This is the battle report for game 3 of turn 3 of the WW1 Palestine campaign.
The Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) are making their third attempt to breach the Gaza defensive line. An additional month was spent in preparing for this assault on the defences in April 1917. London has raised concerns about the delays and what they will mean to their plans to release much needed troops back to the Western Front. EEF Headquarters have selected what they believe to be a weak spot in the Turkish line, where defending forces are split between defending a hilltop and town, both are the objective of the attack and must be taken for a successful breakthrough.
|EEF plan of attack|
Knowing that all bar two of the Turkish units are committed to defending the town and hill, the EEF plan is to advance and take the centre rough terrain consisting of cactus groves and rocks. The artillery will bombard the town while the infantry will push up along the road towards the town and supporting attacks will be launched from the centre rough terrain on both objectives.
Order of Battle
Turkish defending forces:
- 4 infantry units
- 1 infantry unit with supporting machine gun
- 1 cavalry unit
- 1 mountain artillery unit
The EEF attacking forces:
- 3 infantry units
- 2 infantry units with supporting machine guns
- 1 artillery unit
- 1 mountain artillery unit
The planned swift advance by EEF forces was stalled on a couple of occasions due to supply issues, resulting in units moving rather slower than planned. The artillery was able to start the bombardment of the town on schedule. The slow advance provided the opportunity for Turkish infantry to occupy the rough terrain and have they cavalry swing round on their righthand side.
|The attacking EEF forces appear|
|Turkish forces push into and around the centre rough terrain|
As the EEF infantry advanced they found the Turks had it occupied and were then surprised by a Turkish cavalry attack. This turn of events stalled the advance for a while. Time was always going to be the EEF's enemy based on previous scenarios. Fortunately an air sortie arrived to attack the Turkish infantry and the EEF advance resumed.
|Turks occupy the rough terrain and launch as cavalry attack|
|Some much needed air support|
The attack on the town was moving ahead, but without the expected support from the rough terrain. Again the boys in their flying machines were on hand to support the attack, but it was eventually to be called off due to lack of numbers. It was not until late in the day EEF infantry were able to clear the rough centre terrain of Turkish defenders, by which time it was too late to mount any meaningful attacks on the town or hilltop. Both objectives were still in Turkish hands.
|The attack on the town|
|The EEF occupy the rough terrain, but are left to rue their slow advance.|
This was a disaster for the EEF. They had not come close to taking either objective and the morale of the troops after three successive failed attacks would suffer. London is rapidly losing confidence and there is talk of replacing some of the EEF Headquarter staff.
This set back has certainly livened up the campaign. The next game will be a replay of one of the 3 scenarios played for the Gaza campaign stage. They all have two objectives which are challenging my multi tasking skills (or lack of).