Sunday, 15 November 2009

Battle of Gazala, 1942

We had a Western Desert WW2 game a short time ago, at Chez Alex, with myself and Hairy Dave as the gamers. I was Gen von Peeler, with German and Italian troops, whilst Dave was Lt Gen The Honourable Lord of Hairytown, with the British side. This Post Title is linked to the rule set we used, Rommel's Battles, written by our Mr Alex Testo, (rules writer and hotelier extraordinaire), and all round good egg. He also supplied the playing pieces, being mostly 6mm H&R, which were a joy to see. Whatever happened to Heroics and Ros, anyone know? I miss them, I used to have loads of them, goodness knows where they went. Anyway, all we had to do was to turn up and play, with Alex as Umpire.
There were four Btns of armour per side, with additional artillery, anti tank guns, recce units and air support. For a Napoleonic gamer such as myself, it all sounded rather complicated, what with OP's, Recce units, C&C by radio and so on.... and to be fair, WW2 was rather more complex than horse & musket.. but these rules do make it easy to play, whilst maintaining the difficulties and extra dimensions relevant to the era.
So, the main part of this particular battle was to exit the opponents side with at least three non-shaken units, whilst stopping the other side from doing the same. We placed our units onto a map, and only put them on the table when the enemy actually saw them, hence the importance of recce units and Op's. One doesn't want to blunder blindly into a 25pdr's shooting gallery with one's armour. Like I did at one point...
The cotton wool clouds each represent a hit, each base can take three.

Each side has a FAC..a Forward Air Controller, to call in air strikes. If you get through, and if it's on target, it can be devastating. I think this British bomber was using large 'wallop bombs', judging by the number of hits it achieved.

Some British Valentine tanks take refuge in a dip in the ground, going hull down. Although small, this little models are really well made. The numbers on the base represent the attack/defence factor, and ranges for firing, which again makes playing this game easy to do.

A Regt of British Grant tanks scoots across a depression, going for the Italian flank.

Whilst a Recce unit calls in a Stuka strike..

..on some Honey's, and scores a few hits. I think the Luftwaffe only put in one appearance during the whole game, but it did a good job when it appeared.

After some close quarter tank on tank action, and after some hits from that 25pdr, some German units decide to race for the breakthrough to the table edge.
Whilst the other attack got bogged down slugging it out with Matilda's and artillery.
And, just at the point at which my units won the game, by exiting the table with no less than five unshaken units, my camera gave up. I could blame the fine desert sand getting into the camera's working parts, but it was probably just down to using cheap pound shop batteries. Here's a thought, cheapies just aren't worth the money, I'll stick to Duracell in future.
The game played really well, and had a lot of interesting ups and downs for both sides, such as the accurate 25pdr, and the German '88, which totally mullered an armoured car unit that nearly broke through. The way the air strikes and off table artillery was effective when used, did show the need to keep your own forces out of sight for as long as possible, and also to get your own OP's into a good position, whilst not putting them in harms way. Also, don't rely on an air strike coming just when you want & need one, because they sometimes don't.
Lots to think about, and it made a pleasant change to play a WW2 game, I haven't done one for a long time, I reckon we'll have to have some more soon.
Thanks to Alex and Dave for an enjoyable and pleasantly played game.
Oh, and I won! ( Which makes a change).


Poacher said...

Ho yes!

When do the rules get published Peeler?

Peeler said...

Hi Poach, the rules are already out, click on the Post Title and it takes you to the rules site, & send Mr Alex your requests etc. :-)

MrFarrow2U said...

Superb! We've bought both Rommels Battles & the ACW Rules from Alex, so we'll be dipping in to them both in the future.

I'm now able to get the paint brush out & finishing off our Crimean Armies.


Peeler said...

Cheers MrF! Crimean too eh... that has some appeal... look forward to seeing that. :-)

Martin Rapier said...

In answer the query about Heroics & Ros, they are sold directly by Navwar now.


Peeler said...

Martin!!.... many thanks for that, I used to go into NavWar when I was down South, that's good news, cheers! :-)

paulalba said...

Hi peeler,
really nice report,
Silly question, what scale is this? 6mm?

Anyways really nice.

Peeler said...

Thanks Paul, much appreciated. Aye, it's 6mm, Heroics & Ros tanks and figures.