Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Italian Counter-attack on Cameron Ridge

The Italian Counter-Attack On Flat Top, Cameron Ridge - 2nd February, 1941


Yesterday James, Mog and myself played a game of I Ain't Been Shot Mum in preparation for our Battle of Keren Game that we will unveil at Salute 2014.

The scenario was of James' design and I played the British, my briefing and order of battle was as follows:

During the night our plucky lads have ventured even further from ‘Cameron Ridge’ and are working their way round ‘Flat Top’  to the west of Brig’s Peak – so-called because ‘that’s the one the Brig wants.’  Although we have suffered casualties, we must hold ‘Flat Top’ long enough to get our Forward Observers in position to drive the Italians back towards Sanchil.

THE BRITISH
TROOPS/ DICE
0
1
2
3
British
1,2,3
4
5,6,7
8,9,10
Special rule: Stubborn

Units deployed hidden at start of game.

Big Man 1: Lieutenant Mackay (Level 3)
Big Man 2: Sergeant Rudge (Level 2)
Allied Platoon 1-3: 9 British (reduced by casualties)
Allied Platoon 4 2-man Bren gun team (full actions, but fires with max 2 dice)
Allied Platoon 5: 2-man 2” mortar team
Allied Forward Observer
Allied Support 1: 2 Medium Mortar section (3”  mortars)
Allied Sniper
Allied Mortar Bonus
Allied Hesitant Troops (represents troops being delayed by difficult going, not low morale. Next Allied card drawn may not move that turn.)
Allies Rally

Allies Dynamic Leader (this one-off card allows a Big Man to take an extra move along with a single section.)

James and Mog played the Italian attackers with the following briefing and order of battle:

THE ITALIANS
TROOPS/ DICE
0
1
2
3
Savoia Grenadiers
1,2,3
4
5,6,7
8,9,10
Eritrean Scouts
1,2,3
4
5,6,7
8
The British have gained a toe-hold below our eagle’s nest on Sanchil, and during the night have driven back our patrols near Point 1616 to ‘Flat Top’ to the west.  Though we do not know exactly where they are, Colonel Corsi’s orders are clear: the British must be driven back!  As a sign of his commitment, the gallant Colonel himself is leading us into battle.  Clear the slopes!
2nd Battalion Savoia Grenadiers (all troops are Aggressive, representing élan and plenty of grenades)
Big Man 1: Colonel Corsi (Level 4)
Big Man 1: Tenente di Motezemelo (Level 2)
Axis Platoon 1: 10 Savoia Grenadiers with extra LMG (roll 1 extra die when firing)
Axis Platoon 2: 10 Savoia Grenadiers with rifles only (roll one less fire dice when shooting)
Axis Platoon 3: 10 Savoia Grenadiers with extra LMG (roll 1 extra die when firing)
Axis Platoon 4: 10 Savoia Grenadiers with rifles only (roll one less fire dice when shooting)
Axis Platoon 5: 45mm Light mortar team (only 1 turn of smoke, otherwise HE)
Axis Platoon 6: 45mm Light mortar team (only 1 turn of smoke, otherwise HE)
Axis Platoon 7: 8 Eritrean scouts
Axis Forward Observer
Axis Support 1: (lots of mortars)
Axis Rally
Axis Hesitant Troops (represents troops being delayed by difficult going, not low morale. Next Axis card drawn may not move that turn.)
Axis Rally

Axis Dynamic Leader (this card allows a Big Man to take an extra move along with a single section.  Colonel Corsi can use this every time it comes up.)

Indian porters rush up supplied of ammo

The setup


James has got the set up of the mountain down to a fine art now and it can be assembled in just seven minutes and then a few minutes more to add the trees, scatter, etc. so by 19:30 we were ready for kick off.

The game


The Italian attack was soon under-way with Colonel Corsi seeming to be here there and everywhere. The Bersaglieri had soon scaled the slopes - maybe they wished they were Alpini - and were ready to pour fire down onto the British defenders as they showed themselves.

British infantry under fire.
Colonel Corsi was leading an attack up the middle when his keen eyesight revealed the first British positions and soon a harsh fire-fight was under-way between a British platoon supported by the additional Bren gun and two Italian Platoons supported by their light mortars. The British seemed to be getting the upper hand in the firefight, but were suffering terribly from Shock as the light mortars fell among them. Stern work by Sergeant Rudge helped boost the line.

Colonel Corsi led his men in a bayonet charge and although the charge scattered the British defenders, the Italians here were also quite thinned out and then suffered from the attention of the Bren section. Leaving the faltering attack here to pin the British in place Corsi then moved to the right to encourage the troops there up the - the Eritreans had obviously read the air-dropped British propaganda and had not moved all game so far.

Italians prepare to attack
The initial Italian probe on this side was met with devastating close range fire from a newly revealed British platoon, but the Italians pressed on. The Bersaglieri on the ridge were being pinned down by effective sniper fire, but saw their chance and charged into the British platoon, however their elan was not enough and they were cut down in a close combat amongst the scree.

The Italians next hit is with a devastating mortar barrage that wiped out the Bren section and killed Sergeant Rudge. In another drive, the Eritreans charged against the section that had already wiped out the Bersaglieri and fared no better, although Lieutenant Mackay died in this action.

The British were now leaderless, but stubbornly holding the line, Colonel Corsi was still brimming with vim and vigor but was running out of troops to launch a successful attack against the British - who still had a hidden platoon ready to plug any gaps. At this point we declared a British victory and packed the toys away to play another day.

The Italians are painted by James, the British by Mog and the few Indians you see by myself.

Here are a few more images from the game.


Italians machine guns support the attack

How did that get there?
This did not happen in the game!

Indian stretcher bearer


British infantry pour fire on the Italians