Western Desert Campaign Day

We're still limited here with our social mixing - and quite rightly too - but a few of us got together last week for a legal gathering to run through an idea for a mini campaign system.

With strict hygeine and distancing in place, Allied and Axis teams of three each planned a series of strategic manoeuvres on a [very basic]  3x3 gridded map and advanced our forces into contact in the Western Desert. For simplicity, speed, and because it's the most popular at our still-suspended club, we chose Bolt Action rules for the games, but in future this is likely to be supplemented with other rules to enable us to change the scale of our different engagements.

The day was a clear victory for the Allies, but how this came about was quite interesting: a high off-table result for intelligence gathering (rolled by the two Games Masters) really helped, and the Allied strategy was sound and sturdy, if unimaginative, but one of the most telling influencing factors was certainly the force selection: whereas the Allies had clearly defined, centrally-allocated forces divvied-up into three cohesive sub-commands, the Axis forces were disparate and disorganised, with the players unwittingly doing their best to recreate a lack of clear vision between the various German and Italian camps - this communication led to a less cohesive, less 'synergetic' and ultimately less effective fighting force.

Game 1: Sidi Barani

Ahhh...the picturesque settlement of Sidi Barani.

An M3 lumbers into place, making short work of a German AT rifle team...

...whilst a 6pdr team de-buses and draws a bead along the road...

...and on the north edge, the Indian troops push aggressively forward.

Game 2: Hellfire Pass

Sam's lovely Bersglieri form up at the starting line to advance into the valley...

...whilst the Brits - outgunned and isolated - dig-in to the unforgiving rocks.

This offers the scale of that outcrop: it's a good 8-10" above ground level - a great fun board to game on!

After a dismal rout in the oasis town of Sidi Barrani, an abortive assault through the rocks of Hellfire Pass and a decisive spanking in the open desert, the Axis powers slunk off to llick their wounds... and shortly afterwards the Allies undoubtedly would've completely failed to consolidate their successes!

Sadly, I was too busy playing a skirmish game to take any pics of Alex's victory over David F in the third big battle, so here's some more scenic eye candy.

The maps and map movement were deliberately basic, and we didn't get to play as many simultaneous games as we'd hoped, BUT it was a great day and a smashing proof of concept for a future, much more complex campain which is likely to have a Normandy '44 setting.

Impartial Martials: our two fantastic GMs for the day, Guy (L) and James talk us through how everything panned out and why in the evening debrief.

Can't wait.

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