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257 A Bitter Farewell - Battle of Médenine

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March 6, 1943: True to his creed of attack being the best defense, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel decided to attack the Commonwealth forces near the Tunisian town of Médenine preparing to attack the German held Mareth Line. Unbeknownst to him, a combination of Ultra, interrogated prisoners and reconnaissance missions had provided the Allies with intimate knowledge of the coming German offensive.
Though the Commonwealth forces, expecting to go onto the offensive themselves, had not managed to fortify their positions with extensive minefields and wire, they did have well dug-in and camouflaged anti-tank guns, a heavy artillery presence and a superiority in both men and machines.
In addition, the Commonwealth planned to funnel the enemy armor’s advance into tank killing grounds, for example by the placement of several dummy minefields—which indeed historically the Germans did not risk to traverse—and then to pummel them with artillery and anti-tank gun fire.
This scenario depicts the advance of the 15th panzer division along the Toujane-Médenine road.
Historically, the Axis forces failed to make any noteworthy progress and the result was a crushing German defeat. After having suffered heavy losses the Germans were forced to retreat back to their starting positions as further losses would have greatly compromised the defense of the Mareth Line.
This battle proved to be the last battle in North-Africa commanded by Rommel, although the Allies didn’t find out about this until much later.
As the Commonwealth player, will you be able to inflict the same catastrophic defeat on the Axis’ forces or are you able, as the German player, to give the Desert Fox a more fitting farewell?

 

  British German
Division 1

5 Squad Bases
- 11 Regular Infantry
- 4 Elite Infantry
- 1 Officer
- 1 Machine Gun Crew
- 1 Mortar Crew

1 QF 6-Pounder AT gun (DotF Next Wave stats against vehicles: Range = 7, Firepower = 6)

1x Medic
1x Engineer
1x Bravo Unit
1x Concealed Concealed

2 Tiger I
3 Panzer IV
4 Panzer III

Division 2

8 Squad Bases
- 21 Regular Infantry
- 4 Elite Infantry
- 2 Officer
- 2 Machine Gun Crew
- 2 Mortar Crew

1 QF 6-Pounder AT gun (DotF Next Wave stats against vehicles: Range = 7, Firepower = 6)

1x Medic
1x Bravo Unit
3x Concealed Concealed

9 Squad Bases
- 25 Regular Infantry
- 5 Elite Infantry
- 2 Officer
- 1 Machine Gun Crew
- 1 Mortar Crew

4 Opel Blitz Trucks
2 SdKfz 251 Halftracks

1x Medic
2x Flamethrower
1x Alpha Unit

Strategy Decks Disruption 1
Artillery 2 (attack cards hit on 4+; see Special Rules)
Morale 1
German Air Support 1
Command 1
Starting Strategy Cards 2 0
Operations Cards 002 Heavy Fog (shared); remove Status Phase of Round 2)
▪ Desperate Defenders (013)
▪ No Surrender (014)
▪ Camouflage (017)
002 Heavy Fog (shared); remove Status Phase of Round 2)
012 Massive Confusion
018 Seize the Initiative
022 Barrel Modifications (only affects Panzer IIIs)
Deployment Zone Division 1 sets up on maps 13B and/or 16B
Division 2 sets up on maps 18A and/or 19A
Division 1 enters with an Advance or Fire and Movement action on Action Phase of Round 1. The first hex entered must be the westernmost Road hex on map 14A. However, should this hex ever be involuntarily filled to its maximum stacking (i.e. squads being Pinned or Disrupted, vehicles being Lightly or Heavily Damaged) only then may the Clear hex directly to its north be used.
Division 2 enters on the Action Phase of Round 2, in the same way as Division 1. Squads must enter being transported on a vehicle!
Starting Initiative Setup First Initiative Token
Objective

The Germans win immediately if they exit 3 tanks off the easternmost road hex on map 16B. It costs 1 movement point to exit. If they haven’t fulfilled these conditions by the end of Round 8, calculate Victory Points (VPs) as follows:
Germans score VPs for controlled victory objective markers at game end:
▪ 1 VP objective = 6 VPs
▪ 2 VP objectives = 15 VPs
▪ 3 VP objectives = 20 VPs
▪ 4 VP objectives = 25 VPs.

Germans also score VPs for exiting units off map via the road hex on map 16B:
▪ Tank = 3 VPs
▪ Halftrack = 2 VPs
▪ Squad = 1 VP
▪ Empty trucks = 0 VPs

Commonwealth forces score VPs for destroyed enemy units:
▪ Tank = 2 VPs
▪ Squad or light vehicle (trucks and halftracks) = 1 VP

Note that the Commonwealth does not earn VPs for any controlled victory point objectives (by controlling them, however, they do negate these points to the Germans!). The Commonwealth can potentially score 31 VPs.
The Commonwealth starts in control of all victory point objectives on the map.

Rounds 8
Actions per turn 3 3
Reinforcements Receive 2 Sherman tanks during status phase of Round 6. They enter on easternmost road hex on map 16B. One or both are lost if they cannot enter because of stacking violations and/or Germans control the hex. -
Special Rules

Camouflaged AT-guns: AT guns may be assigned Concealed Squad markers.
Dug-in AT guns: AT guns in a hex with at least one Entrenchment gain +2 cover rather than the normal +1.
Prepared positions: Concealed units may be set-up in Victory and/or Command Objective hexes and are not automatically revealed should they enter one. All other rules regarding Concealed Squad markers apply as normal. Also ignore the reference on the “Go to Ground” Strategy Card referring to nonobjective hexes.
Hills: When attacked from a lower elevation, Hills provide 1 cover. This also applies to the Artillery II deck’s Area Attack cards.
“Better be safe than sorry”: The 3 Minefield markers are to be considered “dummy” minefields, and they are impassable by vehicles and squads.
17-Pounder AT guns: In order to deal with the German Tiger tank, some Commonwealth AT guns had been outfitted with 17-Pounder barrels. Mark one AT gun of your choice, designating it as being a 17-Pounder. Its stats are:
▪ Against Infantry: Range = 5, Firepower = 4
▪ Against Vehicles: Range = 8, Firepower = 12
Fragile: Is destroyed when Heavily Damaged
Pre-planned artillery hit zones: Attack cards in the Artillery II deck hit on a 4+.

Important Rule Reminders
Remember that when a vehicle is stopped by enemy op-fire, any transported squads are immediately fatigued.
Make sure you fully understand the Wadi/Balka line of sight rules. A helpful explanation of these rules can be found on the Board Game Geek discussion board, and provides a great addition to the DoTF NW rulebook:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1962497/balka-los 

To summarize:
▪ Units at level 0 can see into all adjacent wadi hexes. They can also see into non-adjacent wadi hexes if they can trace a straight, unbroken line through an adjacent wadi hex directly along the wadi terrain depiction itself to the target. If the LOS leaves the wadi terrain depiction, LOS is blocked. [Source: ToI DotF NW rulebook, p. 6.]
- Thus, units at level 0 must be adjacent to a wadi hex to have LOS anywhere into that wadi. [Source: Marcus A., BGG discussion thread “Balka LOS,” Apr. 30, 2018.]
▪ Non-adjacent units at an elevation of level 1 or higher can see into a wadi if they can trace a straight line directly along the wadi terrain feature itself. However, the first wadi hex along the LOS is always a blind hex unless the first wadi hex the LOS is traced through is a wadi entrance hex. [Source: ToI DotF NW rulebook, p. 6.]
- Thus, units at level 1 (or higher) have additional potential LOS into a wadi that might be any number of hexes away. [Source: Marcus A., BGG discussion thread “Balka LOS,” Apr. 30, 2018.]

Terrain Features All Crevasse hexes to be treated as Wadi hexes.

Sources

"Battle of Medenine," Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Medenine)
"Battle of Medenine," Africa Axis and Allied, (http://africaaxisandallied.blogspot.nl/2015/03/battle-of-medenine.html)
“The Battle Of Medenine,” Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment, (http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/ww2/middle_east/qme020.shtml)
“Battle of Medenine, 6 March 1943,” HistoryOfWar.org, (http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_medenine.html)

 

Tags: German Army, British Army, Complexity: Medium, Rounds, Boards, Year: 1943

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The Germans should have thought of some of these things before they began the war, particularly before attacking the Russians.  (referring to a German soldier's request to surrender only to British or American forces and not the Russians)
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