Home Forums WWII Hell on Wheels, ‘Blade Force’ Fight #10

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    Avatar photoJust Jack


    1030 Local Time
    26 November 1942
    Near Chouigoui, French Tunisia

    At dawn the tanks of 10th Panzer Division crashed into Blade Force’s rear, back at Chouigoui Pass. Colonel Watters’ 1st Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, bore the brunt of the assault. Equipped solely with M3 Stuarts, the American tankers did not fare well, as one might expect (according to 29-year old 2nd Lieutenant Freeland A. Daubin, a platoon leader in A Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, he “…discovered why his unit’s 37mm weapons had performed so poorly even at point-blank range. In the chaos if its first operation, his battalion had been issued training ammunition instead of the newer armor-piercing rounds, which were still sitting int he supply depots of Algiers.”). Nevertheless, TF Reisman was tasked to send any available tanks and tank destroyers back to Chouigoui Pass in order to stem the flow of panzers from the north.

    Captain Avery, the Tank Company commander, immediately grabbed up the tanks he had to hand and began pushing back to the west, towards Chouigoui Pass. The column briefly became disoriented, so that it actually passed the German column and ended up approaching it from the southeast;* the Germans saw the fledgling American armored force coming and dispatched a small detachment to handle it.

    This is a fictional engagement, but it still should have happened with Americans in the east and Germans in the west, but I forgot about that when I set the table up and so I had to make up that part about Captain Avery becoming disoriented and having to turn around, thus attacking from the southeast, sorry 😉

    Overview, north is up. There is a walled farm at bottom left (St Joseph’s Farm, other elements of Blade Force had fought a battle here yesterday); other than that, the battlefield is framed by rocky escarpments and, broken only by sand dunes (which are impassable to vehicles) and rocky ground. The US force is broken into three separate elements: three Stuarts at far left, three M3 GMCs at the Walled Farm (bottom left), and the Grant and two Stuarts at bottom center left (just right of the Walled Farm), while the Germans have broken into two different elements, both at top right, but with their right-hand column looking to shoot straight west (left) and their left-hand element looking to shoot straight south (down), looking to conduct a double envelopment of the US force.

    This is a straight up tank fight, no infantry or support weapons (well, some US halftracks used as tank destroyers), and no real finesse, just gonna duke it out at point-blank range. Every now and again I like to do this, but two issues: 1) I really need to do it on a bigger table, 4′ x 4′ does not cut it (for me) in 15mm, and 2) this is the one area where I feel 5Core Company Command doesn’t shine, it just doesn’t feel right to me for fast-paced armored actions. But I think I have a solution, courtesy of my good buddy Shaun. He and I were discussing the rules and even though we were discussing different facets, he brought up a different mechanism and it hit me that it would (probably) be perfect for tank-on-tank fights: rather than using the regular “Five Men in Normandy”-style activation, I should try the “Five Men at Kursk”-style activation.

    Alas, Shaun and I’s conversation occurred after I’d already played this, but I’ve resolved to play out at least one more tank-on-tank fight in North Africa (Kasserine, maybe El Guettar? Maybe both? Yeah, probably both!) on at least a 5′ x 4′ table, maybe even full 6′ x 4′, and to use 5MAK-style activation.

    The opposing forces, with Americans on the left and Germans on the right.

    The opposing forces collide.

    Captain Avery’s tank (bottom left) is hit and disabled, but he and his crew stick it out and return fire…

    Knocking out two of the advancing panzers!

    But the Nazi buzzards make yet another appearance over the battlefield…

    With deadly effect!

    But then our man ‘Cutthroat,’ mounted in his trusty tank-destroying halftrack, goes to work!

    To see how it turned out, please check the blog at:

    Overall the campaign is not going well for the Allies, but despite Blade Force suffering heavy casualties and being virtually surrounded by a seasoned opponent, high command was still intent on continuing the race for Tunis. The Germans seemed content to sit tight and let the situation develop, carrying out only light, probing attacks, as Blade Force licked its wounds and reorganized, preparing for the big push, eastwards to Djedeida, which also allowed the British to push more armor further west, back to Chouigoui, in the form of the 17/21st Hussar Regiment. Two days later and it was time to answer the bell, as the 5th Northamptonshires were stepping off in the attack, with elements of TF Reisman conducting a supporting attack on their left…

    Coming right up!


    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    Good battle, Jack!  Brutal fight, but sort of evensies in the end.  It sounds like Blade Force is going to run out of leaders pretty soon if things keep up.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoJust Jack

    Hey Darby, glad to hear from you, hope all is well! Yeah, tough fight, with a few more coming, but then it’s a break over Christmas 1942 where the task force will receive replacements and get some wounded back.



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