DaW - Jan 1941, North Africa

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DAK-a-Week playthrough page which lists the house rules in play and has other resources.

Download directory of all the VASSAL .vsavs and .vlogs from DAK-a-Week playthrough. There's one vlog and two vsavs per game turn. The saves were taken at the end of  each side's turn. First side indicated with 'a', second with 'b'.

January 1941

VASSAL January vlog (rt-click and save as).

Axis Intent: Hold out in Tobruk.

Allied Intent: Shut down port of Tobruk (get ZOC on it).

1st: Under clear skies the LRDG raids El Abiar airfield (A50.14) destroying a handful of CR42s the Italians thought were safely in rear out of Hurricane range. 6th Australian nears completion of its desert training. 2 Arm begins arriving in Alexandria. Along with independent tank Bns in Port Said. Continuing administrative news, 4th Indian's div arty is reassigned to its infantry Bdes. 

Wellingtons and Blenheims suffer losses from heavy flak bombing enemy positions across estuary from Tobruk.

Sensing an impending assault, Tobruk garrison expends a large amount of artillery stores. But due to excellent camouflage, deception and security it comes to nought [52pt barrage rolled 2,1].

The Allied barrages are spot on! Reducing Tobruk' s port to minimal level and disorganizing Tobruk south-west defense sector. The Selby Force, Aussies, and Indians with heavy tank support easily clears Bologna Division from the outer ring of entrenchments. [7:1 close +2 Ae3, DL2]. The local commander declines to exploit success in favor of a future planned deliberate attack.

17th MG Bn is reformed in Tobruk. Raggrumento Babini and 1 Med tank are shipped out of Tobruk.

On the "quiet" western flank of Tobruk, 7th Ind Bde takes heavy losses from an unexpected sally by the Sabratha Div. Both units decide to withdraw from their lines. [4:1 open Ao1, DLo1]. But the Italian withdraw is a ruse! 7th Ind is finished off by elite paratroopers backed by MG Bn. With Sahariano camel calvary running down the stragglers [5:1 open +1 Ao1, DL1o1, attacker retreats]. This opens a hole in the allied encirclement. But, Italians return to their fortifications. Content to have cost the Allies one of their scarce infantry Bdes.

Pasta finally runs out in Bardia. Much surrendering ensues.

5th: Rain blankets Egypt [maps D, E] which slows 2nd armored and supply moving up to support siege of Tobruk. Although, the newly opened port of Bardia is put to use offloading heavy equipment of 2nd Armored.  

Without supply or those reinforcements allies decide against any large assaults at this time.  The light tanks that had been screening Bardia, along with others, seal breach opened at beginning of month. Italians disrupt the "attack that was never coming" [reaction 3T barrage].  Seeking revenge, 11th Ind baits the Sahariano which falls hook, line and sinker. [reaction overrun 3:1 open 6 column defender surprise AL1o1]. We'll never see those camels again!

Italians find a cache [Supply Cache] as zero shipping arrives in Tripoli [snakes on Malta roll]. After recent missadventure and worried at rate they're burning through supply, half gone little over 6SP left in Tobruk, Italians just shuffle Tobruk defenses about.


8th: Rain clears, it's sunny with cool seaside breeze in Tobruk.

Blenheims, Hurricanes are withdrawn. The Desert Airforce consists of a half-strength Wellingtons. Another Inf Bde must be sent to Sudan.

[Not sure why allies did no attacks. Guess dissuaded by reaction Barrage DG'd. Also forgot Royal Navy barrage event. Resolved it next Turn]

Italians move supply around rear areas. At Tobruk, they peer over embattlements and pound any movement with artillery.

12th: Clear and relatively quiet.

Axis find another Supply Cache. Supply is still tricking into Tobruk [2T,  3-6T is spent on barrages every turn]. With the Hurricanes gone, the Aeronautica comes out and drops a few bombs around Tobruk.

Churchill sabotages allied chances of taking Tobruk by demanding a 3rd Bde be sent to Sudan. Wavell demands action before more withdraws! 

All available tubes are directed at the isolated spit of land across bay of Tobruk [41pt DGd]. Followed by an all out frontal assault down slopes and across wadis ["6+6+7+2(4) vs 2+1+1+1.5+3.5(3+hog)" 2:1 close 0, 5 column defender surprise, AL1o1]... fresh from Bardia the lt tanks of 7RTR are thrown at and then left burning amongst Italian trenches. 17Aus Bde takes heavy losses to retain hard fought for outer defenses [attack loss option]. Captured Italian tanks join siege.

15th: Clear.

Italian defensive barrage disrupts allied regrouping efforts. No assault is forthcoming. Only an unsuccessful destruction barrage towards center of Italian line [6T barrage hoping to inflict loss. Allies have way more supply than units to attack with].

Due to low capacity and heavy interdiction of shipping, Areite Div remains stuck in Sicily. Benghazi command is beginning to enact defensive measures. Supply trickles into Tobruk port.

19th: Clear.

S.M. 82s from Sicily drop off supply at El Gubbi airstrip within Tobruk defenses. Almost making up for the port's reduced capacity. SM 79s from Benina bomb besiegers. Balbo sends bottle of wine to RAF genius that withdrew the only allied fighters in theater.

"We don't need no CAP" Wellingtons attempt to destroy planes on ground at Benina. But instead become "planes on the ground around Benina"  [flak killed last step].

Heavy artillery from both sides. The entire southern line of Tobruk defenders is disorganized. Leaving Balbo unable to determine where Allies might attack. He directs barrage to east where all recent allied attacks have been. But has failed to notice western weak point (or doesn't care as it is in outer ring). Allies attack there with fresh troops and from three directions [3:1 open AL1o1, Do1 both options as loss]. Badly stretched Italians collapse when allies press assault with Reserves [4:1 open, 4 column attacker surprise, DL2o2].  

22nd: Clear. After successful airfield raid, LRDG tries their hand at blowing up Italian supplies [LRDG dump raid event].

Sudan gets their brigades, 5th Ind and 17th Aus, both exhausted from Tobruk siege [each with step loss].

Before Italians can recover, allies position for another devastating assault [allied initiative, Wavell cries out "Booyah!"]. Sensing a culminating point, Balbo authorizes round the clock shelling [reaction barrage, boxcars destroys 5AR 7RTR, probably best unit in the siege. 2nd barrage DGs other key stack]. In response Allies cancel all attacks, Wavell sheds tear.
[My vassal comment "Well poops. Kind of still want to go after it... but there's still time." If only allied commander knew then, what I know now (having played into April)...]

More supply is flown and shipped into Tobruk. 5SP and one Supply Cache remain.

25th: Rain across the west [Maps A,B].

After stormy med crossing the first elements of Ariete debark in Tripoli. 

The rains shutdown the Sicily-Tobruk airlift. And allow Royal Navy to sneak near enough  Tobruk for some inaccurate and ineffectual coastal shelling [RN barrage event].

Italian reactionary barrage is again effective in spoiling allied assaults.

Nothing much happens.

29th: Rains shift west [Maps B, D]

For once, Italian defensive barrage does nothing. Heavy allied shelling destroys a Coastal Defense unit (2-0-3, they are not missed). No follow up assault. Have the allies given up?

Italians continue to split cross-med shipping between units and supply; and to sea lift supply into Tobruk.  Still no flight there, but a Junkers joins airlift, increasing supplies flown into Tripoli by 50%. Germans have sent trucks, now airplanes, panzers must be next!

Africa end of January. In addition to Sudan excursion, another Bde, the 14th, is off R&Ring in Greece.


VASSAL end of January save file (rt-click and save as).

Balbo is not unhappy. Tobruk remains properly Italian. Disrupting allied attacks with Reaction Phase defensive barrages seems at least "not be a mistake". When allies have been able to attack, it has been devastating. The outer ring of defenses are fully gone. But all this has cost them several units. With the combat and barrage losses we've inflicted added to that total, allies might not have enough for that final push into Tobruk.  

Half way through month strayed from concentrating on "spit across bay" [B49.08] to get Tobruk Port under ZOC and thus no trace, and then let remainder starve. The Italians also sensing this hex as key, stacked it with heavy defenses [the optional (7)-4-3 Flak is maybe OP]. Combined with DGing one or both hexes able to attack... I was timid/afraid to lose steps in poor attacks. Should have kept assault force back in Reserve to nullify barrages. 

In sum, Allied play throughout most of January was subpar. If replayed, would do better.

January was a bloody month for both sides. The "for x" Allied units are buildable replacements / upgrades for listed units.


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