Monday, February 9, 2015

Capture the Bridges. Sicily 1943.

I had to add the date and place to the title or else everyone will think I'm redoing Arnhem or Pegasus Bridge again! 
No, in fact, this scenario called for the capture of two bridges, one, Primasole Bridge by the British Airborne, and the second, the Malati Bridge just to the south near the town of Lentini by the Royal Marines. I like this scenario because there is the added complication of airborne German Fallschirmjager!!  In an attempt to reinforce the beleaguered Italian and German defenders, the German High command decided to drop Fallschirmjager around Primasole Bridge. At the same time, without each side being aware, British airborne were being dropped to capture the bridge. They were tasked with taking it and holding until relieved (where have I hear that before?!)


The above picture shows the table. In the far left is the village of Lentini with the Malati bridge which was the objective of the Royal Marine Commandos. In our game and historically they achieved their objective. Just off picture to the left is the Primasole Bridge which historically the British Paras did manage to capture...they weren't so lucky in our game!
So with a double paratrooper drop happening simultaneously there was bound to be confusion- Men were lost, heavy weapons failed to arrive and firefight erupted at point blank range.

The Germans managed to concentrate their drops more effectively than the Red Devils and therefore consolidated themselves earlier- this was the crucial point in our fight for Primasole Bridge. Joe ( A new addition to the Brothers- Hi Joe!) was unlucky in that his paras were scattered too far and wide to coordinate themselves before the Germans could. The Germans won the first stage of the game.






Italian Defenders of Malati awaiting the arrival of the Royal Marines.
I was the Italian defenders of Lentini and half of my command was blasted away by the rampaging Royal Marines commanded by Spyros as they came ashore. My shooting was woeful. The Elite status of the Marines meant that my Italians weren't too keen to come to grips.  Spyros concentrated his fire and did not allow his Bootnecks to get bogged down in street fighting but pushed on quickly to the Malati bridge. The Marines had to capture this bridge to allow the Durham Light Infantry and the 44th Armoured to pass through unhindered in their efforts to get to the Paras at Primasole.
He quickly secured the bridge in short order, and then cleared out the rest of the Italians in Lentini. He then advanced north, into the area south of the the Primasole bridge, fighting heavily with German infantry and Fallschirmjager (commanded by George) to link up with the Paras.  Stage two was won by the Marines!


The Bootnecks hit the beaches and very quickly cleared out the first Italian defenders- they had the advantage of radio comms with a cruiser offshore...and it was accurate and deadly!



Joe continued to throw his paras against the defenders of the bridge. George was praying for reinforcements and cursing his Italian allies (me) for their ineffectual support. Time was running out and in the end, despite the valiant efforts of Joe's paras and Spyros' marines, George held on to win the struggle for the Primasole bridge, thus slowing Montgomery's advance to Messina!



Advancing through Malati towards the bridge.

The heroes of the Italian defence- they got BEHING the Royal Marines.....and were shot down by a well placed MG!

The Marines couldn't pinpoint the whereabouts of a dug in Pak 40. They laid smoke to stop the devastating fire of this gun as it was zeroed in on the bridge.

There it is!! Call in naval support Spyros!

Finally- it's a clear run- move it lads!!!

The Marines' MG moves up to the bridge.

Downtown Lentini.

These paras held out in the church graveyard until the marines arrived.

The paras emerge from windmill as the Marines move forward.


Isolated groups of paras began to arrive on the table- walking 'downwards' they had been ordered to follow the line of the drop- historically Paras continued to arrive for 2 days after the drop- so in our game isolated groups continued to arrive. Joe threw them into the fight for the bridge as quickly as he could but they didn't have sufficient numbers to take the bridge.


German MG 42- firing position to the west of the bridge. 

Armoured columns began to arrive to help the Marines and the Paras.

More men of the Durham Light Infantry begin to arrive, driving through Lentini, across the Malati bridge to help the Paras- they didn't make it in time.

Paras approaching Primasole bridge. German trench to the right.




The Germans rolled a dreaded double 6...and the lone Stuka shot up a column of the relieving 9th Durham Light Infantry.



Grenadiers of the Hermann Goering Panzer Division arrive to support the defenders of the bridge.


6 comments:

  1. Thanks John.
    One of the best games I've played in a while.
    Why is it the last couple of WW2 games I've played (As Monty's British) with a bridge objective, I just can't seem to take and hold it?
    Might be time to use "Old Blood And Guts" Patton's Yanks.

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  2. Yes mate...maybe...time to give the yanks a chance...but not Nijmegen bridge!!

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  3. A wonderful battle with beautiful pictures, very atmospheric...this terrain is really great, details are most impressive...we are in the heart of the action sir, well done!

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  4. Interesting layout and 2 para drops!
    As usual pictures look good .
    I look forward to the next write up .

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    1. Thank you! Another in a week or so!

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