Torch PBEM: Allied Jan I 43 Turn
It Never Rains in California
Everyone was hunkered down expecting foul weather, but it didn’t come to French North Africa this turn. With the Germans holding up in their supply terminals under heavy DAS the Allies continue to inch forward and nibble at infrastructure the Axis needs to maintain their position. First to go is the line of fortified hex sides near Mareth, poof, gone! Monty sends his thanks!
More good news – the Vichy colony of Tunisia joins the Allies. Not much in the way of troops come over (1x 1-8 Cav X, 1x 1-2-6* Inf III and 1 point of positional Hvy AA along with 1 step of supply), but this cleans up possession of uncontrolled hexes. Most importantly, French units from Morocco and Algeria can now enter Tunisia.
All three Rgts of the US 3rd Inf XX arrive in Kasserine, but the assembly roll fails (1 in 6 chance rolled during Allied initial phases, beginning Jan I 43). Further to the east 2/CCB advances to Sfax where it puts down an airbase hit and then rolls another hex north to break the rail line. 5th Motorized Arty X moves due west as far as possible, stopping adjacent to the coastal road at 25:3521. During exploit it will place a hit on the junction at 25:3621, then it and 2/CCB will dash westward to the oasis at Gafsa where the Mech Cdo Bn is waiting.
US units near Beja (25:2311) advance to place a couple of rail hits, then retreat back to their start points. 2/CCC 3-10* Arm X (US) lands at Bone and joins 2/CCA in 25:3113 to back up Beja.
Allied bombers fly a number of DAS missions, most notably at Beja where 4 bombers are escorted by 8 fighters. Axis fighters attempted to patrol attack the escorts, but only turned back one. They declined to intercept. Four other hexes receive DAS. Meanwhile Allied transports are busy bringing more troops forward and moving the 540th Engr Rgt from yet another new airbase (25:2420) back to the forward base at 25:2721.
Allied bombers visit Cagliari again and obtain 2 hits/VPs for naval harassment, a 5th port hit is placed on Sousse and 4 harassment hits are put down to slow Axis movement.
With only 2 British divisions on the map the Allies don’t possess the wherewithal to stage a major attack on an Axis supply terminal. Were a low-odds attack to fail they would be wide open to crippling counter-attacks. Allied Engineers have been tied to important airbases in anticipation of rain and the damage it will cause. Had they been building airbases instead the Allied fighter umbrella would cover Bizerte and perhaps Tunis.
On an administrative note, the e-mail count for this PBEM game is already over 400 messages, and I have not kept them all.