DaW - Feb 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'.

February 1941

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

Axis Intent: Hold Tobruk or cost Allies more than can afford taking it.

Allied Intent: Get Italians bloody well out of Tobruk!

1st: Clear.

Even with active Fliegerkorps, still lost half cross-med shipping. Able to ship and fly total of 3T to Tobruk. Defensive barrages continue keeping Tobruk besiegers disorganized and less capable of effective attacks.

Benghazi starts to get serious about defense. The Trento, 7th bersaglieri, artillery, flak and other units released by Comando Supremo are jammed up waiting for a ride across med.

The desert training establishment celebrates its first success, 6th Australian is fully qualified for desert operations. 2nd Armoured begins to learn the same lessons.

Allies again try frontal assault on "the spit" [2:1 close; AL1o1, Do1]. Which ends Selby force as a combat effective unit. But, importantly, eliminates the lynchpin of Italian defenses, an elite 90mm flak Bn[(7)-4-3].

5th: Clear.

Heavy cross-med interdiction. No supplies, only Ariete's divisional artillery was unloaded in Tripoli. Benghazi builds a hog.  Port (reduced) and airstrip resupply continue, but can't keep up with Balbo's "burn rate" [end of turn 1SP, 3T remain].

Tobruk shifts defenders around. Elite paratroopers and MG Bn move to "the spit". Aerial bombardment of besiegers is ineffective.

2nd NZ is allowed to fight! Men and material continue to be fed forward into the cauldron of Tobruk.

The Royal Artillery pound "the spit" destroying Aosta Bn positions [47pt barrage step loss; MG Bn]. Advancing under Italian artillery fire [DG'd 4:1 close; Ao1, Do1. LRDG and 1Lib Para as losses. [wasting LRDG was error on my part that I retcon for allies later (in part making up for the poor commander I've been for them in Jan)]

8th: Clear.

Replacement personnel are accumulating in Sicily. Far from where needed. [1 Pax repl this and last Turn]. 50% cross-med shipping. 3T into Tobruk. The Benghazi regional defense grows; includes 2, 3, 5, 6th medium tank Bn. 1st med Bn stuck in Tobruk.

Losses in "the spit" continue to be replaced. But with ever less capable, more exhausted formations. This time the Savona Div [down 2 steps].

Shells are getting scarce in Tobruk. The single, small defensive barrage fails to deter continued assault on "the spit". After allied preparatory barrage, throwing in the fresh 4NZ Bde proves to be decisive. Multiple Italians units are shattered, only the understrength Brescia Div remains. Costing allies the 11th Indian Bde [49pt barrage DG, 4:1 close +1; Ae4, DL1o2. Followed up with Exploit 4:1 close +1; AL1o1, Do1 options as losses]. 

Commanders tell themselves the high cost is worth taking Tobruk. The thought of not taking it is too devastating to contemplate.

12th: Clear. Greece is invaded [start of Greek Prep Period].

There are insufficient shells to disrupt Allied plans for Tobruk.

Maletti' miracle; mustering Sabratha Div, MG Bn and territorials across wadi into the Spit [successful Leader Reaction check], is not enough to stop the onslaught of Aussies, Kiwis and 2nd Armored [6:1 close +1; Ae1, DL1o2]. Pinpoint 25 pound fire obliterates Sabratha before they can entrench [28pt barrage, step loss]. 

Port of Tobruk is shutdown with only 1SP in Tobruk! The raucous celebrations are cut short by latest intel, OKW has sent two panzer divs to North Africa. Everything, units and supplies, has been exhausted everything just to get here. There is a tight time limit on eliminating Italian resistance and little to do it with.

Survived Breakout
Attempted Breakout Tobruk

Stukas and Bf110s arrive in Benina.

Stepping off gangplank, Erwin wipes sweat from his brow, noting mentally that DAK will likely underperform until acclimatized to this ridiculous heat. An adjunct runs up, saluts and hands him the latest from Tobruk. It's grim.

Last minute evacuations, surrenders en-mass [Breakouts] had decimated its garrison. One Div, a handful of MG Bn and one good tank Bn is all that remains. Austerity measures would supply them for a few days or week at best [Supply Cache]. Verdammt! I'll arrive in time to congratulate Brits on their great success.

15th: Clear.

Allies recover, consolidate lines, garrison ports, restock supply dumps and await Italian surrender. Base squadron of Hurricanes at Gambut, a village close enough to intercept axis air operations over Tobruk.

Those recruitment posters are working! 2 Pax, EQ for Italians. There's now 4 Pax sitting in Sicily. Rebuilt G50 and instantly got them shot up dogfighting Hurricanes [step loss from Fighter Sweep]. Paks and pioneers of 5Le are shipped to Benghazi.

Even with Balbo driving them [ldr Reserve movement], the Tobruk relief column makes slow progress. Rommel has requisitioned all fuel [lack of supply].

Tobruk defenders shrink lines [3T feeds 6RE, 3T left in Tobruk]

19th: Clear. Allies win and make Axis go 1st, want to see those Tobruk attrition rolls.

Pax and rest of 5Le are shipped to Tripoli.

Having swept away RAF, Luftwaffe joins in on bombing allies around Tobruk. 1T is offloaded at T.2 airstrip west of Tobruk.

Rommel races across Libya, pausing at El Mechili [failed ldr reserve and reaction checks]. Balbo continues walking along coastal highway at speed, passing through Derna. [passed both checks].

Allies beginning to worry that Tobruk could be relieved! Reposition to defend from western attacks and to block southerly end run.

22nd: Clear.

605th PJ gets offloaded in Derna [faster and saves fuel]. The 1T flown into Tobruk, is not enough to stop attrition. Only 8th HQ, tank Bn and Sirte Div [2/3 steps] remain.

With his trucks just arriving in Benghazi, Rommel lacks fuel to race forward. He gathers 5Le's Panzer and Schwere Bns into a Kampfgruppe and orders them north with Balbo. While he proceeds to the south along Trigh el Abd.

With all the Bdes already sent off to Greece; 2Arm, 4NZ, 16Aus; and more withdrawals expected, Allies realize they don't have enough to stop being flanked. They retreat further east. Focusing on defending Bardia and Sollum. Both critical for moving up supplies and reinforcements from Alexandria. The Tobruk siege perimeter shrinks.

25th: Clear

[I'm pretty sure I've been moving full MP not half in Axis leader Reactions, whoops.]

Allies watch in dismay as four bns of 5Le arrive at Tobruk. German bombers roar overhead bombing KDG armored cars and El Gubbi airfield with no effect.

For first time in weeks, cross med shipping is lost to RN interdiction [-1SP]. DAK arrives in Benghazi. Supplies offloading in Derna, reinforce that the Axis have returned. El Mechili is garrisoned with 90mm flak and forward dump [2T at both spots]. All with in range of 10th HQ, now ensconced on hills west of Tobruk.

With his supply caught up, Rommel orders hip shoot of KDG and easily overruns them [14:1 open +1].

How has this come to pass? So quickly? Tobruk siege's western flank is attacked from coast road by Balbo leading Ariete's elite bersaglieri while Rommel observes from escarpment above [2:1 close +2, 3 columns surprise; Ao1, DL1o1, retreat]. The rapid pace has left both sides logistics in disarray [low stocks all around].

Balbo counter attacks [Exploit: 2:1 close +2; Ao1, D1o1, retreat]. And becomes an Italian hero, dieing to restore Italian military honor.

Tobruk eats the last of its supplies.

February ends with Allies one attrition roll away from taking Tobruk and only some artillery and AT guns stopping Rommel from breaking siege.



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

The lack of allied leaders, and presence of axis leaders/KG has been very telling. Lack of ability to Exploit allied success. Italian use of "reserves" to reinforce or conduct defensive barrages and move much farther than regular Reserve Counter would allow. With fewer units in game, a 1/3 chance of "Reserve" counter in front line hex is a great advantage.

Getting optional Leader (Balbo), optional Flak units, and using Supply cache tilts early campaign in Italians favor. Even with worse than average withdraw rolls, Tobruk has been very close thing.

The toll for February. Units in center are current months losses. 

Allied units off to right started "dead". They're buildable replacements / upgrades for starting units.


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