|Facing a spearhead of the invading German army two days into Operation Marita was the Greek 19th Motorized Rifle Division. It guarded the approaches to Thessaloniki that the Germans wanted to seize. The game is modeled on a local clash between the defending Greek division, which needed to delay the German invaders for as long as possible, and the German advance guard that were tasked with clearing path for the main follow-up units to move towards Thessaloniki.|
In the game, the Greeks can deployed on the table a motorized unit (4 stands) and a force of partisans (2 stands)- both on the left tray. Reinforcements (featuring Boyes A/T rifle-armed carriers and 2 towed 47mm Bohler A/T guns) would enter successively from Turns 2-4 without the need for die rolls.
|German Force: two infantry units, a tank unit (2 Pz III. units and 1 Pz. II unit), a towed 37mm A/T gun unit, etc. The Germans also had 2 batteries of offboard 105mm fieldguns but these never fired during the game.|
|Greek forces - another look.|
|Two units of entrenched Greek partisans and a roadblock I chose to place at the T-junction|
|Another view of same|
|Things seemed very quiet when looking down from the hill.|
|Germans pressed their attack on Turn 1 - veteran infantry advanced cautiously towards Akritas...|
|Also during the Second Turn, the Panzers entered on the German left flank and proceeded off road due to the roadblock ahead.|
|Fourth Turn (?) - There were some back-and-forth firefights on the edge of Akritas during this turn but no significant German advance. On the other side of the map, when the German tanks turned back onto the road after by-passing the roadblock by the T-junction, the entrenched partisans attacked the two leading units in the flank. [Vic told me the partisans performed impressive superman feats during the test game but I remained skeptical they would do quite so well for me. In the event, I was half right...]|
|A desperate close assault by one partisan group on the leading Pz. III unit managed (rather miraculously) to pin it; these partisans even managed to survive the turn and pass their morale check so that they could try again in the next turn. |
The second group of (still entrenched) partisans opportunity-fired on the following Pz. II unit to no effect and was eliminated by its return fire.
I guessed it really paid to be daring rather than cautious in this case.
|Turn 5 - The German Stuka decided to join the battle at long last (after Vic finally flipped the right card) and got ready to strafe the massed Greek forces atop the central hillock. I felt okay about this as all my forces were by then in entrenchments.|
|The Stuka machine-gunned a Greek recon command stand and two adjoining 47mm guns stands but to no effect. Taking into account all the modifiers, Vic needed to roll a 1 on a d10 (!) and he didn't get it.|
Turn 5 (Last Turn Played) - I chose not to disengage my infantry at the edge of Akritas and pull them deeper into town. Instead I kept them in place to face off another attack (or die in the attempt). Either way they have already done their part in this battle by holding up the Germans.
The German infantry having regrouped and fixed their bayonets made ready to assault Akritas for a second time. The Greeks opportunity-fired at point-blank range at their exposed enemies and unlike before I threw my dice well this time. Stands from both German units were either eliminated outright or were forced back with no loss to the Greek infantry.
Vic called the game at the end of this turn and judged the outcome to be an unqualified Greek victory. In the game the Germans advance units were being held up longer than they were in reality. In fact the entire Greek 19th Motorized Division quickly succumbed to the Germans who captured Thessaloniki on 9th April so the game's outcome yielded a somewhat contrafactual result.
It was a most pleasant occasion and while there was the satisfaction of winning the battle what I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to chat and learn from Vic who clearly put a lot into researching/presenting the background and putting together this game.