The afternoon saw Mick, Clive and I verses Max and Chris in one of the scenario's taken from the Operation Compass scenario pack.
We had to take an airfield entering from the eastern table edge and exit the western table edge, destroying all enemy forces en route. A tough task indeed.
We had three platoons split between the three players, each of four sections, light mortar, AT rifle and Big Man. Clive also had the Company HQ, whilst I had a pair of AT guns which would arrive at the rear. We were allowed to enter at the south western corner three Blinds per time, and had two False Blinds. We were to be reinforced by two Matilda tanks from the north western corner on the sixth turning of the Turn card.
Quickly we spotted AA guns protecting the airstrip. I was detailed to make a rapid penetration then turn left into the airfield buildings with Mick's platoon in support. Clive, bringing up the rear, would take the buildings and react to the enemy.
I decided (foolishly as ever) to assault the first AA gun with two squads and failed in their three movement dice, falling short by 1" each time. Exposed, a great target and no chance of further activation my troops were opened up on by everything in sight: three AA guns ringing the airfield and two infantry sections, one in the airfield buildings and one on the Italian baseline with another AA gun. I was actually quite fortunate that I decided to keep two sections back and suffered mainly wounds as I was at long range from three AA guns out of the four available.
A second assault saw me finally take the AA gun but still exposed I took heavy casualties.
Our tactic now was to drop Light Mortar rounds on the AA guns to cause wounds as there was no Italian Big Man available nor a Rally card to remove them. The Italians were firing and fighting hard and we were taking casualties as Clive and Mick pressed on to assault the airfield buildings.
Another AA gun fell foul of the Aussies. Mick went in again and cleared a building of an Italian section in hand to hand fighting, killing an enemy Big Man.
Suddenly an Italian Blind appeared on the baseline far away, but facing my battered platoon. Italian tanks, we all thought!
Fortunately Biff arrived, though only with one Matilda not two, losses from the lunchtime engagement. By now the remaining Italian AA guns were taking hits from Clive and Mick's infantry, and my light mortar. Biff's tank crushed the third AA gun. We successfully spotted the enemy Blind as a platoon of five Italian tin cans. The Italian tanks were poorly armed and armoured, and a long way away. I revealed my AT guns facing off against them whilst Clive and Mick were clearing the buildings. Initially the Italian tanks tried firing their MGs against the AT guns with little effect. My AT guns weren't activating as their cards were not coming up.
Next the Italian tanks tried to get closer but then their cards didn't come up. Clive called down artillery fire on the building on the Italian table edge containing the last section, and adjacent to the last AA gun. The Italian tanks then tried a direct fire on the AT guns and missed. They then switched to 'area' firing on the British guns with their pesky 47mm guns with better effect. With no Big Man anywhere near them, and the Rally card needed to remove wounds and shock points elsewhere, the guns' effectiveness was whittled away rapidly until they had only one firing dice available.
For their part the Italians were having trouble too. With a one man turret and a unable to move AND shoot in the same turn, plus only being able to fire a maximum of twice in a turn, the Italians did well considering. Our artillery was falling amongst them and causing a loss of initiative dice or pinning them preventing them from doing much.
Biff's Matilda now made a bee line for the enemy armour as Clive and Mick left the airfield buildings and advanced on our left towards the enemy baseline. They had taken some casualties but considering they were still able to operate effectively.
My AT guns hit a couple of tanks but had no effect, whilst Clive and me had sent Big Men to try and help their shooting, to no avail. I tried to advance an AT rifle crew but they perished trying to close the distance between them and the enemy tanks. I eventually managed to hit and immobilise an Italian tank at close range then tried to finish it off with an infantry section assault (foolish boy) only to be shot down by MG fire from another tank.
Biff took a couple of hits, but predictably against his armour 9 there was no effect. He then managed to hit an Italian tin can and force it to retreat for a turn with possible engine damage.
Our off table artillery and wounds/shock from the light mortars saw off the last AA gun and the Italian infantry section.
The game ended there pretty much and was considered a draw. We had managed to take four AA guns, two infantry sections and a tank but there were still four more left to destroy to fulfill our victory conditions.
The Allies won just on the day but it was a very close run thing. I must admit the action in the afternoon was much more hectic and so I didn't get much idea what was going on elsewhere but it was a very fun day out.