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SoN 7: The Wells of Borgut

 

 

SoN 7 The Wells of Borgut:
23 Apr 1936

Background: The Italians have resumed their offensive in southern Ethiopia. After several uneventful days they finally ran into the Ethiopians entrenched about the wells of Borgut.

The Terrain: The wells of Borgut is fought on 3 desert boards. Hillocks dominate the eastern half of the playing area. The southern board has two deirs on it on the western half as well. The Ecs are wet so there is no dust. Scrub is treated as Candelbara and Hammada is treated as brush.

The Opposing Forces:
The Ethiopians defend with fourteen squads, 3 leaders, 2 machine guns, and 2 37mm AA Guns. The AA Guns have a ROF of one and a break on an 11. They receive 10 trenches and 3 Sangars. They must setup on the western half of the playing area with no more then 8 trenches per board and no more then five trenches/sangars in contiguous hexes. They also receive two squads a leader and mg that setup in a trench on a hillock in the eastern half of the play area. They represent members of the Ethiopian Foreign Legion who were also present.

The Italians attack with 20 squads, 347 & 346 mix with 3 additional half squads. They are lead by five leaders. They also have two light mortars, four machine guns, and a flame thrower. To round out this force they have two Lancia and two Fiat Armored Cars. Before the first game turn the Italians also get two 39FB with bombs.

The VCs. The Italians must cause 24 or more CVP or capture 7 or more trench/sangars while suffering less CVP then is inflicted on the Ethiopians. No Quarter is in effect so forget prisoners.

The Defense: The EFL setup on 28N4 to inhibit the Italian entry along the northern board edge. The rest of the Ethiopian defense looked like a tilda. The machine guns were setup at each end of the tilda to lock fire lanes in the event of a frontal attack and to extend the flanks if a flank attack is attempted. The AA guns are set back HIP so that they can cover the trenches, the flank of the trenches, and each other.

The Set Up:
29K7    Sangar
29J6    337 w/mmg; 9-1; in a trench
29I6    337; in a trench
29H5    337; 237; in a trench
29H3    337; in a trench
29H2    337; in a trench
29G2    337; 7-0; in a trench
29G1    337; 237; in a trench
29F6    37mm AA Gun with 127 crew
29F0    Sangar
28CC2   Sangar
28CC3   337; in a trench
28CC4   337; in a trench
28DD1   37mm AA Gun with 127 crew
28DD4   337; in a trench
The Attack: The Airplanes will attack the EFL. The Italians split their forces into two groups. The first will attack on an axis from 29GG10 to 29Q10 to 29G5 to 28EE5. The other will attack on an axis from 28N10 to 28Z8 to 29DD2. Each force is going to attempt to bag one flank of the trench line. This should keep the defense dispersed.

The AAR: 
Pregame plane attacks: The Italian FB break one squad of the EFL.

Turn 1A: The EFL squad rallies. So much for the pregame plane attack. The Italians rush 4 x 346 squads at the EFL. 1.5 squads are dead and another 1.5 squads broken. A 7-0, 137 w/ft are able to get within two hexes and try to light up the EFL. But the EFL all pass the NMC. The two Fiats rush the EFL position and acquire the trench in the AFPh. The other squads rush forward according to the pre game plan.

Turn 1B: The EFLs attempt to break the ft hs but fails. A 37mm HE shot breaks the whole stack. Two ltmtrs gang up on the Ethiopian trench line and break two squads.

Turn 2A: The Italians surround and kill the Mercs. The Fiats come under fire from an Ethiopian AA gun but the range the motion and a brush hex are enough to protect it Ö For now. The two Lanciaís decide to charge the now known AA gun but the other AA gun opens up and acquires one of the Lancia.

Turn 2B: The Ethiopians manage to kill a Lancia and the mmg machineguns the crew as they bail out for good measure. A 1.5 flat shot K/1s a 347.

Turn 3A: One of the Ethiopian 337s boxes a rally roll. The Italian mmg breaks one of the AA Gun crews. One of the Fiats is hit by the other AA Gun but an Eleven on the to kill only serves to scare the crew. The Ethiopian 9-1 directed mmg KIAs yet another squad. The Lancia charges the AA gun and gets behind her. The Advance Fire fails to affect the crew. The Fiat is more successful and kills the broken crew.

Turn 3B: The Ethiopian mmg causes the Italian 9-1 to become heroic. The last AA gun spins two hexes in cactus the drms are horrific but they take the shot. He misses but acquires. The Lancia attempts to break the crew with a 16 + 1 attack but breaks their MA. The Ethiopian Sniper also reduces the Italian SAN to two.

Turn 4A: The Lancia goes into motion to try and save itís skin but the Ethiopian AA gun boxes the to hit. These to guys just donít want to kill each other! So the Lancia turns her rear mgs toward the AA crew and stops. Her advance fire is not effective. The squad manning the mmg goes berserk other then that fire between the two groups is ineffective. The Italians continue to close the loop but neither side seems to be able to break the other.

Turn 4B: The Lancia and AA gun both fix their guns. The AA gun gets to fire first and finally kills the Lancia but the crew survives. The Italian ft Xs out after several shots that the Ethiopians just shrugged off. One of the Fiats breaks itís MA. The mmg squad charges a hex with a 346 in it. They break on a fpf shot and rout away.

Turn 5A: The Fiat from hell starts off the turn by breaking three squads and the 8-1 leader in the trenches with mg and 37mm fire. The Italians CX all their infantry on the northern flank and kill for ftr the three squads and 8-1. They also capture the abandoned AA gun. The Italians break the other AA gun crew and with the loss of the mmg squad the southern flank is also crumbling.

At this point the Italians control five locations and at least two more should fall in turn six the Italians have 19 CVP and the Ethiopians have 14 CVP. Both machine guns are gone, both AA guns are gone, and the only GO leader is a 7-0 in the middle of the line. The Ethiopian player concedes.

Final Thoughts: If I were to rename this scenario it would be the moronic attack meets the idiotic defense. The EFL should not be treated as Die in Placers (DiPs) a more unified defense on board 27 somehow taking advantage of the dier and the proximity of the hillock on board 27 to the deir could have made a big difference for the Ethiopians. Another error was in not reacting to the attack. A good portion of the Ethiopians just sat in the center trenches instead of moving to reinforce the threatened flanks. There isnít much room for maneuver but damn it maneuver. Donít be a DiP. The Italian attack was far to scattered. It is highly possible and even likely that if the same attack were run again against that defense that all four armored cars would die. Maybe they are throw away and make it possible for the infantry to move up. In any case the Italian should mass his attack and come down the board 27/29 board seem. IMO. On the fun scale Iíd rate it a 7 for the Italians and a 7 for the Ethiopians at least until the AA guns reveal themselves and the duel is on. After that Iíd rate it about a 5 for the Ethiopians.

Later,

Mark

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