I wanted a scenario to play test my emerging revision to the Crossfire armour rules. This scenario simulates the New Zealander and Greek attack on two small settlements – Monaldini farm and Monticelli – south-west of Rimini on 14 Sep 1944, during the Italian Campaign. Defending are Fallschirmjäger and “Turcomen” i.e. Soviet PoWs in German service. It is roughly a company a side in terms of infantry but the Kiwis have six, count them, six Shermans.
Setting: Monaldini, Monticelli and San Lorenzo in Strada, south-west of Rimini, Italy, 14 Sep 1944
1 Canadian Division launched a big attack, attempting to take Rimini from the west and capture a bridgehead across the river above the town. 3 Greek Brigade got nowhere in the face of German machine and mortar fire, and the Canadians called upon the New Zealanders to give the Greeks ‘moral and physical support’. As a result tanks from B Squadron 20 Armoured Regiment and B Company (Major O’Reilly) of 22 Battalion, both from 4 NZ Armoured Brigade, became the first New Zealanders to go into action against the Gothic Line. Being only a company in strength the New Zealand infantry where only expected to protect the tanks.
The Greeks initially attacked Monaldini farm alone but at 1930 hours were joined by the Kiwi Shermans of 5 Troop and 8 Platoon from B Company, 22 Battalion. They advanced through vineyards and shrubs into the smoke and dust-covered remains of the farm buildings. They had captured the farm by 2015 hours.
At 1925 6 Troop started bombarding Monticelli with the infantry attack – 7 Platoon, B Company, 22 Battalion and a platoon of Greek – going in at 2015. At 2045 hours 7 Troop joined up with 7 Platoon and attacked up the road towards Monticelli. They had captured the settlement by 2130 hours.
Key features are:
- Built up areas: Monaldini farm, Monticelli and Strada, each with an objective
- Rio Melo with ford
- Woods, rough ground, out of season fields, buildings
- San Lorenzo in Strada, a church
- Vineyards – count as in season orchards
Germans deploy hidden
German Player (Defending)
Prevent the Allies capturing Monaldini, Monticelli and San Lorenzo in Strada. British and Commonwealth units are known to be shy of taking losses. So the best way to retain your positions is to inflict casualties.
A mixed force from 1. Fallschirmjäger Division and “Turcomen”. The “Turcomen” were probably a Ostlegion battalion from the 162. (Turkistani) Infantry Division
German Order of Battle
- Veteran Fallschirmjäger
- 1 CC(+2)
- 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC(+2); 3 x Rifle Squads; 2 x Early Panzerfaust (AT 7d6/2d6)
- 1 x HMG
- 1 x 7.5cm PaK 40 ATG with optional tow (AT 6d6; AP 3d6)
- 1 x FO for off-table 12cm Mortar (12 FM)
- Green “Turcomen”
- 2 x Rifle Platoons: PC(+1); 3 x Rifle Squads; 2 x Early Panzerfaust (AT 7d6/2d6)
- 1 x HMG
- 1 x On-table 5cm Mortar (12 FM)
- 1 x Sniper
- Morale: “Turcomen” are Green and Fallschirmjäger are Veteran
- Command & Control: “Turcomen” have Okay (i.e. British) and Fallschirmjäger have Good (i.e. German)
- Total fighting stands: 13
Deploys first. Hidden.
Allied Player (Attacking)
Begins scenario with initiative.
Capture Monaldini, Monticelli and San Lorenzo in Strada without suffering significant losses. The men are precious. For the Kiwis you’ll have to wait for a new wave of reinforcements to come from New Zealand.
Combined Kiwi and Greek force comprising:
- 2 Sherman III Troops (5/7, 6), B Squadron, 20 Armoured Regiment, 4 NZ Armoured Brigade, 2 (NZ) Division
- 2 Rifle Platoons (7 & 8), B Company, 22 (Motorised) Battalion, 4 NZ Armoured Brigade, 2 (NZ) Division.
- 2 Rifle Platoons, 3 Greek Brigade.
In Crossfire terms that means:
Attacker Order of Battle
- Veteran Kiwi
- 2 x Sherman Troops: 3 x Sherman III (ARM 1d6; AT 5d6; AP 5d6)
- 2 x Rifle Platoon: PC(+1); 3 x Rifle Squads;
- Green Greek
- 2 x Weak Rifle Platoons: PC(+1); 2 x Rifle Squads;
- Morale: Mixed Veteran and Green
- Command & Control: Okay
- Total fighting stands: 16 including 6 vehicles
The Kiwis cannot conduct phasing fire before 1930 hours. However, they can move, conduct reactive fire, and call in indirect fire. This simulates getting into position having moved from reserve. The Greeks act normally from the beginning of the game.
The game automatically ends at 2200 hours. The Allies win if, at that time, they control the terrain objectives in Monaldini farm and Monticelli. They win a major victory if they also control the objective in the Church of San Lorenzo in Strada. A player controls a terrain objective if their stand occupies the feature or was the last to occupy it, and the feature is/was not physically contested by the enemy.
The Allies immediately lose the game the moment they take 5 fighting stands of casualties. Fighting stands include BC, CC, HMG, Rifle and SMG Squads, Tanks, Guns, but not PC or FOs.
Scenario Special Rules
- HTD Special Rule 4: The Moving Clock is in use. The Scenario begins at 1900 hours and ends 2200 hours. The clock advances 15 minutes on 5+ at the end of each defender initiative.
- HTD Special Rule 5: Bogging down is in use. Tanks bog down in woods, vineyards, and the stream (except at the ford) on 4- on 1d6. They unbog on 5+, becoming permanently mired on 1.
Using my draft revised armour rules:
Sherman III with 75mm (ARM 1d6; AT 5d6; AP 5d6)
7.5cm PaK 40 ATG with optional tow (AT 6d6; AP 3d6)
Early Panzerfaust (AT 7d6/2d6)
Regarding the Allied Order of Battle:
- Although four troops (5, 6, 7, 8) of Kiwi Shermans were present. Only two seemed to have been active at any one time so I have only given the Kiwi’s two troops in the game.
- All of B Company, 22 Battalion was present, but only two platoons (7 and 8) were active.
- I can’t find any mention of Vickers machine guns supporting the Allied attack, so give no HMGs to the attackers. They do, however, have a lot of tanks.
- I classify the Greeks as Green because the Kiwis had mixed impressions of the Greeks, describing them as ”dogged” and “good fellows and brave soldiers”, but “inexperienced” and sometimes “unimpressive”, and when operating in conjunction with tanks they “did not seem to have many clues”. ”The only Greeks I saw were dead ones, and the others looting everything in sight”.
The German order of battle is completely made up. I do know Fallschirmjäger and “Turcomen” were present. I just don’t know how many of each. I assume the “Turcomen” might have older equipment including 5cm mortars rather than 8cm mortars.
There are some very long lines of fire on the map. The Germans can reach the Allied base line with fire. Similarly the Allies can fire on the German positions in Strada from the beginning of the game. I was also concerned about the long line of fire down the road. Play testing showed my concerns were not founded. If you find it a problem then drop in a couple of crests to break up the offensive lines of fire.
If you don’t have Kiwi tanks and infantry, then substitute British. If you don’t have British then substitute US with Shermans or Soviet with T-34s.