1943 Sicily: Ponte Grande

Set up 15 minutes
Game time 40 minutes

Historical Background:
In order to support the landing of Eastern Task Force (8th British Army) in Sicily and to quickly capture Syracuse, the Allied Command had planned the landing of 144 gliders of the 1st Airlanding Brigade. A “coup de main” party by one company of South Staffordshire Regiment should permit the capture of Ponte Grande on Anapo river. In the night 9-10 July 1943, because of a calamitous trip, only one Horsa glider landed near the bridge. A lone platoon of SSR captured the bridge according to plan. Reinforced by some isolated paratroopers, this troop was attacked by Italian soldiers of the 75th Infantry Regiment (Division Napoli) with the support of one artillery battery and one platoon of armoured cars. The British soldiers resisted until the afternoon when, out of ammunition, some survivors had to surrender. Ponte Grande was recaptured half an hour after by infantrymen of the 5th British Infantry Division.

Axis 5 cards, Allies 5 cards, move first.

Conditions of Victory:
5 medals. Ponte Grande is a temporary medal objective for the Axis player.

Special Rules:
BCF Command rules (Nations 5) to all Allied units.
Italian Royal Army rules (Nations 6) to all Axis.
Specialized Units rules (Troops 2) to all Allied units.
Heroic Leader rules (Actions 8) for the Allied unit with a battle star.
Night Attacks rules (Actions 19).
pecial Weapon Assets and Antitank Weapons rules (SWA 1 & 2) to the two Allied units with Antitank badge.
Anapo river is impassable (Terrain 8) except by the bridge.

Scenario link

Italian tank immediately attacked the bridge along the road, but had poor dice. This left them completely exposed to an A/T team and they were destroyed by Finest Hour (even though it only gave two Allied units). The loss of their only armour so early on could have been crucial…
The Italians attacked the British left. 1-1. Then a Barrage destroyed one A/T unit 1-2.
Night Rules were very slow, so combat was limited.
Italians took the British left and were able to swing round to Ferme. 2-3. They also played Behind Enemy Lines, but with no real success. Attrition. Then the Italians managed to put together a sustained attack in the centre. 2-4, 3-4.
It was really tight – the Italians had three units down to just one figure, so the Brits had a chance. But the Italians risked one last attack on the bridge, taking it to win 3-6 (destroying a unit and taking the victory medal simultaneously). Finally, the BCF and Royal Italian army rules didn’t have any effect.
The Italian artillery was too far back to be of any use.
Overall a quick and fun scenario. Interesting and accurate from a historical point of view, with the Italians taking the bridge. Looking forward to part two, when the Brits try to take it back again!

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