Monday, November 23, 2009

Death in the Apennines

Mark came over Thursday for another in our ongoing games of Axis and Allies. Lots of little tanks and men and just a bit of carnage. This time it was Germans vs. Italians. The scenario was set after the overthrow of Mussolini. The Germans had to neutralize the Italian Army, which had suddenly become a potentially hostile force. The Italians, despite a largely undeserved bad reputation, were brave fighters with some half decent equipment, though not a match for the latest German tech.

The scenario was a meeting engagement, fought over some slightly hilly country as was standard for most of Italy. The Germans had three Panzer IVH, including a command tank; 3 halftracks carrying 6 squads of troops including, IIRC, a couple of squads of fallschirmjäger (elite paratroopers), and a halftrack mounting a quad AA mount. The Italians had five tanks (3 Carro Armato M 14/41 and two M13/40) plus three self propelled guns, including a Semovente 90/53 and two Semovente 47/32 and some trucks carrying 6 squads of infantry including one of elite Blackshirts. The Italians also had some air support in the form of a fighter that could strafe ground targets.

I played the Germans in the first game. Things started out fairly well as I quickly rolled forward, though perhaps too quickly, negating the range advantage of the long 75mm guns. I managed to damage a couple of tanks and the 90/53 but failed to kill them. Mark did manage to get some air support which disrupted a halftrack. Not killing those units would come back to haunt me. I had sent two tanks down the left flank with the other tank and the half tracks down the right and the AA unit roughly in the middle. Mark advanced, ignoring some firing opportunities to bring his units into range. By separating the one tank I lost some of the tactical advantages of having a leader.

In the second turn he also got air support, but my AA unit managed to blast it out of the sky this time. Mark focused his fire on the German command tank, damaging it. He also managed to disrupt the other tanks which allowed him to get into flanking positions. His superior numbers came in quite handy and I was faced with a tank swarm and not enough guns to take them out. By getting into flanking positions he was able to take out the remaining German tanks which basically sealed my fate. I did take out some of the Italian SPG but it was too little too late.

We switched sides and played a second game. I concentrated my SPG and a couple of lighter tanks on right flank, and sent the others 3 up the left in a long flank. It was not a good day for the Italians. Where in my game the Germans managed to only disrupt or damage the Italian vehicles, Mark managed some solid kills over the game, including the big SPG. He did some very clever maneuvering and managed to pick off my tanks one at a time, including two by infantry close assault. My infantry didn't fair much better, deploying in ground that was too open and getting shot up. It was not well played by me and by trying to take the long flank my forces were far too dispersed. If my SPG's had of lasted longer things might have gone better.
I wonder how adaptle the A&A ruleset would be to using 1/285 scale mini's which I have a pile of, unfortunately mostly unpainted. It's certainly something to look into and might inspire me to get some of it painted.
Next time we play, it will probably be a War of the Ring game as he has a new unit of Easterlings he wants to see in action.

I've included a couple of pictures, one from each game IIRC.

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