Recently I finished SCS Crusader campaign. Now I’m gonna share my progress and impressions in AAR format. Before that campaign I played only one Standard Combat Series game – Afrika II. I played its campaign four times and love the game very much. Crusader represents a battle from North Africa campaign and gives an opportunity to touch the clash of 8th Army and DAK in Operation Crusader. My opponent didn’t had any preferences, so I took Axis to make his life a little easier (and because 21 Pz and 15 Pz amongst my favourite WWII formations).
We had a problem turning off the light during the start of campaign, so I apologize for the first and second photo with lamp reflection…
That photo contains setup upside down. The left circle is the famous Halfaya “Hellfire” Pass, the right one is Bir-el-Gubi and the bottom one is Tobruk under siege. The map contains 9 victory locations 1 VP each. To win, you need to take at least 2 more VP than opponent. Allies can get another 2 VP if supplied all Tobruk units with external HQ and hold Tobruk itself. Germans can have 2 VP if hold Tobruk at the end of the game.
The supply system works through the headquarters. HQ draws supply from the source via road and distributes it using the throw range. Air forces are represented by counters issued by d6 roll at the start of the turn. You may use them to shift combat column or to reinforce the barrage.
The situational map represents main Allied efforts to the end of second game turn: strike on Halfaya, central advance between Sidi Rezegh and Gambut, attack on Bir-el-Gubi. Presence of vast mobile forces and mostly open terrain makes the game very tense and fun, as players exchanges with panzer punches like a boxers.
At the end of Axis turn 2, Halfaya still stands, but newzealanders supported by British armoured brigades destroyed everything on their way. So I need to withdraw there. Bir-el-Gubi fight reminded me of gold Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward fights with an exchange of severe blows. Rommel drove through the punched hole in Tobruk perimeter to capture the port on the next turn.
3rd Allied turn. Halfaya was captured, central front pushed further to the north. Bir-el-Gubi – like always! Rommel withstand attacks against him and ready to attack Tobruk.
Axis 3rd turn. Kamfgruppes from 15 Pz and Ariete division assaulted the crossroads with British HQ and destroyed it! Tobruk is captured, it’s time to start cleaning up of the cauldron.
The 4th turn is finished and nothing is still decided in this match besides the fall of Tobruk. British feel comfortable on every other direction.
Allied Turn 5. British withdrawn from Bir-el-Gubi and regrouped South African forces at Gabr Saleh. On the right flank there’s a pressure on the Hafid Ridge (2 VP hill) with some pressure in the center.
Thanks to fine DAK throw range it became possible to strike Gabr Saleh from Bir-el-Gubi on Axit turn 5. I hate the limit of 1 overrun per stack in SCS – it forced me to gather forces literally from all important points to make an assault on the last British HQ. In the end, HQ was destroyed, which eased my life to the end of the game (though it rolled 2 for reconstitution). It’s time to leave Hafid Ridge to survive.
The absence of any HQ force Allies to gather near “D-E” supply sources, so they withdrawn and regrouped.
I tried to use it on Axis turn 6 and put some pressure on Allies everywhere, getting Hafid Ridge back. Tobruk pocket still lives with its own life. Mild out of supply effects allows British garrison there to live a long life.
7th Allied turn. Still no HQ, so limited offensive was conducted at Hafid Ridge.
Axis 7th turn. Some sweeping activities to kill some isolated forces. DG Rommel rolled 1-1 on 5:1 column and reduced one Pz battalion!
8th Allied turn. Reinforcements tried to strike on Bir-el-Gubi but fails, as there’s already one of Italian HQ with one column shift. Although, Hafiz Ridge fallen again. 21 Pz was destroyed almost entierly.
Axis 8th turn. I took Afrika units to counterattack Bir-el-Gubi “bulge” and destroyed the last British HQ once again. Italians changed Germans in Tobruk garrison – it wasn’t very smart idea! Though, my advanced units solidly took Gabr Saleh and withdrawn from Hafid Ridge one again. I thought that without and British HQ on the map, there’s nothing to be afraid.
9th Allied turn. Regroup at Hafid Ridge. The only attack was made on Tobruk, and it was successful, as the assault was conducted by in-supply reconstitutioned units! British player rolled 10 on 1:1 column and killed everything.
9th Axis turn. Germans and Italians withdrawn deeper to Gabr Saleh and created a powerful group there to withstand possible assault from the British. 15 Pz led by Rommel rolled 3 on Tobruk assault and got pity A2 result. Assault is postponed on the next turn.
Allied 10th turn. Allies stroke Bardia but not very hard. Mobile units made an attack on Gambut which was easily deflected thanks to DAK HQ and 88mm units. But empty Sidi Rezegh was captured in exploitation phase.
10th Axis turn. Combined Italiano-German assault made the Tobruk garrison surrender. Counter strikes on out of supply Allied units in Sidi Rezegh and near Gambut were also successful.
The last Allied turn! Red herring near Bardia tried to lure my only air point on that turn. The desperate strike on Gambut was made, but NZ infantry didn’t found any keys to German 88mm. The most interesting part was again in Tobruk, where fresh supplied reconstitutioned units started the last assault. British thrown 4 air points there and rolled 6 on 3:1 column which was not enough to kill 5 Italian steps there.
On Axis last turn, I decided to make several demonstration attacks to relieve the map from Allied units and try to get half of the Hafid Ridge back. The fun was ruined by three 1-1, one 1-2 and one 1-3 rolls. Germans already started to celebrate the victory.
Final VP calculation showed 7 Axis VP against 4 Allied VP, which meant Axis Minor Victory.