Sunday, 29 March 2015

Cannon 2015 "The Battle of Sidi Bou Zid" Bolt Action demonstration game March 29th

Having spent a few fun Sundays in 2014/ early 2015 playing campaign days with the Sarge lads, they kindly invited us Ribble Warriors to put on a display game at Cannon.

Chris, Alex and myself decided to put on a size-able battle with all of Chris Carr's exquisite veteran  Deutsche Afrika Korps against my own Inexperienced GI's and elements of the1st Armoured Division, based on the US counter-attack at Sidi Bou Zid in the opening days of the Battle for Kasserine Pass,,,

The dug in, highly experienced force of Rommel's DAK defending the town

2nd Lt
4 x 8 man squads, Lmg, smg
7 man motorbike squad
Anti tank rifle
mortar+ obs
medium Howitzer
5cm PaK 38
88mm Anti aircraft gun
Sdkfz 7
251/1 C
heavy field car
Panzer II
Panzer III G *2
Panzer IV D
Panzer IV G
Panzer VI tiger
Focke Wulfe

The naive, inexperienced US forces under Feldernhall consisted of

1 Captain & two men
1 1st Lt & 1 man
1 2nd Lt & 1 man
1 (Soon to be very busy) medic
3 x 11 GI's (1 BAR, 1 SMG)
3 x 10 GI's (1 BAr, 1 SMG)
3 x 2 men bazooka teams
3 x MMG teams
1 x HMG team
1 Medium Mortar
1 x 37mm AT gun
1 x 105mm Medium Howitzer
10 x Sherman M4A1 medium tanks
1 x M7 Priest
2 x M3 Halftracks
4 x Jeeps
2 x 2.5t trucks
1 x White Scout Car

To represent the disjointed,I took the odd turns and Alex took the even turn and we both played the way we would. ( I tried to close the range, Alex felt compelled to slug it out at range) I think it worked well to represent the chaos the US forces faced. The Germans also had air superiority, and alternated strafing Focke Wulfes with dive bombing Stukas.The pictures will do the talking from here on in, hope you enjoy viewing it as much as we enjoyed playing it...
Sidi Bou Zid

The road to Sidi Bou Zid

The DAK are well entrenched

Plains with an 88 view

Turn1 The US advance at pace, with no recon...

And the DAK screen the advance with smoke???

No, its a range marker for the 88

The Tiger prowls the German right

And the smoke denotes the front lines to strafe...

The M7 Priest is the first US casualty

Shortly followed by the first Shermans M4A1, the 88's first and only penetrating hit


Turn 2 The US mortarmen hit the mark first time

The Focke Wulfe circles

As the Tiger makes its presence felt

The road is well range in by the Germans

But they move reserves up to assist the frontline

Although the veterans seem unconcerned

And target the transports and passengers

US infantry mass on the right, to avoid the Tiger...

But they're walking from now on

Turn 3 start, and the headlong advance stalls in a nightmare of explosions, casualties, fire and smoke

But they have reached the outskirts of town

 And fresh reinforcements arrive to bolster the attack

Turn 4 The first US assault is repulsed on the US right in turn 3, but weakens the DAK left. Then  Alex decides he wants to throw the first of 3 FUBARS in one turn...

The pins stop front US units from doing anything but dig in the sand

But Audience participation (with a +2 hit bonus for newbies) allow the US to wipe out teh two remaining Krauts 

Allowing the medic to be the first to cross the half way line

He seems lonely

As the US assault shifts right to try and take advantage

The DAk on the roof return having evaded the mortar rouns, but walk into another salvo. But they only lose one man

The US right looks strong, but has a few pins

Turn 5 The Stuka takes out some reserves, including another officer and as it wheels away, the eagle eyed rear gunner takes out the US mortar

The US radios cry out to stay off the road

The first glancing hits ignites the petrol on the "Ronson", and one lucky tanker gets out...

The remnants of the lead US squads get in touching distance of the dwellings, only for the 222 to obliterate them...

Turn 6 The advance has all but stalled on the right

But Big Joe and Old Glory leads the way on the left...

Big Joe can take on a Tiger, right...

Starting to feel less optimistic...

As two make it out the second M4A1 to catch fire

The Focke Wulfe photographer returns...

The Tiger is King...

And the plain is afire and littered with shattered vehicles,

Having lost a squad, the DAK rearguard closes up

The 88 shells are hitting, but not popping tanks?

Big Joe and his squad are gunned down, and the DAK NCO has a prisoner and a flag

Turn 7 Its all over, the US forces are in retreat but one enraged tanker rams his M4A1 into a PzII, stunning the Panzer but sparks ignite the Sherman...

The Luftwaffe own the sky, and the US retreat suffers

The ramming Sherman was the furthest the US got...

 Which barely breached the German front line

As this picture clearly captures

Cant see far now, what with the smoke and flames

The reserves squad bikes in to take over the trenches

The Stuka rocked, despite an early miss on the US artillery

The Germans were never seriously in trouble

The 222 did get immobilised by a bazooka

The US captain did well, getting the tanks going forward to their doom.

Historically, the US forces lost 46 out of 51 M4A1's, the Luftwaffe were dominant and the panzers outmatched the US forces, who suffered command issues and severe morale deficiencies...

Alex and I had differing approaches to taking on the Germans, neither of which would have worked.
The US had in total 48 dice, (recycling 8), and had 20 remaining at the end. Only 2 shermans of the original 10 survived, and both had been hit.

Chris had a turkey shoot with his DAK, and the only unit he lost was due to him letting a young audience member take part and giving him a boost.

US Highlights include: Alex 3 Fubars in turn 3, my turn 4 valiant US assault (7 inexp GI' s charging 8 DAK veterans in trenches, with both sides killing 5 each , before the Germans got the upper hand) and the ram failing catastrophically...

DAK highlights: One squad taking two medium mortar hits and surviving, the Luftwaffe and capturing the flag from Big Joes squad...

Great day, great fun, great game...

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