|Bengasi falls to the Axis
Way back when, in the early 1980s, my friend Keith and I would often spend dreary winter Saturday afternoons playing Avalon Hill war games. Out favorites for an afternoon of gaming were Squad Leader (owned by me), and Panzer Leader (owned by Keith). I can't remember how many times we replayed Hill 621, like two generals in a Twilight Zone episode, damned for eternity to refight the same battle, but it was enough times that we both remember it to this day.
Back in those days, one of the games that I had that we never actually got to play much was Afrika Korps. It was one of Avalon Hill's older games, and was quite a bit simpler than most of their later products. It was designed to simulate the back and forth battles fought across the western desert from 1941 to 1942, and while it has some issues that keep it from being a truly great simulation, it is a fun game.
Well, this afternoon being wintery, dreary, and reminding me of those far off days, I broke out my copy of Afrika Korps, complete with an excellent set of replacement counters. and set it up just for fun. Of course once it was set up, I decided to see if I remembered the rules, so I decide to play through the first few turns. From the start, things went poorly for the Commonwealth forces, who upon losing Bengasi to the Axis, tried to send a blocking force to slow the Axis advance near Gebel El Achdar. There was a natural choke point there, and success would have seriously impacted the Axis advance. It was not to be. As it turned out, I rolled an Exchange on the combat table which eliminated the Commonwealth forces, but cost the Axis 2 Italian Infantry divisions as well.
|The Commonwealth troops try to block the Axis advance
This resolution, while weakening the Axis, allowed them to continue their headlong race to Tobruch. Added to that, the Axis had rolled successfully on its first three supply rolls and was well positioned to continue its attack with the recently arrive 15th panzer division. Tobruch was in danger!
Just this short bit of play really took me back to those days long ago, with Keith and I sitting at one of our parent's dining room tables, struggling to see if we could outmaneuver one another and change history.
|The Axis forces approach Tobruch