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Phil Callcott's big Crusader Game

We often recommend that BF plays best with small scenarios. However, it is possible to play bigger games if two essential conditions are met. First, you need the room. Second, you need to be able to leave the game set up so that you are not under the time pressure that comes with the need to pick up in mid-stream.
Phil Callcott sent me a lot (72) pictures of a big game he and his group played. He is fortunate to have a gaming area that is both large and where they can leave games set up. This scenario, with equipment roughly from the period of Operation Crusader, took several nights to play.
The scenario was played lengthways on a table 120" long x 66" wide with two players on each side.
If you look at the last picture, you will get the overall layout.
The game starts with a veteran Australian battalion dug-in and holding the perimeter of a BUA supported by 4 x Matildas, 2 x 2pdr portees, 2 x 25pdrs on table with two more off table.
They are surrounded by a dug-in Italian Regt facing them with 2 x 100mm off table, plus a Bersaglieri Coy & German Coy also dug-in facing away from them to prevent relief.
The Germans have 2 x 105mm off table.
The Australians are allowed to clear mines & wire during the night & at dawn they attack.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
DAK HQ bunker
DAK HQ bunker
DAK HQ bunker
DAK anti-tank guns wait
DAK anti-tank guns wait
DAK anti-tank guns wait
Assault on Italians
Assault on Italians
Assault on Italians
Aussie assault
Aussie assault
Aussie assault
Aussie assault 2
Aussie assault 2
Aussie assault 2
Italians continue to hold
Italians continue to hold
Italians continue to hold
Matilda brewed up by Italians!
Matilda brewed up by Italians!
Matilda brewed up by Italians!
Nothing this way comes
Nothing this way comes
Nothing this way comes
The German line
The German line
The German line
View from a Storch
View from a Storch
View from a Storch
Meanwhile a British relief force enters at the other end of the table comprising 4 x Marmont-Herrington armoured cars, 4 x MK IV light tanks, 4 x early Cruisers (A9, 2 x A10, A13 CS), 4 x Valentines, followed by a motor battalion including 3 x 2pdr portees & 2 x 6pdr portees with 4 x 25pdrs off table. All trained.
The British choose to attack the dug-in German Coy.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
British cruisers with Valentines in support
British cruisers with Valentines in support
British cruisers with Valentines in support
British I tanks
British I tanks
British I tanks
Skirting the minefield
Skirting the minefield
Skirting the minefield
Behind the British
Behind the British
Behind the British
British armour takes it
British armour takes it
British armour takes it
Valentines get in close
Valentines get in close
Valentines get in close
The British attack triggers the arrival of DAK armour, initially ignoring the engaged Australians and Italians they join in support of their infantry. (experienced)
Luckily for the Axis double chance die rolls bring Ariete on table into the flank & rear of the British. (one die, D6 rolled to see if they arrive, a second D10 as to where) Ariete = trained. 4 x L6 tanks, 6 x M13/40, 1 x Semonvente & a motorised Bersaglieri Coy.
When the Italians arrive, the British infantry and their portees etc prepare to engage Ariete.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
From above
From above
From above
Into a defile
Into a defile
Into a defile
Ariete arrive!
Ariete arrive!
Ariete arrive!
The thin khaki line
The thin khaki line
The thin khaki line
Meanwhile Matildas reach the Italian positions forcing a dug-in "88" to reveal itself. This halts the attack but the Aussies hold position.
The trouble with engaging portees from the rear is that the business end is facing you, as Ariete soon discover. There are losses on both sides and Ariete halt and a static fire fight develops.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
This will hurt
This will hurt
This will hurt
2pdr portee burns
2pdr portee burns
2pdr portee burns
Ariete stall
Ariete stall
Ariete stall
DAK is now pouring into action:- 4 x Pz Mk II, 4 x Pz Mk IIIG & 3 x Pz Mk IVD and a motorised company of infantry come to the aid of their infantry dug-in around the hill.
A confused "sandwich" engagement ensues with the British armour doing a "Glousters" and having to fight front and rear. More of DAK arrive, Panzerjager Coy comprising:- 2 x towed 50mm, 1 x Diana & 1 x Marder MkIII.
The last Panzer Coy comprising:- 2 x Pz Mk IIIH & 2 x Pz Mk IIIJ Spz arrives and chases the Australians and their 3 surviving Matildas back. One Matilda was lost in close combat with dug-in Italian infantry!
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Panzers arriving!
Panzers arriving!
Panzers arriving!
Panzers!
Panzers!
Panzers!
Panzerjager move up
Panzerjager move up
Panzerjager move up
British flanked
British flanked
British flanked
Pz IV move up
Pz IV move up
Pz IV move up
British fall back
British fall back
British fall back
Portee burns
Portee burns
Portee burns
Pz III specials
Pz III specials
Pz III specials
The original British armour collapses despite a valiant rearguard by two Valentines leaving their infantry exposed, the Germans regroup.
Meanwhile Die rolls have been taking place at the start of each British move to bring on desperately needed reinforcements and at last they are successful! 4 x Stuarts, 4 x Crusader MkI & 5 x Grants (trained) rumble into action.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Panzers breakout
Panzers breakout
Panzers breakout
Run for it!
Run for it!
Run for it!
The gathering storm
The gathering storm
The gathering storm
British reinforcements
British reinforcements
British reinforcements
Crusader MkI CS
Crusader MkI CS
Crusader MkI CS
One difference between the two sides was how they utilised their artillery. The British engaged here there and every where, not learning to concentrate until very late in the game and rarely using smoke. The Axis chose to keep hitting the same few targets and blessed with more than a fair share of high rolls kept disorganising their targets, causing them to fall back on several occasions including some panics to the rear. The Matildas especially felt the effect of one officer's fire direction.
With the arrival of more British armour, DAK bought up everything. With the 76.2mm guns of a Diana and Marder on overwatch and with smoke obscuring the British view the Germans push on.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Italian FOO
Italian FOO
Italian FOO
Jerry reorganises
Jerry reorganises
Jerry reorganises
Brits reorganise
Brits reorganise
Brits reorganise
Panzers advance
Panzers advance
Panzers advance
Grants
Grants
Grants
The last German Coy (of 3) dug in under the covering fire of the "88" and the 2 x Pz Mk IIIH & 2 x Pz Mk IIIJ Spz are released.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Germans dig in with 88 in support
Germans dig in with 88 in support
Germans dig in with 88 in support
Second wave
Second wave
Second wave
With everyone in place the Germans unleash the Panzers
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Here comes Jerry!
Here comes Jerry!
Here comes Jerry!
Stuarts vs Pv mk IVs
Stuarts vs Pv mk IVs
Stuarts vs Pv mk IVs
Panzer Grenadiers debus under fire
Panzer Grenadiers debus under fire
Panzer Grenadiers debus under fire
Standfast
Standfast
Standfast
The storm approaches
The storm approaches
The storm approaches
At first honours are even, tanks are suppressed and disordered on both sides.
But then luck turns against the British, engaged by MkIII & IVs, Stuarts start to burn and at last Ariete starts to get good morale results!
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Holding
Holding
Holding
A good view!
A good view!
A good view!
The storm breaks
The storm breaks
The storm breaks
Stuarts suffer
Stuarts suffer
Stuarts suffer
Ariete joins in
Ariete joins in
Ariete joins in
The Panzerjagers are now inaction and their long 76.2mm guns are hurting.
Against targets disordered by artillery and Panzerjagers the Panzers push on and the British suffer losses.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
76.2 mm of trouble
76.2 mm of trouble
76.2 mm of trouble
Looks bad
Looks bad
Looks bad
Exposed and forlorn
Exposed and forlorn
Exposed and forlorn
Close assault
Close assault
Close assault
Firing line
Firing line
Firing line
Taking hits
Taking hits
Taking hits
Command is a lonely place
Command is a lonely place
Command is a lonely place
Surviving Matildas create diversion
Surviving Matildas create diversion
Back in the town the Matildas change face and attempt an assault across the wadi.
The Panzers close in and hit the enemy hard.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Assaults go in
Assaults go in
Assaults go in
Starting to crumble
Starting to crumble
Starting to crumble
Crumbling
Crumbling
Crumbling
Bogged and abandoned
Bogged and abandoned
Bogged down and disordered, this Matilda is abandoned by it's crew and the diversion is abandoned.
Just spectators
Just spectators
Some people never fired a shot all game!
With morale crumbling, the end comes for the British, what does not flee is being destroyed.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Nearly the end
Nearly the end
Nearly the end
One way to close off access
One way to close off access
One way to close off access
Grants burn around breakthrough
Grants burn around breakthrough
Grants burn around breakthrough
More losses
More losses
More losses
The British players concede defeat.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
End game
End game
End game
End game overview
End game overview
End Game overview

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