Battle for the Maltese Cross

Qrendi Airfield, Republic of Malta: This scenario pits the Axis Army Group against the Allies Middle East Command in a historical what-if interpretation of Operation Hercules, the planned but never-executed joint Italian-German invasion of Malta.

The Axis force consists of two reinforced divisions, one parachute (7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger & Luftlande-Sturmregiment, Fallschirmjäger) and one mountain (Gebirgsjäger) which drops on Qrendi Airfield initially and other areas during the reinforcement schedule.

They square off against the Allied force consisting of the Middle East Command, a garrison of approximately 15 infantry battalions divided into Southern, Northern and Central Infantry Brigades. This defend-to-the-last group is only reinforced on Day 5 by three additional battalions.

There are 13 location objectives to the mission and the obligatory Destroy the Enemy objective (which provides 17 Victory Points for accumulating 50% kills of the Allied force). The primary objective is the Valetta/Tigne/Mahoel area on the peninsula which is capped by Fort St. Elmo and worth 25 VP’s.

These are flanked by the Sliema objective to the west and the Vittoriosa/Ricasoli objective to the east, both worth 17 VP’s (actually 16.7 in the counter panel). Next up is the Floriana objective (13 VP’s) at the entrance of the peninsula leading to the Valetta/Tigne/Mahoel objective.

All Grand Harbour area objectives (six in all) award the VP’s upon completion of the mission – there is no benefit to getting their earlier and accumulating occupation VP’s, other than to reach the objective and deploy in a defensive fighting position.

The remaining objectives degrade in VP value from 8 down to 2 and are a mixed bag of either complete occupation or upon completion objectives (I could not locate one objective that was a mix of both parameters). They can certainly add to the total VP score and put the player over the top if needed.



D1 09:30: My initial orders are as follows –

Luftlande-Sturmregiment, Fallschirmjäger

  • I Glider Battalion, II & III FJ Battalion LLSt are to attack the Ta Kali Airfield objective (active D3 07:01-D8 11:00 for 4 VP’s)
  • Luftlande-Sturmregiment HQ are to defend at SEP2 (supply entry point, airdrop)
7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger

  • 7th Flieger Division HQ are to defend at an area behind and in-between SEP1 (air landing) and SEP2 (airdrop)
FJ Regiment 2

  • I, II & III Battalions are to attack the Luqa Airfield objective (active D2 03:01-D8 11:00 for 17 VP’s)
  • FJ Regiment 2 HQ are to defend at Qrendi Airfield (active D1 07:01-D8 11:00 for 4 VP’s)

D1 20:15: First full reinforcement schedule orders are as follows –

Luftlande-Sturmregiment, Fallschirmjäger

No additional follow-on forces at this reinforcement point

7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger

FJ Regiment 1

  • I Battalion are to attack the crossroads in the town of Luqa, NE of the airfield objective
  • II Battalion are to attack the Safi Airfield objective (active D1 13:01-D8 11:00 for 4 VP’s)
  • III Battalion are to attack the Hal Far Airfield objective (active D3 17:01-D8 11:00 for 8 VP’s)
  • FJ Regiment 1 HQ are to defend at the town of Zurriek (the main road leading from the Qrendi Airfield objective to the Hal Far airfield objective)
FJ Regiment 3

  • I Battalion are to attack the crossroads in the town of Ashiak, NE of the Safi Airfield objective
  • II Battalion are to attack the crossroads in the town of Tarshin, NW of Ashiak
  • III Battalion are to attack the crossroads at the race course, south of Marsa
  • FJ Regiment 3 HQ are to defend at the RAF Seaplane Base objective (active D6 13:01-D8 11:00 for 2 VP’s)

D2 00:00: The Qrendi Airfield objective has been secured and the forces are advancing towards their assigned objectives. Given that it is midnight and the visibility of the force is substantially reduced, there is not telling what is rolling down the roads at us.


D2 06:00: Significant resistance is being felt on the left flank as the Fallschirmjäger battalions advancing on the Ta Kali Airfield objective are running into opposition. The center is secured by the taking of the Luqa Airfield objective and the right flank is experiencing some delay in the advance toward the Safi Airfield objective.


D2 12:00: II Battalion FJ Regiment 1 is advancing towards the Safi Airfield objective in decent cohesion, whereas III Battalion FJ Regiment 1’s advance on the Hal Far Airfield objective is beginning to seem disjointed and not fully prepared to assist in clearing the way for FJ Regiment 3 HQ’s move to the RAF Seaplane Base objective.


D2 18:02: With the arrival of Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100, I issue the following new set of orders:

7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger

FJ Regiment 1

  • I Battalion are to attack the Floriana objective (active D4 08:32-D8 11:00 for 13 VP’s)
FJ Regiment 3

  • I Battalion are to attack the Vittoriosa/Ricasoli objective (active D7 04:01-D8 11:00 for 17 VP’s)
  • II Battalion are to attack the Corrandino Heights objective (active D4 08:01-D8 11:00 for 8 VP’s)
  • III Battalion are to attack the Sliema objective (active D6 04:01-D8 11:00 for 17 VP’s)
Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100

  • The arriving forces consisting of only the HQ and II Battalion (amounting to 1,839 men) are to attack the Valetta/Tigne/Mahoel objective (active D6 11:00-D8 11:00 for 25 VP’s)

D3 00:00: I Battalion FJ Regiment 1 (7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger) are just in front of the advancing II Battalion (Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100) and taking quite a pounding from the Allied Northern Infantry Brigade arrayed across the mouth of Grand Harbour.

I Battalion and III Battalion (FJ Regiment 3) are advancing their role in the clamp quite well under cover of darkness. That situation will change quite abruptly at first light…


D3 06:00: II Battalion (FJ Regiment 3) are advancing towards the Corrandino Heights objective but are within line-of-sight of several Allied units, I Battalion (FJ Regiment 3) are facing a gauntlet of Allied units on their march towards the Vittoriosa/Ricasoli objective and the advancing blob of I Battalion FJ Regiment 1 (7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger) and II Battalion (Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100) have a very misleading clear road in front of them in their combined assault on the Floriana and Valetta/Tigne/Mahoel objectives.


D3 07:06: XI Fliegerkorps HQ (General Kurt Student) arrives at Qrendi Airfield and is ordered to defend at Luqa Airfield to free up I, II & III Battalions (FJ Regiment 2) for reserve allocation. FJ Regiment 1 HQ is ordered to move from Zurriek and defend at the Hal Far Airfield objective to free up III Battalion (FJ Regiment 1) for reserve allocation.


D3 09:50: Gebirgsjäger Division 5 HQ element arrives at Qrendi Airfield and is ordered to defend at the Hal Far Airfield objective.


D3 12:00: 2nd Krad Coy (55th Battalion) arrives (this is a motorcycle group) and is ordered to an observation post position on the outskirts of Dingli. From this position the group can have an unobstructed view of the valley stretching all the way to the entire southern length of the Victoria Lines running up to the Falka Gap with coverage of the major roadways and other approaches that sweep below Rabat.


D3 18:00: I Battalion (Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100) arrives and is ordered to attack the Valetta/Tigne/Mahoel objective with a forming-up point just behind the screen created by the assault phase of the attack by I Battalion FJ Regiment 1 (7th Flieger Division, Fallschirmjäger) and II Battalion (Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100).

Also up north, things on the right flank of the clasp are disintegrating as the II Battalion (FJ Regiment 3) attack on the Corrandino Heights objective is faltering with the loss of the Battalion HQ (disbanded at 17:00). The I Battalion (FJ Regiment 3) attack on the Vittoriosa/Ricasoli objective is badly disjointed with the loss of 3rd Coy (surrendered at 17:19) and the Battalion HQ (disbanded at 17:27).

The Hal Far Airfield objective in the SE has finally been secured.


D4 00:00: III Battalion (FJ Regiment 2) are ordered to leave their defensive position at Luqa Airfield and swing wide left underneath Birkirkara to setup an observation post on the hill outside Fort Madalena, facing the direction of the Pembroke Fort/Barracks objective (active D6 11:00-D8 11:00 for 4 VP’s).

The remnants of II Battalion (FJ Regiment 2) on the right flank of the clasp are ordered as individual units to fall back to the town of Zeitun, where I plan to allow them to rest up before reattaching them to form up a possible probing party later on.


D4 06:00: III Battalion (FJ Regiment 2) have made it to the outskirts of Birkirkara and begin to encounter some enemy units while the splintered II Battalion (FJ Regiment 2) have reached their resting area around Zeitun. With approximately 350 men left, once cohesion is regained and fatigue reduced, this could very well be reconstituted as an effective fighting line unit.


D4 12:00: I Glider Battalion, II & III FJ Battalion LLSt attack on the Ta Kali Airfield objective has been an abject failure resulting in the loss of approximately 1,000 men (seven units disbanded, one surrendered). The remaining 288 personnel are ordered to fall back to a defensive blocking position on the main road leading into Attard.

III Battalion (FJ Regiment 2) although they are highly fatigued from their march across the valley, they are ordered to probe the Pembroke Fort/Barracks objective.

III Battalion (FJ Regiment 3) has begun to disintegrate as an effective fighting force with the loss of HQ unit (disbanded at 06:26) and 11th Coy (disbanded at 09:05). These guys were supposed to be the left flank of that clasp which looked so promising on paper only to falter badly when the first shot came downrange. I show them no mercy and order them to probe the Sliema objective they were originally assigned to.

To be continued...

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