Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sittangbad Revisited (2)

Looking eastwards down the coast road towards the
approaching Allied advance guard.
My apologies for taking so long bringing this account of World War Two Sittangbad to you, and the fact is, the action is still ongoing - barely begun withal.  Need batteries for my camera.  The ones you see here are from my Smart phone. 

The leading picture shows the field of battle, facing east down the coast road in Libya, somewhere between Agedabia and Wadi Zem Zem.  Apart from the palm groves, the greenery depict in the middle distance an impassible stretch of marshy country; and closer to the line of the Wadi Wasir.  The lateral dark line in the distance is the edge of the battlefield.
Congestion on the Sittangbad bridge and in the main street
as truck loads of essential equipment and supplies are
being withdrawn - one vehicle per turn.
These early picture were taken after the Allied first turn. They turned a RED 10 for allocating movement.  There were a number of options here.  To begin with, the Allies begin 'off-table'. The first turn brought the troops and vehicles onto the first row of squares only, to count as a full move, but with units allowed to shoot at targets in the open.  Elements of the 4th Light Armoured Brigade advanced on the right flank, over the Djebel Isen: the tanks of the Royal Scots Greys (RSG), a company of Kings Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC), and an armoured car squadron from the Royal Dragoon Regiment (RDR).
Kampfgruppe Herzog.  The infantry and heavy machine guns
 of the garrison proved a hard nut to crack.
The left flank of the advancing Allies comprised the 23rd New Zealand Battalion.  The lead elements were A and C companies, flanked on their right by the battalion's carrier platoon, and on the left by the Vickers MMG platoon.  Flung out on the left flank, D company pushed its way through the fringes of a palm grove.
Elements of 4th Light Armoured Brigade swarm over the
high ground.
The medium squadrons of the Royal Scots Greys fired at the Pz III company, for a 'force back' or 'retreat' result. The infantry companies found the light armoured car company within range, but their fire was ineffective. I did consider using the 25pr field guns off table, but of course the Allies will need somebody present on the field to direct their fire. That option is not yet out of court.
21st New Zealand Battalion, advancing up the coast road,
are about to run into some stiff opposition.

Bir Isen.
Elements of Kampfgruppe Herzog were placed in and around the small village of Bir Isen. the Machine Gun Company north of the road, #1 Schutzen Company south of it, facing eastward down the road. Perhaps rather arbitrarily I decided the other 4 units of that command should be placed on a square orthogonally adjacent to the village. The second Schutzen company and the Panzer squadron we so placed to switch to the north to confront whatever might appear over the Djebel Isen, the Marder company was then to protect the northern flank of the village, whilst the Armoured Car company covered the southern flank.

In the coming narrative, I became aware of certain features of the Portable Wargame, as developed in Developing the PW (short title), that might not work so well in a card-moderated solo game.  The first of these was the preliminary artillery fire that opens each given turn.  This is independent of determining which side goes first in the subsequent actions for that turn.  To incorporate that into a card moderated game, one would have to remember that so many units fired in the artillery phase.

I played this once, and then abandoned it, yet I like the idea in principle.  It allows an attacker to 'shoot in' an assault; or a defender to try to break up an attack.  Something to think about in battles in future.  The other points I'll touch on in the subsequent narrative...

To be continued...


  1. Looks good.

    When I was trying out the cards with the RCW I didn't charge players an action for firing artillery during the bombardment phase. Of course, they still had to track which guns fired since they could not fire again or move.
    I'll have to think about pre-spending activation pts to bombard.

    1. That idea didn't occur to me, Ross. But quite a few things didn't occur to me until some way into the action. I was forced therefore into making quick decisions, pending further thought. Still, this was a much an experimental, learning process, as a fun sort of game.

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    When I wrote the rules that appear in DTPW there were written with face-to-face battles in mind. For my own solo battles I did pretty well what Ross Mac suggests, although I did also experiment with limiting ammunition supplies to Artillery Units.

    You are spot on with regard to using artillery to 'shoot in' ones own attacks or to break up enemy ones. The rules - if used as intended - help the players to utilise proper artillery tactics.

    By the way, I'm really enjoying your battle report, and await the next instalment with great interest.

    All the best,


    1. Cheers, Bob. It quite often happens if you try a fairly unfamiliar rule set that one has to undertake a 'suck it and see' process. Fact was, the off-table artillery shoot was an idea that occurred to me only AFTER I had set up the scenario. I decided to go with the programme I had already mapped out.

      That meant the 25prs didn't get into action until quite late in the day, the leading units finding themselves pretty busy for the first few turns! The German mortar and infantry gun units were too distant to offer any help to Herzog's battlegroup.

      One issue I will mention here had to due with firing 'into' a close assault. I still haven't made up my mind about this. There is no explicit prohibition of this in DTPW (though there may be circumstantial ones). In the end I decided for the purposes of this game, DIRECT fire could be used, but not indirect. That seemed to work for this game, but I have the uneasy feeling this was NOT the right decision.