Torch PBEM: Allied Dec I 42 Turn
It’s a lot further to Tunis than it looks
The Allies are blessed with another turn of clear weather in the E weather zone and use it to race for the Tunisian border. Next turn there is a 4 in 6 chance of rain, January brings a 5 in 6 chance. Rain takes away AEC, but not ATEC, cuts bombing factors in half, brings c/m ground movement to a crawl and inflicts damage to airbases in Morocco and Algeria.
Call it 20:20 hindsight if you like, but he Allies are being cautious. They don’t venture out from under their fighter cover, instead wait for more troops to arrive. December I sees the formation of two British divisions, 6th Arm and 78th Infantry, along the northern front. CCB/2 and 5th Mot Arty X make a mad dash from north to south, and with this maneuver the British are now holding the north with the Americans to the south. The French also form a 3-4-6 Inf XX at Tebessa.
While the Axis has been uncharacteristically passive (they have not moved a single hex after arriving in Tunisia), the Allies have been vigorously grabbing hexes. CCB/2 takes Kasserine on its drive south while 26 Arm X (Br) sweeps thru Beja before exiting to the breakdown box. Two less airbases the Axis can use to land troops, and several more hexes the Allies can use rail or admin movement in. Looking ahead to all the damage which will befall Allied airbases when rain comes an American Engineer Regt from Tebessa spends 6 MPs to run south of the E weather line and another 2 MP to place an airbase with 2 hits in hex 25:2721. A C-47 immediately lands and carries the Engineers back to Tebessa. And here comes CCB/2 with the Motorized Arty right behind to occupy the airbase. This position is adjacent to the E weather line, giving it a “weather flank” that will be hard to turn. Lastly a P-40F makes a landing at our “power oasis”. Also taking advantage of what may be the last good weather turn, all 15 SMPs are used to slip a step of supply into Tebessa.
US Engineers have been busy as well. 540th Rgt completes the 3-cap airbase in Philippeville, then moves to Bone to join the 19th Engineers in repairing 3 port hits, the exact number the Axis inflicted last turn. A British AA Bde also moves to Bone where its 5 points of flak should help discourage future air raids. A US Lt AA Rgt admin moves into Philippeville in case the Luftwaffe had any ideas about making a booty call. US engineers start an airbase at Souk Ahras.
Allied aircraft make hay while the sun shines. Bombers visit Sardinia where 2 victory points are earned for bombing Cagliari and a Ju88A is destroyed on the ground. Another port hit is placed on Sousse and the Ju88C night fighter is shot down while trying to intercept at Sousse. A major but inconclusive air battle takes place over the 6th Arm XX (Br) in hex 25:2911 when the Axis send their Fw190 and Re.2001 up to intercept Allied DAS.
The road trip from Morocco and western Algeria to the Tunisian border continues. Huge dust clouds emanating from column after column can be seen for miles. Everyone is hoping the rain holds of for another turn. A French 2-3-6 Inf XX is formed in Alger to defend the supply terminal.