We are pleased to release the 4.01 Updates for Panzer Battles today.
All three released titles as well as the Panzer Battles Demo now have 4.01 patches available. New purchases will be full 4.01 builds. The full builds will also be available on your store account page. It may be easier to download the new version and uninstall the existing and replace with the 4.01 build. We recommend that as the best approach for the Demo. Either download the patch or full build, rather than placing another order and receiving another key.
The 4.01 update includes the following for all titles:
- Fixed an issue where assaults could be initiated with insufficient movement points.
- Fog of war reveals between turns have been corrected.
- Suppressed an error message when playing a PBEM campaign in cp_start.
- Implemented new Dynamic Toolbars for the Main Program.
- Implemented Settings > Action Speed.
- Removed A/I > Fast A/I Processing. Replaced by Action Speed.
- Implemented View > Roaming Mode.
- Implemented Units > Arrived > Place All. This mirrors the setting in Panzer Campaigns where all arrived units can be placed en masse.
- Updated Scenario briefings.
There have been other minor content changes across various titles, but many of the user interface updates as well as the new Action Speed that was introduced with Panzer Campaigns has been included.
The Place All function is particularly useful in a title like Normandy, while roaming mode simplifies larger scenarios.
Here are some screen shots from each title of the new tool bars, closely emulating Panzer Campaigns. (all screen shots can be clicked for full size)
The last image here is from Battles of North Africa 1941. Rick Bancroft designed all the scenarios for the largest battle included in that title, Operation Crusader. Rick has continued to create more content and shares more below.
Rommel’s Planned Attack on Tobruk
When the British army launched Operation Crusader to relieve Tobruk on 18 November 1941, the Axis forces were very close to launching another, well-planned and prepared, assault on Fortress Tobruk. Fortunately for the garrison, Rommel’s plan was delayed due to attacks on his Mediterranean supply lines and so he pushed it out from October to somewhere around 21-24 November. At the same time, the British high command considered delaying the start of Crusader by a few days.
Did you know that, in addition to the original 115 scenarios including in Panzer Battles – North Africa, there are 2 new hypothetical scenarios covering this planned assault? These were added with the original WDS release of 4.0. One covers the assault on the fortress over 2 days, the second is larger, covering the assault along with the Axis covering forces and the British mobile forces that historically launched the main attack in Crusader, basically an army level battle over a 3+ day period.
Rommel’s initial attacks on Tobruk, shortly after the siege began, were focused on first, the central perimeter facing south near the el Adem road, followed by an attack at the end of April on the southwest corner. This second attack broke through about 3 miles of the perimeter. The garrison attempted to restore the perimeter during battles during the summer, but without full success. The southwest perimeter remained an area of significant concern.
The DAK plan of attack for November was to hit the southeast corner of the fortress. Although this area’s fortifications, antitank ditches, wires, and mines were still untouched by major fighting unlike the southwest, the terrain was flatter here and which had benefits in the case of a surprise attack. The southwest corner was made up of hills, wadis, and rough terrain. Also, the garrison was focused on the southwest, with the potential of an element of surprise in an attack in this area.
Deployed around the Tobruk perimeter for the attack were 2 divisions of Deutsches Afrika-Korps, supporting artillery organized under Kampfgruppe Boettcher, and 3 Italian infantry divisions. The Axis covering forces consisted of 21. Panzer-Division, an additional Italian infantry division, and 1 tank and 1 motorized division from the Corpo d'Armata di Manovra.
Rommel’s plan of attack consisted of:
- A focused attack between strongpoints R65 and R75 by Division z.b.V. Afrika (in the process of being renamed 90. leichte Afrika-Division, historically on 26 November 1941).
- The initial assault forces of Division z.b.V. Afrika forces had been moved into position for the assault around 16 November 1941, although historically this left them out of position when Crusader launched.
- Artillery support from KG Boettcher was vital. In addition to the divisional artillery present, this formation had 90 more guns. There were mostly 10.5 and 15.5cm pieces, but also included some 21cm morsers and a small number of 17cm guns.
- The 3 Italian infantry divisions would launch diversionary attacks, in particular in the southwest, to fix the garrison forces in their current positions.
- After the initial fortifications were cleared by the infantry of z.b.V Afrika, 15. Panzer-Division was to attack through the gap to Kings Cross by the end of the first day.
- This drive would deal with any reserves moving up to seal the breakthrough, including the significant tank forces deployed as a part of the garrison.
- Division z.b.V. Afrika and the Italian Balogna division would enlarge the breakthrough, taking the defensive positions to each side of the breakthrough to eliminate observation of the breakthrough point for the panzer exploitation.
- On day 2, the Panzer division would exploit to Tobruk harbor and along the coast to the west. This would eliminate any chance of the garrison escaping or reforming any lines with the sea to the back. The other forces would clear the perimeter and destroy the garrison.
- The covering forces were to deal with any relief effort by the British 8th The Axis command had no idea of the British plan of attack on Tobruk, so the covering forces were spread out. The frontier garrison of Italian and German forces were expected to greatly slow down or stop an attack along the coastal area, with mobile forces ready to move where any threats arose.
- 1 Italian infantry division, Pavia was deployed very close to the fortress where it could be committed to assist in the assault/clearing operations or move to protect the rear of the breakthrough as needed.
The British plan
The Australian 9th Division had provided the main garrison of Tobruk since the beginning of the siege, fighting off the early attacks by Deutsches Afrika-Korps. However, it had been replaced by the British 70th Division and the Carpathian Brigade, along with a growing force of tanks organized under the 32nd Armoured Brigade. A significant amount of artillery was also present, even including a small number of captured Italian guns. There were still a handful of the Australians present.
These forces consisted of 4 infantry brigades plus an additional battalion of Australians and their supporting MG and AT units, along with other forces. There were approximately 130 tanks (facing around 175 or so in the 15. Pz). The artillery consisted of 90 pieces, mostly the excellent 25-pdr.
The Tobruk garrison was strong and well organized, with strong defensive positions. However, the perimeter was large and central reserves would take time to redeploy to threatened areas. Also, with the open terrain throughout the fortress, reserves could be taken under fire. In many areas, a second defensive line was present, but not as strong as the original fortifications.
Stopping any attack would require the fortifications slowing down the initial assault and a quick reaction by reserves, while artillery helped limit any penetrations until counterattacks could be launched.
The primary point of attack was defended by a portion of the 2nd Kings Own Royal Regt. There were approximately 500 men and some AT guns/mortars defending the strongpoints to be attacked. They can’t stop an attack at the wire but are able to buy time until nearby infantry reserves and tanks from further back can respond.
Also, it is considered that the British plan for Crusader has the mobile forces moving up for their planned offensive at the time Rommel’s attack began, and thus able to intervene quickly. As a result, these forces will be attacking quickly to relieve the fortress. This also includes the New Zealand division being redirected from the planned drive behind the Axis frontier fortifications off to the southeast of the battle area.
There are two scenarios covering this hypothetical situation. They are:
- #411121_05hv: November Attack on Tobruk (Hypothetical). This is 68 turns and covers just the assault on the fortress itself. Can the fortress hold out for 2 days, giving the relief effort time to reach the perimeter or divert the XXX Corps forces that are on the way?
- #411121_06hv: November Attack on Tobruk (Hypothetical). This is 102 turns. It includes all the forces noted above and in the jump map. Can Rommel drive his men to take the fortress while stopping the 8th Army attack into his rear?
A full Crusader 3- or 4-day scenario is being worked on – without the eastern part covering the German/Italian frontier fortifications and Bardia. It will include replacements and other new features. Once it is done, a full battle, including the east, may be done, for super monster battle lovers.
Thanks Rick, there is always new content being created here at WDS.
We hope you all enjoy the enhancements to the Panzer Battles series. We have plans for continued improvements across all our game series and will share more when able.
Till next post.