Gazala AAR

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Postby Arinvald » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:33 am

Oh yeah, forgot about the units coming back. That makes the armor company losses more sensible. I still think the artillery seems a bit to responsive and deadly though; it was difficult to shift fire onto a mobile and armored target and make a direct hit; but I guess I will have to wait until I can play several games for myself before I am allowed to whine to much. :wink:
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Postby stevel40831 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:20 pm

First thing... I'll get my AAR up tomorrow night, but wanted to comment on the questions/concerns above.

As JSS points out above, we're both learning the game and trying to figure out a reasonable way to attack and defend. Before reading my comments below, remember that there is already a newer version of Battlefront than we are playing and I'm sure more tweaks will be done as a result of our continued playtesting and comments....

Regarding the artillery fire... As you've noticed so far, I've lost a few 2-step armor and recon units to artillery strikes and it feels a bit funny to me. I can certainly see taking losses in the HQ, supply, and artillery areas as they are for the most part fairly static units and it seems reasonable that heavy fire can be brought to bear and the unit destroyed or made to be "combat ineffective". I have a harder time swallowing the destruction of tank and recon companies as they are much more mobile and not as fragile as those listed above. The British don't have much infantry in this one (except in the far north), so it's very difficult to protect the 2-step armor units by stacking a tank company in the same hex as an infantry battalion. Although I have not suggested it before the AAR, I would almost like to see some sort of reduction of available OPs the following turn when a unit is down to 1-step, rather than destruction.

As you have seen, the "ganging up" on an individual stack can be devastating if the stack is not protected by a few units sprinkled behind them to prevent (or limit) units slipping behind and cutting off all retreat routes. I feel that this is a reasonable strategy, but, the powerful artillery strikes make this a bit dangerous as you are really forced to do this with the 2-step units. I agree somewhat with the comment above that the surround/destroy/runaway manuevers feel odd, but, even the high-odds attacks can be costly to the attacker... These attacks, unfortunately for the British, are mainly a weapon to be used by the Germans because of the 50% differential in movement penalties between the two sides when moving into enemy territory. It has been very rare that I have been able to even reach the German forces (so far!) to strike back, nevermind getting in behind them.

Berger says "More generally, I can't escape the feeling that this AAR isn't really capturing the spirit of the real desert battles - the confusion, sweeping movements, the ebb and flow, the real lack of intelligence and blunders all around".


I agree with this, but, keep in mind that JSS used a different strategy than the Germans used and this allowed me to get into a blocking position in force and have limited his penetration for the time being. In playing the German side you can strike deep if you use a different strategy. Checkout the screenshot below:

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Note that this is from the German side after only turn 2 (most Allied units have just activated). The red line is roughly where the frontline is in our AAR on turn 8. Bir Hachiem fell in the game above on turn 4, but, reducing the rest of the "box" is proving difficult and costly. So, the point being, a different strategy can yield different results. As JSS is continually punching me in the nose in our match and making me bleed profusely, I'm not sure which strategy is really best, but, I think the one in the screenshot is more what you're expecting... don't worry though, you'll be able to try it out yourself before too long! The main problem with the approach above is fuel... the poor Italians began to have "issues" quickly!

Although not asked above, I'll say that the HQ and supply rules are excellent and give a great feel of having to be careful about when to attack, when to relax and refuel, when to let the artillery take a break to build up ammo again, and that you cannot move your HQs around a whole lot if you want them to be effective.

I want to reemphasize again that this is not the most recent version of the game and that some changes have been made already and things are always being tweaked. Also, keep in mind that we are still learning the new system and some of what we are trying might not be the best way to do something and you are no doubt seeing strategies and tactics that will be fine for Market Garden but disasterous in the desert!

You're going to have fun with this game, it's going to take you a while to get used to it, and, you're going to make more mistakes than you have in the past! :twisted:

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Postby Brubaker » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:16 pm

JSS wrote:
Part of why the artillery seems so powerful is that I'm not showing all the misses... that part aside, the other reason is the stand and fight approach taken by Steve. He (like myself) is still learning how to play the game... and making mistakes along the way.


This is quite correct. This AAR is being played with the benefit of hindsight hence the lack of confusion. Don't forget also that we can see both sides of the battle whereas the individual players (in practise) can not. So they would be more confused as to the location of units. Also JSS is well aware that Bir Hachiem is the (supply) key for the Germans, something Rommel would have been wiser to note!

As JSS has said, Steve is using a more static defensive technique than what was common in the (early) desert battles, hence units are more open to direct fire from barrages etc. This is not to criticise the technique, but perhaps to explain why individual units are suffering destruction the way they are. There are many recon units available for use by both side and so in the desert battles there is ample opportunity to keep your forces back and use the recon's to probe around. Having said that, it means developing a whole new playing style - that's the fun of it.
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Postby Noakesy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:37 pm

I like the AAR, and the scenario, and like everyone else I'm busting for SSG to release sthe game, but I think that although most of the comments have been addressed here there hasn't been a comprehensive answer on the ranged fire issue and in particular the 88s.

As per the earlier note here (sorry, was it Berger?) the crusaders wouldn't advance on a bunch of 88s as they would be crushed before they got within striking distance (or would at least stand a far greater chance of being obliterated in an exchange of fire). I think introducing ranged fire has introduced some complicated considerations for SSG in putting the game together.
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Postby stevel40831 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:32 pm

Noakesy wrote: ... most of the comments have been addressed here there hasn't been a comprehensive answer on the ranged fire issue and in particular the 88s.

As per the earlier note here (sorry, was it Berger?) the crusaders wouldn't advance on a bunch of 88s as they would be crushed before they got within striking distance (or would at least stand a far greater chance of being obliterated in an exchange of fire). I think introducing ranged fire has introduced some complicated considerations for SSG in putting the game together.


Sorry, I meant to comment on this but forgot. I have asked this specific question a while back to SSG and would prefer that either they or JSS answer it more thoroughly.

I'm dodging the question because I'm not comfortable with how the 88's work either (It's just my opinion and I can certainly be wrong). As the British, I have absolutely no fear of the 88's and don't really care where they are. If I can get close enough to take a pot shot at enemy armor with direct fire, I can do it without worrying about those deadly weapons and that doesn't seem right to me. That being said, I think you can easily envision what needs to occur to make what you want work (and what I want!)... I think you need a complex method of defensive opportunity-fire and you can easily see how gamey tactics would rear their ugly heads where you have a unit wander into the "killing zone" of an 88 battery just to draw fire so the armor can sneak in, unless you give multiple defensive fire shots... and if you do, how does that impact "bullet usage"? Definately a bit of a sticky problem that I think will generate much debate.

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Postby Bertram » Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:01 am

The famous Panzer Sneak syndrome in a modern version.

If you want to get rid of it you simply need to have defensive opportunity fire... I agree that that gives rise to gamey tactics (offering up a cheap units, that vulunteers to go first), or has trouble when you give the defender an unlimited number of shots.

But being able to drive to the enemy, shoot, and withdraw without return fire, even against an enemy that has you outgunned, just isnt right.
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Postby Ola Berli » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:30 am

Gents,

in regards of the 88mm batteries. Why not make a rule that these
batteries can not be attacked by ranged fire from tanks and giving
them high attack and perhaps defence values.

Just my 5cents :roll:
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Postby Roger Keating » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:35 am

Direct Fire can't attack any unit that is dug in (entrenched), or is flagged as not able to be attacked (such as infantry units). The 88mm guns tend to be dug in so can only be cleared by Close Assault and you can probably guarantee losing a step or two to the 88's doing so.
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Postby stevel40831 » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:59 am

Day 8

The sandstorms persist and we continue our patrols along the front. As the situation is stable right now, the usual reconnaisance activity will not be shown as it is repetitive of the previous 3 days.

In summary, the enemy is pressing the line NW of Alem Hamza in the far north and appears intent on forcing the minefields. In the center, more German troops are spotted in the line just SE of Rotunda Ualeb. This seems to confirm, once again, our estimates that the enemy will strike either north from there into the rear of the Rotunda "box", or, may strike NE towards Bir El Harmat. We have no real firm intelligence as to which way they might strike.

In the far south, enemy reconnaisance activity is getting more active and bold as they are probing in between units and looking for gaps. If we have been deceived in the Rotunda area and the enemy strikes here, things will get ugly very fast!

Here are our dispositions at the end of day 8:

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Above: The immediate coastal area is very quiet and we gradually begin to slip the infantry further south in order to stretch out the line where the enemy activity is most active.

In an effort to deceive the enemy, the lead recon units of the 2nd South African Infantry Division are sent to this area and intentionally probe the front lines and then pull back. We're hoping to lead the enemy into thinking that the 2nd Division is close behind to reinforce this area. Although this is a possibility, deployment to the Rotunda area is more likely, but no decision needs to be made today as they are still on the highway from Tobruk and can be diverted either way (see map below):

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Above: The 2nd Division begins to deploy and stops for the day in a central location, from which it can deploy west to Alem Hamza, or south to Rotunda Ualeb. The 2nd direction appears most likely.

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Above: This sector remains quiet and we continue to creep forward towards the minefields. If this area turns out to be lightly defended by the Italians, offensive action may be a possibility.

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Above: The large buildup of Axis forces south of the 2nd Armored Brigade appears to be confirming our earlier intelligence estimates. The 2nd Armored Brigade remains very exposed and the line is thin. This is where we'd like to deploy the 2nd South African Infantry... but, can they get here in time?

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Above: Enemy patrols in this area have decreased considerably and we do not expect offensive action here.

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Above: This area is also very thin and the enemy is probing aggressively. If they push hard here we'll be forced to give up lots of territory.

Admin note: I did not include the daily recon maps as it is repetitive of the past 3 days.

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Postby Noakesy » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:04 pm

Roger Keating wrote:Direct Fire can't attack any unit that is dug in (entrenched), or is flagged as not able to be attacked (such as infantry units). The 88mm guns tend to be dug in so can only be cleared by Close Assault and you can probably guarantee losing a step or two to the 88's doing so.


This deals with the vulnerability of the 88s at distance, but not the vulnerability of the brit armour. Maybe I'm just being picky, in which case I apologise - as I say, I'm dead keen to get this game, so it's not as though it will influence my decision to buy.
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Turn 9 Report

Postby JSS » Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:46 am

TURN 9 Axis AAR Report

3 June 1942 Pz Armee Afrika Operations LOG:


Morning Operations Summary:

Planned operations for the day are breaching of the minefield East of Rotunda Ualeb and a feint/spoiling attack to the East of Bir Hacheim (Admin note: recall last turn I showed Steve the strength of the Afrika Korps in this area).

Along with the breaching effort, shaping operations will continue in the planned assault area (i.e. artillery strikes and panzer fire against forward mechanized formations).

Review of planned attack (from turn 7 report):
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East of Rotunda Ualeb

“Recce reports and a trip to the front lines provides the Afrika Korps Commander with the information needed to develop attack plans. After reducing the minefields to the Southeast of Rotunda Ualeb, an encirclement attack will take out two regiments. The loss of these forces combined with an unhinging of the defensive belt will enable mobile operations toward Knight’s Bridge.”

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Review of planned spoiling attack (from turn 7 report):

East of Bir Hacheim

”A spoiling attack to the Northeast is planned. Mission is to tie down forces that might otherwise interfere with the encirclement near Rotunda Ualeb. Secondary mission is to open an alternate route to Knight’s Bridge.

While an attack to the Southeast is possible, the result would be indecisive at best (i.e. opening a road to nowhere). ”


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Operations Report: East of Rotunda Ualeb

Initial Conditions:

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Recce Reports:

Minefield is under enemy observation but there appears to be limited forces guarding the minefield. Breaching will be possible today. Early aerial recce reports unidentified formations 5 km behind the minefield along the road to Knightsbridge. If these are artillery or HQ formations, then an artillery raid is possible.

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Preparatory fire missions are conducted:

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Recce patrols identify the forces along the road to Knightsbridge. Artillery! A raid by SP artillery is conducted.

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(Admin note: Notice the double block symbols above the enemy unit icons. These show the status of artillery fire against the hex. Only two artillery missions are possible per turn. Blocks are grayed out if no artillery barrage used, green for a previous hit, and red for a previous miss.)

Recce forces encounter a AAA unit, engage,… and destroy it.

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As part of recce elements disengaging, a suppressive artillery barrage is called in to keep units along the flank from counterattacking. (Admin note: this is done to weaken enemy forces to limit counterattack next turn.) Along the right flank, a panzer kampfgruppe engages a mechanized forced threatening this flank.

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Breaching operations are undertaken. Local commanders report a successful breach to be exploited in the future.

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Operations Report: East of Bir Hacheim

A full feint attack (will serve as spoiling attack if enemy is planning counterattack) is planned.

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Estimate of success:

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Attack is planned along the road to the Northeast. Defenders identified:

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(Admin Note: The tank company shown has a 1:6 chance of returning fire while defending and causing a step loss to the attack above the CRT values. In the subsequent attack it does cause an extra attacking step loss. Imagine how difficult it is to attack an 88 mm Flak unit stacked with infantry… they have a 3 die value… or 4:6 chance of causing an extra step loss to the attacker.)

Attack goes in… causes heavy damage (to both sides) and defenders retreat. (Admin Note: Here’s a screenie of how the attack odds are determined. Notice the importance of HQ value… i.e. morale & quality of attacking formation.)

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Feint attack continues in this sector (Admin note: arrghhh! Final protective fire hurts!):

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…and another attack is launched to breakdown prepared position:

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(Admin note: Even when attacking an SP, fire protective fire can occur. Didn’t plan on losing a step to take out this SP!)

End of Day Positions:

In the North

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Near Rotunda Ualeb

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East of Bir Hacheim

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Postby stevel40831 » Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:15 pm

Day 9

It has not been a good day at the front. Enemy forces have begun heavy artillery and air bombardments all along the line southeast of Rotunda Ualeb. Our rear areas are being hit hard, to include our artillery concentrations, reserve units, and rear area HQ and supply forces.

German infantry and armored forces wipe out an outpost northeast of Bir Hacheim in a lightening raid. Friendly forces report heavy enemy losses in the encounter.

Although the enemy raid northeast of Bir Hacheim is disturbing, reconnaisance efforts determine that the enemy forces have disappeared into the sandstorm and are nowhere in sight. They do not appear to be in position to follow up the assault. More reports come in about enemy troop concentrations southeast of Rotunda Ualeb. They are creeping forward in the sandstorm and are finally close enough where we can strike!

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Above: Italian infantry are identified and we are on the move!

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Above: We have a 50% chance of a double-die attack and, as long as we don't roll a 4, casualties will be light for us. Double-die will decimate these Italian forces!

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Above: Ack... we miss the double-die and the Italians are pushed back with only moderate casualties. A good opportunity is missed.

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Above: Although the attack on the Italian infantry is a bit disappointing, other enemy units are identified in the area in the midst of the sandstorm. We strike again, this time at Italian armor supported by German reconnaisance forces. Results of the exchange are about even... but, anytime we trade even with the Italians it is not good!

Overall, this was not a good turn as several units were destroyed by either enemy ground forces or artillery. Where is the RAF?

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Above: The situation in the north was quiet today. It is unknown if the enemy fell for our deception plan yesterday with the 2nd South African recon units. They have left the area and are racing southeast to join the rest of the division. Although it was quiet, the enemy forces just northwest of Alem Hamza are still very threatening so the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade is being dispatched to the area and should arrive tomorrow or the next day.

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Above: The front remains quiet northwest of Rotunda Ualeb... let's hope it stays this way. Note the 2nd SA divisions recon elements racing through the rear area to join up with the rest of the divisions.

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Above: The RAF finally shows up and strikes the enemy forces that have been gathering south of Bir El Harmat. The 201st Mot Inf Bde and the 10th Indian Inf Bde are holding a solid line along the approaches to the town... it will be very difficult for the enemy to breakthrough here... we hope! As with the previous days, the main concern is still the thinly held line between Rotunda Ualeb and Bir El Harmat. This is held by the 2nd Armored Brigade and the 150th Mot Inf but there are not enough troops there to create a reserve.

Of major significance in this area is the approach of the 2nd South African Infantry Division down the road running through Bir El Harmat. We want to pull the 2nd Armored Brigade out of the line into reserve and slip the infantry in in its place, but, can they get into position before the enemy strikes?

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Above: Reconnaisance efforts in this area show the enemy disappearing into the sandstorm again. They appear to have retreated a considerable distance and we decide to slide the 27th Armored Brigade north a bit to cover the southern flank of the Indian infantry brigade. Note the arrival of the 9th Indian Infantry Brigade in between the 27th and the 4th Armored Brigade. As the enemy has pulled back a bit, they should have time to deploy into defensive positions.

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Above: Things are still somewhat quiet along the southern flank as both sides appear content to probe, look for gaps, and take artillery pot shots at each other.

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Postby Ola Berli » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:13 pm

Looking forward with excitement for day 10 in the AAR.
Anytime soon?
Thanks for all!
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Postby JSS » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:37 pm

Ola Berli wrote:Looking forward with excitement for day 10 in the AAR.
Anytime soon?
Thanks for all!


It'll go up in the next day or two.
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Postby JSS » Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:19 am

TURN 10 Axis AAR Report

4 June 1942 Pz Armee Afrika Operations LOG:


Morning Operations Summary:

Operations today will expand breach of minefield East of Rotunda Ualeb and reconnaissance along the road to Knightsbridge.

Operations Report: East of Bir Hacheim

Forces appear to be building in this area. The feint appears to be working.

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Operations Report: East of Rotunda Ualeb

Recce Reports:

Forces guarding the minefield remain relatively weak. Another day of breaching should allow the assault to go in the near future.

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A target is identified. The tanks seem to be laagered down and will receive a full treatment of fires.

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First an artillery barrage goes in… (Admin note: 1 step is hit, the other barrage misses)

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An airstrike is called in…

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Luftwaffe reports success… but forward observers report the laagered tank formation untouched…???

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(Admin note: AAA caused the airstrike to fall one hex away from the target.)

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One area is identified as protecting the main line of defense East of the road to Knightsbridge. A reconnaissance-in-force will see what they are protecting.

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The force is routed and pulls back. The recce forces attempt to delay Afrika Korps panzers while the infantry withdraws… they are engaged...

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Operations Report: North of Alem Hamza

A forward position is left exposed. Operations will be taken to reduce it today.

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Artillery prep is called in…

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…and the assault begins…

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…and succeeds!

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The dislodged forces receive a heavy barrage of artillery and dissolve as a fighting force.

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End of Day Positions:

In the North

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Near Rotunda Ualeb

Two kilometers of minefield will be breached by tomorrow morning.

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East of Bir Hacheim

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