The Second Front At Kavakeyli
In the early months of 1928, the Oscanian City-States mobilised in support of their Prenzeran allies, opening a second front at the Eceabali Peninsula via numerous airborne landings and naval attacks. They were able to proceed with significant speed up the largely empty peninsula, sustaining a critical impetus and breaking through the ill-prepared Meravian defences. As the Meravians’ initial objective had been a push towards the Prenzeran capital, they had left Eceabali comparatively lightly defended; the Oscanian Navy was able to avoid the forts guarding the Marmuran Straits and attack the seaward-facing guns in force from inland.
Kavakeyli was the point where the Meravians committed their main force in the region, the under-equipped XXIV Army Corps under the transitional command of Yarbay Halide Handan. Handan was ordered to hold the Oscanian advance as long as possible and then begin an organised retreat towards the port of Sarlice when the situation became untenable. Equipped primarily with equipment from before the mass industrialisation, Handan’s army ended up out of position and at risk of an Oscanian encirclement; with morale poor, water supplies low and the enemy in hot pursuit, the retreat from Kavakeyli was the point where the Oscanians confirmed their control of the peninsula…
Oscanian Carristari di Calabro, under the command of Tennente Colonnello Luciano Calvino (Played by Adam Isherwood)
Five Orso heavy tanks
Two Lupo howitzer carriers
Meravian XXIV Army Corps (Forward units), under the command of Yarbey Halide Handan (Played by Raymond Webster)
Three Tazi armoured cars (Viranserek Division)
Two Okuz light tanks (Viranserek Division)
Two platoons of infantry conveyed in Beygir trucks (23rd Regiment, 2nd Btn.)
Two platoons of infantry on foot (44th Regiment, 1st Btn.)
One battery of 12cm Abus guns (10th Artillery Regiment)
Yarbey Handan and staff
The Meravian position at Kavakeyli has become impossible to hold. Handan must see as many of her forces to safety as possible before the Oscanian armour overtakes and completely encircles the XXIV Corps.
The slow-moving Meravian army suffered from a lack of Momentum, meaning it could not fully activate all its units; the motorised platoons, with armoured car support, pushed east around a large plateau to escort Handan to safety. To draw out the enemy, the Viranserek Division’s light tanks and one of the armoured cars pushed around the western cliffs and opened fire at the enemy Orsos. The Oscanian heavy armour returned fire, destroying one of the 44th Regiment’s platoons despite their entrenched position and putting significant damage on the advancing tanks via a combination of their own gunnery and off-map artillery support from the Lupos. With the Meravian objective reliant on the distance between their furthest-back element and the board edge, and sheer cliffs running along the centre of the battlefield, there was little chance of a decisive momentum swing; by contrast the Oscanian objective was simply to have units survive. (Note: it wasn’t until after the two games I played today I noticed the part in the New Adventure rules that says you don’t score Action or Purpose until Turn 2 onwards)
Although the Meravians had an apparently strong position, with their diversionary force holding out against the majority of the Oscanian tanks and their faster elements ready to make a decisive move east and escape, their morale was critically low; beginning the turn with only 10 Momentum and 10 elements to assign it to, the choice was very much between attacking or escaping. Furthermore, the diversionary force had sustained significant damage from off-map artillery fire, and as its tanks fell one by one the Momentum loss built up rapidly and the Oscanians emerged victorious. (Note: Somewhere I had it in my head an army lost Momentum based on the FP of units killed, which brought the game to a much quicker end).
In retrospect I have realised I completely misunderstood the New Adventure rules; I believed that an army lost Momentum based on casualties in addition to Purpose and Action modifiers, and I didn’t notice the part that said scoring does not begin until Turn 2. The made the game an almost impossible prospect for myself as the Meravian player, but it was nevertheless an enjoyable narrative experience.
At the battle’s end, a significant number of Meravian personnel – including Handan herself – were still alive. However, their morale was non-existent, they were cut off from supply lines and a much larger Oscanian force was being landed all along the now secure coast. One by now well understrength second-line Corps would be in no position to continue fighting. This battle was inspired by the idea in the created setting that the Oscanians, analogous to a newly post-unification Italy, would share their real counterparts’ strength in airborne and mountain warfare, combined with an armoured doctrine focused on single heavy units working as mobile firebases. As a result, a kind of alt-history Gallipoli offensive with a well-supplied and technologically-advanced Oscania invading an unready and poorly-equipped Meravian frontier via naval landings seemed like a good way of adding a new faction to the campaign.