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First Operation Torch Preview! Torch to Tunisia AAR

 
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First Operation Torch Preview! Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/25/2015 9:35:20 PM   
Nico165b165


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Hi everyone,

This is the first public AAR for the upcoming Operation Torch Expansion.

A few remarks :

- Allies vs challenging axis AI
- Game started with a very late beta version, the final release may have a few additional changes
- I am now at turn 17. There has been a lot of movement in Tunisia with an aggressive AI. I don't know how it will end, but at least the beginning makes for a good story !
- I keep every saves from every turns so I can easily add something interesting at any moment
- I am not a native speaker so don't hesitate to correct my mistakes

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 10/6/2015 7:00:08 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/25/2015 9:50:19 PM   
Nico165b165


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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the desert !


It's november 10, 1942. Two days ago, the allied forces opened a second front in North Africa. The 1st British army with british, american and french elements took the main ports in Morocco and Algeria. The operation was a success but now the allied are scattered all around the coast. The objective is to take Tunisia asap to trap the Afrika Korps and use North Africa as a staging base for the invasion of southern Europe. So far, there has only been a few clashes with Vichy forces but no contact with axis yet.




Meanwhile, at the Lybia-Egypt border, the 8th army is advancing towards Tobruk. The decisive victory at El Alamein one week earlier has made Egypt safe again and the Afrika Korps is on the run.




The axis is retreating everywhere, but where will they stop ?

< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 2:15:51 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/25/2015 10:19:09 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 1 - 10-17 November


In Tunisia, a small italian battalion appears in the south between Kasserine and Sdid Bouzid. No reason to worry. But in the north, our leading french element meets some panzergrenadiers and fallshirmjaegers with italian armor... The result is nasty.



Ok, at least we have an idea where the enemy is and what he has.



Axis forces don't advance against our units so we can't see them on the map, but we know they are somewhere around Mateur-Medjez El Bab.

An important point to note : our leading units already have supply problems. North Afrika is a logistical nightmare which will make you think that french mud is a paradise by comparison. Every port we take has to be repaired and you don't have enough engineers. There are not enough railroads and you need them to bring your reinforcements to the front. Logistics is key if you want to do anything here.


In Lybia, Bardia, Tobruk and Derna fell. Only a few italian fortress brigade stayed behind to defend those ports, no Afrika Korps. Except Tobruk which only has 20% damage, every other port is useless. And you have to advance faster than you can repair ports. Did I say logistics is key here ?



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 4:57:47 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/26/2015 1:59:07 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 2 - 17-24 November


More contact and a small battle in Tunisia. The front begins to appears like, well, a front. But as there are fewer units than in France or Italia, you'll often see that kind of gaps with units trying to break the lines at those weaker points. Lower unit density and supply problems make for a very different game than in Europe.




In Lybia, Monty arrives just before Benghazi but can't attack it directly.



Why ? Here's one of the forward units :



Fatigue at 40, supply not ideal -> offensive power greatly diminished. That's Monty main problem : he can advance fast but at the expense of his offensive power. The Germans also get higher fatigue while retreating but their supply lines become shorter...

< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 4:57:57 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/26/2015 2:15:10 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 3 - 24 November - 1 December


A british infantry brigade gets to the suburbs of Bizerte but is repulsed by a counter attack. The front stays messy. A german fallshirmjaeger brigade is in danger of beieng surrounded, but maybe it's our armored brigade which is in danger ?




In the south, US 2nd corps pushes towards Sdid Bouzid. Light forces to keep on eye on axis activity elsewhere.




8th army takes Benghazi. Next step : Marsa Brega. Rommel started his offensive there one year and a half ago. British forces never went further untill now.



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 4:58:08 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/26/2015 2:29:38 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 4 - 1-8 December


Axis uses two gaps in our front to move forward. Enemy hexes activated to analyse the damage. Our infantry brigade on the Bizerte front is isolated. The link between british V corps and french XIX corps is broken. The good news is that axis had to weaken its front to make those moves. We have an opportunity to counter attack next week !




Nothing new in Kasserine. In Lybia, Mersa Brega and El Agheila are ours but our units are really weak now and we are only halfway to Tripoli. Next objective : Sirte.



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 4:58:19 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/27/2015 1:48:12 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 5 - 8-15 December


Things are really heating up in Tunisia. The italian breakthrough in the north is cut off and surrounded, but in the french XIX corps sector it's not that good. Axis forces used a gap in the southern part of its front to nearly surrond the french corps, plus a successful frontal attack. Those french units are really weak and the axis has a good punch at the start of this scenario. Historically, axis stayed on the defensive, but they might have tried harder before the arrival of the bulk of allied reinforcements and the 8th army. That's what the AI is doing here, don't think the allies can just slowly roll over the enemy !



The good news : axis can't be everywhere. We take Sdid Bouzid in the Kasserine sector.




Nothing really new in Lybia. X corps advance towards Sirte and search for the last fortress units of the Mersa Brega line. I left the XXX corps in Egypt and intend to bring them by boat later. It's a risk if axis try to make a stand somewhere, but as long as they are just fleeing, I better concentrate the available supply on less units.



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 4:58:26 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/27/2015 2:12:38 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 6 - 15-22 December


Situation is in better control in the french sector, but far from beieng stabilized. Axis breakthrough cut and surrounded and two british armored brigades are on their way to help. But a new powerful attack at the junction between french and british forces sent a para battalion to the rear for a few weeks. We lose every fight where axis concentrate its forces.



And look who's there facing the French ?



That's one of the two panzer division from the DAK. They went all the way from Egypt to Tunisia faster than the 8th army (no opposition and better supply) and are already attacking on the tunisian front while my own desert force is still undersupplied in the middle of the lybian desert. Next few turns will be hard...

Static front in Kasserine but there are more and more italian units on our right flank...




Better news in Lybia : Sirte and Hassan are in allied hands. Tripoli is still far far away but at least we can see the city on the same screen as our forwards units, that's good for the morale ;)



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 9/27/2015 4:58:36 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/27/2015 3:54:42 PM   
Nico165b165


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jonboym
Questions:

How are you getting enough fuel to the 8th Army? I kept running out and had to slow down and repair ports and air drop freight to forward depots and so didn't get as far as you till turn 9/10

What is your air strategy and admin point strategy? You have plenty of airgroups arriving as game goes on but limited small forward airfields in Tunisia and limited supply in the desert so getting the airgroup in position and supplied ready to do much is also tough. What is your focus? Naval interdiction, air superiority or bombing ports and airfields?

Admin points can be spent on building or expanding airbases in Tunisia, building forward depots in Tunisia, priority port repair, using bombers to airlift supplies to forward airbase with depot. Again what was your focus?



Your questions are linked, so I'll try to answer them together :

- I'm only going forward in Libya with the X corps. XXX corps, 8th army HQ... stay behind in Egypt. I prefer having less units but better supplied and faster moving than more, slower and bad supplied units. Once I'm in the Tripoli region and have repaired enough ports, I start to bring those units by boats. This will happen in 4 or 5 turns. Note this could be more risky in PBEM. Here, I know the DAK is occupied in Tunisia so I can go on with this strategy.

- Same idea for the desert air force : I'm mostly leaving them behind, only a few fighters and recon forwards. One transport to air drop freight. No bombers. Again, this use less supply -> quality over quantity.

- In Tunisia, priority to repair ports, then repair railyards, then repair airfields, then build bigger airfield (Bone to level 3 is first airfield building priority). This means I'm mostly using fighters up to this point in the front line with a couple bombers as ground support. No bombing campaign untill I have at least Bone upgraded to level 3. My air strategy so far is killing more german planes than they kill allied planes. Hopefully the Luftwaffe will be tired enough when I get the bigger airfield and I can then start the real bombing campaign against their logistics.

I plan to talk more about the air war once I am at this turning point "bigger airfield - more bombers - start of the bombing campaign". So far it's just fighters killing fighters.

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 10/6/2015 6:50:51 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 9/30/2015 8:11:00 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 7 - 22-29 December


Our tunisian front line is once more attacked at its weakest point and a commando unit is out of the game for a few turns. Other bad news : axis forces use the gap they created last week to make another breakthrough. Better news : the italian commandos and the southern breakthrough are now both cut off, but we don't have enough units to properly surround them. Overall situation stay very shaky.



Note that the Luftwaffe is the one doing all the bombing so far. That's because of our weaker supply network. Just after Torch, we don't have enough airfield and supply to bring our bombers into action. Our engineers have been very busy to repair the ports and railywards. The supply network is now getting better. Next step : building bigger airfields to bring the bombers closer to the front. Construction of a level 3 airfield just started in Bone but we need a few more turns. The Luftwaffe doesn't have this problem, they sit next their supply sources and have several level 3 airfields.

Around Kasserine intel is worrying. Only one ranger battalion in the mountain to secure our southern front, then two small units in Gafsa and Tozeur. German units are infiltrating our lines. I decide to not retreat yet.




In Libya we took Misurata and an italian infantry division will soon go on a friendly trip to Alexandria. In Tripoli for the new year ?



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 10/5/2015 11:37:02 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/1/2015 6:18:44 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 8 - 29 December - 5 January


1943 ! New year, new hope ? A whole german army is trapped in Stalingrad, but the german army we're facing in North Africa doesn't look anywhere near ready to surrender.

At least in Tunisia some small part of their army should surrender soon. And for the first time, an attack on my frontline was repulsed. Yaw ! This is getting better.



Getting better, but at a cost : while we are getting the upper hand in the north, the threat on the US 2nd corps becomes more apparent. Gafsa and Tozeur are already on their own. The railway to Kasserine is cut off. Retreat or not ? I don't think the axis is strong enough to surround and destroy the 2nd corps so we will stay there and hope we will win soon enough in the north to counter attack on time in Kasserine.




We were not in Tripoli for new year's eve, but not far. And this german motorized division is a tempting target !



< Message edited by Nico165 -- 10/1/2015 7:19:16 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/1/2015 7:00:20 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 9 - 5-12 January


Let's have a look at the overall picture in Tunisia this at time :



1) We have a solid frontline in the Bizerte-Tunis region. V british corps and XIX french corps have good positions and not a lot of axis units facing them. This seems secure so far.

2) We still have some axis units surrounded on our rear. It's difficult to finish them off because you need units and supply to do that, exactly what we don't have enough... We need to do it asap to free some unit for a counter attack towards Kasserine.

3) US II corps is nearly surrounded and the enemy has penetrated deeply in our rear.

So basically, it's race time : finishing the surrounded units soon enough the meet the threat against the II corps.




In Libya, Tripoli is surrounded and so is the 164th light Afrika Motorized Division. We will probably need two weeks to get them both.

Once Tripoli is secured and repaired, we can bring the X corps and VIII army HQ to the front by boat.



Next step : the Mareth line around Gabès and hopefully a link with 1st army (that is, if they're still alive )

< Message edited by Nico165 -- 10/5/2015 11:38:43 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/1/2015 10:03:25 PM   
Peltonx


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Looks like fun.

I will have to give it a try

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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/3/2015 1:20:29 PM   
Nico165b165


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Yeah, totally different than this monster of WitE. Here you're making breakthrough because there are not enough units to cover the line. Quite a different feeling !

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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/3/2015 3:42:03 PM   
Joel Billings


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I think it's a fantastic 2 player tournament game for skilled players. It's really demanding on the players with the logistics issues, opportunities for different use of airpower, weather, terrain and a shortage of units. Thanks for the AAR, really enjoying it.

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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/5/2015 9:40:13 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 10 - 12-19 January


Overall situation in Tunisia. Basically, everything is as it was last week, but worse



- surrounded axis units get weaker and weaker, but still not enough for us to surround them
- US II corps is totally isolated but hopefully axis does not have enough forces to maintain this status, let alone trying to really attack them

One good news is hiding on the map, further in the west :



The 1st US armored division is now available. 3 strong brigades with real offensive capabilities. Historically they first saw combat in Kasserine (ok, not very reassuring...). Here the DAK counter attack already happened and their task will be to reopen the supply line to their comrades from II corps.


Further east, the 164th light Afrika got free tickets to visit Alexandria. Tripoli's defenders are next on the list. The ports are slowly repairing, enough for the units resting in Misurata and Al Khums to have excellent supply, helping them to refit faster.



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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/5/2015 10:06:53 PM   
Chuske


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Excellent AAR, you are doing much better than me in Tunisia I got stuck slugging it out taking heavy losses I think my mistake was not pushing forward early enough. My 8th army is only just breaking through to Sousse on turn 34 and with a big VP deficit looks like Axis will get the victory.


< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 10/6/2015 6:57:18 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/5/2015 10:34:57 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 11 - 19-26 January


We're getting near decision time in Tunisia. Axis took huge risks to surround our II US corps. Will they be rewarded ?

Two surrounded axis units finally surrendered...



... making for a slightly better situation, but certainly not totally under control :



Supply line reopened to Kasserine, but going through mountains is obviously not a great idea. Supply state of our units stay very bad, as low as 10-15% in Sdid Bouzid. This can't go on for long. Luckily, 1st US armored is coming to reopen the main rail line.




No attack on Tripoli yet. We tried to isolate the port first, but it failed. You can see interdiction numbers on the map. Nearby ports are not big enough. Malta is too far. And my own decision to favor a small ground forces rather than the whole army or more planes is playing against me here.



Plan B : a good ol' frontal assault next week. Bringing more tanks to support the infantry. Not very pretty in a city I know, but this is the kind of cases where I just need to throw everything available against the enemy for a quick advance. We need Tripoli asap to bring enough reinforcement and supply to attack the Mareth Line and help the 1st Army.

< Message edited by Nico165 -- 10/5/2015 11:35:55 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/5/2015 10:45:55 PM   
Nico165b165


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jonboym

Excellent AAR, you are doing much better than me in Tunisia I got stuck slugging it out taking heavy losses I think my mistake was not pushing forward early enough. My 8th army is only just breaking through to Sousse on turn 34 and with a big VP deficit looks like Axis will get the victory.


Thanks!

Yes, speed is key for the 8th army. 1st army can't breakout alone without the threat of the 8th army in Libya. It's also important VP-wise, here are the VP so far (turn 11). Sdid Bouzid and the ports on the Libyan coast are the only possibilities for WA to score early.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 10/6/2015 6:57:49 PM >


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/6/2015 6:01:03 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Hi everyone,

Please enjoy this new Operation Torch AAR, which Nico will continue over the coming days!

Regards,

- Erik


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/7/2015 4:02:06 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 12 - 26 January - 2 February


A promising week for the allied forces in North Afrika !

The tunisian frontline looks a little bit better. Surrounded units won't be there for long anymore. Only one small new breakthrough from a lonely panzer regiment. The southern breakthrough just north of the Tbessa mountains is isolated. The Kasserine pocket is firmly relieved.



Another good news : the airbase level 3 is nearly ready in Bone. This with the fully repaired port means that offensive air operations will start soon. Note the engineers attached to the city to make sure every work here is a top priority job.



A not-so-good-news though : constant axis breakthrough in our lines have made a complete mess of our rail system. Every single line to the front is cut at some point. That's bad for our supply situation in the front line. More work for our brave engineers...




A great victory in Libya : Tripoli is ours ! Throwing everything against the defenders worked from the first attempt. X corps is now advancing towards Gabes and the Mareth line. 8th army's reinforcements begins to arrive in Al Khums where the port is already repaired. Engineers are now moving to Tripoli, the closest available port to the Mareth line.



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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/7/2015 5:22:55 PM   
loki100


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reads like a fun game ... I like situations where there are gaps in the front as you simply can't cover everything, gives a much more cat and mouse feel to the game play

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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/7/2015 5:44:19 PM   
Nico165b165


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

reads like a fun game ... I like situations where there are gaps in the front as you simply can't cover everything, gives a much more cat and mouse feel to the game play


Yes the feeling is totally different. There are no more than 3 or 4 ground battle every week, everything else is going for the gaps and plugging the holes.

There may be some stabilization in a few weeks, when the 1st army will rest before the big push and the 8th army will be facing the Mareth line. Not sure it will happen in this game though. But that's the starting situation from the Tunisian scenario if you prefer playing with a more solid line.


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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/7/2015 11:41:24 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 13 - 2-9 February


Mixed feelings this turn.

The main tunisian frontline looks better each turn. The arrival of the 1st US armored brigade helped a lot. The german airlanding brigade around Beja finnaly surrendered. Thoses guys spent more than a month behind our lines ! Our lack of troops made it difficult to tackle the problem soon enough. And their lack of supplies was our best ally. The panzergrenadier regiment further west had the same fate, and a panzer regiment from the 21st panzer just joined the list of isolated axis units, a very good news !



But the germans didn't stay inactive. An attack in front of Bizerte nearly succeeded. Bizerte is a very important objective in the scenario, not only for its VP but also as a supply source for the Panzer Armee Afrika. Beieng able to threaten it from an adjacent hex is a good starting point for the future. Our infantry brigade did not retreat but lost a level of fortification... Not good for next week.



And further south, we lost Gafsa. This southern part of the front didn't look like anything interesting untill now but this is about to change. For the first time, you can see units from 1st and 8th army on the same screen. The attack on the Mareth line is going to happen in a few weeks. Then 8th army can link up with 1st army and make the final push against axis forces in north Africa. One possible junction point is Gafsa. But it is now in german hands and they have at least a panzer division and a infantry division in the area...




As you already saw, Libya is no more an isolated front far from the main theater. The goal here for the next few turns is simple : bring more men, bring more tanks, bring more planes, repair and construct more infrastructures, recon the enemy, let everyone have enough rest then defeat the Mareth line.



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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/8/2015 2:40:17 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 14 - 9-16 February


Seems like it is expansion day !

So what are the latest news on the front ?

Not a lot of movement this time in Tunisia. More axis units surrendered, only the panzer regiment stays behind our lines but is solidly trapped.



We lost the second battle and retreated in front of Bizerte. Not a surprise and I don't think the axis will be able to go much further. Stil, it's lost territory that we will have to regain later.



In the south it doesn't look that good. Lot of good german forces. From their position, they can threaten the flank of the 1st army or reinforce the coming fight with the 8th army. We identified where the enemy decided to make a stand aginast the 8th army. Their line is anchored in Gabes on the coast and probably to the mountains in the west. Not a lot of ground to manoeuvre, some bloody battles in perspective.



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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/8/2015 7:59:01 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 15 - 16-23 February


More action this turn !

First, the level 3 airbase is ready in Bone. Offensive operations have begun. The main goal is to disrupt axis supply. First targets : the ports of Bizerte and Tunis. Bizerte is down, Tunis damaged. Good but there's still a lot more to do.



While the allies attack in the air, the axis replicates on the ground. Four attacks against our main line. Two succeeded, two failed. The axis has the intiative in the north, we have to do something in the south...




... but it won't be easy. Axis used the gap they created last week in Gafsa to turn once more our right flank and threaten Tozeur. All those Chott are impassable terrain. They have a very secure territory between 1st and 8th army now. No better news after further recon of the Mareth line : only 3 hex wide, two very well defended, maybe one weak point on the left but with reserves just behind. No easy way.



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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/20/2015 2:09:15 PM   
whoofe

 

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just curious - is this AAR going to continue?

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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/22/2015 1:35:38 PM   
Nico165b165


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Yes ! Had some good job news which also mean less gaming time, but expect updates this week

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RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/25/2015 3:07:45 PM   
Nico165b165


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Turn 16 - 23 February - 2 March


A transition turn before the storm. In the north, there are no more axis pocket on our rear. Time to think about how to go forward again. There are some gaps in the mountains in front of Keirouan, that's a good starting point. And the bombings of the port continues.




In the south, we need to improve 8th army's supply situation to be able to attack the Gabes line. The first attack has to break through the line and surround enough axis forces. Otherwise, we'll need to wait a few turns again to refit our units for a second attempt and we won't have enough time left.



While we prepare for the attack, axis picks his fights and gain some ground in the mountains. Ouch...



_____________________________


(in reply to Nico165b165)
Post #: 29
RE: Torch to Tunisia AAR - 10/29/2015 8:25:59 PM   
whoofe

 

Posts: 209
Joined: 1/21/2011
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where are you at VP-wise on this battle?

(in reply to Nico165b165)
Post #: 30
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