Saturday, 10 November 2012

Operation Eilbotel scenario 2

Note: this action is happening at about the same time as scenario 1 (El Hamra & the Kebir reservoir)

Oum-el Abouab II, Colonel Weber`s attack - 18/19th January 1943.
Weber’s counter attack was spread all along the French XIX Corps frontage. The general plan called for an attack across the mountains using elements of the German 334th Infantry and Italian Superga Divisions. Whilst these units pinned and tried to overwhelm the Anglo-French, elements of 10th Panzer supported by Tigers of the 501st Heavy Tank Battalion would push down the road from Pont-du-Fahs. All attacks would be supported by available artillery and Luftwaffe.
In the southern central sector (Sous-secteur d`Oum-el Abouab) of the XIX Corps line south of Pont-du-Fahs was held by Sous-groupement Carpentier (7e RTM).
Oum-el-Abouab sits on a good road across the mountains between El Hamra (North) and Hir Moussa (South); the road eventually leads south to the district capital – Ousseltia.

Historically, Col. Carpentier`s command was deployed as follows (positions in respect to the village of Oum-el-Abouab) – see sketch map
I/7 - north and west in an ark covering the heights above Oum and the road north-west towards El Hamara

HQ & II/7 (less 5ere coy) central (in and around the village)

III/7 (less 9 & 12ere Coys) [groupe reserve] south of the village dug-in facing the heights

In direct support Carpentier had:

1 x battery 75mm mle1897 (III/67e RAA) [Oum]
1 x battery 47mm AC (64e RAA) [1 section with I/7, the other in Oum]
1 x section 13.2mm DCA [Oum]

Unfortunately for Col. Carpentier his command sat across the axis of Col. Weber`s planned attack.

The GameThis is the second game in our mini-campaign but actually takes place at the same time as game 1 (El-Hamra & the Kebir Reservoir). For this scenario I decided to tinker with the orbats to suit what figures we had available and concentrate on the area around Oum. Also I wanted to take into account what had happened in our previous game played over this terrain based on the French attempt to take the heights back in December. See - ... wards.html.)

Defending the Kasbah and heights above Oum (all elements may be dug-in) –
9ere III/4e RTT
Reinforced by - 1 platoon 52ere /3e Tabor du Goums (acting as a recce platoon)
Composite battery III/67 RAA with -
1 x 47mm AC + tow; 1 x 65mm mountain gun (mules)

Sous-secteur HQ 7e RTM
6ere II/7e RTM
75mm battery (III/67e RAA)
1 x 47mm AC (I/64e RAA)
1 x Twin 13.2mm AA (411e DCA)

Arrive on table from the direction of El-Hamra
Retreating units (survivors and wounded from units further north)*
Wounded in ambulance, wagons and on mules
2 x infantry platoons (small arms only, shaken morale)

* This column moves at 3” per turn south, upon arriving at Oum the French commander can attempt to rally them -
He has a 30% (01-30) chance to do so, in which case the two rifle platoons join the defenders.
However there is a 15% (85-00) chance other French troops may become spooked by the sight of these wounded and the stories they tell of the unstoppable Boche tanks and planes. This will cause 1-2 platoons of the defenders to throw away their rifles and join the retreat!!!

Reinforcements (from the south-east arriving on turn 12 + D6):
8ere du 4e RTA (motorised)
3ere Squadron 4RCA

German forces (from the hills above Oum) –
III battalion 756th Mountain Infantry Regiment
Supported by – 1 battery of 105mm artillery (off table)
2 x Stuka sortees (2 planes each)

From the North from Pont du Fahs (turn 10) –
1st Kompanie, 7th Panzer Regiment (panzer III)
2nd Kompanie, 86th Panzer Grenadier battalion
Elements –
2 platoons - Panzer IV (3rd Kompanie, 7th Panzer Regiment)
2 x Sdkfz222 (90th panzer recce battalion)
Pioneer platoon in SDKFZ251/7 (49th Panzer pioneer battalion)
1 x platoon 10th motorcycle battalion
Supported by – 105mm Wesp battery (off table)

The French must hold Oum and its vital road to protect units south of its position. III/756th Jager Battalion are tasked with clearing resistance to allow armoured units of 10th Panzer to push through and continue their advance.

If by turn 20 the Germans have been unable to overcome French resistance, this is a tactical French win.
Any other result is a German victory.

Table layout
Looking from the heights down toward Oum
The Kasbah and centre of the Tunisian line
Again looking down on Oum this time on the German right with the dry wadi just visible in the foreground
`75 battery in Oum
Sous-secteur HQ, note the 13.2mm DCA mounted on the roof
37mm infantry gun manned by Moroccans in a good ambush position

The game started with a steady advance by III/756th Jagers, on turn 2 one platoon was ambushed by the Goumiers!
Good support play by the boys enveloped the ambush wiping out the Goumiers with little overall loss to the attackers.

Through turns 3-5 the Germans were hit by `75 fire directed from the town and direct 65mm fire from the Kasbah. They replied with directed 105mm fire of their own, this eventually eliminated the Kasbah defenders by turn 7.
Kasbah getting a pasting!
On turn 6 the withdrawing column of wounded and stragglers began its long retreat across the table.
During turns 8-9 the German infantry fought a protracted battle with the Tunisians, well supported by their battalion 81mm mortars and platoon LMGs.
Turn 10 and elements of 10th Panzer begin to arrive from Pont-du-Fahs led by recce units
The Luftwaffe also make their first appearance and attack a target of opportunity – the straggler column!
The results were predictable and devastating
A road full of smashed wagons, dead mules, burning ambulances and much pain and suffering! This caused serious morale tests among the defenders of Oum, which left them shaky……
Survivors stagger south past the HQ
The Germans now pressed home their advantage, their mortars and artillery clearing a path through the Tunisians.
The AT gun from 67RAA bites the dust!
Turn 12 and I dice for my reinforcements – 6, F**K they couldn`t arrive until turn 18…….. And the pesky Luftwaffe returned and bombed out my `75 battery!!!!!!!!

Turn 14, 10th Panzer advance down the road and are ambushed by the Moroccans, the 37mm infantry gun knocks out the lead Sdkfz222 (hooray the first bit luck for the French)
Also a 47mm shell bounces off the lead PzIII; unfortunately the panzer spotted the AT gun and fires back…………Ouch!

Turns 15-18, the Germans pound the town with artillery, mortars and 50mm tank shells and then close for the kill, with most houses on fire, many defenders eliminated, the game was effectively over and I felt sacrificing the motorised Algerian company would have been pointless and silly, so we ended it there.
Image A brave but futile fight mon ami.........

The boys were very aggressive today; they used a lot of close-assaults whilst clearing the Tunisian positions. Their use of artillery and mortars was good including moving their FOOs into new positions to keep up with the attack. The Stuka sortees were terrible to witness, very effective, damaged the Moroccan morale at a critical time and also took out the French artillery battery (again). Their dice rolling today was unbelievable, just so lucky, at one point a 20mm cannon on a Sdkfz222 scored six 6s and ripped up an entire Moroccan squad!!!!!!!!

After thoughtBasically this is the same game as scenario 1, but over different terrain with different French defenders. But this time the French do receive reinforcements (but no armour unfortunately). As with the first action, historically German surprise was total, their attack smashed through 7RTM scattering its units. Once Oum was captured and a link-up was made with Kampfgruppe Lueder moving south from El Hamra the Germans pushed south toward Hir Moussa and effectively bottled-up and cut off all French units defending the Karachoum Pass.


  1. Your games look like alot of fun. plus you always have opponents! lucky you.