For this month's scenario, I elected to put together a hypothetical scenario involving the Afrika Korps. The Egyptian Campaign has always intrigued me, particularly when one imagines what might have happened had Rommel received the troops and material required for a successful push towards the Suez Canal.
What if Montgomery was defeated at El Alamein? How would such a defeat have altered the course of the war in North Africa, the Mediterranean and overall. Would it have had an impact or simply prolonged the Allied efforts to eliminate German forces in North Africa?
The Grumble Jones February scenario imagines not only a German victory at El Alamein, but an overwhelming victory, which has allowed Rommel to move on Cairo and gain control of the Suez Canal.
Control of the Suez Canal was vital to the British Empire and was a critical link between its European, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian colonies.
Control of the Canal would have given the Germans an unimaginable opportunity to link their African Campaign with their Russian Campaign.
The Germans would suddenly be in striking distance of Middle Eastern oil reserves and would be able to cut off Lend Lease access to Russia.
That the Germans put so little effort into North Africa, given the strategic opportunities is somewhat mind boggling.
Thank goodness of course, that the Germans acted as they did and Rommel's Afrika Korps was soundly defeated at the Battle of El Alamein.
But for the moment we will suspend history and imagine a new Pharaoh descending on Egypt. Most students of the North African Campaign are familiar with the exploits of German paratroop Generalleutnant Hermann-Berhard Ramcke. Ramcke would command his own Paratroop Brigade in support of Rommel's Afrika Korps. Historically, Ramcke's men were left behind during the German retreat from the defeat at El Alamein. Having no motorized transport, Rommel had assumed they would be lost. Undaunted, Ramcke and his men captured British transport and successfully crossed nearly 200 miles of open desert in order to return to German lines.
My February scenario imagines Ramcke and his Paratroopers being employed in a far more efficient manner as they attempt a glider landing to seize a bridge over the Sweetwater Canal and help complete the encirclement of British forces in Cairo.
The Sweet Water Canal, also known as Fresh Water Canal and currently known as Ismaïlia Canal, is a canal which was dug by thousands of Egyptian workers to facilitate the construction of the Suez Canal. This canal runs parallel to the Suez Canal and would have to be crossed prior to any attempt to seize the Suez Canal itself.
We can only speculate as to how the Sweetwater Canal would have figured into German operational planning for any assault against the Suez Canal.
One of the unhappy aspects of this particular scenario for me personally and I imagine for many other players is the extensive use of overlays. I hate overlays...I really do. Like many players, I avoid scenarios that use them. It's just a hassle and I admit to being lazy. But nonetheless, the use of overlays was required to piece this hypothetical scenario together. I apologize in advance for the hassle of placing so many. Hopefully the pictures below are helpful in placement of the overlays.
I have always been fascinated by the ME323 Gigant and they were historically used in an attempt to get supplies to Rommel in Tunisia, when shipping failed. The air attempt also failed in the face of Allied air superiority with devastating results. But here's an opportunity to imagine them being deployed in a more promising endeavor.
As always these monthly "Basement Quality" Scenarios are offered for fun only and as a thank you to the readers of this blog.
Remember to open pictures in a new window in order to maximize the size.
And as always, the PDF for this scenario can be downloaded from The ASL Scenario Archive
(just search on Grumble Jones).