Last Sunday saw my British Desert Rats trying to push the Italian rear guard out of a few buildings…
The scenario was straight out of the IABSM III book and I will say that I am growing increasingly fond of this new edition. Specifically I like how things have been simplified. The artillery is probably the best example. It used to be almost impossible to start a shower of shells in our games, but in this game the artillery arrived almost immediately and all the complicated business was gone.
In this scenario the British had to race up and oust the Italians from a position in a build up area. Ideally we would have counted turns, but we forgot. The point of this would be to create a suspense and force the British to commit to a fast course – possibly sacrificing some men. Without turns the game would be a slow slugfest between armour and Italians without armour piercing equipment.
Here follows a brief description of the game:
The British deployed and approached the Italian position in column. Every turn saw another ‘Blind’ marker enter the field. In IABSM the initial position and movement of the troops is concealed using blinds to simulate the fog of war. We use the rule that vehicles moving will quickly reveal themselves though. Especially in the desert where large plumes of dust follow them.
The Brits sent forth their recce and quickly got a good idea of where the Italians were lodging. To our surprise the infantry did not seem to be capable of handling armoured vehicles in the new rules. This made the game a bit lop-sided as the Italians had to sit back and hold out rather than offer resistance.
The Italian MG’s did have a small chance of harming the armour III humber scout cars. But they did not succeed.
Three crusaders started pummeling the buildings with HE. The armoured might would not yield the buildings by it self though… at some point infantry would have to enter.
The game was a stale affair as the Italians couldn’t damage the British armour. They had an artillery battery in reserve and as it opened up we realised that not even this was going to break the tanks. Historically this is probably sound, but for the game it did not add much.
The Humbers and Stuarts sat in the same position firing at the buildings the whole game, punishing the Italians gravely.
The crusaders similarly put strain on the fascists.
To the other side of the main road an Italian platoon in the open was decimated…
As the game ended (due to time) the British had not managed to enter the buildings yet. The majority of the Italian control zone (the last 3rd of the table) was still in Italian hands which meant that it was a sound victory for the Italians.
We had actually forgotten to count turns which meant that the British was guaranteed to win as it was down to attrition and the Italians couldn’t harm the tanks. Therefore we decided to make it time based and by the time limit the British were still not holding the control zone.