Gaming Sidi Bou Zid

Fighting First

Gaming Sidi Bou Zid
As the battle progressed a number of delaying actions were fought by the defending US forces, while the Germans aimed to overwhelm and surround the US forces. A number of games could be fought around these actions.

Part One...

Afrika Korps

Djebel Lessouda
The 10 Panzerdivision attacked directly through the Faid Pass, and were quickly onto the isolated positions of the US Riflemen on Djebel Lessouda. They first shelled the Americans with their artillery before attacking the positions with their Panzers.

On this northern flank of the battle the Tiger IE tanks of the 501 schwere Panzerabteilung were also present, attached to 10 Panzerdivision.

The US forces obviously put up a stiff resistance as the 10 Panzer forces eventually by-passed the positions to the north.

Germans forces are probably best represented by a Panzer III Tank Company supported by Afrika Rifle Platoons and artillery (from Afrika Korps). The US forces were from a Rifle Battalion so will have no Armour support as they were not in the immediate area, so a Rifle Company with Anti-tank and Artillery support is probably best for the defenders (from Fighting First. Remember the US artillery in the area laid down a substantial amount of smoke to try and hinder the Germans visibility.

You could try this game with No Retreat (page 110 of the rulebook), allowing for reserves from other sectors of the positions to arrive. A Djebel is a big hill so the defenders positions should be on some high ground with the attackers coming from the flat of the valley plain to attack it. 

US Counter-attack at Lessouda Oasis

Forces of 10 Panzerdivision pushed pass Djebel Lessouda and attacked towards Sbeitla, half of this force including the Tigers engaged a counterattack from Combat Command A of the US 1st Armored Division. 51 M4A1 Sherman tanks of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, engaged the 10 Panzerdivision forces. Lead by Lt. Col. Loius I. Hightower.

Sidi Bou Zid

The Americans fought a fierce battle against the Panzers and Tigers. At the end of the fight the US forces had lost 44 tanks. This bold, if somewhat wasteful sacrifice, temporarily delayed the panzers’ progress.

This makes for a great Free-For-All (page 106 of the rulebook) mission with a Panzer III Tank Company supported by Tigers fighting a US Armored Company with M4A1 Shermans. Terrain can be a few groves of trees and maybe the odd bit of high ground with a dusty track/road leading through the middle of the table.

This would make for a vicious fight with the Shermans aiming to outflank the better armoured Tigers.

Typical Terrain found in central Tunisia

Rear-guard Action at Zaafria

The northern hook of 21 Panzerdivisions advance ran into a determined rear-guard action to cover the withdrawal of CCA from Sidi Bou Zid back towards Sbeitla. Defending the position were the remains of the CCA armour.

So as the HQ and other elements of CCA withdraw the remaining Shermans, Lees and Stuarts fight on to delay the advance of 21 Panzerdivision.

Typical Terrain found in central Tunisia   

This is best fought using the Rear Guard mission (page 109 of the rulebook). The US forces would consist of an Armored Company of mixed tanks thrown together for the defence. The German force would consist of elements of Kampfgruppe Stenkhoff, a Panzer or Panzergrenadier (Africa Rifle) Company with support from Panzers or Panzergrenadiers (Afrika Rifles), anti-tank, FlaK (AA) and artillery.

Around Zaafria, where the remnants of Combat Command A had withdrawn to by 1405 hours, the terrain is flat with the odd grove of trees and a few natural undulations in the ground.

Kern’s Crossroads

An American force of light tanks (M3 Stuarts) and infantry under Colonel Kern arrived and was coming fast from Sbeitla to the northwest. This force set up a defensive line at a crossroads northwest of Sidi Bou Zid. This became "Kern’s Crossroads." CCA rallied around Kern’s force and held the crossroads.

Tunisian Hills
M3 Lee crew dismounting

Several probing attacks were sent against the positions, but the Germans were deflected and in the end decided on consolidating their hold on Sidi Bou Zid.

The Germans then focused their attention on destroying the surrounded garrisons on the two Djebels.

Kern’s US force would be based on Stuart Armored Company, with support from Armoured Rifle, Artillery, Sherman or Lee Platoons. The 21 Panzerdivison’s Kampfgruppe Stenkhoff was in action again, with a force similar to the Rear-guard Action at Zaafria.

The mission best suited for this battle would be No Retreat (page 110 of the rulebook), with the Stuarts starting on the table and the other platoons arriving in reserve. The Germans are once more attacking. 

Last Updated On Monday, January 10, 2022 by Wayne at Battlefront