Sunday, 23 June 2019

3 Days, 3 Games - Day 2, Italian Invasion of Greece 1940

For Day Two of my mini-gaming marathon, I had the pleasure of the company of Mark Fry, the lead author on BKCIV. We had met all to briefly at our local table top sale a few months ago and, given that we both lived in Bristol, agreed to meet up to get a game or two in. So after an exhange of e-mails a date was agreed and Mark chose to play the Italian Invasion of Greece in 1940

Now readers of my Blog will know that this is a period of the war that interests me and that I have gamed on and off in the past. This time I had the opportunity to try out a mini-campaign, which as you know I'm a big fan of. Mark kindly let me sort things out my end and so broadly I came up with the following:

Operation G - 'what if?'
Il Duce has, for once, been decisive in his decision to launch a partial attack on Greece. Following provocative attacks by the Italians on Greek shipping from the sea and the air, they crossed the Albanian border in the middle of August 1940. The Littoral Group has been given the task off advancing along the coast and seizing crossings over the Kalamas river, thus giving a spring board for further advances into Greece, with the ultimate objective of the port of Igoumenitsa. With the port in Greek hands, seaborne forces can be landed to push further into the Greek mainland.

The Greeks have been expecting an attack, but their main forces are in the Pindus and Macedonian sectors, fearing a joint attack from Italy and Bulgaria. However, intelligence reports suggest that Bulgaria is distinctly luke warm to the idea, so they are in the process of re-distributing their forces to meet only an Italian attack from Albania.

1 x CO (CV8)
1 x HQ (CV8)
1 x HQ (CV7)
9 x Regular Infantry
2 x MG
1 x Mortar
4 x L3/35 Tankettes 

1 x CO (CV8)
1 x HQ (CV8)
6 x Militia Infantry (representing Border Guards and Police units)
2 x ATR upgrades
1 x MG
1 x Mortar 
1 x 37mm ATG

The Greeks are classed as Stubborn and therefore roll one less dice when rolling for fallback when suppressed.
The Greeks can Dig-In, either in the Initiative phase, meaning they are hit on a 5+ from direct fire.

Mark chose to play the Greeks and deployed first. The game was scheduled to last 8 Turns, with the Italians going first and using Mobile Deployment. I didn't take any nots as we were chatting away during the game, but hopefully the following 'photos will give you an idea of how the game went.

The view of the table, with the Greek deployment in the bottom left hand third of the table. The river is classed as impassable at this point, as are the rocky hills to vehicles or AFVs. The Greeks have wisely chosen to form a blocking position where the terrain forms a natural bottle neck.

The Greeks troops spread out in their defensive positions, with the ATG in the orchard by the road. The mortar has been set up on the hill to give it a good field of fire.

Despite their low CVs, the Italians make good progress onto the table, with only the CO failing to show. However they immediately come under fire from the Greek mortar.

The Italians seek cover in the vineyards, with the aim of drinking their way through Greece.

The Italian advance coninues apace, with the CO arriving in his battle bus. Having revealed its position, the Greek mortar comes under sustained fire from the Italians and is soon destroyed. An early blow for the Greeks which deprives then of any indirect fire.

The Italian wine tour continues in safety as they are out of range of any of the Greek wepaons.

Given their low CVs, the Italians are advancing with alacrity, especially the Tankettes, which are threatening the Greek flank. The Greeks open fire with their ATR, managing to inflict one hit.

A view from the Greek positions on the plain.

The Greek view from the hill.

The Italians have managed to turn the Greek flank and combined fire has seen the Greek losses mount. With their position untenable, the Greeks wisely with draw. But they have slowed down the Italian advance long enough for a better defensive postion to be prepared in the rear.

The Greek view as their left flank crumbles.

The view from the Italian positions.

Post Game Thoughts
That was an enjoyable game that moved alon at a fair old pace. The Greeks managed to hold on until the end of Turn 7, so didn't do too badly at all. However the Italians suffered no losses, so are still in the driving seat, with the momentum certainly with them. As always some thoughts on the game etc:

  • One of the pleasures of wargaming is the chance to chat with liked minded fellows about our wonderful hobby. This was certainly the case with Mark and we spent a large amount of time chatting about BKCIV, its development, plans going forward and out gaming background etc. Certainly all very convivial and enjoyable.
  • The Italians certainly had some steady die rolls on the command front, with the odd Double 1 thrown in for good measure. I was worried that they might not get across the table in time, but for this game I needn't have worried. How my luck will hold out for next game only the Olympian Gods know!
  • Mark's die rolling at critical times was really unlucky. As he said his troops couldn't hit a barn door, which allowed the Italians to continue with their advance. 
  • The loss of the Greek mortar early on certainly hampered the Greek defence. Post game we agreed that he would have been better keeping it out of sight and using the troops on the hill to spot for it. This would have certainly impacted on the Italian troops and their advance across the open terrain. 
  • Playing the game as part of a mini-campaign means that Mark's efforts were not in vain. It will certainly be a tougher ask to secure a contested river crossing, but both sides will have more assets available, which means a chance to get my Italian planes out once again.

So there we have it. Day Two done and dusted and a very enjoyable one it was too. Next game is some SYW shenigans with Keith Flint using his Post of Honour rules, which I'm really looking forward to. So until next time...

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