Torch PBEM: Allied Apr I 43 Turn
Making Hay While the Sun Shines
Finally! With clear weather the Allies move to take the last Axis positions in Africa at Bizerte and Sousse.
Montgomery’s 8th Army makes a concentric assault on Sousse at 7:1 +2. With the defenders halved for supply no air support was needed to crush all resistance. Prisoners said they had not eaten full rations in many weeks and complained that they had not received promised air support. A story similar to those told on the eastern front just a few months ago. It is only now that I pick up on the fact that the Axis couldn’t have built an airbase in Sousse as it is not clear or rough terrain.
Up at Bizerte the situation is very different. Axis forces are dug in, well supplied and have fighter cover. The Allies use every bit of rail capacity moving their assault force into place. Two British 7-8 Inf XX are relieved by US 8-8’s and the 11-9-6 Mxd XX is trundled into position. To make things complete the US assembles the mighty 2nd Armored XX (14-9-10). Britain breaks down an 8-7-10 Arm XX to provide a fourth Tank X and the OSS Mech Commando Bn is added to provide a +1 DRM. All told there are 97 Allied attack factors facing 42 Axis DF, 29 short of the desired 3:1 odds.
Allied air forces aim to provide just that. They throw almost everything at Bizerte, knowing 17+ AA factors will tear big holes in their formations. Even the heavy bombers are sent in, hoping the +1 DRM they get makes a difference. An A-30 was returned by patrol attacks. Axis fighters then tried to bypass the escorting Spitfires only to see 2 FW-190 aborted and an Me-109G returned. Of the 21 fighters 21 bombers and 4 assault bombers a DB-7 and P-39N were shot down, 22 were aborted and 5 returned by flak. A few more than the required 29 TBFs made it thru and the attack went in at 3:1 even up.
Allied commanders eagerly awaited the reports and with a 1/6 chance of NE there was need for concern. It was the defense that wavered and then broke, Allied forces streamed thru gaps in the lines and the fait of Bizerte was sealed. With no place to retreat Axis units which had survived combat surrendered en mass (Allies rolled a 6 = Defender Halved). Several Axis air units were overrun at their bases, providing British and American pilots a chance to assess the Focke-Wulf 190.
While there is much celebrating the Allies have yet to take full stock of their victory in Africa (VP count to follow in another post).