I decided it was time to hand out another kicking to Max's spaghetti eaters. I set up a table with a wadi complex running across the entire table, providing much cover and yet a considerable amount of high ground too.

My scenario plan was to split the tables long sides into three equal sectors of 24" and then dice randomly to see in which the troops were to be deployed.

I worked out very extensive orders of battle to allow Max to field his entire Italian force, whilst I would be able to use a considerable amount of my 8th Army.

Once we had diced for the amount of fake blinds we were permitted we would number off our forces against blinds and then remove a third of each others total blinds. This creates a great deal of uncertainty about what forces you are playing against, or, in fact what your forces consist of.


Kev's 8th Army Force

Forward Observer

HQ Platoon 

  • Captain Hugh Jego (DAV)
  • Boys AT Rifle (2 men)

Infantry Platoon 1 

  • Lieutenant P. Niss Big Man 2 (D6)
  • Sergeant ‘Knocker’ Allday (D6+1)
  • Three Rifle Sections (8 men each)
  • Boys AT Rifle (2 men)

Infantry Platoon 2

  • Sergeant ‘Ripper’ Hymen (D6+2)
  • Three Rifle Sections (8 men each)
  • Boys AT Rifle (2 men)

Infantry Platoon 3 

  • Sergeant ‘Slinger' Stone (D6+2)
  • Three Rifle Sections (8 men each)
  • Boys AT Rifle (2 men)

Support Platoon 1 

  • Sergeant Les Bow (D6)
  • Four Vickers HMG (3 crew each) 

Support Platoon 2 

  • Corporal R. Sole (D6)
  • Two 3” Mortars (3 crew each)

Gun 1 (Off-Table, but firing over open sights)

  • 25pdr Gun (5 crew)

Gun 2 (Off-Table, but firing over open sights)

  • 25pdr Gun (5 crew)

Armour 1 

  • Lieutenant D. Saster (D4)
  • Two A12 Matilda Mk II CS

Armour 2 

  • Sergeant ‘Chalky’ White (D4)
  • Three A12 Matilda Mk II


  • D6+1 Fakes

National Characteristics Cards 

  • Off-Table Artillery 
  • Vehicle Breakdown 
  • Gun Bonus Fire 
  • MG Bonus Fire 
  • Mortar Bonus Fire 
  • Rally 
  • Heroic Leader

Max's Italians

HQ Platoon

  • Captain Big Man 1 (D4)
  • Two Rifle Squads (8 men each)

Infantry Platoon 1 

  • Lieutenant Big Man 2 (DAV)
  • Four Rifle Squad (8 men each)

Infantry Platoon 2 

  • Sergeant Big Man 3 (DAV)
  • Four Rifle Squad (8 men each)

Infantry Platoon 3 

  • Sergeant Big Man 4 (D6)
  • Four Rifle Squad (8 men each)

Infantry Platoon 4 

  • Sergeant Big Man 5 (D6)
  • Two Rifle Squads (8 men each)
  • Two Trucks
  • Two M/C Combo 

Support Platoon 1 

  • Three MMG (3 crew each)

Support Platoon 2 

  • 45mm Mortar (2 crew)

Support Platoon 3 

  • Three Solothurn AT Rifles (2 crew each)

Guns 1-3 

  • Three 75mm Field Gun with 5 crew each

Guns 4-5 

  • Two 3” Naval gun mounted on Lancia Truck with 5 crew each

Guns 6-7 

  • Two 20mm L65 Breda AA/AT with 5 crew each
  • NB one mounted Portee on Lancia Truck

Guns 8-11 

  • Four 47mm AT Guns with 4 crew each

Armour 1-4 

  • Sergeant Big Man 6 (D4)
  • Two L3/35 (MG) 
  • Two L3/35 (ATR)

Armour 5-7 

  • Lieutenant Big Man 7 (D4)
  • Three M13/40

Armour 8-11 

  • Sergeant Big Man 8 (D4)
  • Two Autoblindo AB41

Armour 12-13 

  • Two Semovente 47/32


  • D6 Fakes

National Characteristics Cards 

  • Recce Force 
  • Hesitant Commander 
  • Petrol Shortage 
  • Vehicle Breakdown 
  • Gun Bonus Fire 
  • MG Bonus Fire 
  • Mortar Bonus Fire 
  • Hesitant Troops 
  • Ammo Shortage 
  • Poor Fire Discipline

The Game

I'll let Max recount the sad tale....

"As the last hints of dawn were burnt off in the morning sun a rumbling of tracks could be made out from the West. The spearhead of Carro Casino, forming part of the Ariette Divisions push into British held Libya, drove towards a potential choke point, the Wadi at Shah Wadi.

The fissures here, remnants of an ancient river course, long since dried up, bisect the hills above Tobruk and the port. Capturing this area secures a line of communication and threatens the garrisons supply.

Moving in rough battlegroups, a technique borrowed from their German Allies (well on Blinds, at least), the Italian force entered bottom right of the table on the lip of a ridge overlooking the Wadi’s. The British were expected diagonally opposite them, top left. This was a concern as the normal time it would take to traverse the table would give Kev too much time to prepare.

My whole Italian armored force was available less a random number removed by Kev. Luckily I lost only my Portees (sad as they looked interesting) and clearly my antique armour was still struggling along the road. I did lose out on two platoons of infantry however which was more of a concern. The random nature of this feels true to form and presents a challenge in addition to those of your opponent."

Indeed it does Max. I lost my Mortar Platoon, MG Platoon, an Infantry platoon and an off-table 25pdr... Bummer!

"For once the chips were with the Italians. Over four moves Kev moved only on his 'Rapid Deployment' card. I sent a light force of tankettes and two 47mm assault guns across the furthest Wadi, my main armored punch moved along the nearest. I placed my infantry on the ridge and held the left flank with off table guns. My 75mm Field Battery I nudged in between the two Wadi’s to cover any advances by Kev.

By move 5 he was very worried. His blinds arrived but remained hold up in the corner surrounded by Italian blinds. Neither of us were spotting well and a sort of Spaghetti Western stand off ensued.

The Brits broke the tension by launching an assault with most of an infantry company towards the furthest Wadi. In here Id moved up the Tankettes and support with the far right held by a squadron of AB41’s.

In his center, out of a defile between two small hills the slow grind of sand showed his Aces, bloody Matildas! This was worrying, yes I had my armour close up and hull down but they were Matilda’s for Gods sake!

Taking each fight in turn; in the Wadi my assault guns were close enough to Kevs new scouting tactic - push in a Matilda and see what happens - to pull off a miracle. Yes Kev spotted my tanks but missed everything afterwards. Into the side, at close range, the 45mm is a pretty good gun. 2 shots, 2 hits, 2 damages, 1 immobilized tank!

Just then, on the lip of the Wadi, a horde of incoherent Linconshire yeomanry leered over and lobbing grenades with gay abandon, damaged one assault gun and took the track off a tankette. It was getting threatening there and the next turns saw the tankettes splitting up, one with an AT rifle to annoy his tanks, the others to find safety, three were to end the battle abandoned.

Normally Kev ignores tankettes but today he became obsessed. Several assaults were fought off although his men found that simply standing behind one with duff tracks and shying grenades at it was a great game. When he did get complacent a rush by one squad ended in their line of fire and saw 6 killed outright!

This success was tempered by my infantry indulging in long range duels whenever his men moved. And for a change the British artillery failed to get on target. By the time it had the remnants of the Italian platoon had moved out towards the British main line.

In the schwerpunkt a close range duel between Matildas and assorted Italians proved more even than expected. Again close range helped as, ironically, did my single vehicle cards, I moved more often than he did for a change. The Eyetie M13’s shoot and scooted from hull down positions (although one misjudged it and was blown apart for its foolishness). The Brits lost all of the first squadron in short order as the brave armored troops drove their tin-heaps around the edges of the British behemoths. Some great dice rolling by me, and terrible by Kev, saw lumps of Coventry engineering being hewn off and their crews deciding to make for the rear.

A counter-attack by the HQ squadron faired little better with Kev fearing side attacks and hiding rather than confronting the foe.

The Italians were losing, breakdowns and minor damage reduced their effectives by over a third by the end, but enough damage was done.

On the right, Kev threw in his last ditch gamble, an infantry assault supported by an off table 25lber. The Italian Guns between the 2 ridges were roughly treated but stood their ground despite one being blown apart (a 12 by Kev, beating the score to hit by the necessary two!). They pinned his infantry who were finished off by the AB41’s cannons! Several brave assaults came to naught and by this time all agreed that the Brits had blown their chance.

A cracking game showing the benefit of getting in close when your guns are, well, not very good. We were very lucky and took advantage of this to move up under blinds. The single vehicle cards could have worked against us but at this range, with Kev hemmed into close terrain, they proved an advantage allowing me to react to his moves and threaten him, even if it was only one tank at a time. Kev was shocked by my early shooting with the assault guns which made him more concerned for his Matildas than normal.

With the Eyeties then, you can win!"

But not very often Max! Thanks to Max Maxwell for a good fair write up of what was one of my greatest cock-ups.

Kev & Max