July 29th 1942
Karl and Otto were covered in oil. They had spent the past few days trying to piece Bertha back together following the damage she’d sustained during a naval bombardment. “It’s no good Otto, we’ll never get her right again” Otto, fighting back the tears ,looked at Karl “Don’t say that! Never say that! She’ll be fine, just fine, you’ll see” Another turn of his wrench sent a jet of oil squirting into his eyes. “Gentlemen, you’ll never fix that. It needs replacing” The two freinds immediately jumped to their feet, spinning to face this intruder who dared suggest the love of their lives was gone. They both realised just in time that it was an officer who had addressed them, fighting back rage they both snapped smartly to attention as the man continued “What you need is a replacement socket, then we can get the old girl fighting fit. Lucky for you I have some spare parts in my truck. Sorry I forgot to introduce myself. I am Leutnant Viktor Schmid, would you accept some assistance?”
August 2nd 1942
General der Panzertruppe Pferdmann stood gazing out beyond the Suez canal. It had been a week since his forces had driven the British from north Afrika and already his losses had been made good with replacements from Germany. Although he had not yet received authorisation to move further east, he was sure it was coming. The British were on the ropes.
Both of his divisions had received Sdkfz 234/1s for their recon battalions and the Panzerjagers had been upgunned. Hes Korps was in good shape indeed,
90.Light infantry division was beginning to take shape as well. Mainly made up of infantry raised locally, the support battalions would be equipped with whatever Pferdmann could get his hands on. The first of the division's formations had arrived in Egypt this morning. 190.Artillerie regiment. Well the first battalion at least.
Anchored just off the Egyptian coast were elements of the Italian navy. They were to provide direct support to the Afrika Korps. Led by the Battleship Roma this small force was none the less powerful. Supporting the Roma was the Bolzano (CA) and the Muzio Attendolo (CL) with the Destroyers Lanzerotto Malocello and Leone Pancaldo providing escort.
The Dandolo, the only vessel not heavily damaged in the conquest of Egypt was also in attendance. Pferdmann sighed. The fleet presence was welcome (especially with the landing craft that may allow him to bypass the forward defences going east) but he was still lacking air cover. The Luftwaffe was in pieces and were unable to spare any planes and the Italians kept informing him that they had diverted all their air assets to help over central Europe.
August 6th 1942 04:00
Pferdmann had been waiting for this. Within the hour he had marshalled his forces on land whilst 21.Panzer had set off from Port Said, the Italians in close escort.
The Plan was simple. Panzer forces supported by artillery and Pioneers would land, isolate and then seize Beirut. With the port secure the remainder of the division could be landed.
Meanwhile 1.Panzer would advance along the coast, fighting their way through the bottleneck.
Elements of 21.Panzer in vessels not suitable for combat landings that will need to unload in port.
August 6th 1942 07:00
Pferdmann checked the report. Four British ships had been sighted. A Light Cruiser (HMS Sheffield) and three Destroyers (HMS Eskimo, Nubian and Sikh). “We need to get 21.Panzer on land immediately, tell the Italians that they have to buy us time” Pferdmann was nervous, where was the rest of the Royal Navy?
Both AT to StuG IIIF/8
Both recon to Sdkfz 234/1 8 rads
With elite replacements all round that left me with a still just about OK 644 prestige (yes my forces were rather battered following Egypt!)
This map looks horrible. A serious bottleneck all the way along the coast. A chance to out flank though the desert feels like a trap...there is just nothing out there and it would take me ages to get forces round to the north. And I'm not convinced 8 units are going to have an easy time on the attack on Beirut. I'm landing with four Panzers because they're the toughest units and hopefully can survive even if I've bitten off more than I can chew.
I had a good long think before this scenario on what I want in my core. Frankly I have enough of everything really except I could do with a couple more AA (and more artillery is never a bad thing). But with no airforce and no OS I have slots to spare (and I expect many more later!)
What I've decided on for now is to simply get an infantry division built up (90.Light infantry division) We are talking 4-6 infantry (plus a Pioneer?) 2-3 artillery, 1 recon, 1 AT and maybe a single unit of tanks. The idea with these guys is to provide security forces for rear objectives (thinking of two specific scenarios here) but also units I can cycle into the front lines if my "main" units get hit too hard. Plus, big city fights like Moscow and London will benefit from extra infantry no doubt! I will also build up my AA numbers at some point - mainly to cover the larger force! but also back ups will be handy here when ships start smashing my units again (Sealion I'm looking at you) We'll see how this plan pans out!
Edit: Forgot to add my thoughts on new hero placement. It was really a choice between front line units (tanks/recon) or by back line (art/AA)
I went with AA because its quite squishy when targeted and the AI likes to shoot it. Its also pretty expensive to replace. Plus the AA guns can still do their job when repairing. They can't use their own shoot action but they can fire in support!