After the latest Budapest adventure, Patch and I decided to try a desert scenario from the latest Action Pack. From the Land Down Under has an interesting spread of scenarios including a desert one, and one for Hatten in Flames. “Carrier Hill” features Italians defending an exceptionally large hillock against an Australian force. The British need to take five summit hexes and control the Locations of three 75mm guns (or eliminate them; normal malfunction cannot eliminate them by SSR).

The Italians have sixteen squads, a HMG, three LMGs, two MTRs, the three ART and two 20mm AA guns. The ART must start in sangars (which Patch, who had the Italians, promptly started moving them out of, as it makes them really vulnerable to overruns), while everything else can (and did) start in a sangar. Naturally, this was all one big gray blob on the hillock; or a tan one with all the sangar counters on top. The British enter six bren carriers (two each of the three main types) and to Matilda IIs on the first turn, and then get nine-and-a-half squads on turn 2 with good leadership, three LMGs, an ATR, and a MTR. Conditions are dry with no wind (and no wind change DRs—whoops—we missed that), and there is a dawn LV hindrance equivalent to the normal mist rules (must be pre-sunrise, as there’s no sun-blindness); perfect vehicle dust weather.

The full area is three desert boards, and the turn 1 vehicles enter from the south. My major concern going into this was time. The scenario is six turns long, the infantry doesn’t arrive until turn 2, and will take at least two turns to get up to the Italian positions, where they can take Control of the objectives. Frankly, just getting them in the fight will be two turns. That leaves three turns to knock out three guns and take four hexes. So, the Matildas made their best speed north, and the carriers entered into two platoons trying arrange for some vehicle dust benefit. Patch didn’t fire until DFPh, and immediately hit and killed a carrier with an AA, who then got two possible shocks against a second one (both passed), while other guns changed CA in preparation for his turn.

Situation, British Turn 1, showing the full board, and not bothering to show movement. The hillock overlays combine to be one big hillock, which is outlined in brown.
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