Saturday, 24 April 2021

Scenario and AAR The Race to the Spot 26 February 1943 El Aroussa Tunisia.


Battle for "The Spot", El Aroussa, Tunisia 26th February 1943

The History

Three days after the end of the battles at Kasserine the  Panzer Army Afrika opened Unternehmen OCHSENKOPF against the British First Army intended to drive back the allies and lift the threat to Tunis. On 26 February, as part of as part of Unternehmen OCHSENKOPF, Panzers Panzer Regiment 7 and Jaegers of 2 Jaeger Battalion Herman Goring (Kampfgruppe Kleeberg) broke through the Allied Lines in the Mahmoud Gap south west of Goubellat getting between 38 brigade and 11 brigade  and linked up with Hauptmann Schirmer's III./Fallschirmjäger Regiment 5.  The pushed southward toward El Arousa having cut the Medjez road the Kampfegruppe Kleeberg attempted to seize El Aroussa and cut the supply route to 38 Irish Brigade and 1 Parachute Regiment defending Bou Arada. 10 Panzers and a part of 2 Jager regiment where approaching the town from the north and threatened to overrun Y division HQ a situation the Brigadier "Nelson" Russell commanding the Divison described the situation as "unpleasant". The ordered his reserve  squadron from 51 RTR (Probably C company) back from Bou Arada to intercept and a squadron from 56 Derbyshire Yeomanry to delay the Germans and a race was on. The Brigadier described the view from the divisional HQ: 
"We estimated it would take our 9 Churchills about two hours to reach the right place to block the Bosche. So the squadron of Derbyshire Yeomanry set out to delay the Bosch Panzers for two hours on a six mile stretch of road through the hills. It was going to be quite a race, and I found, through no fault of my own, the Divisional Headquarters was a grandstand quite close to the finishing post.

The Derbyshire Yeomanry was splendid. They laid mines, put down smoke, shot their two pounders when they could and imposed all possible delay on the Panzer, and all the time the Churchills lumber on towards “The Spot”, a carefully chosen place where he should have the Bosche on toast. It was also the last possible tank position and it wouldn’t do to be too late.

I doubt if I will ever forget the closing stage of his race – it quite beat Battleships National, when I’d backed 1st and 2nd. Ten Panzers and Nine Churchills converging from right angles, quite unseen to each other, but the Panzers didn’t know about the Churchills, and the Churchills knew all about the Panzers."

Sources are from "Bloody Road to Tunis" by David Rolf, The  the war diaries of  the 51 The Royal Tank Regiment; and the 25th Tank Brigade, and Brigadier Russell's account from The Irish Brigade website.


The area on  a modern map. The town of El Aroussa lies off the map south and "Steamroller Farm off the map to the north. 

Flat and open grass land and rolling fields to the South and West rise to a low ridge stretching east to west. The ridge has fields and olive grove and rises to rough forested hills to the east - the Djebel Rhijane. The ridge falls to a narrow stream at its foot over which the road passes on a narrow bridge.  The ground to the north is rough and broken. The road runs North to South and is a unmetalled but counts as road for vehicle movement. The area south of the ridge is flat open and gently rising farmland widely spaced trees and a few hedges. The fields are without crops at this time of year. 


Historical-ish Forces - for Company Sized Battlegroup Game 

British Forces from Y Division  

970pts   BR 60 +1d6   Officers 6 Scout 5

Delaying Force from 56 Reconnaissance squadron 1 Derbyshire Yeomanry 

Armoured Car command in Daimler Dingo (Scout Artillery spotter)
2 Daimler Mk.I  Armoured Car  (Scout Mortar spotter)
1 Carrier Section of  
    3 men in Bren carrier (Officer, Mortar spotter)
    3 men with Bren
    3 men with 2" mortar
2 Infantry foot patrol each with 8 men with Bren (scout) 
1 40mm Bofors AA gun medium with truck tow
1 Battery of 2 3" mortars off table 

Main Force from 51RTR 
True grit  +1d6BR

Forward HQ (Senior Officer, Artillery spotter) in M5 halftrack

Forward Signals Unit - Medium Wireless truck

Forward Observer  (Artillery spotter) in Bren carrier 

1 Infantry Platoons from Faughs consists of: 
Platoon HQ of 5 men in light truck (Officer mortar spotter)
3 Rifle sections 8 men with Bren in medium truck 
1 light mortar team 2 men with 2" mortar
with 3" mortar  and Vickers MG 
2lb AT gun and light truck tow 

2 Churchill tank troops each with 4  Mk.III/IV  Churchill tanks
1  Mk. I Churchill tanks
2 1st priority artillery requests 

Supply column 2 Medium Truck 

German Forces from Kampfgruppe Kleeberg 

976pts  BR 71  Officers 5  Scouts 4 

Aufklarungs force from 2 Jager battalion Herman Goering Division

2 Armoured infantry patrols in Sdkfz 250/1 (Scout Mortar spotter)
1 Recce command in Sdkfz 222 (Officer Scout Artillery spotter) 
1 Armoured car Sdkfz222 (Scout Mortar spotter)
1 Assault Pioneer squad with flamethrower and 2 demolition charges in captured M3 halftrack
1 Light Bridging Unit in Sdkfz 251/7 (Bridging)
Heavy car with 20mm AA gun 

Main force from Kampfegruppe Kleeberg 

Forward HQ  Sdkfz250/3  (Senior Officer Artillery spotter) 
Luftwaffe Air Liaison Officer with  Radio Van
Forward Signals Unit - Medium Radio Truck

1 Platoon from II Co. 2 Jaeger Battalion Herman Goring
each consisting of;
1 Jager platoon HQ 6 men in Heavy Car (Officer, Mortar spotter)
3 Jager squads  5 men in medium truck with MG42  in  medium trucks 
3 MG squads 3 men with MG42 
HMG team 3 men with hMG42  in Medium truck
Medium mortar team 3 men and loader team with 80mm mortar in Heavy Car
1 PaK38 AT guns with Sdkfz6 tow
1 additional Jaeger squad 5 men with MG42 and AT grenades in a medium truck 
1 additional Jager MG team 3 men with MG42
1 Panzer III platoon of 5 PzIIIG

1 Panzer platoon of 4 PzIV F2 

Off table 
2 80mm mortar
1 first priority artillery requests 
1 counter battery fire mission

Supply column 2 medium trucks



The first battlegroup to exceed it's total battle rating must withdraw and loses the battle. If a player hold all four of the objectives then he may claim an all objective held victory regardless of battle  rating.  


Objectives are placed on "The Spot" ridge, the road bridge over the stream  and the NE ridgeline (see map). The German  player has one objective which may be deployed anywhere outside of the main column and Aufklarung force deployment zone and not within 10 inches of another objective or the board edge. 

The German Aufklärung force (2 Jager battalion Herman Goering  Division)
The German Main column  (Panzer Regiment 7) deploy in the German deployment area
The British Delaying force (Derbyshire Yeomanry) may deploy anywhere on the table outside the German deployment zone. 
The British Flanking force  (51RTR) deploys to the British deployment zone 

German Aufklarungs force  deploys from turn 1  may deploy anywhere within 10 inches of the German table edge.
The British Delaying force deploys from turn 1.
The delaying action by the Derbyshire Yeomanry last 3+1d3 turns.  
German Main column arrive 1d6 units per turn after the delaying action is over from the Main Force deployment zone.
British Flanking force arrives after the delaying action from the British deployment zone (20" from SW table corner at a rate of 1d6 units per turn.

Special rules

British barrages can only be harassing barrages until the Forward Headquarters or Forward Observer in main force is deployed.  The 56 Derbyshire Yeomanry have mined the approaches therefore any special event drawn from the Battle rating counters may be used as a Mine Strike counter. Mine strike counters apply as usual but cannot be played anywhere within 5" of Assault Pioneers. The Churchill tank mobility rule applies. The highest hills are difficult terrain for vehicles (and covered in trees and scrub giving soft cover). The stream is in a deep "nullah" and crossing it is dangerous for all vehicles (except at the bridge). 


AAR - "My side of the hill"

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Scenario and AAR The Race to the Spot 26 February 1943 El Aroussa Tunisia.

  Battle for "The Spot", El Aroussa, Tunisia 26th February 1943 The History Three days after the end of the battles at Kasserine t...