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Taking Alexandria


Logan Hartke
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Is there an easy way to take that darn nut? That and Malta give me the hardest time. I've taken both of them, but not without a lot of time and effort. I usually have to transport 1-2 HQs, 2 armies (panzer or infantry), and typically some air power as well. This gets expensive very quickly, not to mention time consuming. Also, Alexandria tends to just keep resupplying itself without limit. Also, how does one destroy Malta (assuming the fighter is left there)?

Logan Hartke

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As originally posted by Logan Hartke:

Is there an easy way to take that darn nut?

If you are playing the original '39 scenario, then you will need to land an invasion force on the east side of Alexandria.

This will allow the city to be surrounded (... and incidentally, capture the Suez Canal so that no units will arrive from around the Cape) and you can then prevent the occupying forces from reninforcing beyond size 5.

It usually takes several turns to eliminate the garrison unit. And advance planning. Depending on the difficulty level you are playing, the Royal Navy has to be neutralized or eliminated. An Italian HQ along with Air Fleet would certainly help.

The added advantage is that you can then proceed from there to conquering Iraq, which will make Italy a major factor in the game's outcome.

Otherwise, I would suggest trying Bill Macon's '39 mod, since it adds a Brit HQ and armor unit (... reduced - you will have to spend MPPs to make them full sized and desert-ready) into the mix. I have found that this actually makes the Med campaign quite fun and interesting to play. ;)

You may or may not need to dispatch Rommel and the Afrika Korps, depending on how quickly you wish to succeed there. In general, IMHO, the Med Theatre can be very decisive in any eventual Axis victory. :cool:

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How quick should an Axis strategy to take Alexandria be?? Historically, Britain took Tobruk and pushed the Italians back to Tripoli. It wasn't until spring 1941 that Rommel arrived to push the Brits back and retake Tobruk. And the next 2 years was a see-saw battle, with Rommel at the end of a limited supply line and the Brits continuing to grow stronger.

The initial situation is difficult to recreate in the default scenario because it takes a lot of time to build up the British forces in Egypt. The Axis can generally hold Tobruk and then take Alexandria if they want to.

It's a bit tougher to do in the Campaign mods, against either the AI or a human opponent, because the British start off with a few more units. It's still possible, but requires a significant effort - probably more than a prudent Axis player is willing to risk. This is more realistic. If anything, the Axis player now needs to fight just to defend Libya and is forced to decide if it's worth the effort.

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Bill and Immer

Terrific take on it all.

The North African campaign has a lot of romance associated with it but the truth is conquering Egypt from Libya would be extremely difficult. The narrow map coast actually does a good job on this scale in presenting the difficulties the Axis has upon nearing Alexandria.

There should be more play area -- another hex or two depth -- farther west, but upon getting within fifty miles of Alexandria everything is narrowed by the soft sands of the Qattara Depression. To make matters worse the path is blocked by hills and ridges, the most formidable of which, Ruyasat , not far south of El Alamain, was fortified by British rear area troops while Rommel was capturing Tobruk in Cyrenaica .

Upon reaching that bottleneck the Axis finds itself with a very long and vulnerable supply line and no room to maneuver. In the game there's a good danger of an amphibious landing in the rear area. In actual history something like that was achieved much farther west when the Americans landed with Operation Torch . In such an event maintaining an offensive in Egypt, with the rear areas falling, becomes highly unlikely. And if no rear area landing is conducted there's little more for the Axis than a confined slugging match; which is okay if they possess air and sea superiority.

It would seem the only reasonable way to take Alexandria is the exact method laid out by Immer and that you say is pretty much the way you've been doing it also. In order to get there you need to neutralize the British fleet and have the required units for the siege and attack. I don't think there's any other way.

Historically, Mussolini's best generals advised him not to invade Egypt, but we all know of the man's profound military prowess and his well thought out military decisions.

Later, when Rommel captured Tobruk, the German General Staff advised him to stay where he was and allow the available resources to go toward the capture of Malta, but he gambled on speeding a thousand miles east, bagging what he thought was a routed army, and capturing Alexandria before more troops could be sent to the region. He was wrong, the 8th Army was defeated but withdrawing in good order and when his initial attack at El Alamain failed it was slow death in the trenches while the Brits built an overwhelming advantage at their leisure.

The only reason I put all that on the table is to illustrate how nearly impregnable the western approach was in historical reality. It's like a funnel leading to raised positions!

Agreed with Bill's assessment. There's no sensible reason the Axis should count on successfully invading Egypt. Holding Libya and having the Italians go for Yugoslavia and Greece is a good alternative; afterwards they'll have the MPPs to build a stronger navy and/or airforce and conduct more expensive campaigns in the Eastern Mediteranean.

As mentioned by Bill and Immer, if you use Bill's more historical '39 Mod you'll have a difficult enough time holding on to Libya; which, historically, is how it should be.

[ January 18, 2003, 07:26 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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