Europa Games and Military History

Category: Mini Wavell AAR

An abortive attempt of connecting Balkan Front and War in the Desert before the publication of “Wavell´s War”, played in 2000 by Glen Davis

Jan 1941

I Jan 1941

Significant forces arrive via Aquaba to support the Palestinian Guard, which is bolstering its line on the Egyptian border. With a bit of supply an armored force breaks into Palestine and isolates much of the PG’s line (4:1; +3AECA: DE). The pesky armor west of the Nile is finally eliminated as the supply situation is gently being curtailed (11:1; -3 AECD: DE).

II Jan 1941

The line falls back to stay in supply and communications with Haifa. The first Allied counterattack of the campaign pushes back a Libyan Division with arty support (2:1; +3 AECA, -1 ATEC: DR).
The Italians break the center of the PG’s line, this time surrounding the most powerful contingent of the PG’s line, a heavily armored force carrying supply on the Mediterranean coast (4:1; +3 AECA, -1 ATEC: DE). The Italians surrounding the British are unsupported to the north and northeast.

Year Analysis, 1940

Yearly analysis: 1940

Our rule modifications have significantly changed the game, definitely adding more flow as well as an advantage for the attacker. Although some might think the change in the supply rules were the biggest change, I tend to disagree. Tobruk and Alexandria were opened as soon as possible as supply terminals and began generating supply immediately. This, coupled with naval transport coming from Sicily and a high Malta rating would have helped the supply situation of any Italian forces. Also, the Axis commander used SMPs and his Engineer and parachute brigades to enhance the movement of supply east. It seems to the British that supplies arrive just in time for every offensive, and luck is certainly favoring the Axis. The rule allowing roads to be built anywhere certainly made a huge difference as the Italians could attack quickly and effectively instead of waiting around for Operation Compass to roll over them, although I don’t see how it is “unfair” other than in the way the campaign historically panned out. A road from Oasis de Giarabub to Siwa Oasis would have been quicker than one through Halfaya, and might have been more helpful.

The main reasons this game has departed from the historical is twofold. First, a vicious Italian attack into Egypt rather than allowing the debacle at Sidi Barrani allowed a huge advantage, which in my opinion was possible if difficult to logistically manage. The second reason was tactical brilliance, and when I say this I mean incredible dice rolls. I swear, these dice must have been weighted in favor of the Axis. The wonderful first attack on the center of the WDF’s line in late September and the abysmally failed attempt to free the captured forces early next October gave the Italians not only the upper hand in momentum, but perhaps the entire war. Had this campaign panned out historically as ours had the Germans my have been able to attack the USSR through the Caucuses much more easily due to the element of surprise in June of ’41, as well have secured the middle east oil fields and perhaps even the support of Turkey and some French. Of course, whether the 10th Army succeeds in making this possible is yet to be seen

December 1940

I Dec 1940

Little remains to stop the 10th Army now. Troops are aligned opposite of Ismalia, but the southern third of the Nile remains undefended due to a lack of forces.
The pocketed armor force still can’t be eliminated due to severe lack of supply. It is tying down most of the Italian infantry reserves, and with Libyans and Egyptians still securing the south crossing the Nile is a risky proposition. Not one to sit by while a risk could be taken, the Italian commander again commits his armor to swinging behind the WDF’s line by crossing the Nile at its undefended point to the south, making their supply situation untenable. Mussolini concedes to the Italian commander’s request for more aid and allows units of the 5th Army to be placed under 10th Army’s command. A division books it east to join up with forces in Egypt. Thanks to an Egyptian infantry brigade all Nile cities are Axis, with Port Safage to fall by Christmas.

II Dec 1940

The WDF (as of Christmas the Palestinian Guard, or PG) falls back to just west of Palestine due to a Libyan motor brigade threatening supply. With some supply in Haifa, now a supply terminal, and reinforcements beginning to arrive the Palestinian Guard may be able to initiate effective counterattacks early next year.
Unsupplied motor forces push a contingent of the PG into Palestine (4:1; +3 AECA: DR), although the Italian CinC expected better. The armored force just west of the Nile is still proving to be a thorn in the Italian’s side. 10th Army receives a second division from the 5th in Tripolitania.

November 1940

I Nov 1940

CinC Middle East evacuates his staff from Alexandria to Haifa, leaving a small, unsupported garrison cornered in Alexandria as the remainder of the WDF, an armored brigade with artillery support, retreats towards Cairo. The Middle East is attempting to form a cohesive line on the Suez Canal since hostile Egyptians are already east of the Nile. Egyptian units who haven’t joined the Axis are eliminated by the British, along with an Axis Egyptian Light Armored Brigade which is overrun.
The last supply available for most likely some time allows the Italians to take Alexandria (9:1; -1: DR), although the British manage to destroy the vast majority of supply in the city before surrendering. An Egyptian brigade moves south along the Nile at full tilt to take the cities there for the Axis as the 2nd Libyan Motorized Brigade moves south of the Quattara Depression. Infantry columns close in around the armored force remaining west of the Nile.

II Nov 1940

The small armored force west of the Nile can do little to break free thanks to Italian ZOCs everywhere. The Suez defense is strengthened, although Italians, Libyans, and Egyptians are only 16 miles away and the line only covers about the northern two-thirds of the canal.
Thanks mainly to supply captured in Cairo by Egyptians, the 10th Army sends an armored task force to take Ismalia (5:1; +3 AECA, -1 ATEC: DH). The armored force just west of the Nile is finally surrounded up against the Delta. Supplies and troops are struggling to reach the front so Alexandria is opened as a supply terminal to be fully effective by December. The Italian Commander, pleased beyond belief of his army’s success, moves his headquarters into Alexandria as well.

October 1940

I Oct 1940

In an attempt to extract the surrounded portion of the WDF, both those inside and out of the Italian noose attack the same point, an unsupported Italian armored force. The Italian tankettes and Libyan truck-borne infantry manage to not only hold off the outside force but also convince the surrounded forces to surrender! (3:1; -2 AECD: AR) The 10th Army remains almost unscathed while the WDF is reeling and most likely will be unable to stop the Italians at El Alamein. The British’s mere presence in North Africa is now at risk. Parliament asks Australia who’s side they’re on, but is quickly rebuffed, reminded of a similar but much more costly encirclement earlier this spring.
10th Army stays on the WDF’s heels, forcing back units based around the 4th Indian Divisional Headquarters before proudly marching into El Alamein proper (3:1; +3 AECA: DR). The Sicilian Air Force bombs Malta into complete submission (up 3 to 15). In what is perhaps the first good news to befall the British all campaign, Royal Navy destroyers engage a fleet of undefended Italian supply ships and sink or force the crew to scuttle each one.

II Oct 1940

Little can now be done to stop the Italian onslaught. The line east of El Alamein doesn’t even reach all the way to the Quattara. The CinC Middle East concedes to his commanders that the Axis may very well reach the vital Suez Canal by Christmas. Preparations are made for a general retreat into Palestine, signaled by Haifa being established as an Allied supply terminal.
In a reenactment of the Battle of El Alamein (last turn) the same forces continue their duel to the end of the month. The Italians manage to again pull off a resounding success, opening the Nile for their occupation (3:1; +3 AECA: DE). The 10th Army surrounds the remaining armored force east of El Alamein but can’t quite close a gap to the southeast. Libyans and some armor surround Alexandria via Damaphur. Some Egyptians join the Axis cause, including some in Cairo that take the capital for the Axis, destroy the British supply terminal, and capture some valuable supply. The Sicilian Air Force (all Axis bombers) fly to Albania and southeast Italy for the upcoming invasion of Greece.

September 1940

I Sept 1940

On the early morning of September 9th, 1940 the Italian 10th Army based out of Cyrenecia, Libya advances into Egypt on a wide front. Infantry and artillery columns march full speed along the coast while armored columns advance further south. A Libyan motor brigade takes Siwa Oasis before sweeping north to join up with the Italian motor pool and some artillery just south of Mersa Matruh. Italian infantry stops just short of Matruh but is unable to attack before the WDF reacts. Construction begins on a road from Oasis de Giarabub to Siwa Oasis. A massive Italian bombing force based in Sicily commences its campaign on Malta, reducing its effectiveness (by 3 to 9). The Italian merchant marine begins shipping AS to Tobruk, flooding the port with supplies. Tobruk is also opened as a supply terminal and is predicted to be effective before the end of the month. The Italian commander, pleased at his situation and forecasting victory, moves his permanent headquarters to Tobruk as well, which has now become the lynchpin in the Italian supply effort, although supplies stockpiled at Tripoli begin movement east as well.

II Sept 1940

CinC Middle East orders his units in Matruh to hold their ground, seeing the Italian supply lines are dependent on the road junction their. As reports come in from the field, however, the massive show of force by the Italians has pushed back the WDF already. The CinC therefore commands his motor pool in reserve at El Alamein to move up and support a solid defensive line from the Med to the Quattara Depression about 50 miles wide. Fighters based in Matruh fly to Alexandria.
Despite some supply troubles, the Italians stay close on the WDF’s heels. As soon as the WDF turns to fight the Italians attack in a display of both overwhelming force as well as tactical brilliance (6:1; +1 AECA: DE), breaking the center of the British line entirely. An incredible display of artillery only assists British logisticians in destroying supplies needed by the Italian troops. In a stunning display of bravado, the Italian commander allows his motor pool to continue southeast to the Quattara, cutting off almost half of the remaining WDF but also being in the tenuous position of no support. Supply continues flooding Tobruk and is sent east as quickly as possible, aided by the newly completed Oasis de Giarabub-Siwa Oasis road. Fighters jump forward to Matruh airfield to provide cover for the advancing 10th Army. The Sicilian Air Force again does significant damage to Malta (up 3 to 12).