Elasson Rearguard

Tsaritsani, Greece: This scenario pits the Axis XXXX Armee Korps against the Allies 6th NZ Infantry Brigade. The Allies objective is to essentially delay the German advance in the sector to prevent a clean breakthrough while using delaying tactics and bridge demolition in their withdrawal to Larissa.

The Allies have 4,532 personnel, 75 armored fighting vehicles, 502 non-armored fighting vehicles and 75 guns units at their disposal for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,114, Anti-Armor of 1,012, Bombardment of 370 and Armor of 151. There are no scheduled reinforcements.

My first order of business was to give orders to all of the various units arranged on the map. While they are somewhat nicely laid out in advance by the mission designer with several primed bridges to be destroyed, I found it useful to approach the mission using a mix of battalion and individual unit orders in an attempt to spread the forces out to maximize the Victory Points that could be accumulated.

I ordered the 2nd NZ Division Cavalry Regiment to delay all the way back to the exit below Tirnavos. The anchor point is the first bridge at Kallithea with the second waypoint at the Elevtherokhorion objective, and then additional fall back waypoints at all of the objectives running to the south (the Elasson bridges, the Meneskos Pass, etc.).

The 24th (Auckland) NZ Infantry Battalion was ordered to defend directly above the exit south of Tirnavos. The 25th (Wellington) NZ Infantry Battalion was ordered to delay starting at Stefanovounon with the first fall back point at the Dhomenkian Bridge, and the 26th (South Island) NZ Infantry Battalion was ordered to delay starting at the Dhomenkian Bridge with the first fall back point at Mologousta.

Artillery units were brought under my direct control and were used to secure several objectives along with the MG Coy and an AT Battery. I also dispatched several companies of the 25th (Wellington) Battalion to defend at what I thought would be key points on the map where the enemy could exploit holes in my plan.

While blowing bridges did delay the German advance and cause them to reroute their forces, in some circumstances the delay benefit was minimal such as in the bridge at Kallithea, while in others it was much more profound - such as blowing the Elasson bridge which would normally cause the Axis to adjust their plan of attack to utilize the Magoula bridge crossing which is what happened in my play through here.

The key to winning this mission is to know when to abandon the delaying actions and issue basic move orders to the various forces to drop them back to the exit objective. In this scenario, I chose to drop the bulk of my forces back using the move order D3 06:00 while leaving several individual units in place to cause delay to the Axis thrust.

The second key is to keep as many forces on the map for as long as possible to prevent the Germans from exiting the map as well, which is their prime objective. I kept the 24th, 25th and 26th Battalions on the map just above the exit in a defensive posture as I exited the artillery units, the 2nd NZ Division Cavalry Regiment and several individual units.

This was enough for me to achieve a sizeable chunk of the exit objective. Right at the very end at D4 18:00, I issued exit orders for the Battalions but there really was not enough time for them to process the orders and move out before the scenario ended and I picked up the Decisive Victory.

Other thoughts: This mission froze several times while using the Run Until option. Although I was saving the game in six hour increments, it was still very frustrating to have to kill the game and start over.

Towards the end it got really bad when trying to exit the Brigade HQ unit and supply base. I have no idea if this is a technical issue with the exit objective or not, but it was definitely a drag on the enjoyment of the game.

After-action report

Review final situation screen

Matrix Forum Post

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