British Armour vs Clivey's and Max's Axis Armour

After the success of the previous Desert tank battles, I decided that we this time a mixed italian and DAK Armour force should take on the 8th Army using rules for IABSM 'Confused Tank Actions'.

The action was set in early 1941, giving a different flavour to our earlier forays in the desert.

Clivey came round with his DAK Panzers and Max with his Italian Armour. I used an early 8th Army force with some of 2pdr AT guns firing direct over open sights from off-table using our house rules for these.


The table was of 6' x 4' size and largely flat and featureless. Once again by using cork tiles under the cloth, I had created undulations providing rises and depressions for hull down positions. In addition I decided to use my recently acquired rocky out crops bought from Peter Pig's scenery range at this years SALUTE.

A feature of the southern table edge was a small fort with adjacent scrub.

The table portrayed a low valley with undulating terrain in the NW and SE corners. Our respective forces would arrive and fight diagonally NW and SE.


I decided that we would number all fakes and unit blinds and then would decide where to locate two blinds. Clive and Max would choose the number of the first two blinds to come onto the table, and I would do likewise. The first two blinds would be placed within 6" of ANY table edge on our side of the centre line running EW.

Subsequent forces would arrive at a time at a location we chose on our baselines, one blind arriving maximum per turn. Once again we would choose each others blinds numbers.

Our forces consisted of:



  • Forward Observer in SdKfz 254 in contact with four off-table 10.5cm Field Guns firing indirect.

Armour 1 (All Veteran)

  • Hauptmann Bassermann (D4)
  • 1 x PzKpfw I Befehlswagen
  • 1 x PzKpfw IIC 

Armour 2 (All Veteran)

  • Leutnant Kunstler (D4) VETERAN
  • 3 x Pz Kpfw I C

Armour 3 (All Veteran)

  • Stabsfeldwebel Ockfener (D4)
  • 3 x PzKpfw IIC

Armour 4 (All Veteran)

  • Obegefreiter Pfalz (D4)
  • 3 x  PzKpfw IIC 

Armour 5 (All Veteran)

  • Feldwebel Michelsberg (D4)
  • 2 x  PzKpfw III G

Armour 6 

  • 2 x L3/35 (MG)
  • 2 x L3/35 (ATR)

Armour 7 

  • Capitano Corbelli (D4)
  • 3 x M13/40

Armour 8 

  • 3 x Semovente M40 da 75/34

Gun 1 

  • Panzerjager I

Gun 2 

  • Panzerjager I


  • D6 + 2 Fakes

National Characteristics Cards 

Off-Table Artillery (FO Controlled); Blitzkrieg (DAK only); Rapid Deployment; Recce Force; Petrol Shortage; Vehicle Breakdown; Gun Bonus Fire; Ammo Shortage; Dynamic Commander; Heroic Leader



  • Forward Observer in Carrier in contact with four 25pdr field guns off-table firing indirect.

Armour 1 

  • Captain Miles Behynt (D4)
  • Two A9 Cruiser MKI

Armour 2 

  • Lieutenant 'Porky' Pyes (D4)
  • Three Vickers MK VI

Armour 3 

  • Three A9 Cruiser MKI

Armour 4 

  • Three A15 Crusader Mk I

Armour 5 

  • Sergeant Les Bean (D4)
  • Two A12 Matilda Mk II

Gun 1 (firing over open sights from off-table) 

  • 2 pdr AT Gun (5 crew)

Gun 2 (firing over open sights from off-table) 

  • 2 pdr AT Gun (5 crew)

Gun 3  (firing over open sights from off-table)

  • 2 pdr AT Gun (5 crew)


  • D6 + 1 Fakes

National Characteristics Cards 

Off-Table Artillery (FO Controlled); Armoured Bonus Move (Cruisers); Rapid Deployment; Recce Force; Petrol Shortage; Vehicle Breakdown; Gun Bonus Fire; Ammo Shortage; Heroic Leader


The Game

My overall plan was to tempt the Axis armour into making a rapid advance up the table and onto the 2pdrs located off-table. These would fire on the 'blinds move' chip, after which their own individual chips would be added.

The evil Axis duo chose my allotted numbers for the first two blinds and I did the same for their forces.

The two blinds they had pulled were my Vickers Light tanks and a troop of A9's. Very weak armour of 2, but with a reasonable 2pdr gun 5.

I decided to use the Vickers as a matadors cloak, waving at the Axis tanks and getting them, hopefully to follow.

With this is mind the Vickers were spotted easily as they manoeuvred past the fort.

The enemy blinds turned out to be fakes!

Next turn I brought on a troop of the new A15, Crusader MkI's, armour 4, gun 5 and advanced them in the wake of the Vickers. I was careful to make sure that I was not masking my off-table 2pdrs. The fake blind which accompanied them was spotted.

Spotting the enemy blinds was successful. I spotted the DAK HQ of a Panzer I befehlswagen and a Panzer IIC.

More alarming was the sight of 'Capitano Corbelli and his Mandarin' leading a platoon of M13/40 tanks.

However, remarkably my long range fire was outstanding! Using my A15's and A9's, firing long range, from over 36", I damaged the engine of the nearest M13/40, and forced the furthest one to leave the table, leaving Corbelli trying to calm his crew and monkey!

Clivey moved his Panzer HQ across the table to occupy a rocky outcrop in the SW corner of the table whilst more threateningly two Panzer III's appeared knocking out an A9 and an A15!

One of my Vickers tanks had advanced too far and was immobilised by fire from the Panzer II.

My Company HQ - Miles Behynt and two A9s arrived and skirted along the north table edge. My plan here was to occupy the undulating terrain denying the Axis any possible cover thereby forcing them into the centre of the table, so I hoped, and onto my 2 pdrs, as yet undiscovered.

My FO arrived next turn as Corbelli's remaining M13/40 took four hits from my A15's, causing engine damage, an engine fire and immobilising it but not before he had managed to knock out another A9.

The Panzer IIIs were destroyed by my A9's which also caused minor damage to a Panzerjager I which had appeared.

Corbelli's tank brewed up next move as I placed my HQ troop on table, whilst the A15's knocked out the Panzer II, and took up hull down positions behind a low rise on the southern table edge.

Things were looking decidedly tough for the Axis as I had stacked the pile with my chips. The Axis were now praying for reinforcements and their 'blinds move'.

Hauptmann Bassermann retreated from the rocky area back to his lines. When the 'Dynamic Commander' chip appeared he left his Pz I Befehlswagen to direct the fire of the Panzerjager I. This however was immobilised and the crew bailed out leaving Bassermann eating sand as he too abandoned the stricken vehicle.

My FO now got into the act as ranging shots landed near the burning M13/40's. It was all going my way, for now.

My last unit, two Matilda Mk II's arrived on my baseline and at 'tea break' I revealed them to a despondent Axis duo.

However, the game took an ugly turn. A Platoon of Panzer IIC's arrived and engaged my A15's. With poor armour one A15 was knocked out by 20mm cannon fire.

The next turn my remaining A15 immobilised a Panzer II but Bassermann climbed into another nearby Panzer taking command again.

Three DAK Panzer I's now appeared and made a run for the rocky ground where a burning Panzer II poured smoke. One however was holed by Sgt Les Bean's Matilda from long range. Sadly the other Matilda hit soft sand and bogged down the crew bailing out cursing their bad luck.

I retreated my Vickers hoping to entice them further.

On their 'recce move' the nippy two surviving Panzer IC's advanced behind the fort and the next turn engaged my last A15 from the flank with MG fire.

The tide seemed to be turning against me as three Italian Semovente's now appeared. However, one was immobilised due to crew concussion as my off-table 25pdrs started firing for effect. Another Semovente was immobilised by my A15 firing across the table onto its flank.

This A15 was eventually destroyed by a Panzer II led by Stabsfeldwebel Ockfener, after it had taken five hits in total from enemy armour.

I had started to withdraw everywhere with my few remaining AFV's, hoping that my artillery would cover me and that the 2pdrs would destroy any pursuers.

The Panzer I's both tried to pursue but both stuck in soft sand in subsequent turns near the fort, their crews getting out to kick the cursed machines.

As my off-table fire arrived on target again a Panzer II suffered concussion whilst the immobilised Semovente's bailed out!

The battle seemed over but there was one dramatic act to occur.

Hauptmann Basserman in the last running Panzer II advanced swiftly up the table keen to engage Sgt Les Bean and his 'Queen of the Desert' Priscilla. Les's vehicle fired and hit though failed to penetrate Bassermann's rapidly advancing tank.

Bassermann now advanced and put a shot into Priscilla from a flank which bounced harmlessly off the Matilda's armour 9!

Priscilla fired and missed as Bassermann manouevred on his 'Dynamic Commander' in a position to attack the rear of the heavily armoured tank.

Slowly the turret of the Matilda turned. She fired she hit and Bassermann died in the inferno screaming for his Mother.

The game ended in a stalemate with both sides truly exhausted. Another exciting and unpredictable game full of incident.

One of the funnier moments was provided by the German FO who repeatedly called down fire upon positions his own Panzer I's has just occupied. This happened three times to Clive and Max as their chip arrived unexpectedly, to much general hilarity.

The early Desert action proved an interesting one. Due to lack of decent armament we found that chunks were flying off vehicles receiving minor damage which piled up resulting in their crews abandonment.

The A9's in particular proved to be a pain in the arse. Very weak in armour they were fine so long as they got in the first shot and no one fired at them. The Crusaders proved little better. Luckily the 2pdr proved effective enough against the weakly armoured Axis vehicles.

My firing from long range early on was spectacular as I repeatedly threw fives and sixes, much to the Axis duo's chagrin.

The battle ended in a stalemate but in reality I felt that the British would have retreated to laager (or lager even) leaving the wealth of damaged but abandoned Panzers to be recovered by their mechanics. So perhaps it was a loss for me.

I never got to use my 2 pdrs perhaps I should've got them into the game really.

I felt I had played well inspite of my forces limitations. No rash attacks this time.

The Axis duo had massive bad luck but still put up a great fight. At no stage did they really dictate the pace of the game but had to continually respond to my actions.

My off-table artillery really made the difference. Arriving quickly but inaccurately, initially, it ranged in, fired for effect and continued to concuss enemy tank crews preventing their movement up the table.

A good game. Back to the PBI next week ...