Dear Mummy,

I am back up in the blue with what’s left of my chaps from 11th Hussars. The regiment has gone back to Alex to refit but I am staying to find out about our new cars, the old Rollers having finally been killed off in Operation Compass. Troop Sergeant Reggie Quilp has joined me, and really a more clever fellow never set foot in Libya. He has the new cars working like Billy-ho, but these KDG Chaps are very new. Not veterans like us cherry bums!

We were sent out by the Colonel of KDG, (that’s the Kings Dragoon Guards Mummy dearest.) tasked with a recce out to the old fort at El Aghiela, off the via Balbia road beyond our line at Mersa Brega. The Troop Sergeant wanted some action, but it was a still night and these KDG chaps wanted to kip under their cars. I decided that I would take a nap. Sleeping in the Rolls was really a bother but in one of these new Herringtons I can just about manage, so we parked up in the rocks east of the fort.

The Colonel had told us that the rifles had a section of chaps under a corporal in the Fort. These are territorials, Tower Hamlets if you please, but they seem well trained. The Aussies had also sent a pair of portee 2pdr anti tank guns. I`m not sure what all this is for to be honest. Didn`t we see off the Italians a few weeks back at Beda Fomm?

In the middle of the night armoured cars approached from the west. Nobody had bothered to tell us that KDG had a second patrol out that night. As they turned off the track to come around east of the fort I counted eight wheels on the side of their cars. I turned to Troop Sergeant Quilp and said, “My God! Are those Germans?”

Having completed Operation Compass, I decided to get some of my Afrika Korps painted up and begin with Rommel's opening attack in February/March 1941.

Sources conflict on the exact occurrences at El Agheila fort, but it seems clear that an attack that the German's considered a probe, was seen as overwhelming force by the defenders. The Commonwealth had only a small garrison in the fort, but it was protected by mines.

This was something of a wasted opportunity, since the fact that the defenders fled told Rommel all he needed to know and prompted his subsequent early attack at the Mersa Brega position.

Since I followed the career of 2nd Lt Herbert Farthingdale for Operation Compass (Bumfluff to his friends after an incident in boarding school) I decided to do the same for the Benghazi handicap, or less politely rout, of the Commonwealth before the advancing Germans. Herbert, from the 11th Hussars, knows just about everyone, and can always tag along with a tank or armoured car formation whatever the unit. Herbert writes letters home to his mother, forming the basis of the narrative.

Actually there were Officers from 11th Hussars left with the KDG to learn about the new Marmon Herrington armoured cars, so Bumfluff is, for once, not being unhistorical... as such...

It`s been a while since I played I Ain't Been Shot Mum, but they are still a quality set of rules! I wanted to return to them with a smaller game before Bumfluff has to charge out against the Panzers in the Tower Hamlet's Rifles Bren Carriers at Mersa Brega. Still, in retrospect this was more a Chain of Command sized game.

The Germans:

  • A platoon of Infantry

  • A troop of 8-wheel armoured cars

  • A troop of five mixed armoured cars and light tanks.

  • Three Big Men

The Commonwealth

  • A troop of Armoured cars (I swapped one out as a Rolls Royce to denote Bumfluff`s car)

  • A single section of Infantry supported by an A/T rifle element

  • Two 2pdr A/T Portees

The Game

The terrain pre-deployment. I suspect that I placed the village on the wrong side of the road!

The German attack develops

An armoured car duel develops, which the KDG eventually lose. German Infantry debouch from their trucks and form up to assault. It`s only a matter of time for the defenders.

The Corporal and his Tower Hamlet`s rifles fight well, driving off the Recce Group, and actually knocking out a Panzer II with the Boys AT Rifle. They cannot stop the attacking German infantry, who destroy the Aussie portees.

And ultimately it is Bumfluff's car and the last surviving KDG that are forced to withdraw.

Next time...

Bumfluff is drafted into the Tower Hamlet's Rifles to assist their Carrier platoon in the defence of the sand dunes before the Mersa Brega Position. With the 5th Light Division of the Afrika Korps bearing down on him what could possibly go wrong?