ASL Map Spotlight: The Battle of Orsogna

Orsogna was part of the larger Moro River Campaign

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Orsogna Unboxing
Orsogna (Advancing Fire)

The ASL gang over at Advancing Fire returned to Italy with their 4th historical module Orsogna, which offers a comprehensive account of the 2nd New Zealand Division’s tactical operations to establish control over the region encompassing the Italian village of Orsogna during the pivotal month of December 1943. This detailed historical module highlights the division’s transition from an infantry to a mixed-arms formation, incorporating the 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade, as they joined the Allied advance up Italy’s Adriatic coast under the command of the British Eighth Army. The module also covers the formidable opposition posed by the German LXXVI Panzerkorps, which, in the same period, comprised units such as the 1st Parachute Division and the 26th Panzer Division, showcasing their strategic deployment in the Italian Campaign under the 10th Army.

The village of Orsogna’s historical significance lies in its role during the intense battles of World War II, particularly in the context of the Italian campaign. The struggle for control over this region was part of the larger effort to liberate Italy from German occupation. The battles in and around Orsogna during World War II were part of the larger Moro River Campaign, which was a significant engagement in the Italian Campaign.

The Orsogna module contains the following:

  • 14 action-packed scenarios, including 4 campaign games (CG) covering Operation Florence in Orsogna area in December 1943
  • 96 full color, die cut 5/8″ ASL counters
  • 420 full color, die cut 1/2″ ASL counters
  • Three 31.3” x 22.0” and one 31.3” x 26.8” HASL map sheets which represent the historical layout of Orsogna sector
  • Rules pages describing ORS Scenario Special Rules (SSR), map terrain and campaign game rules

Watch the Orsogna unboxing video below …

The Map

The physical map for Orsogna is comprised of 4 map panels which, when fully assembled, measure approximately 3 feet x 8 feet. So I hope you have a long table. The VASL version of the map must be assembled in 4 map sections as well.

Prominent features of the map include Orsogna village proper, a section of “The Gully” and the ridge along which runs the major (dirt) road through the area. Numerous gullies, orchards, and vineyards cover the ridges leading up to Orsogna.

Advancing Fire - Orsogna
Orsogna, Italy (Advancing Fire)

The Battle of Orsogna

As autumn waned in 1943, the Allied forces, buoyed by victories in North Africa and Sicily, turned their gaze towards the Italian mainland. Their objective was clear: breach the formidable German Winter Line and pave the way to Rome. The Moro River campaign, a crucial phase of this offensive, saw the British Eighth Army clashing with the German LXXVI Panzer Corps in a series of brutal encounters that would culminate near Orsogna.

Orsogna
Orsogna Area Map

The village of Orsogna, perched on a ridge overlooking the Moro River, became the focal point of a relentless struggle. The Allied forces, comprising British, Canadian, Indian, and New Zealand troops, launched their assault under the cover of a bleak December sky. Their advance was met with fierce resistance from the entrenched German defenders, who were determined to hold the line at all costs.

The Allies first attempted to breach the Gustav Line by attacking its eastern margins. They successfully crossed the River Sangro, and the coastal town of Ortona was captured by the Canadians after bitter fighting in December 1943. But the Eighth Army’s failure to take Orsogna put an end to the drive up the eastern coast.

The Gully and Beyond

A narrow pit known as “The Gully” became the scene of intense combat. Canadian artillery mounted a heavy barrage on German positions, followed by an assault by Canadian and Indian troops across the Ortona-Orsogna road. This attack saw initial successes but was ultimately repulsed with heavy losses.

Despite repeated attacks on and around the town in the succeeding weeks, the Germans proved immovable. Although New Zealand infantry entered Orsogna on 3 December, and critically threatened the Gustav Line, the Germans managed to deploy armored reinforcements to repulse the attackers.

Aftermath

The Battle of Orsogna, though not yielding the decisive breakthrough the Allies had hoped for, demonstrated the tenacity and bravery of the soldiers who fought there. The campaign, lasting from 4 December 1943 to 4 January 1944, resulted in a stalemate, with both sides suffering significant casualties. The Allies would eventually prevail, but the memory of Orsogna remains a somber reminder of the cost of war.

In the end, the Moro River campaign was an important battle of the Italian campaign during the Second World War, fought between elements of the British Eighth Army and LXXVI Panzer Corps of the German 10th Army. Lasting from 4 December 1943 to 4 January 1944, the campaign occurred primarily in the vicinity of the Moro River in eastern Italy. The campaign was designed as part of an offensive launched by General Sir Harold Alexander’s Allied 15th Army Group, with the intention of breaching the German Army’s Winter Line defensive system and advancing to Pescara—and eventually Rome.

GET TO THE CHOPPA…!!!


ASL Map Spotlights are meant to be quick history lessons on available historical Advanced Squad Leader actions. These short articles are meant to highlight both a short history of the battle portrayed for players unfamiliar with the setting, as well as show the ASL map on which it plays out.


© 2024, Neal Ulen. All Rights Reserved. Copyright & Fair Use Notice.
ASL-Players.net is not affiliated with Hasbro, AH Games, Inc., or MMP, Inc. Advanced Squad Leader is a trademark of AH Games, Inc.


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