Somewhere in North Africa, renegade commonwealth troops and early war Americans clash. The mission was Tank Wars. The table was split down the middle with a continuous stone wall which meant once a wheeled unit was deployed on a half it was staying there. Newcomer Garratt tells us how the battle went down!
Three objectives were rolled. The first two objectives where placed on the 24” mid-line, one on the wall itself and another on a crashed spitfire to my far right. Tristan thought it would be cheeky to place the last objective in the deployment zone of one of the sides. The roll off for sides was won by me and I choose to capitalize on Tristan’s decision.
Tristan deployed his sniper and forward air observer in the top of his building and the game begun!
Nothing was left in reserve for both armies and the first turn was a back and forth game of attempting to out deploy each other. We both held off our armour until the last dice. The placement of his observer forced me to deploy my valuable and venerable recce assets out of line of sight until I could eliminate the powerful American air. The building on my deployment zone was the only cover large enough to block line of sight. However this was on the wrong side of the board where the objectives lay, hindering their effectiveness.
I moved infantry up my right side of the board, supported by the 6-pounder. This was countered by SMG wielding paratroopers and BAR toting marines. I poured all my army's available firepower into his air observer but failed to roll the 6 on 6’s required. Feeling the pressure, Tristan selected the first target for this P-51 Mustang. My building with a 9 man rifle squad inside and a lot of units within pinning range around the outside.
On my left side the 105mm Sherman moved up with an advance order, spraying shots in all directions but failing to land any hits. This was supported by a truck of engineers and a bandage swathed flamer. A lucky 6/6 roll from the commonwealth ATR managed to hit the engine block of their ride and throw the squad onto the dusty deck.
With a hearty roar, the P-51 aircraft came in and strafed the correct house, killing 4 of the occupants and forcing their heads down. The Stuart lined up a shot on the front armour of the Sherman but failed to damage the thick frontal armour. The SAS jeep came screeching around the corner of the house and managed to shoot up the American air observer before he could call in his second strike. The Americans continued to aggressively advance on the British, putting pressure on both flanks with suppressing fire. This hindered the ability of the Brit .303’s to return the favour, with multiple failed order tests. British artillery was tasked with a fire mission on the right flank to soften up and relieve the dug-in brits. The American flamer turned the heat on my Stuart. As a mercy, Tristan only rolled 1 on the hits and I only took 3 pins.
On the British right flank, the Americans continued to do what they do best. Fire and manoeuvre on the rifle sections, piling up the pins. The US sniper took aim with his Springfield and took out the opposing second lieutenant. This event, in combination with the pins meant the rifle squads failed further order checks. Interruptions in British communications delayed the much needed artillery strike and the observer changed the grid reference to accommodate the advancing Americans.
On the left flank the Sherman with its fearsome gyro-stabilized 105mm howitzer and multiple machine guns, targeted my recce vehicles who had come out to play. I was forced to burn dice and recce away. Tristan's flamer unit was shot up by small arms before they could change the setting to extra crispy. By this point my little mortar was holding the centre objective, a veteran Bren squad held the second and American paratroopers held the crashed spitfire objective.
The British barraged failed to come in again this turn. The situation was looking dire with the British position about to be overrun. The 105mm Sherman drove up in to the Stuart's grill and applied another pin. The LRDG truck passed its morale test and zipped around the rear of the American armour but missed with its point blank light anti-tank gun. The Stuart, feeling it had something to prove passed its –3 morale check. Driving forward it hit the Sherman in the side which caused a fire! The commanders concern of the tanks highly explosive rounds being ignited panicked the crew and they legged it. This left Tristan without any AT assets and a ray of light for the beleaguered British.
The artillery park radio operator must have split his cup of tea on the communication equipment as the strike failed to come in again. The 25-pounder with open sights missed an American squad in the open, and the majority of my rifle squads hit the deck again, hoping to hang on to that objective a little bit longer. I advanced my transport truck straight onto the objective in contest in a hope to distract his paratroopers away from my battered vets. Tris took the bait and lit up the truck forgetting that they couldn’t contest objectives.
Arty failed once again to arrive. With no enemy AT assets, my armour and soft skin weapon platforms where free to tie up American infantry. Tristan was unable to remove my squads that where already holding two objectives, the varied game length was rolled and we concluded the game. Two objectives to the British to one American.
If you enjoyed this battle report and would like to leave Garratt and Tristan a few kind words, please pop over to our forums and do so.