Replay iBattle Academy – Western Desert Campaign 1

The Western Desert Campaign is the first one available in Battle Academy for iPad. One will argue that this game is not the most realistic simulation one can find about WWII at tactical level, and that’s fair enough. But what an awesome lot of fun to move troops across the dunes and villages on a tablet!

Western Desert Campaign

Mission #1 is titled “Capture the fort”, and it is some sort of tutorial set up involving just 3 AFVs and a couple of squads, whose mission is to take control of an isolated Italian fort. I love these briefing screens:

Capture the fort - Briefing

Capture the fort - Tactical map

The interest here will be to tick the 3 proposed achievements:

  1. Do not lose any units (probably the hardest one)
  2. Kill at least 10 enemy units
  3. Capture all victory points in 12 turns

So let’s get started! No option to configure your army here, you’re just offered the default 3 “Queens of the desert” aka Matilda tanks. A couple of Bren carriers full of tommies will come along a bit later, to help securing the buildings.

OOB and Achievements

 

Turn 01

 

I launch my platoon of reco tanks at full speed along the trail, and on turn two they spot their first column of italian tankette, which turn out to be CV33 or L3. The Matildas easily deflect the rounds of machine-guns, and in a snap I have blasted the first two in the column down to hamburgers. The 3rd one will face the same doom minutes after, hammered by my off-board artillery.

Turn 02

 

Pushing forward, I encounter some opposition in the rugged terrain around the road, where italian footmen have taken cover during my artillery barrage. These crags are indeed the ideal cover in barren lands, I should be mindful of them later on.

But resistance is futile and I bypass the obstacle to meet another column of brazilian tankettes. Meanwhile, my infantry is catching up, riding fast on the priceless Bren carriers. Stupid me! There was another italian squad hidden on the opposite slope of the valley. They were quiet so far because suppressed, but now they show up for a last hurrah. The tommies have to disembark for a surgical cleanup, while the Matildas teach english to their italian counterparts. In the bloody battle, I loose one of my squad, which is taking one achievement away, damn!

Turn 05

 

Finally, we are reaching the settlement and the fort, which looks dangerously quiet. No doubts there are some machine guns ready for an opportunity fire behind these dark windows.

Turn 06

Using Assault movement, I scout around the buildings, to spot some jerrys entrenched in the building on the outskirts. The tommies carry out a merciless assault and take ground. Good surprise, more reinforcement are coming, 3 more squads to support the final assault. Although they’ll take 3 turns to reach the settlement, in the absence of proper transport.(And now I realise I should have sent my empty Bren carrier to accelerate deployment). As there’s no signs of life, I decide to call for another artillery barrage, hopefully to suppress the last defenders.

Turn 08

 

My AFVs circle around, with a hope to take them aback, while infantry comes closer to the city wall, and capture another outpost.

Turn 09

 

 

We finally spot the last defenders and HQ officers trying to flee from the back of the fort. They are snared in a snap, and we claim victory on Turn 11!

Turn 10

 

Victory

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Innovative Beta Season is open for PC wargamers!

I’m secretly hoping that this could be another sign of revival for hardcore wargaming: On the one hand, the big  Publishers are coming with brand new titles covering various eras:

But on the other hand, and maybe most importantly, we see more and more small or indie studios coming to the market with incredibly innovative game concepts, and I have recently shortlisted 2 of them:
Iron Cross is a real-time multiplayer strategy wargame set in North African theatre during Second World War. It combines strategy with operational level of war. Player chooses Axis or Allied side and is given command over armies, corps, divisions, battalions, airforce, engineering and logistics. He can choose from historical and fictional campaigns, operations and battles. Game is free to play for everyone!  => http://www.ironcrosswargame.com/
Unity of Command is a turn-based strategy game that combines easy-to-learn gameplay with historically accurate recreations of epic WWII battles of the Stalingrad Campaign. Players fill in for famous commanders such as von Manstein and Zhukov, practicing the art of operational warfare in a novel gaming system focused squarely on combat and manoeuvre. The game is commercial but is currently in free to play beta. I’ve just got on board and I’ll start reviewing the game shortly. But I can already tell the gameplay is really innovative.
=> http://unityofcommand.net/

Allies take back Gazala!

The Battle of Gazala was an important battle of the Second World War Western Desert Campaign, fought around the port of Tobruk in Libya from 26 May-21 June 1942. The combatants on the Axis side were the Panzer Army Afrika, consisting of German and Italian units and commanded by the “Desert Fox” Colonel-General Erwin Rommel; the Allied forces were the Eighth Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Neil Ritchie under the close supervision of the Commander-in-Chief Middle East, General Sir Claude Auchinleck. Rommel pushed his armoured forces round the southern flank of the Gazala position to engage the British armour in the rear of the Allied defences.

Despite successes in this engagement, Rommel’s armour found itself in a precarious position: interference to supply lines resulting from the continuing resistance of Free French at Bir Hakeim, which anchored the southern end of the Allied Gazala defences, left his tanks short of fuel and ammunition. Ritchie was slow to take advantage of this and Rommel concentrated his force to punch westwards to open a supply corridor through the Gazala line north of Bir Hakeim. The battle ended in a resounding victory for the Axis although at a high cost in tanks. Devoid of effective armoured forces in subsequent battles, Rommel was unable to decisively defeat the Eighth Army as it retreated into Egypt and his pursuit was brought to a halt at the First battle of El Alamein.