Monday, January 27, 2014

Combat Mission Fortress Italy - Scenario Making: Darby's Rangers and the 39th Combat Engineer Regiment at Gela, Sicily 10 July 1943 -

The fight conducted by US troops at the northeast extreme of the city of Gela during the morning of 10 July 1943 is twice remarkable. At 0900, with the beach head still not completely secured, a small contingent of the  Italian Mobile Group E launched a so-called "counter attack" (most likely a diversionary attack) against the US forces in Gela. The first remarkable action was from Colonel Darby, who took a jeep back to the beach and commandeered an anti tank gun which was used to fight off the Italian armor. The second remarkable fact was that a good portion of the US forces at this location where green combat engineers.

Making an scenario inspired in the actual fight has been in my to do list for a long time. I think I have a reasonable starting point. I play tested the draft version and still needs some work on the AI. 

Right click and open in a new tab/window for a better view. This is the map for the scenario. The point of view for this image is from Gela, looking north east. In the far background, route 117 leading towards Niscemi. To the right, route 115. The outer edges of Gela are visible. My map features only the via Generale Cascino. I thought of  extending the boundaries of the map towards Gela proper, including the via Vittorio Emanuele, but I think that this smaller version will do equally well.

The first objective for both US and Italian troops is to control the intersection of routes 117 and 115 (yellow area).

The second objective is to control a foothold in Gela. This objective (yellow area) is located at the east extreme of via Generale Cascino.
The map making capabilities of the Combat Mission engine are very well known. This is Gela proper, up the hill through via Generale Cascino.

A view of a farm in the Gela plain. Somewhere in the far distance, the Italian Mobile Group E is getting ready to attack.

Image of one of the play test runs.  An Italian R-35 has been knocked out by the combat engineers in one of the houses.
For its scope and the light effort I invested onto it, this scenario should be qualified as "reasonably inspired in the true events". I make no claims of authenticity in the map, orders of battle, troops setup and tactical plans. That being said, even at the crude draft stage, the scenario play test is showing some nice true to life features. Like those R-35 Italian tanks getting stuck in the Gela streets when the engineers throw everything but the kitchen sink at them. That and off course the commandeered AT gun ...

Stay tuned for an AAR of this scenario.



Doug Miller said...

Looks like great minds think alike, JC. I'm starting some reading and gaming around Operation Husky myself. Your timing is perfect, and I look forward to playing the scenario!

JC said...

LOL. I finished posting this and I saw your twitter update on that.

That is a great wargame once you get your eyes and brain around it. The AI is though as nails.


Doug Miller said...

After playing for a few more hours I'm in complete agreement: Battles in Italy is a great wargame. I'm finding it really enjoyable.

Of course, every time I click on 1st Ranger or 39th Engineers I want to give your scenario a try!