Tag Archives: 1st Royal Tank Regiment

The Battle of Bir Bar ‘el – Breaking into the Position

0600hrs – Crossing the Start Line

Bersagliari under Artillery Fire

  1. 14th Infantry  Brigade Artillery (14ARTY) laid a barrage onto the northernmost enemy strongpoint of 1 medium CU scoring 5 against the medium strongpoint, scoring 1 red pin or pip (1M=5>M=1). Bersagliari tested for morale for coming under fire for the first time, scoring 4, which was OK
  2. 1st Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (1BEDS&HERTS) advanced to contact with the enemy and each stand of 3 bases opened fire scoring 2 pins (2L=5+6>M=2).
  3. V Bersagliari Motorised Battalion (5BERGn) returned fire with 1 light die scoring 1 pin (1L=4>L=1)
  4. In the first move, 1BEDS&HERTS have inflicted three pins on 5BERGn and received only one in return, so in the next move they can close assault the strongpoint.

Winning the Firefight

0700hrs – Close Assaulting the Northern Strongpoint

  1.  There were no unwounded stands left in the northern strongpoint, so if 1BEDS&HERTS close assaulted, they would just walk over the position, capturing anyone who was in there.  5BERGn were veteran troops however, and passed a morale test for 50% or over casualties scoring a 6! so the Battalion Commander decided that a fighting withdrawal was in order. 1BEDS&HERTS occupied the position. Their supporting Valentine tanks from 4th Royal Tank Regiment (4RTR) declined to pursue the fleeing enemy until the infantry had reorganised, on the grounds that the enemy had probably covered his lines of retreat with anti-tank fire.
  2. The 1st battalion Black Watch Regiment (1BW) advanced to contact in a co-ordinated brigade attack against the southernmost enemy strongpoint and began the firefight (2L=5+3>M=0).The attack stalled as the defenders returned fire (1L=6>L=2)
  3. 14ARTY laid a barrage  of 1 medium CU scoring 2 against the medium strongpoint to the south, to no effect. The attack remained stalled.
  4. The supporting Matilda battalion of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1RTR) began a duel with the DAK 5cm anti tank detachment to their north (DAK PaK). 1RTR (1L=3>M*=0). DAK PaK (1M=6>H=1).

 Black Watch Advance to Contact

0800hrs – Black Watch Continue the Firefight Against the Southern Strongpoint

  1. The tank/anti tank duel continued in the south with more sound and fury than actual damage: 1RTR (1L=3>M*=0). DAK PaK (1M=3>H=0), the PaK was now out of ammunition and could only withdraw next move, or sit tight awaiting a close assault.
  2. 14ARTY laid a barrage onto the southernmost enemy strongpoint (1M=4>M=1). 5BERGs had now received 50% casualties and failed a morale test on 2.
  3. 132ARTY fired on 1BW (1L=4>L=1). 1BW had received 50% casualties and failed a morale test on a 2, becoming disorganised.
  4. 1BW settled into a firefight with 5BERGs causing a permanent (black) casualty (2L=4+5>M*=1) and receiving . 5BERGs failed their 50% morale check on a 1, also becoming disorganised**

0900hrs – Black Watch Win the Firefight Against the Southern Strongpoint

  1. 14ARTY continued to bombard the southernmost enemy strongpoint to no effect (1M=3>M=0).
  2. 132ARTY switched fire onto 1BEDS&HERTS (1L4>L=1).
  3. 1BEDS&HERTS closed to effective fire range against the Southern Strongpoint (2L=3+5>M=1). At this stage the combined attack of two battalions had won the firefight and could advance to contact in the next move. [In the picture below, the 3 stands could have black pins stuck into the bases, or be depicted by casualty markers as shown here]

Black Watch Win the Firefight

1000hrs – Beds & Herts Follow Through to the Defenders Gun Line

  1. 14ARTY continued the barrage on the southernmost enemy strongpoint 5BERGs. The fall of shot was doing more damage now (1M=4>M=1).
  2. 132ARTY continued their barrage on 1BEDS&HERTS (1L=5>L=1).
  3. 1BW mounted a disorganised close assault with only one effective fighting base (F1) against the zero strength 5BERGs, which was automatically overrun. RHQ was unable to offer supporting fire to 5BERGs, as they were disorganised.
  4. The Valentines of 4RTR supporting 1BEDS&HERTS brought 132ARTY under direct fire (1L=6>M=1) causing 1 pin.

Valentines Charging the Guns!

1100hrs – The Enemy is Defeated

  1. In a bold move, the Matilda battalion 1RTR  passed through the Southern Strongpoint and broke into the RHQ position in fine style but caused no enemy casualties (1L=2>L=0) and received none in return*** (1L=4>H=0). The Tank Terror rule was not appropriate here as RHQ had organic anti tank assets. By doing this, 1RTR prevented RHQ from putting in a potentially devastating counter attack. [See picture below]
  2. 4RTR‘s Valentines closed with 132ARTY causing another pin (1L=6>M=1) and receiving no casualties in return (1L=4>M=0) – I really was not making these die rolls up!
  3. 1BEDS&HERTS mounted a well-coordinated close assault with two effective fighting bases (F2) against the single strength point remaining of  132ARTY (S1), which was  overrun as this strength point was defeated in close assault by the attacking infantry (F3= 6,5>S1=5). [See picture above]

Black Watch Close Assault

This battle would conclude with 14BDE consolidating on the positions that it had won and reorganising. The supporting tanks would reorganise, following British doctrine, behind the defending infantry. Logistic elements would move forward to resupply the infantry and tanks

It is worth noting that throughout, I have tried to describe as much of the ‘battle’ as possible using language that would be familiar to the commanders of the day. I find battles personally more satisfying doing this than if the language of wargaming is used, as I use games to try and understand the history of the period, as well as being an enjoyable pastime.

This worked example supercedes the earlier Battle of WASHBOARD RIDGE.

Footnotes:

The notation used here is a sort of Chess-style notation that allows me to record the salient points of solo games for future reference, and to keep track in campaigns. For this game I decided that the first people to come under fire would take a morale check, and everyone would at 50%.

* I count most Atk guns as Medium in defence when tanks are firing against them, to reflect the anti-tank guns’ low profile and camouflage, as here.

** disorganised units cannot take advantage of supporting fire, and are automatically overrun if close assaulted.

*** Tanks do not close assault. They drive into an enemy infantry position as they please, but if the infantry do not surrender or run away, then the tanks are treated as light targets in the next move when close assaulted by the defending infantry  if they are unwise enough to stay on the position. See Männer Gegen Panzer to get a feel for what is going on tactically.

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Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, DAK, Italian Army, Rules Examples, The "Rules", Western Desert, WWII

Battle of Bir Bar ‘el

Since explaining combat in the  Battle of WASHBOARD RIDGE, infantry stands have been reduced in strength by 3, reverting to the original version of NQM. See how this works with a combined infantry and tank brigade assault against  a defending battalion with anti-tank support.

2018: For the NQM Corps Scale Orbat, a battalion is s3 as opposed to the s6 example below.

 

Order of Battle – Allies

 Beds & Herts orbat at the Battle of Bir Bar 'el

 Black Watch Orbat at the Battle of Bir Bar 'el

 

Order of Battle – Axis

 

  • 8th Bersaglieri Regiment (Motorised) – 1 Comd car + 1 Mortar + 1 47mm Atk (CS3)
  • Attached from DAK1 50mm Atk (S2) +1 Limber (L2)
  • V Motorised Battalion 2 Trucks (L3)*, [ Bn Comd + MG + 45mm Mortar (CS3)], [ 3Rifles (F3)]
  • XII Motorised Bn detached to support Ariete

*(The Motorised Bn could equally be protrayed as two single truck stands  of strength CS3 and F3. If I do that , I usually put some infantry in the back to show they are not just Logistic trucks)

Italian Orbat for the Battle of Bir Bar el

 

 

 

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Gazala – British and Commonwealth Forces (Op Crusader)

Forces built up piecemeal in the desert on both sides, so I have taken an arbitary snapshot round about the time of the first GAZALA battles (November 1941) as the basis for a mini campaign. As ever, I am open to suggestions and comments from those with a better knowledge of the period.

Grey Annotations do not appear in the CSO Orbat

British and Commonwealth Forces

Commander-in-Chief Middle East Command: General Claude Auchinleck

8th-armyBritish Eighth Army

Lieutenant-General Alan Cunningham, succeeded on 26 November by Lieutenant-General Neil Ritchie
Model of a Nissen hut with a Campari sun umbrella outside.

30th-corpsXXX Corps

Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie
Comd Car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop Truck (s3)
Comd Car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3)
  • Divisional troops
    • 4th South African Armoured Car Regiment – Marmon Herrington A/C (R3)
  • 102nd Royal Horse Artillery – FOO (s1), Quad FAT (L3), + 25pdr (S3)
  • 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA – Bofors 40mm (S3) + limber (L3)

1st-south-african-division1st South African Division (Major-General George Brink) – Comd car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop Truck (s3)

  • 1st Royal Natal Carabineers SA Infantry Corps (Lieutenant Colonel Len Hay, M.C.) (As above minus truck)
  • 1st Transvaal Scottish SA Infantry Corps (As 1DoE above minus truck)
  • One Sqn 3rd SA Armoured Car Regt SA Tank Corps – Marmon Harrington Armd Car (s1)
  • 3rd and 4th Anti-Tank Batteries SA Artillery Corps – FOO (s1), Limber (L2), + 2pdr (s2)
  • 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Battery SA Artillery Corps – Truck (L1),  + 20mm AA (s1) (or portee)
  • 1st Field Company SA Engineering Corps – Truck (s1), Engr (s1)
  • 11th and 15th Field Batteries of 4th Field Regt SA Artillery Corps – FOO (s1), Marmon Herrington FAT (L2), + 25pdr (s2)
  • 7th, 19th and 20th Field Batteries of 7th Field Regt SA Artillery Corps  – FOO (s1), Marmon Herrington FAT (L3),  + 25pdr (s3)
  • 5th South African Infantry Brigade (As 1st bde above)
  • 22nd Guards BrigadeComd Car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Rifle stand (s3) (Defence Platoon)

    • 9th battalion Rifle BrigadeComd (s3),  3 Rifle Stands (s3), VickersMMG (s3), 3″Mortar (s3), ATkRifle (s3), 2 3ton Trucks(L3)
    • 3rd battalion Coldstream Guards Comd (s3),  3 Rifle Stands (s3), VickersMMG (s3), 3″Mortar (s3), ATkRifle (s3), 2 3ton Trucks(L3)

13th-corpsXIII Corps

Lieutenant-General Reade Godwin-Austen
Comd car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop Truck (s3) 40mm Flak + Truck (s3)

2nd-new-zealand-infantry-division2nd New Zealand Division (Major-General Bernard Freyberg)

Comd car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop Truck (s3), 40mm Flak (s3) + Truck (L3)

  • 4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade – Comd (s3), Signals Vehicle (s3), Rifle stand (s3) (Defence Platoon)
  • 18th Infantry Battalion – Comd (s3), 3-4 Rifle Stands (s3), VickersMMG (s3), 3″Mortar (s3), ATkRifle (s3) (Boyes)
  • 19th Infantry Battalion – (As 18 Bn above)
  • 20th Infantry Battalion – (As 18 Bn above)
  • 5th New Zealand Infantry Brigade – (As 4th Bde above)
    • 21st Infantry Battalion
    • 22nd Infantry Battalion
    • 23rd Infantry Battalion
  • 6th New Zealand Infantry Brigade – (As 4th Bde above)
    • 24th Infantry Battalion
    • 25th Infantry Battalion
    • 26th Infantry Battalion
  • Divisional troops
    • (Reconnaissance) – Marmon Herrington Armd Car (3)
    • 1 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery FOO (s1), Marmon Herrington FAT (L3),  + 25pdr (s3)
    • 25 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery FOO (s1), Marmon Herrington FAT (L3), + 25pdr (s3)
    • 31 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery FOO (s1), Marmon Herrington FAT (L3), + 25pdr (s3)
Comd car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop Truck (s3)

Tobruk Garrison

Major-General Ronald Scobie
Comd car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), 40mm Flak + Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop truck (s3)

british_wwii_6th_infantry_division70th Infantry Division

Comd car (s3), Signals Truck (s3), Ammo Truck (s3), POL Truck (s3), Ambulance Truck (s3), Workshop Truck (s3) 40mm Flak + Truck (s3)
  • Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade
    • I Carpathian Rifle Battalion
    • II Carpathian Rifle Battalion
    • III Carpathian Rifle Battalion
    • 11 Czechoslovakian Infantry Battalion
    • 2/13 Australian Infantry Battalion
    • Carpathian Machine Gun Battalion
    • Carpathian Field Regiment FOO (s1), Quad FAT (L3), + 25pdr (s3)

***The Brigade was a mix of Valentines and mostly Matildas

Oasis Force

Brigadier Denys Reid
  • 29th Indian Infantry Brigade – (As 4th NZ Inf Bde above)
  • 6th South African Armoured Car Regiment – Marmon Herrington Armd Car (3)

Army Reserve

2nd South African Division Sign2nd South African Division (Major-General Isaac de Villiers) (All as 2 NZ Div above)

  • 3rd South African Infantry Brigade
  • 4th South African Infantry Brigade
  • 6th South African Infantry Brigade

Sources

Original text written by:

http://www.enotes.com/topic/Operation_Crusader_order_of_battle

Paolo Marcenaro http://comandosupremo.com/libya1941.html

and http://www.enotes.com/topic/Eighth_Army_%28United_Kingdom%29

Adapted for NQM with images from various sources, as are the following two posts

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