....actually didn't really matter in the end. That may have had something to do with it not being particularly secret or super.
We played Pincer, as it seemed like a mission that would work well with the forces and with the larger board. Instead of measuring deployment from the centre line, we just worked out the difference and measured from the base edge instead.
The Americans attacked across the valley and the Italian gunners (and the German air force) didn't do much to stop them. On one flank the Armoured Rifles were pushed back by some terrible dice rolling and on the other, Semovente 90s popped out of ambush and promptly just shot marshmallows at Shermans. But it was okay, because the Shermans shot them back. At least to begin with...
Eventually the Italian mobile reserves arrived and the R35s distinguished themselves bullying vehicles with less armour than them but they were taught a solid lesson by the American CO who gave them what for in fairly short order. The remnant of the Armoured Rifles gave the Fucilieri a good thumping before going down in a heap and that platoon was looking decidedly grim by the end of it. It was about here that I learned that the output of a half-platoon of American AA halftracks is impressive.
Over these few turns the last of the Semovente 90s were tidied up by Shermans and Richard's super sweet P38 Lightning. The very brittle Fucilieri got alarmingly close to breaking but a couple of lucky shots from 100/17 artillery and Semovente 47s gave me tests on both Richard's Sherman platoons.
The first Sherman platoon ran, immediately followed by the second. Richard promptly failed his company morale check, leaving the Italians in possession of the field and a 4 - 3 win, despite having lost almost all their mobile assets and a good chunk of the infantry.
I think it was closer than it might have looked in the end. The giant Italian horde is unlikely to lose by company morale but realistically, there's only the artillery and the Semovente 90s that can do serious work and once those start to give, there's not a lot in the army to do the legwork.
Richard was very close to breaking through the front Fucilieri platoon and there was only some direct firing 100mm guns defending the objective (although I was desperately trying to manhandle some Elefantinos into place to help!) and at that point I think I would have been unable to stop him. 47mm guns are no match for Shermans and no mistake.
MVPs? Not the Semovente 90s. Not even close. Their best efforts were bailing a Sherman (twice!) and destroying 2 mortar-halftracks. A good effort for 350 points worth of investment! I think, despite being shot off the board by the American CO, the best platoon for me was the R35s. They destroyed two T30s, two M1A1 Scout Cars and a jeep to break two platoons. They're not bad bits of kit in the end.
What's next? Well, aside from me doing something about that vibrantly green base cloth, we might try a rerun with similar forces in Tunisia or, given that Richard is working on some Gebirgsjager in Italy, it might be time to break out the Late War Paracadutisti and their Polish Allies and swap sides!