The date is June 21 1940. A unit of the Italian mountain infantry, the “Fenestrelle” battalion of the 3rd Alpini Regiment launched an attack on the French Chasseur Alpins (“Alpine Hunters”) at Abries. The Chasseur Alpins are informally known as “Les diables bleus”or “The Blue Devils”. This scenario’s designed by Mr Alexandre Rousse-Lacordaire “in memory of [his] great-grandfather Capitaine Télèphe Rousse-Lacordaire (111th BCA) KIA on August 27th 1914.”
This is an Advanced Squad Leader scenario from LFT14 Italians : FT225 Blue Hell at P.A. Abries. The Italians are to score more CVPs than the French (and to grab 3 buildings/pillbox) in 7 turns. The Italians have three attack groups that can setup from four different areas. That makes for a rather large area that the French has to worry about. Whichever side has higher CVPs win but the Italians can also gain CVPs by claiming buildings on the top left quadrant of the map (top half of the map and left of the white dotted line).
The Italians opened quite nicely from the valley. I focused on shortening my lines and bringing the French forces together and traded space for time. The issue is that I could have takened better advantage of the Italians having to cross open ground with 6 morale. My OBA went silent quickly after a couple of Access. The Italian artillery was still going strong on Turn 6, wrecking havoc all along the French retreat. The Italians avoided open ground and got stuck up the hills on the top right. The French defenders on the top right were able to scramble back and really had to do so when the Italians started threatening the hills to their immediate right. The Italians didn’t go for the bottom left either but went up via the middle where they get better cover (but slower progress). So far we have been able to fall back just ahead of the Italians and avoided Close Combat. Unfortunately we had to move out of the woods when the Italian artillery started coming in.
By Italian Turn 6, the French were behind by 4 points, but that’s not counting the buildings ceded and the buildings the Italians will move into in the remaining turn. We failed to put ourselves in a position to surround and kill their brokies. Hard to rally as the Italians might be, they do rally. Their OBA continues to wreck havoc on our positions, aside from hindering our ability to relocated. One more Italian red chit and it would be gone, but there’s no chance of that now. A French counterattack in the cards (down in the middle of the board)?
I should have read the Victory Conditions more carefully and shouldn’t have retreated out of the hill in the middle of the map. Apart from killing more French than they lost, the Italians have to get at least 3 buildings from the top quartrant of the map. Moving the defensive line to the north hold things together but left the Italians with 7 buildings. That is of course not a huge issue if we had OBA, but we drew 2 “Reds” early in the game!
Holding the hill in the middle of the map longer will leave the defensive line on the top of the map and around the buildings near the church thinner. A more spread out set of defenders will also make it harder to keep the Italians from winning in CVPs. Ah well, perhaps that’s the way it would have to be!