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John Kettler

B&T--TCP Gazelle Force Spoiler Alert!

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SPOILER ALERT!!! Do NOT read if you wish to preserve FOW while playing this scenario!

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I just finished my first game ever vs. NG cavscout

in a nightmarish fight as the Italians. If the forces were as depicted in these raids to gobble up wire maintenance crews and seize water facilities, then I feel sorry for the Italians.

Battle Summary

I suffered a Tactical Defeat, which would certainly have been worse had I not evacuated as many trucks, unhorsed crews and prisoners as possible.

Basically, I put up as fierce a fight as I could

from my static defenses (Green 20mmm hit him hard, but not for long); got my reinforcements after said defenses were wiped out, then tried to move my highly vulnerable, all but road bound force across exposed ground, under fire from seemingly everywhere, thanks to NG cavscout's super maneuverable, fast, high morale force which had quite a few Boys rifle teams in it.

Outside of the dead 20mm, my sole AT capability lay in one ATR and one 20mm AT tankette. While I killed a few of his mechanical cockroaches, I barely dented the supply, did almost nothing to his largely superb infantry, and suffered greatly as his Vickers completely wrecked attempt after attempt to advance.

Theoretically, my Lancia ACs offered some real possibilities, but they were slow, were awful cross country, useless against the cockroaches (pure MG armament only) and died quickly when under Boys fire, making it impossible to really get in and hose what infantry was actually not in good cover. Multiple fires from my AA tankette, an AC, and squads couldn't even kill a Boys team out in the rocks! Basically, vast ammo expenditures from my ACs did pretty much nothing, while I lost two outright to Boys fire and one to an F-Kill--out of four! The sole survivor wound up the high water point of my counterattack by staying on the right flank but by no means the board edge. It was functional but had five ammo points left.

Play Balance Issues

This scenario may well be historically accurate, but I'm not some greenhorn who just fell off the turnip truck, yet I found it one of the most harrowing and terminally frustrating CM experiences ever, to the point where I started to wonder if I even knew how to play anymore.

The Italians are significantly to extremely disadvantaged in every military category, the terrain favors the British when the Italian counterattack finally shows up, and against someone who knows what he's doing, as NG cavscout clearly does, it is gamer's hell to try to do anything, never mind win.

From a scenario design standpoint, I think the Italians need real help. They're too brittle and too weak, as helpless in many ways against those confounded zipping Brens and Boys carriers as Crassus's legions were against the Parthians at Carrhae.

Even something as simple as HQ modifiers would make a big difference, but I think the Italians

need ACs with teeth, say, AB 40s with 2 cm cannon, if they were available then. From what I can tell, the Italians operated their cannon armed AB 40s rather like the British did with their mixed 75mm and Firefly Sherman troops. Even a few cannon armed ACs would make a big difference in how the battle plays out, because they would force the British player to be more conservative or risk taking enough casualties to really smart. If AB40s are anachronistic, then I'd strongly recommend dumping the pathetic Lancia ACs and substituting tankettes, some of which would be rigged for AT work. Otherwise, the relief column is simply more meat for the British meat grinder!

Certainly, using every trick and gambit I could come up with, I never found a way to effectively advance the flying column, let alone conquer with it. That's why I debarked my troops in the best cover I could find, but still lost several trucks

as NG cavscout kept racing in and popping me from the flanks. With several burning, I sent the rest back to base.

Regards,

John Kettler

[ December 16, 2006, 09:37 AM: Message edited by: John Kettler ]

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