Tom wanted to try out a ghurka list (*These guys are standard brit models), and I just finished the core of my Italian armies. We rolled up a Breakthrough mission.
This was my first battle with Italians so I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I needed to concentrate fire and mass assault. Also, I knew I had to avoid the churchills like the plague.
3x Full Combat Platoons
Carrier Patrol (add 2 50 cals and 1 boys AT rifle)
3x Churchill IIIs
8 gun RA Battery
ITALIAN COMPAGNIA CARRI
3x Full Combat Platoons (FV, CV, CT)
5x L6/40s (CV)
Full Semovente 75 platoon (CV)
German Schutzen Platoon w/ knacker (CV)
Tom began with everything on the board except for his carriers. I knew his churchills would be completely invincible unless my planes could get lucky.
Overview of the board and British deployment. In the north east corner you can see the two objectives: One on the small hill, and one in the open to the East of the small ridge. To the South of the objectives the churchills and one Ghurka platoon are lined up ready to move forward to the objectives. To the West of the objectives another Ghurka platoon is lined up. In the Western half of the board, the entire RA battery backed up by an interspersed Ghurka platoon are lined up in an attempt to box in the Italian deployment zone. The HMG Platoon takes up residence in the town.
The center of the British lines.
While not as dashing as their Royal Horse Artillery counterparts, the Royal Artillery still deploys close to the action in a brave attempt to hold the line.
The Oasis town of Djebel Verdun is a natural anchor point of the British defense.
The Churchills plan prepare to lurch forward and sit on the objectives.
The RA has a commanding view of the battlefield from atop a rocky ridge.
The Italians elect to hold the Schutzen platoon and one M14/41 platoon as their flank attack.
The sound of diesel engines carries over the desert air as an Italian Carri company comes crashing through an olive grove, ready to assault the British lines.
2 M14 platoons backed up by Semoventes line up opposite the RA.
Tenente Gallo leads the Semoventes from the front.
As the battle begins, German aircraft come screaming onto the battlefield out of the desert haze. (These models are stand ins for the macchi C200)
The L6/40s race around to the East
The Italian tanks range in on the British guns.
Intense concentrated fire form the Italians wipe out one of the RA batteries.
While the other battery escapes unscathed.
The planes make a lot of noise, but only kill a single infantry stand.
The view of the Western end of the battlefield.
The view of the Eastern end of the battlefield. In the northern end, you can see the the churchills and Ghurkas moving forward to capture the objective.
The 3 remaining guns of the RA range in on the M14s, but only bail one.
The Ghurkas surge forward around an objective.
The Italians return fire, and knock out two more RA guns.
The L6/40s continue to sneak around the British lines.
The planes return, but fail to scratch the heavy armor of the churchills.
The British carriers come racing on from the flanks, 50 cals blazing. They fail to do any major damage, only bailing a single L6/40.
The Ghurkas secure an objective.
The Western Italians begin trundling forward, guns blazing.
The Fearless Veteran M14s along with the company commander double time around the Western edge of the board.
The L6/40s return fire, knocking out a Universal Carrier and bailing another.
The Italians encroach on the British lines. In the North, obscured by a palm tree, you can see the Fearless Veteran Carri platoon that double timed around the flank.
The Semoventes assault the british infantry, driving them back. Though battered, they do hang on.
The Fearless Veteran platoon continues racing forward.
Suddenly, both of the Axis reserves arrive. The Schutzen platoon takes up residence in an olive grove, while the M14s race forward to assault a Ghurka platoon on the objective.
The M14s surge forward. The objective is tantalizingly close.
Despite being trained, the initial assault scores 5 out of 5 hits.
On the other flank, the M14s and Semoventes continue racing forward.
After a successful assault, the M14s ready to receive a bloody nose from the Churchills.
The far Eastern Ghurka platoon has yet to leave their foxholes.
The Schutzen platoon stay well hidden in the olive grove.
M14s navigate the terrain.
The inevitable return fire from the churchills destroys 2 M14s, and bails another.
The Western Ghurkas finally get out of their foxholes, and surprise the L6/40s, catching them off guard and wiping out the platoon. Only moments before, the L6/40s finished off the British carriers.
Just to the West of the objectives.
At this point in the battle the British have lost both RA batteries, and the carriers. The Italians have lost the L6/40s.
The Fearless M14s close in on the remnants of a tattered Ghurka platoon.
The action around the objectives begins heating up.
After failing to dig, the Ghurkas find themselves surrounded by the remnants of the trained carry platoon, the company commander, and the Fearless Carri platoon. Handguls of MG dice are spilled, wiping out the Ghurka platoon. The Company commander makes a warrior save and hops to a nearby team.
Meanwhile, the tattered Ghurka platoon that was deployed with the RA is assaulted yet again.
The M14s consolidate, staying out of sight of the monstrous churchills lurking on the other side of the oasis.
The Ghurka platoon deployed with the RA finally quits the battlefield. The British are now below half.
The churchills nip at the heels of the M14s, scoring a kill on the trained platoon forcing the survivors to quit the field.
High on their success, the churchills next turn their attention to the German Schutzen platoon in the olive grove. The Schutzen take some losses and fall back deeper into the grove.
M14s begin to stream through the town, in pursuit of the remaining Ghurkas. The British are below half strength now, but being fearless make their company morale rolls.
The churchills continue hounding the Schutzen.
The remaining Ghurkas and HMGs consolidate in the Oasis and adjacent olive grove.
The churchills crash forward, and assault the Schutzen again. After suffering more losses, the Schutzen decide that this fight is for the Italians, and say "auf wiedersehen" to the battle.
Now the British have lost 2 Ghurka platoons, the carriers, and both RA batteries. The Italians have lost the L6/40s, an M14 platoon, and the Schutzen.
M14s pursue the Ghurkas into the woods, killing more stands and forcing the HMGs into the open. The remaining Ghurkas are now leaderless but remain in the fight.
The remaining M14s move toward the Oasis, while 2 Semoventes take the opportunity to take the only direct fire shots of the game on the Churchills who have their side armor exposed. Needless to say, they do nothing.
The churchills swing around and conceal themselves in the olive grove.
The ghurkas link up with the company commander and attempt to assault the M14s in the woods. Though they do make it past the defensive fire, and even knock one out, the 3 remaining M14s counter attack and wipe them out to a man.
The victorious Italians.
Aftermath of the battle.
With just 2 platoons remaining, and no company commander, the British concede the battle. 4-3 for the Italians.
I must say, I am highly impressed with the Italians. I think this is a good battle for them, however. Going up against a Sherman company would likely not be pretty at all. Airplanes did nothing, as is usually the case for bomb-toting aircraft. I think I'll drop the airplanes and replace the schutzen with a Bersaglieri company. Tom and I both overestimated the RA in direct fire. I am so used to them being the RHA flavor, that we were both surprised to see how easily my pop guns could deal with them.