Home Forums WWII WW2 North African terrain

This topic contains 15 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Don Glewwe Don Glewwe 5 months ago.

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  • #107300
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Every Australia Day (late January) our little group has a game that usually introduces a new period or rule set or army.

    This year, the two contenders were the ACW (using Pickett’s Charge) or WW2 North Africa (using Blitz Krieg Commander). We have enough figures to do both but have decided to go with the ACW. For several reasons, not least terrain issues, we’ve put North Africa on hold for a while.

    I think we have a good handle on the ACW’s terrain. Green cloth, rural, forests, some snake fences & we even have a couple of scratch built period buildings.

    A battle between Monty & Rommel isn’t as clear cut. Certainly, much of our existing NK Egyptian & Colonial Sudanese terrain will be useful. But you have the enormous ranges of weapons to contend with. When I game NW Europe in WW2, I pack the table with walls, hills, hedges, buildings etc. What am I looking at, exactly for North Africa, is to stop a German 88 etc, at one end of the table, from sweeping the length with its fire? Is a terrain cloth not suitable & terrain tiles the only solution?

    If you have specific terrain items in mind; great. Any hobby photos, websites or blogs that you recommend would also be useful.

     

    donald

    #107301
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    What am I looking at, exactly for North Africa, is to stop a German 88 etc, at one end of the table, from sweeping the length with its fire? Is a terrain cloth not suitable & terrain tiles the only solution? If you have specific terrain items in mind; great. Any hobby photos, websites or blogs that you recommend would also be useful. donald

    Ah, that’s the problem. One of the reasons the 88 was so feared in North Africa was the range it could knock out a tank at.

    A bit of light reading with some very good pictures.

    http://lenscratch.com/2014/06/matthew-arnold-topography-fate-north-african-battlefields-world-war-ii/

    https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=KH078

    Of course, Google Earth might be useful too. The North African desert hasn’t changed all that much since 1942 😉

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #107302
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I think that one of the features of N Afrika was the 88, or the 76(r) sweeping the battlefield.

    Have vehicles kick up dust.
    Have visibility change during the day. I have been in deserts where the midday mirage made anything outside 300m chancy in the extreme.

    Have lots of minor ridgelines and dry gullies. I was once shagging a girl from the roadhouse and naturally, checked before we started, by the time we finished there was a shepherd 200m away watching us curiously. He and 200 goats had appeared out of nowhere.

    Go easy on the ’88s

    Remember, an 88 kicks up a lot of dust, particularly if its dug in. All those RA 25 pdrs will get in there.

    #107303
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I take it you weren’t downwind of the goats then Grizz? 😀

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #107304
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    They snuck up a gulley, by the time they were noticeable, I was preoccupied, as an 88 commander might have been with a healthy mix of sweat and sand behind his binoculars.

    #107305

    Etranger
    Participant

    The problem of German ATGs outranging the British tanks was a very real problem, particularly before the introduction of adequate combined arms tactics. Usually they were inconspicuous PAK 38s or the 76.2(r) rather than ’88’s, of which there were only a small number in theatre. The Germans carefully selected their defensive positions where possible to allow them to do just that.

    So modify the terrain to reduce the advantages, or let the British try to solve the historical dilemma. Other options include modifying visibility according to atmospheric conditions (wind, haze, glare) which could have significant effects. Or fight at night? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outpost_Snipe when the Germans and Italians found themselves on the wrong end of the AT guns for once.

    The old fashioned remedy to terrain is of course the terrain cloth over books! (you could do this over your existing hills too). It depends a bit upon which part of North Africa you’re fighting in too, the traditional Western Desert or more fertile parts like Tunisia. Googling ‘western desert WW2’ will give you plenty of examples, including the 3 photos above.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Etranger.
    #107331
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    Add some ridge lines, gullies and dust, although AHGCs completely terrain less Tobruk never really suffered from 88s and Russian 76.2s sweeping all before them as there are so few of them.

    In summer heat haze often restricted effective ranges to 1000 yards anyway.

    Or just don’t deploy any 88s. Most of the German AT was Pak 38s, albeit still capable of brewing a Crusader from well over 1000 yards.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #107333
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    One book I read a while ago suggested that the lack of HE shells was the primary issue, since suppressing AT guns at a kilometer with your BESA isn’t dreadfully likely to work.

    Once the 75mm shows up, it got easier (if not ever actually “easy”) to deal with AT guns.

    Though it should be noted that the Brits certainly weren’t strangers to letting AT guns (and the odd high-calibre AA gun) knock the snot out of Rommel’s boys in turn.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #107334
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    When devising a game I like to ‘pin’ it to a certain point in time so that I can field historically accurate units.  Like all military organisations the anti-tank equipment fielded by the DAK varied by time and by Abteilung.  So you could find a mix of Pak 35/36s and Pak 38s, or only Pak 38s, or only Panzerjager Is, or a mix of Pak 38s and Marder IIIs, or, finally, Panzerjager Is and the handful of “Dianas” that were created because of a lack of Marder IIIs.  This is one reason why I like to collect and play the German, so much variety of equipment at certain times.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #107337
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    I was just using the 88 as an example. BKC stipulates what you can have, when & how many so I think there’s only one 88. But any half decent ATG, artillery piece or tank gun has a formidable range unless limited by terrain or LoS.

    All good advice. How do you represent dust clouds BTW?

     

    donald

    #107341
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    I’ve not encountered a set of WWII rules that deals with dust clouds.  It may well be something you’ll have to come up with yourselves.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #107342

    Etranger
    Participant

    All good advice. How do you represent dust clouds BTW?
    donald

    Don Featherstone suggested looking through a scratched perspex block. He also adovocated using it in conjunction with a table periscope to better replicate the experience.

    One take https://www.flamesofwar.com/Default.aspx?tabid=110&art_id=416

    More practically suggest eg dust clouds from moving vehicles seen at 2000m, moving vehicles visible at 1000m, identifiable vehicles at 500m. Avoiding ‘blue on blue’ accidents at 250m. The Germans reused a lot of captured British kit, often with minimal changes to markings, a flag or an oversized cross being the norm; and the British also used German/Italian (softskin) vehicles to some extent.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Etranger.
    #107349
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    If your rules have smoke, you can just have moving vehicles throw up a lot of smoke. Also make anti tank guns visible a long way away after they fire. They should cop all hell from British Artillery.
    Haze just puts a limit on seeing anything. The desert at midday can be like being in a fishtank, everything is clear out to a certain distance and then past that is just a blur.

    #107391
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    If you are playing BKC you’ll be fine as the ranges are so short, andaif there is only one 88 stand, it doesn’t  really matter anyway.

    If you are deeply concerned, add in a few ridges to block LOS, and add in some sort of maximum visibility (it is a while since I played bkc and I can’t remember  the spotting rules).

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #107393
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I’ve seen a suggestion that a row of little rocks can signify a low ridge which has no effect on movement but does affect LOS. That seems good in the desert but there needs to be an overwatch mechanism so if you crest the ridge, you are a soft target.

    #107395
    Don Glewwe
    Don Glewwe
    Participant

    I’ve seen a suggestion that a row of little rocks can signify a low ridge which has no effect on movement but does affect LOS. That seems good in the desert but there needs to be an overwatch mechanism so if you crest the ridge, you are a soft target.

    I get the same sort of effect when using a ground cloth by laying pieces of pipe cleaner down (with the hills) to mark both ridge lines (behind which a unit is either out of LOS or -if in contact- hull down) and folds in the ground that can provide cover or block LOS.

     

    https://brawlfactory.net/

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