Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sidi Rezegh - Witches Cauldron

Steve and I played the "Witches Cauldron" mission on Thursday night with the game based on a 7th Armoured Division Jock Column commanded by Brigadier Jock Campbell VC, occupying ground on the Sidi Rezegh airfield and bracing itself for the inevitable counter attack by the Panzers of 21st Panzer Division.
The Sidi Rezegh Battlefield
The Witches Cauldron has the defenders placed in the centre of their half of the table with two objective markers placed by the attackers. Once the defender has deployed the attacker dices to randomly deploy his initial forces to come on the table from the opposite edge or from either flank, with a 5 or 6 allowing a choice. The attacker can deploy up to half their forces with the rest coming on as reserves from turn 1. The defenders reserves cannot start testing before turn 3 and will arrive from the opposite table edge.

The Panzers are on the flank
The German placement die rolls produced fives and sixes allowing for the whole German force to arrive on the British left flank, the nearest to the two objectives and completely unhinging the defence set up. The two objectives were the building and sandbag emplacement either side of the soft sand area in the picture below.

The British set up with 25lbrs behind the infantry

The British position from the German perspective

Turn one saw the British ambush force (a troop of three A13s) immediately revealed (they have to be declared in turn one) and after a brief exchange of fire with the Panzers just as immediately dispatched.
The A13s in ambush are eliminated by the German tanks

The Panzers move in on the British Gun Line
The destruction of the British cruiser tanks left the 25lbr gun line as the main anti-tank defence to the infantry dug in on the airfield. These were supported by the infantry Boyes AT rifles. However the combined assault by the Panzers and Panzergrenadiers supported by the Stukas took its inevitable toll. Two of the guns were quickly neutralised for the loss of a Panzer II.
The Luftwaffe add to the destruction
As the battle waged furiously around the first objective, with the Panzergrenadiers seeking to drive off the British infantry and secure the ground, the British reinforcements appeared on turn 5. However the whole of the German force was on table at that stage and the German battery of four 105mm howitzers placed a smoke screen down to seal off the objective area from the onrushing Honeys.
The British reserves get smoked
With the objective taken in turn 6 and the Panzer IIIs in support of the two Panzergrenadier platoons, we called it a night.

The Panzers and Panzergrenadiers consolidate on the objective (the small round sandbag emplacement centre left)
Thanks to Steve for a fun game and "bearing up" whilst the God of Dice kept serving up the Afrika Korps fives and sixes. It just happens like that sometimes.

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