Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The First Battle for Sollum Sept 1940

Before I return to the Napoleonic Campaign, a brief interlude with some WW2:

This was the first battle I fought using the Blitzkrieg Commander 2 rules. It was fought solo and was very much a test for these rules. Most of my WW2 wargaming in recent years had been Rapid Fire with 15mm figures. In the 1970's and 80's I had dabbled with 5/6mm figures and vehicles mainly from Heroics & Ros with some GHQ and using the old WRG rules. It left its mark on me and I always intended to return to that scale at some point. 

Although Rapid Fire could be used for 6mm, I felt that it was time to try a new set that was designed more for this scale. BKC2 appeared to fit the bill, designed as it was for 10mm but easily convertible for the smaller scale. At the conclusion of the game it became my go-to set for 6mm. I thoroughly enjoyed this refight although quite a few mistakes were made along the way. On to the battle:

The first battle of Sollum was the main Italian thrust into Egypt in Sept 1940 and proved to be a pretty shambolic invasion by the Italians. My game was taken mainly from Mal Wright's scenario of this battle for these rules.

The heavily outnumbered British are steadily withdrawing. The Coldstream Guards are dug in at Solum together with support units. There are three supply dumps that must be emptied of supplies to prevent them from falling into Italian hands. They can be blown as an alternative. Additionally the British must not lose more than 33% of their force as they will be needed elsewhere.

The Italians must capture Sollum. In wargaming terms they win if they inflict more than 33% casualties or capture any of the supply dumps intact. 

The figures and vehicles used are mainly GHQ with several Heroics and Ros (mainly trucks). H&R figures are manning the dugouts.


The battlefield from behind the British position. Halfaya Pass at the top of the photo from which most of the Italian forces will arrive. Coldstream Guards are dug in with Solum to their rear (bottom right). 11th Hussars are in front of the fort at Bir Saleh (top left). British artillery batteries are to the left of the Coldstream Guards (middle left).

The Coldstream Guards.

The three storage dumps

25pdr battery to the right and 18pdr the left.

11th Hussars deployed covering left flank.

Forward Air Controller positioned in the fort of Bir Saleh.

Battalion V M13/40 tanks leads the Bersaglieri Motorised Battalion through the Halfaya Pass.

Battalion IV L33 tanks and Bersaglieri Motor Cycle battalion fan out covering the Italian right flank.

Italian CR42 biplanes launch a ground attack sortie without success having been driven off by AA fire.

A Gloster Gladiator scores a hit on a Bersaglieri truck.

History repeats itself as the ranged British artillery pounds the hapless Bersaglieri battalion. Survivors bail out.

The armoured cars of the 11th Hussars fair badly in the initial exchanges with the charging Italian Tankettes. The recon infantry company mount up in their carriers.

The 3rd RHA 18pdr battery provides supporting fire to the 11th Hussars.

The 4th RHA 25pdr battery continues to pound the Halfaya Pass. In the foreground is the force CO with a 20mm AA gun to the left.

Blenheim bomber seeks to add to the carnage in Halfaya Pass as the Italians make slow progress into the open ground.

The Italians on the right flank are having more success. The Bersaglieri motor cycle battalion deploy on foot ready to support the L33 Tankettes in a charge on the remaining 11th Hussars.

The conscript infantry battalions slowly make their way through the Halfaya Pass negotiating through wrecked vehicles.

The survivors of the Bersaglieri motorised bn, M13/40 tanks of bn III and M11/39 tanks of bn I advance towards Solum.

M13/40 of bn V with Bersaglieri motor cycle bn advance past Bir Saleh. The remnants of 11th Hussars form a new line adjacent to the RHA 18pdr's.

M11/39's and M13/40's charge towards the dug-in Coldstream Guards.

A 75mm Field Gun moves  up to support the Bersaglieri motorised bn.

The first of the conscript infantry battalions move up behind the Bersaglieri bn supported by M11/39 tanks of bn II and AB40 armoured cars.

Coldstream Guards opening up on the lead elements of the Italian Army.

The last of the 11th Hussars move towards Solum.

The British forces evacuate the Solum area having successfully emptied the supply dumps. As they have suffered less than 33% casualties this was a British victory.

If I were to play this battle again I would shorten the table. The Italians had too far to travel to get to grips with the Guards so never really had a chance of achieving their objective. It was nevertheless an exciting game to play and interesting to see how BKC2 played out. 

On the whole I was very pleased with BKC2. I am not normally an element based fan, preferring single figure casualties.  On the basis of this game it will be Blitzkrieg Commander from now on, at least for 6mm. 


  1. Not my era but looks good regardless!

  2. Fantastic table 0 the valley between those hills is superb. Are the hills solid foam - or hollow cast?

    1. Thanks Oswald. The two large hills at the end of the table are polystyrene. The other 4 are a rubbery flexible material I have had for a few years now. They were produced by Battlefront (The Flames of War guys).