Some conversations about strategy and tactics in Operation Crusader's
Campaign Game. I, for the most part have been playing the Commonwealth
side. Not until recently have I started with the Axis units (only into
day one in a PBEM scenario). I play my units aggressively but I keep on
coming up against a re-occurring problem. I would like to know if I'm
missing something. I am aware of the "Arty Bug" that takes out of action
from 50% to 75% of a critical British artillery asset but more
disturbing seems to be that the Commonwealth units are constantly
running out of supplies. At first I thought I was driving them to
hard...so to correct this in the more recent games I have kept over 95%
of the movement to >1/2 movement and used strategic movement whenever
possible. Yet by day two no new supplies seem to arrive. All my HQs are
within green distance, fatigue is nil & dido for disorganization. I have
clear supply lines to my dumps with no enemy in sight. The AI seems to
be able to trace clear supply routes but by day three my army must come
to a complete standstill. All units are in red for supply. I have waited
a couple of days and the available stocks never move from 49 tons for
the entire ARMY except for Tobruk. It seems to me that the Axis have one
Hell of a Strategic bombing campaign. My adversary has told me that he
has had no units behind my lines and more than once I have surrendered
my sword ... for lack of food water and bullets. Is their a way to tell
if supplies arrive each turn. I do realize that the supplies are
delivered on the 6 am turn but the depot should steadily increase its
stocks during the day...shouldn't it? In one PBEM scenario I am playing,
all Tobruk units start out at no supply. How is that? I have already
court martialed 2 supply officers and had them executed the next one we
will bury alive in the sand. Jon
The anti tank companies are meant to increase the anti tank
capabilities of other units, ussually infantry battalions.
Initially I send my anti tank companies, you know that they are
companies by the slash in the lower right hand corner, behind my main
lines. Whenever a strong armored or recon unit shows up infront of one
of my infantry or artillery battalions I will send an anti tank company
to increase the likelyhood that my infantry will be able to resist an
After I have constructed the fortified line that I intend to hold I put
my anti tank companies in the fortifications and send my infantry to the
rear area so the infantry units can respond to any large formations of
enemy that appear at my defensive line.
I have seen some people us the anti tank companies in a recon role.The
do get where they are going faster than any other unit on the map. I
think that unless the situation warrents you will waste them if used in
this maner.That doesn't mean that I never do it it just means that you
must really need an objective to risk an anti tank company like that.
Anti tank companies are very susceptible to artillery fire and air
strikes. They have a high servivability rate in fortifications.
Two anti tank companies and an HQ make a very good defensive unit..
An artillery battalion,an infantry battalion and an armored battalion
is a very very good defensive stack,but that is another story all
Anti-tank companies are you most mobile units.They can rush from one
end of the map to the other. If you ever have to deal with a
breakthrough you can extend your flanks with fast strategic movement
from anti tank units.They will ussually be able to survive most initial
attacks if in fortified positions.If they get wiped out upon the first
contact with the enemy well at least they bought you time.
As the allies in the campaign game I have never experienced a breakout
by the germans. This is due to anit tank units AND artillery running
around to seal up the holes.
Some might say that using your artillery as foward entrenched infantry
is not realistic, but I quote: "German artillery, which, because the
danger from the air had not been great in the past, was stationed close
to the front in open emplacemnts that haved wide fields for direct
antitank fire but no protection against air strikes." Stalingrad to
British 25 pounder guns were great anti tank guns. Don't be afraid to
use your artillery as mobile reinforcements.
They can attack dummy units with great success and an infantry unit
that is nothing more than a shell.
In the Crusader campaing game, playing e mail, I have lost the southern
pass to the italians and with three infantry battalions an anti air and
one tank battalion reinforced by 7 anti tank companies I was able to
stretch the axis out so far that they gave up the encircling move.
Try and keep as many anti tank companies intact as you can. If a
situation is really hairy for the allies send an tank battalion in for
armor support and withdraw the anti tank company.
I've played To the Rescue [Operation Crusader] as the Allies against a
human opponent and won big time. The key to the scenario is this:
Use ground support on the Via Balbia west of Sidi Rezegh _heavily_ on
turn one to slow down the Eyeties. Send one tank brigade to Sidi R,
strat mode and occupy the outlying hexes. Send 7 Support Group, strat
mode, to Sidi R and fortify there, and retreat the tank brigade when
Send 4th Tank to Gambut, strat mode, on turn one and make at least one
attack during day one. Send 22 inf brigade there too, strat mode to take
over the assault during day two while 4th brigade fortifies the
And check the Italians issuing from Bir el Gubi. The key to victory is
quick caapture of Sidi Rezegh and Gambut. If you can't take Sidi R on
turn one, you're dead meat. If you take Gambut on day two, you can send
one brigade as reserve to Sidi Rezegh later on.
I think the scenario is fairly evenly balanced as is. The South
Africans are well equipped to meet the Italians, who in turn are almost
able to fight the Brits as long as they only need to grapple with part
of their forces. Supply is evenly distributed IMO, as is ground support.
I might consider promoting "Strafer" Gott though. Perhaps it's _too_
easy for the Allies to win this, as the German reinforcements enter
quite late in the game, and are initially hampered by low supply status.
What do you say about awarding the Axis Malta?
As I said, the key to this scenario is ownership of Sidi Rezegh _and_
Gambut. It is not entirely certain that the Allies will succeed in
taking the latter, although the former is almost a foregone conclusion.
However, there remain ample scope for surprise, no?
The OC campaign scenario is one of those that begs for a tweak on VP
adjustment in favor of the Allies. The Axis 'hold the passes' strategy
is almost impossible to beat.
Robert D. Logue
I've played some 40-50 Campaign games, mostly as the Allies, and the
best I've done was to demolish the Axis army at the cost of my own,
losing the game on victory points. The key is a swift Allied
smash-and-grab strategy that Eric Sposito does so well. Allow the Axis
to dig in and get into a trench line situation, and you may as well give
Peter T. Szymonik
The whole problem with the Crusader campaing game is this:
The Axis, in order to win the game, must hold onto the objectives in the
east, Fort Capuzzo, Sollom and Sidi Aziez. If the axis can hold these
and all of the escarpment passes there is nothing that the allies can do
With this knowlege you, as the allied player, must limit you frontage.
Without giving away my strategy for the campaign game you must run hell
for leather, as Peter says, toward the escarpment passes. If you can
engage the axis in a fight in the open you will be able to win the
Clear up the axis south of Bardia while holding with the south africans
in the west and you will have the makings of a victory.Take advantage of
the italians in the outpost positions and look for ways to bypass axis
resistance wherever possible.
I have had people try to run up the escarpment pass due south of Tobruk,
the one all the way in the south western portion of the map. As far as I
am concerned this will do nothing but dilute the allied forces and leave
them open to a shattering counter attack somewhere else.
Use your infantry to establish a line and have your artillery dig in
right behind them. The leave the artillery to guard any quite sectors
with some mobile forces in reserve whenevery possible.
My idea of a balanced campaign game is allied air superiority and south
africans are veteran with Gott is promoted.
All in all if you run up against an experienced axis commander you are
going to be in trouble.
Start the Campaign from the allied side and then print out this message.
We will go from east to west.
In the East, east of Halfaya pass you use the 11th indian infantry
brigade to assault and try to bypass the italians in the fortified hex.
Bring 5th Indian infantry brigade northwest and have them engage the
Italians on the west side of Halfaya pass.
Bring 1st tank directly north in order to engage the likely retreat of
the Italian outpost infantry.
Send the New Zealand Divsion like an arrow, lead by 4th brigade in the
middle 6th Brigade on the left flank and 7th Indian on the right flank (
reattached to 2nd New Zealand Division), between the two roads( on the
right leading from Libyan Omar to Fort Capuzzo and on the left leading
from Gabr Saleh to Sidi Aziez)
4th brigade moves in between Fort Capuzzo and Sidi Azeiz, 6th brigade
heads for Sidi Aziez and leaves its trail of artillery and HQ to screen
their left rear and 7th Indian heads for Fort capuzzo.
5th NZ brigade surrounds anything left in Libyan Omar and performs flank
protection to the rest of the divsion.
The Anti tank companies attached to 8th army HQ move as a group into the
middle of the advance of the second NZ division ready to plug any holes
in the advance and offer anti tank support to the NZ infantry
battalions. Artillery, especially the heary british artillery arer very
effective in stopping armored attacks by the germans. Even more so when
4th Armored heads directly up towards Gambut and the dummy units that
are near it make up its flanking cover,streching to form a line from the
right most 4th armored battalion towards Libyan Omar, with one hex
between each dummy battalion and no more than two hexs to their front.
They dig in on the second turn.
7th Tank Brigade heads up towards Sidi Rezege with 7th support group in
22nd Tank Brigade moves up to cover the escarpment pass south of Sidi
1st Brigade south african division moves up the road towards Bir Gubi(
move battalions on both sides of the road as well as on the road itself)
and 5th Brigade heads up the road through Gabr Saleh-Bir el Essem to
deploy south of El Guitinat.
29th Indian brigade moves up to the escarpment pass and demonstrates to
the north, but not to far.
Do not move on Bir Gubi. There is nothing there for you.
Once you have made contact with the enemy you must try to take advantage
of the italians in the Fort capuzzo area and go on the defensive
Position you HQs and artillery units behind you infantry and armor and
orderthem to dig in pronto. Have the dummy units on the line
Gambut-Libyan Omar dig in at once.
If you have a quite sector pull your infantry and armor out of the
fortified positions and replace them with anit tank companies and
artillery units. This will allow you to keep a mobile reserve behind
your front lines. They will be able to react to any enemy actions and
will give the impression to your opponent that you are stronger than you
I hope that you got the jist of what I was trying to show you.
It is most important to dig in behind you front line in a manner that
will allow your fortified line to have one hex inbetween and no more
than two hexes in front of every defender. Artillery and anti tank
companies are most important to your defense.Do not leave your artillery
in the rear, you will need them to firm up your front lines.
HQ units need to dig in constantly. Idle HQ units are not doing anyone
any good. The Larger HQ units, ie 8th army and XXX corps HQ, are exelent
in a defensive mode, especially if you include an artillery battalion
and or anti-tank company.
Good Luck, Eric.
For you Crusader problems. What kind of advice are you looking for The
Allies are kind of hard to master. You need to establish a continuous
front of some sort and dig in in order to withstand the attacks by the
africa corps. Put as many units in attack supply as you can right from
the get go and send them in strategic movement to there destinations on
the first turn. Don't worry about ambushes when you are in attack
supply, they will do little harm to your units.
The best way I can describe playing World at War is that it is just like
chess, but you are not only moving your units through space but also
through time. In other words as you plot a brigades movements you must
realize that they might come into contact with the enemy in the middle
of the movement. So plan your spearheads with flanking units that are
not ordered to move as far as the units that are to reach an objective.
Advance a brigade with two units up front, the HQ and two anti tank
units in the middle, about four hexs behind the spearhead and cover your
flanks with artillery units reinforced with anti tank companies.
>> Thanks for the reply. You've given me some very good ideas. I think
what throws me off with Crusader is the run and grab w/o visible means
of support scenarios. Most of the games I've played previously in the
atomic line have clearly defined fronts from which you can manage
organized breakthroughs and encirclements. I also have not been paying
close enough attention to the supply rules in the game. <<
OC does develop a front line after a few chaotic initial turns, but once
the front line develops, it can be tough going for the Allies.
- Peter T. Szymonik, Scribed 26-Feb-1995 @ 17:02:33