At last, the first game with my new DAK army! I joined chums Mike and Orange Dave to re-fight part of the battle for Mersa Brega - scenario 6 from the excellent new Western Desert campaign book. Mike and I both had 1250 points to face Dave's very well entrenched British force of 1250 points. So, a 2:1 advantage for the Axis forces... but with the town so heavily fortified would it be enough?
|Dave's British prepare for the onslaught|
|That's one 25lber ...|
The town, with the ruins of the mosque in the centre, was surrounded by barbed wire, barricades and minefields.
|... and here's another!|
|A whopping 39 order dice!|
The Axis forces began the game entirely off table. I decided to send my two Opel Blitz trucks on a wide flanking move, having crammed them full of well armed veteran schutzen.
|My DAK begin their advance|
The initial attack was to be made by my regular platoon supported by the Panzer II and a SdKfz 251.
|Mike's DAK make good use of the cover to press forward|
Mike also brought on a couple of squads, a mortar and a SdKfz 222.
|An early success for the Axis forces - the 81mm mortar zeroes in on a 25lber|
I always try to bring a mortar to the party... and here's why. Turn 2 and they drop a shot plum on top of one of Dave's 25lb-ers! Take that Tommy!
|BOOM! One less piece of artillery to pound our chaps as we rush forward|
|More of my DAK filter on to the table|
Dave made the splendid desert road sections. If you look closely you can see that he's even modelled the drainage culverts necessary to keep the road from flooding in the sudden desert downpours. The benefits of gaming with a civil engineer! :o)
Mike took some great shots of the game. You can see that there's quite a lot of open ground to cross before reaching the walls!
|Mike brings on more men and a Panzer III|
Having seen Mike bring on his Panzer III, Dave deploys his ponderous Churchill on the opposite flank. Of course, this had to be the flank where I'd (hopefully) be bringing on my outflanking force.
|Dave responds to the Panzer III by bringing on his Churchill|
Dave calls in his off table artillery support which arrives with a bang just next to the craters, but Mike's men are only slightly shaken by the sudden bombardment. With the 25lber gone and the nearest Allied sections quite heavily pinned Mike pushes his men forward in a dash for the buildings.
|Mike's brave men close in on a ruined building|
My regular platoon had taken quite a beating from the Allied position, but I still had some reserves plus the flanking force.
|My chaps have taken quite a pounding from the British guns|
But Dave's men were feeling the heat too ... and not just from the desert sunshine!
|But these Brits are racking up the pins|
Turn 4 and my flanking force arrives! Both trucks are surprised to find a Churchill parked on the road but orders are orders.
|My flanking force arrives!|
Amazingly the trucks and the men on board take very little damage from the tank. Dave very kindly reminded me of the rules for transport vehicles relative to enemy positions (thank you). In my excitement I'd completely forgotten that empty transports mus not end the turn with enemy nearby! Anyway... The first of my veterans de-bus right on the edge of the town. Mike has deployed his Pak 38 and is very keen to introduce it to the Churchill. In the pic below you can see that Mike's men have made it in to one of the buildings. A quick tally of the VPs shows that it's too close to call with both sides giving as good as they got.
|Our troops close in on Mersa Brega!|
|My veterans get ready to storm the barricades!|
|Mike's men pour in to the compound!|
|More DAK move up to support the veterans|
With the fight to capture the town really hotting up Dave brings on a couple more sections to counter the increasing numbers of DAK.
|But Dave has his own reinforcements to bring on!|
Dave keeps the Churchill back using it's main gun to good effect, so Mike pushes his Panzer III forward in the hope of getting a flanking shot on the Allied monster.
|Mike's Panzer III advances to try for a flank shot on the Churchill|
The two foremost buildings were now firmly in Axis hands and the British sections in the rest of the town were coming under sustained attack.
|The 222 supports the DAK squads in the nearest buildings|
|The closest we get to arty shots!|
By this point the game was so exciting and so close that I totally forgot to take any more pics of the final turn or two. After turn six we rolled and got to play one more turn. Both sides made every possible effort to achieve their objectives... As night fell and the dust settled we counted up the VPs and it was 14 points each! A hard fought draw that neatly reflected the closely contested situation on the table.
What a superb game! My thanks to both Mike and Dave for an excellent afternoon of gaming. This one had everything - moments of drama, comedy and plenty of heroics.
The open battlefield and more mobile forces make for a very different style of Bolt Action game when compared to our games set in Normandy. Enormous fun all round. Really looking forward to the Battle for Ras el Madauur next month.