From: Houston, TX
Having extricated the forces at Mersa Matruh, how do you stop the Italian juggernaut? The Italian force consists of what started out as roughly numerical parity in armor, although itís mostly low quality, but as the armor chart showed, the numbers are shifting to my favor, and Iíll soon have Matildas. It also has a huge numerical superiority in smaller low-quality, foot-bound infantry units, and a dangerous artillery and air force superiority. Their units are denied reconstitution, so if destroyed will not come back. Their logistical situation is horrible. Reinforcements must traverse the length of the map on foot.
The Commonwealth force is small but with powerful, high mobility units, and is supported on the coast by a powerful fleet. Iím falling back on my full-supply net and have two supply units. The rail line gets reinforcements to the front quickly and without expending supply.
The Italians must advance toward the Commonwealth line, paying conversion costs as they do. Although some Italian elements, such as their armor has enough recon to convert hexes cheaply, their most powerful component, their artillery, does not. It will consume most of its turn catching up to the front.
This suggests a possible strategy. If I end my turn just out of the range that the Italians can convert to with artillery support, they will be unable to attack after advancing to that line, or just make minor attacks with perhaps their one last round. I can then launch a sharp, brief series of strikes (including overruns) against the soft Italian units that ended next or near to mine. Then when the turn is about half over, break contact and retreat the same length away from the Italians again. I can repeat this process several times before the El Alamein line is breached.
Critical to this strategy is disengagement. There are four ways to achieve this. The first is to rely on the higher recon, mobility, and strength of the Commonwealth units relative to the slow, weak, and low-recon Italians. But after a bit of combat, with the loss of recon, readiness, and strength, that wonít work anymore. Another technique is to use the HQ disengagement factor. An HQ moving out of an enemy ZOC into a friendly occupied hex gets free disengagement. But in this game, HQs pay full hex conversion costs, unlike units with high recon. Paying these costs to get to each disengagement is just too much for more than a few rare cases. A costly way to disengage is to expend the base support units (best broken down into companies for that purpose). They stay behind to be destroyed while the combat units escape. But Iíve already expended all my base support units in just this fashion. Finally, the best way is through limited attacks. Units assigned to limited attacks will not advance after combat. So if all adjacent defenders are retreated by combat, the attackers have disengagement. Since the Italians are such weaklings, that is a good technique to use against them.