Tank Warfare Tunisia 1943: El Guettar

Started by ack-ack, January 17, 2020, 09:29:22 AM

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Graviteam and Strategy First were nice enough to put this game and all the dlc on sale for 80% off on Steam (the sale ends on 20th), so I thought I would celebrate by attempting an aar.

El Guettar
7 turns (about 24 hours I think)
Playing as USA
Normal difficulty

The Map

Looks like our mission is to defend in the opening turns, then counter attack. We hold the majority of the VP points at the beginning so I'm guessing we could win by just holding what we currently have, but it would be nice to take that one German VP in the SE corner eventually. Our forces consist of a few tank destroyer battalions, two field artillery battalions, and the 18th infantry regiment. The mission briefing talks about the Germans having tanks, but not much more detail. This is a blind play-through so I'm not sure exactly what the Germans will throw at me.


Turn 1
23 March 1943, 3:00

Handed out as many artillery spotters to my battalion and company commanders as possible. Moved the 601 recon unit south a bit, but no other movements. No battles this turn.


Turn 2, Battle 1
23 March 1943, 6:00

A single German battlegroup made contact with H company of 3rd battalion / 18th IR. H company was also supported by a company of tank destroyers from 601 TD battalion. The defensive layout was very simple - the entire rifle company was arranged in a line at the foot of the mountain. A machine gun platoon and the company of tank destroyers were placed on both flanks of the infantry.

The battle was over pretty quick. The enemy decided it would be a good idea to form up almost all of their infantry into a 3 column line formation and start marching directly over to my defenses. We waited until they got nice and close and opened up on them with everything we had. Needless to say, they quickly called for cease fire. They lost 90 casualties to our 5 or so.

In other news, the driving abilities of our men is disconcerting. 


Turn 2, Battle 2
23 March 1943, 6:30

A new German battle group plus the remnants of the battle group from the previous battle attack G company to the NE.

We set up another simple defense line:

One infantry company supported by a mortar platoon and a platoon of T30 SPGs.

We quickly spot an armored car coming down the mountain side from the south. I usually wouldn't think much of these things, but unfortunately we have no good AT weapons to speak of. The T30s only carry HE and smoke.

The battle progresses. Infantry starts moving down the mountain as well. Machine gunners start opening fire on our defenses. I order everyone to open fire. I make sure to tell them to conserve ammo. We start taking fire from some field guns about 1km to the east. We are able to silence them with our SPGs and mortars.

Everyone appears to be out of HE ammo after this. So much for conserving ammo...

The Germans start making a strong push to our lines. It's looking really bad. We don't have anything to stand up to the company of armored cars (SdKfz 232) other than small arms fire and a few rifle grenades.

We withdraw from the battle suffering 40 casualties to the enemies 45. We lost 2 out of our 3 T30s. 


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Turn 2, Battle 3
23 March 1943, 7:00

A single German battle group makes contact with a company of M3 TDs and a reconsince group comprised of M6 TDs.

The M3s are set up in a line, dug in, to the north on a ridge overlooking the entire enemy spawn. M6s are placed to the west, they are not dug in but at least concealed in defilade.

A few minutes into the battle I spot a lone PzII moving north towards the dug in TDs. I send up a platoon of M6s to scout and suddenly the whole group of enemy tanks opens up on them. I tell the M3s on the ridge to open fire.

The German armor is caught in a crossfire between the dug-in TD company on the hill to the north and the reconnaissance group to the west. They look like mostly PzIIIs and PzIV long barrels.

Everything is going swimmingly until we start running out of AP rounds. Despite destroying most of their tanks there are still a few PzIV long barrels remaining and they are getting accurate hits on us. Without any more AP rounds we don't stand much chance in taking them out so I take the offer for cease fire. The group consisted of 1 PzII, 1 PzIII, and 2 PzIV platoons. They lost 12 tanks according to the victory screen. We lost 1 vehicle.


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End of Turn 2

The Germans were mostly stopped from making any gains minus the one square km we lost just NE of Dj. el Mcheltat. Fortunately it looks like G company was able to successfully retreat and plug the gap in the lines, but they won't be dug in next turn. German tank forces were bloodied pretty good in that last battle. They lost a good number of PzIV long barrels. Hopefully PzIVs will be our biggest threat, I don't know if Tigers ever made an appearance in this battle. 


Turn 3
Movement Phase

Moved a few supply truck platoons closer to front line units that saw action last turn. I'm hoping that they will be able to resupply my SPGs with AP and HE rounds.


Turn 3, Battle 1
23 March 1943, 9:00

Germans are attacking the Dj. el Mcheltat VP again. They outnumber us 3 to 2 battlegroups. One of the infantry battlegroups is weak, it got decimated during a battle last turn. The armored car battle group is still at full strength and there is one unknown battlegroup.

I set up H company in their old dug-in positions from a previous battle in turn 2. Annoyingly, the foxholes for the MG platoon seem to have vanished  ???. Hopefully they'll share some foxholes with H company. I company is dug-in to the north in a valley. They are accompanied by a machine gun platoon as well.

The battle begins with German machine guns firing at us from atop from what I assume is Dj. el Mcheltat. I guess they already control the mountain but they technically don't control the VP square yet. I call in some 75mm off map artillery on the German positions. A group of SdKfz 232 also reveal themselves and they start making their way down the mountain to H company. I'm hoping that my heavy machine guns will be able to pierce their armor.

It doesn't look like our MGs are having much effect on the armored cars. I also spot a large group of half tracks in the distance, must be a part of the new enemy battlegroup.

Our boys take a pounding from all of the MG and auto cannon fire. Fortunately our artillery is doing good work against them. I think that if we can just sit tight in our foxholes we might just be able to

wait...      what's that noise I hear?   some kind of... buzzing?

We withdraw from the battlefield suffering 178 casualties to the enemy's 61. The Dj. el Mcheltat VP in now in German hands.


Nice job by the enemy using the Luftwaffe to fly to the rescue.  Do you have any warplanes of your own? 
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Quote from: Martok on January 19, 2020, 12:41:51 AM
Nice job by the enemy using the Luftwaffe to fly to the rescue.  Do you have any warplanes of your own? 

I think I do, I'm just not sure what turn it will arrive on. I think the Americans get the A20 for air support so that should be interesting. I don't think I've ever seen those in-game before.   


Turn 3, Battle 2
23 March 1943, 9:30

This next battle takes place on the southern flank. A and B company of 18 IR are attacked by one German battlegroup.

Pretty simple defense. Our infantry is accompanied by a few AT platoons fitted with M3 37mm guns, a platoon of T30 SPGs, and a platoon of 60mm mortars. A company wasn't able to dig in for some reason. At the very beginning of the battle we spot enemy tanks a couple hundred meters to the east of B company. I order B company to open fire. It's a very large group of tanks, mostly PzIIIs. The battlefield becomes covered in smoke from artillery and infantry smoke grenades.

The M3 AT guns appear to be doing ok against the enemy armor, but we only have one platoon of 4 guns with that are in visual range. They eventually get overwhelmed and destroyed but not before taking a good number of enemy tanks with them.

Some panzers split off from the main group and head north towards A company. They start moving over a ridge line and it gives the A company M3s a good opportunity to single them out.

We hold on for a while longer. The enemy eventually offers us a cease fire. We take it and to my surprise we didn't end up losing any territory. Despite holding our ground we took a lot of casualties. 167 casualties almost all from B company. We lost a platoon of M3 AT guns and the T30 platoon. The enemy suffered 59 casualties and we destroyed 12 of their tanks.


Very nice, Ack-Ack.  Probably about the bes possible with the anti-tank weapons of that time.
Reading this reminded me of an episode on the Mareth Line in Tunisia.  A Churchill tank made some kind of heroic attack on a german position and succeeded, somehow juking around 88 shots without being damaged.
Think the tank commander was a lieutenant named Gin Holland.  Is that scenario included?  No luck finding him on the web, so may have this all wrong.
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