Battles in Italy AAR

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Battles in Italy AAR

Postby JSS » Sat May 07, 2005 12:37 am

BII testing guru Twinkle is my valiant opponent for this After Action Review (AAR). I will be playing this one blind as I’ve not played the scenario yet (as my testing time has primarily been with the editor and building custom battles). SSG Gregor has offered to lend his insights into the progress (or lack thereof!). Should be interesting :twisted:

We'll fight it out in one of the main scenarios that BII will ship with... Operation Husky. This scenario is 30 turns and the requirement on the Allied player is significant: destroy as many Axis units as possible and reach Messina quickly!

The number of divisions on each side is roughly the same… but the Allied divisions are all standard or elite. A good number of the Axis divisions have substandard regiments. If not co-located with a standard or elite combat unit, the substandard Italian units stand a 70% chance of surrender if attacked! This makes the advance much easier as no combat resources are used when a unit surrenders (i.e. no artillery, general, etc…).

First let’s take a quick look at a battle map overview.

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There is a limited road network that makes the British mission very tough. The Americans have enough room to maneuver but must go the long way around the island to reach Messina. Along the way there are four objectives which must be taken (Siracusa, Palermo, Catania, and Messina). Messina is the objective which provides points needed for the Allies to win… so it’s Messina or bust in this one!

Next let’s look at the four landing zones. Each includes its own supply source that opens around turn 2 or around turn 7… linking each pair of beaches is important for this reason. Each possible landing hex is indicated by a red square.

America Invades!

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Now Thrive the Armourers!

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Getting it Together!

The US 82d Airborne Division lands seven battalions of paratroopers. Three battalions of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), three battalions of the 505th PIR, and the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. A new feature in BII is MERGED units. The two PIRs will each reform into a four step regiment on turn 4. You can see by looking at the Information Popup (right click on hex where unit is located).

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More detailed information is available in the Unit Display Area (click on hex where unit is located to see this).
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Notice in the top right hand corner each of the units has a small number in a colored circle. The number is turns remaining until merge… green circle indicates that it is the unit which will be replaced by the merged regiment. A red circle means the unit will disappear from the map when the merge happens!


10 July 1943 -- Turn 1

Airborne drops go without incident as do the beach landings. American landings push toward Palermo (to the Northwest) and toward the East to secure the British flank.

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In the British sector the landings go well and a path into Siracusa is cleared!

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Finally, here’s a look at how the surrender feature works:

Forces prepare to attack…

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…but the Italians will have none of that! No combat action bullets are expended. HooRay!

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Last edited by JSS on Sat May 14, 2005 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby michl » Sat May 07, 2005 6:09 am

That's pretty realistic - Italian troops surrender without shooting a single bullet. I think I've heard of that before

:lol:
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Postby Gambit » Sat May 07, 2005 6:29 am

The Italian Band or the Romans as they are commonly now known, conquered vast areas of land in ancient times. Therefore Italians do not have a history as cowards. In WWII they didn't want to fight for Mussolini or Hitler - their heart simply wasn't in that fight, in the same way that the soldiers who had been pressed into fighting for the Germans in the Ost units in Normandy didn't fight well, surrendering frequently. Later on Hitler ordered the execution of the Italian soldiers, many of whom had surrendered to the Germans. Those were brave men who went to their deaths.
"Tote Fallschirmjäger sind nie allein, denn loyale Kameraden bleiben immer mit ihnen"
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Postby sw_myers » Sat May 07, 2005 8:18 am

Wow. looks good. thanks for posting the AAR.
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Postby Robjess » Sat May 07, 2005 8:40 am

I also tend to think (whilst JSS hasnt listed it on his places to visit in the summer whilst in Sicily) that Enna is a critical objective. In the same way that Bastogne is in TAO - whilst they are not a primary objective nor do you need them to win - their capture will assist.

If you look at JSS' map of Sicily at the top of this post - you will see a town near the centre of the map where it seems that all roads lead to/from - this is Enna. And this is why I think its an important objective - as its a crititcal hex that controls many roads - like Bastogne.

And you can see why historically the Germans moved their HQ there early on.
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Postby Cpt. Feathersword » Sat May 07, 2005 8:45 am

The thing about Enna though, is that you do not necessarily need to capture it as the Allies, just getting adjacent to the city and a hex or two around it is enough to disrupt German supplies and movement.
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Postby Robjess » Sat May 07, 2005 8:50 am

You do need to capture it if you want to control the roads - if you look at the map there is a direct road up that way to Messina. If the Axis dont defend this Route then it means that Patton doesnt need to go the long way around via Palermo.

Actually - this scenario (and all of the Italy ones) would make very good multiplayer scenarios (like some of us have been playing for BIN). As you all know, there was a race between Monty and Patton to reach Messina first.
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Postby pete AU » Sat May 07, 2005 9:43 am

Is there a minimum distance for auto merging to take place (ie in divisional control) or can it happen no matter how far the units are appart?
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Postby Cpt. Feathersword » Sat May 07, 2005 9:57 am

There is no minimum/maximum distance requirement.
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Battles in Italy AAR Axis Report

Postby Twinkle » Sat May 07, 2005 10:05 am

Axis turn 1 report...

It was a while ago, but I know from many battles fought out with JSS that he is a very good and devious opponent... conclusion, this will be an interesting AAR. :) :D

My mission is to defend Sicily for 30 turns. It is essentially a delaying action with lot of opportunities for spoiling attacks on the invader. Rumours are that my crack units will be allowed to retreat over to mainland Italy and continue the fight against the invaders after some show of spirit. Crack units? Well I do have some good outfits that will be used for all important missions. The 15th Pz Gren. Div. and the Herman Goring Pz. Div., these are as well augmented with some Italian divisions of fairly high quality and any more of low quality. This reminds me, I specifically have to consider the use of these not so good divisions as their units have a tendency to surrender if not supervised by experienced units.

I will introduce the remaining axis divisions as they are put in action... but everything in due time as not much will happen on my side as long as my troops are surprised by the allied invasion.

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The map above gives the general outline of Sicily and I how I will set up my defences for this battle of time... Yellow stars indicate the probable landing points, and it’s likely that they drop some airborne troops as well. The westernmost red star is the city of Palermo which I will try to defend as long as possible. We don’t want the harbour to fall in wrong hands. The easternmost red star is the city of Messina that most be hold!

The battle has started badly with 6 of my coastal regiments/battalions gone. Some of them put up a minimum of resistance and inflicted a few losses on the enemy but the sad truth is that most of these unreliable troops just gave up.

Okidoki, I elongated the map below a bit just to show how effective the allied air interdiction is as it practically blocks all supplies flowing south.

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The Commonwealth troops have washed ashore and the few Italian troops available will be used to slow down their advance.

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The US troops have landed as well and more reports will follow as soon as more axis troops can be brought to the fray.

Cheers!,
/twinkle ;)
Last edited by Twinkle on Sat May 28, 2005 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Battles in Italy AAR Allied Turn 2

Postby JSS » Sun May 08, 2005 8:17 pm

11 July 1943 -- Turn 2

Skies dawn bright and clear… same as the front lines as all Axis forces have pulled back! Both US and British Commonwealth forces will have to conduct movement to contact operations. While Monty wants to take a day or two to build up supplies (British supply won’t even start functioning until tomorrow morning), his HQ’s is abuzz with rumors that Patton has already covered 30km! The Race to Messina is on :twisted:

American Forces - Morning

First, the starting point:

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Next let’s take a quick look at the supply situation. Americans have a good supply source at Licata (Western green supply zone), the airborne drop zones (yellow), and the supply truck which is bursting green (it can trace a supply line to the green supply source at Licata). Aside from the fact that the US supply state is 50%, not too bad so far.

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Commonwealth Forces - Morning

The Commonwealth has a much less satisfactory situation on 11 July. Supply docks at Pachino are not yet ready to issue supplies… maybe tomorrow things will be better :wink: The only supply available now is from the airborne drop and the landed supply trucks. Not very helpful, but still adequate… hmm, seems Monty has made backup plans and Eighth (Brit) Army can draw supplies from Licata… maybe an alternate approach could be used if needed :idea:

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A Day’s Wage

By the end of the day there’s little to report except that the two Commonwealth landing zones are now linked fully. Pushes out from the beaches encountered only token resistance. Air support is much less than yesterday…

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Last edited by JSS on Sat May 14, 2005 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gregor Whiley » Mon May 09, 2005 8:59 am

Both of our Generals will find supply matters intruding upon their otherwise untroubled consideration of military matters. Given the unreliable nature of some Italian units, the Axis has no real choice but to spread out their German units along the line to stiffen morale. As there is only one German supply truck, this will present some difficulties.

For the Allies, supply must trace along roads, which invariably go through mountains, which can be blocked by one Axis unit sitting on a fort. Tough choices, to go through or around, then ensue.

Also, the best Axis units start the game surprised. When they wake up, if they see a scattered mob of Allied units racing inland, heedless of risk, they may be unable to resist the temptation posed by those little green figures displayed by the combat advisor.

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Re: Battles in Italy AAR Axis Report

Postby Twinkle » Mon May 09, 2005 2:48 pm

Axis turn 2 report...

I’m back after a day of evasive manoeuvres... no losses, but that’s only due to the great speed we have retreating. :)

Below is an overview map of Sicily. The numbers indicate the areas that the detailed maps are centred around.

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1) So far nothing that can stop the enemies advance towards Palermo... not good. No enemy divisions are identified but it is likely that JSS use 1 division plus some battalion assets in this area.

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(Map depict situation at the end of turn!)

2) The HG division moved out towards Caltagirone in the early morning mist determined to probe the opposing forces as well as to create an opportunity for parts of the escaping Italian forces to regroup. An exposed American airborne battalion (they land as battalions and regroup to regiments after some turns) were discovered east of the village. The experienced Italian Liverno divisions digs in at the mountain ridge south of Piaza Amerina, order is to delay the enemy as long as possible without taking irreplaceable losses. Luftwaffe interdicts the Gela area trying to stop supplies flowing freely. Enemy divisions identified are US 1st and US 45th infantry division (at least one more division plus all that para).

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(Map depict situation at start of turn!)

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(Map depict situation at end of turn!)

3) Parts of the Napoli division put up some roadbumps in front of the Brittish troops. Survivors of the 206th Coastal division take up defensive positions in Vizzini. Enemy divisions identified: Brit 50th infantry division (plus at least 2-3 more). It is scary how little substance my defences have...

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(Map depict situation at end of turn!)

Regards,
/twinkle ;)
Last edited by Twinkle on Sat May 28, 2005 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Joe » Mon May 09, 2005 4:32 pm

I notice with the fog of war on, from the German perspective, units are no longer designated specifically as British or specifically as US.

Instead the counter shows “British or US” thereby enhancing the FOW. Great feature! And same with “German or Italian”.

And in playing the Macarthur scenario, I discovered that landed troops can re-board and invade elsewhere. Great feature! I presume this too will be in BII!
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Postby Gregor Whiley » Tue May 10, 2005 9:28 am

In Battles in Italy, troops can use naval transport as well as the amphibious invasion routines established in Battles in Normandy. In Operation Husky, Allied sealanes will eventually extend most of the way around the island, allowing the opportunity for units to be picked up and moved behind enemy lines. This capability should influence the Axis player in his choice of location for defensive lines

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