A fortnight ago, YesthatPhil ran 44th Infantry Division against an Umpire-controlled Pavia and Folgore. For the second phase of this battle, Trebian took the Axis side against Phil. He held off the full weight of 7th Armoured Division smashing into Folgore. I had expected to need to bring 21st Panzer Division and Ariete in as reinforcements for this phase, but in the event, they were not needed. The combination of minefields and three lines of defence proved enough of a tar pit to bring 7 Armd and 44 Inf to a halt.
During the course of the game we ran one or two attacks a couple of times using different factors to see if it made much difference. Phil and Treb both threw constructive comments in, the consensus being that square battles impose certain order and logic on the course of the game. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel here.
The new Corps scale of the game makes certain of the regimental game rules unneccesary; ambushes and immediate counterattacks being examples of tactical events that have no real place in a game where the battalion or specialised company is the smallest unit of manoevre, and where flank attacks only really bite if they hit logistic units rather than the fighting head of a division.
Treb likes markers and cards to determine order of activation. Phil likes the idea that units with 3 square range move one square first, then everyone with two squares, as the threes take their second move ,then everyone as the threes take their third move, the twos take their second, and the ones take their first and only. There is merit in both ideas, but they will have to pass the test of not slowing things down or turning the board into a clutter of markers.
To that end, the exposions are back as pin markers, with dead figures showing permanent strength loss, as red party balloon pin markers are far too prominent on a sand coloured battlefield. We spent quite a long time after the game over cheese discussing the aesthetics of various games. For desert warfare, only armour and artillery seem to have been affected tactically by fuel and ammunition respectively, so only those need to be modelled.
All in all, I am happy that ALAMEIN is do-able in October. Trebian has volunteered that he has a shedquarter-full of Spanish Civil War Italians, Phil has Free French, And I know that Treb has King’s African Rifles, so that will probably tke care of another British Division (50th and 44th infantry possibly) That just leaves a Greek brigade, which probably looked British anyway. I’m sure that Chris Ager has a few WW2 figures buried in a box somewhere, and maybe a blog some day!