Earlier in the week I managed to play the other action of our campaign Turn 4, namely the Republican spoiling attack South of the ridge. Whereas the Nationalists had put all of their effort in terms of assets on the attack against the British International Brigade to the North of the ridge, the Republicans has chosen to use their assets for this spoiling attack.
As before, information was supplied to Norm and Jon and after some exchanges of e-mails, I had both of their plans as follows:
My overall aims are to take the BUA and guard my flanks and to wage attrition against the enemy to spoil their offensive capability.
- The bomber to bomb the BUA
- 2 x Ground attack to hit Littorio positions on my left
- 2 x Med & Heavy artillery to hit Littorio positions on my left
- 75mm artillery and my integral battalion artillery will hit the enemy cav / armoured cars on my right flank and continue to harass them.
- My main attacks - A and B companies, plus all armour and 1 MMG to attack the BUA capture and inflict heavy loss. Guard against armoured counter-attack from the road (going into the woods)
- C company plus 1 MMG to hold my left and give flank protection from Littorio activity.
- 2 x 45mm A/T and 1 x MMG and 81mm mortar to guard my right and deal with the cav / armoured cars
- Once the BUA is secure, the company that has suffered the most will hold it, while the other company (together will the available armour) will redirect their attentions to the most pressing task they face, which will be to;
- Assist with holding off Littorio on the left (PREFERENCE) OR
- Assisting the weaker company to hold the BUA OR
- Counter-attacking the enemy armour (can the 45’s afford to be released to assist?) OR
- Dealing with the cav / armoured car threat to my right, but only if that is threatening to move on me.
- If enemy numbers build to such numbers that I am losing more than I gain and a tipping point has been reached, everything will fall back to C1.
As set out in the image below:
Table Set Up
So with the orders in I then went about deploying the troops as best I could in accordance with their wishes. Sometimes base sizes mean that I have to tweak things a bit, but nothing too much in this case.
|An over view of the table looking North towards the ridgeline.|
|The Italian Cavalry and Armoured Car support ready and waiting.|
|The Blackshirt Companies with the head of the tanks hoving into view.|
|A very long armoured column, with shades of the Ardennes 1940?|
|The Littorio Companies deployed with commanding views over the battlefield.|
|The Dimitrov Battalion with, from left to right, 'C', 'B' & 'A' companies with armoured support.|
|The Republican air support.|
Let Battle Commence
As of late, the captioned photos should give an idea of how the action unfolded. So without further ado...
|The Republican bomber makes its approach run on the BUA...|
|... as the I-16 fighter bomber makes its attacks, to be followed by a medium and heavy artillery barrage.|
|The BUA has well made houses that minimise the damage done, but all units in it are suppressed.|
|Another artillery barrage hits the Cavalry, but fails to do much damage, but more importantly they are suppressed, meaning they will be unable to respond to any Republican units that arrive in the first Turn.|
|The I-16 and artillery cause mayhem on the ridgeline, but some units are not suppressed. Local AA helped minimise the effectiveness of the air attacks.|
|'A' Coys great start where they cleared the enemy from their front.|
|'B' Coy in the middle.|
|'C' Coy move forward but are still exposed to fire from the ridge.|
|The ATG's move forward and take up position to support the attack and have KO'd an armoured car to their front.|
|The Littorio Coys begin to recover from the initial attacks.|
|The situation in and around the BUA.|
|The Pz I's begin to deploy as ordered.|
|The view from the BUA.|
|The AFV's moving up to support the defenders.|
|Turn 2 sees another air attack and artillery attack along the ridgeline, with local AA again limiting the amount of damage from the I-16. No units are KO's but many are close to their break point. As before, many units are suppressed.|
|The Ft-17's take post to support the advance.|
|'B' Coy come under fire from the BUA.|
|'C' Coy in position to protect the left flank and the MG has deployed and raked the ridgeline with very effective fire.|
|The Littorio line begins to thin.|
|The traffic jam.|
|The Blackshirt 'A' Coy has moved units across to support the armour on the left flank.|
|'A' Coy slowly move forward, unaware at present of the Pz I's by the BUA.|
|'B' Coy come under a lot of fire as they approach the BUA.|
|The armoured support continues to arrive, bolstering the defences around the BUA.|
|The L3/35 tankettes take post on the right flank.|
|'A' Coy withdraws along with the 45mm ATG's and are covered by the Ft-17's as they do so.|
|'B' Coy struggles to disengage.|
|The Littorio units pull back off the ridgeline.|
|More armoured units arrive and move out to the flanks, which are now very secure.|
|An overview at the end of Turn 5. A Turn of further withdrawals, with most of the Republican units managing to exit the table, but 'B' Coy takes more losses from combined rifle, mortar and artillery.|
|The Republican troops as they exit the battlefield.|
|'B' Coy battered but unbowed.|
|The BUA still safe in Nationalist hands.|
|The final butcher's bill. As can be seen, the Nationalist came off worst despite holding onto the BUA.|
End of the Game
Both sides could lay claim to a partial victory, as they had both achieved their objectives as it were, but certainly the Nationalist paid a much higher price.
Post Game Thoughts
Yet another very interesting game thrown up by the campaign and certainly not the standard sort of scenario one would normally play. As mentioned before, this is one of the benefits of a campaign and this one certainly has delivered the goods on this front. So as always, some thoughts on the game in no particular order:
- Attacking BUA's is a tough ask in BKC, certainly more so during this period when you don't have the specialist support units that you encounter later on in WWII. Despite the bomber attack at the start and the artillery strike as well, the Blackshirt units inside managed to survive for most of the game. The buildings were classed as brick and as such gave a 5+ which, after a 6+ to hit, does make a difference. An assault on the BUA even if it had happened early on before the Nationalist armour arrived, would have been a bloody prospect at best.
- The I-16 and Medium and Heavy Artillery attacks in the first two Turns allowed the Republican attack to gain momentum, as most of the Littorio units were suppressed and therefore unable to respond, rather as happened in the previous game and the British International Brigade along the wood line. Things might have been worse had the I-16 been able to drop its full payload, but the local AA from the Command units managed to reduce it enough to probably save a few units from immediate destruction.
- As in many previous games, mortars can be really devastating and the Republicans were fortunate that the Nationalists were unable to make the most of these due to either poor shooting (ie bad die rolls) or lack of units with which to call in their support. If they had then they could have suffered early on in the open.
- As with the above, both sides artillery, when called in as opposed to scheduled, failed to do as much damage as might have been expected. Again the Republicans probably benefited from this more.
- The High Ground of the ridgeline gave the Littorio units a superb view of the battlefield, but a mix of suppressed units and loss of long range support (MG, ATG & Artillery Support) meant that they were unable to use this advantage to its full effect.
- The Republican 'C' Coy MG unit really had a good Turn of shooting which is putting it mildly, as in 3 successful orders, it KO'd an MG and two ATG's with hits on pretty much every die rolled. Most units already had quite a few hits, but this really stopped the Littorio from being able to hit the Republicans in the flank as they advanced.
Going forward I need to have a good think and look at the units left for both sides as to whether either side have any realistic offensive capability left, given the losses in the two games of this Campaign Turn. With the Republicans firmly ensconced and in some places dug-in in C1 as well as having the large BUA which they can defend, my gut feeling is that the Nationlists will lack the heavy support required, given the problem the Republicans encountered attacking the small village in this game. I need to let the dust settle a bit, amend the OOB to take into account of recent casualties and then have a chat with Norm and Jon and see what they think.
On other fronts I've got a hankering for some Lion Rampant or small Medieval games and to this end I've started painting up some units I've had based for quite some time. More on this to come hopefully in the next few weeks, if I can maintain focus and not get distracted by other projects, which is always tricky to do!
So until next time stay safe and keep healthy!