Last night Will McNally and I played out the Waltzing Matildas scenario from Battlegroup Tobruk. The scenario represents the outskirts of the village of Pervolia on Crete, which is defended by a platoon of Fallschirmjaeger, plus supports, against an attack from Australian infantry supported by Matilda II tanks.
Pervolia is to the left in the image below, while the attackers come on, on the right hand table edge.
A Stuka's view of Pervolia.
Olive-lined roads, groves of oranges or lemons and vineyards form the terrain across which the attackers advance. Plenty of concealment, but very little cover.
The Fallschirmjaeger platoon is supported by a 75mm recoilless rifle and 2 MG34 in the sustained fire mode, all with additional loading teams, plus a 2 tube battery of 80mm mortars and observer team, a roadblock and minefield. Both houses adjacent to the road on the edge of town are considered heavy stone-built and therefore fortified.
The attackers comprise 2 platoons of infantry, one in bush hats.
The other in tin hats, supported by two Matildas with make-shift inexperienced crews.
Turn 1 and the Aussies come on in an extended line in the far distance.
Turn 2 and the Aussies continue to advance on both flanks. Jerry has put a section with MG32 forward on the left adjacent to the stone wall, with another section further back on the right, again behind a stone wall. Both fortified buildings house the sustained fire MG32s, the other buildings housing the command group and third section as a back stop.
On the far right, the 75mm recoilless rifle waits dug into a prepared position. The Aussies on the German right are trading shots with the 75mm gun.
On the left, Jerry and Digger face each other across the open space, trying to win the firefight.
More Aussies moving up on Jerry's right.
In turn 4, a timed mortar strike hits the 75mm recoilless rifle, with stunning lack of effect. Shortly, the regular Aussie mortar support ran out of ammo and the mortar tubes fell silent.
The Matildas move up using their MGs to try and suppress the plucky Jerrys, but the section on the left, plus some mortar support, mangle large numbers of Aussies behind the stone wall keeping up a steady attrition. When Jerry switches his mortars to the right, the Aussie platoon is pinned in the vineyard.
The Fallschirmjaeger squad on Jerry's right wait for their moment.
More mortar fire rains down on the Aussies on the German right.
On the left flank, the Aussies break cover and push towards the village supported by the two Matildas and 2" mortars from both platoons. Despite some pinning hits and the loss of the squad in the forward position behind the stone wall, when the two Fallschirmjaeger sustained fire MG32s open fire, they destroy the attacking infantry.
On the German right, the remnants of the Aussie section in the woods finally manage to knock out the 75mm gun crews, leaving 1 man standing.
At this stage, we ran out of time and Will, the Aussie player, offered a draw. The German player, me, grudgingly accepted. Having agreed the draw, we revealed that I had taken 19 out of a possible 20 break points, while Will had only taken around 14 of a possible 27. One more loss for Jerry and he'd probably have been running. This was an enjoyable game and with some nice challenges for both players. It was quite enjoyable watching the Aussie commander debating whether to try a rush across open ground or sit tight and shoot it out. While the Matildas were virtually impossible to kill, they were pretty ineffective in pinning, although they were getting more effective as they got to real close range. I had a little bit of bad luck drawing break point chits, as I managed to take 3s and 4s in just about each selection, mostly driven by removal of pinning. Both players used sound WW2 tactics and it would be fun to try this again to see how it works out in another iteration.
All of the figures and scenery are from Will's collection and looks truly spectacular on the table. I'm sure my camera phone doesn't do it justice.
Thanks for looking.