Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Thursday Night Game - Sidi Rezegh

Our largest practice session so far for the Operational game and it's a revisit to an old classic; Sidi Rezegh.  Part of the Crusader offensive launched in December 1941 by Eighth Army, its a tank on tank encounter around the recently captured Axis airfield near to the old tomb of Sidi Rezegh.  If the British hold on they will have secured a crucial stepping stone for the relief of Tobruk.  Rommel is determined to smash Eighth Army's army offensive.

A poor attempt by me to photo the whole battlefield.  Mark and Frank have deployed 7th Divisions Support Group around the airfield.  Jon's infantry cautiously advance from the left whilst an anti tank battalion deploys in the distance to create a screen for Russ' panzers.

Jon's infantry bring the airfield under direct fire and heavy off table artillery bombardment.  Whilst the British infantry are pinned Russ' panzers launch a flank attack.

The anti tank battalion redeploys from the ridge to give closer support to Russ' panzers and the German infantry launch an assault against the airfield.
From this point on I forgot to take any more photos!  The British launched their trap with the remnants of two brigades of tanks counter attacking from reserve positions on either side of the flanks of the Support Group.  Phil's Honeys were unlucky in their firing against the panzers - but still forced Russ to redeploy and seek cover with the antitank gun screen.  Meanwhile Russ had still done enough to overrun the remnants of Mark's infantry battalion.  Jon was lucky to have enough off table artillery and an 88mm in reserve to just stop Phil's other attack rolling up the antitank guns.

Frank's crusaders were launched a little too late and too wide to have an impact on the game before dusk descended.

Another good game with some very interesting points raised.  Should the British have concentrated all their armour on one flank and launched an attack as soon as an opportunity presented itself.  Instead of just failing in two places could they have been more decisive in one place.

Was Jon lucky to have placed his 88mm in reserve or did he have it there on purpose?  And without the artillery support would the anti tank battalion have survived and would Russ' panzers then been in the lurch?

Again, would the panzers have been more effective concentrated rather than attacking in two different places?  Concentration of force is vital in the desert, as Heinz Guderian would say; "Don't tap them, boot them!"

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