Panzer Grenadier: Afrika Korps
Italy entered the Second World War in
June 1940 without making many preparations for a long
conflict. With France on the verge of surrender to Germany,
it seemed important to Benito Mussolini to get in on the
peace conference as a victor.
But the war did not end, and the Italian armed forces
found themselves having to mount campaigns they did not
expect. After shipping troops and supplies to the Italian
colony of Libya, the army there finally invaded British-held
Egypt in September 1940. A series of campaigns followed
as first one side and then the other gained the upper
Afrika Korps covers the battles from the first
segment of this campaign, in the Panzer
Grenadier game system. The 50 scenarios range
from the initial Italian raids of June 1940 to the Allied
“Operation Brevity” of May 1941. Actions range
from small but intense infantry fights to wide, sweeping
tank battles. Afrika Korps is a complete standalone
game, not requiring any other products for full enjoyment.
Other desert war battles are found in Desert
Afrika Korps has three 22x34 maps printed on heavy
paper. There are scenarios which use only a fraction of
one map, but also a few using all three.
All the troops and tanks of the British, Australian,
Italian and German armies that fought in Libya and Egypt
are included. The British have good infantry, though their
firepower is less than one might imagine because their
platoons are smaller than those of other nations (four
per company, vs. three in most other armies). Their tanks
are less impressive, with fast but ill-armored vehicles
like the A9 and A13 or thickly protected but painfully
slow like the Matilda.
Italian tanks are worse. Both the M11/39 and M13/40
are as slow as the Matilda, with less armor than the Crusader
and a gun with a shorter range than the British tanks.
Italy does field elite Bersaglieri infantry, but leadership
is often weak as is artillery support.
The Australians only have a handful of tanks (captured
Italian M11/39 and M13/40) but are very tough infantry
with excellent leadership. It’s the Germans who
field the best tanks, the PzIIIJ and PzIVE (see our analysis
of the early-war German tanks here).
They have good infantry, good leadership, and the absolutely
deadly 88mm gun.
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