Thursday, April 8, 2010

Italy, late 43, Crossing the Sangro

This one did not enjoy quite the same amount of research as our usual games but turned out rather well nonetheless. The 5/8 Punjab attempt to secure a bridgehead over the Sangro River, supported by the NZL 4th Armoured Regiment. Paul Foster ensured that the map was a reasonable effort, whilst me and Dave worked out the OOBs and other bits. Historically it had been raining on and off for some time, so we limited spotting for the first few turns, and all movement was reduced to half to represent the general ground conditions during the engagement; neither side had air support, again due to the weather.

One company of NZL armour advance up the extreme right flank of the Allied line towards the only bridge in this area. There was also a ford nearby, but the crossing of this subjected vehicles to a break-down roll because of the muddy conditions.

The first couple of turns were a bit of a scramble for good tactical field positions, but the Indians were obliged to move a bit faster than the Germans, and so lost some opportunities for proper move and fire co-ordination between the advance companies.

Fast German motorcycle infantry secured the first crossing point long before any of the Indian infantry could get into position, and once dismounted and lightly entrenched they took an awful lot of moving. In this picture the only German armour (x1 Coy of Stug IIIgs) engaged the Indian support units from across the river, destroying a couple of carriers, and generally disrupted the centre by doing so.

The Germans suffered a few hits to various units on the opposite bank of the river but remained in good morale and continued to further entrench.

The first assault by the lead platoons of Indians. They needed to force the dismounted motorcycle infantry to move back a bit before the main assault went in at this position.

Things didn't work out too well however, the Germans combined good use of long range machine gun fire and mortars to smash the first of the Indian attempts to secure a small foothold.

The Allies then tried to move the motorcycle infantry with direct fire HE from the nearest support units, which caused a few casualties to the Germans, but not enough to enable the Indian infantry to cross the bridge and set about securing that point for further troops to move up unmolested.

These developments led the Indian commander (me) to try something then at the other end of the battlefield. Two companies of infantry supported by carriers attacked over the left flank bridge, which was held by an under-strength German recon company.

With more or less the same result as at the other end of the table. A third company was then committed, and this proved enough to force the Germans away from the crossing point.

Here are the remains of the recon unit, with its command platoon burning in the background. Although this unit had been forced back their morale still remained good enough to continue to pour organised small-arms fire into the crossing area, and the Indians had to remain in cover rather than follow-up on their minor success.

Another major effort on the Allied right. Two fresh companies of infantry supported by two platoons of Shermans make another attempt to establish a crossing point. The Germans were having to stretch their defences quite a bit more by this time, and there were some small groups of Indians in cover on the German side of the river.

This is the motorcycle infantry, finally forced out of their positions. Unfortunately for the Allies this happened far too late and the result was a clear German victory. We allowed only ten turns for this game which was probably four turns not enough for the Indians to secure all of their objectives. Not sure how we could have done anything different with this one, as without artillery and air support crossing a defended river position was always going to be difficult. Still an enjoyable scenario to play as it involved some units not often gamed with, and some unique, if frustrating special rules.


  1. Respect, you certainly get a regular run out with your toys Al :)

    Good on you!

  2. great blog and interesting battles
    a really good read- keep it up

    the insurance comments are interesting
    i may need to do the same

  3. Thanks lads, I spent over half my life playing soldiers for real, playing games with this lot is certainly preferable:)