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"Vichy counter attack at Port Lyautey" Topic

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Richard Baber17 Mar 2022 2:32 p.m. PST

Scenario and AAR over on my blog

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2022 5:11 p.m. PST

Nice to see something little different.

Durban Gamer18 Mar 2022 5:19 a.m. PST

Another excellent scenario and AAR Richard. I think I'm going to try this one with my 1/300 kit!

Richard Baber18 Mar 2022 5:46 a.m. PST

Thank you for the kind comments

There is a second part of the counter attack at the northern end of the beach, which you could add and play it all as one big game in 1/300th.

I`m running that scenario next

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2022 10:24 a.m. PST

I love it! Too bad I wasn't invited. grin

If the Americans took the runway without damage, there are dozens of P-40s flying in from USS Ranger within hours, and they will be available for ground attack sorties immediately (though it may take a day to land the ordnance and fuel for more sorties after the first…). IRL they didn't get into action because the runway was full of shell holes that weren't sufficiently patched until the day after the Vichy forces surrendered.

I have a hare-brained idea to combine land battles like this around Casablanca with all my Casablanca CY6 scenarios and some naval scenarios into a blue-on-blue campaign. The French couldn't win, but they did put up quite a fight.

- Ix

Richard Baber18 Mar 2022 10:31 a.m. PST

Yellow Admiral – thank you

The second game is much tougher for the Yanks, historically only superior air support and naval support fire stopped the Vichy reaching the landing beaches!

I`m still tinkering with the scenario, but should prove an interesting challenge for both sides.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2022 6:28 p.m. PST

I think it was naval gunfire that made the giant holes in the Lyautey runway. :-)

I'm looking forward to the next AAR.

- Ix

Mark 120 Mar 2022 5:38 p.m. PST

I have long dreamed of putting on a proper scenario of the set of actions that took place on the Rabat-to-Port Lyautey road. This action was the first time that units from a US Armored Division engaged in tank-vs-tank combat!

Please accept a round of applause from this member of the peanut gallery for the game as presented. Fascinating scenario, beautiful models, and looks like a rousing good wargame.

I have studied the set of actions in this area on this day in some detail. There is no one complete picture of it all, at least not that I have found. But much like a jigsaw puzzle, one puts the pieces together to see what the picture becomes.*

Most US sources I have found do not identify the French armor involved beyond stating they were "Renaults". This gives the intriguing possibility that there may have been some older FTs mixed in with the R35s, as there were still several dozen of these old warhorses active in the French North African forces, and some were in action around Casablanca and Port Lyautey. I say intriguing because Lt. Col. Semmes, in command of the battalion of Stuarts in this action, was a WW1 vet of the US Armored Corps, and was IN Renault FTs in that war! But the French sources I have seen so far all recount that the French unit in question on the Rabat road was the 1ere RCA, which was equipped with about 20 R35s and 20 H35s/H39s. To this point, the wargame presented is right on target!

The infantry seems to be all the right choices too -- the French force coming north from Rabat included the III Batt/1re Regiment de Tirralleurs Maroccain (1st Moroccan Rifle Regiment). Again, right on target!

The US Stuart tanks were handicapped in this engagement, as they had not yet had the chance to bore-site their guns after their transit, and their radios were not in proper working order. Still they were substantially tougher tanks than the French tanks. Semmes returned from the action with at least one French 37mm AP projectile embedded in his tank's frontal armor.

The game also presents naval gunfire support coming in and having a reasonable impact on the battle. In fact, it was even more impactful than one might want to put in a game, because the support was coming not from USN DDs, but from the USS Savannah, a Brooklyn class cruiser with 15 6-in guns! The French sought temporary refuge from the US tank gunfire in a grove of trees, where they sought to organize for another attack. And then the Savannah opened fire and, well, not a lot of fun from that point on.

All in all a great show. I too am looking forward to the next AAR!

*My most recent reading that covered some of this material is: "Wildcats over Casablanca". This book was written by a NYTimes reporter embedded with the fighter group on the USS Ranger, and consists mostly of the first hand accounts of the various pilots as they related them to him during and after the battle, covering life aboard ship, flying and fighting (the French fighters in the area, mostly D.520s and a few Hawk 75s, were a genuine threat to the USN Wildcats and Dauntlesses, and were active in small numbers throughout the first day or two -- and the DB.7 bombers were considered a real worry to the fleet), and a few even giving their stories of being shot down and captured.

(aka: Mk 1)

Richard Baber21 Mar 2022 9:24 a.m. PST

Mark – Thank you :)

I do try and research my games :)

JD Lee Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2022 9:32 p.m. PST

Where did you get the figures for your Viche force?

Richard Baber23 Mar 2022 3:49 a.m. PST

The Moroccans are a mix of FAA and Early War Miniatures, plus some odds and sods.

The Colonial infantry are a mix of Elhiem & Early War Miniatures plus Elhiem`s Senegalese (which I commissioned him to sculpt and cast) with head swaps.

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