Category Archives: Land Battles

NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 5) – MTSENSK

28 Corps breaks through the outpost line in front of MTSENK

28 Corps breaks through the outpost line in front of MTSENSK

Simultaneously with the assault on OREL, the Soviets had launched a broad offensive along the whole front. Second Tank Army and 70th Army attacked to the north of OREL¹. Facing them, on the river ZUSHA Defensive line was part of XXXLVII Korps at MTSENK – 208, 221 and 216 Infantry Divisions. MTSENSK sits on the ZUSHA river, a tributary of the OKA. Although these are too small to feature in the Chadwick Bathtub campaign, they nevertheless played a role in the KURSK battles of 1943. The ZUSHA although small by Russian standards, has a raised west bank, and made a defensible obstacle to form up on. More importantly, MTSENSK has an ornate cathedral and railway station, of which I have both.

Dense formations of Soviet infantry filling the horizon are becoming a familiar feature of the campaign. Even dug-in in depth, the German infantry divisions looked thin and sparse on the ground.

Divisional artillery contributes significantly to the defence of MTSENK

Divisional artillery contributes significantly to the defence of MTSENSK

Four successive waves of infantry from 28 Rifle Corps crashed against the defences of MTSENSK, without breaking in. German casualties were heavy (8 SP out of 12 defenders) but the Soviets’ were higher (16 0ut of  36 attackers), so even though both sides passed key morale tests, the Soviets never succeeded in causing the higher casualties that were needed in any one round of combat to allow them to close assault².

 

4th Wave Fails in the Centre MTSENK

Soviet 28 Corps 4th wave attack fails in the centre at MTSENSK

To the South of MTSENSK things were faring no better, and the attack was unfolding more slowly, but to the north 27 Rifle Corps had reached the River ZUSHA and was lapping around the northern outskirts of the town.

Second wave breaks through the outpost Line right flank MTSENK

Second wave breaks through the outpost Line on the southern flank of MTSENSK

 

to be continued …

 

1. This Battle was fought at Corps Scale Orbat, With German divisions only having a strength of six battalions, and Soviet Corps nine. I had hoped to supplement maps with Battle Chronicler, but the learning curve was a little steeper than I had anticipated for a big battle.

2. In parallel with the changes to ammo, I am imposing a drop of 1 morale level each time a unit reorganises during a battle. Veterans start on 4, regular 3, Conscript 2 and green 1. A unit with no morale value left cannot attack or defend. I’m pretty certain  that folk such as Jim Wallman have been doing this for years with Stonk! (can’t find my copy to check), but I’ve only just caught up.

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Ostfront Rasputitsa Reorganisation Spring 1943

As England enjoys its own mini-rasputitsa in a late start to summer, the Wehrmacht made good use of the breathing space afforded to it on the Ostfront.

Having laid out the formalised Front Scale Orbat (FSO) here and here, I thought that it would be a relatively simple matter to look up a couple of orbats to refresh my magnetic Ostfront map. Nierhorster formed the basis, as always, but the actual relaying of the map took three months, with units being duplicated, lost, re-found and massaged to allow the discrepancies between the NQM campaign and the historic campaign to be ironed out.

The orbats were typed into Apache Open Office to take advantage of its find facility. In this way, I was able to chase errant units around the map to decide if they should stay in their game positions, or reorganise back to their historical formations. I ended up doing a bit of both, of course. The map looks much more crowded now, and the Soviets are still bringing troops on from the East!

A deliberately vague picture follows below. In the Army group North sector around LENINGRAD, the old Corps Scale Orbat (CSO) markers  show a much thinner spread in contrast to the centre and south, where the FSO markers are mustering.

Ostfront Spring 1943

Ostfront Spring 1943

Reinforcements have been arriving on the painting desk too. More of those later.

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Battle for the Southern DNEPR – Part 5 (Will it Never End?!!)

The Alte Häse¹ of 99th Light Division were settling into their recaptured billets and dugouts in DNEPROPETROVSK as the first spatterings of rain heralded the beginning of the Rasputitsa. They were looking forward to a month of rest, albeit a wet, muddy one during which, nothing much could be done.

3rd Army Advances

3rd Army Advances (FSO)

Their peace was about to be rudely interrupted though, as 3rd Army² massed to the northeast, with its sights set firmly on breaching the DNEPR river before rain made movement impassable.

Recce Battalions Advance to Contact

Recce Battalions Advance to Contact (FSO)

Wearily, 23rd Panzer regrouped to meet hitherto un-engaged and unknown to intelligence, infantry divisions and tank Corps.  Early attacks in battalion strength were beaten off, but these proved to be only probing attacks by reconnaissance, seeking to find the German main battle line. Once the main Soviet forces were engaged, the initial clash of armour pushed the Axis forces back some 20 kilometers.

 

 

Guards Mechanised Corps and 23 Panzer Division in Head-on Meeting Engagement (FSO)

Unknown Guards Mechanised Corps and 23rd Panzer Division in a Head-on Meeting Engagement (FSO)

23rd Panzer lost its hold of the bridges on the east bank of the DNEPR, and the already sorely-pressed infantry of 99th Light Division and 9th Infantry Divisions were driven out of the east of DNEPROPETROVSK in vicious street fighting that swung first one way then another. Soviet artillery regiments were employed in direct fire street to street fighting. At the end of the battle, both divisions were down to battalion strength³.

To the Last Man and Bulllet

To the Last Man and Bullet

Such was the scale of the attack that the Soviets had enough troops to put pressure on all parts of the line, with at least a Corps of infantry attacking on each side of the DNEPR. These were fresh troops too, not seen before in this sector.

SS Wiking had been pulled from KHARKOV further north to refit over winter, in what had hitherto been a quieter part of the front. It was apparent now though that the  tenuous line being held further east along the DON river would have to be abandoned in order not to lose the troops holding it. Accordingly, the SS panzer troops were ordered to swing south to outflank the offensive.

This proved not to be possible – the Soviet front being broader than anticipated, and the panzers found themselves engaging guards infantry head-on.

The game ended at this point after a couple of hours of play. The Germans were commanded by Tim aka (General Frohlich), and Richard (aka General NQ Timoshenko) commanding 3rd Army, with a little umpire help pushing the toys around. Using squares threw up another few conundrums, when units are thrown backwards onto others, that are pushing the game more into ancients territory; but there is nothing that can’t be resolved. YesthatPhil arrived in the nick of time, as is his wont, to take command of 23rd Panzer and thwart a Corps level attempt to bridge the DNEPR to the west of DNEPROPETROVSK.

Footnotes

1.Old Hares – veterans.

2. My 3rd Army from Box 047. The Germans have no idea who is facing them at the moment.

3. Both the German and Soviet divisions survived their morale checks, and the Germans fought to almost the last man, before the shattered remnants withdrew westward to reorganise.

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Battle for the Southern DNEPR – Part 4

Meeting engagement - 9 Panzer and 270 Guards Mechanised

Meeting engagement – 9th Panzer and 9th Mechanised

As infantry from Army Group South battered itself against the western outskirts of  ZAPOROZHYE, the main  counter offensive was mounted against DNEPROPETROVSK. The remnants of 99th Light Division held the start line, allowing the veteran 9th Infantry  Division, raised in the Hessen-Nassau region to  engage the much-reduced 66 Rifle Division  on the western bank of the DNEPR. Pioneers working feverishly to repair the damaged northern river crossing had their work interrupted by 9th Panzer Division, attacking on a south easterly axis to reclaim the east bank.¹

9 Panzer clears the east bank

9 Panzer clears the east bank

As 9th Infantry Division closed to the west of DNEPROPETROVSK and the southern river crossing, Romanian troops from I Corps, added their weight to the attack, driving north along the line of the river. Despite a fierce defence, the weight of fire wore 66 Rifle Division down, until the surviving remnants were destroyed  at the bridge.

99 Light and 7 Romanian attack 66 Rifle

9 Infantry and 7 Romanian attack 66 Rifle

In the photograph above, if one looks carefully in the top right, the totality of my Romanian armoured collection can be seen – a solitary R-1.

99 Light Clears the west bank

9th Infantry clears the west bank

Luftwaffe air support was again limited by “Fuel Tactics”, but  though outnumbered two to one, managed to drive off some Soviet Stormovik attacks on the massing infantry attacks as they formed in their start lines.  On the east bank of the river, 9th Panzer was making progress against 270 Guards Rifle and 9th Mechanised , despite expectations, and initial setbacks.²

In  deteriorating weather conditions, the Soviet winter offensive ended with the crossings over the DNEPR in Soviet hands at ZAPOROZHYE but Axis hands at DNEPROPETROVSK.

Phil returned this week  as General of Panzers Stahl, and Steve continued as General Gordov commanding 33 Army.

  1. The house rule for Bridge repair was that infantry could infiltrate one battalion across the river every turn as it was being repaired. The bridge started at -12 Hit points, with 1d6 being thrown per two pioneer companies working on the bridge. Once the score was positive, that number of strength points could cross each turn, with bases not being allowed to part-cross, up to a maximum of +12. Enemy medium artillery and air power of medium and above could fire at the bridge counting it as a light target to reduce the carrying capacity of the bridge. This week, I ruled that engineers could not work on the bridge and fight off enemy panzers at the same time.
  2. Confusingly, during this operation, we had a lot of similarly numbered units!

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Battle for the Southern Dnepr – Part 3

The Soviets thought that having secured ZAPOROZHYE, the Germans would be unable to mount counterattacks. They were wrong.  As the leading regiments scrambled to consolidate their gains on the western bank of the DNEPR, Soviet pioneers worked feverishly to repair the damaged river crossing to allow the armour that was building up on the east bank across.¹

33 Army Masses on the East Bank of the DNEPR

33 Army Masses on the East Bank of the DNEPR

Sporadic fighting grumbled on against Romanian troops from I Corps, neither side having enough strength to prosecute an attack. Soon however, the leading Soviet Scouts of  67 and 68 Rifle Divisions met firm infantry defences with troops massing behind them.²

62 Infantry Division Counterattacks

62 Infantry Division Counterattacks

The attack, when it came, fell on 68 Rifle Division but initially failed to dislodge them in the Northwest sector of the city. The attack continued to build, being reinforced by the second echelon, and by I Corps, pushing the Soviets back into 67 Division’s positions to the southwest.

Feel the Force Luke

Feel the Force Luke

Luftwaffe air support was limited by “Fuel Tactics”, but a lone Geschwäder of Fw 190s managed to attack the bridge and delay by one turn, but not prevent, its eventual opening to light armour. As the lead battalion of T-70s from 33 Army nosed out of ZAPOROZHYE, they met 161 Anti-tank Battalion and halted in confusion³

161 Anti-tank Battalion Halts 33 Army Tanks

161 Anti-tank Battalion Halts 33 Army Tanks

67 Rifle Division then attacked north, to retake the northwest of the city, taking advantage of Stormovik attacks disrupting the already-battered Silesians, at which point the evening ended with coffee and  chocolate brownies.

Stormoviks attack 62 Infantry Division

Stormoviks attack 62 Infantry Division

Tim was back this week to reprise his role as General of Infantry Fröhlich, and Steve continued as General Gordov commanding 33 Army.

  1. The house rule for Bridge repair was that infantry could infiltrate one battalion across the river every turn as it was being repaired. The bridge started at -12 Hit points, with 1d6 being thrown per two pioneer companies working on the bridge. Once the score was positive, that number of strength points could cross each turn, with bases not being allowed to part-cross, up to a maximum of +12. Enemy medium artillery and air power of medium and above could fire at the bridge counting it as a light target to reduce the carrying capacity of the bridge.
  2. The Silesian Reservists of 62 Infantry Division had been force-marching from NIKOPOL to reinforce the breach in the line.
  3. Both sides rolled ones. I ask you, what else can an Umpire to do?

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Battle for the Southern Dnepr – Part 2

Zaporozhye Bridge Blown

Zaporozhye Bridge Blown

The Battle for The DNEPR river progressed pretty much according to plan for the two Soviet armies.  Army Group South,  had little with which to reinforce the front, and what it did have – 1 Mountain Division in the south, and 9 Infantry Division to the west – was fully occupied or too far away to affect the initial battle.

Although weak in numbers, the Romanians, were able to exchange fire across the DNEPR with the Soviets as they attacked DNEPROPETROVSK.¹ Phil, as Major General Seleznev went about his task in a methodical manner, and was not phased by both rail bridges in his sector being blown, eventually making it across the river and pushing 99 Jäger Division to the western outskirts of the city.²

DNEPR Bridge is Demolished

DNEPR Bridge is Demolished

This is what a destroyed major bridge would typically look like on the Eastern Front:

Destroyed Major River Bridge with the Dropped Span Forming a Passable Infiltration Route

Destroyed Major River Bridge with the Dropped Span Forming a Passable Infiltration Route

It is easy to imagine Scouts infiltrating across under the cover of darkness or smoke, but if the gap was more like the bridge below, with ice churning through the gap, then the difficulty becomes more apparent.

Destroyed Major River Bridge with a Clear Gap to the Centre Span

Destroyed Major River Bridge with a Clear Gap to the Centre Span

ZAPOROZHYE suffered a similar state as Colonel General Vasily Gordov concentrated on reducing the city one block (square) at a time. He benefited from sparing use of his attached army level artillery and armour, and the confidence that came from knowing that the front-level artillery was drawing ever closer. In the event, it was not needed but clattered majestically onto the board at the end of the game as if it owned the table. Deftly switching his attached tank brigades from attacking the north of the city to the south gave him the ability to selectively reinforce his assaulting infantry at key parts of the battle.

Romanian Infantry Division with attached Armour and AA

Romanian Infantry Division with attached Armour and AA

68 Infantry Division lost all of its infantry regiments on the east side of the river when General Meissner gave the order to demolish the bridge. Only the divisional headquarters and rear echelon troops survived to form the nucleus of a new division. It was still not enough to prevent the Soviets from forcing the river line.

Although it was only their second game of NQMsq,  Tim and  Steven picked the fundamentals up quickly.  The whole game took 3 hours, not including setup time, and each player handled two divisions, with Army level support on the Soviet side Apart from some loose ends that need to be soloed, the winter of 1942/3 has drawn to a close now, with troops resting and refitting ready for the summer campaigns when the roads dry out after the Rasputitsa.

  1. Against all expectation, the Romanians usually do well, probably because no-one expects too much of them. They spend a LOT of time in the box between games.

  2. The house rule was to roll 4-6 on 1d6 for the German Commander to successfully blow the bridge under fire, becoming easier by one on each subsequent turn. The Soviets could then attempt a crossing if they won the firefight with the far bank – 6 on 1d6 at the first attempt, becoming easier by one on each subsequent turn provided they continued to win the firefight.

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Battle for the Southern Dnepr – Part 1

Soviet 33rd Army of the South Front Breaks Into ZAPORIZHIZHIA February 1943

Soviet 33rd Army of the South Front Breaks Into ZAPOROZHYE February 1943

As the Battle for KHARKOV drew to its conclusion in Army Group South,  the weaker southern flank was having its own tribulations. Held more lightly than the centre, with a large proportion of minor allied troops (Romanians, Hungarians and Italians) the front had all but collapsed over winter, and as the Soviet Voronezh Front pushed hard against Generakl Kleist’s XLIV Korps, the Southern Front advanced 33rd and 22nd Armies against the key cities of ZAPOROZHYE (ZAPORIZHIZHIA in modern Ukranian) and DNEPROPETROVSK (DNIPRO on Google map)¹.

This far south, the first signs of the spring thaw were making it clear that the cities would have to be taken soon, or not at all. The pressure was on Colonel General Andrei I. Yeremenko. The Operation at DNEPROPETROVSK begins where the last game finished after a long winter pause for reorganisation on both sides.

Strung out between the two cities were the remnants of 7th and 11th  Romanian infantry divisions, although in truth the Romanian I Corps, to which they belonged, was no stronger than a weak division. It was strung over an impossible distance, and all that was saving it was the River DNEPR. In places, the river was one to three kilometers wide. Where it narrowed to half a kilometer, it was also faster flowing and deeper. To add to the attackers’ problems, the ice was also beginning to break up and the west bank was substantially higher than the east. The picture would be somewhere between two extremes. The Soviet players were hoping for this:  Dnepr late melt as rivers in Russia melt from the south northwards.

In the European part of the USSR the ice in rivers that flow from north to south (the Volga, Don, and Dnieper) begins to break up in the lower course, and the process gradually shifts upstream, so that there is drifting ice for a long period of time

Whereas I had more this in mind. Regardless, the ruling for this operation was that crossing was possible only via bridges. The Soviets still chanced their arm and placed a company of Scouts in the centre of the river with much talk of rubber boats and wading gear. They drowned.

68 Infantry Division, a veteran Viennese formation, was defending ZAPOROZHYE with its rail marshalling yards. The bulk of the city was on the east bank of the DNEPR, which gave the divisional commander, Maj Gen Meissner, a difficult choice on his reserve demolition of the main rail bridge on the southern outskirts of the city. If destroyed too early, his division would be cut off; too late  and he could lose the river crossing.

DNEPROPETROVSK was held by 99 Jäger Division (Regular Viennese, Lt Gen Krakau)² and 9 Infantry Division (Regular Hessen-Nassau, Maj Gen Gebb), although the latter played no part in the early battle, having been pulled to the northeast to cover a gap in the line.

Players for this game were Tim Merry commanding the German lines, Steven Churchus commanding 33 Army attacking ZAPOROZHYE, and YesthatPhil commanding 22 Army against DNEPROPETROVSK. Trebian was still recovering from head wounds sustained during his heroic attack at the front of 20 Guards Rifle Division at KHARKOV, and was unavailable.

We were playing NQM squared with the Corps Scale Orbat (CSO), and it seemed to be going well enough, albeit with the usual umpire tidying up of  Divisional HQs that had wandered off to command other divisions, and the odd cheeky Scout company that thought they might not be spotted creeping over the river.

The decision to start modelling guns and limbers together on a single base was vindicated when even Phil got his (badly labelled on my part) units tangled up. Steven, who was newer to hordes of indistinguishable Soviets fared even worse, which is why I am in favour of players bringing their own toys to the table – they know their own troops better – even if it does highlight my cheerfully sketchy painting (more of that later).

To be continued …

  1. Frank Chadwick rendered ZAPOROZHYE as the more pronounceable ZAPOROZHA.
  2. Reorganised as 7 Mountain Division in winter 41/42. Its NQM equivalent is still in DNEPROPETROVSK, however.

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VALUYKI Falls! January 1943

44 Infantry Division in VALUYKI South

44 Infantry Division in VALUYKI South

44th Infantry Division (Hoch und Deutschmeister) had found temporary respite in VALUYKI as the Soviet Winter Offensive surged westward, following the failed Fall Blau. Holding a rail junction and two river crossings, VALUYKI was a typical Soviet town, with rail sidings, low-rise workers apartments, and little else.

44 Divisional Artillery in VALUYKI Rail Sidings

44 Divisional Artillery in VALUYKI Rail Sidings

The 44th was a Viennese division that had not particularly distinguished itself up to this point in the war, and which now found itself facing two cavalry divisions (1st and 28th) on the boundaries of two separate Army offensives (16 and 11) that had shown little inclination to be hindered by snow, ice or frozen rivers¹.

VALUYKI

No help could be expected from the north and west, where XIV Motorised Korps and I Panzer Korps were strung out in unpromising winter conditions with a huge gap in the front to their north, with KURSK at its centre. To the southwest, 11th Army with their Hungarian and Romanian allies were having problems of their own.  Nevertheless, the recently appointed divisional commander, Lieutenant General Heinrich Deboi was confident that he could hold the town and rail yards, and prepared his regiments for a second long winter in the depths of Russia. Information from Korps intelligence, was that his division was sitting astride two army boundaries, and so could reasonably expect to be bypassed.

1st Cavalry Division Plods across the Snowy Landscape

1st Cavalry Division Plods across the Snowy Landscape

 

The Cossacks of 28 Cavalry Division Outflank to the North

The Cossacks of 28 Cavalry Division Outflank to the North

Initially, things went well: The horizon filled with clouds of cavalry and horse-drawn transport, making their way steadily towards and around the defences.

28 Cavalry Approaches VALUYKI

1st and 28th Cavalry Approach VALUYKI

After a few days though, the cavalry artillery began to pound defences in the southwest corner of the town, and as casualties mounted, the enemy began to force its way in through the defences, with vicious close-quarter fighting through the spread out suburbs. It was clear that liaison officers had been working across the army boundaries to formulate a plan to eliminate this troublesome point of resistance

The Southeast Suburbs of VALUYKI are Overrun

The Southeast Suburbs of VALUYKI are Overrun

Inexorably, the net closed until the town was cut off  from relief. Austrian pioneers destroyed the bridges across the frozen rivers to prevent rail traffic. Soviet pioneers breached minefields covered in snow and ice.

VALUYKI is Surrounded

VALUYKI is Surrounded

Fighting Reaches the Centre of VALUYKI

Fighting Reaches the Centre of VALUYKI

Divisional Artillery Fires over Open Sights in the Railyards

Divisional Artillery Firing over Open Sights in the Railyards

… until after a month of hard fighting, the town fell, with the surviving Austrians being led off to an uncertain future.

The Final Moments of 44th Infantry Division in VALUYKI

The Final Moments of 44th Infantry Division in VALUYKI

This game was fought over two hours on a Sunday afternoon with YesthatPhil. He sized up the scenario, looked at the brief that said “Surround and Bypass”, but decided that a battle would be more satisfying. He then proceeded to tear through the hapless Austrians, demolishing the defence in the space of an hour.

One of the features of NQM is that the relatively low numbers of dice rolled for combats gives a sometimes very grainy set of results. Some players hate this and see it as a failure of rule design. I see it as a perfect way of introducing friction. Phil was successful because he concentrated his limited artillery assets on one corner of the town until he could fight his troops in. From then on, he concentrated his attacks sequentially, pulling out troops that needed to reorganise, and reinforcing the attacks with fresh troops held back for just this purpose. I was unable to do the same with only half as many troops, and limited real estate in which to deploy them. It wasn’t long before the Cossacks were forcing my fighting troops back onto my logistic park, with predictable results. Having space to pull troops out of the firing line is essential if they are not to become overloaded with casualties very quickly. Having said that, the Austrians won very few firefights and very few close assaults … it was just one of those days for them.

Phils New Toys in Combat

Phil’s New Toys in Combat. A White Scout Car Scout Company Faces off against the PanzerJäger Battalion

Phil achieved one of his personal objectives of getting his new White scout car into combat, along with a rather nice Jeep converted into a Gaz Jeep. His cinematically themed Hollywood Kirk Douglas Spartacus DBA slave Army is pretty nice too. We spent the extra time discussing trucks and 3D printing. More to follow on that once the paint dries.

  1. I checked AFTER I had set up the tabletop, only to find that the main river runs to the WEST of VALUYKI … oh well, it’s frozen!

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ALAMEIN Operation Lightfoot D Day

Alamein 50th Division Attacks

Alamein 50th Division Attacks

D Day dawned crisp and cold, with troops arriving at Shedquarters well-muffled against the cold. The final command team looked like this:

Axis:

Tim “von” Gow as 20 Corps, 21 Pz and Ariete,  Richard Lindley as Brescia, Steve Churchus as Ramke, and Trabian as Folgore and Pavia.

Allied:

Phil Steele as XIII Corps, 7th Armoured Division and 1st Free French. Gary Roberts as 50th Infantry Division and the Greek Brigade, and Tim Merry as 44th Infantry Division.

Moves ran every 30 minutes, with one night and one day. Fighting took place mostly at night, with the day being reserved for airstrikes and the French, who elected to fight during daylight, for reasons never fully explained. Nobody minded as Phil had brought his own French, with an impressive scratchbuilt Tanaka and Conus gun. To be continued …

 

 

 

 

Alamein 1st Free french Brigade

Alamein 1st Free French Brigade

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Air Forces, Artillery, DAK, German Airforce, infantry, Italian Army, Italian Army, Land Battles, NQM Squared, RAF and Commonwealth AFs, Regia Aeronautica, Western Desert, WWII

ALAMEIN Operation Lightfoot D Minus 23

Rommel's map of alamein

I found this map attributed to Rommel on the web, about which, I have a number of doubts, (the grid is mine) but it makes a nice basis for a gridded approximation. Other super-secret stuff has been going on with terrain (don’t hold your breath – it’s desert yellow!).

Elsewhere, those mischevious Russians have not, repeat not, been hacking into anybody’s medical records or super-secret HQs in The USA, GB or the Netherlands. It’s a conspiracy, someone just ate dodgy tea cakes, or something. Methinks the Kremlin doth protest too much!

A serious amount of painting is going on, for me anyway, and I almost met Paul Wisken aka General Whiskers, who kindly relieved me of some display shelving that was too good to take to the tip and too much hassle to ebay. Even more welcome, for being unexpected, were the two books that he left in exchange:

Chris Bishop’s Order Of Battle: German Panzers in WWII and George Nafziger’s The German Order of Battle: Infantry in World War II. Between the two books, they provide a staggering amount of organisational detail.

Printing off the player sheets for ALAMEIN  is the next job.

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