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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue

 
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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 7:38:45 PM   
Timian


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Timian: This is the second time Mike (MikeGreen) and I have played this scenario. The first time, some nine months ago, was just before Matrix started Desert War Beta Testing. Mike played the Commonwealth and I played the Italians. We managed to play about six turns before having to stop for Brian to do some development work.

I found the initial Italian move restrictions to be challenging/frustrating; but historical. However, the Italians have a great deal of combat power vicinity Sofafi, Buqbuq, and Sidi Barrani plus Halfaya Pass. So an Italian counterpunch – starting on Day 2 or early on Day 3 – if massed versus one or two points, can really hurt the Commonwealth.

This time around, I’m the Commonwealth and Mike is the Italians.

MISSION: Conduct a five-day raid destroying the Italian Camps of the 10th Army vicinity Sidi Barrani, Nibeiwa, Tummar, and El Maktila.





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< Message edited by Timian -- 2/16/2018 9:08:53 PM >
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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 7:45:25 PM   
Timian


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2nd Post

ENEMY: See screen shot below of the Italian Camps East of Halfaya Pass.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 2/16/2018 8:20:54 PM >

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 7:52:57 PM   
Timian


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3rd Post

TERRAIN: An escarpment runs from Sollum/Halfaya Pass South and East to Bir Enba bisected by four cuts or ravines next to the coast, Halfaya Pass, Sofafi, and just west of Bir Enba. This escarpment essentially divides the Italian 10th Army.

TROOPS: The Commonwealth has the 7th Armored Division and the 4th Indian Division + Selby Force (a brigade-sized organization). Selby has one Troop of Cruiser or A-13 Tanks attached plus a Battery of 25 lbs, and the 11th Indian Brigade has three Troops of Matildas. 7th Armored has the 7th Support Group (no Tanks) plus the 4th and 7th Armor Brigades. 4th Armor Brigade (no Infantry) has five Troops of A-13s and one full Battalion of A-13s. 7th Armor Brigade (no Infantry) has two Battalions of Vickers Light Mk-VI Tanks, armed with a Vickers Machine Gun, and one Battalion of A-13s. All the Brigades, both in the 4th Indian Division and 7th Armored Division, have at least two Batteries of Artillery (mostly 25 lbs). Of note, the 11th Indian Brigade only has two 25 lbs Batteries. The remaining Brigades of 4th Indian Division have a full Battalion of 25 lbs. Within the 7th Armored Division, the 7th Support Brigade has three 25 lb Batteries, the 4th Armored Brigade has one Battalion of 4.5” Guns, and the 7th Armored Brigade has one Battalion of 25 lbs and one Battalion of 5.5” Guns. Only the 11th Indian Brigade an Selby have the mix of organic Infantry and Armor for Combined Arms Effect. The 7th Armored, even though it has Mk-VIs, has a great deal of fire power – when fully supplied – with its two Artillery Battalions.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 2/16/2018 8:21:18 PM >

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 7:54:23 PM   
Timian


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4th Post

TIME: The Italians are completely surprised by Operation Compass and thus can’t react for the first three turns; provided the Commonwealth doesn’t move adjacent. While one would tend to want to attack two or three Italian Camps on the first turn, thus maximizing Operation Compass’ surprise, I feel it’s best to maneuver Selby and the 5th Indian Brigade into the rear of the Italian Camps near El Maktila and Tummar West, getting their Artillery laid, and then attacking on Game Turn 2. The 11th Indian Brigade – in part because it’s Artillery starts in range of the Italian Camp near Nibeiwa – is the only Brigade I have physically attacking on Turn One.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 2/18/2018 2:55:51 PM >

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 7:55:21 PM   
Timian


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5th Post

My overall initial scheme of maneuver is somewhat like Operation Compass, with

o 7th Support Group blocking the Eastern end of the Escarpment;
o 11th Indian Brigade, 5th Indian Brigade, and Selby Force all attacking (from the rear) the Italian Camps, respectfully, near Nibeiwa, Tummar West, an El Maktila;
o 7th Armor Brigade moving to seize Buq Buq (on the Coast); and
o 16th Indian Brigade moving behind Selby towards Sidi Barrani.

4th Armor Brigade is my Reserve initially just East of 7th Support Group.

Per the Scenario Order of Battle, the 7th Indian Brigade is “FIXED” to the East – until the start of Turn 8 – vicinity the 3rd and 4th Supply Depots and the Western Desert Force Headquarters.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 2/16/2018 8:21:48 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 8:52:43 PM   
MikeGreen


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Greene: Commander of Italian Forces

The Italians are completely surprised by Operation Compass and are “FIXED” for the first three turns or until a Commonwealth Unit moves adjacent. Some Italian Units are dispersed in different Camps – a few at great distance (Command and Control-wise) – from their parent Headquarters and/or Sister Units.




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< Message edited by MikeGreen -- 2/16/2018 8:53:25 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/16/2018 8:55:38 PM   
MikeGreen


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Since all Italian Units are “FIXED”, my goal is to try to maintain supply lines, especially to Tobruk, and hopefully weather the storm.

The Italian Organization is:






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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/18/2018 7:07:59 PM   
Timian


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Post #8

Turn One / 9 Dec 1940 / 0600: With one exception, all went as planned.

The 11th Indian Brigade was successful in Overrunning*, with three Matilda Companies and one Battalion of Infantry, the Italian Units in the Northwestern most hex of the Camp near Alam Nabeiwa. The Maletti Group is now Surrounded / Out of Supply (OOS).

* For this attack, with three Matilda Companies, I used the 3xOdds Shift “Tank Fright” Command option.

Selby Force moved into position Surrounding the Italian Camp just West of El Maktila (also now OOS).

My planned move for the 5th Indian Brigade was a bit sloppy. One turn too early, I allow the lead of the Brigade to move adjacent to the Italians in the Southwestern most hex of Camp Tummar. The 5th Indian’s forward most Units were Surprised (“Ambushed” per the game), but took very few casualties as compared to what they inflicted on the Italians.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 3/8/2018 4:52:11 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/19/2018 2:14:15 PM   
Alan Sharif

 

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This is looking and sounding great.

_____________________________

A Sharif

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/19/2018 2:41:32 PM   
IslandInland


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Thanks for the AAR. I have high hopes for this game.



_____________________________

I saw generals create imaginary "masses of manoeuvre" with a crayon and dispose of enemy concentrations, that were on the ground and on the map, with an eraser. Who was I to criticise them, hero as I was of a hundred "Chinagraph wars" of make-believe?

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/19/2018 3:59:18 PM   
MikeGreen


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Italians had nothing to do this turn. No air or recon assets are available. All units are Fixed in place. We must weather the storm.

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/19/2018 4:46:36 PM   
Benedict151

 

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Thanks guys, I'm enjoying this

Interested to see what happens when the Italians get "released"

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/19/2018 9:48:28 PM   
Timian


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Post #9

Turn Two / 9 Dec 1940 / 1200: With the Italians “FIXED” through the end of Turn Three, the Commonwealth continue their attack:

o The 11th Indian Brigade and their Matildas Attacked* a second hex in the Maletti Group’s Camp;
o Selby Force – with their Company of A-13s and Naval Gunfire Support – struck the Rear most hex of 1st Libyan Division’s Camp;
o 11th Indian Brigade (one turn delayed) moved into its Attack Position to (on Turn 3) Attack the two Northwestern most hexes of Camp Tummar; and
o The 7th Armored Brigade moved out of March Column and readied to begin its push on Buqbuq.

* This time, for the 11th Indian Attack, I used the 2xOdds Shift “Main Effort” Command option.

So far, very light casualties for the Commonwealth.




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< Message edited by Timian -- 3/8/2018 4:52:33 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/20/2018 1:51:47 AM   
MikeGreen


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Again no air or recon available. I was able to to use Defensive Fire to try and blunt Allied attacks. It was rather unsuccessful.

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/20/2018 1:27:38 PM   
Timian


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Post #11

Turn Three / 9 Dec 1940 / 1800: Scenario's first Night Turn. If I stop and "Rest", my units can recover Readiness at twice the (normal) Readiness Recovery Rate. However, given the Italians are “FIXED” only through the end of this turn, I’ve decided to press forward with four Night Attacks--no “Rest” for Shelby Force, the 5th Indian Brigade, the 11th Indian Brigade, nor the 7th Armored Brigade:

o The 7th Armored Brigade, led by it’s A-13 Battalion, Attacks towards Buqbuq;
o Both 11th Indian Brigade and Selby Force* continue their Assaults (respectfully) vs. the Maletti Group and the 1st Libyan Division; and
o Attacking two hexes, the 5th Indian Brigade begins it’s Attack on Camp Tammur.

* In an effort to drive home Selby’s Attack, I used the 2xOdds Shift “O'Connor Forward” Command option + Royal Navy Gunfire.

Commonwealth casualties still light.





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< Message edited by Timian -- 3/8/2018 4:53:00 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/21/2018 1:07:02 AM   
MikeGreen


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Cw artillery and cutting supplies is making it difficult to get into better defensive positions. My defensive art is providing a little relief. Only units with adjacent CW units are able to move still.

FYI we are posting AARs several turns after the ones shown. Thus, we can both collaborate on giving a report without divulging timely information on the current battle.

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/21/2018 2:47:00 AM   
nicwb

 

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Enjoying the AAR.

Can you outline how unit loss/ casualties are reflected? In older games this usually meant "step losses". In newer games such as WITW it's actually figures and accompanying features such as morale and readiness or exhaustion.

Also is there an air vs air and navy vs navy element or are they simply reflected as parts of the ground combat?

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/21/2018 11:44:26 AM   
Saint Ruth

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: nicwb

Enjoying the AAR.

Can you outline how unit loss/ casualties are reflected? In older games this usually meant "step losses". In newer games such as WITW it's actually figures and accompanying features such as morale and readiness or exhaustion.

Also is there an air vs air and navy vs navy element or are they simply reflected as parts of the ground combat?

Hi,

There's no steps, and actual figures: so no 21st Panzer of 134 tanks, 3435 squads, and 34334 toothbrushes .
So it uses percentages for Strength and Readiness.
The unit Attack / Defense are abstracted numbers so in the counters above you see units with e.g. 4-12-8 means attack of 4, defense of 12 and movement of 8, so an old school wargame in that regard.
Strenght losses are permanent and if a unit has 50% of its max value, it's attack is halved.
Readiness is non-linear, so 0% readiness (and 100% strenght), Attacks will have 66% of its max value.
However, in battle, losses are taken firstly from readiness (which recovers) and then from Strength, so if a unit has high
readiness, it might take no losses to Strength. If it has low Readiness, then it'll take a lot of damage to Strength. So therefore Readiness is meant to simulate men and vehicles temporarily out of action, due to being in the shop or just exhausted. I.e. push your units too hard and they'll be permanently damaged.

There is no navy vs navy combat.
For Air units, fighters are abstracted away (into an overall air supermacy value). Air units and Special Forces can however conduct Counter-Air operations which involves attacking enemy airfields. This results in increased friendly AA values for ground units. Counter-Air also can reduce enemy interdiction (interdiction reduces HQ's Lines of Communication and incoming supply).

Cheers,
Brian

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/21/2018 1:42:26 PM   
Timian


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Post #13

Turn Four / 10 Dec 1940 / 0600: Day Two of Operation Compass. Now that the Italians are no longer “FIXED”, time to review the Commonwealth’s Logistics Status, Air, and Naval Gunfire status + the Disposition/Plan of Action for O'Connor’s Ground Forces.

Fuel = 239 and Ammunition = 109 (the Commonwealth Started with 120).

Have been receiving approx. 20 Ammo Points per Turn and the same for Fuel. During Turns One through Three, when I Moved or Attacked with the Commonwealth Brigades I used “Combat+” versus “Move+” or “Basic” Supply. My Reserve (4th Armored Brigade) and 7th Armored Division “Dummy Brigade” I kept in “Basic” Supply.

Air: The Commonwealth has three Blenheim Bomber Squadrons, two Hurricane Fighter Squadrons, and two Gladiator Fighter Squadron. As well as two Lysander Reconnaissance Squadrons. To ensure I always have Air Power available to Support O’Connor’s Ground Forces, I’ve elected to “Platoon” the Royal Air Force.

“1st Platoon”: Two Hurricane, one Blenheim, and one Lysander Squadron

“2nd Platoon”: One Gladiator, two Blenheim, and one Lysander Squadron

With “1st Platoon” only flying during the odd numbered Turns and “2nd Platoon” only flying during the even Turns.

The remaining Gladiator Squadron I use as a “Float” between the two Platoons, but I try to only fly it every other Turn.

On Day One of Compass, I used the Bombers to provide Close Air Support, the Fighters to Interdict the Italian’s Supply Convoys + Reduce the Command and Control (C2) Range of the Italian Headquarters, and Recce to keep an eye on the Italian Troops vicinity Sollum.

Will take a risk and do same during day two; not flying any Counter Air Missions.

Naval Gunfire: Have been using a similar “Platooning-system” for the Royal Navy. Having two Ships each turn provide Naval Gunfire, mostly in Support of Shelby Force.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 2/21/2018 1:47:58 PM >

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/21/2018 1:43:16 PM   
Timian


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Post #14

As expected, will need a Second Day of Offensive Operations to complete the Destruction of the Maletti Group and the 1st Libyan Division.

With both only having Attacked during Turn 3, will have 7th Armored Brigade continue its Attack towards Buqbuq and 5th Indian Brigade its Assault verse Camp Tummar.

During Turn 3, using “Move+” Supply, I pushed the 16th Indian Brigade forward to protect the Left Flank of Selby Force from a possible Counterattack out of Sollum. During Turn 4, using “Combat+” Supply, I’ll continue to move the 16th Indian into Position.

7th Support Group: Very likely Mike will Attack from both the North and the South to re-open the Escarpment’s Sofafi Gap (in order to trace Supply / negate my Zone of Control). I’m tempted to pull 7th Support’s Group’s Western-most Infantry Battalion and Engineer Company, plus the two adjacent 25 lb Batteries, back to the East, but will keep them in place – in “Combat+” Supply – should Mike elect to Attack.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 3/8/2018 4:54:01 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/21/2018 11:41:37 PM   
MikeGreen


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Axis Turn 4
This is my first time posting an AAR and I did not think ahead and take screen shots of my turns until Turn 7. Thus the picture below is from the Allied point of view.

This turn is a monumental turn as I finally was able to release troops not directly under attack. YEAH!

My plan for the future is to resist on the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) that I was able to establish this turn. One key area is the around Sofali (especially the pass). This is where the Cirene Div was released. The other Main area is Sidi Barrani, the town on the coast to the North. For these I will commit extra forces.

The line is established on an emergency basis. This means that units are intermixed. This will create problems with attacks--especially because of lowering the integrity of the attack. The difference in chains-of-command determines the attack's integrity. Units in the same Regiment attack at full. Battalions in the same division attack at lower integrity based on the Nationality. Units with wider differences in there chain of command attack at even lower integrity.

I have hopes of conducting a counteroffensive around the CW's Southern Flank.





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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/22/2018 11:45:41 AM   
Timian


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Post #15

Turn Five / 10 Dec 1940 / 1200:

o Two hexes of the Maletti Group left and four more of the 1st Libyan Division. All units Isolated / Out of Supply (OOS).
o 5th Indian is in quite a fight. Doubt I can cut-off (a.k.a., Isolate) Camp Tummar from 10th Italian Army.
o 7th Armored Brigade is in good shape, but am worried about its Flanks.
o As I expected, Mike is trying to clear the Escapment’s Sofafi’s Gap. Like a dummy, I failed to allocate 25 lb Defensive Fire. The good news is, Mike’s Attack wasn’t all that strong. Minor casualties.

Will pull the 7th Support Group’s Infantry Battalion and Engineer Company next to the Sofafi’s Gap back. Same for both 25 lb Batteries.

Am going to commit my Reserve (4th Armored Brigade) to try and relieve some of the pressure on those elements of 7th Support Group – to include its Brigade Headquarters – that are North of the Escarpment.

Pulling back 7th Armored Brigade too.






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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/22/2018 3:24:42 PM   
MikeGreen


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Axis Turn 5:
It looks like I stopped Don from cutting off Sidi Barrani for now. My artillery attacks all did minimal damage. My attack near the Sofali Pass was weak due to poor unit integrity. My attack by CCNN was a meeting engagement where units of the 2nd ran into CW units I did not know where there.

Victory points as of this turn are 154 Allied to 72 Axis. My VP are all form holding objective hexes with Sidi Barrani worth 15 points per turn. Allied VP are all from killing my units. He can continue to harvest points from isolated boxes for a few more turns.




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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/23/2018 10:35:42 AM   
nicwb

 

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quote:

Hi,

There's no steps, and actual figures: so no 21st Panzer of 134 tanks, 3435 squads, and 34334 toothbrushes .
So it uses percentages for Strength and Readiness.
The unit Attack / Defense are abstracted numbers so in the counters above you see units with e.g. 4-12-8 means attack of 4, defense of 12 and movement of 8, so an old school wargame in that regard.
Strenght losses are permanent and if a unit has 50% of its max value, it's attack is halved.
Readiness is non-linear, so 0% readiness (and 100% strenght), Attacks will have 66% of its max value.
However, in battle, losses are taken firstly from readiness (which recovers) and then from Strength, so if a unit has high
readiness, it might take no losses to Strength. If it has low Readiness, then it'll take a lot of damage to Strength. So therefore Readiness is meant to simulate men and vehicles temporarily out of action, due to being in the shop or just exhausted. I.e. push your units too hard and they'll be permanently damaged.

There is no navy vs navy combat.
For Air units, fighters are abstracted away (into an overall air supermacy value). Air units and Special Forces can however conduct Counter-Air operations which involves attacking enemy airfields. This results in increased friendly AA values for ground units. Counter-Air also can reduce enemy interdiction (interdiction reduces HQ's Lines of Communication and incoming supply).

Cheers,
Brian


Brian thanks for the quick detailed answer. Sounds quite positive - I look forward to seeing more. (am relieved to hear I don't need to worry about toothbrush numbers!)

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/23/2018 12:44:19 PM   
Timian


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Post #17

Turn Six / 10 Dec 1940 / 1800:

Fortunately, was able to pull the Western-most Infantry Battalion + Engineer Company and both 25 lb Batteries, of 7th Support Group, back to the East (into very good Defensive Ground).

Given this is a Night Game Turn, am Resting both Selby Force and the 4th Indian Division. Will use the Royal Navy to keep the Remnants of 1st Libyan Division “Heads Down”. Using 11th Indian’s two 25 lb Battalions to same with the last Unit from the Maletti Group.

With 4th Armored Brigade, am Attacking into Elements of Catanzaro Division and am pulling back the Forward Units of the 7th Armored Brigade.

Looks like Mike is Massing the Cirene Division just South of the Escarpment. Come Sunrise (Turn 7) I’m going to move the 11th Indian Brigade and its three Matilda Companies South towards Bir el Ineba.

Have noticed that Mike appears to be flying Interdiction Missions with most of his Air. This can reduce the amount of Fuel and Ammo I receive, and can reduce the Supply Range of my Headquarters. Each Turn, I’m losing 10 or so Fuel Points and another 10 or so Ammo Points (out of approximately 20 Fuel and 20 Ammo Points per Turn) plus all of my Headquarters’ Supply Range is being Reduced by 10%. Come Turn 7, will start flying Counterair Missions with my Fighters. Have already committed the SAS to Conterair Raids on Mike’s Air Fields.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 3/8/2018 4:55:17 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/24/2018 4:52:32 PM   
MikeGreen


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Axis Turn 6
Successfully cleared the Sofafi-Buqbuq road, allowing communication over escarpment. Conducted mainly harassing artillery attacks. 2nd CCNN and Cantanzaro Divisions conducted probing attack in the center.

Don claimed some 60 more VP of my isolated units while I picked up 18 VP for objectives. Scores: Allied: 210 Axis 90




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< Message edited by MikeGreen -- 2/24/2018 6:58:45 PM >

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Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/24/2018 6:37:08 PM   
Timian


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Post #19

Turn Seven / 10 Dec 1940 / 0600: Day Three of Operation Compass. As with Game Turn Four (start of Day Two), time to review the Commonwealth’s Logistics Status, Air, and Naval Gunfire status + the Disposition/Plan of Action for its Ground Forces.

Fuel = 275 and Ammunition = 64.

Per my start of Day Two (of Operation Compass) update, Mike appears to be flying Interdiction Missions with most of his Air. I’m losing 10 or so Fuel Points and another 10 or so Ammo Points (out of approximately 20 Fuel and 20 Ammo Points per Turn) plus all of my Headquarters’ Supply Range is being Reduced by 10%. Starting this Turn, will fly Counterair Missions with my Fighters. Have already committed the SAS to Conterair Raids on Mike’s Air Fields.

Need to continue to push hard vs. the Italians. Will allocate “Combat+” Supply to my Brigades, with the exception being the 7th Indian Brigade (“Move+”) – which was just released back to 4th Indian Division – who I’ll move forward to try and Blunt Mike’s Counter Attack along the main trail South/Southwest out of Sollum (a.k.a, Reinforce my Center).

No change to my “Platooning” of the Royal Air Force and Navy. But will now use my Fighters to fly Counterair and my Bombers continuing to provide Close Air Support.

There’s a lot of Italians South of the Escarpment (moving East). Probably need a second Brigade to Counterattack / stop Mike's Attack, but the 11th Indian Brigade (and it’s Matilda’s) will have to do (at least of now).

Will move the Matilda’s and one Battalion of Infantry (from the 11th Indian) + a Battalion of 25 lb’ers towards Bir el Ineba. With the other 25 lb’er Battalion in Support will Attack the remaining Italian Infantry Battalion of the Maletti Group plus the adjacent (11th Indian) Infantry Battalion.

Selby Force (having Rested for one Night Turn) will continue it’s push vs. the 1st Libyan Division. Am going to do a limited Attack with 16th Infantry Brigade vs. the Italian Infantry Battalion that’s Adjacent. In order to maximize the odd, will have the Royal Navy Support + 2xOdd Shift “O’Connor Forward” Command Option.






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< Message edited by Timian -- 3/8/2018 4:56:08 PM >

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/26/2018 11:12:50 AM   
Benedict151

 

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Thanks for showing the Air and Naval organisation - most interesting

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/27/2018 3:34:09 PM   
Benedict151

 

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Hello to all reading this

There will be a slight delay in the AAR but it should resume in a few days

thanks
Ben Wilkins

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RE: Desert War: Game In Play - Into The Blue - 2/28/2018 12:02:09 AM   
MikeGreen


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Axis 7
Starting to slide E of Allied southern flank. Turn consisted of artillery preparatory fire and movement East.

Allies managed no kills this turn, Axis picked up 18 more for Objective Hex Points Score Allies 210 Axis 108




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< Message edited by MikeGreen -- 2/28/2018 3:16:40 PM >

(in reply to Benedict151)
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