March 1943 – Somewhere in Tunisia
A 600 Point Flames of War Ladder Battle
In March 1943 the 5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, received 5 new Officers and 150 new Other Ranks as replacements. It conducted a number of training exercises with the British 6th Armoured Division to ‘bed-in’ their new recruits and prepare for the assault on the Fondouk Gap.
Scenario – “The Cauldron”
Attacker – James Funnell, US Armored Rifles
HQ with 37mm Anti-tank Gun
Armored Rifle Platoon with 2 Squads
Self-Propelled Anti-tank Platoon – 2 x M10
Assault Gun Platoon – 2 x M8 Scott
Defender – Paul Nettle, British 1st Army Rifles
HQ – ‘B’ Company 5th Hants
Rifle Platoon with 3 Squads and a PIAT – 5th Hants
Carrier Patrol – 3 x UC with 3 x 0.5” MG – 5th Hants
Heavy Armoured Troop – 3 x Sherman MkIII – 16/5th Lancers
Because the Attacker and Defender used Reserve rules, the British started by defending two objectives with a single Rifle platoon! This meant a very long, thin deployment with little supporting fire. The Americans deployed their Armored Rifle Platoon and the 37mm Gun with the 2IC.
The Americans moved up to the British Rifle pits and opened a fusillade of fire, which temporarily pinned the Rifles. However, they unpinned in time for the dismounted assault, and despite a torrent of 37mm shells, 0.5” MG and LMG fire, not to mention Bazooka and rifle fire, the Rifles stayed unpinned and poured a hail of fire into the American assault, stopping it dead in its tracks.
The British continued pouring fire into the dismounted Americans, who were now stranded in the open, and things improved for the British when the 16/5th Lancers showed up, opening up on the US half-tracks. The US Armoured Rifle platoon, along with the US CinC, bugged out.
The Americans responded by bringing on their two M10 tank-destroyers, who initially had the worst of the exchange with the Shermans. However, the Shermans were surprised to see their shells bouncing off the M10s, and after losing a Sherman they too bugged out, leaving the American armour (the US Assault guns showed up as well) master of the battlefield.
In a desperate last fling the 5th Bn Carrier Platoon tried to advance to get around the flank of the US Armour, but was itself destroyed. As the US armour all had 0.5” MGs, there was no point in the isolated Rifle Platoon trying to assault the US tanks, and the Exercise Umpires called “Endex”. It was a US victory!