Setback and Rebound

The Allied ANZAC 6th Australian Infantry Division represented by Allen Force faces off against the Axis 9th Panzer Division represented by one infantry and one Panzer brigade in a fictional scenario that is Tutorial 2 in COTA. I will not be following the tutorial for this write-up.

While most war game tutorials are on the easy side to bring the new gamer up to speed, this specific scenario can be quite a challenge if the available supporting assets (MG's, AT's, Artillery and Air Strikes) are not fully taken advantage of.

The scenario starts off with the Aussies in control of three bridgeheads with a total force of 3,529 personnel, 2 armored fighting vehicles, 381 non-armored fighting vehicles, 42 guns, 2 bridges, an anti-personnel firepower rating of 634, anti-armor of 501 and a bombardment rating of 195. The overall infantry value is 1,582.


The known intelligence about the German forces is that they are arrayed in and around Lamia, one of the principal objectives for the ANZAC forces later on during Day 3 operations. The forces on hand and the myriad of reinforcements due during the battle should prove more than sufficient to win the scenario, although a Decisive Victory can be lost if poor tactics are employed.

Orders

2nd/8th Fd Coy, RAE is to deny the crossing at the Yef Alamanas-Koutseki Bridge using maximum aggression, rate of fire and losses. With control of the Komma Bridge firmly in hand, I do not mind blowing this bridge to prevent Axis forces from being able to muddle up the rear.

Likewise, 2nd MG Coy II Bn 82 Inf Regt, along with the Bridging Pl 2/8 Fd Coy, RAE will deny the crossing at the Sperkhios Bridge for the exact same reason. The MG Coy will defend in a NW facing across the bridge, while the Pl will prime the bridge on the opposite side.

II Inf Bn HQ 82 In Regt sitting at the Eastern Marshes will defend with default settings with a facing to the NW.

2nd/4th Au Inf Bn HQ sitting at the Anthill will defend with default settings with a facing to the NW.

2nd/8th Au Inf Bn HQ will defend in a compressed formation with a N facing at the Koma Bridge. The frontage is 1,000 meters and the depth is 300 meters so as to keep all forces across the river.

2nd/3rd Fd Regt, RAA (24 25pdr Mk 2 artillery pieces) is moved to the left edge of the woods situated to the NE of Alpospita in order to bring all guns to bear on the battlefield yet restrict enemy line-of-sight and counter-battery fire.

C MG Coy 2/1 (MG) Au Inf Bn is to defend on a bend on the Sperkhios River just to the E of the Komma Bridge.

3rd AT Bty 1 AT Regt, RAA joins them at the river bend in order to overlook the left flank of the Anthill objective which is prime killing ground during daylight hours.

19th Au Inf Bde HQ and their base will move to a location just outside of Iraklia in order to stay out of harm’s way and supply the troops during combat.


D01-06:00: All units are in position and dug-in. Just north of the Anthill Objective, the 2nd/4th Au Inf Bn begins to engage elements of what appears to be a Light Armored Company consisting of 12 panzers.


D01-12:00: The German onslaught is full-on now with the Komma, Anthill and Eastern Marshes Objectives having been temporarily lost. II Inf Bn HQ 82 In Regt in particular has been smashed hard and is being driven towards the Maliac Gulf.


D01-14:01: 1st AT Bty 1 AT Regt, RAA (12 2pdr AT guns) arrives at Molos on the western edge of the map and is ordered to deploy at a knob on the banks of the Sperkhios River between the Komma Bridge and Anthill Objectives. The Sperkhios Bridge Objective (light road bridge) is now fully primed by this time.


D01-15:01: B MG Coy 2/1 (MG) Au Inf Bn (12 .303 Vickers MG) arrives at Molos on the western edge of the map and likewise is ordered to deploy at a knob on the banks of the Sperkhios River between the Komma Bridge and Anthill Objectives.


D01-16:01: 2nd/1st Fd Regt, RAA (24 25pdr Mk2 guns) arrives at Molos on the western edge of the map and is ordered to set up a firebase in and around the village of Frantzi. This would later prove to be a serious mistake as there are no bridges to that area passable by wheeled units.


D01-17:01: 2nd/11th Au Inf Bn arrives at Molos on the western edge of the map and is ordered to attack north of the Anthill Objective in support of the 2nd/4th Au Inf Bn already fully engaged with the enemy there. 2/11 will move through the Yef Alamanas-Koutseki Bridge and form-up south of the Anthill.


D01-18:00: The elements assigned to Deny Crossing at the Sperkhios Bridge Objective have been pushed back and the Axis forces have successfully unprimed the bridge. II Inf Bn HQ 82 In Regt which was to defend the Eastern Marshes Objective now has their back up against the wall and is in danger of elimination if the Germans do not keeping moving south.


D02-00:00: What a difference six hours and the concealment (not cover) of darkness makes. II Inf Bn HQ 82 In Regt has successfully regrouped and is moving back on the Eastern Marshes Objective. 2nd MG Coy II Bn 82 Inf Regt, along with the Bridging Pl 2/8 Fd Coy, RAE have checked the advance of the enemy at the Sperkhios Bridge Objective for now, and 2nd/8th Au Inf Bn has regained control of the Koma Bridge Objective. 2nd/1st Fd Regt, RAA is out of position and in danger of enemy contact on the north bank of the Sperkhios River due to my poor decision making earlier.


D02-00:52: 6th Au Inf Div HQ (2,023 personnel, 2 armored fighting vehicles, 709 non-armored fighting vehicles, 48 guns, 0 bridges, an anti-personnel firepower rating of 359, anti-armor of 689, a bombardment rating of 169 and an infantry value is 196) arrives at Evangelistria on the southern edge of the map and is ordered to defend at the Komma Bridge Objective.


D02-01:28: 17th Au Inf Bde (3,254 personnel, 0 armored fighting vehicles, 184 non-armored fighting vehicles, 6 guns, 0 bridges, an anti-personnel firepower rating of 501, anti-armor of 168, a bombardment rating of 39 and an infantry value is 1,897) arrives at Evangelistria on the southern edge of the map and is ordered to attack the Kalivia-Valogourna Objective with a forming-up point below the Komma Bridge Objective.


D2-03:53: 16th Au Inf Bde (3,082 personnel, 0 armored fighting vehicles, 184 non-armored fighting vehicles, 6 guns, 0 bridges, an anti-personnel firepower rating of 470, anti-armor of 158, a bombardment rating of 39 and an infantry value is 1,771) arrives at Evangelistria on the southern edge of the map and is ordered to attack the Lamia Objective with a forming-up point below the Komma Bridge Objective.


D02-06:04: 1st UK Arm Bde (2,043 personnel, 186 armored fighting vehicles, 383 non-armored fighting vehicles, 56 guns, 3 bridges, an anti-personnel firepower rating of 1,091, anti-armor of 2,254, a bombardment rating of 112 and an infantry value is 780) arrives 10km east of Evangelistria on the southern edge of the map and is ordered to move to a staging area 1.5km south of the Komma Bridge Objective.


D02-12:00: 2nd/4th Au Inf Bn is completely decimated at the Anthill Objective, having on a handful of personnel left in fragments of A and B Coy, along the Mortar Pl.


D02-13:50: 2nd/1st Fd Regt, RAA (24 25pdr Mk 2 artillery pieces) is ordered to move to a location near 2nd/3rd Fd Regt, RAA (24 25pdr Mk 2 artillery pieces) in an attempt to save them from being engaged by front line enemy units. However their high fatigue level delays the start of their move.


D02-15:14: 2nd/8th Fd Coy, RAE successfully blows the crossing at the Yef Alamanas-Koutseki Bridge Objective.


D02-18:00: 1st UK Arm Bde has arrives at their staging area while 16th Au Inf Bde and 17th Au Inf Bde are shaking out at their forming-up points to begin the attack on their assigned objectives.


D03-00:00: Elements of the attacking divisions are crossing over the Komma Bridge Objective under the concealment of darkness and are moving forward with little to no resistance.


D03-03:00: I order the 1st UK Arm Bd to Exit north of Lamia with aggression set to medium and route set to avoidance. After taking a quick glance at the tutorial for the mission, I know I am seriously misusing this force; however I must march forward into the machinegun nest of mediocrity.


D03-06:00: The 1st is amassing at the Komma bridgehead to crossover while elements of the 16th and 17th Au Inf Bde’s appear to be in good shape just to their immediate north.


D03-12:00: The forward elements of the 17th are doing an acceptable job of pushing the Germans off of the Kalivia Objective. To the east, the Anthill and Eastern Marshes Objectives are lost, most likely for good as both the assigned forces have been all but eliminated at this point.


D03-18:00: Kalivia has been achieved by the 17th, while the 1st and 16th are starting to tangle with Axis forces arrayed around the southern edge of Lamia.


D03-22:00: Always destined to freak out on the battlefield and throw the plan away at the first sign of flagging, I detach 2/5 from the 17th and send them headlong into the left flank of the Lamia Objective with the hopes of pushing the enemy to the east and allowing the 1st to slip by on its way to the Exit Objective.


D04-00:00: That sickening feeling that I should have embraced the tutorial written for this scenario much the same as a Democrat embraces Lenin, my hopes lay in what the 1st can do in their avoidance routing and under the concealment of darkness.


This is the final entry of this scenario. As stated in previous posts, this is the advanced tutorial mission for Conquest of the Aegean, and the PDF that comes with the game is an excellent overview of how to approach this mission. My being the second coming of Lee opted to forego this instruction, and paid the price in the end.

D04-06:00: Elements of the 1st UK Arm Bde begin to move in earnest towards the Exit Objective while the bulk of the 16th Au Inf Bde holds the Lamia Objective.


D04-13:00: Every unit of the 1st UK has exited safely with the exception of the HQ unit. The Exit Objective Victory Points are maxed out.


D04-15:03: In an effort to assist the HQ unit in escaping off the map, I cobble together a force from the 16th Au Inf Bde and send them north to attack the Axis forces.


D04-18:00: The die is cast (I've always wanted to use that in a post :)) and what I have going for me is what I can only hope to maintain until the end (the Germans still have enough force in range to upset my hold of the Lamia Objective).


D05-00:00: Snooze control. Nothing to see here, move along...


Review Final Situation


After Action Report


Given that I didn't follow the tutorial for a game that has been collecting some dust, I will take this Marginal Victory with pride, for no other reason than the 1st UK Arm Bde escaped the map virtually unscathed. The Germans put up a fight and completely wiped me out on the right flank, but they never pressed forward to attack the rear of my forces. Had they done so in force, they may have upset the supply chain long enough to substantially weaken the front line troops.

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