I reset the Tuesday night table for Wednesday morning, ready for three new players, a different Richard, Chris A and Phil. I made a slight change to deployment, moving the Asaltos into the objective village, rather than have them come up the road. Richard and Phil took the Italians and Chris the Republicans.
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Guadalajara Revisted, Revisted
The opening move wasn't quite as aggressive as the previous evening's, but the Italians still went for a determined thrust down the main road. Last night I got the activation for the column incorrect - it used too few commands, enabling a really mad dash - so I corrected that for this game.
An early bombing run turned up. The column decided to reverse out of it all at high speed to avoid casualties. I forgot the air Terror Test, which could have made it worse. I was not having a good day at that point. Umpiring three fairly complicated games in three days was probably a bit much (plus there was a two hour Dominion session by Zoom in the middle of that lot too).
Having dodged the bombers, a motorized battalion sped past some of their delayed colleagues, and debussed by the central olive grove. Nice shot of my "Osh Kosh" rubber trucks.
The IB in the grove moved up and opened fire. It really doesn't pay to get caught in the open, although I allowed the Italians light cover for the trucks.
Then the anti-tank gun destroyed one of the trucks that hadn't debussed, wiping out half a battalion.
Phil decided to take the CV35s off the road and skirt round the other olive grove. I'd also changed the deployment and put the heavy mortars in that far wood. A quick burst of fire, and the tankettes took some damage.
The Asaltos sent forwards their armoured car, which added even more to the misery of the Italians from the lead trucks.
At the end of the first turn, I think, this is where we were. The head of the Italian column has stalled, however, the artillery is coming on the table, which could be used to break the logjam.
Phil decided to turn his tankettes on the IBs in the far olive grove, with the pesky mortars. His MG fire is ineffective, but the IBs pull up their MG companies and inflict some damage.
One of the other motorized battalions gets on the board, and deploys in the grove next to where all the trouble has been going on.
The lead Italian unit has taken so much damage now there is no way back for them. Even if they reorganise on their next activation they cannot absorb the damage inflicted, and they will evaporate. They turn into a sort of zombie unit everyone avoids as a waste of effort to activate or destroy them. The survivors will crawl away at night fall.
At last! Observer in place, the guns open up.
More Italians on the table, and their second battery deploys.
The IBs in the middle of the board have taken some small arms fire.
This photo just shows what happens when the auto focus latches in to the scenery in the foreground.
A motorized battalion pulls up to support the CV35s, and deal with that IB battalion.
In the centre of the board, the IBs are under fire from howitzers and heavy mortars. He moves up a fresh battalion of infantry to deliver the coup de grace.
The barrage was lifted, the Italians went in, and were forced back to their start position, with no one taking any losses. The narrative might be more that they decided not to close after all. Tough for Richard on a 6:2 dice roll against him.
And to add insult etc, along came another strafing run. Luckily for Richard the damage was minimal.
Due to work and family commitments we had to end it there. The Italians were just beginning to make it work, but at a terrible cost. Phil remarked half way through that if you had any sense the moment you discovered you couldn't get off the road, the enemy had air cover and you didn't, and they've also got some good units in ambush positions, you'd probably pull back and give it all some further thought.
That's a fair point, but the fact is that in real life the Italians knew the first two things, and possibly guessed the third, and carried on anyway. Why? Well for starters things had gone so well up to this point, what could possibly go wrong?. The political pressure from Mussolini was so intense, that not to have advanced would have come at a huge personal cost to the commander. No way back, and no way forwards.
I think there's a way to win this for the Italians, but it needs them to probably take their time a bit, and work their artillery forwards up the column, then deploy it and prepare the way. They probably need to get out of the trucks earlier, or cover the dismount with the armour.
I suppose I could run it again, and maybe get Jon to swap sides to see what he makes of it, but I need to have a think about what else I need to try first.