The Italian recon unit "Falcon" had received orders to double back and attack suspected enemy supply depot - little did they know that the small fishing village of Mait hide the HQ units of the Sikh battalion amongst the small brick huts and white washed mission. Italian had sent small blockading/piquet units along the road to both directions and on full platoon of gun trucks supported with a dismounted platoon would make a lightning raid - or so was the plan.

Attacker had
  • 1 company HQ gun truck
  • 1 platoon of AS 37 gun trucks with various weapons (regular, 4 trucks)
  • 1 regular infantry platoon supported by an armored car.

while the defending force had:

  • 3 senior leaders (presenting the battalion command)
  • 1 team of smg armed troops (few Sikh volunteer NCOs, elite)
  • 1 Sikh section (elite)
  • 1 A militia platoon (4 sections, of which 3 had lmgs) - green. Of very low initiative/motivation, so did not have any integral junior leaders
  • 1 boyes ATR
  • 1 sniper (elite)
  • Ample supply of barbed wire

Most houses looked like only light cover, but were internally supported with sandbags, so actually offered hard cover A system of slit trenches connected houses, so defender could use most of them as jump-off points.


Gently rolling sandy hills, beach immediately behing the stone building. Smoke presents burning gasoline/dung pits. Outer perimeter of the village had some barbed wire and the "almost road" leading in from right had 2 improvised mine fields. Italian infantry had jumpoff points at the far side.

This basically pitted 2 regular platoons with huge amount of firepower against one very green platoon with very motivated commanders.

The attackers' plan was to envelop the village from 2 sides, using infantry to lead the attack while gun trucks provided cover. Defender was hoping to lure the attacker inside the village and then blunt the attack, hoping to break attacking commanders' morale. Trenches and gasoline-soaked burning dung provided lots of cover, forcing the attacker to close.  (I never thought I could break their force morale, just to make the attack too costly in campaign terms. This had worked twice before.)

We played the patrol phase twice, as one of the attackers was unfamiliar with the system and flanking attack scenario gives attacker somewhat hard situation with 2 sets of patrol markers. As expected, during the first run defender very quickly locked his markers, forcing all jump off points for attacker to remain at the table edges. The second go saw the defender to fall into a trap, locking his flank markers, keeping the center unlocked but unable to move much. This allowed the attacking infantry to gain a nice flank position - the attack would now come from 3 directions, with the closes jump-off point almost in the village.

Italian infantry advanced quickly, taking positions by the building on the British left flank. This gave them view over the whole village and easy access to push further. When planning defense I had not foreseen them getting a jump off this far, so this called for some drastic measures - I committed my elite Sikh section to counter them, machine gun teams on the open were an easy target. Both the Bren and rifle sections fired from close range - inflicting a whopping total of 1 casualty! The return fire was not much more effective, but the Italian rifle section was now inside the outer barbed fire and initiated a charge with AvantI! Savoia! - their grenades scored multiple hits and combined with the fore from 2 mg teams allowed the attack to close. The Sikh rifle team fought well, killing 5 of the attackers but were themselves cut down to a man, their leader being wounded and taken prisoner. First victory to the Italians!


Both sides starts deploying troops. Fortified buildings come as a surprise. At this point attacker is joking about every building being fortified..


Italians go in with grenade and bayonet. Savoia!


Militia deploys to plug the gap. A lewis team and rifles.

On the other flank, a gun truck with platoon leader was a tempting target and the Sikh sniper was deployed. He promptly missed a clear shot, was instantly spotted and first machine gun burst killed him. So much for that ace..

So I started deploying the militia sections - they did not have junior leaders, so I had to commit one of the battalion staff to both flanks to keep the morale up. On the right flank they mainly died in hail of machine gun fire, but a brave boyes gunner bagged 2 gun trucks, both going up in flames. Some measure of vengeance, ATR was finally useful! Unfortunately flanking fire from the Italian infantry cut down the brave ATR.


Militia starts deploying, many a men lost their lives arond those huts.


And against them Italian base of fire, very effective. Taking cover at the reverse slope of the hill.

On my left flank, militia section shocked the Italian assault troops and it was time to commit the smg team. They easily deployed to close combat from jump off and a ferocious attack had no problems wiping out the depleted Italian team, freeing the captured NCO and capturing an Italian caporale. For a moment it looked like I could grasp even victory, as I next caught the mg teams running in open within very close distance from 4 smgs. Multiple clips later all the mg teams were safely behind the hill, only their platoon leader slightly wounded. So much for that victory..

"Easy target ahead, boys! Fire at will!"

And then the Italian mg sections opened fire against the militia section and the Sikh officer leading them. 12 dice scored 11 hits, which resulted in 5 kills and 6 shock. It was a small consolation that one of the bullets killed the officer, so he did not take part in the ensuing rout.

At this point the remaining British senor officer, battalion CO dubbed "Indian-Jack" deployed himself in the stone house acting as the HQ and recalled the few remaining Sikhs to him. The defenders hunkered down with one Bren team and the smgs remaining, daring the attacker to come and root them out.

At this point the Italian CO almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He had been trying to get the dismounted scout patrol to move rapidly and apparently his own driver mistook this as an order. (He forgot to specify how far to move, so 12 rolled on a driving roll brought him to open. Every remaining British weapon opened fire at his unarmoured truck - smoke cleared and some of the crew were mildly shocked and none worse for the wear.. At this point we called the game a clear victory for the Italians. They outmanouvered the defenders, they outshot him and they outlasted him.

"You said fast forward, boss!"


Then come and get us!


Well ventilated but alive.


The player commanding the Italian infantry gave Chain of Command very high praise. "I had no idea about the rules. I just started applying tactics as I have been taught and they worked. These chaps are doing something right here."
 
The first part of the campaign is closing fast. The Italians have punched through the hasty line of defense, but the cost was high and it took a while. We'll have a debrief a bit later, at this point it looks like a draw or marginal victory for the Italians.