Sunday 1 February 2015

The Karachoum Gap (Tunisia, January 1943)

Operation Eilbotel scenario 3
Note: this action begins the same time as scenarios 1 & 2

As part of the overall strategy of Eilbotel, whilst the 756th Mountain Regiment supported by elements of 10th Panzer Division forced the passes south of Pont-du-Fahs, elements of the Italian Superga division plus supporting armour are to drive up the Karachoum Pass and seize mouth of the pass where it opens into the Ousseltia Valley (this known locally as the Karachoum Gap).

The Italian command have been assured that French resistance with be negligible to nothing as the German attacks further west will draw off any reserves and German close air-support (Stukas) would be available.

Table looking to the south and the French positions:

French positions looking from the north-west

Looking towards the shrine at the head of the pass

Shrine & French HQ

Facing the Italians are elements of Groupement Lagarde

Initial French forces (all units can begin dug-in, except Goumiers)
HQ + 1e Companie du I/1er REI
Mitrailleurs peloton du I/1er REI (2 x MMGs)
Mortar peloton du I/1er REI (2 x 81mm mortars) plus FOO
Batterie du 5e RA (2 x 75 mle 1897) emplaced without transport
2 pelotons du 3e Goumier (acting as recce platoons)

Reinforcements arrive on turn 5 + 1D6
2 pelotons de 3e Goumier
Mule train carrying ammunition/supplies (allows guns/mortars to fire for 3rds)

Special rules
French ammunition shortages – each turn after turn 5 the French must roll each time they wish to fire their `75s, if they get a “1” the gun is out of HE shells (though they will have limited AP stocks).
After turn 8, the same roll must be made for their mortars too.

Italian deployment
To simulate the disorganised nature of the Italian command, their forces will arrive in a piece-meal random fashion (indicated by dice).
Italian recce company

Italian rifle company w/transport

Italian motor transport and tanks awaiting deployment

Turn 1
Recce company
1 x AB41, 1 x M/C platoon, 1 x truck mounted infantry platoon
Italian recce enters the table

Turn 3 (1D6)
Motorised infantry coy with –
3 x 10 man platoons (2 x LMG, 1 x Brixa mortar) in trucks
Regimental Gun section
75mm deport gun + tow
Infantry company plus gun section
Turn 5 (1D6)
Any units which didn`t arrive on turn 3 plus -
Battalion Support platoon
2 x Breda MMG, 1 x 80mm mortar in truck
Gun section from - Divisional Artillery Regiment
100mm Howitzer + tow
All units above
Turn 7 (1D6)
Any units which did not arrive on turn 5 plus -
Battlegroup HQ
HQ staff + security platoon (staff car, radio truck, TL37)
Regimental AA section with -
20mm Beda AA + tow
Assault gun battery
2 x Semovente 75/34
All units above
Turn 8 (1D6)
Any units which did not arrive during Turn 6 plus –
Regimental AT platoon
2 x 47mm AT (portee)
Tank company
2 x M13/41
All units above
Turn 10
Any remaining units not already committed.

Reinforcements start on turn 12, roll 1D6
1 - Artillery strike (2 salvos of 105mm shells)
2 – Air strike (Me109 strafing run)
3 – Air Strike (Ju87 bombing attack)
3-4 Battlegroup from 21st Panzer with –
Sdkfz 247, DAK infantry platoon in truck, Marder III    

The game was fought over 15 turns with me as the French and my lads Alex (16) and Chris (13) as the Italians.

The game started with the Italian recce splitting left and right, coming under `75 and 80mm mortar fire. By turn 3 they were joined by a 75mm depot gun, but both recce platoons had taken casualties, the motorcycle one on their left, failing its morale on turn 5 and withdrawing to cover.
French mortars

Depot gun & crew

Right recce platoon

On turn 6 the recce were relieved to see a motorised rifle company coming up the road along with a Fiat 626 carrying a couple of Breda MMGs and an 80mm mortar. These again split left/right, but unfortunately the infantry platoon drove past the depot gun as it was obliterated by some accurate `75 fire, which also smashed the platoon in their truck……Ouch!!!

The Italian build up continued, with their infantry supported by mortar and artillery began to move (slowly) up the valley.
Italian infantry move to back-up the recce troops

Italian force HQ arrives with a 100mm gun section from Regiment

Italian recce troops storm “watch tower hill”

On turn 9 two groups of Goumiers suddenly appeared on the Italian flanks and caused some discomfort, the Italians rallied splendidly and annihilated them in a couple of turns with little lose of momentum to their main attack……
French Goumiers surprise the Italians

Italian M13s turn up just in time to finish off the last Goumiers

The French `75s score another success bye-bye AB41

By now however the Italian 100mm and the two Semovente were wasting any French positions who showed themselves and the two `75s were soon knocked out…..

The M13s and Semovente surged through the centre and the 47mm battery limbered up to join them as the infantry cleared out the remaining French either side of the track.

By turn 15 it was all but over, the French still had their mortars (but limited ammunition), with about a platoon of Legionnaires and Goumiers left, they were forced to withdraw as the DAK battlegroup entered the table.

Final French positions


  1. Nice AAR. What rules are you using, please?.....nice to see Tunisian game with real sunshine!

  2. We use a time served version of Charles Grant's "Battle" rules from the 1960s

  3. That's a good looking set of models you have in use. Interesting as to the rules. I was going to ask the same question.

  4. Theres some stuff on the rules here -