Monday, 16 June 2008

Big Game - action at Tobruk

This is my (biased?) account of Brescia division's assault on Tobruk as part of the big rapid fire game played last weekend near York.

A view of Tobruk town and El Gubbi airfield before the battle (this was a separate table from the ring of forts)

The initial Brescia positions to the SE of Tobruk (facing forts 1 & 2). 20th Regiment (2bns) is in the first two lines of trenches, the 19th is behind in more trenches, but not deployed. The Germans provided us with a small engineer battalion for extra support.

Tobruck Fort 2, which would become the focus of our attention. The initial bombardment of 18 rounds of 105mm's on the position caused 1 casualty, not a good start! (Just behind you can see two of the many artillery guns included in the defenses.

The western forts with elements of Ariete off to the far left (the main armoured force was moved round to the west to help support the German mobile forces). The Italian ice cream van can be seen passing in front of forts 2 & 3

A successful bombing run on fort 2 by a Ju88 escorted by an Me109, this was critical in opening up the defenses. A bofors opened up on the 88 on its first run driving it off, this was spotted by the Brescia OPs who saturated it with fire taking out the entire crew leaving the gun intact ( a problem that occurred time again during the game) The second run dropped the full bomb load resulting in substantial casualties to the defenders)

The first sortie by the Garrisons Marmon Harringtons, the squadron to the left later paraded in front of the Brescia positions and survived a couple of turns of fire with no losses, before gradually succumbing to the weight of fire.

The final stage of Brescia's attack on Fort 2, In the foreground is a blazing Marmon Harrington (once they were out the way we could continue the assault. Behind are a couple of blazing carriers that attempted to carry reinforcements to the defenders, but were spotted and eliminated by Brescia's gunners, a clicking on the image to see the bigger one will reveal how few defenders are left.

Once the assault on Fort 2 was succeeding the 2/20th regiment started its attack on Fort 1. This was the point at which the garrisons armoured assets came out, but Ariete had been released from reserve and was moving in on the eastern flank, followed by Trento, a vicious fight then ensued with the remaining British armour retreating into Tobruk.

The defenders of fort 1 had all been killed and the 2/20th were poised to move across the minefields and take it when time was called, shame. Elsewhere the "static" components of Ariete had taken the Northern fort 6 and the British had abandoned the outer ring of forts to concentrate their strength on the defense of Tobruk.

My only regret was not finding out a way of getting my Artillery OPs into a good position for chance spotting tests soon enough otherwise I could have written down some of the British assets earlier and therefore attacked earlier. Thanks to George for spotting the opportunity and to Terry and Chris my opponents for being true gentlemen gamers.

Lastly a building of Colin Rumford's in Tobruk, which I'll probably "copy"

What a great weekend
More pictures on the SoGG site

Will

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