any sudden thrust to Tobruk. CR 42 fighters rebase to the port city and over Malta bombers inflict two hits on the facilities and structures supporting the RNs interdiction campaign.

Dec II

The western desert of Egypt is awash with dust clouds and a mass of units make exploitation movement to reach the frontier. The AS 6th XX forms up west of Sidi Barrani while in a devastating attack by the infantry and tanks of WDF on the Italian infantry and paratroopers at Halafaya vaporises the Axis units totally. (2:1 +2 AECA =DE. 11 defence factors hit the replacement pool).

In a follow up to this attack, the 7th Armoured exploits through to the airfield at 4818 just south of Tobruk while the 22 *X motors along to Ain el Gazala, trapping a mass of units around Bardia and Tobruk.

A great gnashing of teeth is heard from deep within 10th Army HQ in the underground bunker at Bengasi! Nothing lies between the 22 *X and the port until the 10B Mot. III and 5th Arm II arrives at the port from Italy. The Italian airforce at Tobruk flees the doomed city and flies to Soluch and Agadebia, leaving the CCNN “3G” XX to man the trenches with the garrison troops. Expending valuable supplies, the 64thXX and 3rd Arm II attack the defenders of Ain el Gazala but dogged defence prevents any significant breakthrough. (1:1 +1 AECA = AS). The motorised forces remaining in 10th Army (Libyans and Lt Arm with attached 22C Art III) swing south into the desert to avoid the British and end up south of Ain el Gazala. Above Malta, bombers continue their reign of terror, inflicting another two hits on the island.

Following up from this, the 10B mot III moves to Derna and 1 and 2 Lib Mot III head to Mechili.

Nov 1940

Nov I

A general reorganisation of the front line – 7th Armoured reorganised astroops sent to Greece. The Malta convoy of supplies and Cheshires getsthrough untouched by Italian pilots who fail to locate them. Blenheims andWellingtons attack Tobruk, but the build up in AA is effective. One wing ofBlen 1s are shot to pieces, scattering the desert sands outside the portwith wreckage. The other Blenheims and Wellingtons are returned to theirbases.

Over Malta, the SM 79s rain bombs on the island, but score no hits. AA fireis ineffective and weak. Reinforcements in the form of the 3rd ArmouredBattalion arrives at Tobruk.

Nov II

Newly arrived Australian brigades garrison the fleshpots of Cairo andAlexandria, drinking the city’s bars dry and complaining loudly about thepresence of New Zealanders in the area. Elsewhere little happens as theunits of the planned offensive wait to unleash death and destruction on theItalians.

The last sector of the Bardia-Sidi Barrani Motorway is completed. Theconstruction unit is barely finished when they are sent marching backtowards Bardia, away from the battlefield expected to soon develop.Supplies are moved back towards the border and in a cunning tacticalmanoeuvre, the entire 10th Army steps back 16 miles to throw any carefullyworked out British attack relying on use of full movement points intodisarray. This masterful movement is rewarded by a round of medals to thestaff of 10th Army.

 

Oct 1940

Oct I

British build up at Matruh continues with Australian and British units from Palestine arriving. Complaints are received from the RAF Mess Committee over troops being ordered to dig slit trenches in the middle of the cricket pitch. Enraged at the lack of sporting facilities, the RAF Blenheims attack Tobruk again, smashing some dockside cranes and warehouses, limiting by a small amount the ports capacity.

Italian construction crews complete their first stretch of highway and move on to their next sector. Slowly the road is being built. Behind them stockpiled supplies are waiting transportation to the front line where the Libyan motorised forces practise for their eventual integration into an Armoured Division. The parachutists of the Tonini Regiment are sent to Halafaya to meet up with the 10A artillery regiment to provide an invulnerable two defensive strength points at this crucial piece of real estate. This’ll have Tommy trembling in his boots if he tries any sneaky deep desert strikes. Medals are handed round to all 10th Army staff officers in recognition for this cunning tactical planning. (armoured battalions placed in stacks to give -1 AECD roll)

Oct II

CinC ME orders the RAF to destroy the ability of the Italians to reinforce their frontline forces. Obviously he has planned something so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a fox. Bombers fly over Tobruk in a non-stop bombing campaign, trying to smash the port out of the war. Italian bi-planes scramble from airfields around Tobruk and try and stop any Blenheims getting through, but fail miserably although no damage occurs from the RAF attacks. Around Matruh the build up continues, supplies are stockpiled on the outskirts and more troops, Aussies, Czech’s, French and Indians join the battlegroups coalescing around the 7th Support Brigade and Indian 4th HQ. Australia beats England in a four day test to claim the first Matruh Ashes Cup. The horse boys HQ in Palestine are railed down to Matruh to convert to the “W” Art X. Missing chins and drawled consonants are required to join this outfit as an officer.

Construction is completed of the second stretch of road and Italian engineers move on to the next. Reports from the forward command post of the brave Italian CinC indicate he is gravely concerned over the actions of the British, who continue to build up forces at Matruh. It is anticipated that the road will be opened by Dec I and a British attack would be most likely at this stage. On advice from his staff, he decides not to inform his forward commanders at this intelligence estimate lest it cause panic amongst the soldiers…….. SM 79s rebase to Sicily for commencement of the air offensive on Malta.

 

Sept 1940

Sept I

Hearing reports of the intended advance of the Italians into Egypt, the plucky Western Desert Force mechanised units scuttle back from the border to Matruh to join the Machine Gunners of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and have a cup of tea and a friendly game of cricket against the CinC Middle East’s first XI.

10th Army attacks! The glorious legions march again for Mussolini’s dream of uniting Northern Africa under the benevolent iron fist of fascism. A short advance to Sidi Barrani is unopposed by the cowardly British. Telegrams sent back to Rome report the woeful road condition over the border requires substantial construction work before full supply can be achieved for the spearhead of the march to Cairo. Troops rest for chianti (except for the Libyans who piously suck oranges). A whole 14 REs are countered by RAF recon planes, and the commander, General Roberto Guilliamo, is promoted to Marshall for displaying such valour in the field.

Sept II

Indian forces are railed into Matruh with the 4th Indian Divisional HQ team trouncing the Armoured Corp team by an innings and 8 wickets in a friendly played over several days. Free French forces look on in disbelief. To remind the world that Britain remains undefeated, an attack of by Blenhiem bombers attacks Tobruk. A hit is made on the port. Italian fighter pilots at El Adem airfield are caught napping in the fierce African heat and do not react. The wrath of the CinC is great and fearsome to behold… (I forgot to intercept!!)

Meanwhile at Halafaya, construction continues of the road to Sidi Barrani. Italian engineers complain bitterly of the lack of resources to assist in such a thankless task while infantry at the sharp end organise well laid out camps and have community singing sessions in the evenings along the beaches of the Med…… 250 SM 79.1 bombers fly a retaliatory raid on Alexandria, weak and ineffective AA fire misses but the bombs fall wide of the mark and the port is safe.

 

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