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Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel

 
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Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/9/2018 9:48:00 AM   
MikeJ19


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I have played an older computer game based on this Operation, so I thought I would give this a try.

Situation

It is Nov, 1941 and the war is continuing to go in favour of the Axis powers. The Germans are heading towards Moscow, making huge gains against the Soviets.

In the desert, the Commonwealth forces are getting ready to challenge Field Marshall Erwin Rommel – the desert fox.

Following two unsuccessful operations, Brevity in May 41 and Battleaxe in June 41, General Auchinleck takes over command of the Middle East Command and LGen Cunningham in in charge of the 8th Army.

Tobruk is still under siege by Axis forces. Rommel was tasked with driving the Commonwealth forces out of Egypt and controlling the Suez Canal. But he was unable to push into Egypt with Tobruk still in Allied hands.

The Axis supply situation

The Axis forces were constantly struggling with supply issues. British efforts in attacking Libyan-bound convoys were very successful between July and October.

Despite shipping losses the Italians succeeded in putting an average of 72,000 tons, slightly more than Rommel’s current consumption, across the Mediterranean each month during July through October. Rommel’s difficulties, for the moment, stemmed less from the threat posed by Malta and problems with Mediterranean convoys than from the impossible length of his supply lines with most supplies being delivered to Tripoli.

Moving the supplies from Tripoli to the front line was about a 1000 miles drive. The capture of Benghazi helped shorten the distance, but the capacity of the port was still very low.

Securing the port of Tobruk, would assist in reducing the supply line distance, but again most supplies would have to come from Tripoli.

For more info on the supply situation in North Africa – see http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/north-africa-the-war-of-logistics/

Here is a look at the terrain in the Area of Operations




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/9/2018 1:39:58 PM   
Hyding

 

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Good stuff will watch with interest.

Supply is a huge challene for both sides ....it is just horrible

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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/9/2018 7:42:31 PM   
MikeJ19


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Narses,

Thanks, this looks like it should be a fun battle.

Here is a look at the Halfaya pass




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/9/2018 7:43:43 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at Rommel's forces...




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/9/2018 7:44:57 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at what I think I am facing at the outset - note the 2 German Panzer Divisions are Eat of Tobruk along the coast.




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 11:43:27 AM   
MikeJ19


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Here is a look at what I think the Axis reaction to my attack may be...




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 11:44:41 AM   
MikeJ19


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The VP locations drive success and provide objectives for my forces.




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 3:53:16 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at the forces available to me




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 3:54:12 PM   
MikeJ19


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My reinforcements. I think the arrival locations of the first two brigades are wrong - but time will tell.




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 6:59:37 PM   
MikeJ19


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Here is a look at my first option for the 8th Army




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 7:00:09 PM   
MikeJ19


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Option 2




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 7:00:36 PM   
MikeJ19


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Option 3




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/10/2018 9:01:58 PM   
MikeJ19


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Option Analysis

I like Options 2 and 3 the best.

Option 2 seems to give me the best chance to secure lots of VP – so many of them are available in the area near Bardia. However, Option 2 will allow the Axis player to concentrate his forces, including the two powerful Panzer divisions in the same area.

Option 3 will strain the Axis forces, as they will have to respond to two threats that are far apart.

I want to put some of the key things from manoeuvre warfare theory into action. So, I want to preempt, dislocate, and disrupt the Axis plans.

How do I achieve this?

All three options attempt to dislocate the Axis forces – by attacking from the South when they are mainly looking/defending towards the East.

I’m going to use my Air Force to try and disrupt the Axis plans through interdiction.

In Option 3, I may be able to disrupt the Axis plans by having their forces moving East only to see a big threat to the rear area with the advance of XXX Corps.

At the outset, I do not see a chance to preempt at the moment, but that opportunity may come.

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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/11/2018 12:06:06 AM   
MikeJ19


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Decision - Option 3

Option 3 is a good balance between dislocation and disruption of the Axis forces. It also gives me a really good chance of linking with Tobruk. The delay may also all for better supply routes to open up as XIII Corps attacks northward.

I need to be careful that I do not get sucked into a battle of attrition along the Axis Eastern line of defences, I want to bypass and push North as much as possible.

Holding most of XXX Corps in place is going to be hard for me.

My Air Force is going to attack the German fighter air bases right at the start – trying to establish a great air supremacy.

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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/11/2018 9:40:49 AM   
Olorin


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Is this Daniel McBride's Crusader that comes with the game?

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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/11/2018 11:11:49 AM   
MikeJ19


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Good morning Olorin,

It came with the game, but it is designed by Doug Bevard and is called Crusader 41.

Have a good day,

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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/11/2018 11:12:48 AM   
MikeJ19


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Here is a look at the opening plan for XXX Corps




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/11/2018 11:13:16 AM   
MikeJ19


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And for XIII Corps




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/11/2018 11:19:14 AM   
MikeJ19


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When I played TOAW III, I did not do a very good job of managing my Air Force - I often let the computer play it. I'm going to try harder to take control of the Air Units to make sure that what they are doing fits with my overall plan more.

As I mentioned earlier, I want to try and get air superiority early on. So, I'm attacking the four airfields basing fighters. Two of these airfields are on the map and two are off the map.




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/12/2018 9:55:23 AM   
MikeJ19


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Air war - Nov 19th




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/12/2018 10:00:47 AM   
MikeJ19


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An overview on the second morning.

(As an aside, I wish there was a way to capture an image of the battlefield before I hand over control to my opponent. I find it weird that I can not look at my forces when my turn ends. This is doubly so at the start of a game when I am on the defence. It is not a big deal, but is a constant frustration)






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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/12/2018 10:16:56 PM   
MikeJ19


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A day later - the Axis forces have responded...




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/13/2018 10:31:02 PM   
MikeJ19


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After spending the night updating the maps - the staff are ready to brief the commander...




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/14/2018 9:52:01 PM   
MikeJ19


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That turn went well and this time I had a chance to take a screen shot before handing it over to the Rommel (that is easy than saying the Axis player).




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/14/2018 10:36:28 PM   
tverse

 

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What has your total air unit losses been to this point? If you look under the “wrench” button I think it will give your air unit losses.

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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/14/2018 10:47:50 PM   
MikeJ19


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Tverse,

Thanks for reminding me. Here is a look at my losses of aircraft. At one point during Rommel's turn, I think that the Axis player had lost over 50 planes. It looks to my like I have lost 46 over the first four days.

All the best,




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/14/2018 11:09:22 PM   
MikeJ19


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The 8th Army staff has spent the early hours of 23rd Nov preparing the following brief for the commander.




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/15/2018 7:42:57 PM   
MikeJ19


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My turn should end after the next round




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/15/2018 8:25:53 PM   
MikeJ19


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Once again, the sun is getting ready to rise in the desert. Here is the situation in front of XIII Corps




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RE: Crusader 41 - I'm taking on Rommel - 2/15/2018 8:26:25 PM   
MikeJ19


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The situation facing XXX Corps




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