We pick up the battle with the British attack beginning to gain real momentum - but the question now is "Do they have enough time to secure the town?" The Italian ATGs showed the excellent movement qualities of the little elefante gun, and despite poor movement dice have managed to contest the town after their infantry departed.
As Tanks are not permitted to end their movement in a town [unless on a road, since roads cancel terrain penalties and restrictions] it is necessary for the Motor Platoons to dash over and seize the town. Hopefully, the Cruds can at least put some hurt on the ATGs and suppress the Italian 75/18s [Mortar Unit] and the Infantry then finish them off - great suspense as well as an opportunity to witness an infantry attack with victory in the balance!
Turn 9 below. The Motor Platoons finally drive off the Italians Bersaglieri. Bring Crack definitely helped keep them alive and kicking during the attack on the waiting Italians. Altho they are both permanently at 2/6 Hits, they have the strength to tackle an ATG Unit even if it is ensconced in a town - or at least I hope they do!
One Crud platoon dashed into firing position in front of town as other rallies down to 2 Hits, preparatory to further combat - losing a Tank Unit would cost the Brits dearly at this point I think. Italian ATGs move farther into the town. With two bases inside, they now get all the benefit, including being Concealed [-1 to enemy Firing D3] and halving casualties.
Turn 10 below. Pressed for time, the damaged Crud platoon Marches over to the Italian 75/18s who inflict 3 Hits, pushing them to the brink of destruction. The Motor Platoons have moved as quickly as possible into fighting formations but I think they'll be forced to March a turn or two. The ATGs were suppessed by 2 Hits but rallied one off. Altho they could Fire at the Cruds, they secure a victory by surviving, not Crud-killing!
Turn 11 below. The Motor Platoons race to the town. The Italian ATGs rally off Hits, again prioritizing survival rather than damaging the Cruds since they are sitting on a victory unless destroyed. The Italian 75/18s can and do fire upon the closest Brit Infantry and get two Hits.
Turn 12 below. The choice for the Italian Mortars is to direct fire at the Cruds before them or respond to calls for indirect fire at the town. I hoped to knock out the Cruds quickly and support the town without fear of reprisal, but didn't get the kind of roll needed. Looking back, I probably should've risked the Cruds moving to Close Range and engaged the British infantry. As the British form up for the town assault, Tanks and Mortars pound the ATGs with some effect.
In developing the attack, I chose to keep the first platoon out of Close Range, limiting its firepower but keeping it alive. I was quite concerned that if I lost one Infantry Unit I would've have enough to take the town without rolling well - and luck's not always with me!
Turn 13 below. The British keep plinking away but not massing enough firepower to get the Hits needed to eliminate the ATGs. One problem is that the Mortars rolled quite poorly. While the ATGs might be able to knock out a Crud platoon, they are not ideal for fighting infantry, so I keep rallying with them instead going for survival.
Turn 14 below. The Fire of four Units finally scores enough Hits to get the ATGs to 5! Everything depends on their rally roll - they've a 1/3 chance to rally off three Hits which could keep them alive that last turn. However, they only roll a '1'! With 4 Hits, and 4 British Units firing, defeat seems certain for the Italians! The 75/18s batter the Crud platoon.
Turn 15 below. Finally, at 4 Hits and with a great roll by the Mortars, the Brits get 4 more Hits destroying the Italian ATGs. It was close, but some average rolls at the end and especially the one Infantry at Close Range overwhelmed the Italian gunners who flee into the salt marsh outside of town. The cameraman was so excited by the action that he couldn't keep still...
Game end, Turn 15 concludes. The Italians couldn't knock out the Cruds on the left nor hold the town, altho they nearly made it. A hard-fought game that was very close.
While a bit more complicated than previously, these rules provide the balance of mechanical chrome and nuance I want, while remaining easy to play as the decisions are clear. Do you support an attack with the Mortars or suppress a Unit supporting the defense? Do you maneuver to a better position or shoot where you are instead? Do you Rally, Dig-in or Fire? Do you move to support an attack or fire to suppress the enemy instead. Presenting players with clear choices and letting them exercise command instead of constantly looking up rules or having them explained to them is very important to me. I want relatively new players to be able to participate quickly and simple mechanics that encourage historical play and realities are much more fun than pouring over a rulebook.
I am happy with how these turned out. I'd say they are more complicated than OHW but certainly no more than AMW or the WWII rules in Introduction to Wargaming. Steve really likes those intro rules and I think they are solid, but I want a higher level of game and to be able to throw some actions with several companies or more a side while providing enough nuance to keep players interested.
The main issue now is what chrome bits - if any - should be saved for Advanced or Optional rules? It is also time to post these rules, so you will see them up very soon!