Combat Mission: Afrika Korps - Fruelingswind, Part 3

By Scott Parrino 22 Dec 2003 0

Introduction

The Wargamer is pleased to present an exclusive After Action Report (AAR) from Battlefront previewing the highly anticipated Combat Mission: Afrika Korps. Two Afrika Korps testers, Wyatt Barnett and Thomas Kiilerirch, square off in Operation Fruelingswind using a beta version of the game. Here the vaunted Afrika Korps is seeking to wrest control of the road to Sidi bou Zid from entrenched but inexperienced Americans. Rommel's overall objective was to destroy American elements in order to weaken their advance through Tunisia. The AAR provides some great insight into some of the new features of this last installment in the Combat Mission series, including dust effects, improved and expanded terrain features, and new units and vehicles such as the dual-gunned Grant.

This is the third part of this ongoing feature.  The previous turns can be found Part 1 and Part 2.

Turn 21: Allies

Orders Phase: Things are not going so well for our olive drab draped friends. My right flank is nearing collapse after Sgt. Collum's M3 caught a 50mm round. The fires near the ridge have grown into a convenient line of sight obstacle for Thomas

On the other hand things are not going too badly for our heroes. A number of panzers are burning. My infantry is largely intact, and Thomas' infantry is still facing a dash across 200 plus meters of open ground.

Action Phase: Combat Mission: Afrka Korps? Death Clock can be a beautiful thing at times. While Sgt. Collum had bought it last turn, Thomas was not aware of it. His tank still attracts all the attention. To my left, Shermans exchange fire with MG42s deployed along the ridge. Sgt. Bozak completes his move to the right, parking at the corner of the courtyard and firing an ill-aimed shot at a panzer hiding on the ridge. My M3 GMC realigns to cover the semi-dead ground between the ridge and the ridgelet.

That does not help. Thomas sends a pair of armored cars and a tank on a mad dash through that ground, and nary a shot is fired! In other news, Sgt. Collum's crew finally abandoned the M3.

Turn 21: Axis

Orders Phase: First priority is to destroy the last M3 tank that is holding up my left flank. It took a beating last turn and I intend to keep pouring shells into it for another turn. The two Pz IIIN?s at ridge 2, the three Marders and three of the Pz IIIL?s at ridge 1 should be more than enough too achieve this. The last Pz IIIL is ordered to cross the open stretch between the two ridges together with two of the remaining 3 PSW 222?s. All the infantry platoons are ordered to stay put for a turn.

Action Phase: Unt Meitzner?s (Pz IIIN) gunner blinks a few times trying to keep the sweat from his eyes, it?s hot in a tank and especially with the North African sun overhead. Suddenly the loader slams the breech shut and shouts ready; another round leaves the barrel, from the turret Meitzner clearly observe a direct hit. Swearing to himself he orders the gunner to keep up the fire. Two more hits and the enemy tank still hasn?t been destroyed; suddenly the tank is obscured by a huge dust cloud kicked up by a stray round. As the dust settles the first thing Meizner sees is that the hatches are open and the tank has been abandoned.

Unt Lehrte (Pz IIIL), accompanied by two PSW 222?s, quickly crosses the open stretch between the two ridges with the only interference from the enemy a few MG salvos.

Turn 22: Allies

Orders Phase: With Collum gone, my right side is bare indeed. I sense his infantry rush is coming and order covered arcs for the surviving infantry on my right. It is time for the boys to stand and die.

I pull the Shermans on my left back into hulldown positions. In an effort to get more firepower to the right side, I order my M15 MGMC out of its hiding place in the woods and into the fray.

Action Phase: Now that he knows there is little to stop him on my left, Thomas continues his push. Infantry rushes to the top of the ridgelet, firing on my entrenched troops. Sporadic machinegun fire continues.

On the far left, a pair of panzers creeps from behind the small hill. He planned to push them just far enough to pound on my infantry. But he pushed the one on his far left just a bit too far. Bozak busts a 75mm cap in his hull. The panzer pauses.

As the turn closes, a cluster of self-propelled Guns Crests the ridge, and my Shermans take aim as my pair of armed halftracks open fire to no effect.

Turn 22: Axis

Orders Phase: To follow up on the destruction of the last M3 tank on my left flank, the two Pz IIIN?s at ridge two are ordered to advance to the end of the ridge from where they should be able to engage the enemy infantry around the road house without endangering themselves. 1st recon platoon is likewise ordered to engage the enemy infantry around the road house, while, 2nd and 3rd rifle platoon get into jump off positions behind the ridge.

2nd recon, 3rd recon and 1st rifle platoon are ordered to continue their slow advance through the brush towards the mosque area. It?s my intent to use 1st rifle platoon to attack the enemy gun position that was discovered 200 meters in front of the oasis. This will have to wait until the enemy tanks have been destroyed or forced back.

At ridge 1 the Marder platoon is ordered to reposition 200 meters towards the center, from that position they should be able to engage the Shermans at the oasis without being fired at by the tanks at the mosque. The three Pz IIIL?s are likewise ordered to shift right, two opposite the oasis and the platoon HQ opposite the mosque.

Action Phase: Encouraged by their former success Unt Meitzner gives his driver the order to advance; as they clear the end of ridge 2 several bursts of small arms fire send Meitzner tumbling down into the turret. Without waiting for the order his gunner starts to swing the turret to counter the new threat. But before completing the turn a round penetrates the side upper hull, exploding in the fighting compartment, disabling the gun and killing the gunner.

Turn 23: Allies

Orders Phase: I rationalize some targeting orders and otherwise sit tight.

Action Phase: The weight of fire on my isolated right flank is beginning to take its toll. Sgt. Henderson's squad is the first to break and begins crawling to the rear. Thomas has rushed another pair of armored cars forward. Bozak's shell had no effect on that tank; it rolls forward spitting fire on my rapidly faltering infantry.

To the left, my Shermans and halftracks trade shots with a handful of self-propelled guns, some now identified as Marders, on the ridge. There is no effect.

Turn 23: Axis

Orders Phase: Unt Meitzner is ordered to pull back, a gun damaged tank won?t do much good. Unt Voellig, commanding the last workable Pz IIIN, is ordered to reposition slightly and the two PSW 222?s at ridge 2 are ordered to join him and clear the enemy infantry around the road house out of their position.

At ridge 1 the last PSW 222 is ordered to make his way towards the centre of the line and from there it?s my intent to have him join the others at ridge 2. Other than that only minor orders are given.

Action Phase: Unt Meitzner narrowly escapes destruction, just as he reverses a round hits only a few meters to their front. Next to him Unt Voellig has spotted an enemy infantry squad, an HE round at once leaves the barrel throwing up dirt and shrapnel around the enemy. A few shells later he watches the enemy jump up and head for the rear. Other than that a quiet turn.

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