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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Encounter at Djebel Alem Hamza 1941

The Second World War, Blitzkrieg Commander, 6mm

This was a game with quite a few firsts in it. For starters, it was the first game laid on and run by Nick since he came to Orkney. Thanks, Nick, for stepping up to the plate! Second, it was my first 6mm game for the best part of three decades – certainly before I left to work in Key West in ’95. Lastly, it was the first game of Blitzkrieg Commander I’d ever played. I’d heard good things about the rules, and so I was looking forward to it. I have to say, its also a treat not having to schlep in heavy boxes of 28mm figures and scenery! The game itself was pretty straightforward. The table, covered in a rather vibrant arid terrain mat was dominated by a square-shaped hill, the Djebel Alem Hamza, somewhere west of Tobruk. Both the Germans played by Sean and the British played by me had to get an artillery observer onto its summit. The game was played out on  a 6×4 foot table. To help, both sides had a mixed force of tanks, motorised infantry and some anti-tank guns. This was very much a “learning curve” clash, to try out the rules. I had Valentines from 8th Royal Tank Regiment, while Sean’s panzers came from the 15th Panzer Division. My infantry though, came in trucks and carriers, while Sean had fancy Hanomags. I did though, have a trio of 2pdr. portees, mounted on the back of 15cwt. trucks, which looked fun. A 2pdr. though, having checked the rules, wasn’t much to write home about…Sean started the game with a very speedy advance, which saw his tanks reach the north of the Djebel Alem Hamza, while his infantry passed through the houses clustered around an old fort to the south. Worse, his observer not only reached the ridge, but had scaled it before I’d even got out of the starting gate. It certainly showed what you could do in these rules, if your luck held. Unfortunately mine didn’t. Sean’s German battlegroup CO had a better command value than mine did, and when I tried advancing my infantry refused to budge, while the tanks made it one lumbering 15cm move, then halted. The only speedy part of my advance was on the left, where my portees and some bren carriers headed towards the bridge over an impassable wadi.In was just in time as the German infantry were advancing towards the bridge from the direction of Fort Mamza. I opened up with my 2pdr. portees and brewed up one of the Hanomags – unfortunately after the panzer grenadiers had dismounted. Still, it was a start. It was then that I discovered the Blunder rule. If you roll a double six to activate then bad things happen. In my case one of my tanks was knocked out by my own air force! It also handed the initiative back to the Germans.Sean’s tanks came dangerously close to Alam Hamza village, while a group of Panzer IVs appeared in column, squeezing through the narrow gap between the djebel and the wadi. My trusty portees opened up and damaged the lead tank, but didn’t knock it out. Still, in the next turn I got my tanks rolling again, and skirmished with the Panzer IIIs, but again I didn’t score enough hits to kill one. Sean then had his own blunder, and one of his tanks was knocked out by friendly fire. That left two of his Panzer IIIs within charge reach of my infantry, the 38th Punjabis, who had managed to move forward into the village. In a rash moment I decided to close-assault the tanks, and four stands sallied out – two attacking each tank. I think we got the rules wrong, as Sean had 3 dice per tank to my 10 dice, and I still lost – heavily! All my four infantry stands were wiped out, and the panzer crews breathed a sigh of relief! The focus of the game then shifted to the British left, where my portees were being whittled down by fire from the Panzer IV’s. Having notched up two more Blunders with my tanks which saw them retreat twice, I moved them over to my left, hoping to prop up my flank. Then, Sean blundered, but this time his PAnzer IVs advanced – two of them charging headlong into my infantry by the wadi!I should have close-assaulted, but I was wary of that game now, and pulled the infantry back, together with my one remaining portee. My Valentines were in action now, and holding their own in the tank battle. That’s roughly where we finished the game. The German artillery observer was sitting on top of the djebel, enjoying his  lunch, while below him the bridge was still being contested, and I held the village. So, Nick, who was the patient umpire – duly declared the game a marginal German win. I have to admit, I quite enjoyed this  foray into 6mm, and I liked the rules (Blitzkrieg Commander IV), which were straightforward, easy to pick up and fun too. Sean had Cold War kit for this, and I know that before the month is out I’ll be painting up teeny-tiny T-64s, BMPs and Hinds…







4 Responses “Encounter at Djebel Alem Hamza 1941”

  1. Roy bumpsteed
    23rd August 2022 at 7:38 am

    Not played 6mm tank wars for nearly 30 years!.will now dust the models off and give it another go soon.

    • 23rd August 2022 at 9:23 am

      Well Roy, what helps is that the rules are a lot slicker than the ones in vogue 30 years ago. I like the single basic mechanism, whether you’re firing at infantry, fighting a tank duel, lobbing mortar rounds or calling in an air strike.
      In fact, I’ve even bought a copy of “Cold War Commander”, and have been painting up microtank Soviets!

  2. Graham Knight
    6th September 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Just played an initial game of Cold war Commander 2 and hugely enjoyed it too As a result, A I ordered more 1990s kit, and, B have searched out the 1/200 1944 and 6mm Western Desert kit for BKC.

    I would start with the tanks and add something else each new game. More complex than WW2.

    I fear that my gaming is set until the new year.

    • 6th September 2022 at 1:52 pm

      I think you’re right Graham – it’s a slick system. Cold War Commander might be a little more complex, but you get to play with Hinds!
      So far, I’ll let other club members lay on WW2 games, while I concentrated on getting my c.1985 Soviet Mot. Rifle Regt. into gear…

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