El Jermia

El Jermia

Postby Richard B. » 17 Oct 2008

El Jermia
A scenario set in Algeria 1958 by Richard Baber

This scenario is a fictional, based on pieces of several different actions fought during the protracted, bitter conflict in Algeria 1956-60. The period appeals to me, as it’s a low intensity conflict post WW2. The original idea was to run a series of games set during the height of the troubles. I hoped to generate the unique flavor of the period with the mixture of forces and troop types available. Even though the French have a massive advantage in both manpower and material, the ALN rarely gave them the opportunity to fight face to face battles. The conflict is also one of those rare colonial post WW2 campaigns where even though the French military convincingly won the armed conflict, the politicians at home bowed to press and world pressure and capitulated giving the Algerians independence.

ALN briefing
You command a unit of the ALN its your first command, you are eager to prove yourself and kill many of the cursed colonial dogs. You have come up with a plan to trap a French column, to do this some of your men have attacked the police station at El Jermia but this is only to draw a relief column into your ambush. You have 45 men under your command, if you do well you could command many more. Your men are trained but inexperienced, they are also quite well armed with a variety of modern weapons recently stolen from a government arsenal.
ALN troops
Leader (pistol, sword)
2nd leader (M1 carbine)
2 man bodyguard (SMG)
3 - 10 man squads (9-rifles, 1-SMG)
2 – LMG teams, 3 men each (Bren or MG42)
60mm mortar team, 3 man (20 bombs)
2.6” Bazooka team, 2 man (3 rockets)
2 – home made mines

Rifles can be Mausers, Enfields, M1 carbines or French MAS36, SMGs can be Stens, MP40s or French M49s

French briefing
You are a lieutenant of 2nd battalion, 1st Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment (1REP). You have been placed in command of a mixed relief column with orders to proceed to the town of El Jermia where rebels are attacking the local police station. You have served in Algeria for a couple of years now and have seen some action, you are aware that this attack could just be a lure to draw your column into an ambush, be cautious. Your column consists only of volunteers drawn from your own company (1REP), 7th Regiment of Chasseurs D`Afrique (7RCA) and 1st battalion 3rd Colonial Parachute Regiment (3RPC).
French force (all veterans)
From 1REP
1 – radio jeep, Lieutenant, driver, RTO (SMG, M1 carbine)
2 – jeeps [.50cal], 4 men each (SMGs)
From 7RCA
2 – M8 armoured cars
From 3RPC
3 – trucks each with: 12 men (1-LMG, SMGs, carbines, MAS rifles)

The game could be run in several ways, a straight forward cross the table Vs ambush scenario with the French set a time limit as part of the victory conditions. If you have the room you could also include the town and the attack on the police station too. The second way would be for the rebels to halt/destroy the column, no time limits any French units make it to the town/off table is a French win. Another possible scenario, which would work well as a surprise second run is the French anti-terrorist sweep. Run the column and ambush as before up to the point when the ambush is sprung then the French can spring their own trap and call up reinforcements in the form of Alouette II and Vertol H-21 “Banana” helicopters and extra Legion paras to drop behind the ambush and trap the terrorists. If would not take much effort to enlarge this scenario too, a larger force of terrorists attacking a town garrison, make the relief column larger (an entire company with M24s) add air support for the French too a flight of Bearcat fighter-bombers maybe. Give the terrorists more men, a 75mm recoil-less rifle, extra mortars.
How about adding a squad of Russian paratroops or Egyptian commandoes (military advisors). I’ve read no hard evidence for these but the ideas not too far off the wall and would make an interesting “what if” game, with the Russians/Egyptians having to escape capture back across the border pursued by Legion Paras.

Figures and uniforms
One of the unique things about French colonial wargaming if the mixture of forces you can use together at one time; regulars, Foreign Legion, native troops, “Beret Rouges” (army paratroops), Legion or colonial paras, paramilitaries all could quite historically be together on an operation.

This can produce quite an unusual flavour to these games and gives an excellent visual look too. Using 20mm you could easily substitute US figures for French colonial troops and regulars; the French usually wore a uniform very similar to the standard US WW2 issue - olive shirts and trousers with ankle boots and gaiters with their version of the M1 helmet or paratrooper helmet. For variety include figures with soft jungle hats or wearing the “Tiger stripe” camouflage fatigues from Indo-China or US Marine type “blochy” camo pattern or add white kepi for legionnaires.
I also don’t see why you shouldn’t include some WW2 French figures with Adrian helmet and kit particularly for colonial militia and police units too (certainly in the film “Battle for Algiers” made in 1965, the Colonial police troops can be seen in this kit).
The Foreign Legion paratroops wore that unique “lizard” soft peaked cap with either olive fatigues or a striped camouflage in light shades of brown and green. All French units seemed to have used standard US pattern webbing. French regular paratroops wore a distinctive red beret, Commandos wore black berets, colonial paras green, any of which could be created with head swops from British paras?
Liberation Miniatures do excellent figures for Indo-china as do Raventhorpe, I mix these with the occasional Foreign Legionnaires, WW2 US (some head swops) and the odd WW2 French figure. All vehicles are standard US available from various sources (borrowed from my WW2 US armoured units).
For the ALN terrorists you could use Arab types from any number of Arab/Israeli ranges out there (no AK47 or RPGs though), mix in a few Africa Corps figures with peaked fatigue caps or possible Cubans as regulars. CP-Models has recently released some Arab civilians, some of which are armed and would prove very useful. I used WW2 Goumiers (Blitz do some excellent Goumiers without helmet) mixed with DAK. The ALN were heavily supplied by Egypt and Morocco, weapons bought from Czech and Yugoslavian suppliers, they had quantities of ex-German WW2 kit (Mausers, MG34 & MG42, MP40), the Egyptians supplied ex-British stuff – Lee Enfields, Stens and Bren guns. For heavy weapons they got 60mm & 81mm mortars and 57mm recoilless rifles.
Richard B.
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Re: El Jermia

Postby Faustnik » 17 Oct 2008

:good: :good: :good: :good:
Cool scenario and setting (not a lot of Algerian War scenarios out there) - any chance of a Map

A+

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Re: El Jermia

Postby Richard B. » 17 Oct 2008

Faustnik wrote::good: :good: :good: :good:
Cool scenario and setting (not a lot of Algerian War scenarios out there) - any chance of a Map
A+
Faustnik


I didn`t draw one, I thought I`d make it flexible for any tabletop.
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Re: El Jermia

Postby Andy Rix » 17 Oct 2008

Great idea and a wonderful period :thumbsup: :thumbsup: - I do admire the way the french put together such eclectic force mixes in their post war colonial strugles it makes all of them great to game :grin:
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Re: El Jermia

Postby kingscarbine » 31 Oct 2008

I like it. This is one of those overlooked periods with great wargaming potential. A few years ago I read a nice book by Jean Mabire entitled "Commando de chasse" about his experience in Algeria as a Chasseur Alpin officer commanding a mixed unit of French and Algerians. I'll see if it has some scenario material.

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