Early war in Africa with Victory Decision WWII – AAR

 

This past weekend I finally got the chance to try early WWII with Victory Decision, before I had mostly done Sci Fi and W-WWII. My friend Adam thought it was a good chance to take some Brits and DAK for spin. So out came the desert table !

The armies were pretty straight forward, based on what Adam had built at some point for Flames of War.

Germans had:
HQ ( 1 light artillery strike, 1 precision air strike )
3 Squads
2 HMGs
1 Diana ( that rare improvise tank hunter created early on )
1 AT-gun in ambush
2 Pz-IV D

Brits had:
HQ ( 2 heavy artillery strikes, 1 precision air strike )
3 Squads
2 HMGs
1 Medium Mortar ( on table )
3 Crusder tanks
1 Humber Armored Car
1 Recce section mounted on a Bren Carrier

Roughly 1500 pts per side.

This was my first time trying the “Seek Out, Close in, Destroy and Hold” scenario. Here I found another hidden jewel in Victory Decision.
I’m always looking for fun interesting generic scenarios for platoon level action. I had never tried this one before because in the Sci Fi book due to an early typo it appeared to used the table from the short ends so I was always leaving that scenario for later to make sure I could evaluate how balanced it was, in reality that is not the case and the table can be used on either alternative, lengthwise or widthwise.

The scenario is really a great scenario for platoon level actions. Each player will alternate placing 3 objectives, one right at his deployment side table edge and two on the opposing half of the table ( no closer than 12″ from the opposing table edge or other objectives).
Each side has to try to accomplish the following “orders”:

  • Defend the Territory: Control all the three objectives markers on your half of the table
  • No Yielding: No unshaken enemy units on your half of the table
  • Seek Out: Capture the objective marker  on your opponent’s table edge
  • Take and Hold:Capture a total of two objectives in your opponent’s half of the table
  • Where it hurts: Destroy the unit worth more points in the opposing army

At the end of turn 4, if no army has broken by being reduced to 25% of starting force (quite unlikely if you are using the rules correctly ), you check to see how many of these orders you have accomplished at this point.
If a side has accomplished at least 2 of these orders and has accomplished more than the enemy, then that side is declared the winner. If not, on a D6 roll of 5+ another turn is played, and check again on turn 5 then if still no victor on a roll of 6 on a D6 a last turn is played. If the game ends without a side winning by “orders” it is decided by enemy points destroyed.

The orders provide an extensive variety of combinations that the sides can try to accomplish, or attempt to deny to the opponent making it a very interesting scenario with great replayability potential !

The Battle

After set up it looked like the Brits where hoping to make a push on their right side supported by two crusaders, while on the left they would try to move their infantry forward accompanying the recce, armored car and another crusader. The germans appeared to concentrate more on a central push while trying to hold their left flank with their AT-guns, one deployed in ambush on top of a hill overlooking the dry river.

The British right hook attack quickly came to a stop after the pak in ambush made the appearance and took out the first crusader, it was clear that the infantry would have to take care of this before any serious progress could be made on that side.

On the British left things proved to be a bit easier, the infantry could make progress while their armored vehicles moved on the center, with the armored car rushing to establish control over a fuel depot objective on that side.

The germans were being slower in the advance, but they did push to the village close to the fuel depot. They managed to take the initiative and surprise the humber before his supporting British rifle teams could move to support him. After a close assault the Humber was left in flames and the germans secured the position around the fuel depot.

As the game developed the British infantry on the right flank proved their skill. Closely directed by their HQ they use rifle and machinegun fire to take out all the german infantry that attempted to reach the objective on that side. The HQ also directed artillery strikes that eventually eliminated the german AT-Gun, however the progress was not fast enough to allow a British counterattack that could be exploited.

The fight in the center was vicious and although the British saw some initial success the germans had more assets to commit, they could support the infantry firefight with an HMG and with their HQ to help recover fireteams that were pushed by the enemy. In Victory Decision the most meaningful way to gain ground is by suppressing and pushing your enemy rather than killing them since casualty ratios tend to be low if the troops are using hide and or take cover as their actions. In that kind of push firefight battle, the HQ can help recover shaken fire teams faster and gain a considerable advantage.

The British infantry advance on the left flank had managed to capture the oasis close to the fuel depot but the germans were in a stronger defensive position around the close by village and they have now brought in a PzIV to support their infantry. The brits on the other hand couldn’t effectively counter this with their crusader without risking it in the urban area since the infantry escort for the crusader had to be committed to the center firefight.

In the end the center firefight resulted with a push that nobody won decisively but by capturing the British infantry attention it prevented a combined arms attack on the supply depot position and the left flank infantry in the Oasis ended up being pushed away by the german troops.

At the end of turn 4 both sides had achieved the “Where it Hurts” objective, the Germans killing a Crusader and the Brits killing the pak At-gun un ambush. The Germans however had denied the Defend the territory order to the Brits by capturing the fuel depot. Neither of the other orders had been accomplished.

So German orders accomplished 2, Brits 1… German Victory..

This was our first time using this scenario so we clearly learned some things that we should think better for the next time, the game provides very interesting variants and you have to think carefully what orders you will try to accomplish.

Overall, great fun, as it is usually the case with these Victory Decision games !!!

 

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