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Afrika Korpse
by
Peter Schweighofer
Concept By Shane Lacy Hensley
Cover by Chris Appel
Logos by Chris Appel
Interior Art by Marcio Fiorito
Photos Courtesy of the National Archives
Maps by Aaron Acevedo
Headers, Footers, and Graphic Design by Chris Libey
Layout by John R. Hopler

Editor’s Dedication: To all the Americans who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms and security;
and to Kathy, Craig, and John for their friendship and support.

This electronic book is copyright Pinnacle Entertainment Group.


Redistribution by print or by file is strictly prohibited.
Add 2 to all Page Number References to account for the cover of this Ebook.
Pla ytesting: Jason Nichols, Christy Hopler, Chris Libey, Zeke Sparkes,
Playtesting:
Bob Tipton, Katarina Tipton, and Michelle Hensley.
Further Playtesting and A
Playtesting dvice: Jay Kyle, Mark Metzner, Eric Lee, Trevor Lee,
Advice:
Bryan Maloney, and Scott Nethery.

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Table of Contents
Prologue: To the Victor Goes the Salvage ........................ 5
Chapter One: Desert Training ...................................... 11
Starting Packages............................................................................................ 12
New Skills ................................................................................................... 20
New Feats .................................................................................................... 22
Weird Feats ................................................................................................. 24
New Prestige Classes ...................................................................................... 28
Chapter Two: Ordnance & Equipment ............................ 39
Infantry Weapons ........................................................................................... 40
General Equipment ........................................................................................... 41
Vehicle Profiles ............................................................................................. 44
Aircraft Profiles .............................................................................................. 50
Chapter Three: Operational Overview ............................ 55
Campaign Phases ............................................................................................ 56
Lay of the Land .............................................................................................. 61
Bases of Operation ........................................................................................... 72
Allied Forces ................................................................................................. 75
Axis Forces ................................................................................................... 86
Campaign Themes .......................................................................................... 113
Chapter Four: Bestiary ............................................. 125
Aajej .......................................................................................................... 126
Cipher Imp .................................................................................................. 127
Colossus ...................................................................................................... 128
Corpse Mine ................................................................................................. 130
Flugzeuggeist ................................................................................................ 131
Ghul .......................................................................................................... 132
Ienpu.......................................................................................................... 134
Judgment Beast ..............................................................................................135
Sand-Rot Mummy...........................................................................................137
Supply Rat .................................................................................................. 138
Twisted Hulk ............................................................................................... 139
Wireless Hound ............................................................................................ 142

For use with Weird Wars: Blood on the Rhine, available separately.
Weird Wars

Prologue: To the
Victor Goes
the Salvage
“The German troops of the salute, nodding to some, calling greetings
Panzer Army Africa, who are to familiar officers. His show of
bearing the brunt of the war in confidence would bolster their spirits,
Africa against the finest troops of essential to a war in which they had little
the British Empire, must be support from other quarters.
provided with an uninterrupted Rommel glanced into the back seat. His
flow of the supplies essential for great coat covered a sack holding their
life and battle.” daily rations and a spare can of water,
just in case they hadn’t reached command
—General Erwin Rommel to Adolf Hitler by lunchtime. Another package held dates,
a small gift from Crüwell, his friend and
Rommel peered out of the open-topped right hand here in Africa, in case he got
car as it raced down the bypass road peckish on the drive to Sollum. He
from Tobruk. The driver sped by convoys considered stopping to share some dates
of supply trucks, marching infantry with the troops marching along the road,
columns, halftracks, towed artillery, and but decided they’d offer more cheer to
repaired tanks. Some were heading toward battle-weary men at the front.
the fighting near Sollum, while others These soldiers were his friends and
were returning to bolster forces besieging compatriots; but they were his tools and
the stubborn British at Tobruk. The low weapons, too, the means by which Afrika
rumble of combat at the dual fronts Korps would crush the British Eighth
formed two ends of Rommel’s balance—he Army ahead of them and drive through
was hurrying to ensure his plans were Cairo to the Middle East, linking up with
implemented German armies now fighting in Russia to
At the sound of the approaching car, break through to the rich oil fields of the
vehicles and men pulled to the roadside Caucuses.
to let the general pass. He patted a hand This jaunt typified Rommel’s life in
on the driver’s shoulder and the car Africa. It was all a delicate balancing act
slowed. Soldiers leaned from the trucks on many levels. If any balance swayed too
and halftracks to wave and cheer, the far one way or the other, the entire
infantry halting their march and saluting. German expedition in North Africa might
Rommel gave them a smile and a sharp wither and fold like a flimsy in fire.
Prologue

In one day he might drive to the front, The road ahead cleared of transport
make a flight in his Fieseler Storch to and the driver accelerated. The blasts
reconnoiter his and enemy forces, then from the mighty 88-millimeter artillery
spend the night on desert patrol in a faded as they sped from Tobruk, while
panzer reconnaissance unit armored car, distant blasts heralded their approach to
gathering information firsthand about a battlefield near the line stretching from
British defenses. He had to juggle time on Sollum to Halfaya Pass. The desert scrub
the road reviewing the troops and enemy flashed by, nothing but a seemingly
disposition with time at headquarters endless sea of sand, gravel, rock, and
planning the campaign’s next phase and sickly thorn bushes. Rommel knew this
coordinating Afrika Korps’ deployment. was worthless land to fight for, but it was
Rommel made sure he maintained his on the way to the rich oil fields of the
personal stability—remembering to eat and Middle East. So far he’d rallied the Afrika
sleep would help stave off the numerous Korps and cut right through the British in
illnesses brought on by desert conditions, Cyrenaica. If he could capture Cairo, he
battlefield stress, and the filthy could advance on the British colonies in
environment of war. Palestine, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, and Persia
In the five months since arriving in and provide Germany with a much-needed
Africa he’d quickly learned how to make supply of petrol. He’d need every resource
do with what men and materiel he had, to achieve that goal. But Rommel had
striking with lightning speed against the faith in his men, particularly their high
British, deceiving them with feints, spirits and their ability to press onward
penetrating their vulnerable points, and with limited supplies and machinery.
pushing them back toward Cairo. Rommel signaled for the driver to slow
His superiors didn’t make this easy. down as their car approached a scene
Rommel fought constantly with blocking the road ahead. A platoon
Wehrmacht High Command, the Italian returning from the fighting at Sollum
generals, and the Führer himself for confronted a curious group of soldiers
promised supplies. He got little who’d parked their covered truck near an
guaranteed support from Germany, whose impromptu graveyard. A team of engineers
Nazi leaders and stuffy armchair generals scurried over a wounded Panzer Mk. III in
thought the Russian campaign more vital a nearby ditch, rigging up a tow from a
in their quest for oil and other resources. massive SdKfz 9 halftrack tractor.
He got nothing but empty assurances As the car slowed, Rommel recognized
from the Italians, through whom all the officer and soldiers near the truck.
supplies came. And if they finally The men belonged to the
dispatched any provisions his way, the Sonderbergungsgruppe, or Special Salvage
RAF fighters and British submarines sent Unit (SBG). Their leader, Captain Leiche,
a good portion to the bottom of the pointed his Luger at the bedraggled
Mediterranean. Rommel was lucky if lieutenant at the head of the infantry
Afrika Korps received half the materiel platoon. Nobody else raised a weapon in
they needed to effectively hold the front, reply, though the infantrymen gripped
let alone penetrate farther into the Middle their rifles tightly. Everyone turned to
East. Rommel as the car drew up to the crowd.
The shortages forced the Africa Korps The tires scratched against the gravel as
to use every resource at their disposal, the vehicle ground to halt.
including supplies, vehicles, and weapons Rommel glared at Captain Leiche, who
the British had abandoned in their hasty was still brandishing the Luger, then at
retreat. It became clear to Rommel early in the soldiers. He stepped out of the car.
his thrust through Cyrenaica that whoever “You are all German soldiers,” he said. “Put
won each battlefield won the privilege of away your weapons.” The infantrymen
salvaging the spoils. For the British, such obeyed immediately, slinging their rifles
recovery efforts boosted morale and over their shoulders. Captain Leiche
strengthened their already solid support. hesitated, then returned the Luger to its
For Rommel, salvage would determine belt holster.
how long he could hold out in North Rommel nodded at the officer in
Africa. charge of the platoon. “Herr Leutnant,” he
Now he raced toward Sollum to oversee said. “What’s the problem here?”
execution of his plans there and modify “Leutnant Zweifel, 15th Panzer
them if necessary to take advantage of Division’s Rifle Brigade. We’re on our way
any momentary weakness in the British back to the rear area from the Sollum
disposition. front for relief,” he said. Rommel preferred

8
To the Victors

to rotate his men, especially when they’d the sand and rock, baking the men
taken a beating in combat. From the looks standing around in the open, and bringing
of it, this unit had sustained some heavy tempers to the boiling point.
casualties. The fellow scratched his cap, Rommel looked over at Captain Leiche,
gathering his courage while looking at his then glanced at his subordinates milling
boots, then glared up at the SBG officer about near the back of their truck. He
before continuing. “We came upon these sniffed the air, relishing the smell of
ghouls rooting about in the cemetery. explosives and sweat wafting from the
Digging up bodies of friends who’d given infantrymen, inwardly recoiling at the
their lives in Germany’s service.” He stench of death emanating from the back
pointed to the rocky mounds clustered of the truck.
near the roadside. The SBG was an SS unit, but by
Rommel stepped back and surveyed Rommel’s request they eschewed their
their surroundings. The graveyard and the usual SS uniforms and insignia for a
nearby panzer reflected the results of a standard Wehrmacht outfit and kit. The
skirmish that occurred yesterday. only difference was the
Someone had buried the bodies in Sonderbergungsgruppe armbands they
shallow graves, piling stones on them to wore and the unit shoulder flash.
keep the vermin and vultures away. About They were Himmler’s people, dabbling
half the graves held Germans, in the occult, indeed doing unspeakable
acknowledged by simple crosses marked things with corpses. They used arcane
with names and unit numbers painted in ceremonies to turn the dead into
hasty gothic letters. A few crosses had mindless zombies, living land mines, and
names and units of Italian origin. The other horrors. He’d seen it only because he
other half of the mounds entombed had to, and so he’d know what to steer
British soldiers, identified by the upright his regular troops away from. Rommel
rifles embedded barrel first into the sandy knew they’d turn these bodies into
ground, with the Tommy’s helmet perched undead abominations: things that
on top and identification disks hanging shambled across battlefields, absorbing
from the trigger guard. machinegun fire as they advanced
Three of Captain Leiche’s cronies had unfeelingly toward the enemy, or buried
already exposed five graves, and Rommel corpses packed with explosives, clawing
assumed the lieutenant’s infantry platoon up through the sand when they sensed a
had come upon them as they loaded the British patrol above.
corpses into the covered truck nearby. Although it might be tactically sound
SBG pennons flew from short masts to buttress his unappreciated troops with
mounted above the truck’s headlights. undead soldiers, it wasn’t good for morale.
The engineers hooking up the panzer He deployed these abominations in areas
tow looked on curiously
but remained silent.
“We’ve heard rumors
about these SBG men,” the
lieutenant continued. “That
they take bodies and do
things to them,
unspeakable things, turning
them into some kind of
weapon to use against the
British.” He looked to
Rommel for some kind of
confirmation. “I don’t know
if it’s true; but nobody
deserves that, neither our
men to have their bodies
desecrated, or the British
to face whatever these SBG
people conjure up.”
The infantrymen began
grumbling their agreement
with the lieutenant. The
desert sun rose into the
late-May morning, heating Rommel stops to confer with some officers.

9
Prologue

regular troops couldn’t cover: minefields, die serving Germany, there’s nothing more.
difficult terrain, and the southern desert, We become refuse, corpses, the wasted,
where enemy outflanking maneuvers were destroyed debris of battle.”
a constant threat. Rommel insisted they While Rommel spoke Captain Leiche
operate well away from regular units, and slowly crept closer, floating up to the
far from his headquarters. He had no general like some dark specter. The
stomach for such distasteful methods, infantrymen were too transfixed by
but ultimately they were resources just Rommel’s words to notice.
like anything else—weapons that might “We need every soldier to win the fight
help press the battle toward Cairo and in North Africa. You above all other people
valuable petrol. should know this,” Rommel said. “These
Rommel surveyed the scene once more, men have already given their lives. The SBG
then stepped off toward the halftrack can use the empty husk of their bodies to
crew. The soldiers and Captain Leiche aid the war effort. Some say they continue
peered after him with puzzled serving the Fatherland. I say they are
expressions their faces, then shuffled helping to give living soldiers like you one
along after him. more chance. If they can stop or slow a
“You there, Feldwebel,” Rommel called. British advance, or deceive an RAF patrol
The engineers sergeant looked up from to veer from attacking a live unit, do they
the tow hook on the wounded panzer and not have some tactical value to a soldier?”
exhibited a confused look. He soon found Rommel waited in the uncomfortable
his wits and provided his name. “Schlaff, silence. Lieutenant Zweifel’s men shuffled
Herr General.” around, turning their embarrassed faces to
“Tell me, Feldwebel Schlaff, where is stare at the ground. Someone coughed.
this tank’s crew?” Even Sergeant Schlaff’s men had stopped
The sergeant shrugged and pointed to their work to listen. Finally the lieutenant
the graveyard. “Over there. In the ground, in straightened his posture, saluted, and
the truck.” Rommel peered back at stared grimly at Rommel. “Thank you, Herr
Captain Leiche, who glowered near his General, for reminding us of our duty as
graves like a child guarding his toys. soldiers,” Zweifel said. “We fight on
“What are you doing with this tank?” knowing that you are behind us,
Rommel asked confidently. “Look at that supporting every action, and ahead of us,
hit. Clearly you cannot put this heap of leading the way against the British.”
junk back into service.” The blackened Rommel returned the salute and smiled.
hole through the armor near the driver’s “With men like you, Leutnant, I know we
visor gaped silently back at them in can fight the Allies all the way back to
response. Cairo.” He thought a moment, then turned
Schlaff chuckled to himself. “Surely to Sergeant Schlaff. “Feldwebel,” he called.
you’re joking, Herr General. I can’t just “Can you give this platoon a lift back to
leave this panzer here. We’re hauling it El Adem?”
back to the 129th Mechanical Transport The sergeant chuckled to himself again,
Workshops near El Adem. Give me a good then smiled like a generous host.
supply of spare parts, men, and tools, and “Certainly, Herr General. They can ride on
I could have her running in four days.” the panzer as soon as we drag her from
Rommel turned to Lieutenant Zweifel. this ditch. Maybe even find some room in
“Next time you charge into battle, would our halftrack. Plenty of room for everyone.
you prefer to have one less tank on our Give us a few moments and we’ll have her
side, engaging the enemy, and supporting ready.”
your advance?” The lieutenant and his “Good,” Rommel nodded. “Leutnant,
men looked glum, scratched at their tell your men to rest here until Feldwebel
dusty uniforms, and stared at their boots. Schlaff finalizes your transport
“Your dead compatriots are like this arrangements.” Zweifel complied with a
panzer,” Rommel continued. “If they could, grateful smile, then gave the orders and
would you not have them give their lives settled down with his men beside the
again so that you might live? Our very road. They began breaking out cigarettes
lives are tools and weapons with which and field flasks. “Don’t waste your water,
we wage this war. Even I am a tool in the Leutnant,” Rommel said. “One moment.”
hands of my superiors. I’m no more a He turned and strode off toward his car.
person to them than that rifle is to you. Captain Leiche scurried after Rommel,
We all have a job to do out here. It’s none leaning to whisper in his ear. “General,
too pleasant, but we go about it with they know too much. Let me dispose of
whatever dignity we can muster. When we them….”

10
To the Victors

“I know too much, Herr Hauptman,” to fill your empty flasks.” The driver
Rommel growled. “Are you going to unscrewed the water can cap and began
dispose of me? Do we really need to pouring into every drinking cup and flask
waste time making more corpses when the soldiers eagerly presented.
the British are more than willing to Lieutenant Zweifel stood after his own
provide them for free?” flask and cup were filled. “Herr General,”
The captain shrank back, beaten. He he called. “Would you honor us by sharing
winced at the insult. In the SS he was a a drink?”
Hauptsturmführer; to call him by his Rommel turned and accepted the cup
Wehrmacht equivalent reminded him that Zweifel offered him. He drank like they
in Africa, under Rommel’s orders, he was were having a friendly coffee in a café
to have no special authority accorded his back home. He nodded his thanks and
true position. His stare at Rommel handed the cup back.
gradually changed to a sneer that belied “Thank you, Herr General,” Zweifel said,
his intent to take revenge, slowly, a tear welling up in his eye. “Even if
carefully, but eventually. Germany abandoned us here in the desert,
“Return to your lorry,” Rommel said. we’d still fight on for you.”
“You are finished here. From now on you “Carry on, Leutnant,” Rommel said,
work far from any regular units. I don’t saluting. “You and your men represent the
want to hear from anyone else that finest soldiers Germany has to offer.”
they’ve noticed your rather twisted Rommel slipped back into the car and
activities. Am I understood?” ordered the driver to speed off to the
The captain grumbled agreement. Sollum front. He saluted the infantrymen,
“You are to leave these honorable then nodded sternly at Captain Leiche.
German soldiers in peace,” Rommel said, The car tore down the road, spraying
gesturing to the roadside graves and loose gravel in its wake. Once again he’d
speaking loud enough for the infantrymen managed to strike a balance with what
to hear. “Leave the British bodies, too,” he meager and disparate resources he’d been
ordered, “They fought honorably in life. Let given. This time it cost him a package of
them rest in death. Their tenacious spirits dates and his spare water can. Next time
would probably rebel despite all your maintaining the delicate balance would
hocus-pocus methods.” cost him much more. The British Eighth
Captain Leiche sneered but did not Army had steady and plentiful supplies
disagree. He could withstand this and high spirits. Rommel had to make do
embarrassment, even in the presence of with what little he had. He didn’t know
insignificant Wehrmacht troops, but he’d how much longer he—or the Afrika
repay these insults someday. Korps—could last.
“And leave the Italians, too,” Rommel
continued. “They’re probably as lazy in
death as they were in life.” The
infantrymen chuckled at the jibe—
although the Afrika Korps appreciated the
assistance of Italian units, they were
notorious for lethargy, unreliability, and
overall indifference for the fighting to
reclaim their colonial holdings here. To
Rommel the Italian forces were valuable
tools in the North African campaign, but
right now he needed a little humor to
distract the infantrymen and restore their
spirits.
Rommel strode to his car and reached
into the back seat. He retrieved the
package of dates sheltered under his great
coat, then spied the spare water can. He
ordered the driver to take the can, fill up
the troopers’ drinking cups and field
flasks. Rommel returned to Lieutenant
Zweifel, tore open the package, and began
passing out handfuls of dates to each
soldier. “A treat from my friend General
Crüwell,” he explained. “And some water Rommel at the controls of his personal Storch.

11
Weird Wars

Chapter One:
Desert Training

“For a few days at Siwa we started mountains and deep ravines cut by water
various types of training. It consisted erosion (known as wadis among the
chiefly of practicing what we would do in natives) provide substantial cover for
all the imagined situations that might covert operations but difficult terrain for
arise when on an operation.” armies to traverse. Sand offers a good
medium for digging in and creating
—Captain Alastair Timpson, LRDG defensive positions, but can also harbor
hidden dangers such as mines and tank
Welcome to North Africa, mate. You’ve traps.
just joined the most diverse army in His As for you Yanks, when you arrive at
Majesty’s struggling empire. We have units the party late as usual, you’ll find the
from every nation in the Commonwealth: North African terrain particularly
Aussies, New Zealanders, South Africans, demanding when opposed by Rommel’s
Indians, and, of course, good upstanding boys. Combine their fabled Teutonic
Britons. The Free French and Poles even practicality with an obstinate fighting
have a few battalions wandering out there spirit and a few 88s and you have quite a
in the hot wastes, holding key positions challenge.
in the defensive line. Training and resourcefulness are the
Look sharp there, soldier. Just because keys to surviving desert combat. The
that ack-ack crew isn’t wearing their German forces were ill-prepared for war in
tunics doesn’t mean you can go about any North Africa (just as they underestimated
way you like. This isn’t the beach at the power of the Russian winter). They
Brighton. No mollycoddling here. You’ll paraded around in their fancy hats and
quickly learn how to operate in the heavy wool tunics. They thought they
desert, whether you’re fighting on the could just march their army across the
front lines against Rommel and the desert like they rolled across the Polish
Italians, or scouting the wastelands with plains or the Low Countries in Europe.
the LRDG and SAS. Training prepares you, but you must
The arid terrain throughout North quickly adapt to new conditions, using
Africa presents many problems. Vehicles available resources, flexible tactics, and
easily get stuck in the vast sand seas or your good old British resolve to thrash
tumble over dune summits. The the enemy.
Chapter One

into Rommel—the legendary Desert Fox—


Starting Packages yet.
War can get pretty confusing, but you’re
Desert training and brutal experience determined to do your part. You combine
forge certain qualities in a soldier. You your basic training with good old
quickly learn how to become a survivor in American know-how and a tenacity for
this new environment—or you fail and getting things done—no matter the cost.
become its victim. You can use the Weapons: M1903A3 rifle (2d8, PV –5, crit
starting packages below to work up a 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 5S, 8 lb., Piercing),
ready-made 1st-level character, or take 3 Mk2 “Pineapple” frag grenades (6d6, PV
elements from them to embellish an 0, burst 4, 15 ft., 2 lb., Piercing/Fire).
original character you create. Skill Selection: Choose a number of
War Masters can use these packages to skills equal to 5 + your character’s
quickly generate first-level non-player Intelligence modifier.
characters. Each lists its name, with
parenthetical notations on class, branch, Skill Ranks Ability
and specialization (if any), plus weapons, Climb 4 Str
gear, feats, and a skill selection list. Driving 4 Dex
American GI (Grunt: Army Heal 4 Wis
Hide 4 Dex
Infantryman) Jump 4 Str
You were swept up in the draft that Listen 4 Wis
brought young men like yourself into Search 4 Int
training camps across America. Some Spot 4 Wis
eventually shipped out to the Pacific Swim 4 Str
Theater, but you headed to Hampton
Roads, Virginia, and boarded a ship for a Feats: Alertness, Firearms Proficiency,
choppy voyage across the Atlantic. They Improved Initiative, Light Armor
dumped your unit on the North African Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Simple
coast, backed by friendly Free French, Weapons Proficiency.
resistance fighters, and Berbers battling a Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool,
handful of loyal Vichy forces. So far it helmet, mess kit, overcoat, 4 pairs of
hasn’t been too bad, but you haven’t run socks, spare uniform.

A British 5.5” gun in action.

14
Desert Training

Bush Artillery Crew (Grunt: Skill Ranks Ability


Climb 4 Str
Army Artillerist) Driving 4 Dex
You crew the artillery that supports the Heal 4 Wis
regular troops, keeping Jerry at bay and Hide 4 Dex
holding your own tenuous position. You Jump 4 Str
often use artillery captured from the Listen 4 Wis
Italians who retreated when you overran Mechanic 4 Int
their positions during Operation Compass, Search 4 Int
the Commonwealth counterattack and Spot 4 Wis
invasion of Cyrenaica. The Italians
thought stripping the sights off the guns Feats: Firearms Proficiency, Gunnery
would render them useless, but you prove Proficiency, Light Armor Proficiency,
them otherwise on a daily basis. You take Simple Weapons Proficiency, Tactics,
aim with cries of “Cock the bastard up a Tracked Vehicle Proficiency.
bit” and fire on orders of “Let ’er go Gear: Bedroll, canteen, mess kit, 4 pairs
mate!” of socks, spare uniform, tanker’s helmet.
Weapons: Enfield No. 2 Mk1* (2d6+2, PV
–10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 6C, 2 lb.,
Digger (Grunt: Army
Piercing). Infantryman)
Skill Selection: Choose a number of Jerry’s gone up and made a mess of
skills equal to 5 + your character’s Europe again, so it only makes sense to
Intelligence modifier. call in the Aussies to save the day. You
don’t mind people calling you a “Digger”
Skill Ranks Ability because you’re proud to come from down
Artillery 4 Int under.
Climb 4 Str Funny that you and your mates would
Driving 4 Dex go from the deserts of Australia to the
Entrench 4 Wis deserts of Africa. Seems just like home
Heal 4 Wis sometimes—except for the bloomin’
Hide 4 Dex Germans shooting at you all the time. You
Mechanic 4 Int don’t care if there are five or 50 Jerries
Search 4 Int over that hill…you’re still going to give
Spot 4 Wis them all a sound beating they won’t soon
forget.
Feats: Firearms Proficiency, Forward Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8,
Observer, Great Fortitude, Gunnery PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9
Proficiency, Light Armor Proficiency, lb., Piercing), Bayonet (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb.,
Simple Weapons Proficiency Piercing), 3 No. 23 Mk II grenades (6d6, PV
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool, 0, burst 4, 15 ft., 2 lb., Piercing/Fire).
helmet, mess kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare Skill Selection: Choose a number of
uniform. skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Cromwell Crewman (Grunt: Intelligence modifier.

Army Tank Crewman) Skill Ranks Ability


You crew a Cromwell, a cruiser tank out Climb 4 Str
to blast any panzers you encounter on the Driving 4 Dex
battlefield. The desert has little to offer Entrench 4 Wis
but an uncomfortably bumpy ride and Heal 4 Wis
plenty of terrain where enemy tanks can Hide 4 Dex
go hull down. Jump 4 Str
Each engagement seems more Listen 4 Wis
desperate than the last, but you’re willing Spot 4 Wis
to give it a go if it’ll keep Jerry from Wilderness Lore 2 Wis
reaching Cairo.
Weapons: Enfield No. 2 Mk1* (2d6+2, PV Feats: Desert Defenses, Élan, Firearms
–10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 6C, 2 lb., Proficiency, Great Fortitude, Light Armor
Piercing). Proficiency, Simple Weapons Proficiency.
Skill Selection: Choose a number of Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool,
skills equal to 4 + your character’s helmet, mess kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare
Intelligence modifier. uniform.

15
Chapter One

the Huns in North Africa, you can start


“I’m proud to be an Aussie; there’s something driving them out of France and liberate
different about them. The Hun fights with grim your homeland.
determination, the Tommies fight by numbers, but Weapons: M1903A3 rifle (2d8, PV –5, crit
the Aussies tear about like kids at a picnic.” 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 5S, 8 lb., Piercing).
Bayonet (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb., Piercing).
—Aussie Gunner Writing Home Skill Selection: Choose a number of
skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Intelligence modifier.
Field Medic (Medic)
Skill Ranks Ability
Your training prepared you to deal with
Climb 4 Str
battlefield injuries, but nothing could
Concentration 4 Con
prepare you for the anxiety of waiting for
Driving 4 Dex
Operation Torch to begin. Will the Vichy
Entrench 4 Wis
French forces aggressively oppose the
Heal 4 Wis
beach landings? Will you keep your cool
Hide 4 Dex
in combat, or are you going to faint at the
Jump 4 Str
first sight of a serious injury? How many
Leadership 4 Cha
lives can you save? Rommel and the
Listen 4 Wis
Afrika Korps are in Tunisia, so they
Spot 4 Wis
shouldn’t be a problem just now. But
sooner or later you’re going to run up
Feats: Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
against the Desert Fox, and you fear the
Élan, Firearms Proficiency, Iron Will, Light
boys might find an entrenched enemy
Armor Proficiency, Simple Weapons
with a lot more combat experience than a
Proficiency.
bunch of kids fresh from the farm.
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool,
Weapons: None.
kepi, mess kit, overcoat, 4 pairs of socks,
Skill Selection: Choose a number of
spare uniform.
skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Intelligence modifier. HQ Staffer (Officer: Army
Skill Ranks Ability Infantryman)
Climb 4 Str You impressed your superiors so much
Combat Medicine 4 Wis that you were seconded to a headquarters
Driving 4 Dex staff at British Troops Egypt—as a
Hide 4 Dex subaltern at one of the battlefield
Jump 4 Str commands or in the huge military
Listen 4 Wis bureaucracy in Cairo. Mostly you run
Move Silently 4 Dex errands, prepare messages, and liaise with
Spot 4 Wis other officers, but occasionally you get to
Entrench (cc) 2 Wis see some action. You don’t really
command troops, just a staff, but the way
Feats: Alertness, Light Armor the campaign is going, you know you
Proficiency, Lightning Reflexes, Simple won’t remain behind the lines for long.
Weapons Proficiency Weapons: Enfield No. 2 Mk1* (2d6+2, PV
Gear: Armband with red cross, bedroll, –10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 6C, 2 lb.,
canteen, entrenching tool, helmet with red Piercing).
cross, medical kit, mess kit, overcoat, 4 Skill Selection: Choose a number of
pairs of socks, spare uniform. skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Intelligence modifier.
Free French Infantry (Grunt:
Army Infantryman) Skill Ranks Ability
Diplomacy 4 Cha
You followed General de Gaulle out of
Driving 4 Dex
France with the Germans on your heels.
Leadership 4 Cha
You’ve bided your time in the desert,
Observation
waiting for the right moment to strike.
and Assessment 4 Int
Your unit attached itself to the British
Profession 4 Wis
Eighth Army, fighting alongside
Search 4 Int
Commonwealth forces on the front lines
Sense Motive 4 Wis
and defending key posts. You don’t have
Spot 4 Wis
many resources, but you have that French
Wireless Telegraphy 4 Int
pride that will not die. Once you destroy

16
Desert Training

Feats: Alertness, Firearms Proficiency, terrain doesn’t get you, the German patrols
Iron Will, Light Armor Proficiency, Rank: and aircraft might pick you off. You need
2nd Lieutenant, Simple Weapons all your wits to observe the Nazi rear area
Proficiency, and report your intelligence back to HQ.
Gear: 20 rounds of ammo, canteen, Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8,
map case, 4 pairs of socks, riding boots, PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9
spare uniform. lb., Piercing).
Skill Selection: Choose a number of
LRDG Driver (Grunt: skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Infantryman) Intelligence modifier.
You’ve been transferred from your
regular combat unit and assigned to the Skill Ranks Ability
Long Range Desert Patrol as a driver and Climb 4 Str
general soldier. You transport LRDG Driving 4 Dex
personnel across the sands and behind Entrench 4 Wis
enemy lines to conduct road watches and Hide 4 Dex
ambushes on Jerry’s rear areas. Although Heal 4 Wis
you’re slowly learning the nuances of Listen 4 Wis
driving vehicles over dunes and rough Move Silently 4 Dex
desert terrain, you’re also getting some Observation
good combat experience, raiding enemy and Assessment 4 Int
installations and fending off the Spot 4 Wis
Luftwaffe with your truck’s machineguns. Wilderness Lore 4 Wis
Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8,
PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9 Feats: Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
lb., Piercing). Enfield No. 2 Mk1* (2d6+2, PV Firearms Proficiency, Light Armor
–10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 6C, 2 lb., Proficiency, Mechanized Infantry, Simple
Piercing). Weapons Proficiency, Sneak Attack +1d6,
Skill Selection: Choose a number of Track.
skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Intelligence modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability


Climb 4 Str
Driving 4 Dex
Entrench 4 Wis
Hide 4 Dex
Heal 4 Wis
Listen 4 Wis
Mechanic 4 Int
Search 4 Int
Spot 4 Wis

Feats: Automatic Weapons Proficiency,


Firearms Proficiency, Lay of the Land
(desert), Light Armor Proficiency, Simple
Weapons Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
proficiency.
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool,
mess kit, overcoat, spare uniform, 4 pairs
of socks.
LRDG Look-Out (Scout)
You served in various reconnaissance
capacities with your combat unit all along
the North African front. Now you’ve been
reassigned to Colonel Pendergast’s Long
Range Desert Group. You prowl the desert
in jeeps and light trucks, sneaking behind
enemy lines to spy on transport, sabotage
supplies, and escort SAS personnel on A two-man patrol fails to notice the ghostly form shambling up
their way to daring raids. If the hazardous behind them.

17
Chapter One

Weapons: Enfield No. 2 Mk1* (2d6+2, PV


–10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 6C, 2 lb.,
What is She Doing Here? Piercing), Knife (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb., Piercing).
Nurses and other rear-area personnel (including the Skill Selection: Choose a number of
HQ staffer above) can take part in adventures set in skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Cairo or other areas far from the heat of battle. Intelligence modifier.
Frontline characters might team up with them while
resting and recuperating during a brief leave. These Skill Ranks Ability
characters are perfect for adventures with more Climb 4 Str
emphasis on covert intelligence (see “Campaign Disable Device 4 Int
Themes” in Chapter Three: Operational Overview). Disguise 4 Cha
After a few opening escapades, War Masters could Gather Information 4 Cha
integrate them into frontline actions or operations Heal 4 Wis
with the OSI: Hide 4 Dex
—A nurse comforting a dying patient receives a last Listen 4 Wis
request: give his ring (inscribed with strange symbols) Move Silently 4 Dex
to “Cyrus.” Is this a relative, a friend from his old Spot 4 Wis
unit, or someone else? Or did he say “Osiris?” Some Wilderness Lore 2 Wis
surreal ancient Egyptian-themed dreams might further
induce the nurse and her friends to uncover the ring’s Feats: Firearms Proficiency, Gone
true nature. Native, Simple Weapons Proficiency,
—A staff officer finds his superior sitting at his Sneak Attack +1d6, Track.
desk in a hypnotic stupor. Although the safe door is Gear: Caftan (traditional native long
securely sealed, further examination reveals several robe), canteen, turban, knife, sash, soft
sensitive papers and code books have gone missing. boots.
Is there a security leak in HQ or an enemy agent in
Cairo? What did they do to the superior officer?
Perimeter Patrol Soldier (Scout)
Where are they, and where are they taking the stolen Whether guarding the border of
material? besieged Tobruk or protecting the
—A mentally disturbed patient begins babbling perimeter of your unit’s current position,
incoherently in English and German, crying that his you’re vigilant and determined. No Jerry’s
mind is spinning like a top, putting his hands to his going to sneak through your wire without
ears, and screaming for someone to make the voices getting picked off like a desert snake. You
stop. Then he starts blathering odd bits about probe enemy defenses, patrol your own
obviously classified information: German and British perimeter, and sometimes sally forth to
troop movements he couldn’t possibly know, encoded harass the Germans when they least
commands to the front, and high-level communiqués. expect it.
Is he a security risk, a Nazi spy, or a poor soul It’s no full-blown battle, but every
tormented by wireless transmissions? (Check out skirmish whittles away at Jerry’s strength
Radio Head under Weird Feats below.) and morale.
Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8,
PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9
Gear: Bedroll, binoculars, canteen,
lb., Piercing), Bayonet (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb.,
entrenching tool, mess kit, overcoat, spare
Piercing).
uniform, 4 pairs of socks.
Skill Selection: Choose a number of
Native Partisan (Resistance skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Intelligence modifier.
Fighter)
Although some Arabs resent the British Skill Ranks Ability
for their overbearing policies toward your Climb 4 Str
people, you welcome them as liberators Disable Device 4 Int
from the tyrannical Italian colonists and Demolitions 4 Int
innumerable German soldiers overrunning Hide 4 Dex
Cyrenaica. You know the deserts, Heal 4 Wis
mountains, coastal roads, and villages Listen 4 Wis
well because you grew up here. Now Move Silently 4 Dex
you’re attached to an Allied unit, Spot 4 Wis
navigating for the Long Range Desert Wilderness Lore 4 Wis
Group, gathering intelligence, or even
advising frontline troops. Behind the lines Feats: Alertness, Élan, Firearms
or on the battlefield, you use your Proficiency, Light Armor Proficiency,
ingenuity and familiarity with the region Simple Weapons Proficiency, Sneak
to free your people from colonial powers. Attack +1d6, Track.

18
Desert Training

Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool, supplies bound for the front. You wish
helmet, mess kit, spare uniform, 4 pairs of you could do more to stop the carnage—
socks. you believe one person, man or woman,
can make a world of difference. You’re just
RAF Airman (Pilot) waiting for your chance to do even more.
You’re assigned to one of the squadrons Weapons: None.
covering the North African theater. You fly Skill Selection: Choose a number of
convoy escort for ships in the skills equal to 5 + your character’s
Mediterranean, support ground actions, Intelligence modifier.
make reconnaissance patrols, and harass
enemy transport along the Via Balbia. Skill Ranks Ability
Although your flight skills are solid, it’s Combat Medicine 4 Wis
always good to know how to survive if Driving 4 Dex
you ever go down. Hide 4 Dex
Weapons: Enfield No. 2 Mk1* (2d6+2, PV Listen 4 Wis
–10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 6C, 2 lb., Move Silently 4 Dex
Piercing). Search 4 Int
Skill Selection: Choose a number of Spot 4 Wis
skills equal to 5 + your character’s Diplomacy 2 Cha
Intelligence modifier. Sense Motive 2 Wis

Skill Ranks Ability Feats: Eagle Eyed, Light Armor


Bombardier 4 Int Proficiency, Natural Born Leader, Skill
Bluff 4 Cha Focus (Combat Medicine)
Heal 4 Wis Gear: Medical kit, nurse’s smock.
Intimidate 4 Cha
Piloting 4 Dex Royal Engineer (Grunt: Army
Search 4 Int Combat Engineer)
Spot 4 Wis
The North African desert presents
Swim 4 Str
many challenges for a Royal Engineer:
Wilderness Lore 2 Wis
digging defenses, nipping through razor
wire, and picking through seemingly
Feats: Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
endless minefields. You’ve managed to
Eagle-Eyed, Firearms Proficiency, Rank:
adapt quickly—because if you don’t, you’re
2nd Lieutenant, Simple Weapon
likely to be overrun by some lumbering
Proficiency, Single-Engine Aircraft
Jerry panzer.
Proficiency, Snap Shot.
Gear: 20 rounds of ammo, warm boots,
flight suit, flight tunic,
4 pairs of socks, spare
uniform.
Rear-Area Nurse
(Nurse)
You volunteered for
military service, leaving
the bombed out ruins
of London for your
assignment at a
hospital in Cairo. Here
you tend the broken
men destroyed by
Rommel’s panzers in the
desert. You can’t
imagine the horrors
they’ve witnessed, but
try to comfort them
nonetheless. When
you’re not at the
hospital, you’re
volunteering your time
Armorers for the RAF’s Desert Air Force.
to pack medical

19
Chapter One

British Shermans advance near El Alamein.

Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8, SAS Trooper (Grunt:


PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9
lb., Piercing), Infantryman)
Bayonet (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb., Piercing). In the war’s early years, SAS units
Small Satchel Charge (7d6, PV 0, burst consisted of trained troopers led by a
10, 10 ft., 4 lb., Fire). commando officer. After hitching a ride
Skill Selection: Choose a number of with the LRDG “taxi service,” you and
skills equal to 5 + your character’s your fellows wreak havoc behind enemy
Intelligence modifier. lines, demolishing aircraft, burning supply
dumps, and sabotaging harbors.
Skill Ranks Ability You’re best at sneaking around, dodging
Climb 4 Str from one firefight to the next, displacing,
Demolitions 4 Int regrouping, and striking at Jerry where he
Driving 4 Dex least expects it. Someday you might
Entrench 4 Wis become a full-blown commando, but for
Heal 4 Wis now you at least get to play like one.
Hide 4 Dex Characters that serve in this capacity
Jump 4 Str often eventually join the Commando
Listen 4 Wis prestige class (see the Weird Wars rule
Mechanic 4 Int book).
Move Silently 4 Dex Weapons: Sten submachinegun (2d6, PV
Search 4 Int –10, crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 32D, 8 lb.,
Spot 4 Wis Piercing).
Knife (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb., Piercing).
Feats: Desert Defenses, Firearms 2 No. 23 Mk II grenades (6d6, PV 0, burst
Proficiency, Flamethrower Proficiency, 4, 15 ft., 2 lb., Piercing/Fire).
Light Armor Proficiency, Scavenge, Simple Small Satchel Charge (7d6, PV 0, burst
Weapons Proficiency. 10, 10 ft., 4 lb., Fire).
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool, Skill Selection: Choose a number of
helmet, mess kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare skills equal to 5 + your character’s
uniform. Intelligence modifier.

20
Desert Training

Skill Ranks Ability Tank Mechanic (Grunt: Army


Climb 4 Str
Demolitions 4 Int Mechanic)
Driving 4 Dex Tanks are essential to war in the desert.
Heal 4 Wis While the loser retreats, the winner
Hide 4 Dex overruns his position—and lays claim to
Jump 4 Str any abandoned material. You recover
Listen 4 Wis Allied tanks, quickly repairing most
Move Silently 4 Dex damage and sending them back into
Search 4 Int service. You scour derelict Nazi tanks for
Spot 4 Wis replacement parts, a scarce commodity on
the front lines.
Feats: Automatic Weapons Proficiency, When the tankers rumble back into
Firearms Proficiency, Furtive, Light Armor battle, you know you’ve done your
Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Simple part…desert warfare depends as much on
Weapons Proficiency. supply and materiel as it does on courage
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, cloth cap, mess and ingenuity in combat.
kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare uniform. Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8,
PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9
Sherman Tanker (Grunt: Army lb., Piercing).
Tank Crewman) Skill Selection: Choose a number of
Resistance was light on the North skills equal to 5 + your character’s
African beachhead. Now you and your Intelligence modifier.
crew race across the desert in your trusty
M4 Sherman, working out the kinks as Skill Ranks Ability
the sand finds its way into the tank’s Climb 4 Str
mechanical workings. The Sherman Concentration 4 Con
represents solid American know-how, Driving 4 Dex
practical common sense, and the Heal 4 Wis
unwavering determination to win this war. Hide 4 Dex
You can’t wait to personally demonstrate Listen 4 Wis
that to Rommel’s panzers and show those Mechanic 4 Int
Brits that Americans know how to fight. Search 4 Int
You have no use for those who claim Spot 4 Wis
that the German armor is superior to your
equipment. You’ll show the Jerries that it’s Feats: Firearms Proficiency, Light
all in how you use it. Armor Proficiency, Scavenge, Simple
Weapons: Colt M1911A1 (2d6+2, PV –10, Weapons Proficiency, Tracked Vehicle
crit 19–20/x2, 30 ft., ammo 7D, 2.5 lb., Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency.
Piercing). Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool,
Skill Selection: Choose a number of helmet, mess kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare
skills equal to 5 + your character’s uniform, vehicle toolkit.
Intelligence modifier. Tommy (Grunt: Army
Skill Ranks Ability Infantryman)
Climb 4 Str England’s the only bastion holding back
Driving 4 Dex the Nazis from conquering the entire
Heal 4 Wis world. Men like you form the backbone of
Hide 4 Dex His Majesty’s forces fighting in the jungles
Jump 4 Str of Asia, the beaches at Dunkirk, and here
Listen 4 Wis in the sands of the Sahara. You’ve kept
Mechanic 4 Int your chin up despite defeats and
Search 4 Int setbacks—because if you fail here, if you
Spot 4 Wis let that fighting spirit dry up in the
desert, that bloody Nazi menace will roll
Feats: Firearms Proficiency, Gunnery right over your home back in the green
Proficiency, Iron Will, Light Armor hills of England.
Proficiency, Simple Weapons Proficiency, The civilians back at home suffered
Tracked Vehicle Proficiency. through Hitler’s Blitz, now its time for
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool, make his troops pay. You won’t be
mess kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare uniform, satisfied until all the Germans in Africa
tanker’s helmet. are dead or have surrendered.

21
Chapter One

New Skills
Every Tommy comes to the front with
some basic training and a few skills to
keep him from getting blasted to bits.
Characters in North Africa may find the
following skills particularly useful, though
they also apply to other theaters of war.
In addition to the standard information on
skill checks, retries, and special
circumstances, each shows what classes
can use it a class skill.
Entrench (Wis)
Warfare in North Africa moves quickly,
with advances and retreats requiring
troops to hastily dig new defenses. Heroes
use the Entrench skill for sighting and
creating earthworks quickly—digging
trenches, fortifying natural positions, and
altering the terrain to their best
advantage.
Check: On a successful check the hero
finds a good position for hunkering down
and quickly digs in or buttresses existing
natural features. One man can dig
adequate one-half cover for himself in 10
British infantry take a quick breather on the battlefield.
minutes, given the proper ground,
entrenching tools, and siting; this provides
Weapons: No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle (2d8, a cover AC bonus of +4 and a cover
PV –5, crit 19–20/x2, 120 ft., ammo 10S, 9 Reflex save bonus of +2. In 20 minutes
lb., Piercing). one person can dig sufficiently to provide
Bayonet (1d6+1/x2, 1 lb., Piercing). three-quarters cover, giving him a +7 AC
3 No. 23 Mk II grenades (6d6, PV 0, burst cover bonus and a +3 cover Reflex save
4, 15 ft., 2 lb., Piercing/Fire). bonus.
Skill Selection: Choose a number of Remember that entrenched characters
skills equal to 5 + your character’s receive 9/10 cover against artillery attacks.
Intelligence modifier. This grants a +10 bonus to AC and +4
bonus to Reflex saves. These bonuses do
Skill Ranks Ability not apply to artillery attacks that airburst
Climb 4 Str (a rare occurrence in the desert). The WM
Craft 4 Int may also rule that shells that land very
Driving 4 Dex close to a soldier’s position may collapse
Entrench 4 Wis his foxhole, particularly if dug in loose or
Heal 4 Wis wet soil.
Hide 4 Dex The DC for an Entrench check is
Jump 4 Str usually 10, modified by the terrain.
Leadership 4 Cha Entrenching in desert, soil, and even rocky
Listen 4 Wis ground is easy. Trying to dig defensive
Move Silently 4 Dex positions in swamps, sand seas, and
Search 4 Int dense jungle requires a roll with a DC 15
Spot 4 Wis or 20. A failed check results in
Swim 4 Str inadequately prepared entrenched
positions (and a lack of cover bonuses), a
Feats: Desert Defenses, Firearms fact the character might not notice until
Proficiency, Incoming!, Iron Will, Light he’s under fire.
Armor Proficiency, Simple Weapons Retry: Assuming the character has
Proficiency. enough time, he may retry his Entrench
Gear: Bedroll, canteen, entrenching tool, roll. The time invested in the initial check
helmet, mess kit, 4 pairs of socks, spare is lost and he must spend another 10 or
uniform. 20 minutes to further bolster his
defensive position.

22
Desert Training

Class Skill: Consider Entrench a class Retry: Checks made to evaluate enemy
skill for the following classes: grunts, forces cannot be retried. Once heroes
resistance fighters, scouts, minefield record inaccurate information, their
engineers, and LRDG officers. interpretations based on that data always
contain some degree of error. Characters
Observation and Assessment cannot precisely recount units moving
(Int) beyond a stationary observation point
Personnel assigned to road watch once they have passed out of sight (at
duties must maintain a high level of least not without some form of magical
awareness, recording, reporting, and aid).
advising on enemy transport activity in Class Skill: Consider Observation and
the area. Your hero possesses the skill to Assessment a class skill for the following
count and identify every vehicle passing classes: officers, resistance fighters,
through a given area. You can scouts, commandos, LRDG officers, and
knowledgeably analyze the implications signalers.
of troop movement to estimate the Wireless Telegraphy (Int;
strength, composition, and purpose of
armed forces building up behind enemy Trained Only)
lines. Your hero is trained in all aspects of
Check: A successful skill check gives sending communications over radio
the hero a sense of the overall enemy waves. A skilled signaler knows Morse
activity in the observed area. He can Code, can pick out a specific message
identify enemy vehicles, ordnance, and from a cacophony of chatter on a radio
unit insignia, and make an educated frequency, and understands the general
guess based on their activity and technical and operational practices
numbers and how their actions fit into associated with wireless telegraphy
their overall strategy for the region. (required length of the aerial, best terrain
Characters must make a DC 10 to transmit or receive, “skipped” distance
Observation and Assessment roll, between transmission and reception
modified by any enemy attempt to points).
camouflage their activities. Failure results Check: A hero uses this skill when he
in gathering inaccurate information and transmits or receives a radio
drawing incorrect conclusions from it. The communication. The base DC for a check
minimum time to effectively use this skill is 10, but this number can be increased at
is three hours, though heroes may make the WM’s discretion (see below).
rolls after one or two hours’ observation When sending, a successful check
with a –10 or –5 penalty respectively. means the message was sent quickly,
For instance, a patrol observing a clearly, and accurately, and that those at
column of German armor race across the the other end have a good chance of
desert could accurately estimate its understanding it. A failed attempt garbles
strength, identify to which unit it the communication—the character failed
belonged, and the type and condition of to take into account atmospheric
its equipment. On a successful check they conditions, sent the message too sloppily
could determine it was making a flanking to be understood clearly, or spent too
maneuver that might cut off a friendly much time transmitting it (this can be
unit. very dangerous for reasons outlined
Heroes on road watch might observe a below.)
line of covered supply trucks heading A successful check when receiving
along the Via Balbia toward the front. If indicates the radio equipment was
they make a DC 10 Observation and positioned to catch the incoming
Assessment roll, they can accurately transmission clearly.
count the trucks, identify the unit to Difficulties depend on atmospheric
which they belong, and guess how much conditions (storms, sunspots, spiritual
freight they carry. Since the Germans phenomenon), the positioning of
covered the trucks, the characters must equipment, and the skill of the signaler at
make a DC 15 roll to gain enough the other end.
information to guess the nature of the Characters can also use this skill when
cargo. operating high-frequency direction-finding
Characters must still use their Hide and equipment (affectionately known as “Huff-
Move Quietly skills to covertly position Duff”) to hone in on a radio transmitter’s
themselves to observe enemy forces and signal to locate the wireless set and its
avoid detection. operator.

23
Chapter One

New Feats
The following new feats embody
qualities characteristic of desert warfare
and the units fighting in North Africa. War
Masters and players can use ones like Lay
of the Land and Élan in other theaters of
operation, and easily adapt others for use
in other kinds of terrain. For instance,
Desert Defenses could translate to
Tropical Defenses for a Pacific Theater
campaign.
Arid Acclimatization (General)
Your body’s physiology has naturally
adjusted to the more arid climates of
North Africa. Unlike those from more
temperate or humid environments, you
feel right at home beneath the blazing
Saharan sun reflecting off the bleak rocks
and sand dunes.
Prerequisite: None
Benefit: You ignore the requirement of
making a Fortitude save every hour in
very hot conditions (those climbing above
90° F), even if carrying heavy gear or
wearing bulky clothing. You treat extreme
heat (above 110° F) as very hot conditions.
(See “Desert Weather” in Chapter Three:
Operational Overview, for more
information about surviving in hot
The Desert Fox himself, Erwin Rommel. climates.)

Retry: Sending or receiving a message


Desert Defenses (General)
only takes a few minutes, though setting You have a knack for finding and using
up radio equipment in ideal locations for defensive terrain in the desert. You can
sending or receiving could take upwards better hide and detect mines in the sand,
of an hour. The more time one spends find cover under fire, and use natural
transmitting radio waves, the more features to their best advantage.
chances the enemy has to use high Prer
Prerequisite: Wisdom 13+
erequisite:
frequency direction finding equipment to Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to all
triangulate the transmitter’s position (and Demolitions, Hide, and Entrench rolls in
possibly call in artillery or air strikes on desert terrain. You also gain a +2 bonus
him). when making Search checks to find a hull
Special: This skill also encompasses down position for your vehicle.
the knowledge and ability to maintain Desert Fox (General)
and repair wireless equipment, assuming
Your senses are particularly honed to
proper tools and replacement parts are
your surroundings in desert terrain.
available. A radio’s delicate tubes and
Prer
Prerequisite: Wis 13+
erequisite:
crystals are prone to breakage and
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Spot,
deterioration in harsh conditions.
Listen, and Move Silently rolls in the
Wireless Telegraphy does not give users
desert. You can tell the difference between
the ability to encrypt or encode their
natural and unnatural sounds, observe
messages, or to decode or decrypt
carefully concealed positions, discern real
incoming communiqués. Only OSI Adepts,
objects from mirages, and move about
OSI Operatives, LRDG officers, and
with a minimum of noise.
signalers can use codes and ciphers
through the Decipher Script skill. Elan (General)
Class Skill: Consider Wireless
You possess a vivacious fighting spirit,
Telegraphy a class skill for grunts, a flamboyant confidence in your abilities,
officers, resistance fighters, commandos, and a determination to triumph over all
LRDG officers, and signalers.

24
Desert Training

obstacles. Sometimes this comes from Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Bluff,
within yourself, but often results from Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information,
high spirits among you and your and Sense Motive when interacting with
compatriots. natives of the particular ethnic culture.
Prerequisite: None Foreigners can often flatter members of
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to all Will many cultures by taking the time to
saves. When charging, you gain a +4 melee appreciate or even adopt their practices.
attack bonus instead of only a +2 bonus, This bonus also applies when
but you still suffer a –2 AC penalty. A masquerading as one of these natives in
character with this feat only has a –2 the presence of others unfamiliar with the
penalty when firing a pistol, culture (those who do not have the Gone
submachinegun, or sawed-off shotgun in Native feat for that particular ethnic
a melee. group).
Example: Captain Haselden has the
Find Water (General) Gone Native feat. Masquerading as a
You manage to find potable water in Senussi Bedouin—a tribe native to the
practically any environment, even in region of Cyrenaica—he wanders near a
desert terrain where water seems scarce. German supply depot to reconnoiter their
You could find water through such defenses. He gains a +2 bonus to his
ancient methods as dowsing, or you Disguise roll when dressing as a Bedouin.
might simply have a better understanding Any Germans spotting him probably
of geology and hydrology than others, assume he’s just a native looking for
enabling you to look in the right places handouts. If they accost him, the +2
(in dried-up riverbeds, shaded sand, and bonus to his Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense
desert plants). Motive skills would help him ensure his
Prerequisite: None disguise. As mentioned earlier though,
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to distinctive traits that mark the soldier as
Wilderness Lore and Intuit Direction a non-native may partially or wholly
checks when seeking water, a DC 15 task negate this bonus at the WM’s discretion.
in most terrain, but a DC 20 task in
deserts. This feat also cuts the time taken Honest Face (General)
to find water in half. (See the section Your features and attitude project an air
covering thirst in the “Desert Weather” of honesty about you, inclining others to
portion of Chapter Three: Operational trust you more, listen to what you have to
Overview, for more information about say, and consider your point of view.
finding water.) Prerequisite: None
Benefit: You get a +2 bonus to
Furtive (General) Diplomacy and Gather Information rolls
You possess a furtive demeanor and a when interacting with others in a sincere
natural knack for remaining unnoticed. manner; however, this benefit does not
You’re more comfortable on the sidelines, apply when you act in a dishonest
in the shadows, and generally out of sight fashion (using these skills while
of everyone else. pretending to be someone else, acting
Prerequisite: None against your better judgment, or
Benefit: You get a +2 bonus to Hide and attempting to deceive others).
Move Silently rolls.
Lay of the Land (General)
Gone Native (General) Your character has a knack for traveling
Your hero has become intimately across certain types of terrain. He knows
familiar with the culture, customs, and what natural features present the worst
language of a particular ethnic group conditions for hikers and vehicles, and
native to the region. You exhibit an can identify safe paths across stable
affinity for local customs, get along easily ground. You can optimize travel time by
with natives, and know enough about taking routes through the safest territory
their ways to pass yourself off as one of and avoiding hazards.
them, especially among those unfamiliar Prerequisite: None
with their culture (although blonde hair Benefit: You receive a +2 bonus to
and blue eyes might impose a penalty). Driving, Intuit Direction, and Navigation
Prerequisite: Speak Language +4 in rolls in a particular type of environment.
native tongue of particular ethnic group; Special: You can take this feat multiple
the character must have spent at least times, although its effects do not stack.
one month living among the native Each time you gain this feat it applies to
culture. a new type of terrain.

25
Chapter One

Sahara Lore (General) Technically Adept (General)


You have an interest in and affinity for You have a particular affinity for using
legends, myths, and stories of the Sahara and fiddling with various bits of
region, including its various peoples and technology, from automobiles and tanks
cultures, past and present. You make a to radio sets and personal gear.
hobby of reading about and finding bits Prerequisite: Int 13+
of trivia about ancient Egypt, lost Persian Benefit: You receive a +2 bonus to
armies, and ruins of fabled Atlantean Artillery, Driving, Mechanic, and Wireless
cities in the Tibesti Mountains. Telegraphy rolls.
Prerequisite
Prerequisite: None
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Gather
Information, Wilderness Lore, and
Weird Feats
Knowledge of arcana, history, and religion Supernatural elements play a major roll
when the topic relates to strange stories in Weird Wars adventures. Most characters
and myths of the Sahara region. This is an encounter monstrosities, arcane spells,
important ability for OSI operatives and ancient relics—exterior threats they
working in this region. can often deal with through combat or
ritual. Sometimes weirdness seeks
Scavenge (General) characters out and finds a home inside
You have a knack for scrounging up them. Weird feats grant unnatural benefits
material from the most unlikely places to heroes, often with some disadvantage
and putting it to practical use. Some that adversely affects their performance
uncharitable souls may refer to your when using the feat. They infuse the
“knack” as out-and-out thievery, but you game with more weirdness at a terribly
know the truth. personal level for characters.
Prerequisite: Int 13+ Players and War Masters should discuss
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to using weird feats before introducing them
Demolitions, Mechanic, and Search rolls into their campaigns. A player might feel
when seeking and using junk left over his character needs more of a challenge,
from battles, supplies from abandoned or a mysterious quirk to help develop his
outposts, and available materials for character further. Weird feats can become
makeshift repairs, hastily erected story elements that enhance the
defenses, and other functions other than campaign’s existing flavor. The War Master
the material’s intended purposes. could easily create an adventure that
centers around the circumstances through
which the weird feat is acquired,
discovered, and harnessed.
These feats all have the prerequisite of
New Afrika Korpse Skills a “weird circumstance” through which the
character gains the special abilities. The
Skill Key Ability Notes
character could be struck by lightning,
Entrench Wis
bitten by a scorpion, cursed by a
Observation
mysterious native mystic, knocked
and Assessment Int
unconscious from a near miss, or have
Wireless Telegraphy Int Trained Only
survived stepping on a land mine.
Descriptions below provide some
New Afrika Korpse Feats appropriate examples. War Masters can
also create their own weird feats to better
Feat Prerequisite
suit their campaign’s atmosphere and
Arid Acclimatization
theme.
Desert Defenses Wis 13+
After the character uses the feat in a
Desert Fox Wis 13+
few intervening adventures, he might face
Élan
a greater challenge tied to his new
Find Water
abilities. Others in his unit could begin
Furtive
viewing him with suspicion if he uses
Gone Native Special
the feat too often or openly. If the feat’s
Honest Face
adverse effects increase with time, they
Lay of the Land
might begin to impair his normal
Sahara Lore
operation—the character could seek some
Scavenge Int 13+
way to rid himself of this weird feat
Technically Adept Int 13+
“curse.” Others in high places might hear
of his supernatural powers. Maybe he

26
Desert Training

must avoid a special team of Nazi sensing the mine. After one round you
commandos bent on capturing him for must make a DC 15 Will save to snap out
experimentation. of it. A character who fails the save
Characters with weird feats eventually remains paralyzed with fear in his current
come to the OSI’s attention and often position and stance until the next round,
find themselves seconded to that when he can attempt another DC 15 Will
organization to put their special talents to save.
use at a more covert and dangerous level. Special: War Masters may decide that
Although special talents are normally the detrimental effects of this feat
treated well by the OSI, in the end, they increase or decrease with time. Some
are simply just another tool to use against characters might easily overcome the
the Axis war machine, and like a tool, discomfort of this feat, thus lowering the
expendable. Will save DC to 10, while others might
War Masters can give enemy personnel become more disturbed by it, increasing
weird feats, but must justify their the DC to 20. A character who makes a
existence. Although the SS could point of avoiding mines for a time might
successfully deploy individuals with such be more unaccustomed to their presence
feats against Allied forces, Nazi doctors should he encounter them later, requiring
would find greater benefit in a higher DC Will save.
experimenting on subjects with such feats Ex ample: Sergeant Cavendish, on patrol
Example:
in an effort to duplicate their effects in with his squad, walks within 10 feet of a
others. In most cases, a German soldier buried mine. He instantly realizes the
with a weird feat would hide his danger and knows the mine’s exact
condition lest he find himself strapped to position, but is frozen with fear for one
an SS doctor’s dissection table. round. During this time he’s a clean target
for any Germans in nearby trenches, but
Mine Feel (Weird) he also arouses the attention of his
You possess the
uncanny ability to detect
unexploded shells, mines,
and other explosive booby
traps buried in the ground.
Somehow you
instinctively know where
mines were placed, and
sense their presence as a
foreboding heaviness on
your mind. Unfortunately
this feeling of utter dread
paralyzes you with fright.
You know exactly where
the mine sits, but you
can’t move, even to disarm
it, take cover, or alert your
mates to its presence.
Prer
Prerequisite: Weird
erequisite:
circumstance
Benefit: On a
successful DC 15 Spot roll
you sense any mine
within 10 feet. You know
exactly where it’s buried.
You must still make a DC
20 Demolitions roll to
disarm it.
Disadvantage: Upon
sensing a mine, you
immediately freeze up
with abject terror for one
round. This combines your
natural terror of imminent
danger with an unnerving A Tommy takes a German tanker prisoner.
discomfort of actually

27
Chapter One

Prerequisite:
Weird circumstance
Benefit: You can
intercept and listen
in on radio
communications as
if you had the
Wireless Telegraphy
skill at +2 (those
with the skill gain a
+2 bonus). This
bonus also applies
to using your
receiver abilities to
locate a wireless set
transmitting on a
particular frequency.
The range, clarity,
and intensity varies
according to a
variety of factors—
generally the longer
you use this feat,
the better you get at
tuning into certain
frequencies,
extending its range,
Monty surveys his positions outside El Alamein.
and filtering out
garbage.
Disadvantage:
mates, who wonder why Sergeant The voices in your head constantly
Cavendish suddenly stopped walking and distract you, giving a –2 penalty to all
broken out in a sweat, all while staring at your Listen and Spot rolls. If you stand
the ground ahead with fear and dread in within 25 feet of any kind of transmitting
his eyes. radio, the signal overpowers your senses—
After one round, Cavendish rolls d20 you lose your ability to hear anything
plus his Will save base modifier of +1. He until the transmission stops or you move
only gets a total of 13, so he remains out of range. The noise from a radar
paralyzed for another round. Since they’re transmitter is nearly overwhelming and
in the open, one of his mates tackles him doubles this penalty (although these
to the ground so enemy spotters don’t should only be encountered under
find him. The next round he rolls a Will extraordinary circumstances).
save of 17 and snaps out of it. He points Special: War Masters can vary this feat’s
out the mine and someone in the squad effects with time. If the abilities increase
uncovers and disarms it. with constant use, increase the Wireless
Telegraphy bonus as high as +4—but don’t
Radio Head (Weird) forget to similarly increase the penalty to
You hear voices in your head. At first Spot and Listen rolls as high as –4. War
you thought it was just shell-shocked Masters could also increase the range
nerves, then you thought you might be within which a transmitting radio impairs
going loony. Eventually you realized your all hearing, and could even assess
brain had become a kind of living additional penalties against characters
receiver. within than range, such as lost hit points
Some “voices” you recognize as radio or temporarily lowered Dexterity.
traffic between units at the front, while An extremely rare form of this feat
others are Morse Code messages tapping might include the ability to decode and
away in the ether. Sometimes you even decipher messages in one’s head, as if
intercept radio stations broadcasting from using the Decipher Script skill, with a +2
as far away as England. It all combines bonus. Any character with this variant
into a distracting cacophony in your who makes his powers known becomes a
mind, but now and then you can single target of interest not only for the OSI but
out a particular frequency. for the SS as well.

28
Desert Training

Rune Tattoo (Weird) you to wait your turn with a medic. You
uncovered the wound and let it bask in
You have a mysterious symbol tattooed
the sun. It actually felt better! By the time
someplace on your body. You cannot
you saw the doctor, you barely needed
recall how it got there—you just woke up
any attention. As long as you stay in the
one day and discovered it. Did it
sun and keep your injuries exposed to its
somehow appear while you were in
warm, benevolent light, you miraculously
hospital, or did those furtive Bedouin
heal faster.
have something to do with it? Slowly you
Pr er
Prer equisite: Weird circumstance
erequisite:
realize the rune grants you certain
Benefit: As long as you or the injury is
enhanced powers, though these seem
exposed to sunlight, you may make a DC
fairly subtle and easy to conceal. Still,
10 Constitution check to instantly heal 1d6
you notice others peering at you with
hit points once per day. After that, or if
suspicion or fearful looks in their eyes.
the roll fails, you naturally heal at twice
Pr er
Prer equisite: Weird circumstance
erequisite:
the normal rate: 2 hit points per character
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to one
level per day of rest. If you are under long
appropriate ability (other than Charisma)
term care and exposed to sunlight, you
and all related skill, save, and attack rolls.
heal at 4 hit points per character level per
The War Master determines the exact
day of supervised rest. You also gain a +4
mythical symbol and its implications for
bonus to any saving throw made to resist
your character. The symbol often reflects
poison and disease when out in the sun.
one aspect of the ability it enhances. For
Disadv antage: You cannot use the
Disadvantage:
instance, if you found the ancient
ability to instantly heal if the injury is
Egyptian djed hieroglyph tattooed to your
not exposed to direct sunlight. It does not
chest, it might give you a +2 bonus to
work at night, nor in shade, tents, tanks,
Constitution (djed represented stability
or buildings. Bandages covering the
and order to the ancients). The Elder
wound negate any instant or natural
Futhark rune Kenaz tattooed upon your
healing. If someone denies you sunlight
forehead might grant you a +2 Wisdom
for 24 hours, you do not naturally heal at
bonus.
all. For instance, if the enemy captures
Disadvantage: Whether the symbol is
you and imprisons you in a cave for three
tattooed in a visible or concealed part of
days, any injuries you’ve sustained will
the body, you suffer a –2 penalty on your
not heal naturally. Medical treatment still
Charisma and all related skill rolls. Others
works if the injury is denied sunlight,
become visibly uneasy in your presence,
though it is half as effective (half hit
and it subsequently becomes more
points regained through battlefield
difficult for you to relate to them
healing, only one hit point per character
successfully.
level gained through long term care).
Special: The bonus and penalty may
Special: War Masters can vary the
increase as the character uses the tattoo’s
degree of immediate healing depending on
benefits more often, as more time passes,
the character’s natural exposure to
or as the War Master thinks appropriate
sunlight and his use (or overuse) of this
to the campaign. If the War Master thinks
feat. Instantly healed hit points may range
a simple bonus to an ability is
from 1d4 to 1d8 or even 1d10. Using this
inappropriate, he may substitute a minor
feat may expose the character to other
spell-like effect—comprehend languages,
dangers, especially under combat
mending, protection from evil—of no
conditions. Refusing medical attention
greater than first level.
and leaving a wound open to the
Solar Healing (Weird) elements might confuse some medical
You feel great when you’re outside in personnel and arouse their suspicion. Nazi
the sunlight, even here in the dry Sahara doctors take particular interest in a
desert. You never seem to suffer from the character who exhibits this feat.
usual maladies that plague the common Trembling Hands (Weird)
soldier. Then you took a hit during a
You’ve developed a nervous tick in your
skirmish and dropped to the sand, the
hands, a trembling that at first seemed to
scorching sun bearing down on you. The
come and go without reason. After a
pain seemed unbearable, and you tried to
while you begin associating it with a
will it away. You felt the warmth of the
sense of sadness and dread surrounding
sun on the wound, and it seemed to
certain circumstances—just before an
partially heal right before your eyes! When
ambush, when you’re about to drink
you reached the casualty clearing station,
tainted water, or when you handle some
they put your stretcher down outside for
ancient artifact recovered from the sand.

29
Chapter One

Prer
Prerequisite: Weird circumstance
erequisite: Class Abbr
Abbreeviations: The prestige
Benefit: You gain the ability to detect a classes presented below are abbreviated
certain kind of unnatural danger within as follows: Fit, fitter; Lof, LRDG officer;
25 feet. For your senses to become aware Eng, minefield engineer; Nat, native guide;
of this threat you must make a DC 10 Sig, signaler.
Wisdom check. These perils might include
poison, a particular enemy, deadly Fitter
animals, magic, or the undead. When you “One of the Marmon-Herringtons
make the successful Wisdom check, your cracked its main chassis member…I
dominant hand begins shaking thought that we should have to abandon
uncontrollably, dropping anything in its the broken vehicle where it was…. The
grasp at the moment. You immediately next day we were washing at ’Ain Dalla
sense that danger is at hand, and have a when there was a distant roaring towards
general indication from which direction it the eastern cliffs and out of the haze
comes. came the abandoned truck. McLeod had
Disadv antage: While within 25 feet of
Disadvantage: cut a bit off the tail of the chassis, plated
the specified menace, you suffer a –4 the crack and hurried after us only a few
penalty to all rolls made for skills hours behind.”
requiring use of the predominant hand,
including combat rolls. —Captain W. B. Kennedy Shaw, LRDG
For ambidextrous characters, this
penalty only impairs one hand. The As a master mechanic, the fitter works
trembling dissipates once the threat is miracles on machinery with limited time
dispatched, or the character moves 25 feet and resources. Whether working from a
away from the danger. fully stocked fitter’s truck or with a
Special: The War Master may increase vehicle tool kit, a fitter can fix virtually
the range if he feels the character has any equipment that isn’t destroyed. With
used this feat frequently enough. Should frequent shortages on the desert front, a
medical personnel notice the tremors, they fitter must find the means to quickly
may order the character out of action for repair vehicles, weapons, and armor before
rest and recuperation, psychiatric sending it back into combat. A good fitter
evaluation, or permanent disability has an eye for scavenging useful parts
discharge. and an imagination for unorthodox but

New Prestige effective repairs.


During the siege of Tobruk fitters kept
the garrison’s antiaircraft guns repaired
Classes and in action despite heavy bombing
from the Luftwaffe. Fitters assigned to the
The war in North Africa required several Long Range Desert Patrol managed to
specialized talents, and a breed of men maintain vehicles during long periods
rose to fill the ranks of new units to away from bases with adequate repair
ensure victory in this harsh environment. facilities.
The prestige classes below—the fitter, Most fitters rise from the other ranks
LRDG officer, minefield engineer, native of soldier already serving as mechanics
guide, and signaler—all played major roles (privates and noncommissioned officers
in various operations against Rommel and from the grunt class). Some scouts
the Afrika Korps. become fitters after having learned self-
You don’t have to limit these prestige reliance and the value of a good repair job
classes to personnel serving on the North while on extended patrol duty. Others
African front. You can drop some right with technical ability, a good eye for spare
into other theaters, particularly the fitter, parts, and determination to get machinery
minefield engineer, and signaler. While the working again also make good fitters. All
LRDG officer might seem out of place far that is needed to be a fitter is some
from the desert, he represents a ingenuity and determination.
specialized kind of scout who might Hit Die: d10
operate independently behind enemy lines
on any number of fronts. You can Requirements
customize the native guide for other Nationality: British, Australian, New
regions where the enemy takes the local Zealander
people for granted, particularly the Pacific Will Sa
Savve: +2
and Asian theaters of war—the Filipino Driving: 4 ranks
coast watchers, for instance. Mechanic: 4 ranks

30
Desert Training

Feats: Scavenge,
Technically Adept, Tracked
Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled
The Fitter
Vehicle Proficiency Class Base Fort Ref Will
Lev
Le vel Attack Bonus Sav
Sa ve Sav
Sa ve Sav
Sa ve Special
Class Skills 1st +0 +1 +1 +2 Fitter’s Truck, Élan
The fitter’s class skills 2nd +0 +1 +1 +2
(and the key ability for each 3rd +1 +2 +1 +3 Make Do
skill) are Appraise (Int), 4th +1 +2 +2 +3
Demolitions (Int), Disable 5th +1 +3 +2 +4 Retrofit
Device (Int), Driving (Dex), 6th +2 +3 +2 +4 Fixed This Before
Hide (Dex), Knowledge (Int), 7th +2 +4 +3 +5
Listen (Wis), Search (Int), and 8th +3 +4 +3 +5 Last Legs
Spot (Wis). 9th +3 +5 +4 +6
Skill points each 10th +4 +5 +4 +6
additional Le
Levvel: 4 + Int
Modifier.
to modify machinery. For example, a fitter
Class Features could remove the damaged turret from a
All of the following are class features Marmon-Herrington car, fashion an
of the fitter: armored gun shield, attach it forward of
Élan: The fitter automatically gains the the now-empty turret mount, and securely
Élan feat at 1st level if he doesn’t already set a captured Italian 20mm antiaircraft
have it. gun in it.
Fitter’s T
Fitter’s ruck: At 1st level, the fitter
Truck: The fitter still uses his Mechanic skill
has access to his unit’s fitter’s truck, a for the task, against a DC based on the
lorry whose covered payload houses complexity of the planned alteration and
folding work benches, racks of tools, determined by the War Master. The
boxes of spare parts, and drawers filled modification to the Marmon-Herrington
with smaller components. Since these armored car, for instance, would probably
provide more than adequate resources,
working on repairs at a fitter’s truck
provides a +2 bonus to all Mechanic
rolls.
Make Do: Fitters in the field
quickly learn to make do with
what supplies they have,
substituting some parts to
function as others,
ripping off useless
portions of a vehicle
to repair a vital
component, and
fixing it all with
makeshift tools. At
3rd level the fitter
ignores the normal
–5 penalty when
effecting repairs
without the proper
tools and spare parts.
Retrofit: At 5th
level the fitter gains
ability to add or alter
equipment on
vehicles. While the
Mechanic skill
allows
characters to
repair damage,
retrofit
allows them

31
Chapter One

The LRDG Officer


Class Base Fort Ref Will
Lev
Le vel Attack Bonus Sav
Sa ve Sav
Sa ve Sav
Sa ve Special
1st +1 +2 +1 +1 Bonus Feat
2nd +1 +2 +1 +2
3rd +1 +3 +2 +2 Language Training
4th +2 +3 +2 +3 Bonus Feat
5th +2 +3 +3 +3 Aircraft Intuition, Language Training
6th +2 +4 +3 +4 Bonus Feat
7th +3 +4 +4 +4 Language Training
8th +3 +4 +4 +4 Bonus Feat
9th +4 +5 +5 +5
10th +4 +5 +5 +5 Bonus Feat

require a DC 20 Mechanic roll, plus all the LRDG Officer


parts and tools, and an amount of time “What the French call le sens du
determined by the War Master. practicable, and we call common sense,
Fixed This Bef
Fixed or
Before: After a while fitters
ore: knowledge of what is and what is not
have seen every kind of damage on every possible.… These are the real foundations
kind of vehicle…twice. At 6th level they of military knowledge, not strategy and
gain the ability to more efficiently effect tactics as most people think.”
repairs. This allows the fitter to restore
the usual 2d20 damage points to a vehicle —General Sir Archibald Wavell,
on a successful Mechanic roll, plus an Commander in Chief, Middle East
additional 2 for every point by which the
skill roll exceeds the DC. Making such a It takes a certain kind of commander
repair still requires adequate spare parts to serve as an officer in the Long Range
and tools. Desert Group. One must feel at home in
Last Legs: A good fitter can take a the desert wastes far south of the main
vehicle on its last legs and give it just a fighting. He must exercise an
little more life. At 8th level the fitter gains independence of thought and action,
this ability, which allows him to repair combined with the ability to improvise
certain kinds of critical damage to extend with few supplies, a small force, and
a vehicle’s operational life. overwhelming odds.
The fitter can adequately repair only The LRDG officer has more
certain kinds of critical damage: turret independence than those on the front
jammed, engine damaged, running gear lines; however, the repercussions of his
damaged, and immobilized. For a decisions have a far greater impact on his
successful repair job the fitter must make small unit. Poor judgment, ill-conceived
a DC 25 Mechanical roll and take 1d20x10 tactics, and simple dumb luck can wipe
minutes. The vehicle functions normally— out his entire patrol without proper
ignoring the effects of the specific critical initiative and leadership.
damage repaired—for a number of hours An LRDG officer helps plan and
equal to the number of points by which execute patrols, often taking direct
the fitter’s Mechanical roll exceeded the responsibility for various aspects himself.
DC of 25. He drives, crews the guns, goes on road
For instance, if the fitter’s Mechanical watch duty, and suffers the same desert
skill total comes to 30, the vehicle hardships as the other men; but he must
system he’s working on functions also stand above the rest as a pillar of
properly for five more hours. The repairs courage, ingenuity, and action in the face
and subsequent use of the damaged of the enemy, giving direction to his men
system wear down the vehicle, making it in dire situations.
completely useless at the end of this The desert tests everyone. On the
extended operation. It is not possible to battlefields, one can find comfort in one’s
use this ability on the same vehicle fellows, in the frequent supplies, and in
system twice before the vehicle has been the knowledge that command is right
restored to its full damage points in the behind you supporting your unit. In the
normal manner. desolate wastes of the Sahara, the life of

32
Desert Training

a small patrol is dependent on careful feats are listed parenthetically after the
planning, cautious action, and sound particular feat. An LRDG officer must still
leadership. meet all prerequisites for a feat, including
Many in the early days came from the ability score and base attack bonus
ranks of desert explorers who roamed the minimums.
Sahara before the war. As patrols Language T raining: At 3rd, 5th and 7th
Training:
expanded, others were drawn from highly level the LRDG officer gains enough
decorated units in the Eighth Army, experience to learn a new language of his
including the Coldstream and Scots choice. The officer must choose the new
Guards. Men from the officer class language from the following list: Arabic,
become ranked officers in the LRDG, Senussi, Fezzani, German, Italian, and
while grunts become noncommissioned Tibbu. Knowing the enemy’s tongue can
officers (“other ranks” for British help bluff your way out of tricky
Commonwealth forces) in the unit. Medics confrontations. Although most Muslim
with the Rank feat can also volunteer for inhabitants of this region speak Arabic,
assignments as medical officers in the many natives also keep their tribal
LRDG. languages alive. Those who inhabit
Hit Die: d8 Cyrenaica speak Senussi, nomads in the
Fezzan speak Fezzani, and tribesmen
Requirements living near the Tibesti mountains speak
Base Attack Bonus: +5 Tibbu.
Driving: 5 ranks Air craft Intuition: Enemy aircraft
Aircraft
Leadership: 2 ranks pose a
Na vigation: 2 ranks
Navigation: particularly
Wilderness Lore: 2 ranks deadly threat to
Feats: Arid Acclimatization, Lay of the LRDG patrols
Land (desert), Rank, Wheeled Vehicle traversing the
Proficiency open,
featureless
Class Skills deserts. A
The LRDG officer’s class skills (and the
key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha),
Decipher Script (Int), Demolitions (Int),
Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int),
Driving (Dex), Gather Information (Cha),
Intimidate (Cha), Intuit Direction (Wis),
Leadership (Cha), Listen (Wis), Navigation
(Int), Observation and Assessment (Int),
Sense Motive (Cha), Spot (Wis), Wilderness
Lore (Wis), and Wireless Telegraphy (Int).
Skill points each additional LeLevvel: 6 +
Int Modifier.
Class Features
All of the following are class features
of the LRDG officer:
Bonus Feats: At 1st level, the LRDG
officer gains a bonus feat. The officers
gets an additional bonus feat at 4th level
and every two levels thereafter. He must
choose these bonus feats from the
following list: Combat Reflexes, Command
(Command Voice, Int 12+, rank of Sergeant
or higher), Command Voice (rank of
Sergeant or higher), Desert Defenses (Wis
13+), Desert Fox (Wis 13+), Find Water, Gone
Native (Speak Language, special),
Mechanized Infantry (Simple Weapons),
Natural Born Leader (Cha 13+), Sahara Lore,
Scavenge, Tactics, Track.
Some of the bonus feats available to an
LRDG officer cannot be acquired until he
gains one or more prerequisite feats; these

33
Chapter One

patrol caught without cover quickly Most minefield engineers come from
becomes prey to nimble Messerschmitts, the grunt class (frequently combat
Stuka dive bombers, and Italian Macchi. engineers), though some come from the
Reconnaissance aircraft can easily spot ranks of officers and scouts. Minefield
unsuspecting and unprepared patrols, clearing units often bring along medics,
radioing their position to ground units but they aren’t necessarily true minefield
that can prepare devastating ambushes. engineers.
After a while an LRDG officer becomes Hit Die: d10
attuned to watching the skies and
listening for aircraft engines while driving Requirements
across the dunes. At 5th level, an LRDG Base Attack Bonus: +5
officer gains aircraft intuition, giving him Demolitions: 5 ranks
a +3 bonus to Listen and Spot checks Entrench: 2 ranks
when keeping an eye on the skies for Feats: Desert Defenses,
aircraft. Iron Will

Minefield Engineer Class Skills


The minefield
“I am sure that there should be a drill engineer’s class skills
for this, just as there is a drill for (and the key ability for
loading and firing field guns…. When you each skill) are Balance
have worked out a drill and I have (Dex), Climb (Str),
approved it, you will form the Eighth Concentration (Con),
Army School of Mine Clearance.” Demolitions (Int),
Disable Device (Int),
—Brigadier Kisch, Chief Driving (Dex), Hide
Engineer, 8th Army (Dex), Intuit
Direction (Wis),
Some compare the war Leadership (Cha),
in North Africa to war at Listen (Wis),
sea: vast armies maneuver Move Silently
across the boundless desert, (Dex), Navigation
unrestricted except by islands (Int), Search (Int),
of hazardous terrain. As in and Spot (Wis).
naval warfare, denying the Skill points
enemy access to a particular each additional
route is a common tactic. Just as Le
Levvel: 4 + Int
floating mines prohibit swift Modifier.
movement through parts of the sea,
so do land mines restrict movement Class Features
through the desert. Minefields create All of the following
dangerous terrain, and form integral are class features of
components of defensive positions the minefield engineer:
stretching the length of the front. Personal Equipment:
A minefield engineer has special At 1st level, a minefield
training in placing, detecting, and engineer receives
defusing mines. He’s attended the Eighth personal equipment to
Army School of Mine Clearance and better aid his specialized
moved on to the Minefield Task Force. If duties. He receives a
Montgomery’s forces are to break through metal detector that
German lines, they must clear vast gives him a +4
minefields peppered with explosives set circumstance bonus
for both personnel and armor. A to any rolls made
minefield engineer possesses the to detect most
courage to penetrate minefields day or mines with metal
night, search for buried mines, and components (see
disarm them. In this manner, he helps page 67 in Weird
clear pathways for mechanized forces to War II: Blood on
break through the Rhine for
enemy defenses more
and punch a hole information).
in the line. He also gets

34
Desert Training

one Bangalore torpedo, a


five-foot long tube filled
with explosive which, The Minefield Engineer
when detonated, clears a Class Base Fort Ref Will
10-food wide path through Le
Levvel Attack Bonus Sa
Savve Sa
Savve Sa
Savve Special
most obstacles, including 1st +1 +1 +0 +1 Personal Equipment
minefields. Engineers can 2nd +1 +2 +0 +1 Half Nightvision
join several Bangalores 3rd +1 +2 +1 +2
together to clear a longer 4th +1 +3 +1 +2 Nerves of Steel
path (see page 66 in Weird 5th +2 +3 +1 +3 Flail Tank
War II: Blood on the Rhine 6th +2 +4 +2 +3 Make Like A Rock
for weapon details). 7th +3 +4 +2 +4 Flail Tank
Nightvision: A minefield 8th +3 +5 +2 +4 Full Nightvision
engineer frequently works 9th +4 +5 +3 +5
at night, clearing a field for 10th +4 +5 +3 +5 Flail Tank
the inevitable armor
assault at dawn. At 2nd
level, the engineer receives
enough training in nighttime operations to
gain nightvision at half strength. He only Make Like A Rock: There’s nothing
has a 25% chance to miss in combat, worse than crawling through a field,
loses only half (rounded down) his probing for mines, and suddenly getting
positive Dexterity bonus to AC, moves at caught in the open under enemy guns. An
one-quarter speed, and suffers a –2 engineer can’t exactly dive through the
penalty on most skills relying on Strength minefield for cover (at least if he values
and Dexterity. He suffers a –4 penalty on his hide), so he just covers his head, stays
Spot checks and any other activity that prone, and makes like a rock. Maybe the
requires vision. enemy doesn’t really see him, or passes
By 8th level, his familiarity with night him over for other, more inviting, targets.
operations allows him to operate to a Getting out alive is part skill, part luck,
greater degree with minimal light. He only and part providence. At 6th level, the
suffers a –2 penalty on Spot checks and minefield engineer gets a +4 AC bonus
any other activity based on vision. when totally prone and taking no actions
When sudden illumination (nearby other than hoping and praying he doesn’t
artillery, flares, an exploding vehicle) get hit.
interrupts darkened conditions, however, a Flail T ank: At 5th, 7th, and 10th level
Tank:
minefield engineer who doesn’t prepare by the minefield engineer can try using his
shielding his eyes becomes temporarily influence, experience, and rank to call in
blinded for two rounds—he suffers a 50% one favor—getting a flail tank on the
chance to miss in combat, loses his scene in relatively short order to clear a
positive Dexterity bonus to AC, moves at field quickly (though rather obviously) of
one-half speed, and suffers a –4 penalty mines. “Flail tank” in this sense represents
on most skills relying on Strength and any tank fitted with specialized mine-
Dexterity. He cannot make Spot checks or clearing apparatus: chain flails, rollers, or
undertake any other activity requiring plow blades.
vision. After two rounds, he can adjust To influence his superiors to order a
his eyesight again to darkened conditions, flail tank to the scene, the minefield
or to the temporary illumination. engineer must make a Diplomacy or
Nerv
Nerveses of Steel: At 4th level a Charisma check the War Master sets to
minefield engineer acquires nerves of reflect battlefield conditions and the
steel. He gains a +4 bonus to all tank’s availability.
Concentration rolls and a +2 Will save If the engineer needs the tank to clear
bonus. Once per day he gains charging a path for an imminent armor thrust
bonuses like the Élan feat—when charging during a major battle, the War Master
into close combat, he gains a +4 melee might set the DC at 10. Getting a flail tank
attack bonus instead of only a +2 bonus, out to clear a minefield for a routine
but still suffers a –2 AC penalty; he only LRDG mission might require a DC 20
suffers a –2 penalty when firing a pistol, check. If the attempt fails, the
submachinegun, or sawed-off shotgun in opportunity to call in a flail tank later is
a melee. These effects are not cumulative not wasted, but the engineer cannot try
if the engineer already possesses the Élan to requisition a tank for at least another
feat. week.

35
Chapter One

gain access to the enemy—many foreigners


Native Guide take Arabs for granted as harmless,
“He had trampled over [the Jebel] idiotic beggars with no loyalties to either
previously in the guise of a native, spoke side in this war. The guide becomes a
Arabic and the dialect of Cyrenaica to native to better blend in and get closer to
perfection, and the natives, who seldom sensitive information where uniformed
thought highly of white men, would do military personnel could not.
anything for John Haselden.” Captain John Haselden was one of the
more famous native guides working in the
—Captain Alastair Timpson, LRDG North African theater of operations. He
gained the confidence of the locals so
Native guides are much that they named him the Mudir of
Allied soldiers trained Slonta and Tabir, and affectionately called
to work covertly him the King of the Jebel Akhdar (the
behind enemy lines. mountains that run across the northern
They masquerade as coast of Cyrenaica). He knew the local
local Arabs, and often Senussi language and culture intimately,
gain support from that maintained a good rapport with the
community. During Bedouin, and had friends
their extensive time throughout the region. In addition
among these people, to gathering intelligence,
they have become Haselden assisted the LRDG and
intimately familiar with SAS on various missions in
native customs, learned Cyrenaica. He attained the rank
the language, and of colonel, but was killed
forged a deep during a failed SAS raid on the
friendship with many Tobruk harbor in September
locals. These people 1942.
often support their Officers and scouts are best
further operations in suited for this class. Others
German rear areas. with the proper amount of
A native guide’s experience can also become
duties vary, but often native guides, the important
mirror those of LRDG prerequisite being a familiarity
personnel, spies, and with the local language and
SAS commandos. He culture.
might spend one month Hit Die: d8
gathering intelligence
on German operations, Requirements
monitoring road traffic, Base Attack Bonus: +4
reconnoitering supply Charisma: 13+
dumps, and noting units Diplomacy: 4 ranks
and commanders Leadership: 4 ranks
operating in the area. An Speak Language (nativ e
(native
LRDG patrol might require dialect): 5 ranks
his services to lead them Feats: Gone Native
from the southern deserts Other: The character must
into enemy territory to have spent a significant
settle in road watch amount of time behind
positions among native enemy lines and
villagers in the Jebel Akhdar. interacting with locals in
The SAS might require his their native cultural
help to scout an enemy setting.
airfield and execute a
sabotage raid.
Class Skills
Subtlety, deception, and The native guide’s
diplomacy form the backbone class skills (and the key
of a native guide’s methods ability for each skill) are
of operating. He depends on Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy
locals for shelter, supplies, (Cha), Disguise (Cha),
and a cover story. He uses Driving (Dex), Gather
their ubiquitous nature to Information (Cha), Heal

36
Desert Training

(Wis), Intuit
Direction (Wis),
Listen (Wis), Move The Native Guide
Silently (Dex), Class Base Fort Ref Will
Observation and Lev
Le vel Attack Bonus Sav
Sa ve Sav
Sa ve Sav
Sa ve Special
Assessment (Int), 1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Sneak Attack +1d6
Navigation (Int), 2nd +1 +2 +0 +2 Influence, Lay of the Land
Spot (Wis), and 3rd +1 +2 +1 +3 Native Disguise +2
Wilderness Lore 4th +1 +3 +1 +3 Influence
(Wis). 5th +2 +3 +1 +4 Sneak Attack +2d6
Skill points 6th +2 +4 +2 +4 Influence
each additional 7th +3 +4 +2 +5 Native Disguise +4
Le
Levvel: 4 + Int 8th +3 +5 +2 +5 Influence
Modifier. 9th +4 +5 +3 +6 Native Disguise +6
10th +4 +6 +3 +6 Influence
Class
Features
Sneak Attack:
At 1st level the native guide gains the top-secret sources, or allowing an Arab
sneak attack ability at +1d6. At 5th level woman to participate in any clandestine
he gain this ability at +2d6. It works just operation. The War Master might set a
as described for rogues in the Player’s higher DC for such favors, or could simply
Handbook. deem that they are beyond the ability of
Influence: At 2nd level, and every other anyone to grant.
level after that, the native guide can use The War Master should make sure a
his influence to call in one favor from the native guide does not abuse his influence
people among whom he works: local during the game. It should never
villagers, his commander at HQ, or groups absolutely decide the outcome of an
he’s guided in the past. This allows the adventure, nor should it serve as a
guide to gather resources unavailable to substitute for good roleplaying—in fact,
others to aid his missions, maintain his War Masters should require a good degree
cover, and move about the operational of roleplaying for a native guide to call in
area unnoticed. He might use his a favor using his influence.
influence to acquire special supplies, send Nativ
Nativee Disguise: At 3rd level the guide
an important message, get help for a gains a +2 bonus to Disguise and Bluff
seriously injured friend, or quickly gain when passing as a native around non-
information to plan a particularly daring native people. For instance, a native guide
attack. would receive a +2 bonus when trying to
To influence others, the native guide bluff his way past an Italian patrol, but
must make a Diplomacy check against a wouldn’t gain the bonus if he were trying
DC the War Master sets that reflects the to pass himself off as a native Senussi
favor’s importance. A simple request might tribesman among other Bedouin. This
have a DC of 15—acquiring additional bonus increases to +4 at 7th level, and +6
supplies and weapons from headquarters, at 10th level.
finding a guide into an unfamiliar region La
Layy of the Land: At 2nd level the
or enemy installation, recruiting a few native guide automatically gains the Lay
locals to help in noncombat situations. A of the Land feat for the particular terrain
more involved favor might require a the locals inhabit.
Diplomacy check against a DC of 25—
convincing command to order troops to
Signaler
make a feint to cover your own “We were far too unkind to the
operations, acquiring large or expensive signalmen…. We scoffed at their
equipment and ordnance, requesting air atmospherics, skip-distances and
cover for a ground assault, or using a interferences; we blamed them when they
village as a safe area until enemy activity could not ‘get through’ and when the
dies down. ciphers would not come out; we were
If the attempt fails, the influence impatient of their ‘check and repeats,’
becomes wasted, though it does not forgetting the regularity with which they
mean the native guide’s rapport with the kept communication.”
person he petitioned is tarnished. Some
extremely difficult favors may be —Captain W. B. Kennedy Shaw, LRDG
impossible: gaining intelligence from ultra

37
Chapter One

A good signaler is essential in the far- reports, and analyzes updates on


ranging front of North Africa. An expert in activities at the front that might affect
wireless telegraphy, a signaler maintains on-going operations in the desert.
contact with other units and headquarters From the battles in coastal Cyrenaica
on his radio. Whether calling in the and the bustle of Cairo to the distant
location of an enemy unit to the RAF, Fezzan desert and Tibesti mountains,
getting through to Cairo for specific signalers maintain essential
orders, or reporting intelligence gathered communications. A signaler knows the
during LRDG road watch duty, a signaler inner workings of his radio, how to best
deals with the most important weapon of place the unit and aerial for optimum
this war: information. signal transmission and reception, how to
While most platoons have men skilled “skip” a signal over ranges beyond the
at using radios for everyday normal workings for the wireless, and
communication, only larger units have how to maintain and repair the unit in the
dedicated signalers responsible for making harsh desert conditions. A signaler also
and receiving high-priority radio knows how to use basic codes and
transmissions. Besieged Commonwealth ciphers (represented by the class skill
forces at Tobruk stay in touch with the Decipher Script). Your average radio
outside world through signalers working operator in the field transmits “in the
from transmitters mounted in large trucks clear,” so any Jerry with a wireless set
(affectionately known as “Bread Vans” for scanning the frequencies can pick up the
their boxy, loaf-like shape). Resistance message, jot it down, and hand it to his
fighters depend on operators using translator. British field radio procedure
suitcase radios to call in intelligence, was sloppy enough that Rommel’s
supply requests, and action reports. An Fernemeldeaufklärung Company (radio
LRDG signaler reports enemy traffic along intercept group) could anticipate unit
roads, receives new orders and weather location, strength, and intention. Signalers
can use basic codes and ciphers to
encrypt their messages and decrypt
incoming communiqués. Assuming a
signaler knows the proper code and
cipher and has the equipment to decipher
it (onetime pads, stencils, and mechanical
encryption machines) decoding and
deciphering Allied messages requires a
Decipher Script roll exceeding DC 10 or 15.
For messages transmitted through
adverse atmospheric conditions (or
received on a failed Wireless
Transmission roll), this DC increases
by +10.
A signaler usually rises from the
grunt, officer, or scout class,
having some combat experience
and technical know-how. Some
resistance fighters become
signals experts to better
communicate with supporters
outside occupied territories.
Hit Die: d8

Requirements
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Driving: 3 ranks
Wir eless T
ireless elegraph
Telegraphy: 5 ranks
elegraphy:
Feats: Rank, Lay of the Land,
Technically Adept, Wheeled Vehicle
Proficiency
Class Skills
The signaler’s class skills (and the key
ability for each skill) are Climb (Str),
Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int),

38
Desert Training

Disable Device (Int),


Driving (Dex), Gather
Information (Cha), Intuit The Signaler
Direction (Wis), Listen Class Base Fort Ref Will
(Wis), Navigation (Int), Le
Levvel Attack Bonus Sa
Savve Sa
Savve Sav
Sa ve Special
Observation and 1st +1 +1 +1 +2 Radio
Assessment (Int), Sense 2nd +1 +1 +1 +2 Lay of the Land
Motive (Cha), Spot (Wis), 3rd +1 +2 +1 +3 Fist Recognition
and Wireless Telegraphy 4th +2 +2 +2 +3
(Int). 5th +2 +3 +2 +4 Huff Duff Intuition
Skill points each 6th +2 +3 +2 +4
additional Le
Levvel: 4 + Int 7th +3 +4 +3 +5
Modifier. 8th +3 +4 +3 +5 Huff Duff Requisition
9th +3 +5 +3 +6
Class Features 10th +4 +5 +4 +6
All of the following are
class features of the
signaler: Huf
Hufff Duf
Dufff Intuition: By 5th level, the
Radio: At 1st level, a signaler gains signaler has spent so much time on the
access to a radio, often mounted on one ether that he gains the ability to make
of his unit’s vehicles (a truck or jeep). educated estimates about the location of
More compact suitcase radios were only a transmitter on a particular frequency,
issued to OSI operatives, resistance similar to high frequency direction finding
fighters, and other covert operations equipment (HF/DF, known as “Huff Duff”).
personnel working behind enemy lines. To do so, the signaler must monitor a
This allows the signaler to maintain particular frequency for 24–48 hours,
contact with headquarters and other units. moving his own location significantly
Should the radio or vehicle become during that period to better judge the
damaged, it is replaced only when the increase or decrease in the other
signaler returns to his command base transmission’s strength. He can also fiddle
(although the signaler can attempt repairs with his wireless unit’s aerial placement
on his own). to better judge a signal’s power. Although
La
Layy of the Land: At 2nd level, the he can’t precisely pinpoint the
signaler gains an additional bonus from transmission, he knows whether or not
his Lay of the Land feat: it now provides he’s moving closer to or farther from it.
a +2 bonus to Wireless Telegraphy skill This assumes the sender transmits from a
checks. Having the feat allows you to find stationary position. Broadcasts from
the best terrain from which to transmit or moving points may further complicate the
receive, giving the bonus to Wireless signaler’s intuition about the transmitter’s
Telegraphy rolls made at a carefully relative location.
considered location. Ignore the bonus This feature is not as accurate as
when sending rushed messages from the operating Huff Duff equipment using the
most convenient spot, without taking Wireless Telegraphy skill.
time to find an optimal transmission Huf
Hufff Duf
Dufff Requisition: At 8th level, the
location. signaler gains the respect, experience, and
Fist Recognition: A signaler’s Morse authority to requisition Huff Duff
Code transmitting style—called a “fist”—is equipment for his unit’s use. He must still
as distinct as a person’s handwriting. At justify to his superiors why he needs
3rd level, a signaler can recognize the such gear.
Morse Code fist of various friendly and A Huff Duff set allows a signaler to
enemy operators. Based on the message’s better hone in on the location of other
frequency and style, he can make an transmitters. Because of its size and
educated guess about the sender’s power requirements, Huff Duff is often
nationality. Although he can’t determine mounted in a truck or jeep. Using it gives
any other details about the transmitter a signaler a +2 bonus to any Wireless
without decoding his messages, the Telegraphy checks to locate a transmitter
signaler can assign a familiar name to the on a particular frequency. Short
sender for future reference: “Hans” might transmissions pose more of a challenge
be a German signaler known to operate than long, talkative messages that
with a Panzer reconnaissance unit, while continually broadcast signals along a
“Charlie” might be an LRDG radio operator particular frequency. The actual DC for the
on road watch duty in Cyrenaica. roll is set by the War Master.

39
Weird Wars

Chapter Two:
Ordnance &
Equipment
“The British are receiving large Spitfires only saw action over the Sahara
quantities of war materiel…. We, much later in the North African campaign,
unfortunately, are not in that happy once England repulsed the brunt of the
position. The supplies that are reaching us Blitz.
don’t cover, by a long way, the minimum Eventually new ordnance made its way
we need.” into service in the desert war, mostly
supporting Allied forces. American lend-
—General Georg Stumme lease efforts reinforced British armored
divisions with new Lees, Shermans and
All combatants on the North African Stuarts. American-built trucks and jeeps
front began with equipment and vehicles give the LRDG and SAS reliable vehicles
already in service, including quite a few with which they could cross the sand
outdated pieces sent to the Sahara to seas and penetrate deep behind enemy
cover a secondary frontier. The Italians lines. Newly designed British tanks
and British, who’d maintained a military appeared, and new aircraft filled the
there the longest, depended primarily on growing ranks of the RAF squadrons in
armor developed on obsolete design North Africa.
principles and old modes of tactical The Axis forces weren’t so fortunate.
warfare. With Wehrmacht High Command focusing
With the formation of Afrika Korps, on the Russian front, Rommel made do
Rommel pulled together armored with what few reinforcements made it
divisions including Panzer Is and IIs that past British aerial patrols over the
had proven themselves during the Mediterranean. Advanced model panzers
blitzkriegs across Poland and France. New dribbled into his armored divisions, but
model panzers primarily went to the they were still dependent on the
Russian front to defeat the greater unreliable fuel supply flowing from Italy.
Bolshevik threat. While factories worked Rommel relied on his troops’ ability to
full-blast to turn out Spitfires to defend salvage and survive on what little they
the skies over England, the RAF in North had or could capture, as well as the
Africa initially depended on secondhand nefarious ingenuity of the SBG and its
Hurricanes to oppose the Luftwaffe— unnatural tactics.
Chapter Two

Italian infantry make a hurried deployment under fire.

Infantry Weapons revolver loading 10.35mm ammunition. A


reliable weapon in the desert, it was
“We have, without a doubt, often done easier to clean than semiautomatic
our Italian allies an injustice…. We failed pistols preferred by the Regia Aeronautica.
to consider that their weapons and Damage: 2d6+2, PV PV:: –10, Critical: 19–20/x2,
armored cars were far from corresponding Range Inc: 30, Ammo: 6C, Type: 10.35mm,
to the standard of those which we or our Action: Revolver, Weight: 2 lbs, Damage
opponents employed in North Africa.” Type: Piercing.
Beretta M1934 Pistol (Cougar): Most
—Colonel Hans von Luck pilots and high-level officers carried this
Italian semiautomatic pistol manufactured
Forces fighting in North Africa used all by the world-renown Beretta company. The
infantry weapons available by year until seven-round clip held .38 caliber
the campaign ended in mid-1943. Given the ammunition. The complex semiautomatic
nature of armored warfare in the desert, action required constant cleaning in dusty
War Masters should bear in mind the desert conditions. Damage: 2d6–1, PV PV:: –10,
importance of anti-tank guns for both Critical: 19–20/x2, Range Inc: 30, Ammo:
Axis and Allies, as well as the role the 7D, Type: .38, Action: Semi-auto, Weight:
dreaded German Flak 36 played as an anti- 2.25 lbs, Damage Type: Piercing.
tank weapon. For quick reference, the year
a weapon entered service frequently Rifles
appears as part of its make and model Car cano Modello 91/24: Italian infantry
Carcano
designation, particularly for German small carried a 6.5mm bolt-action rifle that
arms. For instance, the Pak 40 was a proved sufficient for both frontline
common anti-tank gun in Afrika Korps, fighting and sentry duty at rear-area
but the Pak 43 would only have played a supply dumps and airfields. Damage: 2d8,
role defending the Axis retreat after the PV:: –5, Critical: 19–20/x2, Range Inc: 120,
PV
beginning of 1943, if even then. Ammo: 6D, Type: 6.5mm, Action: Bolt,
Weight: 9 lbs, Damage Type: Piercing.
Italian Weapons Machineguns
Although Italian troops in North Africa
Br eda M38: The standard Italian 8mm
Breda
shared some ordnance with their Afrika
machinegun was manufactured in Brescia
Corps allies, they also relied on their own
by the Societa Anonima Ernesto Breda
small arms, as well as Italian-manufactured
company. Besides providing fire support
machineguns for both infantry and armor.
for infantry, it also served on mounts in
These often obsolete weapons often
Italian vehicles. Damage: 2d8, PV
PV:: –5,
employed odd calibers or other elements
Critical: 19–20/x2, Range Inc: 120, Ammo:
that made them incompatible with similar
50B, Type: 8mm, Action: Auto, Weight: 35
German ordnance.
lbs, Damage Type: Piercing.
Pistols Br eda M31: A heavier weapon than its
Breda
Modello 89B Pistol: A standard sidearm 8mm counterpart, the 13.2mm Breda M31
issued to tank crews and officers, the provided protection for the Italian Carro
Modello 89B is a six-shot, side-gate Commando M41 command vehicle. The

42
Ordnance & Equipment

few infantry units using this heavier


machinegun frequently salvaged them
from destroyed vehicles. Damage: 2d8+2,
PV
PV:: –5, Critical: 19–20/x2, Range Inc: 160,
Existing Ordnance
We’ve already seen much of the ordnance in the
Ammo: 50B, Type: 13.2mm, Action: Auto,
North African theater in previous Weird War II books:
Weight: 40 lbs, Damage Type: Piercing.
primarily Weird War II: Blood on the Rhine and Dead
Grenades from Above. To make sure War Masters and players
SRC Modello 35: This can-shaped have a full arsenal at their disposal, check the lists
grenade uses an all-ways impact fuse to below for armor, vehicles, and aircraft used in the
detonate its explosive charge and send desert. (Numbers refer to pages in Blood on the Rhine
shrapnel from its outer casing everywhere. for armor and vehicles, and Dead from Above for
Unlike other grenades employing fuses aircraft.) Feel free to use other vehicles, being mindful
that burn down several seconds, the SRC that some (particularly German panzers and self-
35 explodes on impact, eliminating any propelled guns) were not available in time for
chance to throw it back. The impact fuse, deployment to North Africa.
however, requires careful handling once Consider any American equipment available by mid-
the pin is pulled and the grenade thrown. 1942 as being deployed in Operation Torch and the
Users must make a DC 7 Reflex save to subsequent Yank campaign in North Africa.
keep from mishandling the grenade (thus
setting off the impact fuse) before tossing British Ordnance
it. Damage: 5d6, PV
PV:: 0, Primary Burst: 4,
Burst: Churchill VII, VIII (p. 73 WW)
Range Inc: 10, Weight: 2 lbs, Type: Cromwell VII (p. 74 WW)
Piercing/Fire. Daimler Armored Car (p. 74 WW)
M5 Halftrack (p. 74 WW)
General Sherman II (p. 75 WW)
Stuart V (p. 75 WW)
Universal Carriers (p. 75 WW)
Equipment Hurricane IIB (p. 22 DFA)
Mosquito (p. 23 DFA)
“The strong, unleaking, returnable Spitfire (p. 23 DFA)
‘Jerrican,’ by contrast, is an outstanding
example of intelligent design followed by German Ordnance
good production.” Kubelwagen (p. 70 WW)
PzKpfw IVJ (p. 71 WW)
—W. B. Kennedy Shaw, LRDG PzKpfw V Panther G (p. 71 WW)
PzKpfw VI Tiger (p. 71 WW)
Troops in North Africa used some SdKfz 234/1 (p. 72 WW)
equipment uncommon in other theaters of SdKfz 234/2 (p. 72 WW)
war, often specially suited for operating in SdKfz 234/3 (p. 72 WW)
the desert. Most of the equipment listed SdKfz 251 (p. 72 WW)
here found wide use with units working Me Bf109G (p. 19 DFA)
deep in the Sahara, like the LRDG and SAS. Me Bf110C (p. 20 DFA)
Flimsies Ju-52 (p. 20 DFA)
Ju-87 (p. 20 DFA)
Commonwealth forces used boxy, four-
Ju-88 (p. 21 DFA)
gallon cans for carrying petrol, water, and
other fluids. These containers quickly
garnered the nickname of “flimsy” from
the thin metal from which they were upwards of a quarter of their contents
made and the poor quality of the seams over extended transit. In a pinch they were
and seals. A factory in Alexandria more effective as practice targets and
supplied all British troops in North Africa field stoves—the wooden or cardboard
with these unreliable containers. Although cases provided a ready source of fuel.
they didn’t leak quite like a sieve, enough The infantry used flimsies to convey
liquid seeped through the seams that water to the front lines from tankers and
personnel often transported them two to provisions trucks. Motorized units used
a wooden crate to soak up leakage. As them for auxiliary water and fuel
the desert war waged on, wood became supplies. The LRDG used them early in
scarce and transports used cardboard the war, though they had priority in
cases that soaked up the liquid but acquiring newly liberated and more
became inadequate for carrying flimsies. efficient jerry cans.
The expendable containers frequently lost

43
Chapter Two

defensive positions create noticeable


landmarks. In the bleak desert, however,
one sand dune looks much like the next
and a slight course error could put a
patrol far from sight of its next supply
dump, target destination, or oasis.
Sand Channels
Developed by earlier desert explorers,
these long, steel channels are wide
enough to accommodate a jeep or light
truck’s tires. When vehicles become stuck
in the deep sand of the Sahara desert’s
endless dunes, the occupants dig just
forward of the rear tires and maneuver a
sand channel into place. Holes perforating
the channels at intervals allow enough
US Shermans load up before moving out. sand through to provide something for the
tires to grip. When they start up again, the
Jerry Cans tires draw the channels beneath them,
The Germans arrived in North Africa forming a firm base on which they can
with a better method of transporting drive out of their stuck position.
liquids: reusable, five-gallon metal cans Sand channels became standard
with solid construction, excellent seals, equipment for LRDG patrols and SAS
and good pouring lips. The British raiders crossing the vast sand seas, who
immediately christened them “jerry cans.” could not afford to abandon a stuck
Captured jerry cans became prized vehicle and hitch a ride with the next
possessions among soldiers, though truck in the convoy. Many military cars
officers frequently received orders to turn along the North African front also used
them in for use in more pressing service. them. They stowed the long channels
The LRDG and desert raiding groups along the sides of their vehicles for easy
used these reliable fuel and water access.
containers to survive long trips or If a jeep or truck becomes bogged
establish dumps of provisions in the down in the sand and the driver fails to
Sahara. Given their non-disposable nature, extricate it using the normal procedures
they were hauled everywhere, instead of (see Bogging on page 101 of Weird War II:
discarded like the poor-quality flimsies. Blood on the Rhine), he may try freeing
Eventually the Americans copied the his vehicle using a sand channel. This
container’s design in an “American,” but requires the driver and at least two others
the odd name never supplanted “jerry to maneuver the sand channel into place.
can.” The driver must make a DC 20 Driving
check to extricate the vehicle.
Magnetic Compass
A traditional compass relies on the
Sand Mats
earth’s magnetic field to point north. Like sand channels, sand mats help
Scouts, navigators, commandos, and free “stuck” vehicles from the sand. These
officers often carry them to determine consist of “rope ladders” constructed
their bearings, especially in the confusing from bamboo runs tied with canvas into
desert terrain. Unfortunately they don’t a long mat. With one end tucked beneath
provide very accurate readings in or near the stuck tire and one or two people
massive metal bodies like jeeps, trucks, providing tension at the other end, the tire
and tanks. One must step out of and found a firm enough base for the driver to
away from vehicles to take a reliable maneuver the vehicle into the clear.
compass bearing. Eventually, the Allies put this principle to
Without a compass placed away from greater use, deploying metal mesh netting
metal obstructions, characters have a –6 along established beachheads to prevent
penalty to making Navigation rolls in the heavy vehicles from sinking into the wet
featureless Saharan landscape. Compasses sand.
within or near metal vehicles suffer a –3 Sand mats were easier to maneuver
penalty. This isn’t as much a problem under a stuck vehicle’s tires than the
along the coast, where battles have heavier and inflexible steel channels, and
shaped the rolling topography and were rolled into compact bundles for
stowage—an appealing feature to the

44
Ordnance & Equipment

LRDG, which had to pile its vehicles with down time until detonation. Saboteurs can
numerous supplies for long desert set these box-shaped clocks to strike the
expeditions. integrated percussion cap after a
The driver of a stuck jeep or truck can accurately timed delay. Most models allow
try freeing it using a sand mat as long as a delay up to 24 hours, though a rare
he has at least one other person to eight-day delay model is available through
position and provide tension on the mat. proper channels.
With this arrangement in place, the driver Although they don’t tick as loudly as a
must make a DC 15 Driving check to conventional alarm clock, the inner
extricate the vehicle. workings still make a faint but ominous
ticking sound that might give away their
Sun Compass location to those actively searching for
Taking bearings while racing across the explosive charges.
desert isn’t easy—the metal vehicle interferes Clockwork detonators were issued to
with a conventional compass’s ability to specialized commando units and
accurately read the earth’s magnetic field. saboteurs, while resistance fighters relied
Rather than stopping every few miles to take more on pencil fuses that were less
new bearings, the desert explorers who accurate but more readily available.
formed the LRDG relied on sun compasses
to check their direction without slowing their Pencil Fuses
progress. Often mounted on a jeep’s These fuses gained their name from
dashboard, it consists of a horizontal circle their long, slim, cylindrical shape, much
divided into 360 degrees. By reading the like an oversized pencil. Saboteurs used
shadow generated by the vertical needle them to detonate explosives after a set
along the markings, one can determine the length of time, giving them an
vehicle’s true bearing. opportunity to escape before all hell
Using a sun compass allows one to broke loose. After sticking one end into
make normal navigation rolls in the bleak, the explosives (usually satchel charges of
featureless desert as long as the sun is TNT), the user removes the safety strip
shining and isn’t near zenith (when it’s and crushes the opposite end of the tube.
too vertical to cast an accurate shadow). This breaks a glass ampoule of acid that
Without a sun compass, characters suffer eats away at an inner wire holding a
a –6 penalty to making Navigation rolls in spring and striker assembly back from
the rolling desert terrain. the percussion cap. Variations in the
composition of the acid and retaining
Explosives wire offer different times before
“The enemy lorry was slowed up at a detonation. Once the acid eats through
bogus roadblock while a man, leaping the wire, it releases the spring, ramming
from behind in the roadside ditch, ran the striker into the percussion cap and
after it and lobbed a bomb into the back.” igniting the explosives.
A set of five pencil fuses comes in a
—W. B. Kennedy Shaw, LRDG flat metal box, offering a saboteur several
timing options indicated by the color of
Desert raiders like the SAS, Penman’s the safety strip: 10 minutes (black), 19
1st Special Demolitions Squadron, and minutes (red), 1 hour 19 minutes (white), 6
LRDG depended on new technology to hours 30 minutes (yellow), and 14 hours 30
harass Axis forces behind the lines. Since minutes (blue). The “time pencil” includes
their duties included a good deal of an integrated percussion cap assembly so
sabotage and explosive mayhem, they users don’t need to rig up additional caps
employed state-of-the-art fuses to on the explosives.
detonate their charges. This equipment Since the fuse works on such
was rarely available to the average imprecise principles as acid eating
infantryman in the field, but issued through metal, they are notoriously
primarily to commandos, resistance unreliable. Short fuses might go off
fighters, and others involved in covert prematurely or several minutes late, and
sabotage action in enemy rear areas or longer fuses might never activate at all.
occupied countries. Much of it depended on sheer luck. “Time
pencils” are more widely available to
Clockwork Detonator resistance units and commandos than the
More reliable than the “time pencils” more complex and reliable clockwork
(see below), clockwork detonators use detonators (see above) demolitions experts
precise mechanical principles to count prefer.

45
Chapter Two

the war. Instead of going


south to bolster the more
successful troops under
Rommel’s command, cutting
edge developments from
drawing boards and factories
went east to support the war
against the Bolsheviks.
PzKpfw IB
The Panzer I’s twin
machineguns proved ideal for
fighting infantry, but had
little tactical value in the
wide-ranging tank battles of
North Africa. In panzer
divisions this light tank
helped mop up stray enemy
soldiers; it served as a
command car and armored
fire-support platform for
infantry divisions.
A PzKpfw II. Armor Class: 15, Damage
Points: 50, Size: Large,
Cruising Speed: 35, Range: 90 miles,
Vehicle Profiles Weapons: 2 MG34 (turret), Ammo: 7.92mm
2,250, Crew: 2 (Commander, gunner),
Cre
“It was heart-rending to have to Armor—T
Armor—Turrurret: 35/35/35, Upper Hull: 30/
urret:
witness how the Ariete Division (our 30/30, Lo wer Hull: 30/30/30, Deck: 6,
Low
most loyal allies) and the remains of the Suspension: 30
Trieste and Littorio Divisions, fought with
death-defying courage; how their tanks PzKpfw IIC
(the “sardine tins” so often mocked by us) This light tank and its variants served
were shot up and left burning on the well on the flat plains of Poland and the
battlefield.” battlefields of France. A 20mm cannon
and coaxial machinegun provided
—Colonel Hans von Luck adequate firepower against conventional
forces. Although Panzer IIs weren’t well-
The forces fighting in North Africa suited for head-to-head engagements with
employed many older vehicles. These they other tanks, Rommel deployed these
modified for desert duty as best they castoffs of past campaigns as best he
could until newer models arrived at the could against British forces. Their sheer
battlefields in limited numbers. Despite numbers sometimes overwhelmed small
support both from Britain and America, detachments of Allied armor, or lured
even the Allies scavenged wrecks for new enemy tanks into the range of 88mm
parts, and made jerrybuilt modifications guns or their more powerful cousins, the
to make their vehicles more effective. Panzer IIIs and IVs.
Armor Class: 12, Damage Points: 50,
German Vehicles Size: Large, Cruising Speed: 35, Range: 125
The Afrika Korps deployed a full array miles, Weapons: 20mm cannon (turret),
of existing German ordnance as of 1941 MG34 (coaxial), Ammo: Max 180 (HE 50, AP
and any new developments up to its 130), 7.92mm 2,250, Crew: 3 (Commander,
Cre
withdrawal in 1942. These included older gunner, driver), Armor—T urr
Armor—Turr et: 25/25/25,
urret:
model panzers, standard halftracks and Upper Hull: 25/25/25, Lo wer Hull: 30/30/
Low
transport, plus artillery, anti-tank guns, 30, Deck: 10, Suspension: 30
recon vehicles, and antiaircraft batteries. PzKpfw IIIG
Many Panzer Is and IIs with their lighter
This medium tank formed the
armament proved inadequate for fighting
backbone of Afrika Korps’s armored
pitched tank engagements in the desert,
divisions. While its cousins invading
but Rommel used them as best he could.
France employed 37mm cannon, the
Wehrmacht High Command considered the
Panzer IIIs serving in North Africa carried
Russian front more important for winning
a 50mm main gun, adequate for

46
Ordnance & Equipment

confronting the British cruiser tanks Commando M41


designed for tank-to-tank combat.
This armored command and scout
Combined with the Panzer IV and dreaded
vehicle served in Italian infantry,
88mm gun, it became an effective weapon
reconnaissance, and armored units. It
in Rommel’s hands.
proved no match against enemy guns, but
Armor Class: 14, Damage Points: 75,
adequately protected Italian commanders
Size: Huge, Cruising Speed: 35, Range: 100
and recce personnel in the field. The
miles, Weapons: 50mm cannon (turret),
machinegun armament sufficed when
MG34 (coaxial), MG34 (bow), Ammo: Max
confronting enemy infantry.
99 (HE 30, AP 69), 7.92mm 2,700, Crew: 5
Armor Class: 10, Damage Points: 50,
(Commander, gunner, driver, assistant
Size: Large, Cruising Speed: 30, Range: 125
driver, loader), Armor—Turr
Armor—Turr et: 70/70/70,
urret:
miles, Weapons: Breda M31 MG (front),
Upper Hull: 80/80/80, Lo wer Hull: 80/80/
Low
Breda M38 MG (pintle), Ammo: 13.2mm 420,
60, Deck: 17, Suspension: 30
8mm 224, Cr ew: 4 (Commander, gunner,
Cre
SdKfz 9 driver, assistant driver), Armor—Upper
The Germans used this mammoth Hull: 35/25/25, Lo wer Hull: 35/25/25,
Low
halftrack for engineering purposes— Deck: 14, Suspension: 30
primarily towing disabled tanks from the M13 Tank
battlefield for repair or scavenging. A rear
Although manufactured as late as 1941,
payload bed with a canvas cover (like a
this medium tank employed design
lorry’s) carried supplies for the crew, extra
principles far behind its time. Its riveted
petrol and water, spare parts, and gear for
armor proved no match for British guns.
rigging tows to stranded vehicles. It
The M13 was typical of the kind of tanks
provided space for technical personnel to
Italian armored divisions relied on in
ride along, though the crews of damaged
North Africa.
tanks often hitched rides back to their
Armor Class: 10, Damage Points: 50,
units.
Size: Large, Cruising Speed: 30, Range: 125
Armor Class: 14, Damage Points: 75,
miles, Weapons: 50mm cannon (turret), 4
Size: Huge, Cruising Speed: 35, Range: 125
Breda M38 MG (1 coaxial, 2 bow, 1 flexible
miles, Weapons: None, Ammo: None,
mount at commander’s hatch), Ammo:
Cr
Creew: 2 (Driver, assistant driver), Armor—
Max 104 (HE 50, AP 54), 8mm 3,048, Crew:
Upper Hull: 20/15/15, Lo wer Hull: 20/15/15,
Low
4 (Commander, gunner, driver, loader),
Deck: 0, Suspension: 30
Armor—T
Armor—Turrurret: 40/30/30, Upper Hull: 30/
urret:
Italian Vehicles 25/25, Lo wer Hull: 30/25/25, Deck: 14,
Low
Suspension: 30
Italian forces in North Africa possessed
few armored elements
during their initial invasion
of Egypt in 1940. Most of
their tanks came over to try
stopping the British
counter-invasion into
Cyrenaica, though more
bolstered the famed Ariete
and Littorio tank divisions
that supported the Afrika
Korps. Although poorly
armored, outdated, and
inferior to other designs in
both the German and
British ranks, these tanks
formed the elite Italian
units. Driven by courage
and spirit, the tank crews
of Ariete division saved
Rommel at the Cauldron by
breaking through British
minefields and providing a
protected supply route to
get petrol to Afrika Korps’
panzers. A Panzer III moves out with infantry support.

47
Chapter Two

A Semovente M40 rigged for rail transport.

Semovente M40
The M40 self-propelled assault gun A13 Cruiser Tank
fielded a 75mm cannon worthy of Designed specifically for confrontations
confronting British armor. Built on the against other armor, the A13 cruiser tank
same chassis as the M13 tank, it provided and its cousin, the Crusader I (the A15
heavy fire support for Italian armored cruiser tank), formed the backbone of
divisions. Although it’s gun was up to the British armored divisions for the early
job, the M40’s armor was easily penetrated part of the desert war. Its cannon and
by the guns of British tanks. armor could challenge early German
Armor Class: 14, Damage Points: 50, panzers, but became increasingly
Size: Large, Cruising Speed: 30, Range: 125 inadequate as the North African campaign
miles, Weapons: 75L70 cannon (upper continued.
hull), Breda M38 MG (flexible mount on Armor Class: 11, Damage Points: 75,
upper hull), Ammo: Max 44 (HE 20, AP 24), Size: Huge, Cruising Speed: 45, Range: 100
8mm 1,104, Cr ew: 3 (Commander, gunner,
Cre miles, Weapons: 40mm cannon (turret),
driver), Armor—Upper Hull: 70/50/25, Vickers MG (coaxial), Ammo: Max 87 (HE
Lo
Lowwer Hull: 25/25/25, Deck: 15, 30, AP 57), .303 3,750, Crew: 4 (Commander,
Cre
Suspension: 30 gunner, driver, loader), Armor—T urr
Armor—Turr et: 75/
urret:
20/20, Upper Hull: 30/30/30, LoLowwer Hull:
British Vehicles 30/30/30, Deck: 14, Suspension: 30
Like the Axis forces in North Africa,
the British initially relied on the
Crusader I
somewhat outdated vehicles already Designated the A15 cruiser tank, the
serving in Egypt. They scrounged for spare Crusader seemed a satisfactory solution
parts and even salvaged German vehicles for German innovations in panzer
left behind during Rommel’s first retreat development. Although it looked
in late 1941. intimidating and fast, it still failed to
With fresh supplies from both England make a good showing against the armored
and America, however, the Allied forces divisions of Afrika Korps. Only the
soon deployed newer vehicles. With better introduction of American-developed
designs and greater numbers than the Shermans could turn the tide of armored
Germans, British forces eventually turned warfare in North Africa.
the tide of battle on the North African Armor Class: 13, Damage Points: 75,
deserts. Size: Huge, Cruising Speed: 40, Range: 200
miles, Weapons: 40mm cannon (turret),

48
Ordnance & Equipment

Vehicle Weapons
British vehicles in North Africa employed several weapons not previously detailed in Weird Wars
material:

Besa Mk III
A cousin to the Bren gun, the Besa Mk III was a British version of an air-cooled machinegun
originally manufactured by the Czechoslovakian BRNO company. It saw wide service mounted in
British tanks throughout the war, though the LRDG sometimes mounted these on their vehicles
when available. Damage: 2d8, PV
PV:: –5, Critical: 19–20/x2, Range Inc: 160, Ammo: 50B, Type: 7.92mm,
Action: Auto, Weight: 54 lbs, Damage Type: Piercing.

Boys Antitank Rifle


Developed in England in 1937 and named after a deceased designer (Captain Boys), this antitank
rifle saw limited use during the war. It seemed adequate to take on tanks initially deployed in 1939,
but quickly became obsolete as panzers shouldered more armor. In North Africa the Boys antitank
rifle served as the primary armament of the Marmon-Herrington armored car. Although deployed in
other campaigns (Norway, the Far East, and France), it saw limited use and was replaced by heavier
antitank guns that could penetrate increasing armor thicknesses. Damage: 2d8+2, PV PV:: 35, Bur st: 0,
Burst:
Critical: x2, Range Inc: 125y, Action: Auto, Type: 13.9mm, Action: Bolt, Type: Piercing, W eight: 36 lbs.
Weight:

Besa MG (coaxial, bow), Bren MG (flexible Damage Points: 40, Size: Huge, Cruising
commander’s hatch), Ammo: Max 110 AP, Speed: 50, Range: 300, Weapons: None,
7.92mm 4,500, .303 600, Crew: 5 Ammo: None, Cr ew: 3 (Driver, 2 fitters),
Cre
(Commander, gunner, driver, assistant Armor—Upper Hull: 2/2/2, Lo Lowwer Hull: 2/
driver, loader), Armor—T urr
Armor—Turr et: 40/30/30,
urret: 2/2, Deck: 2, Suspension: 20
Upper Hull: 60/30/30, Lo
Lowwer Hull: 60/30/ LRDG Jeep
30, Deck: 10, Suspension: 30
With its specialized mission, the Long
Fitters Truck Range Desert Group employed specialized
To effect repairs to equipment at the vehicles modified for extended desert
front, the British assigned a fitter’s trucks travel and defense against enemy aircraft
to most units. With the payload’s side patrolling the Sahara. The LRDG jeep
panels raised the lorry turned into a typifies light reconnaissance vehicles
miniature workshop complete with racks used by command personnel. Thanks to
of tools, boxes of spare parts, drawers lend-lease arrangements with the Yanks,
filled with small components, and folding the LRDG acquired several durable jeeps it
work benches.
These stations
served vital
roles in a
campaign
where supplies
ran short and
existing
machinery
depended on
scavenged
parts to keep
running.
Fitters
working from
these mobile
workshops
receive a +2
bonus to all
Mechanic rolls.
Armor
Class: 12, Australian troops operate a 6-pounder AT gun from the back of a truck.

49
Chapter Two

A typical truck used by the LRDG.

proceeded to modify with an increased Marmon-Herrington Armored


rear payload and a pintle-mount gun the
passenger could fire. Car
Armor Class: 12, Damage Points: 40, Size: The Marmon-Herrington car consisted
Large, Cruising Speed: 75, Range: 200 miles, of an armored chassis with a turret
Weapons: Twin Vickers MG (passenger mount on top. Various companies pooled
pintle), Ammo: .303 1,000, Crew: 2 (Driver,
Cre resources to create it: the transmission
gunner), Armor—Upper Hull: 2/2/2, Lo Lowwer from the South African Marmon-
Hull: 2/2/2, Deck: 2, Suspension: 20 Herrington company, the engine and
chassis from the American Ford Motor
LRDG Truck Company, and the Boys and Bren
Standard British lorries quickly bogged armaments from Britain. The vehicle saw
down in the Saharan dunes. The LRDG action primarily in the early stages of the
used lighter trucks of the pickup variety North African campaign, often as a
graciously provided by the American lend- reconnaissance car or command vehicle.
lease plan. After lowering the tire pressure The Boys antitank rifle proved effective
for desert running and fitting sand filters against only the lightest armor, and was
on air intakes, the LRDG fitters welded soon phased out of service as new
pintles just forward of the payload. These panzer models entered the field.
mounted captured Breda M31 machinegun, Armor Class: 12, Damage Points: 50, Size:
but sometimes other machineguns as Large, Cruising Speed: 75, Range: 200 miles,
available (most typically the Bren gun and Weapons: Boys antitank rifle (turret), Bren MG
American M2). The gunner sat atop a pile (coaxial), Ammo: 90 AP, .303 1,000, Crew: 3
Cre
of supplies (cans of water and petrol, (Commander, gunner, driver), Armor—T
Armor—Turrurret:
urret:
foodstuffs, sand mats, ammunition) 30/20/20, Upper Hull: 15/15/15, Lo
Lowwer Hull:
looking out for enemy aircraft or recce 10/10/10, Deck: 4, Suspension: 15
patrols. The LRDG also strapped sand
channels alongside the payloads. At least Matilda III
one truck in each patrol carried a Number Originally designated as an infantry or
11 wireless set so the signaler could stay I-tank, the Matilda saw action both in its
in touch with headquarters. heavy infantry support role and in its
Armor Class: 12, Damage Points: 40, capacity in repelling enemy panzers. As
Size: Large, Cruising Speed: 65, Range: 185 newer tanks emerged in the Allied
miles, Weapons: Bread M31 MG (pintle), armored division later in the North
Ammo: 13.2mm 1,200, Cr ew: 2 (Driver,
Cre African campaign, the Matilda served in a
gunner), Armor—Upper Hull: 2/2/2, Lo wer
Low support role, often with variant designs
Hull: 2/2/2, Deck: 2, Suspension: 20 for mine clearance duties (see sidebar).

50
Ordnance & Equipment

Mineclearing Tanks
The British experimented on converting obsolete tanks into vehicles with more useful
engineering functions. With the preponderance of high-density minefields protecting defensive lines
throughout the North African front, converting tanks to mine-clearing duties became paramount.
Old I-tanks like Matildas and Valentines soon sported a variety of forward-mounted contraptions
intended to safely remove or explode mines. These assemblies included girder braces that used
chain flails, plow blades, and rollers to detonate personnel and antitank mines in their paths. The
most effective included a broad plow blade that dug through the sand and pushed the mines aside.
These effort didn’t begin bearing fruit until the Battle of El Alamein.
Modified tanks clearing minefields affect mines directly in their path. Each round the War Master
rolls against the minefield density to see if the tank encounters any mines—to see if the tank’s
modifications detonate them, the War Master rolls a d20 against the minefield density again. If he
rolls less than or equal to the minefield density this second time, the mines explode, automatically
dealing their damage to the tank’s front lower hull. Tanks fitted with plows push mines aside
without threat of detonation unless the mines have secondary fuses meant to prevent tampering
(like the German Tellermine 35).
Matildas in particular became guinea pigs for many experimental modifications, including
equipment to deploy rolled fascines to cross trenches, heavy canvas “carpet” to lay over barbed
wire, and metal ramps for vehicles to cross ditches. Historically none of these variants were
deployed on the North African front with great frequency or effectiveness.

Armor Class: 10, Damage Points: 75, Size:


Huge, Cruising Speed: 22, Range: 160 miles, Armor Class: 12, Damage Points: 40, Size:
Weapons: 40mm cannon (turret), Besa MG Huge, Cruising Speed: 50, Range: 325,
(coaxial), Ammo: Max 93 (HE 50, AP 43), Weapons: None, Ammo: None, Cr ew: 5
Cre
7.92mm 2,925, Cr ew: 4 (Commander, gunner,
Cre (Driver, 4 signalers), Armor—Upper Hull: 2/2/
driver, loader), Armor—T
Armor—Turrurret: 75/75/75,
urret: 2, Lower Hull: 2/2/2, Deck: 2, Suspension: 20
Low
Upper Hull: 50/40/40, Lo Lowwer Hull: 70/50/50, Valentine II
Deck: 20, Suspension: 30
Another I-tank, the Valentine II
Signals Van provided heavy fire support for nearby
British mobile command operations infantry units. Although it held its own
depended on reliable wireless against light panzers, the Valentine proved
communication with frontline units and marginally effective against heavier
headquarters. Signals vans contained a German armor. Like the Matilda, the
miniature radio facility for quick Valentine later served as a test-bed for
deployment to battlefield command posts. engineering developments while newer
A converted lorry, it tanks took its place at the front.
replaced the canvas
payload cover with sturdier
sides and a solid roof.
When stationery, the van
became a mobile wireless
office. Rigging allowed the
operators to raise an aerial
atop the roof. The truck’s
idling motor provided
power for the wireless
units inside, where
signalers sat at cramped
stations sending and
receiving messages. Some
inevitably spent time
coding and encrypting
orders, though British radio
protocol was notoriously
lax in the early stages of
the North African
campaign.
A Matilda with mineclearing flail.

51
Chapter Two

A Matilda rumbles toward the front.

Armor Class: 10, Damage Points: 75, 60, AP 40), .303 2,500, Crew: 3
Size: Huge, Cruising Speed: 22, Range: 110 (Commander, gunner, driver), Armor—
miles, Weapons: 40mm cannon (turret), Turr et: 30/30/30, Upper Hull: 30/10/10,
urret:
Besa MG (coaxial), Ammo: Max 60 (HE 30, Lo
Lowwer Hull: 30/10/10, Deck: 4, Suspension:
AP 30), 7.92mm 3,150, Crew: 3 (Commander,
Cre 15
gunner, driver), Armor—T urr
Armor—Turr et: 65/60/65,
urret:
Upper Hull: 60/60/60, Lo wer Hull: 60/35/
Low
35, Deck: 20, Suspension: 30
Aircraft Profiles
“Worst of all was the helplessness in
Vickers Light Tank the face of the RAF, which covered the
By the start of war in North Africa the one asphalt road with bombs and
Vickers light tank had already proven machinegun fire, not only by day but also
itself inadequate for modern armored by night.”
warfare. The British relegated it to
reconnaissance units, where its high —Colonel Hans von Luck
profile provided a solid observation
platform from which recce spotters could The campaign in the North African
survey the surrounding desert. The tank skies first depended on tried and true yet
also offered solid firepower to support sometimes obsolete equipment, but later
other reconnaissance elements, became a waiting game to see how long
particularly the under-gunned Marmon- the poorly supported Luftwaffe could
Herrington armored cars that were also stand up against the well-supplied RAF.
relegated to recce patrols. The Germans relied on proven machines—
Armor Class: 12, Damage Points: 55, primarily the Bf 109, Bf110, Ju-87 dive-
Size: Large, Cruising Speed: 50, Range: 130 bomber and the Ju-88 fighter. The British
miles, Weapons: 20mm cannon (turret), made do with what aircraft England could
Vickers MG (coaxial), Ammo: Max 100 (HE spare from home defense and others

52
Ordnance & Equipment

flown in from various colonial holdings.


The famous Spitfires didn’t reach North
Africa until later in the campaign, when Stripping 88s
increased manufacturing and a letup in
The Germans already knew how to turn their 88mm
the German Blitz freed some aircraft for
Flak 36 into an effective antitank weapon, as proven
other theaters of war. Yet with steady
during the invasion of France. During the protracted
supplies, replacement aircraft, and a
conflict in North Africa, however, artillery crews more
spirited air corps, the Allies inevitably
frequently depended on the 88mm guns in their
won the skies and began harrying the
antitank capacity. They stripped off the antiaircraft
German ground forces from above.
fire-control sights and welded simple blast shields to
German Aircraft protect the crew—essentially turning the Flak 36 into
what would become the Pak 43 (see page 61 in Weird
Although the Germans relied heavily on War II: Blood on the Rhine for details). These
their technically sound airplanes, they modifications rendered the gun ineffective as an
used them in various roles given the antiaircraft weapon.
shortage of fuel, replacement parts, and Flak 36 cannon modified in this way from its
new planes in North Africa. Stuka dive- original antiaircraft role cannot effectively create a flak
bombers sometimes served as transport barrier against aircraft overhead. Even if they have
craft for high-ranking personnel, putting antiaircraft shells, their flak rating intensity drops by
commanders in the gunner’s seat for short one level (for example, moderate flak intensity
hops across the desert. Any planes flying becomes light, and light becomes wholly ineffective).
over enemy positions played a
reconnaissance role, spotting British
defensive formations and noting
placement of rear-area supply depots. off and land on short stretches enhanced
Without proper support, however, the its usefulness in a theater with such
Luftwaffe couldn’t maintain air superiority fluid advances and retreats as North
as it did early in the campaign. The RAF Africa. The Storch also saw heavy use by
eventually overwhelmed the Germans, commanders in Russia and later in the
flying more patrols with better planes and defense of Germany, when Allied armies
plenty of fuel. overtook many airfields and forced
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch prominent Nazis to rely on the Storch to
make impromptu landings in short spaces.
The Storch served as a reconnaissance
Armor Class: 10 (–2 size, +2 speed),
and personnel transport for high-level
Damage Points: 40, Size: Huge,
commanders. Rommel himself frequently
Maneuv erabilty: +2, Engines: 1, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range: 630
flew one as he dashed to various points
miles, Weapons: 1 x 7.92mm MG (rear, 25
on the front to personally lead operations.
bursts), Bombs: None, Cr ew: 1 (pilot), 1
Cre
The aircraft’s landing and wing struts gave
passenger, Armor
Armor—W Wing: 2, Fuselage: 2,
it a stork-like appearance (hence the
Cockpit: 2, Engine: 6
German name Storch). Its ability to take

The HMS Nelson is sinking by the bow after being hit by a torpedo from an Italian bomber.

53
Chapter Two

Italian Aircraft Macchi MC200 Saetta


Developed from racing seaplanes, the
Having spent more time fighting the air
Saetta formed the core of Italy’s Regia
war in Africa, the Italians had several
Aeronautica fighter squadrons. It saw
outmoded yet dependable planes flying
extensive service throughout North Africa
with the Regia Aeronautica. Most carried
and the campaign against Allied shipping
the sand-and-spinach pattern camouflage
in the Mediterranean and the British base
of tan with green wavy lines. While the
at Malta.
Luftwaffe undertook combat missions
Despite its nickname (Saetta is Italian
along the coast, the Regia Aeronautica
for “lightning”), the MC200 suffered from
guarded the desert wastes against raiders
obsolete design concepts and an
like the LRDG. On occasion, Italian fliers
underpowered engine. The plane served
aided the Luftwaffe in transport duties or
well in the Sahara, where aerial attacks
rear-area patrols.
from any craft posed a serious danger to
Caproni Ca309 Ghibli roving Allied patrols like the LRDG.
Often called the “Colonial” bomber by Armor Class: 14 (–2 size, +6 speed),
British troops, the Ghibli served as a Damage Points: 50, Size: Huge,
slow-flying reconnaissance craft with Maneuv erabilty: +2, Engines: 1, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range: 540
occasional bomber duties throughout miles, Weapons: 2 x .50 cal MG (fuselage
Italy’s colonies and in the Spanish Civil nose, 25 bursts), Bombs: None, Cr ew: 1
Cre
War. Already obsolete when war in North (pilot), Armor Wing: 6, Fuselage: 6,
Armor—Wing:
Africa broke out, it lingered at airfields Cockpit: 8, Engine: 8
near Italian desert outposts. SM79 Savoia Sparviero
Early LRDG operations claimed several
The Italian Sparrowhawk
grounded Ghiblis—the desert raiders
reconnaissance bomber served throughout
quickly stripped mobile armaments and
Italy’s African campaigns, conducting
ammunition before destroying the
bombing raids in Ethiopia after having
airplanes. They then used the weapons
proven its effectiveness in the Spanish
against their former owners.
Civil War.
Armor Class: 10 (–4 size, +4 speed),
Sparvieros flew from North Africa to
Damage Points: 125, Size: Gargantuan,
harass British shipping in the
Maneuv erabilty: –4, Engines: 2, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range: 750
Mediterranean and support early
miles, Weapons: 2 x 7.92mm MG (1 per
Luftwaffe bombing raids on Tobruk and
wing, 25 bursts), 1 x 7.92mm MG (dorsal
other Allied defensive positions. It also
turret, 25 bursts), Bombs: Up to 800 lbs.,
conducted desert reconnaissance flights
Crew: 3 (pilot, co-pilot, gunner), Armor
Armor—
and flew transport duty. The observer/
Wing: 4, Fuselage: 6, Cockpit: 8, Engine: 8
bombardier worked from a ventral
Fiat BR20 Cicogna gondola on the underbelly of the trimotor
Nicknamed “Stork” by the Italians, the craft.
BR20 served Italy’s desert garrisons in Armor Class: 11 (–4 size, +5 speed),
Libya. Besides transporting supplies and Damage Points: 150, Size: Gargantuan,
personnel, it undertook bombing raids Maneuv erabilty: –2, Engines: 3, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range:
against Allied targets in the Sahara and 1,180 miles, Weapons: 1 x .50 cal MG
the Mediterranean until their numbers (forward cockpit, 25 bursts), 1 x .50 cal MG
dwindled and the German Fliegerkorps X (rear dorsal, 25 bursts), 1 x .50 cal MG
arrived to dominate Axis aerial (ventral gondola, 25 bursts), 1 x .30 cal MG
operations. (left beam, 25 bursts), 1 x .30 cal MG (right
The Regia Aeronautical relegated the beam, 25 bursts), Bombs: Up to 2,750 lbs.,
few left in North Africa to desert Cr
Creew: 6 (pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, 3
reconnaissance duties. gunners), Armor
Armor—W Wing: 4, Fuselage: 6,
Armor Class: 11 (–4 size, +5 speed), Cockpit: 8, Engine: 8
Damage Points: 150, Size: Gargantuan,
Maneuv erabilty: –4, Engines: 2, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range: 770 British Aircraft
miles, Weapons: 1 x 7.92mm MG (nose, 25 While the Allies feared Axis advances
bursts), 1 x .50 cal MG (rear dorsal, 25 throughout the Mediterranean, North
bursts), 1 x 7.92mm MG (ventral hatch, 25 Africa’s RAF contingents received only
bursts), Bombs: Up to 3,535 lbs., Cr ew: 5
Cre secondary support. Many older aircraft
(pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, 2 gunners), came from nearby British colonies while
Armor Wing: 4, Fuselage: 6, Cockpit: 8,
Armor—Wing: top-of-the-line planes went to more
Engine: 10 pressing theaters of war: homeland

54
Ordnance & Equipment

defense, Greece, Crete, and Malta. As the WACO


war progressed and aircraft production
The LRDG employed two civilian
increased, newer planes arrived in the
American-built airplanes for transport,
skies above North Africa, playing a key
medical evacuation, and support
role in wearing down the Luftwaffe and
operations. They plied routes between
defeating Afrika Korps.
Cairo and the desert oases the LRDG used
The RAF flew valuable interdiction
as bases for forays into Cyrenaica. The
sorties that slowed the arrival of the
unarmed biplanes proved unsuitable
German’s ever-dwindling trickle of fuel
against roaming enemy patrols, so LRDG
and supplies to the front. The desert
personnel took great pains to limit their
pilots also provided Allied commanders
exposure to combat. For large shipments
with important information on the
of supplies with armed transports the
location and activities of German combat
LRDG relied on Bristol Bombays from the
units.
RAF’s 216 squadron.
Bristol Blenheim Mk IV Armor Class: 12 (–2 size, +4 speed),
A mainstay of bomber squadrons Damage Points: 50, Size: Huge,
throughout England’s Middle Eastern Maneuv erabilty: +2, Engines: 1, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range: 600
colonial holdings, the Bristol Blenheim miles, Weapons: None, Bombs: None,
seemed adequate against the prewar Crew: 1 (pilot), 2 passengers, Armor
Cre Armor—
fighter planes the RAF expected to Wing: 2, Fuselage: 4, Cockpit: 4, Engine: 6
confront. Although the Luftwaffe’s much Westland Lysander
faster fighters flew circles around the
The Lysander fulfilled the same role as
Blenheims and found them easy targets,
the German Storch and American
the RAF persevered and continued using
Grasshopper: short takeoff and landing
the light bombers throughout the North
reconnaissance aircraft. Bulkier than its
African campaign.
cousins, the Lysander sported large
Armor Class: 11 (–4 size, +5 speed),
cockpit windows offering a clear field of
Damage Points: 150, Size: Gargantuan,
vision for spotting ground forces. At times
Maneuv erabilty: –2, Engines: 2, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range:
it also served to transport ranking
1,450 miles, Weapons: 1 x .303 cal MG (left
officers.
wing, 25 bursts), 2 x .303 cal MG (dorsal
Armor Class: 12 (–2 size, +4 speed),
turret, 25 bursts), 2 x .303 cal MG (rearward
Damage Points: 50, Size: Huge,
ventral blister, 25 bursts), Bombs: Up to
Maneuv erabilty: +2, Engines: 1, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range: 600
1,000 lbs., Crew: 5 (pilot, co-pilot,
miles, Weapons: 1 x .303 cal MG (rear, 25
bombardier, 2 gunners), Armor
Armor—W Wing: 4,
bursts), 2 x .303 cal MG (forward wheel
Fuselage: 6, Cockpit: 8, Engine: 8
fairings, 25 bursts), Bombs: Up to 500 lbs.,
Bristol Bombay Mk I Cr
Creew: 1 (pilot), 1 passenger, Armor
Armor—W Wing:
Specifically designed for dual bomber/ 2, Fuselage: 4, Cockpit: 4, Engine: 6
transport duties, the Bombay served a
vital role hauling supplies and troops
around North Africa. Although already
technically obsolete when it entered
service in 1939, the Bombay proved an
effective transport craft since it could
carry unusually large cargoes or up to 24
troops.
It saw extensive use by the RAF’s 216
squadron, which supplied and supported
early LRDG oasis operations.
Armor Class: 10 (–4 size, +4 speed),
Damage Points: 125, Size: Gargantuan,
Maneuv erabilty: –2, Engines: 2, Range
Maneuverabilty: Range:
2,230 miles, Weapons: 1 x .303 cal MG
(nose turret, 25 bursts), 1 x .303 cal MG (tail
turret, 25 bursts); optional 2 x .303 cal MG
(left and right beam, 25 bursts), Bombs:
Up to 2,000 lbs., Crew: 4 (pilot, co-pilot,
bombardier, gunner), 24 passengers,
Armor Wing: 4, Fuselage: 6, Cockpit: 8,
Armor—Wing:
Engine: 8 A Fieseler Storch comes in for a landing.

55
Weird Wars

Chapter Three:
Operational
Overview
“It is blood that moves the wheels of Rommel’s free reign in Africa and forced
history.” him to retreat through Kasserine Pass to
Tunis.
—Benito Mussolini, 1919 Significant actions took place in
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and deeper
If you’re going to fight effectively within the Sahara desert (various raids,
against Jerry, you need a basic expeditions, and Long Range Desert Group
understanding of why you and your activity). Much of the combat between the
mates are here. You might be thousands Afrika Korps and British Eighth Army
of miles from the green hills of England sprawled back and forth over the region
or the wide open spaces of America, but of Libya known as Cyrenaica. This area
by blasting the Germans from North stretched from El Agheila in the west to
Africa you’re helping to defend your the Egyptian border near Sollum and
homeland. The desert might not seem like Halfaya Pass in the east.
much to fight over, but winning the war Understanding the various elements of
here is the first step toward victory over the North African campaign can provide
the evil shadow threatening to consume depth and color to individuals waging the
the world. war against Rommel. Troops took pride in
The war in North Africa raged back and where they’d been, what actions they’d
forth across the coastal areas and the fought, and what German and Italian units
deserts just beyond them. The German they’d faced.
Afrika Korps sparred with the British Knowledge of desert conditions and
Commonwealth Forces’ Eighth Army, terrain can help soldiers survive, move
advancing toward Egypt, the vital Suez quickly, and fight effectively. Familiarity
Canal, and the Middle East oilfields twice, with key locations puts the entire
then making a fighting retreat when campaign—and individual operations—in a
support from Italy waned and supply much more meaningful context, knowing
lines stretched too far. that the action of every individual soldier
The British breakthrough and advance works against the Nazis and their
at El Alamein in November 1942 and the nefarious schemes for utter world
subsequent Allied invasion of Morocco domination.
and Algeria in Operation Torch ended
Chapter Three

colonial holdings such as Ethiopia and


Campaign Phases Libya, countries in dangerous proximity to
British protectorates in Egypt, Anglo-
“My fiancée would read that I had died Egyptian Sudan, and Kenya.
a hero’s death for the Fatherland. And On September 13, Italian forces raced
what would that mean? That I was just a over the Libyan border into British-
bloody mess in the sand at an controlled Egypt. They counted on the
unidentified spot near an unimportant supposedly weakened spirit of their
point in the desert.” opponents, having faced defeats in France,
on the beaches of Dunkirk, and in the
—Leutnant Heinz Werner Schmidt skies over England. In this early phase in
the war Britain stood alone against the
Advances, retreats, and battles waged Nazi menace, depending on aid from the
across North Africa over the course of neutral but sympathetic United States and
three years, 1941–1943. British, German, and their own English resolve.
Italian forces suffered greatly from desert That determination held firm, and
conditions and the savage warfare required British forces in Egypt repelled the Italian
to gain such inhospitable ground. For invaders and chased them back to Libya
every advance, supply lines stretched too during Operation Compass. Plagued by
thin. For every battle, the winner salvaged obsolete equipment and ordnance, as well
valuable equipment from the field while as overextended supply lines, the Italians
the loser retreated to dig into defensive continued their retreat. The British armies
positions for the next confrontation. under General Sir Archibald Wavell seized
War Masters can set their own North the opportunity and pressed the chase,
African campaigns during any of these forcing the Italian army out of much of
phases. They represent general movements Cyrenaica and capturing men, ordnance,
of one side or another across the desert, and provisions. After almost two months
characterized by certain kinds of action: the Italian retreat reached El Agheila. With
battles, advances and retreats, their own supply lines overextended, the
reconnaissance, and siege. British established a military
administration to administer the newly
Prelude captured territory, Cyrenaica Command
On June 10, 1940, Italy joined the Third (CYRCOM). Generals in England
Reich in declaring war against Britain and determined that the commander of British
on all nations in its commonwealth. Troops Egypt (BTE), General Wavell, should
Already Italy had revealed its ambitions hold this region with minimal troops as a
and aggression in forcefully dominating secure flank. He received orders to commit

1”= 400 Miles

58
Operational Briefing

his forces in Egypt—now stationed behind routed British forces, captured valuable
this secure buffer zone—to other supply dumps, and raced across the
threatened locations in the Middle East, desert at seemingly lightning speed. By
including besieged Greece and Crete. With April 10, they had reached and besieged
the North African situation seemingly the key port of Tobruk. Rommel pressed
decided by Operation Compass, the the attack, finally forced to confront solid
British relaxed their presence in the region British defenses in the region of Sollum
to divert their already thinly spread forces and Halfaya Pass.
to other theaters.
Tobruk Besieged
Rommel Arrives While Rommel concentrated his efforts
On February 6, 1941, Hitler appointed at pushing the front past the British to
Rommel commander of Axis forces in the east, Axis forces besieged Tobruk. The
Africa, charging him with leading the plucky British and Aussies dug in,
newly deployed German forces and creating three nested defensive lines of
existing Italian army against the British. tank traps, barbed wire, minefields, and
Hitler saw this as appeasing his Italian fortified emplacements for machineguns
allies and as a means to evicting the and antitank guns. Night patrols and
British from the Mediterranean Sea, where constant artillery bombardments tied up
their forces harassed German naval German units that could have been
operations. Ever the opportunist, Rommel fighting on the main battle front. For eight
eventually viewed it as an opportunity for months the garrison there withstood air
a pincer move against the vital Middle attacks and several armored spearheads
East oil fields, with his armies in North intent on weakening and breaching the
Africa and those fighting in Russia defenses. The British mounted several
driving toward the prize along two fronts. offensives to break through German lines
Rommel arrived in Tripoli on February and relieve Tobruk. Few succeeded in
12 and immediately formed the German doing little more than getting a few units
Afrika Korps from the Wehrmacht units through the defenses to bolster their
assembling there. Hitler transferred troops under siege. Given his less-than-
Fliegerkorps X from Norway to North sterling performance against Rommel,
Africa to harass British shipping in the General Wavell received orders from Prime
Mediterranean, cut off overland and Minister Churchill that General Sir Claude
overseas supply lines to Cyrenaica, and Auchinleck would replace him.
support any actions Rommel planned. During this campaign the SBG deployed
Shortly thereafter, two specialized units some of its experimental forces conjured
arrived from Germany to assist in from casualties from the siege and the
campaigns against the British: the front lines. Despite these attempts, they
Sonderbergungsgruppe (SBG) and the represented only a token fighting group,
Fernemeldeaufklärung Company. Many and in reality only freed an insignificant
believed the Sonderbergungsgruppe number of living units to press the
(“special salvage unit”) was the only attacks against British armies to the east.
sinister representation of the SS in this
theater. It undertook support and supply Rommel Withdraws
missions veiled in secrecy and rumors of On November 18, 1941, the British
horrific experimentation of a supernatural launched Operation Crusader, an offensive
nature. The Fernemeldeaufklärung against Rommel’s line—a force now
Company (a radio signals unit) worked weakened by a long siege at Tobruk,
under Captain Seebohm to intercept, several failed attempts to break out to the
decipher, decode, and analyze enemy east, overextended supply lines, and
wireless transmissions. This intelligence inadequate materiel from Germany and
went first to the SBG’s commander, Italy. During a series of pitched battles
Colonel Morden, then to Rommel’s Rommel displayed a severe lack of
headquarters. Both units played important initiative, ingenuity, and intuition that had
roles in proving Rommel’s reputation for blessed his previous victories. German and
outsmarting his opponents and exposing Italian forces suffered great defeats. The
British weaknesses. Afrika Korps withdrew during a fighting
On March 24, reconnaissance units of retreat back across Cyrenaica, eventually
Afrika Korps made the first move against settling on a defensive line near El Agheila
the British, followed by strong thrusts by under cover of sudden sandstorms. The
German and Italian units deep into the British relieved Tobruk and begin
heart of poorly defended Cyrenaica. They resupplying for the defense of Cyrenaica.

59
Chapter Three

contributed to Rommel’s lack of


adequate intelligence about
enemy strength, disposition, and
intentions just prior to Operation
Crusader.

Raids, Recon, &


Espionage
Throughout the North African
campaign various groups worked
behind enemy lines to weaken
the Afrika Korps and uncover the
Nazis’ true intentions and
methods. The Long Range Desert
Group (LRDG) played an important
intelligence roll, guiding
commandos through the desert to
German supply staging areas,
conducting raids of their own,
and maintaining a “road watch”
on the Via Balbia, the principle
coastal road along which
supplies, troops, and ordnance
passed. Bands of Allied
commandos struck at targets
from the Jebel Akhdar, the
Cyrenaica mountains: the SAS hit
airfields and supply dumps, while
Colonel “Popski” Peniakoff
(known as “Penman” among his
peers) and his private army, the
1st Special Demolition Squadron,
raided any viable targets they
could find.
The Germans also waged their
own intelligence war, secretly
ferrying spies into Cairo and rear
command posts, sending panzer
reconnaissance units into the
desert to track down and engage
the LRDG, and supporting their
own independent units, like
Rommel surveys the front lines in person with his aide Bayerlein.
Sonderkommado Almasy, led by
the Hungarian desert explorer
The lack of Rommel’s characteristic Count Ladislaus Almasy. The SBG and
leadership in this period was blamed on Seebohm’s Fernemeldeaufklärung
various factors. The Desert Fox himself Company also continued their activities
was worn thin by lack of sleep, a to weaken the British by twisting and
frustrating supply situation, frequent harnessing spiritual energy and
clashes with high command, and constant intercepting wireless transmissions.
activity while commanding from the front
lines. Knowledge of SBG activity among
the ranks of Afrika Korps might have
Rommel Strikes Back
The sudden retreat from Cyrenaica
eroded morale, though many believe the
spurred outrage from Mussolini, who
SBG somehow drained living energy from
insisted the Germans help reconquer the
their own troops to provide power for
Italian colony. Although Germany’s armies
what might have been a failed attempt to
fought desperate battles in Russia,
use supernatural forces to break the
Wehrmacht high command temporarily
British. An inexplicable interruption of
renewed its responsibility to supply
radio intercepts from Seebohm’s
Rommel with new troops, armor,
Fernemeldeaufklärung Company
ordnance, and supplies.

60
Operational Briefing

On January 21, 1942, the Afrika Korps


once again advanced into Cyrenaica and
began overrunning hastily formed British Blow-by-Blow
defenses and supply posts. Rommel soon
Looking for a blow-by-blow account of the battles
ran up against a defensive line dug in at
and units involved in specific offensives during the
Gazala, 30 miles west of Tobruk, his
North African campaign? Check out Ronald Lewin’s
supply lines already overextended and
Rommel as Military Commander. It provides an
running low. The Afrika Korps outflanked
account of all Rommel’s battles, from his role in the
Free French forces holding the line and
invasion of France to his supervision of defenses on
raced out from the desert to engage the
the Atlantic wall before D-Day, with the bulk of the
Eighth Army. In the fierce fighting in what
book covering his involvement in the North African
later became known as the “Cauldron,”
theater.
Rommel’s panzers almost exhausted all
their petrol reserves—but at the last
minute, Italian forces broke through the
main line and resupplied him. This victory headway. With his key intelligence-
helped the Afrika Korps establish a strong gathering organization gutted, Rommel
point amidst the British line from which had no idea from what quarter or how the
it sortied to threaten the Eight Army’s rear British would attack. He interlaced his
positions. The British retreated, leaving a stronger German units with Italian ones
token force at Tobruk to resist the along the front, keeping his panzers in
Germans, who promptly captured the port. close reserve behind the front lines to
Although the battle at Gazala was a quickly respond to any fighting or
victory for Rommel, he suffered several breakout. The SBG bolstered minefield
seemingly minor setbacks that would defenses with supernatural measures of
ultimately doom him. During the military its own.
buildup prior to the breakout, the SBG Once again disappointed with a
increased its presence and profile, commander who allowed the Germans
frightening the British and inadvertently within striking distance of Cairo and the
unnerving its own troops, particularly the Suez Canal, Churchill relieved General
Italians. Although the British eventually Auchinleck and appointed Lieutenant
turned their fear to resolve at El Alamein, General Bernard Montgomery as
the blow to Italian morale would prove commander of British forces. After
fatal. repelling several German attempts to
During the fighting at Gazala, elements break their lines, the reinforced British
of the British Eighth Army surprised army launched an offensive on October
Seebohm’s Fernemeldeaufklärung 23.
Company and inflicted heavy casualties. Rommel was forced to redistribute his
A loss of trained personnel, specialized panzers, shore up gaps in the Italian units,
equipment, and Captain Seebohm himself and expend his supplies. Hitler ordered
gutted the formerly efficient radio Rommel to hold fast, but his own forces
intercept company. This damage combined weakened when British troops penetrated
with the transfer of the American military the line in Operation Supercharge.
attaché from Cairo (whose comprehensive Rommel tried holding off this desperate
reports home Seebohm had intercepted) attempt to break through his line. Severely
proved the end of Rommel’s intelligence weakened, with few supplies and a
edge and his seemingly supernatural handful of panzers left, Rommel began
ability to second-guess the British during his withdrawal.
the campaign in North Africa.

El Alamein
The Afrika Korps pursued the Eighth “In the situation in which you find yourself there
Army until it reached a line stretching can be no other thought but to stand fast, yield not a
from a series of ridges around El Alamein yard of room and throw every gun and every man into
south to an impassable desert salt flat, the battle…. It would not be the first time in history
the Qattara Depression. Here Rommel had that a strong will has triumphed over the bigger
no passable end of the line he could battalions. As to your troops, you can show them no
outflank. With supplies low and other road than that to victory or death.”
overextended, the Germans and British
settled down into several months of —Adolf Hitler to Field Marshal Rommel, November 3,
entrenched action, probing each other’s 1942
defenses for weaknesses, and making no

61
Chapter Three

Monty beside a Lend-Lease M3 Lee tank.

defensive positions in Tunisia. To slow


Operation Torch American armies advancing from the
Once again the Yanks arrived at the west, the Desert Fox executed a daring
party late. On November 8, 1942, Allied panzer attack against the US 1st Armored
forces invade the beaches of Morocco and Division in the region of Kasserine Pass.
Algeria in Operation Torch. They swiftly Although initially successful, it was
overcame token resistance by loyal Vichy hindered by dissention among his ranking
French forces and local partisans, thanks officers, and particularly by General von
to the efforts of resistance fighters and Arnim, who failed to support the attack
Bedouin tribes who provided advanced according to Rommel’s plan. The German
intelligence, supplies, and support to thrust into Kasserine failed, and the
invading troops. Within a few days of his Afrika Korps withdrew to its defensive
defeat at El Alamein, Rommel had to positions along the Mareth Line. Rommel
worry about a second North African front returned to Germany on March 9, 1943,
against the Americans. Allied forces tried physically and emotionally weakened by
rushing to engage Rommel from behind, months of desperate fighting, low
but became bogged down in the face of supplies, and empty promises of support
bad weather and a tenacious and from his superiors.
desperate enemy. The Axis forces did their best without
promise of adequate supplies,
Retreat: Mareth & Kasserine reinforcements, or other official support
The Afrika Korps retreated across until a combined Allied attack finally
Cyrenaica and Tripolitania and into defeated them in June. Until finally
Tunisia, finally reassembling along a evacuated on June 2, the SBG continued
defensive line established near Mareth. deploying supernaturally enhanced units
British units harassed them along the in North Africa, a mere shadow of what
entire line of withdrawal, finally settling was to come in the impending defense of
in to stage forces against Rommel’s the Fatherland.

62
Operational Briefing

obstinately stuck by their inflexible


Lay of the Land organization and battlefield procedure, the
desert became their adversary—when they
“The outlines of Africa emerged before broke the rules and operated seemingly
us: the narrow coastal strip cultivated by lawless patrols like the LRDG, the desert
the Italians, with its date palms, olive served as a valuable ally. The Germans
groves, the whitewashed houses of the used the terrain to their best advantage in
colonists, and the long, asphalt ribbon of panzer warfare and defensive minefields,
the Via Balbia. Behind it shimmered the yet quickly realized that without secure
desert.” ports near the front, land-based supply
convoys took longer and were still
—Colonel Hans von Luck exposed to enemy observation and attack.
Since North Africa serves as the
Warfare in North Africa proved backdrop for any campaign against the
challenging for everyone. The Italians never Afrika Korps, War Masters should
grasped how to effectively control such familiarize themselves with its terrain
expansive spaces and underestimated an features, natural challenges, military
opponent’s capacity for crossing vast obstacles, and key locations for the
distances quickly. When the British armies facing off across the sands.

North Africa Campaign December 10: British forces relieve garrison at


Tobruk.
Timeline December 28: Operation Crusader peters out
after Rommel makes a fighting retreat to El
1940 Agheila and establishes defensive line.
June 10: Italy Declares War on Britain and 1942
France. January 21: Afrika Korps begins
September 13: Italian forces invade Egypt counteroffensive across Cyrenaica.
from Libya. Ma
May y 27: Rommel begins flanking maneuver
December 9: British commence counterattack against British defenses at the Gazala Line.
to drive Italians out of Egypt and advance into June 13: Rommel defeats British forces near
Libya in Operation Compass straining already Gazala and forces their retreat.
extended supply lines. June 21: Tobruk falls to Axis armies.
1941 July 1: Rommel’s advance reaches El Alamein;
July
a failed action to push through British defensive
February 6: Hitler appoints Rommel
positions exhausts his supplies and halts his
commander of Axis forces in Africa.
advance.
February 7: British deliver decisive defeat of
August 13: General Montgomery takes
Italians at Beda Fomm.
command of British forces in Egypt.
February 12: Rommel arrives in Tripoli and
October 23: British forces begin attack at El
forms German Afrika Korps. Begins reorganizing
Alamein in Egypt.
and deploying units and planning offensive.
No
Novvember 4: British break through Axis
Mar
Marchch 11: Sonderbergungsgruppe (SBG) arrives
defenses at El Alamein; Rommel begins
at Tripoli and begins covert recovery operations.
withdrawal.
Mar
Marchch 24: Rommel begins offensive to drive
No
Novvember 8: Allied forces invade Morocco and
British from Libya, races across Cyrenaica.
Algeria in Operation Torch.
April 10: Axis forces surround Tobruk,
No
Novvember 13: British retake Tobruk.
commence siege operations.
Ma
May y 2: Germans hold Sollum-Halfaya Pass 1943
line; skirmishes with British forces. January 23: British forces occupy Tripoli.
June 15: British begin Operation Battleaxe, February 22: Rommel strikes through the
attempting to push back German lines and Kasserine Pass to slow the Allied advance into
relieve Tobruk. Tunisia.
June 17: Operation Battleaxe fails. Mar ch 9: Rommel leaves Tunisia and returns
March
No
Novvember 18: British launch offensive against to Germany.
Rommel’s line in Operation Crusader. June 13: Allied forces defeat last Axis units in
December 7: After several counterstrikes, and Tunisia.
assurance that fuel and reinforcements could
not arrive before January, Rommel begins retreat.

63
Chapter Three

1”= 200 Miles

with some degree of accuracy. In daylight,


units stood out among the featureless
Desert Terrain desert, particularly visible to aerial
“These level plains, broken frequently patrols. At night, vehicles using headlights
by rocks and hills of gravel, have been the were easily spotted—those traveling in
scene of the fighting for the past year or darkness frequently became lost,
so.” wandering into enemy-held territory or
having close calls with opposing forces. A
—Luftwaffe Pilot Flying to Derna British recon patrol might camp for the
night on one side of a dune, with their
The North African desert isn’t simply German counterparts encamped on the
sand, though the granules are everywhere other, and neither was the wiser until
and get into everything, from clothing and daybreak.
food to the more delicate workings of Dust covered everything, sometimes
vehicles and weapons. Along the coast even obscuring unit markings on
one finds rocky mountains, water-eroded equipment and uniforms. Germans often
wadis, a few areas of cultivation, and painted additional swastikas on topside
desert dotted in camel-thorn bushes. The surfaces of vehicles, or stretched Nazi
region’s only asphalt road, the Via Balbia, flags across hoods of trucks and cars.
runs across the Italian colony of Libya Lorries passing on the roads blinded each
from Tripoli to the Egyptian border. other with their headlights, making
Deeper in the Sahara one encounters identification of oncoming traffic difficult
oases, desert tracks, and endless seas of until it was too late. Italian sentries were
sand dunes. infamous for assuming all vehicles in rear
Commanders frequently compared areas belonged to the Axis—the LRDG and
action in North Africa to engagements on SAS took great advantage of this, driving
the ocean. The desert was a vast space a their own vehicles through checkpoints
large force might cross swiftly, if not and even chatting with Italian guards in
beset by sudden changes in the weather broken German without raising
(torrential rainstorms and billowing dust suspicions.
clouds) or plagued by unseen terrain War Masters familiar with the
hazards. advantages and disadvantages of North
People often lost their way without African terrain can use it to enhance the
regular landmarks. Patrols operating in the action in their game. The desert was a
Sahara like the LRDG relied on both place of extremes both in temperature
magnetic and sun compasses to chart and the ruggedness of its terrain; simple
their course and determine their location survival was a task unto itself.

64
Operational Briefing

and hide encampments in canyons.


Rocky Scrub Downed pilots or other desert raiders
Much of the North African desert could trapped behind enemy lines frequently
be categorized as rocky scrub—flat, found shelter here, living out of caves or
featureless sand plains with a good deal traveling among networks of friendly
of gravel, rocks, and patches of scrawny Bedouin to reach British lines.
grass and a few camel-thorn bushes. By the end of the North African
Although it provides little natural cover campaign armies could no longer afford
other than a few low ridges and dips, it is the luxury of avoiding this kind of
ideal for military defenses. Soldiers easily difficult terrain. Rommel tried using the
burrowed trenches and foxholes and rugged topography of the Dorsal
reinforced them with rocks and gravel. Mountains in Tunisia in a last-ditch effort
Tanks found hull-down positions behind to halt the Allied victories in North Africa
the occasional rise or low rocky shelf. during the savage battles around
Engineers planting mines concealed them Kasserine Pass. Although it helped the
beneath flat rocks, clumps of grass, or a Afrika Korps put up one last good fight,
simple layer of loose sand. LRDG road the determined Americans persevered and
watch patrols set up behind camel-thorn rose to the challenge of mountain warfare.
bushes along supply roads where they
could avoid detection until they returned Coast Road
to base camp. The Via Balbia is the only paved road
running along the coast from Tripoli to
Wadis the Egyptian Border. Beyond that, the
Over the centuries, sudden rainstorms Khedival Motor Road stretches eastward
have eroded channels through rock from Sollum to Alexandria and then south
formations, creating valleys strewn with to Cairo. Both sides depended on these
boulders, loose gravel, and sand. These roads for transporting provisions, arms,
ravines wind their way from higher reinforcements, and equipment to the
ground toward the Mediterranean Sea. front.
They prove formidable obstacles to cross, As the campaign marched on, Axis
particularly for vehicle traffic. Much of the forces could not reliably transport light
time these dry riverbeds contain no water, cargoes by aircraft due to the RAF’s
and are often flat and clear enough to frequent dominance of the skies. With no
serve as a twisting road (though getting ports in captured territory reliably secured
down into them may pose a problem). from aircraft raids, the Afrika Korps
Small units and individuals used them for landed most supplies in Tripoli and
sneaking up on enemy positions, hauled them by truck convoy along the
concealing vehicles, or evading troops Via Balbia to the front. They erected road
behind the lines. Shadows during all but houses and temporary encampments at
midday offered cool shade and cover from various intervals on the highway to offer
even the most tenacious aerial patrol. rest areas for convoys and troops in
During unpredictable rainstorms, however, transit. As a major coastal landmark, the
these winding canyons suddenly turn into Via Balbia stood out from the terrain.
raging torrents that can sweep away a Convoys traversing it became highly
lorry and devastate an encampment. visible targets for the RAF. Its proximity
to the Jebel Akhdar also made it a prime
Low Mountains objective for LRDG “road watch” and “beat
Ranges of low mountains parallel the up” missions.
coasts: the Jebel Akhdar in Cyrenaica,
Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and Dorsal Desert Tracks
Mountains in Tunisia. These peaks only Beyond the coastal regions one finds a
rise upwards of 2,000 feet, but they network of tracks connecting locations
provide formidable obstacles for large deeper in the desert. These lead from
fighting forces with tanks and motorized major towns near the Mediterranean Sea
infantry. Small units—recon elements and to outposts beyond the mountains, in the
native tribesmen—operated best in this Sahara, and at oases. Most have existed
environment, using the canyons, heights, for centuries, traversed by camel caravan,
and rough terrain to their advantage. The merchants, raiders, and transient Bedouin.
mountains offer many hiding places even They’re little more than worn paths
though the terrain seriously impedes any through the sand, marked even further by
rapid movement. The local inhabitants use vehicle traffic during the war. Those close
the foothills for raising sheep and goats, to the coast served as secondary roads

65
Chapter Three

LRDG who operated


effectively behind enemy
lines.
Sand Seas
Most people think of
sand dunes when they
think of typical desert
terrain. The sand seas
cover vast stretches of
the Sahara, but pose the
greatest hazard to travel.
Vehicles easily become
stuck in soft patches of
sand. Unwary drivers
mount the crest of dunes,
only to tumble down the
other side uncontrollably.
Without navigation by
magnetic and sun
compasses, even the
most experienced
explorer could lose his
German troops past the old colonial fort, Fort Mechili.
way among the ever-
rolling dunes.
for military traffic. Tracks running deep
Vehicles stick out in the featureless
into the Sahara only offered passage to
topography for aircraft patrols to spot,
small groups on specialized missions
and tire tracks can remain for days. This
who were trained and well-equipped to
terrain offers no place for habitation: no
face the risks of traveling into the desert.
wells, no oases, no brush for firewood.
Since these routes stretched through
Settlements abound along the edges,
rough, desolate terrain, they were more
however, and provide reference points and
susceptible to raids by units like the
havens for those crossing the sand seas.
During the war, only the Long Range
Desert Group and Sonderkommando
Almasy had any reliable success crossing
Desert Navigation the sand seas—the dunes remained
impassable to large military forces.
Maintaining one’s course can become difficult in
desert regions without predictable features, landmarks,
or other geographical characteristics. Those traveling Oases
through sand seas and the more desolate rocky scrub
Desert settlements cluster around
of the deep Sahara depended on accurate navigation
water sources. Most villages crowd around
to reach their destination (or supply dumps) before
a brackish pool or a series of stagnant
their provisions ran out. The LRDG relied on regular
ponds. Others rely on a single well sunk
magnetic compasses as well as sun compasses. The
into the rock that provides water year-
metal in vehicles frequently interfered with accurate
round. Few embody the comforts one
readings from traditional magnetic compasses—
might associate with an oasis, as they are
navigators had to stop their vehicle and move a short
plagued by mosquitoes, stale water, and
distance away to take accurate readings, delaying their
disease. The communities of Bedouin
travel. Sun compasses mounted on jeep dashboards
established in oases sustain themselves
allowed navigators to use the sun (and sometimes the
on minimal agriculture (usually date
moon) to determine their bearing without stopping.
palms) and trade with other oases and
When attempting Navigation rolls in sand seas and
the coast. Like most Bedouin throughout
featureless desert terrain, heroes suffer a –6 penalty
North Africa, they welcomed whoever
unless they have a sun compass or stop to take a
happened to march into their settlement,
magnetic compass reading. One cannot use the sun
preferring to avoid confrontation by siding
compass without bright sunlight, or when the sun is
with whoever occupied their village at
near zenith and thus too vertical to cast an accurate
any given moment.
shadow. In the desert, one inaccurate Navigation roll
In some cases oases hosted Italian
can mean the difference between reaching civilization
garrisons, and in others they served as
and spending a very long time lost in the sand dunes.
advanced headquarters for the LRDG.

66
Operational Briefing

Visitors received the Bedouin’s traditional For every hour a character spends
hospitality, but also kept their distance, active in very hot conditions above 90° he
establishing themselves at the must make a DC 15 Fortitude save, with a
settlement’s edge or camping just outside +1 cumulative increase to the DC for each
of town. Those within 200 miles of the previous check. A hero who fails this
Mediterranean coast often served recon check sustains 1d4 points of subdual
units of both sides during the war. damage. Once the heat has reduced a
character to unconsciousness, he begins
Salt Marsh taking 1d4 points of normal damage every
The Qattara Depression is the region’s hour until relieved.
largest salt marsh, an area below sea level For every 10 minutes a character spends
where ground water leeches through the in extreme heat conditions above 110° he
rock into a salty quagmire. Bounded on must make a DC 15 Fortitude save, with a
the north by a high escarpment, it served +1 cumulative increase to the DC for each
as the principle obstacle against which previous check. A hero who fails this
General Montgomery anchored his left check sustains 1d4 points of subdual
flank during the engagements at El damage. Once the heat has reduced a
Alamein in 1942. Only certain routes character to unconsciousness, he begins
through the depression remain passable taking 1d4 points of normal damage every
during the dry season, and even then hour until relieved.
vehicles often broke through the delicate Consider anyone sustaining subdual
crust of sand into a few inches of muck. damage from heat as suffering sunstroke.
Sonderkommando Almasy and the LRDG They become fatigued, suffer a –2 penalty
were the only two groups who could to Strength and Dexterity, and are
traverse the Qattara Depression with any incapable of running or charging.
degree of success—they usually avoided it The character cannot recover subdual
altogether unless no other expedient route or normal damage from these conditions—
to their objective existed. The region or rest from his fatigued state—until he
remained impassable to large fighting finds some way to mitigate the heat:
formations and was considered more finding shade, lasting until sundown, or
hazardous than the sand seas. wallowing in water. A full 8 hours’ rest
eliminates the effects of sunstroke-
Desert Weather induced fatigue.
“The problem is to make yourself so Fortitude saves against heat are subject
much master over the appalling to several modifiers. Characters in helmets
difficulties of Nature—heat, thirst, cold, suffer a –2 penalty to their save, while
rain, fatigue—that, overcoming these, you those in cloth hats with brims gain +2 on
yet have physical energy and mental their rolls. Heroes with Wilderness Lore
resilience to deal with the greater object, may add their skill bonus to the save roll,
the winning of the war.” considering they know how to best find
shelter from the heat in a given
—Captain W. B. Kennedy Shaw, LRDG

Life in North Africa often depends on


weather conditions and natural
environmental hazards. The climate along Terrain Modifiers
the Mediterranean coast poses few Terrain Driving Attack Mo
Movve
challenges other than overcast skies and Rocky Scrub 0 0 3/4
rainstorms during the winter months. Wadi –2 –4 3/4
Units operating in desert terrain must Low Mountain –4 –4 1/2
face climate extremes and often Coast Road 0 0 +50%
unpredictable weather events. Desert Track 0 0 Full
Sand Sea* –4 –4 1/2
Heat Oasis 0 0 3/4
Perhaps the greatest danger the desert Salt Marsh* –4 –4 1/2
environment poses is heat. Temperatures
in the desert average around 65° *The vehicle may become bogged down.
Fahrenheit in the winter, but can climb as
high as 120° in summer months. The The –4 modifier for operating in darkness applies
temperature begins rising around April to any vehicles driving or attacking without benefit
and remains high until it starts of headlights, flares, or other light sources.
dissipating in October.

67
Chapter Three

Wilderness Lore DC a
character rolls, he finds
water enough for an
additional person. Each
person can only make these
rolls once in a 24-hour
period. Searching for water
takes anywhere from 2 to 6
hours, depending on various
environmental conditions
and the War Master’s overall
plot plans.
Sandstorms
Sandstorms usually
occur in March and April,
including the legendary
khamsin, a fierce, hot wind
that blows sand up from
The dust raised by vehicular traffic required guides to keep vehicles on course. the south. Winds propel
grains of sand into the air,
environment. Heroes with the Arid whipping them about in a
Acclimatization feat ignore saves for very dense cloud of dust. Anyone in the open
hot conditions, and treat extreme heat without goggles and a scarf has extreme
conditions as very hot. difficulty seeing and breathing.
Even with proper protection, all Spot
Thirst and Listen checks suffer a –4 penalty due
In most cases the heroes always have to roaring winds and reduced visibility.
access to some water: their canteens, Characters can still make ranged attacks,
flimsies or jerry cans, or the unit’s tanker but with a –4 penalty; such storms do not
truck. The threat of dire thirst can serve adversely affect artillery barrages, though
as a plot device to prod the characters to few gunnery crews want to work amidst
action or movement—it should never the flying sands. Visibility penalties do
become a record-keeping chore that bogs apply to rolls made to call in artillery,
down game play. Although the search for however.
water might encourage the heroes to leave Pilots prefer to avoid such airborne
their secure position and wander off into obstacles, as sand chokes aircraft engine’s
dangerous or uncharted territory, War carburetors and gums up other sensitive
Masters should have an ulterior motive. machinery. Those insane enough to fly
Perhaps this hunt for water brings them through a sandstorm have a cumulative –2
to an encounter location, or they must penalty to all actions each round
confront some danger before reaching (representing continuous damage to the
water. engine), and must make a DC 15 Piloting
A character can last without water 1 check every round just to retain control of
day plus a number of hours equal to his the aircraft.
Constitution score. Beyond that he must The storm extinguishes open flames,
make a Constitution check every hour at and has a 50% chance of putting out
a DC of 10 (+1 for every previous check) or protected fires. Sandstorms frequently last
take 1d6 points of subdual damage. The 2d4 hours. When everything finally settles,
character also becomes fatigued, the storm leaves behind 1d6 inches of
incapable of running or charging and sand on everything in its path.
suffering a –2 penalty to Strength and Sandstorms often brought action on the
Dexterity. These conditions remain until North African front to a halt, and in some
the hero finds adequate water. cases even covered Afrika Korps retreats
Finding natural water sources in the when Allied forces might have crushed
desert requires intuition and experience. If the unit.
a character knows where to look, he can The khamsin proves a deadlier foe.
find potable water in rocky scrub, wadis, These storms blow up from the south
low mountains, and oases. Finding water with an unusually hot wind and sand
in these environments requires both a DC whipped from the tips of Saharan dunes.
15 Wilderness Lore and Intuit Direction Successful Spot and Listen checks are all
roll. For every 2 points above the but impossible. Characters cannot even

68
Operational Briefing

make ranged attacks, and artillery Airmen flying through such storms also
barrages suffer a –4 penalty. Seeing to call receive a –4 penalty on all Piloting checks.
in accurate artillery fire is nearly All Spot and Listen checks suffer a –4
impossible. penalty from winds and reduced visibility.
Anyone caught in the open without Characters can still make ranged attacks,
shelter suffers 1d3 points of subdual but with a –4 penalty; rainstorms do not
damage each round, and must make a DC adversely affect artillery barrages, though
18 Fortitude save to keep from being few gunnery crews want to work in the
knocked down by the khamsin’s winds. cold, wet conditions. These sudden
The airborne dust also presents a rainstorms extinguish open flames, and
choking hazard—those venturing outside have a 50% chance of putting out
must hold their breath or filter it through protected fires.
a scarf or other cloth protecting their Sudden rainstorms become deadly
mouth and nose. hazards for anyone traveling through or
Unprotected characters can last a encamped in a wadi. Water erosion carved
number of rounds equal to twice their these features from the desert landscape—
Constitution score; those with scarves unfortunate characters caught in a canyon
can last a number of rounds equal to 10 during a rainstorm witness this natural
times their Constitution score. Heroes may wonder firsthand.
extend this time by making a DC 10 In addition to the normal penalties
Constitution check each round afterwards, associated with rainstorms, the characters
with a +1 cumulative increase to the DC must also face a flash flood racing down
every round. the wadi. Anyone caught in the flood
At the end of this time the character must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to
begins to choke, falling unconscious one avoid becoming pummeled by waterborne
round, asphyxiating the second round, and debris and swept off down the ravine.
finally dying on the third round. The Characters lost in the water sustain 1d6
storm extinguishes open flames, and has points of subdual damage each round, or
a 75% chance of putting out protected 1d3 points if they make a successful DC
fires. After blowing for 2d4 hours, the 20 Swim check. Waters rising high enough
khamsin covers everything in its path to entirely cover a vehicle eventually
with 2d3–1 feet of sand. sends it tumbling downstream.
Piloting aircraft through a khamsin is
impossible.
Cold
Although daytime temperatures are
quite high even in winter (upwards of 65° Summon Khamsin
Fahrenheit), they dip as low as 40° during Conjuration (Summoning)
winter nights. This proves more of a Le
Lev vel: Adt 5
discomfort than any physical danger, Runes: Berkana, Hagalaz, Laguz
especially since most units have fires, Casting Time: 30 minutes
coats, blankets, and other means of Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
warding off chills. Efffect: 1-mile-radius khamsin
Ef
Characters in cold conditions without Duration: 2d4 hours
the proper means to keep warm have Sa ving Thr
Saving ow: None
Thro
difficulty sleeping properly. For each night Spell Resistance: No
in such a climate without proper sleep, This spell allows an adept to summon a khamsin
characters spend the next day fatigued from any desert terrain within the spell’s range. The
(they are incapable of running or charging wind whips the sand into a storm which the caster
and suffer a –2 penalty to Strength and can then send in one general direction or cause to
Dexterity). hover over an area no farther than the spell’s range.
Rainstorms (Use the storm’s edge, not its center, when resolving
any matters regarding the spell’s range.) Once the storm
Foul weather occasionally clouds the
begins its course, it continues in that general direction
Mediterranean coast in winter months,
at a set rate chosen by the caster until the spell’s
blowing rainstorms inland several miles.
duration ends or other environmental or magical
These tend to turn all desert tracks and
factors redirect or dissipate it. Those caught in the
other normally passable terrain into
storm’s path treat it as a natural khamsin as described
muddy quagmires, halving movement rates
under Sandstorms in the Desert Weather section of
and imposing a –4 penalty to all Driving
this chapter.
checks.

69
Chapter Three

Superior defensive lines


helped the British hold
Tobruk for eight months
despite a heavy German
siege. They also plugged
the Axis advance into
Egypt twice, once at
Sollum and again at El
Alamein. Rommel used
defensive lines to
maintain his front while
waiting for much-
promised (and rarely
delivered) supplies from
Italy and Germany.
Formations like the
Mareth Line played key
roles in his fighting
retreats and in Afrika
Korps’ ability to hold out
so long in Tunisia.
German Panzer IIIs on the attack. Wire
Both sides used barbed
wire to deny enemy troops access to
Battlefield Terrain areas and delay their passage. Some
“It was a frightening and awesome formations (particularly along the frontier
spectacle—the dead and dying strewn over borders) consisted of fences, with wire
the battlefield, in trucks and Bren-carriers, strung at several points between tall
in trenches and toppled over in death, posts. The easiest means of deploying
others vocal with pain and stained by red barbed wire was in coils, often called
gashes of flowing blood or the dark “dannert” wire. Infantry patrols could
marks of old congealed wounds.” easily unfurl these from the back of
transports and secured them at intervals
—Lieutenant Cyril Joly, British Tank with waist-high poles driven into the
Commander ground. In some areas engineers erected
double coils to thwart enemies. An
Given the desert landscape, both sides entanglement formation ran wire from
easily adapted their terrain to their knee to waist level between a field of
purposes. Although aggressors relied on posts—careful soldiers could crawl
open areas for rapid advance, defenders through this, but swift passage remained
used the sandy soil and plentiful rocks to impossible. The worst obstacles consisted
quickly create hazards to slow, of a “thicket” of barbed wire haphazardly
immobilize, and wear away at enemy strung around posts randomly hammered
forces. into the ground. Engineers cut loose ends
Desert defenses were quickly employed to dangle and catch soldiers trying to
and just as easily abandoned, as dictated penetrate the bramble.
by the fluid nature of desert warfare. Infantry did not easily breach barbed-
During periods of rapid advance, hastily wire defenses without a pair of wire-
erected defenses aided in maintaining a cutters or enough time and cover to
fighting retreat and in salvaging as many weave their way through. Soldiers often
troops, supplies, and tanks as humanly attempted this at dusk or dawn, when
possible. enemy spotters had the least chance of
When one side halted the advance noticing them. Night patrols and raiders
because of overextended supply lines, knew the path through their own wire, or
Axis and Allied forces hunkered down at least knew the best place to attempt
behind defensive lines stretching across passage. The brash Americans sometimes
the entire front. Besides protecting against used Bangalore torpedoes to blast their
an unexpected enemy advance, this way through such obstacles, regardless of
bought precious time to bring up fresh whether or not they intended to conceal
reinforcements and to prepare new their attempt to pass through wire. Heavy
strategies. tracked vehicles easily breached these

70
Operational Briefing

defenses, though they still left a mess of


flattened barbed wire in their wake to
hinder infantry passage. The British Barbed Wire Reflex Saves
designed specialized equipment for Wire Formation Reflex Sa
Reflex ve DC
Sav
covering hazardous wire, including Fence 10
“carpet” devices mounted on tanks that Dannert Coil 10
unfurled heavy canvass over wire Double Coil 17
obstacles; these proved marginally Entanglement 10
effective. Thicket 25
Soldiers slipping through barbed wire
defenses must make Reflex saves with a
DC based on the way the wire was
deployed (see sidebar chart). If the soldier units frequently deployed them (and later
fails the save, he becomes tangled in wire cleared them) under cover of darkness.
whose barbs snagged his flesh, gear, or Members of the SAS and LRDG often
clothing. Those caught in wire take 1d3 planted vehicle mines on roads and desert
points of damage each round—if they do tracks when leaving the site of a raid to
not make a DC 15 Will save to remain hinder and eliminate any German forces in
calm, they also add their Strength bonus pursuit.
to this damage. Once snared, they must Both sides used their standard mine
make a DC 20 Reflex save to extricate ordnance. Since desert warfare relied
themselves (or a DC 10 Reflex save if a heavily on rapidly moving armor and
companion helps them). If the initial save motorized infantry, vehicle mines often
fails, they take damage a second round; covered vast open spaces. The German
the DC for each save also rises by +1 Tellermine 35 particularly plagued Allied
every round they remain stuck in the wire. engineers, as it contained a secondary
detonator set to ignite if the mine was
Minefields lifted from the ground.
Both sides used minefields to deny the With difficult and unreliable supply
adversary access to areas and to defend conditions in North Africa—both for the
set positions. They slowed advances, Germans and the valiant British garrison
forcing armies to attempt wide holding Tobruk—engineers often
outflanking maneuvers far into the improvised. When the Afrika Korps ran
southern desert, or try daring mine- short of regulation mine ordnance, it
clearing operations to open paths through rigged up aircraft bombs and naval shells
which motorized units could charge. as mines, often detonated by wire rather
Since mines relied on their concealed than jury-rigging a more risky pressure-
nature and density to thwart the enemy,

71
Chapter Three

units moving through the area and caused


delays. Such endeavors only opened a
narrow passage through minefields,
causing rapidly advancing contingents to
bottleneck.
Consult the Minefields section on
pages 96–97 of Blood on the Rhine for
more game rules on deploying, clearing,
and disarming mines.
Tank Trenches
Both sides used tank traps to ensnare
enemy tracked vehicles, though the
British used them to greater effect in their
defense of Tobruk. Engineers dug these
trenches deep and steep enough that
panzers tumbling into them could not
extricate themselves. Although they
usually sustained only minimal damage,
they were in no position to participate in
the action, and were left behind if an
advance failed and the crew’s forces
A New Zealand machinegun crew makes the most of natural retreated.
cover. Unlike other defenses, trenches took
sensitive detonator. The SBG deployed its more time and effort to dig deep enough
own mines scavenged from spare to trap a tank, and often required
munitions and men salvaged from the additional materials or engineering to
hospitals: corpse mines buried just shore up so they wouldn’t simply crumble
beneath the sand, trained to claw their into a shallow depression under a
way up and embrace enemy personnel panzer’s weight. They sprang up during
before detonating the explosives strapped prolonged sieges (like Tobruk) or
to their rotting bodies (see Chapter Four: standoffs (such as those at Sollum, El
Bestiary for more information). Alamein, and Mareth).
The preponderance of minefields in Without effective means to bridge
North Africa, the ease with which them, they also became formidable
engineers could deploy them in the sandy obstacles to those who built them; they
terrain, and the wide open stretches of often protected positions or areas through
desert landscape inspired the British to which no vehicle traffic was expected to
develop several means to clear them. Until pass. In some cases British units
October 1942, most infantry and equipped their tanks (particularly the
engineering units employed the old tried outmoded Matildas) with implements they
and true but painfully slow method, could deploy to cross these trenches,
investigating any recently disturbed sand including ditch-crossing ramps and Inglis
and probing it with bayonets until they portable bridges.
located, uncovered, and disarmed a mine. Drivers must make a DC 20 Spot check
After the Axis and Allies settled down to notice tank traps hidden amidst the
along the El Alamein line in the summer desert landscape—if they’re alerted that
of 1942, the British commanders selected such defenses exist (either through map
a core of engineers to create a better drill intelligence or orders from their
for clearing minefields. They began using commander) they only need to make a DC
metal detectors to locate mines more 10 Spot check (don’t forget the vision
easily. modifiers if the tank is buttoned up). If
Tank regiments also fitted awkward they fail, they drive into the trench. Roll
contraptions to obsolete tanks 1d6: on a 1 or 2, they plow into it head-on,
(particularly the Matilda) intended to plow, on a 3–6 they drive in at an angle and tip
thrash, and roll over mines, exploding over. The collision inflicts damage on the
them in the process while the crew vehicle’s forward or side armor as if in a
remained shielded by the tank’s armored T-bone crash with a Huge obstacle with
hull. None of these methods proved armor of 10 (consult the Collision Damage
totally effective. Despite concerted efforts, and Collision Size Modifiers tables on
mine-clearance operations inevitably page 104 of Blood on the Rhine for
missed some mines that later plagued details).

72
Operational Briefing

German Minefield Ordnance


The Germans fortified their North African Demolitions check to identify, plus an
minefields with several new kinds of weapons, additional DC 20 Demolitions check to safely
including the Tellermine 35 antitank mine, and disarm.
jerrybuilt mines from aircraft bombs. See
Chapter Four: Bestiary, for information about the Aircraft Bomb Mine
SBG deploying “corpse mines.” As the war in North Africa waged on and
supplies of mines became scarce, German
Tellermine 35 engineers began employing unexploded aircraft
The German Tellermine 35 was a particularly ordnance to supplement explosives in
nasty piece of battlefield technology. The disc- minefields. They used using stockpiled aerial
shaped mine contained 12 pounds of TNT, with bombs (useless without aviation petrol to fly
an armored pressure plate over its upper the Luftwaffe planes) or salvaged duds with
portions that both set off the charge and tore faulty detonators but perfectly good shells and
into deadly shrapnel in the explosion. It required powder charges.
at least 250 pounds of pressure to release the Engineers buried these shells in minefields
striker and spring into the detonator, so infantry with the detonator assemblies facing up. They
easily passed over, leaving it to explode beneath jury rigged detonation wire to the charges, then
heavier lorries or tanks. ran the wire back to observation posts at the
The most insidious feature of the Tellermine minefield’s edge (requiring a DC 25 Demolitions
35 was the secondary fuse placed in the lower check). From here, pioneers on guard could hook
surface. If the mine were lifted from its position up the wire to electrical detonators, blowing the
without proper caution (usually blocking the charges manually when sentries spotted enemy
aperture through which a pressure trigger sensed troops moving near the bomb. Although small
the ground), it would detonate. Anyone trying to piles of stones or a characteristic piece of
disarm a Tellermine 35 must make either a DC debris marked the bomb’s location, the blast
20 Spot check to notice the secondary fuse, or proved powerful enough to damage anyone
a DC 15 Demolitions roll to correctly identify the venturing too close. Wires from several charges
mine by its appearance. If either roll fails, they could run to one engineer’s post, from which
can disarm the primary trigger, but fail to find the pioneer could detonate them in a sequence
the secondary fuse and detonate the charge. The to best waylay enemy soldiers and vehicles
engineer must make two DC 20 Demolitions attempting to pass through the minefield.
checks, one to safely disarm each of the fuses. Damage: 12d12, Bur st: 8, Notes: Detonated by
Burst:
Damage: 7d12, Burst: 4, Notes: 250 lbs. or electric detonator and a wire running from the
more of pressure to detonate; secondary fuse pioneer to the bomb.
requires a DC 20 Spot check or DC 15

time to digging and reinforcing them.


Unlike obstacles tanks and other
These formations created a semicircle
tracked vehicles might somehow drive up
around the forward area of the perimeter
and over, these traps immobilize a
post.
vehicle—it cannot return to operational
Behind these forward defenses, trenches
status until extricated from the trench by
linked areas of cover for different
some kind of tow.
armaments: light and heavy machineguns
Perimeter Posts and anti-tank guns. Sometimes tanks
When both armies faced off across the found hull-down positions here to provide
desert, they created perimeter posts to heavy fire support and move quickly to
protect areas through which the enemy respond to enemy advances. Booby-traps,
might try advancing. Often situated sandbagged buttresses, and sentries
between and behind mine fields, they guarded the outermost entrances to this
employed an array of the battlefield warren of trenches. More barbed wire and
features discussed above. A series of anti-tank mines protected the rear of the
barbed-wire formations covered the post’s position, but with clear paths through
forward area, behind which mines and which the defenders could retreat if
booby traps deterred infantrymen. overrun by the enemy. A post such as this
Defenders used tank traps only during is a formidable obstacle for any group of
prolonged sieges when they could devote heroes attempting to penetrate the enemy
lines.

73
Chapter Three

The bustling city merged British culture


Bases of with the native Islamic society in what
has long been an exotic and alluring mix

Operation for Europeans. Cars raced down the


streets past turbaned merchants and
“Here, in Cairo, was the supreme oasis horse-drawn carts. The ancient pyramids
of peace and plenty, where one stayed for looked down on domed mosques, blocky
a while between the long spells in the mud-brick buildings, fancy hotels, and
west with its dust and rock and camel- elite clubs. Merchants hawked ornate,
thorn, its battles of advance and battles hand-crafted Arabic goods and fake
of retreat.” antiquities, while muezzin called the
faithful to prayer from tall minarets.
—Captain Alastair Timpson, LRDG With the onset of war, the suburbs
grew with facilities to prosecute the
Although soldiers spent most of their campaign against the Afrika Korps. Cairo
time at the front fighting in the desert, hosted the headquarters of British Troops
Allied forces relied on several bases of Egypt, as well as numerous administrative
operation to keep their troops provisioned, offices, particularly those for intelligence
serve as headquarters, and coordinate the and logistics. Hospitals cared for the flow
campaign to defeat the Axis in North of wounded coming in from the front
Africa. Each of the locations below served lines, while sprawling supply depots
the Allies in a different capacity and played sprang up in the northwest suburbs from
an important role in the struggle against which provisions were dispatched to
the Afrika Korps. units throughout North Africa.
Cairo served as the prime destination
Cairo of personnel on rest and recovery leave
(although Alexandria served in this
The capital of Egypt served as a base capacity to a lesser degree). Here members
of British operations after they stepped in of various units took their leave,
to protect the vital Suez Canal during the recovered from wounds, or waited for
economic and social turmoil of the late transfers or transportation to new
1800s. During World War II it was the assignments. Officers played cards,
center for all Allied operations in North smoked cigars, and nursed drinks at the
Africa until the Battle of El Alamein and upscale Turf Club while enlisted men on
Operation Torch pushed the front too far leave slummed around the dingy bars in
west for the city to function as an the European Quarter and near their
effective headquarters. barracks on the city’s edge.

74
Operational Briefing

Cairo offers many adventure


possibilities for those who ordinarily
don’t serve on the front. Operatives with Adventure Seed: Through
the OSI frequently wandered the corridors
of headquarters, gathering intelligence, Enemy Lines
tracking down rumors, and trying to get a With the Luftwaffe sinking many supply ships,
jump on any insidious Nazi plots that Tobruk desperately needs medical provisions. The
might weaken British forces. LRDG and characters receive orders for a daring night raid against
SAS personnel used Cairo to refit their the Afrika Korps units besieging their sector of the
patrols and prepare for major operations. perimeter. They must penetrate enemy lines, locate a
The seriously injured passed through the field hospital, and liberate a generous portion of
hospitals here, possibly brushing up medical supplies to transport back within the city’s
against those who’d gone insane from defenses. Besides facing the usual array of minefields,
exposure to weird events in the desert barbed wire, and enemy soldiers, they run into an SBG
fighting. Of course, anyone passing contingent using remains from the field hospital for
through Cairo on leave can become gruesome experiments.
embroiled in the intrigue and mystery
haunting the shadowy streets and seeking
to infiltrate the British presence in Egypt. superior numbers. Characters must hold
out against these horrors until the action
Tobruk elsewhere on the North African front
As the German advance rolled forces the Germans to retreat back across
unopposed across Cyrenaica in the spring Cyrenaica and abandon their siege of the
of 1941, the British decided to hold battered port.
Tobruk—a vital supply port—at all costs.
While this proved a thorn in Rommel’s Casablanca
side for the duration of his activity that When the French surrendered to the
year, it turned the former Italian Nazis in May 1940, administration of most
settlement into an armed camp resisting French colonies reverted to the German-
constant German siege. Garrisoned by allied Vichy government. Like occupied
plucky Australians and led by Major and Vichy France, the Moroccan city of
General Leslie Morshead (nicknamed “Ming Casablanca quickly became a covert
the Merciless” for his grim determination), hotbed of dissident and espionage
the city surrounded itself with extensive activity. Like Cairo, it merged aspects of
defensive works, set up antiaircraft European and Muslim society in an exotic
batteries everywhere, and salvaged every setting, complete with international
bit of material in daring strategies to expatriates, smugglers, and corrupt
fight off Afrika Korps. officials—all dominated by the
At this early stage of the war, the RAF overhanging shadow of Nazi authority.
had not yet attained dominance in the Agents established resistance groups
skies, so the Luftwaffe pounded the port among the French living there to observe
city and attacked ships bringing supplies and report enemy activity in western
and reinforcements. Rommel surrounded Africa, forge alliances with influential
Tobruk with equally impressive siege desert sheiks and native Bedouin, and
formations, pounded the defenses with ultimately thwart Vichy counterattacks to
artillery, and even attempted a few panzer any attempted Allied beachhead. It only
breakthroughs…all to no avail. The spirited served as a purely military base of
Diggers made do with what provisions operations for a short time during
they had, improvised defenses, and even Operation Torch, as the American and
sortied small night patrols to ambush the British forces moved swiftly eastward to
Germans in the darkness. engage Rommel’s unprotected rear in
Tobruk can serve as an ideal Tunisia.
background for an infantry campaign Casablanca is no place for overt action
fighting from set defensive positions until the onset of Operation Torch (in
against an overwhelming force. The heroes which case the allure of the setting
must endure constant attack despite disappears against the backdrop of
shortages of supplies and arms. As the massive military operation). Until
siege drew on, the SBG arrived on the November 1942, heroes working in
scene and tested some of their earlier Casablanca must do so covertly.
breakthroughs in unnatural magic, Resistance fighters and OSI operatives
including the use of brutes and find this a rich setting for their missions
reanimants to overwhelm defenses with to undermine Nazi authority, sabotage

75
Chapter Three

Kufra, Siwa, Jalo


For such desert raiders as the LRDG
and SAS, these three oases served as
field headquarters for “road watch,” “taxi
service,” and “beat up” operations deep
behind enemy lines. The oases consisted
of small settlements and groves of date
palms clustered around sprawling lakes of
brackish water. Since these pools bred
malaria-carrying mosquitoes, British forces
stationed here made their headquarters on
the oasis edge.
They mingled with the local Bedouin,
often hiring them for help loading trucks
but keeping relations businesslike.
Officers frequently took lodgings in
whatever mud-brick structures stood at
the edge of town, with other buildings
used for necessary supplies and signals
work. Other personnel stayed in any
remaining buildings or in tents or
temporary structures pitched nearby.
Since Middle East Command deemed
LRDG work vital to supporting operations
at the front, oasis bases were kept well-
stocked, both to supply the raiders and to
provide items used to barter with the
Bedouin.
Kufra was close enough to the Nile to
remain in British hands for the war’s
duration, although members of
Sonderkommando Almasy sometimes
Panzer IIIs are unloaded in Tripoli. breezed through on their way in or out of
Egypt. As the farthest oasis from Cairo
loyal Vichy defenses, and uncover secret,
and the most convenient one for
magical plots that might thwart the Allied
supporting operations in Cyrenaica, Jalo
landings in Operation Torch. Casablanca
faced the greatest threat from enemy
serves as the opposite of Cairo: an exotic
forces—the LRDG only operated there
locale in which the characters must
when Allied advances along the coast
survive discreetly deep within enemy
kept the Afrika Korps at bay. Siwa sat
territory.
halfway between Jalo and the Nile, and
thus proved the best forward headquarters
for desert raider operations with the least
Adventure Seed: threat from enemy units. Still, a German
reconnaissance battalion advanced into
The Papyrus Siwa during the standoff at El Alamein in
While visiting or working in Cairo the heroes 1942, but retreated after the onset of
purchase a papyrus scroll from a shady street vendor. Operation Torch.
An hour later, they hear the merchant was brutally Although Kufra hosted ancient
murdered and his stash of papyrus ransacked. The Egyptian ruins (a well-preserved temple to
characters feel they’re being followed, and an uneasy Ammon), Siwa held the more famous
anxiety about the scroll descends on them. They seek ones, particularly the remains of
an authority on ancient Egypt to help them read the Cleopatra’s palace, a temple to Ammon,
papyrus—a priestly instruction manual for summoning and the 30-foot circular well fed by
the oracle at the Temple of Ammon in Siwa Oasis. underground springs known as Cleopatra’s
When the other interested party ambushes the heroes Pool. According to the ancient Greek
and steals the scroll, they must uncover their sinister scholar Herodotus, the temple at Siwa
adversaries’ true nature and travel to Siwa Oasis to was home to a great oracle of Ammon,
stop them from consulting the oracle for advice on one who foretold the destruction of an
defeating the British in Egypt. attacking Persian army in the Sixth
Century BC.

76
Operational Briefing

the form of inspiration, often through


Allied Forces near legendary stories about their
personalities and habits. While the average
“The British are receiving large infantryman probably never met “Monty,”
quantities of war materiel, which is being they knew he was so unshakable that he
landed at Suez and then brought up to never addressed the day’s business—even
the front at once.” emergencies—without first finishing his
leisurely breakfast.
—General Georg Stumme The Americans did not face the
constant turnover of commanders in
Much of the Allied fighting force in North Africa. As leader of the newly
North Africa belonged to the British arrived American forces, General George S.
Commonwealth, with participants from Patton pursued German forces with
England, Australia, New Zealand, South dogged determination. The late American
Africa, and even India. Others joined them, entry into the campaign against the
including expatriate Polish soldiers and Afrika Korps gave him a short time to
determined Free French units who made prove himself before moving on to other
their way through the Sahara and Middle theaters of war.
East from colonies formerly held by
France. They formed a multi-purposed General Sir Archibald Wavell
fighting force that included a traditional The British began the North African
army, the Royal Air Force, desert raiding campaign with Wavell in command. In
groups, subversive resistance cells in mid-1940 he repulsed the Italian invasion
enemy territory, and intelligence of Egypt and pursued retreating enemy
organizations that coordinated efforts to forces across much of Cyrenaica. He put
destroy the Nazis in North Africa. faith in his subordinate commanders
Although it does not offer a while juggling demands to siphon off
comprehensive listing of corps, regiments, units to help defend Greece, Crete, and the
and battalions, the overview below can Middle East. His peers described him as
provide players and War Masters some “cool and imperturbable when things
background on the kinds of people and went wrong,” and he held his composure
units involved in fighting the German when facing Afrika Korps’ rapid advance
Afrika Korps. in early 1941 amidst constant pressures
from his superiors to fight back with the
Commanders depleted forces at his disposal. With
“The commander must decide how he Tobruk under siege and British forces
will fight the battle before it begins. He failing in attempts to relieve the city,
must then use the military effort at his Auchinleck stepped in to replace Wavell.
disposal to force the battle to swing the
way he wishes it to go; he must make the
General Sir Claude Auchinleck
enemy dance to his own tune from the The “Auk,” as he was known among the
beginning and never vice versa.” Tommies, admired his predecessor and
faced the same difficulties: shortages of
—Lieutenant General Bernard adequate armor and supply, depleted
Montgomery forces, a superior foe, and high turnover in
subordinate officers. A competent
The British Eighth Army went through commander, he fared slightly better than
several commanders before settling on Wavell. During his command Eighth Army
Montgomery. Each fell victim to the pushed the Afrika Korps back across
peculiar circumstances of desert warfare Cyrenaica and relieved Tobruk, only to
and supply, the situation left by their have the enemy rebound all the way to El
predecessor, and constant exhortations Alamein in 1942.
from Churchill to engage the enemy. Only During this time he laid the
Montgomery lasted—and forged his groundwork for what would eventually aid
reputation—in the North African campaign General Montgomery’s successes. Lend-
thanks to a decisive victory at El Alamein lease materials filtered into the units,
and the Allied invasion in western Africa particularly the American-made Sherman
in Operation Torch. tanks that were far superior to some of
The Allied commanders affected overall the obsolete armor the British fielded.
strategy on the front and made major Although he put up a valiant fight at
decisions on the actions of entire armies. Gazala, Auchinleck was relieved when the
Their influence on smaller units came in fighting ground to a halt along the El

77
Chapter Three

schoolmaster discipline and


resolute will to resist the Nazi
assault, Morshead soon won the
affection of his Aussie Diggers
and inspired them to hold out
against the Germans and even
strike back at them from time
to time (they eventually
shortened his nickname to
“Ming”). A patient and
determined man, he survived
with what few supplies made it
past Luftwaffe raids into Tobruk
harbor, encouraged his men to
conserve what materials they
could scavenge, and he made
sure that the two most vital
resources for his troops made it
through on convoys: cigarettes
and the mail.
Lieutenant General
Bernard Montgomery
Like Morshead, “Monty”
captured the affection of his
General Auchinleck stops to talk with an Indian machinegunner.
troops and fired their spirits. He
arrived on the North African
Alamein line, inside British-controlled
front at a critical time when he could
Egypt, with German troops within striking
capitalize on past experiences and gains
distance of Cairo and the vital Suez
to build his reputation among his troops
Canal.
and his superiors.
Major General Leslie With both armies dug in along the El
Alamein line, he had time to survey the
Morshead situation, reorganize the Eighth Army, and
The commander of the Ninth Australian prepare his plans to break through enemy
Division held Tobruk during Rommel’s lines. He had many advantages that
initial thrust across Cyrenaica in 1941. resulted from 18 months of hard desert
Known as “Ming the Merciless” for his fighting. The LRDG harassed the German
rearward areas, the RAF finally dominated
the skies, and new lend-lease Sherman
tanks began pouring into the armored
divisions, all while the Afrika Korps sat
Adventure Seed: at the end of an overextended supply line
with little support from OKW (Army High
The Dead Monty Command) in Germany.
The heroes come upon clues that sinister elements Although previous commanders had
of Afrika Korps (the SBG) are planning an moderate successes holding Tobruk or
assassination attempt on General Montgomery. They driving Rommel from Cyrenaica in late
stumble upon one part of a greater plan: cryptic 1941, Montgomery brought the Allies their
messages on a fallen messenger, a scuffle with a first definitive and permanent success of
German agent in Cairo, or the discovery of a small but the entire war: smashing through German
significant cursed item near Middle East headquarters. lines in fierce fighting at El Alamein and
The characters must uncover the significance of this slowly chasing Rommel all the way back
clue, track down enemy operatives working in British- to Tunisia. His indomitable spirit, frequent
held territory, and stop a covert SBG plot to murder visits to the front, and unshakable
Monty or replace him with some form of doppelganger demeanor sustained him through smaller
to hinder Allied war efforts. They must overcome a setbacks and inspired his men. The ego
secret network of German agents, ambushes, created from his success in North Africa
diversionary and protective magic, and an all-seeing led him to dominate further military
mole within British command who stops at nothing to operations until the war’s end (and caused
eliminate them. not an inconsiderable amount of friction
between him and his American allies).

78
Operational Briefing

General George S. Patton


The typical American cowboy in a
soldier’s uniform, Patton commanded with
Main Eighth Army Units
an aggressive style. His boastful,
loudmouthed personality fit well with his
at El Alamein
determination to prove American soldiers 10 Corps
could hold their own in their first action 1st Armored Division
on the road to freeing Europe from Nazi 7th Armored Division
tyranny. 13 Corps
He led the Western Task Force that 50th Infantry Division
landed in Morocco in Operation Torch, 44th Infantry Division
successfully crushing Vichy French 7th Armored Division
resistance to Allied beachheads. He drove 30 Corps
his men across Algeria and into Tunisia’s 9th Australian Division
mountains. While Montgomery slowed 51st Highlander Division
against the German Mareth Line in the 2nd New Zealander Division
east, Patton clashed with the Afrika 1st South African Division
Korps around Kasserine Pass. Patton 4th Indian Division
blamed American losses there on lack of
British support, primarily due to
Montgomery’s stubborn, plodding Generals Wavell and Auchinleck
adherence to proper planning (and a good continued the campaign against Rommel
dose of ego to boot). Although he with Eighth Army much as it had been.
eventually helped oust the Germans from When General Montgomery took over in
Africa, Patton and Montgomery’s mid-1942, he took the time afforded by a
personalities continued to grate on each prolonged stalemate along the El Alamein
other. They fostered a sometimes line to reinforce Eight Army with the new
detrimental rivalry throughout subsequent American Sherman tanks and completely
operations in Italy, France, and Germany. reorganize it into a more effective fighting
force. The resulting group proved better
Eighth Army suited for massive attacks to break
“We know from our sources that through enemy lines than pursuit, as
Churchill was in Cairo at the beginning of proved during Rommel’s fighting retreat
August and that on the twelfth, westward across North Africa to the
Montgomery took over command of Eight Mareth Line.
Army. A new wind seems to be blowing
among our opponents.”

—Generalmajor Alfred Gause, Rommel’s


Chief of Staff

Like many units of varying


backgrounds joined to create the German
Afrika Korps, so did many units from the
British Commonwealth assemble to form
the Eighth Army. It grew from forces
already in Africa as part of British Troops
Egypt which repulsed the Italian invasion
and took advantage of their rapid retreat.
Before Rommel arrived, Churchill
ordered British commanders to siphon off
various bits of this force for duty in
Greece, Crete, and the Middle East since
North Africa seemed relatively calm at the
time. With the formation of Afrika Korps
and the German prosecution of an
aggressive campaign in Cyrenaica, the
Eighth Army was formed from these
motley elements and reinforcements from
around the Middle East and the
Commonwealth. Patton surveys the front in Tunisia.

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Chapter Three

Eighth Army bore the brunt of the


fighting in North Africa until the arrival
of the Americans in November, 1942. Its
units pursued Rommel back and forth
along the coastal deserts, advancing and
retreating along the Via Balbia, holding out
at Tobruk, and digging in along defensive
lines at Sollum, Gazala, and El Alamein.

Royal Air Force


“I wondered idly what he was like, this
man I would kill. Was he young, was he
fat, would he die with the Führer’s name
on his lips, or would he die alone…I
would never know.”

—Richard Hilary, RAF Pilot

Eighth Army couldn’t have persisted


against the Germans without strong air
support, and the RAF obliged by throwing
in whatever it could afford. With its ranks
An RAF bomber pounds a German supply convoy. depleted during the desperate Battle of
Britain in the summer of 1940, it struggled
Eighth Army’s composite nature brought to engage the Luftwaffe and Regia
many elements from across the British Aeronautica in the skies above several
Commonwealth together. Units of fronts. The first months in North Africa
legendary reputation like the Black Watch, saw a battle for supremacy of the skies.
Coldstream Guards, Royal Scots Greys, and Fortunately Germany couldn’t maintain a
Scots Guards served beside divisions successful fight against the RAF without
from Australia, India, New Zealand, and sufficient supplies of spare parts, aircraft
South Africa. Foreigners from occupied petrol, and replacement planes. The
territories—the Free French and Polish Luftwaffe—which so relentlessly pounded
Brigade—also pitched in to fight the Tobruk’s defenses and supply ships during
Afrika Korps. This diversity in the Allies the siege—became a casualty of German
fostered a friendly competition among High Command’s thinking that the North
units and brought a variety of fighting African campaign was secondary to
styles into the fray. defeating the Soviets on the Russian front.
The RAF assumed many mission
profiles against Luftwaffe and Afrika
Korps targets. Most assaults focused on
Adventure Seed: Rommel’s beleaguered and overextended
supply lines. The Axis landed provisions
Frontline Catacombs in ports like Tripoli, well out of the range
While holding a defensive line against the advancing of RAF bombers, and then transported
Afrika Korps near Mersa Matruh (100 miles west of El them by truck along the Via Balbia to the
Alamein), a near-miss artillery blast weakens the rock front lines. Ports in Cyrenaica like
and sends the heroes tumbling into a deep pit beneath Benghazi—well within range of RAF
the sand. When they gather their wits, they find aircraft—proved convenient targets and
themselves deep within ancient catacombs from the thus could not serve as reliable harbors
Roman settlement of Paraetonium. Shifting rock and for unloading supplies. Aircraft raids on
sand block their return to the surface, so they must ocean-going convoys, vital port facilities,
explore the labyrinth to find an escape before the supply columns on the coastal road, and
Germans overrun the defensive positions above. During provisions depots made sure the Afrika
their wanderings they may stumble upon Roman Korps was always short of essential
artifacts or magical treasures. Unfortunately the materials.
catacombs also host such dangers as scorpions and The RAF also provide traditional air
snakes, unstable stone ceilings, pockets of flammable support, transport, reconnaissance, and
gas, sand traps, and a few angry Romans whose patrol duties. British pilots flew from
remains take personal offense at the presence of the bases around Cairo and Alexandria as well
living. as temporary desert airfields closer to the
action. They struck at German ground

80
Operational Briefing

defenses, stray transport and


reconnaissance aircraft, and desert ground
patrols. Toward the campaign’s end the Adventure Seed:
Luftwaffe began flying low just to avoid
detection and interception by higher The Shimmering City
altitude RAF patrols. Stuka flights began While flying patrol over the Sahara, the heroes
transporting officers around the front in notice wind blowing sand from previously unrecorded
their gunner’s seat because the smaller, ruins. If they don’t land and explore it on their own,
lighter armed Fieseler Storches commonly they receive orders to do so from their base, prompted
used for flying personnel proved no match by a mysterious intelligence officer who frequently
for RAF warplanes. By the time Operation visits. After landing on some flat ground and hiking to
Torch landed Americans in North Africa, the site, the pilots discover that the sands sheltered
the RAF dominated the skies. what appears as a living oasis city straight out of
Although British commanders didn’t ancient Egypt. The inhabitants welcome the characters,
consider North Africa a secondary front, but warn them they’ve arrived during a turbulent
they still juggled resources. The RAF flew power struggle between the ruling governor and the
a variety of aircraft of different mission high priestess of Sekhmet, the lioness-headed war
configurations, but often settled for older goddess. The governor wishes to rule in peace, while
or outdated planes like the Bombays—the the priestess wants to venture out into the world to
heroic Spitfire was still reserved for home affect the great war beyond their oasis. The heroes
defense until assembly plants could must help resolve the conflict—avoiding an assassin’s
produce enough for other fronts. ambush, protecting the governor (or priestess) from
RAF pilots embodied the same spirit of angry mobs, and fighting off the opposition’s
grim determination that helped them bodyguards—all before the sands return to cover the
endure the Battle of Britain and England’s city 24 hours later.
previous defeats in the war. Although they
weren’t as cocky as their American
counterparts, they still displayed a sense
of pride in their aerial expertise and their Middle East command formed the Long
integral role fighting the Germans. They Range Desert Group at the outbreak of
fostered the same camaraderie that hostilities in North Africa to harass
infused Eighth Army with its competitive Italian outposts in the Sahara and help
attitude. One LRDG officer recalled a bring Free French support in from French
wager that a team of SAS commandos Equatorial Africa (also known as Chad).
could slip into an RAF base outside Cairo With Rommel’s arrival and Afrika Korps’
on a given night and write their names on initial thrust across Cyrenaica, the LRDG
the pilots’ planes. The SAS won the bet, soon burgeoned into a force of officially
but the RAF airmen put up a good sponsored desert renegades charged with
showing, spotting the commandos only three primary duties deep behind enemy
on their way out. lines: “road watch,” “taxi service,” and
“beat ups.”
Long Range Desert The LRDG’s greatest contribution to
winning the North African campaign was
Group intelligence gathered on “road watch.”
“Flash from Tripoli road watch. Patrols rounded the enemy flank deep in
Eastbound March 18. Tanks 6 Mark 3 and 1 the Sahara and crept up to positions
Mark 4. Armored cars German 4-wheeled overlooking desert tracks and the Via
7.” Balbia itself to monitor Axis traffic. With
the Germans landing supplies and
—LRDG report radioed to Middle East reinforcements in ports far from the range
HQ of RAF aircraft, truck convoys transported
these goods to the front by road. Hiding
British explorers had roamed the Sahara behind camel-thorn bushes and shallow
for years before the war. Some sought ditches, LRDG patrols diligently recorded
ancient artifacts, others geographical every passing vehicle, reporting their
information and maps; all wanted a bit of numbers and types back to headquarters
adventure. These men learned the hard on the wireless. Patrols might be out for
way how to survive in desert conditions, several weeks before relieved by their
cross the vast sand seas, and mingle with fellows. The information proved valuable
various tribes of Bedouin. Their in assessing troop buildups at the front
experience proved invaluable to winning and anticipating major enemy actions. It
the war in North Africa. gave Middle East Headquarters proof that

81
Chapter Three

additional provisions of
much-needed food, water,
and petrol.
Occasionally LRDG
personnel participated in
more daring action
against Afrika Korps in
raids called “beat ups.”
This often consisted of
ambushing small
convoys, secretly planting
bombs in trucks as they
rumbled past, or setting
explosives at airfields
and supply depots.
Occasionally the LRDG
joined SAS personnel in
more daring “beat ups.”
LRDG raiders had to
exercise caution—frequent
raids at one location
might endanger
ambushes down the road,
and alert the Luftwaffe
and Regia Aeronautica
patrols that British
Members of the LRDG, aka “Desert Rats,” mounted up before a mission.
personnel were operating
in the area. “Beat ups”
RAF raids on Axis shipping in the
endangered “road watch” missions, and
Mediterranean was effective in hindering
thus became rare given the greater
German progress in eastward across North
effectiveness of accurate intelligence over
Africa.
rear-area raids.
Given the LRDG’s experience crossing
The initial LRDG patrols consisted of
the vast expanses of the Sahara, it
several groups of New Zealanders, but
naturally assumed duties transporting
soon other patrols joined the unit,
goods and personnel through the desert
including officers and other ranks drawn
and inserting them behind enemy lines.
from Rhodesian units, the Coldstream and
Dubbed “taxi service,” it supplied
Scots Guards, and the Yeomanry. A
partisans working among the Senussi
lieutenant or captain led each patrol,
Bedouin in Cyrenaica, scouted new routes
consisting of about 18 other ranks and
for the LRDG and recon elements of
several specialists: an experienced
Eighth Army, helped SAS and OSI
signaler, fitter, and medic. For
personnel penetrate German rear areas for
transportation they used several light
sabotage, raids, and intelligence work, and
trucks (not the heavy three-ton lorries
set up hidden depots where lost,
typically used for transport duties) that
harassed, or returning patrols might find
could haul the most provisions without
easily sinking into the sand. Officers
often rode in a jeep, though a second jeep
might accompany the patrol for additional
LRDG Patrols reconnaissance capacity. The LRDG fitted
Unit Composition all their vehicles with extra gear and
T1 New Zealanders modifications: machine guns, spare jerry
T2 New Zealanders cans for water and fuel, sand mats and
R1 New Zealanders ramps to “unstick” vehicles from dunes,
R2 New Zealanders and a wireless set built into one of the
S1 Rhodesians trucks.
S2 Rhodesians The LRDG worked from the oases in
G1 Coldstream Guardsmen the western desert, primarily Kufra, but
G2 Scots Guardsmen also Siwa and Jalo, when they weren’t
Y1 Wiltshire Yeomanry and other Units occupied by enemy forces. Caravans of
Y2 Wiltshire Yeomanry and other Units lorries, two WACO aircraft, and patrols
arriving from leave in Cairo brought

82
Operational Briefing

provisions and reinforcements. Since it


operated so far from regular supply lines,
the LRDG received preferential treatment LRDG Exploits
regarding choice personnel, a specially The adventures of the LRDG and the many
designed regimen of foodstuffs, and even individuals associated with it produced several
captured jerry cans (which were far accounts of its operations. The most renown telling
superior to the British “flimsies” for came from Captain W. B. Kennedy Shaw, the unit’s
containing liquids). intelligence officer, who wrote a comprehensive
Since it was founded on an elite group history of the LRDG in Long Range Desert Group. The
of desert explorers, the LRDG included commanding officer of the G2 Guards patrol, Captain
several notable individuals. Major Guy Alastair Timpson, also recorded his personal
Prendergast, the LRDG’s commanding experiences with LRDG in his book In Rommel’s
officer, made arrangements for the patrols Backyard: A Memoir of the Long Range Desert Group.
in Cairo, ensuring a steady flow of Both provide first-hand accounts of the organization,
supplies, RAF support, refitted vehicles, operations, and rigors of serving with the LRDG at the
and smooth integration in overall height of the North African campaign.
operations in North Africa. He also owned
and piloted one of the group’s WACO
aircraft. The patrols revered him as a
brilliant explorer and able officer who
trusted his men in the field. Captain John provide distractions or supplement SAS
“Jake” Easonsmith served as Prendergast’s efforts, these operations more often than
second-in-command and the chief officer not forced premature execution of
supervising operations in the field. commando plans or, in rare cases,
Although he organized the LRDG’s oasis hindered them altogether. Sometimes they
bases, he also took part in action behind parachuted near their destination (earning
enemy lines, commanding the R1 New them the nickname of “parashots”), but
Zealand patrol in the war’s early years. they used the LRDG’s “taxi service” more
Since the LRDG’s mission profile closely frequently to navigate across the desert
paralleled that of the SAS and resistance wasteland to their targets. LRDG
fighters, it sometimes worked with sometimes participated in SAS raids,
Lieutenant Colonel David Stirling, Captain using their heavily armed jeeps to smash
John Haselden, and Colonel Penman. through enemy checkpoints, set
commandos lose in an area, and drive
Special Air Service around wreaking havoc and shooting at
“The boy Stirling is mad.” anything in sight. Eventually the SAS
requisitioned their own force of modified
—Lieutenant General Bernard vehicles, though they still used the LRDG
Montgomery as escorts and guides to reach their
targets across the desert.
Like the LRDG, the Special Air Service The SAS attracted even more
(SAS) operated behind enemy lines, but in flamboyant personalities than the LRDG.
a less frequent and more daring capacity. Chief among these was its fearless
Created from commandos and crack commander, Colonel David Stirling. A
troops under the command of Colonel trained commando, he organized and
David Stirling, the SAS in North Africa personally led SAS operations in North
specialized in infiltration, sabotage, and Africa, including a daring raid on port
general mischief at vital targets behind facilities in Benghazi and several strikes
enemy lines: supply depots, Luftwaffe against Luftwaffe airfields with the LRDG.
airfields, and harbor facilities. If it could During the course of the campaign his
be blown up, the SAS destroyed it. Unlike unit destroyed upwards of 85 enemy
the more mundane LRDG, the SAS airplanes—a tremendous loss for the
employed top-line combat gear, including already hard-pressed Luftwaffe, but a
explosives with complex detonators, marginal victory as far as the ambitious
folding boats, and limpet mines. Stirling was concerned. He spent his time
Middle East Headquarters frequently planning the next operation, refusing to
timed SAS operations to coincide with take “no” as an answer from anyone who
other military action at the front, sending might support him. Stirling had an
the commandos in to destroy aircraft or uncanny run of luck, surviving several
supplies on the eve of major Allied vehicle accidents, evading enemy forces,
offensives. Although the RAF sometimes and rendezvousing with extraction units.
conducted nighttime bombing raids to When the Germans finally captured him in

83
Chapter Three

Bedouin giving him great mobility, a


strong support network, and an amazing
ability to creep up on German
installations. A friend to the local Senussi
tribes—and an expert at passing for a
Bedouin in appearance, language, and
behavior—Haselden roamed Cyrenaica,
gathering intelligence for the Allies,
guiding SAS and LRDG personnel, aiding
downed airmen, and sometimes even
participating in daring operations against
German targets. He was killed during a
disastrous raid on Axis-held Tobruk in
late 1942.
Haselden wasn’t the only renegade
wandering through Cyrenaica causing
trouble for the Afrika Korps. Colonel
Penman, nicknamed Popski, roamed the
region with his 1st Special Demolition
Squadron (“Popski’s Private Army”),
ambushing convoys, blowing up grounded
aircraft, and setting supply dumps afire.
Between raids they hid in the hills of the
Jebel Akhdar, biding their time, gathering
intelligence on future targets, and
planning their attacks. The LRDG
sometimes transported provisions and
munitions for him, though he primarily
lived off what he “liberated” from the
Axis. His force of renegades sometimes
worked with the SAS on more daring
missions. Penman was only a code-name
to protect his identity. In truth he was a
British national named Peniakoff, who
had worked in Egypt’s sugar industry in
the 1930s. Like the LRDG founders,
Almasy, and others, he succumbed to the
lure of the desert, spending his free time
exploring the Sahara west of the Nile
before the war.

A Tommy gives some captured Germans the “V.” Different


from Churchill’s “V for Victory,” this particularly British
The OSI in North
insult dates back to the Battle of Agincourt.
Africa
“Africa is an ancient land filled with
January, 1943, he reportedly greeted them great potential for the deployment of
by saying, “Nice to meet you. I shall be supernatural energy. The OSI must
glad to spend a few days with you and harness those powers and keep them
perhaps meet your famous Marshal from the Nazis at all costs.”
Rommel.” Despite heavy guard, he
promptly escaped, but the Germans —Brigadier General Harry Oliver
apprehended him a short time later.
Behind enemy lines people like Stirling Like the LRDG and SAS, the core
relied on undercover operatives like members of the Office of Supernatural
Captain John Haselden. Since the Axis Investigations in North Africa spent the
forces didn’t hold the ubiquitous Senussi pre-war years probing the continent’s
tribesmen in high esteem (the Italian mysteries. Some worked at archaeological
colonial government relentlessly excavations in the Nile valley or deep in
persecuted them in the years before the the Sahara, while others explored African
war), they often passed unnoticed near mountains and jungles. Many gained
sensitive targets. Haselden took advantage insight into the cultural superstitions of
of this, his appearance as a typical African cultures and legends of primordial

84
Operational Briefing

evils. These individuals maintained a


loose, close-lipped association. Those
with firsthand knowledge of supernatural Adventure Seed: Benghazi
occurrences in Africa kept it to
themselves, lest the mundane public Cages
deem them insane. The heroes join an SAS raid on Benghazi to cause
When war broke out and violence and havoc within the Axis-occupied port and free captives
injustice wreaked disaster on the free from the POW prison there, particularly a friend, fellow
world, these men were among the first to operative, or important officer named McAllister. After
realize the correlation between massive bluffing their way past enemy checkpoints and
death and release of great spiritual energy. avoiding patrols in the city, they assault the prison
When General George C. Marshall and nearby Afrika Korps barracks. Once they free
established the OSI in 1940, these men McAllister, they become separated from their unit and
formed the core of OSI operations in their means of transportation back to their base. The
North Africa. Working from offices in characters—with McAllister—must make their way past
Cairo, they gathered intelligence about the city’s defenses and into the desert on foot, or
supernatural activity throughout the along the coast to find allies and transport there…all
region, attempted to understand and while angry German forces pour out of Benghazi to
harness it, and fought to deny the enemy hunt them down. McAllister might help them, or the
this awesome power. They also recruited SBG might have used magical means to turn him,
new members, investigating their exposure making him an immediate threat to the heroes’ escape,
to spiritual phenomena and indoctrinating or a danger later when he can infiltrate British
them in the OSI. Those who resisted command units.
posed a security threat, and were
discreetly packed off to a maximum
security mental health institution for at
least the war’s duration, sometimes longer. haunted Cairo’s hospitals, lurked among
Despite the freedoms espoused by the troops at the front, and even mysteriously
Allied governments, the OSI couldn’t have appeared several times at LRDG oasis
people casually chatting about strange bases. He posed as an “inspector” from
phenomena and Nazi blood magic with headquarters looking into various events,
the general public…ever. oddities, and supposedly violated
Brigadier General Harry Oliver regulations. The average soldier who
commanded OSI operations in the North spoke with him often disappeared
African theater. Working closely with his suddenly, whisked away as part of some
American counterparts in other regions of “immediate transfer to headquarters.” By
the world, he planned overall strategy for 1942 most men learned to kept their
investigating, researching, understanding, mouths shut about any strange
and harnessing supernatural energy happenings they encountered on the front
released in the desert campaign. Oliver lest Captain Latham show up to
was quite familiar with the Middle East, interrogate them.
having dabbled as a desert explorer, A few American OSI officers worked in
archaeologist, aircraft pilot, and a student North Africa before 1942—most arrived
of Arab culture. His travels exposed him posing as “military attachés” sent to
to ancient myths, lost civilizations, and observe and report on the effect lend-
supernatural occurrences. Oliver put full lease materials had on the war. Since they
stock in the tales and rituals he learned, had free reign to wander both Cairo and
and began researching how to put them the front lines, they occupied a prime
into practice when the war broke out. position to spot supernatural activity and
Oliver merged his personal knowledge overhear reports of weird encounters
with that of the OSI and put it to among the men.
practical use against the Germans in In addition to investigating weird
North Africa. phenomena at the front and recruiting
While General Oliver supervised overall new personnel, the OSI participated in
OSI efforts from Cairo, a core of dedicated several major operations during the North
agents helped him maintain an overall African campaign. After a few scouting
sense of activity on the front, recruited missions with the LRDG, a full OSI
new members, and confronted Nazi blood expedition traveled to the Tibesti
mages operating in the Sahara. Chief mountains to explore ruins some
among these was Captain Stewart Latham, speculated were remains of ancient
who investigated supernatural phenomena colonies of Atlantis. OSI operatives
among Allied personnel. The gaunt officer confronted elements of Sonderkommando

85
Chapter Three

previously inaccessible
behind enemy lines. By the
time the Afrika Korps
surrendered in June 1943,
the OSI had collected and
analyzed a wealth of
information that later
proved useful during Allied
campaigns in other
theaters.

Free French
and Partisans
“I frequently took over
command of the assault
forces myself, and seldom
in Africa was I given such
a hard-fought struggle.”

—Field Marshal Erwin


German prisoners being escorted to the rear to be debriefed by OSI personnel. Rommel on the Free French
at Gazala
Almasy bent on raising a lost Persian
army from the sands of Egypt’s western Free French forces and partisans among
desert. In preparation for Operation Torch, the Vichy colonial holdings bolstered the
OSI personnel infiltrated Morocco and ranks of Eighth Army and aided Allied
dealt with supernatural threats that might landings during the American Operation
oppose the Allied beachhead. Operatives Torch.
also followed British and American armies When the Vichy government formed
chasing Axis forces to Tunisia, examining after France’s surrender to Germany in
abandoned or destroyed SBG facilities and 1940, her colonies came under control of
investigating sites of spiritual phenomena the new authority. Many military units in
Morocco, Algeria, and French West Africa
remained loyal to the new government
rather than revolt against the Nazis and
Adventure Seed: Lost Library bring retribution upon their countrymen
The heroes acquire a mysterious Greek papyrus from in occupied France. Some, however, fled
a shady antiquities dealer, anonymous source, Vichy colonies to join independent Free
archaeological dig, or a contact murdered on their French units gathering in French
doorstep. Casual perusal and some informed inquiries Equatorial Africa.
with the university, scholars, and explorers reveals it as These men—nominally under the
part of a lost book of Herodotus’s Histories—one that control of General Charles de Gaulle—
details unholy magical practices of the ancient harassed Italian garrisons in the southern
Egyptians, Persians, and Greeks. Unfortunately the Sahara near the Tibesti Mountains, and
papyrus roll is incomplete. As part of the OSI or under later sent contingents into Egypt to
the direction of a mysterious “liaison” with Middle support the Eighth Army. The Free French
East Headquarters, the characters track down the fought valiantly at Gazala, holding the
scroll’s true source, the legendary lost library of British extreme left flank at Bir Hacheim
Alexandria. They must explore the Alexandria during the intense action afterward
catacombs, progressing from Roman and Greek areas known as the “Cauldron.” Although
to deeper Egyptian levels. After braving rock slab German advances eventually forced them
deadfalls, underwater caverns, ancient puzzle curses, to retreat, the Free French put in a good
and animated stone guardians (see the colossus in showing and won the respect of their
Chapter Four: Bestiary), they reach the deep basement fellow Allies.
chambers where volumes from the burning library Some French in pacified Vichy colonies
were stored before that structure completely collapsed. refused to submit to alliance with Nazi
As they search the dusty bins and alcove shelves for Germany. Like the secret resistance cells
the rest of the lost scroll, their competitors ambush operating in occupied France, these brave
them—a team of SBG agents bent on recovering the men and women covertly conspired
full papyrus and using its magic against the Allies. against the Germans and their own Vichy
government. They aided Allied intelligence

86
Operational Briefing

and OSI operatives working to forge


alliances with desert sheiks, local
tribesmen, and factions within occupied Adventure Seed:
Africa. Cells provided information on
enemy troop activity, coastal defenses, Aladdin’s Cave
and espionage activity via wireless While interacting with Bedouin during operations
reports. behind enemy lines (LRDG patrols, escape and evasion,
On the eve of Operation Torch they raids, or espionage work) the heroes hear tales of a
sabotaged defensive installations, staged magnificent cave filled with wild riches and powerful
diversionary attacks, and harassed troops artifacts hidden in ancient times by Islamic sultans. To
remaining loyal to Vichy France and Nazi find it, they must research these legends among the
Germany. Afterwards they provided aid to Bedouin, seeking information from a crazed hermit and
the Allied soldiers and helped identify a rich oasis sheik. Once they collect clues leading to
and round up enemy operatives still at the cave, the characters evade Axis patrols to reach the
large. cave entrance hidden deep within the Jebel Akhdar.
All Free French forces fought with a Although they gain access to the treasure-filled
charged spirit borne from their caverns, they must defend their new-found wealth
homeland’s occupation. This élan fueled from a squad of SBG troopers led by a blood mage
their daring and determination to defeat who was tailing the heroes.
the Nazi menace throughout all French
holdings in Africa.

Bedouin Benghazi to the oases at Kufra and Jalo.


“We always know where you are and Masters of desert travel and intertribal
move away whenever things get commerce, they maintained a trade
dangerous…. One day, you will all have network of inconspicuous camel caravans
disappeared again and the desert will linking other tribal enclaves across the
belong to us again. Allah be with you.” Sahara and supplying much-needed
provisions to the isolated oases. This
—Bedouin Sheik tight network provided smuggled
materials for units operating behind
Most of the Bedouin living in North enemy lines and reported intelligence
Africa quietly helped Allied forces gathered from observing German troops
throughout the desert campaign. The and listening to gossip among other
Senussi in Libya proved particularly loyal Bedouin.
friends, since the Italians who colonized Not all tribesmen held unquestionable
that region had brutally suppressed their allegiance to Allied personnel. The Fezzan
people in the past. They aided downed tribes living in southwestern Libya
airmen and guided them through the naturally befriended the more easygoing
Sahara and into the hands of the LRDG. Italian troops manning remote garrisons.
Roving Bedouin families took in soldiers The Bedouin living in Tripolitania—having
lost behind enemy lines, sheltering them suffered less at the hands of oppressive
from German troops and offering Italian colonial regimes—fostered a weak
directions and provisions for reaching loyalty to the Axis. Some actively aided
their units. the Germans, ratting out Allied spies, road
Those in the Jebel Akhdar worked watch patrols, and soldiers hiding among
closely with independent British the natives. Most either gave both sides
commando units like the LRDG, SAS, and minimal aid as the situation allowed, or
Penman’s 1st Special Demolitions viewed the entire war with calculated
Squadron. Some even formed deep disinterest.
friendships with those foreigners willing The Bedouin based their hospitality on
to immerse themselves in Senussi culture their culture’s emphasis on protecting
and traditions, including Captain John guests, a practice nurtured by Islam and
Haselden, who operated frequently the need to survive in harsh desert
throughout the region disguised as one of conditions. Still, some influential Arabs
the native Bedouin. covertly assisted the Allies in the hopes
The Majabra tribe also served Allied of independence from colonial powers
interests as merchants. Unlike their after the war—a hope that was not to be
nomadic Bedouin counterparts in the fulfilled until well after the war had
Sahara, the members of this clan ended and the British and French empires
maintained a presence in most major crumbled during the new Cold War with
settlements, from Cairo, Alexandria, and Russia.

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Chapter Three

Both sides went to great lengths to conceal their troop movements from each other.

divisions with stronger German units


Axis Forces along the El Alamein front demonstrated
this principle at the most dire point in the
“They lacked the power of individual Axis campaign.
thought and action. They had been trained Rommel maintained a delicate
as a team, for years the best fighting team balancing act on many fronts to ensure
in the world…. They liked to do things en Afrika Korps’s survival. He constantly
masse.” clashed with Wehrmacht High Command
over additional troops, armor, munitions,
—Alan Moorehead and above all, supplies—petrol, food,
ammunition—that were vital to fighting in
Although the British had repulsed the the harsh North African climate.
Italian invasion of Egypt and forced Unfortunately his superiors had little faith
Mussolini’s army back across Cyrenaica, Rommel’s campaign would have any affect
they were to meet a formidable foe in the on the overall war, focusing their efforts
Afrika Korps. Il Duce’s outrage at the in defeating Bolshevism on the Russian
British victory over his African colony front. Rommel continued to mediate
splattered onto Hitler. The Führer felt disputes between his own officers and
pressured to aid his fellow Fascist ally— the Italians, who felt they should
and take advantage of an opportunity to supervise the campaign to evict the
oust the British from the Mediterranean— British from their African colony. As the
and sent General Erwin Rommel to campaign dragged on and Africa Korps
command German army elements was finally pushed toward Tunisia,
assembling in Tripoli. Rommel faced dissent in his own
Through sheer force of personality and commanders, each of whom had their
willpower against pompous Italian own plan (often inspired by sycophants in
commanders, Rommel integrated the Hitler’s entourage) for a final victory over
sometimes disparate pieces of the Italian Allied forces.
army with his newly formed Afrika Korps Through all these trials the men of
and supported it with the Luftwaffe’s Afrika Korps carried out their duties
Fliegerkorps X to create a relatively faithfully. They put their trust in the
cohesive military force. He had a knack superior quality of their panzers and
for assessing a unit’s strengths and using fought with typical Teutonic
those to his best advantage on the determination.
battlefield. While Italian infantry was These soldiers found inspiration not in
infamously undisciplined, the armored love for the Fatherland or loyalty to Hitler,
units fought with professionalism and but in the dedication of their own leader,
valor. Rommel’s alternating Italian the Desert Fox. He gave them a vision of

88
Operational Briefing

victory—of Afrika Korps marching through enemy positions. Like an experience


Cairo, across the Suez Canal, and into the admiral at the head of a destroyer
rich Middle Eastern oilfields that could squadron, he ranged with his panzers and
supply their countrymen, friends, and motorized infantry across the open
brothers fighting the Soviets and the desert, racing across Cyrenaica to isolate
Communist scourge. and surround elements of the British
army.
Rommel Rommel commanded from the front. He
“We have a very daring and skillful raced between units in his kubelwagen.
opponent against us, and, may I say Rommel frequently took to the skies in a
across the havoc of war, a great general.” Fieseler Storch to observe his own and
enemy positions from the air and gain a
—Winston Churchill, British Prime better overall picture of defenses, terrain,
Minister and other conditions facing Afrika Korps.
His headquarters constantly moved, both
The Afrika Korps gained its chief to keep up with the fluid front and to
momentum and strategic brilliance from better accommodate his frantic travel
General Erwin Rommel during the entire between forward units and rearward
desert campaign. Without his leadership support elements. His presence among the
the German and Italian armies would average fighting soldier helped bolster
never have operated efficiently together, morale in the ranks and elevate him as an
nor would Axis forces have surprised and honored hero and noble commander. It
overwhelmed the British enough to make also gave his headquarters staff
North Africa the principle campaign in the headaches as they tried to keep track of
war’s early stages. Through sheer personal their frenetic commander’s location at the
energy and force of will Rommel front.
coordinated the many often conflicting Amidst the numerous tensions
elements of desert warfare against a throughout the North African campaign,
harsh environment and a stalwart Rommel’s furious and personal command
opponent. style created additional conflicts and
Rommel’s military career set him apart wore him down physically and
from more traditional German officers. emotionally. He clashed with Wehrmacht
Even while serving in the Great War he High Command when begging for badly
distinguished himself by leading a daring needed provisions. He went through a
outflanking maneuver against Italian succession of commanders and staff, few
units. As war in North Africa proved, of whom were reliable and could weather
successful maneuvers to round the Rommel’s constant frontline activity,
enemy’s flank were vital in obtaining intemperate moods, and tactical
victory. brainstorms.
When Germany unleashed the Blitzkrieg His strategies relied on his sole
on France, Rommel commanded the authority on the North African front, a
Seventh Armored Division, the “Ghost policy that inevitably created enemies
Division,” personally leading it through a within his own ranks. He constantly
daring river crossing against heated sparred with Italian commanders who felt
opposition and in fierce fighting against they knew how to better prosecute the
an allied counterattack around Arras. He war against the British. Rommel
used various elements of his forces to the maintained an uneasy alliance with the
best of their ability, often adapting them SBG, finding their unnatural methods
in unorthodox but effective means—such disgusting, but realizing they might prove
as using the dreaded 88mm Flak 36 as necessary to winning the desert war. He
artillery against ground targets. Little did personally bolstered his troops’ failing
Hitler realize he was sending a first-rate morale at the most desperate times, at
strategist and inspired leader to what great personal cost to himself and his
Wehrmacht High command considered a energy level.
secondary front. Eventually his furious activity at the
In Africa, Rommel drew on his past front cost Rommel. During his victories
successes, both in integrating and he soared to new heights of leadership
deploying his forces and in relying on his and strategy; but with defeat came
strength of character to face every overwhelming disappointment that
conflict. His daring strategies focused brought him low with sickness and
fast-moving panzer units in daring frustration. He made several trips back to
outflanking maneuvers against entrenched Germany to recuperate from illness,

89
Chapter Three

only supervise a
fighting retreat to
Tunisia, with little
support from his
superiors and
plenty of bickering
among his
commanders and
recriminations from
the Italian generals.
Rommel later
returned to Germany
and supervised
Axis defenses along
the Atlantic Wall. He
was wounded
shortly after D-Day.
After being
incriminated in the
July, 1944,
assassination
attempt on Hitler,
he was given the
choice of suicide by
poison or arrest and
the persecution of
his family. Rommel
Rommel outlines his plan of attack. chose suicide and
was buried with
during which he also met with full military honors befitting a hero of
Wehrmacht High Command and the Führer Germany.
about developments in the campaign. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel: CR 17;
Rommel wasn’t even in Africa when the Medium-size Human; Class: Ofc 17; hp
British launched their breakout offensive 94; Init +0; Spd 10 yds; AC 10 (+0 Dex);
at El Alamein. When he returned, he could Atk Luger +17/+12/+7/+2; AL LN; SV
Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +14; Str 11, Dex 10,
Con 13, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 17.
Skills and Feats: Artillery +9, Climb +4,
Adventure Seed: Concentration +11, Demolitions +6,
Diplomacy +13, Driving +10, Heal +8,
Rommel Is Missing Hide +6, Intimidate +13, Jump +2,
Allied intelligence catches wind that Afrika Korps Knowledge (strategy) +14, Leadership
can’t find Rommel. As usual he was out racing +22, Listen +8, Move Silently +6,
between locations at the front when something Observation and Assessment +23,
happened to his Fieseler Storch reconnaissance Search +11, Sense Motive +17, Spot +12,
aircraft. The RAF reports no activity in that sector and Swim +2, Wireless Telegraphy +18;
no patrols encountered any such aircraft. Headquarters Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
assigns the heroes to track down Rommel, uncover the Command, Command Voice, Desert
reason for his disappearance, and capture him alive. Defenses, Desert Fox, Eagle Eyed, Eye
Rommel isn’t really missing—the SBG spread reports for Terrain, Firearms Proficiency, Lay of
of his disappearance to provoke an Allied response the Land (desert), Natural Born Leader,
and capture the unsuspecting team sent to capture the Point Blank Shot, Rank: General
general. As they travel behind enemy lines and begin Feldmarshal, Simple Weapons
searching the desert, the characters slowly realize Proficiency, Tactician, Tracked Vehicle
they’re walking into a trap; they find conflicting clues, Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
signs drawing them into increasingly hostile territory, Proficiency
and little concrete evidence Rommel was ever lost. Special Qualities: None
They must evade German ground and aerial patrols Possessions: Pistole 08 Luger, 2 spare
looking for them, and escape a climactic SBG ambush magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm
using undead elements and the blood mage in charge ammunition, binoculars, goggles,
of the operation. uniform, maps, map case, overcoat,
scarf.

90
Operational Briefing

Fatherland, he respected the Tommies and


Afrika Korps Diggers waiting for him across the open
“You know, we Germans couldn’t do desert. The commanders might bicker
this sort of thing—out five hundred miles about plans and force advances across
from our base for days or weeks on end. dangerous ground, but they were all fellow
We like to go about in a crowd.” soldiers. German soldiers knew their duty
and quickly learned how to operate
—German Officer Captured by LRDG effectively in the harsh, sun-baked desert
terrain.
The German Afrika Korps included a Afrika K orps Soldier: CR 1; Medium-size
Korps
wide range of units to support the Human; Class: Grt 1; hp 6; Init +1; Spd 10
primary panzer forces: artillery, pioneers, yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk Kar
reconnaissance, and mechanized infantry. 98k +3; AL LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will
Many gained experience in previous +0; Str 11, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11,
campaigns in Poland and France. They Cha 10.
found the vast, featureless terrain of Skills and Feats: Driving +2, Entrench +2,
North Africa well-suited to armored Heal +2, Hide +4, Move Silently +4, Spot
operations, and quickly adapted to the +5; Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
unique tactical challenges the terrain Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot,
offered. Rank: Grenadier, Simple Weapons
The Germans worked best in large, Proficiency; Weapon Focus: Kar 98k,
highly integrated groups. Recon units Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency
scouted ahead, panzers followed in a Special Qualities: None
quick strike, and mechanized infantry Possessions: Kar 98k, 40 rounds of
moved in to secure areas where artillery 7.92mm ammunition, helmet, uniform, 2
could provide additional support. Supply stiehlhandgrenate 24
battalions transported provisions and
arms from ports far from the front, and Afrika Korps Soldier, Veteran
antiaircraft units protected vital targets The veterans who first arrived in Tripoli
from constant RAF raids. Afrika Korps to form the Afrika Korps had seen action
was one massive, well-oiled machine during the blitzkrieg across Poland and
operating efficiently to roll across the France. Already exposed to the rigors of
North African desert. combat, they could focus on acclimating
Unfortunately, intricate machines require themselves to new conditions in the
lots of maintenance in the harsh desert desert. Eventually others rose to fill the
environment. Afrika Korps fell victim to ranks of veterans, having gained
beleaguered and overextended supply experience fighting with sand in their
lines, lack of proper reinforcements, and clothes and the sun beating on their
poor support from commanders in backs. The British taught them respect,
Germany who felt North Africa was while their superiors sitting cozily in
inconsequential when compared with the Berlin demonstrated how secondary their
Russian front. campaign was by diverting much-needed
The practical German soldiers made do provisions to the harsh Russian front.
with what they had because it was their Veteran Afrika K orps Soldier: CR 4;
Korps
duty. Their tenacity and courage brought Medium-size Human; Class: Grt 4; hp 27;
them many unexpected advances and Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1
sudden victories, but made defeat taste Armor); Atk Kar 98k +6; AL LN; SV Fort
all the more bitter. When it first landed in +5, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 12,
North Africa, the Afrika Korps represented Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 10.
the most technologically advanced, Skills and Feats: Driving +2, Entrench +4,
successful army in the world. Two years Heal +2, Hide +7, Move Silently +6,
later it cowered on the shores of Tunisia, Search +3, Spot +7; Automatic Weapons
hoping that Wehrmacht High Command Proficiency, Firearms Proficiency, Point
would evacuate those who’d survived the Blank Shot; Rank: Grenadier, Rapid Shot,
brutal punishment of the war in the Simple Weapons Proficiency,
desert. Toughness, Weapon Focus: Kar 98k,
Weapon Specialization Kar 98k,
Afrika Korps Soldier Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency.
The typical Afrika Korps soldier was a Special Qualities: None
dutiful German proud to fight the British Possessions: Kar 98k, 40 rounds of
in North Africa. Although he held Rommel 7.92mm ammunition, helmet, uniform, 2
in highest esteem and fought hard for the stiehlhandgrenate 24

91
Chapter Three

attention to their plight, these men


swallowed their bitterness lest their own
soldiers become disillusioned with the
war. Veteran officer were skilled at both
military tactics and the survival in the
harsh desert.
Veteran Afrika K orps Of
Korps ficer: CR 4;
Officer:
Medium-size Human; Class: Ofc 4; hp
20; Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1
Armor); Atk Luger +5; AL LN; SV Fort +1,
Ref +2, Will +5; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 11, Int
12, Wis 12, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Heal +3, Leadership +8,
Move Silently +3, Intimidate +7, Search
+4, Spot +8, Wilderness Lore +2;
Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
Command, Command Voice, Desert
Defenses, Firearms Proficiency, Point
Blank Shot, Rank: Leutnant, Simple
Weapons Proficiency
Special Qualities: None
Possessions: Pistole 08 Luger, 2 spare
magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm
German scouts speed across the desert. ammunition, binoculars, map case,
helmet, uniform
Afrika Korps Officer Panzer Crewman
Those leading Afrika Korps men still The Afrika Korps panzer crewman
believed in the honorable nobility of quickly adapted to the fluid nature of
officers. Fueled by the Wehrmacht’s desert warfare. They drew on their unit’s
successes in Europe, they looked forward professionalism, their technically superior
to similar triumphs over the British in tanks, and Rommel’s indomitable spirit to
North Africa. They made sure those under drive them forward against the dogged
their command remained organized and British resistance.
efficient at all times so they could Panzer Crewman: CR 1; Medium-size
quickly react to changing battlefield Human; Class: Grt 1; hp 6; Init +1; Spd 10
conditions. yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Main gun +2 or
Afrika K orps Of
Korps ficer: CR 1; Medium-size
Officer: MG34 +2; AL LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will
Human; Class: Ofc 1; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 10 +0; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11,
yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk Luger Cha 10.
+2; AL LN; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +3; Skills and Feats: Driving +5, Heal +2, Hide
Str 11, Dex 12, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha +2, Mechanic +4, Spot +5; Automatic
12. Weapons Proficiency, Firearms
Skills and Feats: Heal +3, Leadership +5, Proficiency, Gunnery, Rank: Kanonier,
Move Silently +3, Intimidate +4, Spot +5, Simple Weapons Proficiency, Tracked
Wilderness Lore +2; Automatic Weapons Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
Proficiency, Command Voice, Firearms Proficiency
Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Rank: Special Qualities: None
Leutnant, Simple Weapons Proficiency Possessions: Walter P38, 2 full magazines
Special Qualities: None of 9mm ammunition, uniform
Possessions: Pistole 08 Luger, 2 spare
magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm Panzer Crewman, Veteran
ammunition, binoculars, map case, Veteran panzer crewmen serving in
helmet, uniform Afrika Korps either fought with Rommel
during the blitzkrieg into France in 1940,
Afrika Korps Officer, Veteran or gained experience in the North African
Officers with more experience in North deserts. Early German victories against
Africa managed to hold their units the British in Cyrenaica seasoned them
together despite scarce supplies, with experience and fueled their
overwhelming odds, harsh conditions, and enthusiasm. Those who survived the
occasional defeats. Although dismayed by entire campaign knew both the elation of
Wehrmacht High Command’s lack of victory and the bitter taste of a hard-
fought defeat.

92
Operational Briefing

Veteran Panzer Cr Creewman: CR 4; Medium-


size Human; Class: Grt 4; hp 24; Init +1;
Spd 10 yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Main gun The Honorable Soldier
+5 or MG34 +5; AL LN; SV Fort +5, Ref “If the struggle were not so brutal, so entirely
+2, Will +1; Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, without rules, one would be inclined to think of the
Wis 11, Cha 10. romantic idea of a knight’s tourney.”
Skills and Feats: Driving +8, Heal +4, Hide
+3, Mechanic +8, Spot +8; Automatic —Leutnant Schorm, Afrika Korps
Weapons Proficiency, Eye for Terrain,
Firearms Proficiency, Gunnery, Lay of Contrary to popular belief, not all Germans were
the Land (desert), Rank: Kanonier, barbaric SS fiends with no sense of respect or
Simple Weapons Proficiency, Tactics, humanity. Despite the brutal fighting along the front
Tracked Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled lines throughout North Africa, both sides acted
Vehicle Proficiency honorably according to the rules of war. The Germans
Special Qualities: None viewed the British as fellow men and admirable
Possessions: Walter P38, 2 full magazines adversaries worthy of common respect. Captives on
of 9mm ammunition, uniform both sides received adequate treatment. Apprehended
Pioneer officers frequently met with their enemy counterparts
to exchanges friendly conversation over rations and a
Wehrmacht pioneers in the Afrika
cup of tea. In the more remote areas, desert recon
Korps were assault engineers who
units observed pleasantries such as cease-fire during
sabotaged, attacked, and breached enemy
tea time, an exchange of news about missing or
defenses. They planted and cleared
captured patrols, and trade of vital prisoners (officers
minefields, surreptitiously cut openings in
and doctors) in return for much-needed goods
barbed-wire lines, and blew passable
(cigarettes and medicine).
openings through tank traps. These siege
Both sides acted as if the struggle in North Africa
commandos operated in small units to
were some medieval joust between two noble knights
reconnoiter and penetrate British lines
of Europe. Such idealistic notions were quickly
and open a path through which German
dispelled in other fronts. “Subhuman” Russian
panzers could break.
prisoners suffered unspeakable atrocities during the
Pioneer: CR 1; Medium-size Human; Class:
Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Nazis subjected
Grt 1; hp 8; Init +2; Spd 10 yds; AC 13 (+2
POWs to brutality in the desperate campaign to
Dex, +1 Armor); Atk MP40 +3 or combat
liberate Europe in the Reich’s final year. As the war
knife +1; AL LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will
dragged on, German desperation quickly stripped
+1; Str 11, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 13,
humanity and decency from the common soldier and
Cha 10.
officer alike.
Skills and Feats: Climb +2, Concentration
Only the SBG abused captives in North Africa,
+3, Demolitions +5, Heal +3, Hide +4,
occasionally transferring a few POWs from prisons to
Jump +2, Listen +3, Move Silently +6,
their “research” facilities for gruesome experimentation.
Search +3, Spot +3; Automatic Weapons
Proficiency, Desert Fox, Firearms
Proficiency, Light Armor Proficiency,
Point Blank Shot, Rank: Grenadier,
Simple Weapons Proficiency Veteran Pioneer: CR 4; Medium-size
Special Qualities: None Human; Class: Grt 4; hp 26; Init +2; Spd
Possessions: MP40, 4 full magazines of 10 yds; AC 13 (+2 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk
9mm ammunition, combat knife, MP40 +6 or combat knife +4; AL LN; SV
entrenching tool, wire cutters, helmet, Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 11, Dex 14,
uniform, 2 stiehlhandgranate 24 Con 13, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Climb +3, Concentration
Pioneer, Veteran +3, Demolitions +7, Heal +3, Hide +6,
Veteran pioneers learned much from Jump +3, Listen +5, Move Silently +7,
the protracted sieges during the North Search +6, Spot +6; Automatic Weapons
African campaign. From Tobruk and Proficiency, Desert Fox, Firearms
Sollum to Gazala and El Alamein, they Proficiency, Light Armor Proficiency,
fought desperately against Allied defenses Point Blank Shot, Rank: Grenadier,
when both armies ground to a halt and Simple Weapons Proficiency
pounded away at each other for months Special Qualities: None
over a no-man’s-land of burned-out tanks Possessions: MP40, 4 full magazines of
and cratered desert. Those who survived, 9mm ammunition, combat knife,
were among some of the most battle- entrenching tool, wire cutters, helmet,
tested men in the German wehrmacht. uniform, 2 stiehlhandgranate 24

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Chapter Three

One of the dreaded German 88s in action.

The Luftwaffe never really gained much


Fliegerkorps X air superiority against the RAF in the
“My Luftwaffe is invincible. Just look at desert. Fliegerkorps X sustained heavy
its achievements in Poland and in losses against the RAF’s tenacious
France—can one conceive of a war fighters. The antiaircraft installations
machine in history which has contributed guarding Tobruk inflicted heavy casualties
so much towards such total victories as on German bombers supporting Rommel’s
these?” siege.
The SAS and LRDG attempted several
—Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring raids on Axis airfields far from the front,
damaging valuable aircraft and proving
The Luftwaffe unit that covered North that no rear area was truly safe. Petrol,
Africa and the Mediterranean had replacement parts, and new pilots were
previously served with distinction in the constantly in short supply—if they weren’t
invasion and subjugation of Norway. being diverted to the more important
Unfortunately, Fliegerkorps X’s next Eastern Front or for convoy hunts in the
mission was split between providing air Mediterranean. By the time the Americans
support for operations in North Africa, showed up in Operation Torch, the
hunting and sinking Allied supply Luftwaffe in North Africa was all but
convoys in the Mediterranean, and finished.
tangling with the RAF based out of the
island of Malta, a constant thorn in the Fliegerkorps X Pilot
side of the Axis. New pilots assigned to North Africa
Fliegerkorps X pilots few a variety of quickly adapted to the desert conditions—
aircraft on various missions. learning to read the terrain, enduring the
Messerschmitt Bf109s tangled with the new weather patterns, and spotting
RAF over North Africa and the targets through mirages and heat
Mediterranean. Bf110s and Ju-87 Stukas distortion. They were eager to engage
cruised the desert, hunting British British forces, particularly the RAF, to
reconnaissance patrols or retreating prove the Luftwaffe’s strength in the light
commandos, and lending sporadic air of its recent defeat in the Battle of Britain.
support to German ground actions with Fliegerkorps X Pilot: CR 1; Medium-size
their cousin, the Ju-88. Heinkel 111s Human; Class: Plt 1; hp 6; Init +3; Spd 10
bombed British supply columns and yds; AC 13 (+3 Dex); Atk Walther PPK +3;
frontline defenses. Ju-52s frequently AL LN; SV Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +2; Str 10,
ferried supplies from rear area ports like Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 12.
Tunis, Tripoli, and Benghazi to forward Skills and Feats: Bombardier +4, Bluff +3,
areas or oases posts. These transports Driving +4, Heal +3, Intimidate +3,
and Fieseler Storchs also flew Afrika Navigation +4, Piloting +7, Search +4,
Korps personnel across the wide-ranging Spot +5, Swim +2; Automatic Weapons
North African theater to visit various Proficiency, Firearms Proficiency,
units. Gunnery, Rank: Leutnant, Simple

94
Operational Briefing

Weapons Proficiency, Single-Engine


Aircraft Proficiency
Special Qualities: None Axis Airfields
Possessions: Walther PPK, 20 rounds of Given the fluid nature of war across the North
9mm ammunition, flight suit, warm African deserts, neither side could establish
boots, bomber jacket, spare uniform permanent airfields within easy flying distance of the
front. Forts at desert oases often had an unprotected
Fliegerkorps X Pilot, Veteran field with outbuildings and a few hangars. Ports and
Veteran pilots in Fliegerkorps X were cities maintained airports, but these were captured and
used to the desert extremes. Harsh lost as the result of larger battles, often suffering
weather in Norway gave them cautious damage from the retreating forces who wished to deny
experience at dealing with the Sahara’s the opponent easy air operations from the facility. The
sometimes unpredictable rain and dust majority of flight facilities were hastily constructed,
storms. They took more care when with a minimal investment of time and materials lest
engaging the RAF, especially when spare they fall into enemy hands during a sudden advance.
parts, extra petrol, and replacement planes Most airfields consisted of flat scrubland, with
weren’t as plentiful as their previous landing areas cleared of obstacles and marked with
billet. Machines required constant upkeep small stone cairns along their perimeter. Aircraft were
to maintain optimum performance against parked in the open at one end of the crude runway.
the enemy. The seasoned Fliegerkorps X Several structures—often existing native dwellings or
pilots resented the Reich’s support of the hastily constructed buildings—housed barracks for the
Russian Front to the detriment of German pilots, mechanics, and sentries, mess, and workshop.
forces in Africa. Stockpiles of supplies in the open or under shelter
Veteran Flieger korps X Pilot: CR 4;
Fliegerkorps were often protected by fencing or wire.
Medium-size Human; Class: Plt 4; hp 26; The entire airfield area was often too large to
Init +3; Spd 10 yds; AC 13 (+3 Dex); Atk encircle with a proper fence, though barbed wire was
Walther PPK +6; AL LN; SV Fort +2, Ref strung along the perimeter when time and materials
+7, Will +3; Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, allowed. Patrols often neglected their duties, especially
Wis 14, Cha 12. so far from the fighting. The SAS and LRDG had little
Skills and Feats: Bombardier +6, Bluff +5, trouble penetrating Axis airfields and sabotaging
Driving +4, Heal +5, Intimidate +5, enemy aircraft.
Navigation +7, Piloting +10, Search +6,
Spot +6, Swim +3; Automatic Weapons
Proficiency, Eagle Eyed, Firearms
Proficiency, Gunnery, Multi-Engine Fliegerkorps X Mechanic: CR 3; Medium-
Aircraft Proficiency, Rank: Leutnant, size Human; Class: Grt 3; hp 20; Init +0;
Simple Weapons Proficiency, Single- Spd 10 yds; AC 10 (+0 Dex); Atk wrench
Engine Aircraft Proficiency +3; AL LN; SV Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +0;
Special Qualities: None Str 14, Dex 11, Con 13, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha
Possessions: Walther PPK, 20 rounds of 9.
9mm ammunition, flight suit, warm Skills and Feats: Climb +6, Concentration
boots, bomber jacket, spare uniform +5, Demolitions +6, Driving +6, Heal +4,
Hide +4, Jump +6, Listen +5, Mechanic
Fliegerkorps X Mechanic +11, Search +9, Spot +7; Firearms
The ground crews who kept Luftwaffe Proficiency, Scavenge, Simple Weapons
aircraft flying over North Africa never had Proficiency, Technically Adept, Tracked
easy lives. They lived in harsh conditions, Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
made do with few supplies, satisfied the Proficiency
demands of harried pilots, and moved Special Qualities: None
hastily when enemy advances threatened Possessions: Coveralls, cloth cap, greasy
their airfields. rag, oil can, toolkit
It was bad enough that airplanes were
damaged in combat, but constant
Italian Airfield Sentry
exposure to desert wind, heat, and sand While seasoned Italian units went to
also took their toll on the delicate the front to support Afrika Korps
machinery. They were expected to work operations, those soldiers with less
technical miracles on a variety of experience and untested mettle were
complicated aircraft systems with assigned duties as rear-area sentries,
minimal replacement parts, basic tools, protecting airfields, supply dumps, and
and time. Despite the obstacles facing motor convoys. Already bored with foreign
them, they often did just that, just like wars in Africa, these sentries quickly
their ingenious brethren toiling for the succumbed to the tedium of desert life—
enemy. limited contact with other units, flat,

95
Chapter Three

cultural attitudes prevented its people


featureless landscape, and little variation
from rising to greatness. Before action
in duties. They also chafed against the
heated up in North Africa, the Italian
German pilots, mechanics, and officers
military had already suffered several
who frequently belittled the Italians and
embarrassing setbacks. While German
trivialized their role in the North African
armies tore through northern France
campaign.
during the blitzkrieg, Italian armies failed
Italian Airfield Sentry: CR 2; Medium-size
to break through French defenses in the
Human; Class: Grt 2; hp 11; Init +1; Spd 10
south. After a successful thrust into
yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Carcano Model
Egypt, Italy’s North African forces beat a
91/24 +3; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will
hasty retreat across Cyrenaica in the face
–1; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 9,
of spirited British troops. Puny British
Cha 14.
aircraft dealt a crippling blow to the
Skills and Feats: Climb +3, Driving +4,
Italian fleet in Taranto harbor. German
Heal +1, Hide +4, Jump +2, Listen +2,
forces had to aid Italian units trying to
Search +2, Spot +2; Firearms Proficiency,
force the British out of Greece.
Incoming!, Lightning Reflexes, Point
These failures wore away at the Italian
Blank Shot, Simple Weapons
appetite for war and gave them a poor
Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicles
reputation for laziness, disorganization,
Proficiency
and low morale. The constantly fluid
Special Qualities: None
North African front didn’t help: one month
Possessions: Carcano Model 91/24, 40
the Italians might advance on the British,
rounds of 6.5mm ammunition, desert
the next they were making a fighting
uniform, mess kit, canteen, entrenching
retreat back toward Tripoli. Germans
tool, spare uniform, overcoat
derided them as “spaghetti eaters” who
Italian Forces drove around in “sardine tin” tanks. The
Italians frequently balked at the strict
“But the Italian divisions give us a lot German military discipline, and looked
of worry. There are shocking signs of with fear when evidence of the SBG’s
disintegration and German troops are horrific presence surfaced. North Africa
being forced to the rescue everywhere….” bred in the Italians a simmering distrust
of Nazi doctrine, blood magic, and their
—Field Marshal Erwin Rommel ever-growing use of atrocities to win the
war.
The Italians earned a bad reputation in The more efficient Germans had little
North Africa. Although their country choice but to rely on the Italians in
pioneered the basic concepts of the fighting the hard-pressed and inadequately
militant Fascist state, some argued its supported North African front. Rommel

96
Operational Briefing

used many Italian infantry units to unidentified party passes through their
garrison captured port cities, while others checkpoint, then…whatever. The Germans
drove and guarded truck convoys bringing would sort it out if it’s some LRDG patrol
up provisions along the Via Balbia. Italian out to cause trouble.
sentries guarded Luftwaffe airfields and Italian Soldier: CR 1; Medium-size Human;
supply dumps in rearward areas. Those Class: Grt 1; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC
who garrisoned remote desert outposts 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk Carcano +3; AL
wavered in their loyalty given the lack of CN; SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will –1; Str 11, Dex
support or supply these isolated oasis 12, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 12.
forts received from Commando Supremo. Skills and Feats: Driving +2, Entrench +2,
Some even exhibited honorable behavior Heal +1, Hide +4, Move Silently +4, Spot
about remaining prisoner when +4; Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
abandoned by enthusiastic LRDG men Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot,
charging ahead to assault outposts with Rank: Private, Simple Weapons
their fellows, and in some cases even Proficiency, Weapon Focus: Carcano
helped negotiate the surrender of Special Qualities: None
garrisoned troops. Possessions: Carcano Model 91/24, 40
A few frontline units proved their rounds of 6.5mm ammunition, helmet,
tenacity and fighting spirit in several uniform
battles. At Gazala, the Ariete armored
division broke through British defenses to Italian Soldier, Veteran
supply Rommel’s flanking panzers before Those who’d fought in Italy’s colonial
they ran out of petrol. Trieste motorized campaigns had a fighting spirit forged in
and Littorio armored divisions frequently tiring, bloody conflict. They’d negotiated
came to the aid of Afrika Korps or held the difficult African terrain and suffered
their line during the most heated fights. through countless battles—even before the
Rommel interspersed Italian units Germans came to their aid. Only their
between German elements along the El relaxed outlook could abate the weariness
Alamein line, but the British exploited of warfare that plagued them. The average
this by constantly attacking and Italian veteran didn’t approach the war
weakening the Italians, forcing the with the Germans’ stern, fatal attitude; he
Germans to spread their lines thinner and put up a good fight, but gave up when
keep several armored divisions in reserve the fight became hopeless.
to plug gaps in the line.
Italian Soldier
Most soldiers came
from Italy to Africa to
do their duty for il
Duce and their country.
They weren’t fighting
to protect their
homeland, despite the
presence of Italian
colonies in North
Africa. This was all
about the Germans, as
Rommel proved when
he arrived and
promptly took
command over the
Italian generals. The
average Italian
infantryman takes it all
with a smile and a
good dose of his easy-
going nature. If they
survive an RAF
strafing run, then they
laugh and give thanks
that they made it
through alive. If an Desert-camouflaged stukas of Fliegerkorps X.

97
Chapter Three

A disabled Italian M11/39 tank.

Veteran Italian Soldier: CR 4 Medium-size LN; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 11,
Human; Class: Grt 4; hp 22; Init +1; Spd Dex 12, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14.
10 yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk Skills and Feats: Driving +3, Heal +3,
Carcano +6; AL LN; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Leadership +5, Move Silently +4,
Will +0; Str 11, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 10, Wis Intimidate +5, Spot +4, Wilderness Lore
9, Cha 12. +1; Automatic Weapons Proficiency,
Skills and Feats: Driving +5, Entrench +6, Command Voice, Firearms Proficiency,
Heal +5, Hide +5, Move Silently +5, Spot Point Blank Shot, Rank: Lieutenant,
+7; Automatic Weapons Proficiency, Simple Weapons Proficiency
Firearms Proficiency, Incoming!, Special Qualities: None
Mechanized Infantry, Point Blank Shot, Possessions: Carcano Model 91/24, 40
Rank: Private, Simple Weapons rounds of 6.5mm ammunition,
Proficiency, Weapon Focus: Carcano, binoculars, map case, helmet, uniform
Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency
Special Qualities: None Italian Officer, Veteran
Possessions: Carcano Model 91/24, 40 Veteran Italian officers became used to
rounds of 6.5mm ammunition, helmet, inspiring their men to overcome the
uniform various difficulties of warfare in North
Africa: heat and sand, boring rear-area
Italian Officer duty, long standoffs, ambushed convoys,
Those leading Italian troops into battle and jibes from their uptight German allies.
use every means to boost morale and Although they were as impatient for
keep flagging spirits high. Many Italian victory as il Duce, they realized that
officers cling to a patriotism to inspire surviving the war was more important
their men, while others rely on good- than dying in some miserable desert
natured enthusiasm to balance their minefield. Using a combination of
soldiers’ morale against the grim realities national and cultural pride, they led their
of war. men through numerous perils and kept
Unlike their German counterparts, their spirits higher than those of the grim
Italian officers sometimes mingle with Germans.
those under their command and foster a Italian Of ficer: CR 4; Medium-size Human;
Officer:
friendly camaraderie. Class: Ofc 4; hp 20; Init +1; Spd 10 yds;
Italian Of ficer: CR 1; Medium-size Human;
Officer: AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk Carcano +5;
Class: Ofc 1; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC AL LN; SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +4; Str 11,
12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk Carcano +2; AL Dex 12, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14.

98
Operational Briefing

Skills and Feats: Diplomacy +4, Driving +4, Skills and Feats: Driving +7, Heal +4, Hide
Heal +5, Leadership +7, Listen +2, Move +5, Listen +6, Mechanic +7, Spot +8; Arid
Silently +4, Intimidate +4, Spot +6, Acclimatization, Automatic Weapons
Wilderness Lore +4; Arid Proficiency, Firearms Proficiency,
Acclimatization, Automatic Weapons Gunnery, Rank: Private, Incoming!, Lay
Proficiency, Command Voice, Firearms of the Land (desert), Simple Weapons
Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Rank: Proficiency, Tracked Vehicle Proficiency
Lieutenant, Simple Weapons Special Qualities: None
Proficiency Possessions: Modello 89B Pistol, 20
Special Qualities: None rounds of 10.35mm ammunition,
Possessions: Carcano Model 91/24, 40 uniform
rounds of 6.5mm ammunition,
binoculars, map case, helmet, uniform Italian Pilot
The pilots of the Italian Regia
Italian Tanker Aeronautica possessed the same sense of
If the Germans admired anyone among cocky flamboyance as flyers in the other
the Italian forces, they held the tanker air services. Having dominated the skies
crews in the highest esteem. They over Ethiopia, they flew over North Africa
rambled across North Africa in outdated with impunity—at least until the RAF
tanks known as “sardine tins” for their started shooting them down and the
bolted armor, cramped spaces, and Luftwaffe relegated them to secondary
unimposing appearance. duties.
The Italians didn’t let that stop them— They still enjoy a reputation for style
their tank divisions rebounded from and flair, even if only among their own
numerous defeats with gallant troops and the girls back home.
enthusiasm. Regia A er
Aeronautica Pilot: CR 1; Medium-
eronautica
Italian T ank Cr
Tank Creewman: CR 1; Medium-size size Human; Class: Plt 1; hp 6; Init +3;
Human; Class: Grt 1; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 10 Spd 10 yds; AC 13 (+3 Dex); Atk Beretta
yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Main gun +2; AL +3; AL LN; SV Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +3;
LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 10, Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha
Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10. 14.
Skills and Feats: Driving +5, Heal +2, Hide Skills and Feats: Bombardier +3, Bluff +4,
+2, Listen +3, Mechanic +3, Spot +5; Driving +4, Heal +3, Intimidate +4,
Automatic Weapons Proficiency, Navigation +3, Piloting +7, Search +3,
Firearms Proficiency, Gunnery, Rank: Spot +5, Swim +1; Automatic Weapons
Private, Simple Weapons Proficiency, Proficiency, Eagle Eyed, Firearms
Tracked Vehicle Proficiency Proficiency, Gunnery, Rank: Lieutenant,
Special Qualities: None Simple Weapons Proficiency, Single-
Possessions: Modello 89B Pistol, 20 Engine Aircraft Proficiency
rounds of 10.35mm ammunition, Special Qualities: None
uniform Possessions: Beretta M1934 Pistol, 20
rounds of .380 caliber ammunition,
Italian Tanker, Veteran flight suit, warm boots, bomber jacket,
Italy’s tank veterans continued a strong silk scarf, spare uniform
tradition forged on the bloody North
African front. Determined to break Italian Pilot, Veteran
German stereotypes of lazy, unreliable Italy’s air force veterans used their
Italians, they accepted their combat talents where they had the most effect:
missions with good-hearted resolve, defending rear areas and patrolling the
carried out their duties with courage, and deep Sahara for renegades like the SAS
persevered through some of the war’s and LRDG. Flying unopposed by the RAF
fiercest fighting. squadrons that supported military action
The Ariete division’s thrust through the along the coast, they preyed on lone units,
minefields at Gazala proved their worth, lost reconnaissance aircraft, retiring
saving Rommel and relieving Afrika Korps raiding parties, and stragglers left behind
in one of the riskiest maneuvers of the during fighting retreats.
campaign. Veteran Regia A er
Aer onautica Pilot: CR 4;
eronautica
Italian T ank Cr
Tank Creewman: CR 4; Medium-size Medium-size Human; Class: Plt 4; hp 24;
Human; Class: Grt 4; hp 20; Init +1; Spd Init +3; Spd 10 yds; AC 13 (+3 Dex); Atk
10 yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Main gun +5; Beretta +6; AL LN; SV Fort +1, Ref +5,
AL LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 10, Will +3; Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 11, Wis
Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10. 12, Cha 14.

99
Chapter Three

Skills and Feats: Bombardier +6, Bluff +6, trucks and tankers to move all its
Driving +4, Heal +4, Intimidate +6, personnel and supplies. One motorized
Navigation +5, Piloting +9, Search +5, platoon employed SdKfz 251 halftracks for
Spot +6, Swim +1; Automatic Weapons special assignments or convoy escort
Proficiency, Eagle Eyed, Firearms duty along the Via Balbia or desert tracks.
Proficiency, Gunnery, Rank: Lieutenant, Three Fieseler Storchs provided aerial
Seat of the Pants, Simple Weapons reconnaissance and transportation for
Proficiency, Single-Engine Aircraft command personnel. On occasion the SBG
Proficiency requisitioned panzers, additional
Special Qualities: None halftracks, and armored recon vehicles for
Possessions: Beretta M1934 Pistol, 20 specific operations—Rommel provided
rounds of .380 caliber ammunition, these reluctantly, since the loss
flight suit, warm boots, bomber jacket, undermined his already weakened forces
silk scarf, spare uniform at the front line.
Colonel Gunther Morden commanded
Sonderbergungsgruppe the SBG battalion. Officially he held the
“They might not wear SS uniforms, but SS rank of Sturmbannführer, but he and
the SBG men are just as ruthless, his men eschewed their SS designations
diabolical, and devious in their efforts to to masquerade their presence in North
use whatever means necessary to defeat Africa. SBG personnel maintained their
the forces of freedom in North Africa.” distance from the rest of Afrika Korps
and the two Italian corps under Rommel’s
—Brigadier General Harry Oliver, OSI command.
The average soldier might have easily
The Special Salvage Unit (SBG) become upset with the SBG’s sometimes
represented the SS in North Africa. At unnerving methods. The SBG conducted
Rommel’s request, the battalion concealed more mundane activities near other
its true nature behind standard troops, but relegated its more sinister
Wehrmacht infantry uniforms, identified operations to desert wastelands,
only through the unit shoulder flashes unpopulated regions in the Jebel Akhdar,
and SBG armbands emblazoned with the isolated oases, and well-guarded coastal
runes Sowilo, Berkana, and Gebo. Vehicles facilities. SBG platoons intermingled with
displayed the SBG unit marking, a triangle Afrika Korps units only when imperative
with bands of the German national colors to their mission.
black, white, and red descending from the The SBG engaged in many different
point. operations, but most concerned recovery
Given its mission profiles in North efforts and strategic support; rare
Africa, the SBG maintained transport missions focused on archaeological
vehicles but fielded few panzers and expeditions.
artillery. The battalion possessed enough Recovery efforts consisted of gathering
suitable materials from hospitals,
battlefields, and graveyards and
transporting them back to SBG camps for
Adventure Seed: The processing. Here blood mages transformed
the collected bodies into reanimants,
Phantom Fighter corpse mines, and other undead
monstrosities using alchemy and
The heroes capture and question a downed Italian
harmonic magic. Assembled into loose
pilot who claims the Luftwaffe is preparing to deploy
units under command of an SBG officer,
a deadly new aircraft against the RAF in North Africa.
these forces were deployed for action at
They claim the Germans have imbued it with “mirage
the front, in isolated desert regions, and
magic” to make it fade in and out of the desert heat.
near key SBG installations.
Hearing these reports, an officer from headquarters in
Recovery assignments also included
Cairo sends the characters out into the desert to
investigating any paranormal occurrence
penetrate German lines, reconnoiter enemy airfields,
in German-occupied territory—haunted
locate one of these phantom fighters, steal one, and
vehicles, unnerving personal traits (weird
destroy the others. Besides the usual perils of
feats), and other supernatural forces
Luftwaffe patrols, Italian airfield sentries, and
summoned by the rampant spiritual
minefields, the heroes must overcome the elite guards
energy released in combat—specifically
and SBG personnel surrounding the facility where
with an eye to harnessing its power and
pilots and their blood mage gunners train on the new
deploying it against the enemy. When the
fighter.
SBG learned of such occurrences in Allied

100
Operational Briefing

territory, it sometimes sent an expedition SBG T Trrooper: CR 1; Medium-size Human;


to penetrate the Allied rear areas and Class: Grt 1; hp 6; Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC
covertly investigate. 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk MP40 +2; AL
At times Rommel consulted with the LE; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 12,
SBG to provide strategic support during Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 10.
military operations. Such actions most Skills and Feats: Driving +3, Heal +3, Hide
often consisted of deploying reanimants +6, Listen +2, Move Silently +6, Search
against the enemy, or planting corpse +2, Spot +4; Automatic Weapons
mines for defense. At least one SBG Proficiency, Firearms Proficiency,
expedition tried to gain control over a Furtive, Point Blank Shot, Rank: SS-
flight of flaming flugzeuggeists, though Grenadier, Simple Weapons, Wheeled
these abominations proved only Vehicle Proficiency
marginally effective against the RAF. Special Qualities:
Rumors claim the SBG also summoned Devotion: The devotion of SS members to
the fierce sandstorm that covered the the Nazi Party gives them a +2 morale
final stages of Rommel’s first retreat back bonus to Will saves.
to El Agheila in late 1941. Possessions: MP40, 4 full magazines of
The SBG also supervised archaeological 9mm ammunition, helmet, uniform, 2
expeditions into the desert and behind stiehlhandgranate 24, bedroll, canteen,
enemy lines to recover ancient or magical entrenching tool
artifacts of great significance. At least one
platoon reached the Tibesti Mountains far SBG Trooper, Veteran
south of the front (in French Equatoria, or Veteran SBG soldiers spent enough time
Chad), though it never returned from its in North Africa to become more familiar
attempt to find and explore ancient with desert warfare and their operations
Atlantean ruins. An SBG team worked with parameters here. They acquired a tougher
Sonderkommando Almasy (see below) to stomach for savage fighting and the SBG’s
acquire an Egyptian papyrus, use it to more grisly practices. They quickly learned
contact the oracle of Ammon at Siwa not to become too curious about the
Oasis, and seek the location of a Persian activities in which they engaged; those
army lost in the desert thousands of years who failed this lesson often disappeared.
ago.
The true extent of SBG
activities in North Africa
may never be fully known.
Some of its activities were
never reported. Those
records of their missions
and supernatural
experiments that were not
sent back to Germany
were burned in Tunis
before the remains of the
battalion were evacuated
in early 1943.
SBG Trooper
The rank and file
soldiers serving in the SBG
are all members of the
Waffen SS transferred to
service in North Africa.
Although they didn’t wear
the SS uniforms and
insignia, they displayed the
same fanatical loyalty and
devotion to the Nazi cause.
They performed their duties
with grim efficiency, never
questioning their superiors
or flinching at their
sometimes distasteful Italian “sardine tins” valiantly charge the enemy.
tasks.

101
Chapter Three

SBG Of ficer: CR 1; Medium-size Human;


Officer:
Class: Ofc 1; hp 6; Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC
Adventure Seed: Oasis of 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk PPK +2; AL LE;
SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +5; Str 11, Dex 12,
Doctor Anderung Con 12, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 12.
The Allies hear disturbing reports of an SBG facility Skills and Feats: Heal +3, Leadership +5,
conducting gruesome experiments on live British Move Silently +4, Intimidate +4,
soldiers. The heroes must brave the dangers of Observation and Assessment +3, Spot
penetrating enemy lines and navigating the desert to +4, Wireless Telegraphy +3; Automatic
find the oasis from which a mysterious Doctor Weapons Proficiency, Command,
Änderung works. They follow a prisoner convoy to the Command Voice, Firearms Proficiency,
facility, reconnoiter the German defenses and Point Blank Shot, Rank: SS-
buildings, and uncover evidence of horrid experiments Untersturmführer, Simple Weapons
to twist human flesh into different, stronger forms Proficiency
suitable for warfare. A force of SBG troopers, corpse Special Qualities:
mines, reanimants, and mutated monsters guard Devotion: The devotion of SS members to
several mud-brick buildings housing the barracks, the Nazi Party gives them a +2 morale
chemical supply dump, laboratory, prisoner cages, and bonus to Will saves.
pits for the beastly results of the experimentation. The Possessions: Walther PPK, 2 spare
characters must plan an assault on the base to free magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm
the prisoners, rescue or dispatch those warped by ammunition, helmet, uniform
Änderung’s magic, assassinate the doctor, and destroy
evidence of his unnatural activities.
SBG Officer, Veteran
Veteran SBG officers were entrusted
with higher-profile operations that
required a greater degree of judgment,
Veteran SBG T Trrooper: CR 4; Medium-size
discretion, and leadership. As a reward for
Human; Class: Grt 4; hp 26; Init +1; Spd
their faithful service and to assist their
10 yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk
duties, they received cursory training in
MP40 +6; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will
the use of blood magic. Those who
+3; Str 13, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11,
employed these powers effectively and
Cha 10.
with prudence eventually received training
Skills and Feats: Driving +5, Heal +3, Hide
and promotion as full-fledged blood
+8, Listen +4, Move Silently +9, Search
mages.
+6, Spot +7; Automatic Weapons
Veteran SBG Of ficer: CR 4; Medium-size
Officer:
Proficiency, Firearms Proficiency, Point
Human; Class: Ofc 3/Adt 1; hp 21; Init +1;
Blank Shot, Rank: SS-Rottenführer,
Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); Atk
Rapid Shot, Simple Weapons, Weapon
PPK +4; AL LE; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will
Focus: MP40, Weapon Specialization:
+8; Str 11, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 12,
MP40, Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency
Cha 12.
Special Qualities:
Skills and Feats: Heal +3, Leadership +6,
Devotion: The devotion of SS members to
Move Silently +4, Intimidate +5,
the Nazi Party gives them a +2 morale
Observation and Assessment +5, Search
bonus to Will saves.
+6, Spellcraft +6, Spot +6, Wireless
Possessions: MP40, 4 full magazines of
Telegraphy +5; Automatic Weapons
9mm ammunition, helmet, uniform, 2
Proficiency, Command Voice, Firearms
stiehlhandgranate 24, bedroll, canteen,
Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Rank: SS-
entrenching tool
Hauptsturmführer, Simple Weapons
SBG Officer Proficiency, Tactics
Many low-level SBG officers supervised Special Qualities:
routine operations, though they possessed Devotion: The devotion of SS members to
full knowledge of their superiors’ the Nazi Party gives them a +2 morale
activities dabbling with the supernatural. bonus to Will saves.
They had the potential to become Blood Magic: The veteran SBG officer
initiated in the arcane arts as a reward for suffers no fatigue costs from casting
faithful service, exemplary performance, spells.
and effective leadership. Runes: The veteran SBG officer knows 2
Many kowtowed incessantly to their runes: Algiz, Kenaz
superiors, obeying every order Possessions: Walther PPK, 2 spare
unquestioningly—those who failed to act magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm
this way usually didn’t last long with the ammunition, helmet, uniform,
SBG. runestones

102
Operational Briefing

SBG Blood Mage Oberst Gunther Morder


Blood mages serving in the SBG Gunther Morder was a loyal Nazi party
maintained a low profile. Like their SS member and professor of archaeology at
counterparts, they appeared in the guise the University of Heidelberg. An early
of intelligence officers or others of high advisor to Hitler on matters of ancient
status. civilizations and the occult, he soon
They masked their true intentions, found himself participating in various
methods, and goals, particularly guarding expeditions around the world to track
their knowledge of magic and the down legendary sites and arcane treasures
supernatural. Colonel Morder put several for the Reich. He joined the party that
in charge of SBG companies, though a few discovered the Thule ruins in northern
worked as independent operatives Finland in 1936 and conducted research on
throughout North Africa or handled one The Import of the Elder Futhark. Morder
of Morder’s “special projects,” such as the led other expeditions throughout Africa
expedition to explore the rumored and the Middle East in the years leading
Atlantean ruins in North Africa. Some up to the war, seeking ancient relics that
blood mages may still be operating in the might tap into the supernatural power
area clandestinely. described in the Thule manuscript. During
SBG Blood Mage: CR 12; Medium-size this time, as an SS officer, he also
Human; Class: Ofc 6/Adt 6; hp 60; Init conducted small-scale espionage
+1; Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Armor); operations to gather intelligence should
Atk PPK +10/+5; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref Germany go to war in the region.
+5, Will +13; Str 11, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 16, At the outbreak of war Morder was
Wis 17, Cha 18. recalled to Berlin, but had to escape from
Skills and Feats: Bluff +10, Concentration British-controlled Egypt, where he was
+10, Decipher Script +11, Diplomacy +10, conducting a dig amidst ancient ruins. He
Heal +9, Leadership +10, Intimidate +10, joined the blood magic training program
Knowledge (arcane) +10, Move Silently in Radom, Poland, and continued to
+10, Observation and Assessment +9, supervise trainees and experiment on his
Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +12, Spot own after graduating. In early 1941, Hitler
+10, Use Magic Device +10, Wireless himself appointed Morder chief of the
Telegraphy +8; Command, Command SBG, a shadow SS unit charged with
Voice, Extend Spell, Firearms overseeing supernatural activities in North
Proficiency, Quicken Spell, Rank: SS- Africa.
Obersturmbannführer,
Silent Spell, Simple
Weapons Proficiency,
Weapon Focus: PPK,
Wheeled Vehicle
Proficiency
Special Qualities:
Devotion: The devotion
of SS members to the
Nazi Party gives them
a +2 morale bonus to
Will saves.
Blood Magic: The SBG
blood mage suffers no
fatigue costs from
casting spells.
Runes: The blood mage
knows 9 runes: Ansuz,
Ehwaz, Eihwaz, Kenaz,
Laguz, Mannaz, Sowilo,
Teiwaz, Wunjo
Possessions: Walther
PPK, 2 spare
magazines, 30 rounds
of 9mm ammunition,
helmet, uniform,
runestones British tankers scramble to their tank to repel an attack by SBG reanimants.

103
Chapter Three

A British soldier in a Bren carrier passes a smoking Panzer III.

Although nominally reporting to Various Allied reports claim he was


Rommel, Morder maintained contact with shot down in transit over the
his SS superiors in Berlin, occasionally Mediterranean, killed in a rockslide while
sending important dispatches directly to exploring the ruins of an Atlantean city in
Himmler and sometimes the Führer the Tibesti Mountains, tortured to death in
himself. He supervised SBG activities, Berlin for failing in North Africa, and
including the acquisition and deployment captured by OSI operatives for
of undead troops, signals interception and interrogation.
decryption efforts, and examination of OSI maintains he had no association
spiritual phenomena and ancient artifacts with the SS after the defeat of Afrika
in the African theater of operation. Korps in 1943 and was not involved in
He pioneered efforts to find and subsequent operations against Allied
harness such supernatural creatures as forces during the invasions of Italy and
the wireless hounds and flugzeuggeists, the Continent.
organized expeditions to the Tibesti Oberst Gunther Morder: CR 15; Medium-
mountains, Nile ruins, and lost oases size Human; Class: Ofc 6/Adt 9; hp 63;
seeking magical treasures and arcane Init +6; Spd 10 yds; AC 13 (+2 Dex, +1
wisdom, and sent agents behind British Armor); Atk PPK +13/+4; AL LE; SV Fort
lines to investigate and capture ordinary +6, Ref +7, Will +16; Str 11, Dex 15, Con 13,
soldiers somehow imbued with Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 18.
extraordinary abilities. At times he Skills and Feats: Alchemy +9,
commandeered various Afrika Korps units Concentration +11, Decipher Script +12
for particular missions, reviewed radio Diplomacy +12, Driving +9, Heal +8, Hide
intercepts from Captain Seebohm’s +9, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (arcana)
Fernemeldeaufklärung company, and used +10, Leadership +11, Move Silently +9,
Sonderkommando Almasy to insert Observation and Assessment +9,
agents behind British lines (see below for Profession (archaeologist) +14, Search
information on these two important +13, Sense Motive +12, Spellcraft +22,
groups). Spot +12, Use Magical Item +11, Wireless

104
Operational Briefing

Telegraphy +10; Command, Command Fernemeldeaufklarung


Voice, Firearms Proficiency, Improved
Initiative, Maximize Spell, Rank: SS- Company
Standartenführer, Sahara Lore, Simple “The destruction of Seebohm’s radio
Weapons Proficiency, Weapon Focus: intercept group at Gazala was the
PPK, Weapon Specialization: PPK, beginning of the end for Rommel.”
Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency
Special Qualities: — General Sir Claude Auchinleck,
Devotion: The devotion of SS members to Commander in Chief, Middle East
the Nazi Party gives them a +2 morale
bonus to Will saves. Also called the Horchkompanie
Blood Magic: The Colonel suffers no (“listening” company), the 3rd Company
fatigue costs from casting spells. 56th Signals Battalion monitored most
Runes: Colonel Morder knows 13 runes: Allied wireless transmissions on the
Algiz, Ansuz, Dagaz, Ehwaz, Eihwaz, North African front. It intercepted,
Gebo, Kenaz, Laguz, Mannaz, Raidho, recorded, and analyzed voice messages
Sowilo, Teiwaz, Wunjo sent “in the clear” (uncoded and
Possessions: Walther PPK, 2 spare unencrypted) by inexperienced British
magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm radio operators along the front, passing
ammunition, helmet, uniform, intelligence along to Rommel’s staff that
runestones helped the Desert Fox earn his reputation

Rommel stops to have some tea with members of Seebohm’s company.

105
Chapter Three

A captured Matilda pressed into German service.

for outguessing and outmaneuvering his hours, even when aided by experienced
opponents. Under the command of signals officers, captured codes, cipher
Wehrmacht Captain Alfred Seebohm, a machines, and cipher imps.
master code breaker and cryptographer, Although the signals company operated
this mobile unit also received, decoded officially as a unit of the Wehrmacht, the
and deciphered messages sent in Morse SBG infiltrated and controlled it, screening
Code between frontline units, desert all intelligence gathered before authorizing
commandos, and the headquarters of any of it to pass to Rommel. Most
British Troops Egypt. Thanks to a strategic information passed through
compromised American code and a unhindered, but the SBG often withheld
thorough American military attaché in intelligence regarding OSI operations and
Cairo, Seebohm even intercepted detailed supernatural phenomena amidst the
reports of British unit dispositions and Allied forces. It used this information in
operational plans (see the Compromised acting against British attempts to harness
Intelligence sidebar). spiritual energy to aid their war effort (see
The Fernemeldeaufklärung company Weird Feats in Chapter One: Desert
operated along the front lines and in Training for information on the SBG, SS,
rearward command areas. For mobile and Nazi doctors interested in capturing
operations, the unit used several wireless and experimenting on Allied soldiers
trucks (similar to the British signals vans exposed to supernatural phenomena).
described in Chapter Two: Ordnance and The SBG secretly recruited Captain
Equipment), as well as an escort of Seebohm and several other key members
reconnaissance and transport vehicles, of the Horchkompanie to enforce their
including SdKfz 234/2 Pumas, SdKfz 231/ control over intercepted intelligence. The
1s, SdKfz 251 halftracks for support organization also aided interception efforts,
troops, and enough trucks to transport primarily by providing through the SS
the company’s remaining personnel. captured code books and cipher machines.
Normally intercepted signals The SBG also summoned cipher imps to
intelligence passed to Rommel’s staff more rapidly decipher messages—the
intelligence officer, Major Friedrich diminutive creatures lurked in several
Wilhelm von Mellenthin. Messages sent “in German signals vans, listening and reading
the clear” were translated, analyzed, and intercepts and babbling possible solutions
summarized for von Mellenthin within a until something made sense to the handler.
few hours. Encoded and enciphered Seebohm kept the existence of these
wireless transmissions took a bit more creatures secret lest his true association
work to process, often taking up to 24 with the SBG become too widely known.

106
Operational Briefing

Compromised Intelligence
“The military intelligence service has come decrypted, decoded, and translated them. In the
into the possession of the American secret morning they presented them as a detailed
code.” appraisal of British troop strength and location,
morale, and operational objectives to Rommel
—Galeazza Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister and SS officers covertly working as the SBG. The
Germans used this intelligence to great
A compromised American diplomatic code advantage during the first half of 1942, as
allowed Rommel to intercept a detailed account Rommel rebounded from his earlier retreat and
of British operations in North Africa from marched from El Agheila to El Alamien.
January 1942 until the intelligence leak was The British suspected this leak after several
discovered six months later. operations failed due to obviously compromised
The American military attaché in Cairo, intelligence. Captured German troops later
Colonel Bonner F. Fellers, worked closely with confirmed that their Horchkompanie signalers
Commonwealth forces to evaluate British were regularly reading intercepts from a source
operations, morale, supplies, and, most in Cairo. The British quickly tracked the leak to
importantly, the effects of American lend-lease Colonel Fellers’s office and arranged for his quiet
aid on the battlefield. To prepare his reports transfer to Washington. The new U.S. military
with firsthand knowledge, Colonel Fellers attaché scrapped the compromised Black Code
extensively toured the North African front. He and began using a new encryption technique.
encrypted his evaluations with the American This proved a double setback for Rommel. His
Black Code and sent them via wireless back to source of accurate and comprehensive
American military intelligence in Washington, information on British operations immediately
DC. dried up. But the Desert Fox couldn’t anticipate
Little did he or the Allies realize that German that Churchill would use this compromised
signals intelligence could read and react to every American intelligence source as a bargaining
report sent to America in the Black Code. Italian chip to pressure President Roosevelt to increase
spies stole the code book from the American lend-lease support and seriously commit to a
military attaché in Rome (America and Italy were joint British-American invasion of North Africa:
not at war in August 1941). German cryptologists Operation Torch.
attached to the Afrika Korps in the Colonel Fellers later received the
Fernemeldeaufklärung Company also broke the Distinguished Service Medal for his work in
cipher used to encrypt the messages. After North Africa, the citation noting that “his
Colonel Fellers sent his comprehensive report to reports to the War Department were models of
Washington, German signals officers intercepted, clarity and accuracy.”

Seebohm died, and the rest of the well-


The SBG also controlled Seebohm’s trained, experienced signals intercept
platoon of Huff-Duff operators. Working officers were killed or captured. Rommel
from Puma scout cars and employing and the SBG tried unsuccessfully to form
high-frequency direction-finding a new company to replace the one lost at
equipment, this unit ranged through the Gazala, but it never recovered the former
desert independently and with recon and unit’s deft ability to efficiently read
SBG groups to track down enemy British communications. Lack of accurate
transmitters in the Saharan wastelands. intelligence played a detrimental role in
Their principle targets were the LRDG, Rommel’s impending halt and defeat at El
SAS, and other commandos operating Alamein, and his fighting retreat for the
behind German lines to disrupt supply, duration of the North African campaign.
command, and support facilities. The
Fernemeldeaufklärung company lost one Funktechniker
of these squads in early 1942 when it The typical Afrika Korps wireless
unsuccessfully tried to hunt down and operator (funktechniker, “radio
harness several wireless hounds in the technician,” in German) was a rank-and-
desert south of El Agheila. file soldier promoted within his original
Rommel’s superior intelligence sources unit and trained in radio operations and
dried up in June 1942 at the Battle of protocol. He spent his shifts cramped in
Gazala. Operating on the ever-fluid front the radio van or hunched next to a unit in
line, a majority of the Horchkompanie fell a transport truck, headphones cramping
victim to an unexpected British thrust. his hot ears, scribbling dots and dashes

107
Chapter Three

Veteran Funktechniker: CR 7;
Medium-size Human; Class: Grt
4/Sig 3; hp 36; Init +1; Spd 10 yds;
AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Luger +5; AL
LN; SV Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +3;
Str 10, Dex 12, Con 11, Int 14, Wis
12, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Concentration
+7, Driving +7, Gather Information
+5, Hide +5, Listen +8, Mechanic
+8, Move Silently +5, Observation
and Assessment +8, Search +7,
Speak Language (English) +5,
Spot +7, Wireless Telegraphy +11;
Arid Acclimatization, Firearms
Proficiency, Lay of the Land,
Lightning Reflexes, Rank:
Feldwebel, Simple Weapons
Proficiency, Technically Adept,
Tracked Vehicle Proficiency,
Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency
German troops survey a disabled tank looking for salvageable equipment. Special Qualities:
Lay of the Land Bonus: The
into his notebook. He was essential in veteran funktechniker gains a +2 bonus
maintaining communication between to Wireless Telegraphy when carefully
frontline combat units, desert sighting his aerial.
reconnaissance forces, and headquarters. Fist Recognition: Can identify the Morse
Funktechniker: CR 5; Medium-size Human; Code sending style of various radio
Class: Grt 4/Sig 1; hp 27; Init +1; Spd 10 operators (see signaler prestige class
yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Luger +5; AL LN; description in Chapter One: Desert
SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +2; Str 10, Dex Training).
12, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 10. Possessions: Headphones, wireless set,
Skills and Feats: Concentration +6, Driving pad and pencil, Pistole 08 Luger, 2
+6, Gather Information +4, Hide +5, spare magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm
Listen +8, Mechanic +7, Move Silently ammunition, uniform
+5, Observation and Assessment +5,
Search +7, Spot +7, Wireless Telegraphy Horchkompanie Officer
+8; Arid Acclimatization, Firearms Officers in the Fernemeldeaufklärung
Proficiency, Lay of the Land, Lightning company managed the numerous radio
Reflexes, Rank: Obergefreiter, Simple operators under their command,
Weapons Proficiency, Technically Adept, supervising efforts to intercept, decode,
Tracked Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled decipher, and translate British wireless
Vehicle Proficiency messages. They also helped their
Special Qualities: None superiors analyze the content and
Possessions: Headphones, wireless set, importance of intercepted communiqués,
pad and pencil, Pistole 08 Luger, 2 and operated Huff-Duff equipment to
spare magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm locate enemy transmitters.
ammunition, uniform Hor chkompanie Of
Horchkompanie ficer: CR 5; Medium-
Officer:
size Human; Class: Ofc 4/Sig 1; hp 23;
Funktechniker, Veteran Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk
After enough time wireless operators Luger +5; AL LN; SV Fort +2, Ref +2,
gained more knowledge of radio protocol Will +6; Str 11, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 16, Wis
and a better idea of the overall 13, Cha 14.
importance of signals intelligence in the Skills and Feats: Concentration +4,
greater scheme of frontline actions. The Decipher Script +6, Diplomacy +4,
most talented of these received transfers Driving +5, Leadership +6, Observation
from their original units to the and Assessment +8, Search +7, Speak
Fernemeldeaufklärung company, where Language (English) +8, Spot +6, Wireless
they specialized in tuning into and Telegraphy +10; Lay of the Land, Rank:
intercepting enemy transmissions. This Leutnant, Technically Adept, Tracked
was considered a prime billet because it Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
was away from the fighting and near a Proficiency
headquarters—usually with better food.

108
Operational Briefing

Special Qualities: None himself. He took a quiet pride in his job,


Possessions: Headphones, wireless set, which helped masked his anxiety in
pad and pencil, Pistole 08 Luger, 2 attending two masters. Seebohm walked a
spare magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm fine line between admiring and serving
ammunition, uniform Rommel and placating the SBG’s demands
that all intelligence pass through that
Horchkompanie Officer, organization first. Both played on his
Veteran sense of pride to urge him to more
Veteran wireless officers cracked comprehensively monitor and interpret
enemy codes and ciphers, analyzed the British wireless traffic. The SBG also
overall import of intercepted pressured him with the usual SS tactics—
transmissions, summarized and cooperate and your family back home
prioritized information slated for would not fall under suspicion of
headquarters, and were essential to treasonous activities.
providing Rommel the edge he so Seebohm’s unit, and the captain
desperately needed on the battlefield. The himself, often accompanied Rommel’s
SBG recruited, blackmailed, or otherwise headquarters, camping nearby. The Desert
pressured many officers at this level to Fox frequently commanded from the front,
filter all intelligence through that traveling by car or reconnaissance plane
organization and tip them off regarding from headquarters to the front, rearward
intelligence of particularly sensitive supply areas, and the siege at Tobruk.
nature. Seebohm’s Fernemeldeaufklärung
Veteran Hor chkompanie Of
Horchkompanie ficer: CR 7;
Officer: personnel more often than not interacted
Medium-size Human; Class: Ofc 4/Sig 3; with Rommel’s command staff. The
hp 28; Init +1; Spd 10 yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); captain’s practical nature and easy manner
Atk Luger +5; AL LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, with others ensured an efficient and
Will +7; Str 11, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 16, Wis amiable working relationship with staff
13, Cha 14. officers. Seebohm maintained a strained
Skills and Feats: Concentration +5, relationship with his SBG masters, trying
Decipher Script +10, Diplomacy +6, to work with them with the utmost
Driving +6, Leadership +8, Observation discretion, but also chafing at their
and Assessment +12, Search +7, Speak increasingly intrusive demands.
Language (English) +8, Spot +7, Wireless Seebohm was killed during a sudden
Telegraphy +12; Desert Fox, Firearms British offensive at the Battle of Gazala,
Proficiency, Lay of the Land, Light when the Horchkompanie encampment
Armor Proficiency, Rank: Leutnant, was shelled and then overrun by infantry.
Technically Adept, Simple Weapon Allied personnel believe Seebohm and
Proficiency, Tracked Vehicle Proficiency, most of his highly trained, experienced
Wheeled Vehicle Proficiency personnel were killed; a few who were
Special Qualities: captured revealed the true extent of
Lay of the Land Bonus: The veteran German intelligence intercept activity and
Horchkompanie officer gains a +2 the degree to which it influenced
bonus to Wireless Telegraphy when Rommel’s seemingly supernatural ability
carefully sighting his aerial. to second-guess and surprise the British.
Fist Recognition: Can identify the Morse Hauptman Alfred Seebohm: CR 12;
Code sending style of various radio Medium-size Human; Class: Ofc 6/Sig 6;
operators (see signaler prestige class hp 78; Init +2; Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+2 Dex);
description in Chapter One: Desert Atk Luger +10/+5; AL LN; SV Fort +2,
Training). Ref +2, Will +5; Str 11, Dex 15, Con 13, Int
Possessions: Headphones, wireless set, 18, Wis 14, Cha 12.
pad and pencil, Pistole 08 Luger, 2 Skills and Feats: Concentration +7,
spare magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm Decipher Script +19, Diplomacy +7,
ammunition, uniform Disable Device +11, Driving +9, Gather
Information +10, Hide +9, Intuit Direction
Hauptman Alfred Seebohm +10, Leadership +9, Listen +10, Move
Captain Alfred Seebohm commanded Silently +6, Navigation +6, Observation
Rommel’s Horchkompanie, intercepting and Assessment +12, Search +10, Sense
and analyzing enemy wireless Motive +10, Speak Language (English) +9,
transmissions. Although a ranking officer Spot +8, Wireless Telegraphy +19; Arid
overseeing radio intercept operations, Acclimatization, Desert Defenses,
Seebohm was a practical, hands-on fellow Desert Fox, Firearms Proficiency,
who engaged in much of the work Furtive, Incoming!, Lay of the Land

109
Chapter Three

Sonderkommando
Almasy
“Almasy was often traveling
in Libya, usually at someone
else’s expense. He had a real
passion for the desert and much
of it he knew extremely well.”

—Captain W. B. Kennedy Shaw,


LRDG

The LRDG wasn’t the only


group operating in the desert
behind enemy lines. The
Germans had their own special
commando group,
A German supply convoy follows a rugged desert track. Sonderkommando Almasy, that
was smaller than the LRDG but
(desert), Rank: Hauptman, Simple mirrored many of its functions. Employing
Weapons Proficiency, Technically Adept, intimate knowledge of the desert terrain
Tracked Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled throughout Libya and Egypt, the unit
Vehicle Proficiency operated six squads, each with a few cars
Special Qualities: fitted for desert travel. Its leader—a
Lay of the Land Bonus: Seebohm gains a Hungarian count famed for his desert
+2 bonus to Wireless Telegraphy when exploration before the war—used his
carefully sighting his aerial. navigational expertise to guide the unit
Fist Recognition: Can identify the Morse through the desert on various covert
Code sending style of various radio missions.
operators (see signaler prestige class Sonderkommando Almasy was not as
description in Chapter One: Desert heavily equipped and supported as its
Training). British counterpart, so it consigned itself
Huff Duff Intuition: Using his wireless set, to “taxi service” and “road watch” duties
Seebohm can track and estimate the and avoided confrontations, planned “beat
location of a transmitter on a particular ups,” and raids. The cars cruised across
frequency after monitoring it for 24–48 the desert to insert spies and informants
hours. into key locations in British controlled
Possessions: Headphones, wireless set, Egypt, including Cairo. Some journeys
pad and pencil, Pistole 08 Luger, 2 simply probed British defenses and the
spare magazines, 30 rounds of 9mm vigilance of the LRDG. Other trips
ammunition, uniform mapped out routes for future travels, or
reconnoitered the terrain for potential
outflanking maneuvers the Afrika Korps
might make south of any British
defensive line. At times Sonderkommando
Adventure Seed: Downed Almasy teams gathered intelligence like
the LRDG’s “road watch,” monitoring
Codebreakers desert oases for activity, discovering and
The RAF shoots down a Ju-52 reportedly carrying a appropriating supply dumps, and
team of Horchkompanie code experts on their way to collecting information about enemy
a German-occupied oasis—the characters receive orders strength and disposition.
to find the downed plane, capture its passengers, and Although the commandos themselves
acquire enemy code books, cipher devices, and were well-trained, they stood little chance
possibly a cipher imp without the Germans knowing in a scrap with better armed and
the British have obtained them. The survivors have dug equipped troops—even the LRDG. They
in, however, improvising defenses (both mundane and avoided armed confrontation. Using
magical) until reinforcements arrive to rescue them: a unmarked kubelwagens or civilian cars,
panzer reconnaissance company with an SBG detail the Sonderkommando Almasy relied more
under orders to retrieve the signals crew…or kill them on bluffing and speeding their way past
if they fall into Allied hands. confused Arab sentries and bewildered
British privates on guard duty. To pass as

110
Operational Briefing

civilians, they did not mount heavy


machineguns on their vehicles, though
they heaped supplies, jerry cans, and gear
onto the cars as if they were peacetime
Bluffing the Guard
One might ask how Sonderkommando Almasy
desert explorers. The LRDG detected signs
personnel found it so easy to bluff their way past
of activity from Sonderkommando
guards posted in major desert towns and oases. The
Almasy: phantom tire tracks in the sands,
roads through such places were often monitored by
discarded equipment, and stories from
local militia reporting to the town officials, or
startled sentries who innocently let them
members of the native Sudanese Defense Force. Even
pass.
for British troops in these regions, the war, and thus
Sonderkommando Almasy worked
enemy personnel, was a long way off to the north.
primarily out of the Jalo oasis in the
Timing the encounter for early morning or evening
spring of 1942, during Rommel’s second
might catch sentries off guard. With unmarked cars,
advance across Cyrenaica. Many surmise
dusty uniforms, and someone who spoke fluent
that the unit was active in the region
Arabic or English, passing through wasn’t much of a
before then, though no proof of this
problem.
exists. Almasy, the group’s leader, no
The LRDG’s intelligence officer, Captain W.B.
doubt made several desert expeditions to
Kennedy Shaw, relates one such incident with
insert German spies into Egypt during the
members of Sonderkommando Almasy in Long Range
early stages of the North African
Desert Group, his account of LRDG activities during
campaign.
the war:
Sonderkommando “Then early one morning in June the Arab watchman
Those serving with Sonderkommando on the landing ground at Kharga [an oasis only 100
Almasy were hardy types conditioned to miles west of the Nile] saw a car approaching as he
desert survival, operating behind enemy stirred himself from sleep. The car stopped and an
lines, and responding to a variety of officer leaned out, speaking to him in Arabic: he
situations. wanted to know just where the road to Asyut [a port
A combination of soldier-spy, they on the Nile] left the oasis. The Arab showed him and
employed equipment scavenged from the car drove off. It was a British type of car and no
questionable sources, drove vehicles doubt, thought the watchman, the officer was British.
appropriated from British civilians, These mad foreigners were always roaming about the
German command units, and Italian desert and a few of them spoke Arabic. He turned his
settlers, and wore uniforms of a British thoughts to breakfast.
cut or clothing suitable for European “The next morning at about the same time the same
desert explorers. car passed him returning from Asyut and drove off
Many relied on subtlety, guile, and westwards into the desert. ‘Well,’ thought the
trickery rather than outright force to watchman, ‘that’s a bit odd. I may as well tell the
achieve their mission objectives—though Mudir.’ So he told the Mudir [a local official] who
combat had its place when the forwarded a report through the ‘usual channels’ which
circumstances became desperate. They finally reached someone in Cairo who wondered if
knew they could depend on little support there really had been a British car in Kharga at that
from the formal units of the Afrika Korps time on that day and took the trouble to find out.
and only minimal assistance from German
intelligence operatives already working in
Egypt. They had to arrange for their own +4, Speak Arabic +3, Speak English +6,
supplies, weapons, and gear, or acquire Spot +3, Wilderness Lore +4, Wireless
them on their own. Each commando Telegraphy +3; Automatic Weapons
functioned equally well as an individual Proficiency, Desert Fox, Endurance,
or with a unit. Expertise, Firearms Proficiency,
Sonderkommando: CR 8; Medium-size Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative,
Human; Class: Sct 5/Com 3; hp 57; Init Lay of the Land (desert), Simple
+6; Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk Weapons Proficiency, Track, Tracked
Enfield No.2 +10 or knife +9; AL LE; SV Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
Fort +9, Ref +4, Will +7; Str 12, Dex 15, Proficiency
Con 14, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 10. Special Qualities:
Skills and Feats: Bluff +5, Disable Device Pathfinder: See Scout description in Blood
+4, Demolitions +4, Driving +5, Heal +3, on the Rhine, pages 32–33.
Hide +10, Intuit Direction +4, Listen +3, Sneak Attack +2d6: See the Player’s
Mechanic +2, Move Silently +10, Handbook page 47.
Navigation +4, Observation and Uncanny Dodge: See the Player’s
Assessment +4, Open Lock +5, Search Handbook page 48.

111
Chapter Three

operatives mingled with


the European population
in such urban areas as
Cairo and Alexandria,
gathering intelligence on
enemy strength and
disposition, subverting
others to the Nazi cause,
and sometimes even
engaging in outright
sabotage.
Once he settled himself
into life among the British,
an operative used a
variety of methods to
glean useful information
for his superiors back at
German headquarters—the
more effective techniques
were often those that
entailed greater risk of
exposure and capture. He
German soldiers travel in a kubelwagen. Notice the jerrycan on the rear fender. gathered intelligence by
eavesdropping, mingling
with military personnel,
Possessions: Enfield No.2 Mk1*, 20 rounds observing installations, watching the
of .38 caliber ammunition, knife, roads heading toward the front, and by
canteen, desert clothing, scarf, goggles, befriending or blackmailing those who
survival kit. could acquire information for him. His
German Intelligence Operative superiors sometimes ordered him to
engage in more dangerous activities:
Sonderkommando Almasy occasionally
breaking into offices of high-ranking
transported German spies across the
personnel, assassinating key officers,
desert, around British patrols, and into the
infiltrating secure military installations,
inhabited regions of Egypt. These
and sabotaging aircraft.
The members of Sonderkommando
Almasy were an operative’s only lifeline in
or out of hostile territory. They delivered
Adventure Seed: communiqués and retrieved intelligence
reports lest the operative give away his
Time Commandos position by using a wireless set. Teams
The characters stumble onto an antiquities theft transported essential equipment across
and become embroiled in the ensuing investigation. the desert to resupply operatives. In dire
The stolen papyrus scroll purportedly contained circumstances they extracted operatives
magical spells from the time of Ramses the Great. whose cover had become compromised
Soon the heroes find evidence that a group of German and were forced to flee with vital
agents operating with support from Sonderkommando information.
Almasy are working to translate the hieroglyphics and German Intelligence Operativ
Operative:e: CR 8;
organize an expedition to the temple of Abu Simbel in Medium-size Human; Class: Sct 5/Opt 3;
southern Egypt. The characters must wend their way hp 37; Init +6; Spd 10 yds; AC 12 (+2 Dex);
through shady contacts, traitorous antiquities Atk Enfield No.2 +9 or knife +8; AL LN;
merchants, and mysterious scholars to gather clues SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +6; Str 12, Dex
about the operatives’ mission and follow their path to 14, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 16.
the temple. The spies have plenty of help from Skills and Feats: Bluff +8, Climb +4,
undercover German partisans and the desert raiders Disable Device +8, Demolitions +7,
from the Sonderkommando Almasy. If the characters Disguise +6, Driving +7, Heal +5, Hide
don’t stop the agents, the Germans might use the +8, Gather Information +9, Intimidate +6,
spells on the scroll to open a magical portal in the Intuit Direction +5, Jump +3, Listen +9,
temple, one that leads back to a key point in time Move Silently +8, Observation and
where they can alter the course of history in favor of Assessment +11, Open Lock +7, Search
Nazi victory in North Africa. +8, Sense Motive +8, Speak Arabic +7,
Speak English +8, Spot +10, Wireless

112
Operational Briefing

A Panzer III is repaired in the field.

Telegraphy +6; Alertness, Automatic to the Sudan and out into the Libyan
Weapons Proficiency, Expertise, Desert. Along the way he pursued an
Firearms Proficiency, Improved interest in history, seeking evidence of
Initiative, Furtive, Simple Weapons ancient habitation—prehistoric rock
Proficiency, Technically Adept, Track paintings, lost Persian armies, and
Special Qualities: stockpiles of pottery that once held
Pathfinder: See Scout description in Blood precious supplies of water for Roman
on the Rhine, page 33. explorers.
Sneak Attack +3d6: See the Player’s Almasy frequently worked with German
Handbook page 47. or Italian adventurers and archaeologists.
Uncanny Dodge: See the Player’s Given his prior associations and his
Handbook page 48. tendency to advocate totalitarian
Possessions: Enfield No.2 Mk1*, 20 rounds governments, it was no surprise when the
of .38 caliber ammunition, knife, pad LRDG learned he was working with the
and pencil, ordinary clothes, suitcase. Afrika Korps leading a special commando
Count Ladislaus Edouard de unit in the desert.
As leader of Sonderkommando Almasy
Almasy the count put his desert experience to
The leader of Sonderkommando work for the Germans. Operating from Jalo
Almasy was a renown desert explorer in oasis and other Saharan posts, he
the years before the war. The Hungarian organized a group of commandos and led
count maintained the status of a them behind enemy lines to cause
Renaissance man of the Sahara, a mischief. The true extent and
seasoned traveler, English-educated effectiveness of these measures was
linguist, experienced driver and pilot, and never known, though some might
author of several essays about his desert attribute various inexplicable events to
journeys. Between 1929 and the outbreak Almasy’s meddling. Before the war he
of war Almasy made several expeditions spent quite a bit of time in Cairo, using it
by automobile, including a trek from East as a base from which to plan his
Africa to Egypt and various visits to the expeditions. With his fluent English and
oases and Arab settlements from the Nile Arabic, and his ability to infiltrate British-

113
Chapter Three

US Shermans load up before moving out.

controlled Egypt via the desert, Almasy knowledge he gained, sharing it with
might have even worked as a spy in Cairo others only when it might provide him
during the war. with advantage or profit. A practical
The mystery surrounding Almasy’s fellow, he seemed most at ease in his
activities was due in part to his ability to beloved desert.
traverse the desert undetected, using Count Almasy: CR 12; Medium-size
knowledge of the terrain gained in his Human; Class: Sct 12; hp 66; Init +1; Spd
past expeditions. He had detailed maps of 10 yds; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk Webley Mk4
the entire region, and updated them +13/+8/+3; AL LN; SV Fort +9, Ref +5,
during every mission. In addition to Will +6; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 17, Wis
planning and participating in 15, Cha 12.
sonderkommando operations, Almasy Skills and Feats: Bluff +7, Climb +2,
also served as the unit’s chief navigator Disable Device +5, Demolitions +4,
and desert expert, training others in the Driving +10, Gather Information +4, Heal
unit so they could operate more +5, Hide +4, Intuit Direction +9, Jump +1,
independently. Listen +10, Move Silently +5, Navigation
Only a handful of British military +12, Observation and Assessment +10,
personnel recall meeting Almasy before Open Lock +3, Piloting +5, Search +7,
the war. Those who did remembered him Speak Arabic +9, Speak English +8,
as an aloof foreigner who at times could Spot +10, Wilderness Lore +12, Wireless
easily slip into British and Arabic society. Telegraphy +5; Arid Acclimatization,
Although proud of his accomplishments Desert Fox, Find Water, Firearms
as a desert explorer, Almasy guarded the Proficiency, Lay of the Land (desert),
Point Blank Shot, Sahara Lore, Simple
Weapons Proficiency, Single-Engine
Aircraft Proficiency, Track, Tracked
The English Patient Vehicle Proficiency, Wheeled Vehicle
Proficiency
Almasy and his role as a spy during World War II Special Qualities:
received popularity in an Oscar-winning 1997 film. The One with Nature: See the Scout
English Patient was loosely based on Almasy’s description in Blood on the Rhine, page
background as a desert explorer, but fictionalized 33.
events and did not accurately reflect the true nature or Pathfinder: See Scout description in Blood
effectiveness of Sonderkommando Almasy in the on the Rhine, page 33.
desert war. Sneak Attack +3d6: See the Player’s
The film provides impressions of prewar Cairo, the Handbook page 47.
capture of Tobruk, and some cinematically impressive Uncanny Dodge: See the Player’s
scenes of the vast Saharan terrain. It also illustrates Handbook page 48.
some of the methods, hazards, and experiences in Possessions: Webley Mk4, 20 rounds of .38
crossing the desert by automobile and airplane. caliber ammunition, canteen, desert
clothing, survival kit.

114
Operational Briefing

characters taking part in the Battle of El


Campaign Alamein might brave enemy fire to clear a
safe passage through the minefields, take

Themes part in the armored breakout and assault


through the Axis lines, or hold the
The North African theater offers a extreme left of the Allied line against
variety of campaign styles with varying Italian infantry divisions trying to
degrees of weirdness. War Masters can outflank the British.
stick with one theme, exhaust the Given the fluid nature of battle,
adventure potential of one and move on characters of any fighting unit might find
to another as the characters advance, or themselves involved in the action. Non-
find excuses for the same heroes to touch motorized infantry wouldn’t normally
on choice elements of each campaign. participate in a speedy armored advance,
Each has potential for weird elements to but might offer support clearing mines,
creep up on characters or drop in on them follow to help reinforce battlefield gains,
full force, depending on the War Master’s or defend a position where tanks are
style and the effect he intends for the holed up. Tankers might mingle with
game. infantry in defensive actions along the
Each theme description below provides lines established near Sollum in 1941 or El
notes on ideal character classes for the Alamein in 1942, but they might also
campaign, ideas on exposing heroes to attempt daring outflanking maneuvers in
weirdness, and a sample campaign the deserts to the south, or try smashing
overview with a few brief adventure through tough enemy defenses across the
seeds. War Masters can translate battlefield. Recon units would probe the
adventure ideas from one campaign style Sahara, sparring with highly mobile
into another, mixing and matching German forces and seeking a means of
mission profiles to best suit their gaming outflanking the enemy without
style and their players’ appetites for endangering precious resources in
different experiences. minefields and impassable terrain.
For some ideas for the kinds of actions
Frontline Action involved in various operations, consult
the Campaign Phases section at the
“With the wantonness of a boy beginning of this chapter. It provides a
destroying some harmless bird for ‘sport,’ I basic overview of how the tide turned
contributed my share towards the never- across the North African deserts,
ending story of man’s inhumanity to including major battles and other actions
man.” at various locations.
During a traditional frontline campaign,
—John Verney, British Infantryman the characters might only encounter the
faintest evidence of the supernatural,
War at the front lines was Hell—give something they uncover as a growing
the heroes a taste of this in a campaign menace to confront in the campaign
focusing on battlefield operations. Let climax. War Masters can use a few
them hold the line at Sollum or El battlefield missions to introduce players
Alamein, drive tanks against the panzers to the basic game and universe concepts
in the “Cauldron,” protect Tobruk against of World War II adventuring, then promote
siege, charge up the beaches in Operation their characters to an arena where they
Torch, or fight through the savage terrain have more exposure to weird elements
of Kasserine Pass. Such a combat (like the Desert Raiders or OSI campaigns).
campaign serves to give low-level If they have any extreme degree of
characters basic experience fighting the involvement with the supernatural, they
Axis—and introduces essential rules would naturally find themselves
concepts to new players—with perhaps involuntarily transferred to an OSI
only a hint of the sinister weirdness campaign.
lurking behind the Nazi facade.
The frontline campaign encompasses Character Classes
the most common battlefield elements: Most of the basic character classes
patrols, minefields, advances, the found in Weird War II: Blood on the Rhine
confusion of battle, displacement, and fit into a frontline campaign. Officers,
recovery. The heroes don’t have to worry medics, and scouts all serve an essential
about the overall action, just their purpose on the battlefield. Grunts form
particular piece of it. For instance, the backbone of fighting units. Antitank

115
Chapter Three

teams, combat engineers, infantrymen, uncover and battle even more insidious
machinegunners, mortar crewmen, and paranormal forces in the Nazis’ control. A
tankers play essential roles at the front. frontline campaign gives them enough
Although a few units might have snipers experience to advance to an OSI prestige
and minefield engineers, few other class to fight the supernatural powers
prestige classes (and no overt OSI prestige opposing the Allies.
classes) operate on the battlefield.
Sample Campaign Overview
Weird Exposure War Masters can flesh out these brief
The frontline campaign focuses on the outlines to form a short frontline
rigors of combat and battlefield campaign. Although they refer to action
confusion. These elements offer just prior to and during the Battle of El
distractions that divert the heroes’ Alamein, they could conceivably lead up
attention from odd occurrences, allowing to any major battle during the North
War Masters to subtly insert hints of African campaign. These seeds work best
weirdness. Were those Germans really for infantry units, though War Masters can
zombies, or did they just look that way change certain circumstances to better
because the Allies have vilified them so suit the needs of tanker characters. At
much? Funny how that sandstorm blew in first they might seem ordinary, but a
just in time to cover the Axis retreat and campaign of this nature focuses on
foil the British advance. introducing heroes to the rigors of combat
Although the characters’ exposure to (giving players a taste of the game) with
supernatural elements might be kept to a occasional and vague weirdness stirring
minimum as they acclimate themselves to up the pot.
an intense combat environment, War Perimeter Guar
Guard:d: The characters have
Masters can escalate the weirdness, been moved to the front to shore up gaps
drawing the campaign in a different in the line. They must establish and
direction. Perhaps one character somehow protect a defensive formation under
acquires a “weird feat” and must figure occasional enemy artillery fire. They
out what’s happening to him and how to fortify a foxhole for their machinegunner,
control it (see the Weird Feats section in mortar crewman, or antitank team, string
Chapter One: Desert Training). barbed wire and plant mines, dig trenches
Should the heroes stumble onto to connect other defensive positions, and
something really big, the OSI steps in, survey enemy activity across the flat
“transfers” them back to a secure location desert.
in Cairo, initiates them into their elite When their commanding officer goes
organization, and sends them off to down under a sudden artillery barrage,
they must scurry to a
nearby unit under heavy
enemy fire to retrieve
additional medical supplies
to stabilize the officer
before he can be evacuated.
While maintaining watch
after sundown, they
discover a sneak German
attack that probes their
position’s defenses and
threatens to weaken the
overall battle line.
Sortie: Desperate for
some indication of enemy
strength and defenses,
command orders the
characters’ unit to
undertake a nighttime
sortie to probe the German
perimeter. Skirting a
minefield and scrambling
around in the dark, they
eventually reach a network
A British Sherman advances near the Mareth Line in Tunisia. of barbed wire and booby

116
Operational Briefing

A German 88 rigged for towing behind an Sdkfz 9.

trapped trenches filled with dead over which tanks and motorized infantry
Germans. Obviously, the enemy has will pass during the advance. If the
retreated to a point beyond these characters aren’t combat or minefield
defenses. engineers, they provide armed guard for
As the characters probe deeper into the the mine removal team.
abandoned position, the seemingly dead After dispatching an enemy patrol, the
Nazis soon rise and ambush them—are group uncovers and disarms several
these just soldiers who look more injured antitank mines. Suddenly, German soldiers
than they let on, or are they something buried beneath the sand rise up and
more sinister and incomprehensible? attack the characters, some even
Additional attacks from troops farther exploding (these are corpse mines from
back pit the characters in a deadly Chapter Four: Bestiary). The characters
crossfire. The characters must fight their must extricate themselves from the
way out of the trenches and back across ambush and retreat back to their
a minefield under enemy fire and defensive line under occasional enemy
reanimant attack. fire. Their retreat may be complicated by
Panzer Attack: The strain of prolonged the need to transport NPCs wounded in
combat increases when a sudden the fighting.
sandstorm descends on the battlefield. On the MoMovve: The characters take part
The characters wait out the storm in what in a mechanized infantry advance against
shelter they can find, peering through the the Germans. Following a tank thrust
dust and listening for any sounds of through enemy lines, the characters follow
enemy activity. to provide support and mop up Nazi
When the sky clears, they face a infantry resistance. As they advance after
phalanx of panzers charging their the retreating enemy, the characters
position! After a desperate struggle to encounter a burned-out panzer whose
hold off the tank attack, the characters dead inhabitants are not quite ready to
must repel an advance by brutish German leave the land of the living.
troopers who seem to hold up extremely Eventually the heroes catch up with
well under fire (misshapen brutes from their tanks, now halted against reinforced
Blood on the Rhine, page 164). enemy lines with more British troops
Minefield Clearance: Headquarters is piling up behind them, making retreat
preparing for an upcoming offensive. The difficult. Alternately, this operation could
characters are assigned to a nighttime come as part of a fighting retreat in the
mine-clearing detail sweeping a corridor face of a renewed Axis offensive.

117
Chapter Three

British Matildas attacking during Operation Battleaxe.

targets to weaken enemy capabilities in


preparation for an Allied ground offensive
RAF or to cover a fighting retreat. RAF patrols
“Two-Sixteen Squadron remained can intercept Axis bomber formations,
masters of the desert sky, taking Stirling reconnaissance and transport craft, and
and his parashots to Jalo, ferrying fighter sorties.
supplies for the French when they Some squadrons might fly support for
attacked Kufra, evacuating our wounded, desert units like the LRDG and SAS,
bringing us stores to Siwa and all this but ferrying supplies, transporting the
a fraction of their everyday work for wounded, flying diversionary attacks, and
Middle East.” searching for members lost in the vast
desert wasteland. Their primary
—Captain W. B. Kennedy Shaw, LRDG challenges include sudden rain and sand
storms, antiaircraft fire, and the
Although the RAF played a supporting determined pilots of the Luftwaffe and
role in North Africa, its operations proved Regia Aeronautica.
essential to wearing down Axis forces War Masters can establish the heroes’
and ultimately winning the campaign. As squadron at a fixed, rear-area airfield
heroes of the RAF, the characters fly facility near Cairo or Alexandria, or allow
sorties to ensure victory for the Allies, them to operate from temporary airstrips
striking enemy targets across North Africa cleared and leveled from the sand. These
and tangling with the Luftwaffe and Regia offer faster access to the front, but also
Aeronautica. prove vulnerable to the fluid nature of
An RAF campaign packs plenty of desert warfare. Rear area fields allow the
flight time. Typical missions include heroes access to the cities of Cairo and
flying over front lines, avoiding enemy Alexandria. This makes possible all sorts
patrols, dodging antiaircraft fire, attacking of non-aerial adventures, including a
the target, and heading home. Objectives number of the adventure seeds that have
primarily consist of the beleaguered and been proposed so far.
overextended Axis supply infrastructure: Success or failure directly affects the
shipping in the Mediterranean, truck action at the front, and thus the pilots’
convoys along the Via Balbia, supply home base. If they don’t sink those petrol
dumps in both rear areas and the front tankers crossing the Mediterranean, or
lines, and low flying transport aircraft. blast the supply column heading eastward
RAF heroes might also hit battlefield along the coastal road, Axis forces could

118
Operational Briefing

have enough fuel, munitions, and coincidence. Perhaps their commanding


provisions to push the British line back officer—acting on cryptic intelligence
and overrun the heroes’ airfield—time to from headquarters—asks them to bomb a
relocate in a hurry. target seemingly void of military
Just because the heroes are pilots significance yet secretly essential to
doesn’t mean they must spend every German SBG operations on the front. Is
adventure in the air. They might help the sandstorm or heat haze obscuring the
oversee security at their airfield, watching target natural or some intentional effect
out for locals who might report to summoned by unknown forces? Maybe
German intelligence officers, or they must fight off a wing of fiery
infiltration by agents inserted by flugzeuggeists that ambushes their patrol,
Sonderkommando Almasy. They might or help their ground crews eradicate a
become embroiled in espionage intrigues horde of gremlins infesting their airfield.
or more mundane confrontations while on
leave in Cairo. Any flyer who goes down Sample Campaign Overview
over the desert might suddenly find The adventure seeds below can form
himself in a survival situation where he the basis of a short RAF campaign. Adjust
must evade enemy units hunting him and the aircraft for the mission and the
somehow find food, water, and shelter to heroes’ capabilities. For instance, a fighter
stay alive in the arid wastelands. He might squadron might fly a bombing run using
even come upon an LRDG patrol and bombs mounted beneath their wings.
share their escapades on his way back to Bomber crews might find themselves
civilization. inadvertently involved in missions for
An RAF campaign can easily transform fighter craft by sheer chance or tactical
along other lines. Those supporting the circumstance. Heroes can undertake varied
LRDG or SAS might find themselves operations using multi-role aircraft like
drawn into adventures based on the the De Havilland Mosquito.
Desert Raiders campaign below. Anyone The outline also assumes a gradual
gaining too much exposure to—and asking infiltration of weirdness as the campaign
too many questions about—phenomenon intensifies—the more the time characters
encountered in the skies might find spend flying above North Africa, the more
themselves in an aerial OSI campaign. War likely they encounter the supernatural.
Masters can even tailor adventure seeds Bombing Benghazi: The Germans have
from the Frontline Action and OSI captured the port of Benghazi in western
campaigns to include RAF personnel. Cyrenaica and plan to use it as a forward
supply depot for their rapidly advancing
Character Classes armies. The heroes must bomb the port
Pilot characters work best for RAF facilities and prove to the Wehrmacht
campaigns, though ground
crews and troops
supporting an airfield
might participate in certain
adventures with action on
the ground. The Weird War
II supplement Dead from
Above is essential for
running pilot heroes and
creating scenarios best
suited to their specific role
in the North African
campaign.
Weird Exposure
Pilots usually confront
mundane challenges in the
war above North Africa,
but an RAF campaign
offers a few opportunities
for infusing adventures
with the supernatural.
Much seems inexplicable,
or at best an odd A Flak 36 in action in the antitank role.

119
Chapter Three

for their strafing run, the heroes


notices a small group of infantry
hiding along the Via Balbia—
members of an LRDG patrol
waiting to ambush the convoy.
Does the squadron carry out its
assault on the column of lorries,
possibly interfering with the
LRDG plans and perhaps even
inflicting casualties on them, or
do they make a pass and wait to
see what happens? If they don’t
attack right off, the SBG blood
mages traveling with the convoy
spot the squadron and cast a
variety of spells to threaten both
the LRDG personnel and the
heroes.
Base Mischief: While returning
from a patrol, the heroes notice a
British M3 Lee tanks move to the attack near El Alamein. German truck abandoned in the
desert several miles from their
High Command that Benghazi is too close base. Grabbing their airfield’s supply lorry,
to the front to safely off-load provisions. they retrieve the damaged enemy vehicle
Sending the squadron on a “typical” and find its payload filled with cigarettes,
bombing run offers a chance for players to schnapps, and other goodies! Unfortunately
learn rules about aircraft engagements the truck’s inner workings host a horde of
and test their heroes’ mettle against pesky gremlins—a German recon unit
enemy defenses, including antiaircraft towed it near the British airfield as a Trojan
batteries and Axis fighter pilots. Any horse that might disable flight operations
weirdness in this mission should seem while the Afrika Korps undertakes a
like an odd coincidence—for instance, flanking maneuver. While the characters
they might run into a building, ship, or enjoy their spoils, the gremlins begin
antiaircraft emplacement that simply infesting their aircraft. The heroes soon
refuses to die. discover these mischievous sprites and try
Do wn in the Desert: While working as
Down eradicating them…at least until
a flight crew aboard a transport or headquarters radios in with orders to
bomber, the characters suddenly scramble and intercept a rapidly advancing
encounter several mysterious, fiery recon element of Afrika Korps.
creatures that tear into their aircraft (see Assault on Rommel: Headquarters
Chapter Four: Bestiary for details on the received specific intelligence pinpointing
flugzeuggeist). The heroes crash land in Rommel’s frontline headquarters! Since
the midst of a vast sand sea. They must the Desert Fox frequently moves between
somehow march eastward and reach the the front and rear areas to personally
British lines, surviving on salvaged supervise combat operations, the heroes
rations, avoiding desert hazards (both must quickly scramble to catch him at his
natural and supernatural), and evading forward headquarters. They race to the
German recon units hunting them. If they location, dodge antiaircraft fire, and blast
show proper respect and gratitude, they away at the small compound of tents,
could find aid from local Bedouin. If signals vans, and recon vehicles clustered
they’re just plain lucky, they might run around a bleak mud-brick house serving
into an LRDG patrol that could help them as temporary headquarters. As they’re
reach civilization…as soon as these desert pulling away from one of their strafing
raiders complete their current mission. runs, they notice a small German recon
Attack on the V ia Balbia: The squadron
Via plane—a Fieseler Storch—flying away from
receives orders to find a particular convoy the site and directly for a squadron of
traveling eastward along the coastal road Luftwaffe fighters sent to eliminate the
and destroy it. After a brief flight and characters! Can they shoot down the
only a little flak from the German Storch in time? Is Rommel really in the
frontline antiaircraft batteries, they find plane, or is it some powerful SBG blood
the small convoy of supply trucks with mage who summons supernatural
strange “SBG” markings. As they prepare assistance?

120
Operational Briefing

or chart a course to French Equatorial


Desert Raiders Africa to allow Free French forces to join
“It was quickly established that a force the British Eight Army. Cryptic directives
not comprising armor, artillery, effective from Middle East Command might send
antitank weapons and air support or, at them to the Tibesti Mountains seeking
least, good AA defense, must play a hit- evidence of an ancient and powerful
and-run game and avoid prolonged civilization, or to Egyptian oases
engagements.” searching for lost artifacts of arcane
power.
—Captain Alastair Timpson, LRDG Every mission—either mundane or
extraordinary—the characters must deal
A desert raiders campaign offers more with hardships of desert travel: lost
freedom than those based in more supplies, lack of cover, decoding wireless
conventional military units. Not only can transmissions from headquarters,
characters come from a variety of mechanical breakdowns, and the
backgrounds, but their adventures can unforgiving terrain of sand seas, rocky
encompass a large range of operations: wadis, and scorching desert. If they’re not
reconnaissance, commando raids, desert careful, they may fall prey to enemy
exploration, survival, even bits of aircraft patrols, the treacherous
espionage. Sonderkommando Almasy, roaming
They work in loose bands consisting of German recon forces, traitorous Bedouin,
a few trucks and jeeps with additional Nazi radio direction-finding units, SBG
armament and supplies, crossing vast blood mages, or the unnatural horrors
expanses of wasteland to hit objectives living in the wastelands or commanded
far behind enemy lines. In one mission by the Nazis.
the heroes might plan an ambush on a Like pilot characters in RAF campaigns,
German airfield, in another they could desert raiders operate from temporary
help track down a lost archaeological site bases in the Saharan oases. The security
of significance to some unnamed of these encampments depends on the
“people” at Middle East Headquarters. ever-shifting front line. When the British
Characters might even work among the advance, so do the desert bases, cutting
native Bedouin disguised as locals, travel time to objectives, but lengthening
helping them maintain reconnaissance on supply lines back to Cairo. When the
enemy units, sabotage German supply Germans advance, support from Egypt
lines, and support British operations in comes easily, but the heroes must travel
rearward areas. farther, and often through difficult terrain,
War Masters running a desert raiders to avoid Axis forces and reach their
campaign should familiarize themselves objectives behind enemy lines. How well
with SAS and LRDG operations as they accomplish their missions against
detailed in the Allied Forces sections German supply lines and military posts
above. Simple missions might include any directly affects the success or failure of
of the LRDG’s three primary objectives. To enemy actions at the front.
effectively reconnoiter enemy transport
during “road watch” heroes must sneak up Character Classes
close to the Via Balbia or other tracks Both the SAS and LRDG recruited
crossing the desert, avoiding detection, personnel from a variety of units already
and in some cases beating a fighting serving in North Africa. Almost any
retreat if discovered. For “taxi service” character class can operate in a desert
jobs they must transport various groups raiders campaign: grunts, officers, medics,
across the treacherous desert, possibly scouts, and even resistance fighters (most
joining the SAS or other commandos in often Senussi Bedouin or Majabra
daring, high-risk raids on German tribesmen, but also Free French settlers
installations. Heroes can also plan their from France’s African colonies). Prestige
own, low-key “beat ups,” ambushes on classes best suited for serving with the
transport convoys, road houses, and LRDG and SAS include the commando,
supply depots. sniper, fitter, LRDG officer, native guide,
Because such desert raiders operate as and signaler. OSI personnel might covertly
extremely independent units, they can operate with desert units, working to
also undertake special missions that attain their own objectives against
wouldn’t involve regular troops. Perhaps German supernatural forces, and keeping
they must seek out a new desert route for their true affiliation secret from their
an outflanking maneuver involving tanks, fellows.

121
Chapter Three

covertly, lest
others learn of the
greater evil behind
their authority. In
the Sahara they
wield their
energies freely,
with few around to
witness their
atrocities. Besides,
few people would
believe fantastic
accounts of the
supernatural from
a handful of
survivors whose
brains baked for
months beneath
the unforgiving
desert sun.
Sample
Campaign
Overview
A British tanker examines a Panzer III that made a solitary attack on his position. Strangely, The desert
no crew was seen bailing out of the tank when it was hit. raiders campaign
outlined below
Characters can “transfer” into a desert offers a mix of
raiders game after running through a traditional patrols with interesting twists
frontline action campaign. Heroes serving and a few exceptional missions. It
in an OSI campaign could serve on a assumes the heroes are attached to the
temporary basis with the SAS or LRDG, LRDG or SAS and have free reign to roam
secretly working to achieve their own the Sahara and harass the German rear
gains while fighting with desert forces. areas.
Personnel can always transfer back to War Masters can also mix and match
their regular units, or advance into an ideas from other story lines, particularly
entirely different campaign. Anyone those in the Frontline Action and OSI
gaining too much exposure to the campaigns. Characters could execute a
supernatural would be seconded to the commando raid much like any skirmish at
OSI, either through a permanent transfer the front, or might transport OSI
or as an agent operating with desert operatives across the desert as part of
forces. their “taxi service” duties.
Road W atch: The heroes set out on a
Watch:
Weird Exposure typical road watch—sneak up behind
Desert raiders have a high potential for enemy lines, avoid enemy patrols (recon
exposure to the supernatural. As members and aerial), set up observation positions
of an irregular unit, they have greater overlooking a well-traveled track, and
freedom of movement and action, but record German supply traffic. After
also greater opportunity to encounter overcoming various obstacles and settling
weird phenomenon, arcane relics, and into a rather tedious guard, the characters
magical powers beyond description. The notice several lorries with strange “SBG”
desert is a primordial wasteland filled markings. Perhaps they even notice weird
with untapped energy, ancient curses, and activity surrounding these transports:
exiled souls. A campaign can draw on the shambling soldiers who stumble out the
typical fare of desert adventures: ruined back and collapse in the road, boxes with
cities, mysterious maps, buried treasure arcane markings, or a detail that digs up
troves, mythical oases, lost civilizations, roadside graves, loads the corpses, and
banished magical entities. In frontline then heads toward the front. As the
combat, spiritual energy abounds but heroes prepare to leave their post and
phenomena cannot easily be explained. report their findings, a German troop
Blood mages use their powers sparingly or convoy halts near their position and

122
Operational Briefing

begins setting up camp around them! The Sonderkommando Almasy seeking the
characters must sneak and bluff their way cave’s location, recon units hunting down
out of the encampment and back to their their patrol, or a blood mage hoping to
own patrol rendezvous to report the SBG’s unleash the hidden powers of these alien
strange activities. runes.
Tibesti Taxi Service: A strange officer
Taxi Benghazi Raid: Headquarters plans a
shows up at the character’s oasis base massive counteroffensive, and needs the
with orders that they must transport him heroes to cause maximum trouble behind
across 500 miles of rocky wasteland and enemy lines. They order them to hit the
sand seas to the Tibesti mountains in the harbor, supply dumps, barracks, and
south-central Sahara. Along the way they airfield at Benghazi. Loaded with
must dodge enemy aircraft patrols and a maximum firepower and explosives, the
team of particularly tenacious German characters must bluff or sneak their way
desert explorers bent on tracking them into the city—past enemy infantry and
down (possibly Sonderkommando armor patrols—then plan their strategies
Almasy). to take out the various targets. Security in
Once they reach the mountains, the the town seems lax, so they have free
heroes must help the officer explore vast reign until someone messes up or the
ruins (populated by various forms of explosives start detonating. While troops
undead and unfriendly “guardians”) to find pour out of barracks and patrols seal off
a particular room with a strange glowing roads out of town, the heroes must
doorway. After the officer bids them escape into the desert. They have a long
farewell, he walks through the portal and journey back to their oasis base,
then the doorway disappears! The especially with enemy aircraft and recon
characters must find their own way out patrols in pursuit, hoping to exact revenge
of the ruins…right into the clutches of the for the raid.
ruthless German explorers.
Conv
Convooy Beat Up: The Germans are OSI
thrashing British forces at the front—the “The rank-and-file joke when I talk
heroes must go behind the lines and stop about the Nazis being monsters and all.
reinforcements from reaching the forward They can’t face the brutal truth—those
battlefields before the Allied lines beastly Nazis have summoned the forces
collapse. They sneak up to the via Balbia of darkness to their aid, and we must
at night, find some way to slow or stop them no matter the cost.”
distract approaching trucks (“damaged”
decoy vehicle, construction blockage, —Captain Stewart Latham, OSI
“injured” infantry patrol), and lob packs of
timed explosives into the back so they Once the characters have tasted a bit
explode down the road. of the weirdness haunting North Africa—
However, nothing goes according to or if the players want to dive into the
plan. Convoys fail to slow down or thick of things with advanced
actively try to run over or through the characters—the OSI “recruits” them
obstacles, troops lob the explosive packs through coercion or a cryptic transfer.
back at the characters, faulty fuses Perhaps they stumble on a Nazi plot,
detonate a charge in one of the heroes’ ancient treasure, or supernatural
vehicles, or an entire convoy might see occurrence, and, by sheer coincidence of
through their ruse and deploy along the their involvement, are assigned, embroiled,
road to hunt them down. or otherwise dragged into it—and eventual
Cave of W
Cav onder
Wonder s: While traveling back
onders: membership in the OSI.
from road watch duty, the heroes must Their missions have the greatest degree
find cover from an enemy aircraft patrol. of variety, from frontline action against
When they hide their vehicles in a deep- the SBG and commando raids on strategic
cut wadi, they discover a cave filled with targets to desert sorties to investigate
marvelous, primitive paintings and runes. strange ruins and espionage operations to
These depict the usual scenes of village ferret out spies in Middle East
life and hunts, but also show men with headquarters. Given the fantastic elements
strange hats falling from the sun, inhabiting the desert wastes and the
legendary or unknown animals, and supernatural forces at the Nazis’
fantastic floating cities. command, OSI personnel often find
While they try to decipher the themselves in pulp-style adventures
markings and record the paintings, they where anything goes. An OSI storyline can
must fend off enemy forces: include elements of the desert raiders

123
Chapter Three

explain to the general public


what happened when that
blood mage spontaneously
burst into flame in that Cairo
bazaar? How do OSI agents
explain the madness of a
man in hospital who can
intercept and decode
wireless transmissions in his
head? How do they conceal a
legendary Egyptian temple
rising from the sands and
pouring forth mummified
warriors?
OSI characters might work
from a variety of bases.
Middle East headquarters in
Cairo provides ready access
to military administration,
civilization, and the front
lines. Forward bases with
battlefield command offer
direct access to the fighting
and prime intelligence
filtered through headquarters
units. Attaching themselves
AN Sdkfz 232 on long-range patrol.
to an LRDG oasis camp
offers protection and
campaign, allowing characters broad transport through desert
freedom of operation and movement regions, and closer proximity to the
around the North African theater to head mysterious locations deep within the
off and eliminate incipient paranormal Sahara.
threats. Character Classes
SBG forces serve as the principle
Since only OSI personnel have
adversaries in an OSI campaign. At first
clearance to deal with extreme
glance an operation might only seem to
supernatural situations, only OSI prestige
involve regular German units, desert
classes should participate in an OSI
commandos, or special signals groups,
campaign. Their past experience in other
but something sinister always lurks
classes should prepare them for most
beneath the surface. Like the OSI, the SBG
challenges they’ll face in the field.
lurks in the background of the battles in
Members of the other character classes
North Africa, maneuvering unholy forces
who wish to join the campaign should
into position, planning schemes to
take on an OSI prestige class. In some
unearth unholy artifacts, manipulating
cases, members of OSI might masquerade
German and British personnel through
as ordinary military personnel, allowing
blackmail and magical means, and trying
them to covertly manipulate characters of
to harness, control, and unleash
other classes with necessary expertise in
supernatural entities in a desperate
achieving their objectives—and thus
struggle to crush the Allies and drive
allowing OSI and mundane classes to
them from Africa.
operate together.
If the SBG isn’t behind mysterious
happenings in the desert, some Weird Exposure
uncontrolled spiritual power is. The By its very nature, an OSI campaign has
Sahara desert is an ancient place filled the maximum exposure to weirdness. If
with the magic of lost people, the power the characters aren’t investigating
of legendary places, and the savagery of occurrences that might have supernatural
mystical beasts summoned by curses, origins, they’re busy directly combating
blood, hunger, and roaming spiritual spiritual monstrosities at the SBG’s
energy. command. Every desert ruin has an
Not only must OSI characters deal with ancient curse, each artifact possesses
paranormal threats, but they must also astounding powers, and every adversary is
keep them under wraps. How does one twisted with unholy energy.

124
Operational Briefing

Sample Campaign Overview Destr


Destrooy Seebohm: Middle East
Command cannot afford for the Germans
Unlike other campaigns, the action over
to decipher and decode any more of its
the course of several OSI adventures
valuable intelligence transmitted by
cannot escalate simply through an
wireless.
increasing amount of weirdness—
In early June 1942, during a British
challenges must increase, and the overall
thrust to dislodge Axis forces from
stakes for Allied victory—in North Africa
advances made around Gazala, the heroes
and elsewhere— must rise. The adventure
must pose as an infantry unit, penetrate
seeds below offer just a small sample of
enemy lines, locate the headquarters of
the potential missions for OSI characters
the German radio intercept group run by
and an outline for heightening the action
Hauptman Seebohm, and destroy it.
during the course of the North African
Besides dodging various battlefield
campaign.
threats, they must fight their way past
Ar chaeological Mischief: The heroes
Archaeological
supernatural horrors conjured to guard the
must track down a German archaeologist
radio intercept group and deal with a
who evaded the roundup of foreigners
blood mage attached to the unit to
when the war started. He’s known as an
aggressively protect it. They must also
expert on ancient Egyptian language and
accomplish all this while the British
hieroglyphics, and frequently studied
Eighth Army beats a fighting retreat from
papyrus scrolls from the period of
the battlefield at Gazala after a disastrous
Ramses the Great.
counterattack.
The characters follow various clues
Torch Parle
orch y: The heroes travel to the
Parley:
from the Egyptian museum and various
Moroccan desert to parley with a prince
ancient ruins along the Nile to the temple
with great influence over the local
of Abu Simbel, near Egypt’s border with
population and secret resources that
the Sudan. Here the archaeologist meets
could support Allied beach landings
up with several mysterious desert
during the upcoming Operation Torch.
explorers. These members of
Before he commits his allegiance to the
Sonderkommando Almasy intend to aid
Allies, the prince requires the characters
him in a crazed scheme to use magical
to demonstrate their authority and power
energies, an ancient scroll, and the
by vanquishing an old foe living in the
morning sunlight shining into the temple
Atlas Mountains: an ancient sorcerer who
to cast a powerful spell—perhaps one that
summons demons to protect his
alters the past, weakens British forces
impregnable fortress.
fighting at the front, or calls down some
The heroes must find and penetrate the
natural disaster on Allied armies
stronghold, defeating undead guardians
elsewhere. Obviously the heroes must
and traps. When they finally confront the
stop them.
sorcerer, they find him entertaining a Nazi
Assassinate Rommel: In November 1941
blood mage and his entourage who hope
the heroes receive intelligence from
to negotiate an unholy alliance and
Captain John Haselden working
change the course of the war.
undercover as a Senussi native in
Po
Powwer of Ancient Atlantis: With
Cyrenaica. General Rommel has his
German forces desperately engaging
personal quarters in a lightly guarded
British and American units in the region
house in a small settlement in Beda
of Kasserine Pass, the SBG makes one
Littoria, only a few miles from the coast.
final bid for Axis victory in the North
With the British Eighth Army about to
African campaign. Oberst Morder himself
launch a major offensive, the characters
leads the remnants of his unit to break
must penetrate German lines, sneak up to
out through Allied lines in the south and
the villa under cover of darkness, and
head across the Sahara for the Tibesti
assassinate Rommel.
Mountains.
Unfortunately Haselden’s intelligence
Here he hopes to find some ancient
was either incorrect or dated. The heroes
artifact among the treacherous ruins of an
stumble into the personal quarters of a
Atlantean city, a relic so powerful that it
high-ranking SBG officer charged with
might vanquish the Allied armies and help
overseeing the nearby farmhouses where
lead the Reich to a final victory. The
blood mages transform German fatalities
heroes must track him down, discover his
into reanimants and other undead horrors!
destination, and finally eliminate him,
The characters must inflict maximum
avoiding undead, mysterious guardians,
damage—perhaps even destroying the
and a dormant, primordial evil nesting
entire operation—then escape with their
among the Atlantean ruins.
lives.

125
Weird Wars

Chapter Four:
Bestiary

Fantastic creatures haunt the North medusas, mummies, rocs, sphinx, and
African deserts and mountains. Some wraiths. Troops could also encounter
emerged as war-warped entities bred from more traditional desert creatures,
intense heat, sand, blood, pain, and lost including baboons, camels, eagles, hawks,
souls of the battlefields. Other beasts rats, vipers, and a variety of monstrous
appear from the perverted activities of a vermin mutated by the supernatural
handful of blood mages operating as a energy released by warfare.
“Special Recovery Team” The number and type of critters your
(Sonderbergungsgruppe). heroes run into depends on how fantastic
Since the Waffen SS doesn’t have such a campaign you want to run. Just
an overt presence in North Africa, and remember, though, that if you are
since portions of the campaign come at a shooting for a creepy horror campaign a
relatively early time in the war, most little goes a long way. If every encounter
Allied troops aren’t likely to come into a the players have is with some sort of
lot of contact with Hitler’s twisted supernatural beastie, the horror wears off
minions. As the war progresses—and as pretty quickly. Like a good horror movie,
Rommel becomes more desperate—such you should hint at something sinister and
abominations as reanimants, brutes, and allow the players quick glimpses of evil
fext, play a greater part in the outcome of rather than bashing them over the head
battles. Given the heavy dependence on with it at every turn.
tanks, motorized infantry, air power, and A war setting also has its own intrinsic
transports, gremlins abound in a playland horror aspects. Although the war in North
of mechanized destruction. Some units Africa was fairly “civil,” there were
have encountered sluagh along the coastal isolated incidents of brutality and
regions and mountains, but deeper within unhumanity. The desert also offers
the desert regions packs of ienpu have opportunities for horror. Picture a desert
taken their niche in the war-warped patrol, low on water, that arrives at an
wastelands. oasis to find the waters filled with
Desert beasts from the Monster Manual bloated corpses and running red with
that might appear in more fantastic North blood. Or a besieged garrison that is
African campaigns include genie, gorgons, forced to find an alternate source of
griffons, harpies, lammasu, manticores, liquid refreshment…
Chapter Four

battlefields, awakened by wind and the


Aajej sheer volume of death present. Although
Huge Elemental they present a formidable foe, their rage
Hit Dice: 8d8+56 (92 hit points) slowly dwindles as the fires of combat
Initiative: +0 (+0 Dex)
Initiative: fade and dissipate.
Speed: 50 ft.
AC: 11 (–1 Dex, +4 natural, –2 size) Combat
Attacks: +9 melee An aajej attempts to envelop its
Damage: Whirlwind 2d6+7 enemies, lashing out with sandy gusts
Face/Reach: 10 ft. by 5 ft./15 ft. that contain airborne debris. The vast
Special Attacks: Whirlwind sandstorm rumbles past those who seek
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 15/+1 shelter and hope to wait it out, but it
Sa
Savves: Fort +11, Ref +1, Will +2 vigorously assails anyone caught in its
Abilities: Str 24, Dex 9, Con 20, Int 5, Wis path who actively opposes it.
4, Cha 2 Damage Reduction (Su): Due to its
Skills: Intimidate +3, Spot +3 composite physique, an aajej has damage
Feats: — reduction of 15/+1.
Climate/T errain: Desert
Climate/Terrain: Elemental: Immune to poison, sleep,
Organization: Solitary paralysis, and stunning. Not subject to
Challenge Rating: 8 critical hits.
Treasur
easure:e: None Whirlwind (Su): The aajej primarily
Alignment: Neutral evil attacks as a whirlwind, enveloping foes,
Adv ancement: None
dvancement: pummeling them with stones and small
Rising from patches of dry, bloodied items made airborne in its fierce currents,
sand, the aajej attack as raging dust and even lifting and tossing enemies
devils, whipping loose debris and sand at through the air. On a normal attack roll, an
those caught in their fierce winds. aajej can strike multiple opponents with
For centuries the Bedouin of southern airborne debris for 2d6+3 damage.
Morocco have encountered aajej, fierce Medium-size or smaller creatures must
sandstorms they fight with knifes. With also make a Reflex save (DC 15) to keep
North Africa engulfed in battle, the aajej from being blown off their feet, propelled
raise themselves throughout the Sahara at though the air, and cast back against the
points where the fighting becomes most ground from a great height. Thrown
savage. victims sustain 4d6 damage. Those with
Blood shed in the desert seeps into the solid shelter (hut, tank, cave) gain
sand, staining it with liquid and with the immunity from these attacks. An aajej
magical essence of the dying creature. tears apart and uproots such light shelters
When infused with the hot desert wind, as tents.
these restless spirits become the small The sand and debris picked up in the
and harmless dust devils one sees whirlwind obscures all vision, limiting it
meandering across the wastelands. But to 5 feet. Anyone within 5 feet has one-
when the wind rouses the sands where half concealment, while anyone farther
many died, it raises the dread aajej, a than that gains total concealment. The
towering sandstorm funnel empowered whirlwind of an average aajej is 30’ in
with the supernatural and malignant diameter.
energy of those destroyed in battle. These
tormented souls combine their energy to
Adventure Seeds
become one monstrosity that wreaks As a hidden foe that rises when least
havoc on the living. expected, an aajej can suddenly fly up in
In its dormant state, the aajej appears the midst of a heated battle to add an
as a vast reddish patch of sand. Those extra complication to the fray. The aajej
who traverse it rarely realize the horror also plague those crossing vast expanses
upon which they tread, for the aajej of desert, particularly those near sites of
remains quiet until awakened by storms bloody conflict in the recent or ancient
both meteorological and emotional. Wind past.
and anger whip it into a fury that only They might also serve as guardians of
dissipates once the stormy conditions ruins haunted by the memory of many
disappear or it slakes its considerable deaths. Heroes working for the OSI might
thirst for conflict. Some aajej whirl seek some way to control the aajej and
through the desert wastelands, seeking employ it in the war effort, possibly
anyone upon whom they can vent their searching for clues, legends, and lost
violent temper. Others rise suddenly from spells in remote desert locations of long-
forgotten civilizations.

128
Bestiary

that makes sense. They enjoy puzzling


Cipher Imp over Morse Code messages, running
Small Outsider through possible encryption solutions
Hit Dice: 1d8 (5 hit points) aloud, and triumphantly screeching the
Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex)
Initiative: decoded information to their handler. In
Speed: 20 ft.; fly 50 ft. (perfect) exchange for their services, the imps feast
AC: 12 (+1 Dex, +1 size) on frequent rewards of sausage, captured
Attacks: Claws +3 melee tinned beef, and scraps from the officers’
Damage: Claw 1d3 and poison mess.
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft. When they’re not put to work reading
Special Attacks: Poison Allied signals traffic, the imps wander
Special Qualities: Fire and poison around the office, napping in cozy
immunity, know languages, see in corners, rifling through piles of old
darkness dispatches, and generally getting
Sa
Savves: Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3 underfoot. They don’t like being bored,
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 16, and sometimes wander off to cause
Wis 13, Cha 5 mischief or find an intriguing
Skills: Decipher Script +15*, Hide +5, conundrum to solve. The imps
Listen +5, Move Silently +2 aren’t very hardy creatures, so
Feats: Weapon Finesse (claws) they don’t survive sudden
Climate/T errain: Temperate
Climate/Terrain: artillery barrages or enemy
Organization: Solitary raids very well. As long as the
Challenge Rating: 2 SBG operates in
Treasur
easure:e: None North Africa,
Alignment: Lawful evil however, they
Adv ancement: None
dvancement: can always
Nazi blood summon a
mages summon few more.
imps from
another plane of Combat
existence— Cipher
possibly even the depths imps are quite
of Hell itself—to aid aware of their
cryptographers in mortality on
decoding and deciphering the earthly
vital Allied radio plane, and
transmissions to gather exercise extreme
intelligence on caution in
upcoming operations dangerous
and British military situations. When
strength. threatened they
Cipher imps are two- emit piercing
foot-high creatures shrieks to alert
with a devilish look their handlers or
about them: gangly nearby sentries
limbs, red-scaled skin, to their plight.
barbed tail, bat wings, Imps avoid
and a leering face topped combat when
by two horns. They chatter possibly, flying
incessantly in a variety of or scurrying
languages (sometimes mixing away and
several at once), stopping only to retreating to
stuff their toothy maws with hard-to-reach
treats from their handlers. spaces. They
Elite German signals units like lash out with
Alfred Seebohm’s Horchkompanie their poisoned
employ these imps as translators claws only when
and cipher clerks. The beasts hop cornered or trying
around the office listening to to escape.
intercepted Allied transmissions Fire and Poison
and babbling possible solutions Immunity (Ex): Cipher imps are
until the signalers hear something immune to fire and poison.

129
Chapter Four

Kno
Knoww Languages (Su): Cipher imps Allied signals interception and decoding
have a fluency in all languages, including efforts. Since the Germans, and SBG
contemporary ones and ancient tongues especially, jealously guard the secrets
lost ages ago. surrounding their decoding efforts, the
Poison (Ex): A cipher imp’s claws heroes must overcome numerous
contain a poison that addles the minds of challenges to reach their goals: minefields,
those it strikes. Anyone taking damage protective spells, and an SBG bodyguard
from the claws must make a DC 10 unit.
Fortitude save or suffer a temporary loss Another mission might center around
of 1d6 Wisdom; secondary damage discovering the spell by which Nazi blood
includes a temporary loss of 1d6 mages summon the cipher imps, stealing
Dexterity and a temporary loss of an it for use by Allied adepts. The characters
additional 1d4 Wisdom. must retrieve and destroy all known
See in Dar kness (Su): As devilish
Darkness copies in German hands, and eliminate all
creatures, cipher imps can see perfectly in those who know the spell or handle the
darkness of any kind, including that cipher imps.
created by spells.
Skills: *Cipher imps receive a +10 racial Colossus
bonus to Decipher Script checks, even Large Construct
when breaking codes and ciphers without Hit Dice: 6d10 (33 hit points)
proper equipment and encoding Initiative: +3 (–1 Dex, +4 Improved
Initiative:
information. Initiative)
Adventure Seeds Speed: 20 ft.
AC: 16 (+0 Dex, +7 natural, –1 size)
The heroes might first encounter cipher
Attacks: +8 melee
imps when they raid or overrun an Afrika
Damage: Large spear 2d6+5, large falchion
Korps signals post. If they don’t encounter
2d6+5, or fists 1d8+5
them firsthand, they might find evidence
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./10 ft.
that they exist: cupboards made to
Special Attacks: Frightful presence
comfortably shelter the small creatures,
Special Qualities: Freeze, stoneskin
claw marks on tabletops, or shed red
Sa
Savves: Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +8
scales. Once the OSI learns that the
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 10, Con — , Int — , Wis
Germans employ cipher imps to decrypt
16, Cha 9
and decode British transmissions, it
Skills: Hide +8*
assigns the characters to somehow
Feats: —
capture, tame, and turn an imp to aid
Climate/T errain: Desert, ruins,
Climate/Terrain:
underground
Organization: Solitary, pair, or court (4–8)
Challenge Rating: 4
Summon Cipher Imp Treasur
easure:e: None
Conjuration (Summoning) Alignment: Lawful neutral
Lev
Le vel: Adt 3 Adv ancement: None
dvancement:
Runes: Dagaz, Ansuz, Laguz Colossi protect ruins, underground
Casting Time: 15 minutes chambers, and remote desert sites. At first
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) colossi seem like massive stone statues
Ef
Efffect: One summoned cipher imp decorating ancient architecture. They
Duration: Permanent stand between columns, in decorated
Sa ving Thr
Saving ow: None
Thro niches, or flanking entrances to temple
Spell Resistance: No gateways and inner sanctums. Arcane
This spell allows an adept to summon one cipher magic, curses, or the power of primeval
imp into his presence. The imp owes basic allegiance gods animate them as guardians of the
to the adept or anyone he designates as the imp’s precincts they inhabit. When trespassers
handler. The creature serves the handler as long as it’s enter they come to life, preventing further
fed and kept busy solving deciphering and decoding passage and attacking intruders. Some
puzzles—otherwise it wanders off on its own to find stand watch alone, while those guarding
food and diversion. Most handlers furnish small, portals appear in pairs. Temple colonnades
locked cupboards where the imps can rest when their or underground vaults often have a
services are not required. colossus in each space between the
The imp remains in the handler’s service until killed columns.
or vanquished by a dispel magic spell. These towering statues depict ancient
gods, statesmen, and warriors. Ancient
Egyptian colossi inhabit the desert and

130
Bestiary

oases. They often possess characteristics Frightful Presence (Ex): When a


of the god to whom the area was colossus comes to life, it may initially
dedicated. Recumbent lions might guard a frighten others with its unnerving
shrine to Sekhmet, lioness-headed presence. Those of 5th level and lower
goddess of warfare. Looming statues of must make a DC 13 Will save or flee as
Set, god of chaos and destruction, could best they can, suffering a –2 morale
protect the gateway to one of his hidden, penalty on attack rolls, weapon damage,
underground sanctuaries. Colossi along and saving throws. Those who make the
the coast have Roman or Greek origins— Will save become immune to the
they frequently depict elder statesmen or colossus’ frightful presence for one entire
bold warriors in a larger-than-life scale. day.
Few colossi remain in the more populated Skills: *Colossi gain a +8 racial bonus
Moslem regions. Islam’s strict prohibition to Hide checks when concealed as
against graven images in or statuary in an appropriate architectural
near holy sites long ago setting (ruins, temples, decorated
prompted the destruction of underground chambers).
many colossi in heavily Stoneskin (Sp): A colossus’ stone
populated regions. Those physique resists many attacks
remaining now stand in from melee and ranged weapons
shunned, cursed, or remote (excluding firearms and
areas where few dare to explosives), giving it 10/+5
travel. damage reduction. It ignores
the first 10 points of
Combat damage each time such a
Animated colossi weapon hits it,
act according to although a weapon
prescribed with a +5
directives: some enhancement
deny entry to a bonus or any
sacred area, magical attack
others simply ignores this
eliminate all reduction.
opponents.
They strike Adventure
with Seeds
powerful
Colossi are best
blows using
suited for
their rocky
encounters in ruins,
fists or
ancient temples, and
weapons that
underground
are part of
chambers. Since their
their sculpture.
stoneskin ability
Construct:
still leaves them
Immune to
vulnerable to
mind-influencing
contemporary
effects, poison,
firearms,
disease, and similar
they rely
effects. Not subject to
on their
critical hits, subdual
ability to
damage, ability
fade into
damage, energy drain,
architectural
or death from
elements
massive damage.
and
Freeze (Ex): Colossi
surprise
blend into their
opponents to gain
surroundings as
the upper hand.
decorative statues.
Colossi serve best
Until a colossus
as guardians for
animates itself,
temple sanctuaries or
observers must make a
subterranean
DC 20 Spot check to notice
treasuries. They fight to
anything out of the ordinary.
prevent heroes from

131
Chapter Four

heroes to find some means of controlling


and neutralizing such constructs. The
Colossus Inscriptions characters might stumble onto an SBG
Colossi often have inscriptions on their bodies, plot to recover and command an army of
bases, or nearby architectural elements warning colossi on the battlefield—a scheme the
intruders or proclaiming their purposes. Those of heroes must stop at all costs.
ancient Egyptian provenance have the most colorful
warnings:
Corpse Mine
“Hail colossus; if it be decreed to do labors in the Medium-size Undead
Red or Black land, to smite those who trespass on Hit Dice: 2d12+3 (16 hit points)
sacred ground, or to carry sand from East to the West, Initiativ e: +0 (+0 Dex)
Initiative:
you shall say, ‘I will work, verily I am here when thou Speed: 5 ft.
callest.’” AC: 15 (+5 natural)
“As for any people who would enter this place Attacks: Claws +2 melee
unclean and do something evil to it, there will be Damage: Claws 1d4+1
judgment against them by the great god!” Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
“I stand that I may protect thee, smiting down for Special Attacks: Self-Explosion
thee thine enemies, taking vengeance upon the doer of Special Qualities: Undead
evil.” Sa
Savves: Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +3
“As for anyone who enters this place unclean, I shall Abilities: Str 13, Dex 10, Con —, Int 5, Wis
seize him by the neck like a bird, he will be judged for 10, Cha 1
it by the great god!” Skills: Hide +10*, Search +2, Spot +5
“The harpoon is deep in Apophis, the Evil, he falls Feats: Toughness
by the sword; and those who chose war are huddled Climate/T errain: Any land
Climate/Terrain:
for slaughter.” Organization: Deployed in fields of 2–20
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasur
easure:e: None
Alignment: Lawful evil
entering a particularly vital area, so the Adv ancement: None
dvancement:
characters do not reach their goal without Given the lack of reliable supply lines
a good fight. from Europe, German forces frequently
The OSI might assign scavenge useful items from the battlefield
characters to explore and employ mundane equipment in
temple ruins in which military roles. Corpse mines combine this
they encounter Teutonic practicality with magic. Although
colossi, or they weaker and less reliable than
could require conventional land mines, these makeshift
weapons make use of available materials
recovered from battlefields: corpses and
scrap metal.
Blood mages reanimate the
dead—particularly those with their
legs blown off—strap salvaged
helmets, metal plates, even
cookware to their bodies, and

132
Bestiary

bury them just beneath the desert floor. the threat corpse mines pose to the
The corpses become aware when they physical well-being, sanity, and morale of
sense a life-force nearby, burrow up Allied soldiers—might seek some magical
through the sand, and attack. means to detect and defuse these beasts,
These corpses prove most effective as eventually tracking down and destroying
antipersonnel mines—they are too weak to the SBG encampment where blood mages
seriously damage vehicles. Since corpse create them.
mines use scrap metal to create shrapnel
when they explode, those searching for Flugzeuggeist
mines with metal detectors have the same Large Aberration
chance to find these corpses. Hit Dice: 4d8+12 (30 hit points)
Combat Initiativ e: +1 (+1 Dex)
Initiative:
Speed: 10 ft., fly 90 ft.
Corpse mines primarily claw at their
AC: 16 (+1 Dex, +6 natural, –1 size)
victims, attempting to gain a firm grasp.
Attacks: Shrapnel +4 ranged, talons +7
Once they attach themselves to their prey,
melee
corpse mines focus raging spiritual energy
Damage: Spitting shrapnel 3d8, talons
in their bodies and explode.
1d6+4 and 1d6 fire
Self-Explosion (Su): Corpse mines can
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.
concentrate malevolent spiritual energy
Special Attacks: —
within their remains and explode.
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 feet,
Normally this only inflicts damage on
Evasion, Fire Subtype
anyone in their grasp: 3d6 plus any
Sa
Sav ves: Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +5
remaining hit points the corpse may still
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 4, Wis
have.
13, Cha 6
The blood mages who resurrect corpses
Skills: Intimidate +2, Intuit Direction +5,
as mines first strap to their bodies
Spot +7
salvaged metal plates, helmets, and other
Feats: Flyby Attack
scrap metal to serve as shrapnel. When
Climate/T errain: Mountains, desert
Climate/Terrain:
the modified corpse mine explodes, hot,
Organization: Elements (2) or flights (4)
metallic shards rend the air—those in their
Challenge Rating: 4
grasp sustain damage equal to 6d6 plus
Treasur
easure:e: None
any of the corpse’s remaining hit points. A
Alignment: Neutral evil
DC 20 Reflex save allows the victim to
Adv ancement: None
dvancement:
wrestle free and sustain half damage.
Flugzeuggeists—German for “airplane
Others within the corpse’s blast radius of
ghost”—rise from the charred wreckage of
15 feet only take 3d6 damage (halved on a
aircraft. They appear as fiery, winged
successful DC 15 Reflex save). Avoiding
demons streaking through the sky,
the blast of one corpse mine may very
spitting molten shrapnel at targets in the
well put one within reach of another
air and on the ground.
corpse waiting just beneath the sandy
When nobody retrieves and buries the
surface. Using this power destroys the
bodies of downed pilots, their restless
corpse mine.
spirits haunt the wreckage. In some cases,
Skills: *Corpse mines gain a +5 racial
their tormented emotions fuse with fire
bonus to Hide checks when concealed
from the crash and parts of the damaged
just beneath the ground.
plane. The result appears like a flaming
Undead: As undead creatures, corpse
demon, flapping shredded wings, twisting
mines have immunity against mind-
it’s dragon-like fuselage, clawing at
influencing effects, poison, sleep,
opponents with talons of crushed landing
paralysis, stunning, and disease. They
gear, and spitting molten shrapnel from
ignore critical hits, subdual damage,
its snout.
ability damage, and energy drain.
These fiends fly from aeries in the
Adventure Seeds mountains, seeking living enemies on
Heroes may encounter corpse mines whom to wreak their vengeance. They
during the course of any mission where somehow still retain a surreal need for the
they must navigate a minefield. The SBG camaraderie of other fellow airmen, and
particularly uses these abominations to the discipline required for aerial combat.
guard the perimeters of their field They soar in formation and coordinate
headquarters or facilities where they actions as if they were a living fighter
employ blood magic far from the sight of squadron. German blood mages try
mundane Afrika Korps troops. Particularly controlling small groups of flugzeuggeists
ambitious characters—once they realize using spells such as emotion and

133
Chapter Four

Adventure Seeds
The heroes form part of an
OSI squad charged with
finding and taming a
squadron of

flugzeuggeists
to support an
upcoming Allied offensive.
Although the RAF dominates
much of the sky over North
Africa, Axis air forces still
harass British ground troops
and threaten Mediterranean
shipping.
The characters must track
down rumors of flugzeuggeists
suggestion.
among the Senussi Bedouin,
These
climb into the Akhdar Mountains
attempts are
in Cyrenaica to their aerie, and use
not very
whatever means necessary (persuasion,
successful since
magic, miracles) to bring the aberrations
these creatures
to the Allies’ aid in time for the
were not created from blood magic like
offensive. A rival team of Nazi blood
reanimants. In a few cases, the
mages also seeks to enslave these
flugzeuggeists have turned on the blood
creatures—if the heroes don’t reach the
mages in fury.
aerie in time, they might walk right into a
Combat fiery trap.
Flugzeuggeists prefer to engage enemies
from the air, frequently employing their Ghul
flyby attacks. They spit molten shrapnel Medium-size Undead
at opponents (with a range increment of Hit Dice: 3d12 (19 hit points)
200 feet), though they sometimes rake Initiativ e: +0 (+0 Dex)
Initiative:
ground targets with their twisted landing- Speed: 30 ft.
gear talons. They rarely engage in melee AC: 13 (+3 natural)
combat, especially when it’s more Attacks: Bite +2 melee; 2 claws +0 melee
advantageous for them to fly away from Damage: Bite 1d6+1, claw 1d4+1
dangerous foes. Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Burn (Ex): Anyone hit by a Special Attacks: Fear Aura
flugzeuggeist’s melee attack must make a Special Qualities: Undead
DC 17 Reflex save or catch fire, taking 1d6 Sa
Savves: Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +5
damage immediately and for 1d4 turns Abilities: Str 13, Dex 10, Con —, Int 6, Wis
thereafter, or until they put out the 14, Cha 12
flames. Those making melee attacks Skills: Climb +5, Hide +4*, Intuit Direction
against this creature also catch fire if they +3, Jump +5, Listen +5, Move Silently +6,
do not make the Reflex save. A person on Spot +6
fire can make a move-equivalent action to Feats: —
extinguish the flame by rolling on the Climate/T errain: Warm mountains, desert
Climate/Terrain:
ground or jumping in water. Organization: Solitary, gang (2–4) or pack
Dar kvision 60 ffeet
Darkvision eet (7–12)
Fire Subtype (Ex): Its fiery nature gives
Fire Challenge Rating: 3
the flugzeuggeist fire immunity, but it Treasur
easure: e: None
takes double damage from cold attacks Alignment: Chaotic evil
unless it makes a successful save. Adv ancement: None
dvancement:

134
Bestiary

Ghûl is the Arabic term for evil spirits Fear Aura (Su): Ghûls continuously
that haunt the night, abducting and eating exude an aura of fear fueled by their evil
babies, consuming flesh, and striking reputation among the various peoples of
terror in peaceful souls. Various legends North Africa. Upon first seeing a ghûl, the
claim they rise from the unburied bodies viewer must make a DC 15 Will save or be
of murderers, torturers, and the paralyzed with fear for 1d4 rounds. This
perpetrators of ability can only affect a viewer once per
unspeakable crimes. day, even after a failed Will save. Those
These corpse who make the save are immune to the
eaters pick over fear effect for 24 hours.
battlefields, burrow Skills: * Ghûls’ sandy coloration
through hastily dug and skin texture gives them a +4
graveyards, and prey racial bonus to Hide checks
on those foolish when concealed in desert or
enough to mountainous terrain.
venture into the Undead: Ghûls are
night when the immune to mind-
smell of influencing effects,
burned flesh poison, sleep,
and spilt paralysis, stunning,
blood wafts and disease. They
thick are not affected
through the by critical hits,
air. In their subdual
cowardly damage,
demeanor ability
as nighttime damage,
scavengers, energy drain, or
they subsist on death from
the dead flesh massive damage.
that abounds from
the combat in Adventure Seeds
North Africa. If While on nighttime
pressed, however, they patrol reconnoitering
gladly prey on the enemy defenses and
living, often the weak, witless, probing for
dying, or helpless. weaknesses,
These hairless, gangly the heroes
creatures know no masters. stumble
Some live like solitary hermits
among caves and sewers,
venturing out at night to terrorize
anyone within their hunting range. into an abandoned German trench. Bodies
Others form packs that create litter the ditches and craters, presumably
impenetrable warrens, infest ruins, swarm left here after an intense bombardment.
through abandoned trenches, or camp After picking their way through booby-
amidst battlefield wreckage. Attempts to traps, wrecked supply huts, and partially
capture and tame them for use as destroyed bunkers, they discover the
unconventional soldiers inevitably fail remains of a field headquarters. But as
given the beasts’ savage nature, barbaric they rummage though the debris
existence, and chaotic origins. searching for intelligence, they discover
the true nature of the trench’s final
Combat demise. A large pack of ghûls encamped
Solitary ghûls prefer ambushing their in underground bunkers emerges seeking
prey from carefully chosen hiding places. nourishment—from the characters’ still-
Ghûl packs overwhelm victims by their living bodies!
numbers, using the terrain to their The surrounded heroes must find a way
advantage in swiftly attacking and to escape. If they are successful, the next
withdrawing to regroup. Few would attack question is, do they report this to
a healthy, armed soldier without some headquarters? The scuttlebutt around
sort of overwhelming tactical advantage camp says that people reporting strange
or a pressing need for food. occurrences tend to vanish.

135
Chapter Four

numbers and agile speed to penetrate


Ienpu more populated areas, dodging more able-
Medium-size Magical Beast bodied souls to reach those who need a
Hit Dice: 1d10+1 (7 hit points) little nudge toward death. They even lurk
Initiative: +2 (+2 Dex)
Initiative: near field hospitals, waiting until the
Speed: 40 ft. dead of night before making off with the
AC: 12 (+2 Dex) more hopeless cases. These otherworldly
Attacks: Bite +1 melee, or claw –3 melee dogs prey on the mortally wounded, weak,
Damage: Bite 1d6; claw 1d4 thirsty, feverish, and those unfortunate
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./ 5ft. enough to travel alone through the harsh
Special Attacks: Confusion desert. When fighting doesn’t produce
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low- accessible victims, packs of ienpu dig up
light vision the numerous graveyards scattered across
Sa
Savves: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +0 the North African front, seeking souls
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 2, Wis still trapped in corpses.
12, Cha 6 Ienpu frequently appear in packs of 5
Skills: Listen +3, Spot +3, Wilderness Lore to 20 dogs. When killed, the spirit of
+5* Anubis flees from their bodies, but the
Feats: Dodge other ienpu inevitably drag the body off
Climate/T errain: Warm mountains, desert
Climate/Terrain: to consume it in their lair.
Organization: Pack (5–20) As emissaries from the underworld,
Challenge Rating: 2 ienpu always approach from the west.
Treasur
easure:e: None They cannot enter doorways or portals
Alignment: Neutral Evil facing north, east, or south, thus offering
Adv ancement: None
dvancement: potential victims a chance to find shelter
Although they resemble the jackals that inside a building, vehicle, or other
roam the desert wastelands feeding off structure with all western entries blocked
carrion, ienpu are supernatural or guarded.
messengers of the ancient god Anubis
sent to aid souls on their way to the Combat
underworld. Ienpu packs overwhelm their
Ienpu appear in packs anywhere they opponents,
smell a distressed or dying soul. Some distracting them
say they materialize as the sun descends with constant
into the western horizon, while others barking while
believe they emerge from hidden caves single members nip
that serve as portals to the underworld. at them from
They prefer to attack when the odds are unexpected
in their favor. Ienpu roam the remote quarters. They use
regions of the Sahara, but also use their their superior
numbers to maintain

136
Bestiary

enough attacks to wear down their prey.


Ienpu disperse if their pack loses more Judgment Beast
than half its members. Huge Outsider
Darkvision 60 ft. Hit Dice: 12d8+60 (114 hit points)
Distraction (Su): As long as at least Initiativ e: +3 (–1 Dex, +4 Improved
Initiative:
five ienpu remain in a pack, their Initiative)
constant yapping and maneuvering creates Speed: 40 ft.
an aura of distraction that may panic AC: 13 (–1 Dex, –2 size, +6 natural)
their prey. Those failing a DC 10 Will save Attacks: Bite +21 melee, claws +16 melee
become panicked—they suffer from a –2 Damage: Bite 2d6+9, claw 2d4+9
morale penalty on saving throws, have a Face/Reach: 10 ft. by 20 ft./10 ft.
50% chance to drop anything in their Special Attacks: Frightful presence,
grasp, and they flee the pack in a improved grab, trample
randomly determined direction (one that Special Qualities: Fire and poison
seems perfectly logical to the panicked immunity, invisible in sunlight, see in
character at the time). If cornered, the darkness
panicked target cowers; he loses his Sa
Savves: Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +8
Dexterity bonus to AC, may take no Abilities: Str 28, Dex 9, Con 20, Int 7, Wis
actions, and becomes a stationary target 14, Cha 3
that attackers can hit with a +2 bonus. Skills: Hide +5, Intuit Direction +12, Hide
Lo w-light vision
Low-light +11, Intimidate +4, Listen +16, Move
Skills: *Ienpu receive a +5 racial bonus Silently +9, Search +10, Spot +16,
to Wilderness Lore checks when tracking Wilderness Lore +12
by scent. Feats: Improved Critical, Improved
Initiative, Track
Adventure Seeds Climate/T errain: Warm mountains, desert
Climate/Terrain:
Their ability to sniff out bodies with Organization: Solitary
remnants of the soul still inside makes Challenge Rating: 12
the ienpu useful supernatural hounds. The Treasur
easure: e: None
OSI might assign characters the task of Alignment: Lawful evil
somehow capturing and training a team Adv ancement: None
dvancement:
of ienpu to uncover lurking corpse mines, Judgment beasts are manifestations of
whose remaining spiritual energy powers the ancient Egyptian goddess Ammut,
their explosive capabilities but gives them eater of the souls of those whose hearts
away to creatures seeking souls. The are judged impure and unfit to enter the
heroes could also uncover an SBG plot to afterlife. The fantastic creatures mirror the
harness the ienpu’s abilities as goddess’s appearance, with the head of a
otherworldly war dogs, overwhelming crocodile, mane and foreparts of a lion,
field hospitals to cause confusion behind and hindquarters of a hippopotamus.
the lines before an imminent Afrika Korps Judgment beasts rarely appear in the
attack. The SBG might try using the dogs earthly realm, and even then only in lands
as guard beasts for their camps, where formerly conquered by the ancient
the creatures would wear down the Egyptians. They pass from another plane
courage of those trying to penetrate such of existence to hunt down and consume
sensitive facilities. those with impure hearts who have
If the ienpu become a frequent threat somehow cheated death in an unnatural
in their campaign (or a tactical weapon in or magical way.
the hands of the SBG), the characters Those evildoers who deserved to die
could seek some protective measures and found some infernal means of raising
against the dogs’ ability to panic their their earthly remains might meet a
prey. Perhaps they research ancient spells judgment beast in the dark cold of night
among the papyrus scrolls at the Egyptian when they least expect it. Nobody quite
Museum in Cairo, search for evidence knows how the creatures enter the earthly
from the fabled library of Alexandria, plane, though once discovered, they can
explore temple or tomb ruins for clues, or only leave it through their own
somehow contact Anubis himself or his destruction.
earthly avatars. Knowing the morale- Sometimes the beasts emerge just
weakening value of ienpu, whether or not when their prey is surmounting
under their control, the SBG does overwhelming odds, when he would
everything in its power to stop the heroes unjustly escape with his life once again to
on their quest to protect against the continue his villainous ways. Other times
ienpu. the creature appear at the wrong place, or

137
Chapter Four

a location its victim recently abandoned,


and it must hunt down the cursed person
Summon Judgment Beast at night. In these cases, it inevitably runs
Conjuration (Summoning) into unwitting opposition from those
Le
Lev vel: Adt 9 terrorized by its composite body and
Components: Authentic ancient Egyptian Book of fierce demeanor. It continues its hunt
the Dead, Chapter 125 until someone slays it in combat or its
Runes: Thurisaz, Tiewaz, Laguz victim dies.
Casting Time: 1 hour Only the most powerful blood mages
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) know how to summon the judgment
Ef
Efffect: One summoned judgment beast beast for their own foul purposes, though
Duration: Permanent this knowledge came at great cost of
Sa ving Thr
Saving ow: None
Thro research, espionage, and sacrifice.
Spell Resistance: No Combat
This spell allows an adept to summon one
A judgment beast becomes a
judgment beast into his presence. Casting the spell
formidable foe in combat. It first snaps at
requires the three runes as well as an authentic
its prey with its immense crocodile jaws,
papyrus scroll inscribed with Chapter 125 of the Book
attempting to get a grip and use its
of the Dead, in which the deceased’s heart is weighed
Improved Grab ability to inflict damage on
on the scales and tossed to the beast if it is judged
the victim each round. The beast
impure. The scroll spontaneously burns during the
constantly maneuvers its body, shielding
course of casting this spell and becomes a useless
its head from attacks and trampling
heap of ashes afterwards.
anyone unfortunate enough to fall under
Upon summoning the judgment beast, the
the powerful hippopotamus legs at its
spellcaster must specify the name of a particular
hindquarter. It continues fighting until
individual (the prey) and make a convincing argument
nobody remains to oppose it, or it has
that the victim has an impure heart and has somehow
consumed the impure heart it was sent to
cheated his rightful death. To do this, the caster must
destroy.
make a DC 20 Bluff or Diplomacy check (the War
Fire and Poison Immunity (Ex): A
Master may factor in a bonus based on convincing
judgment beast has immunity from fire
roleplaying of this accusation)—if he fails, the beast
and poison.
immediate attacks the caster.
Frightful Presence (Ex): When a
The judgment beast can only be summoned in
judgment beast first appears, it may
regions formerly conquered by the ancient Nile
initially frighten others with its unnerving
civilization: Egypt, northern Anglo-Egyptian Sudan,
presence. Those of 12th level and lower
Palestine, and Syria. The creature can only hunt and
must make a DC 12
attack victims who are physically in these areas.
Will save or flee as
best they can,
suffering a –2
morale penalty
on attack rolls,
weapon

138
Bestiary

damage, and saving throws. Those who a lion or crocodile—as a beast travels
make the Will save become immune to through more populated areas on its way
the beast’s frightful presence for one toward its intended prey. What begins as a
whole day. simple investigation soon leads the
Impr
Impro oved Grab (Ex): If the judgment heroes into a confrontation with the
beast hits a Large or smaller-sized target judgment beast that is none too pleased
with its bite attack, it maintains its grip to encounter them.
and deals bite damage each round until
the prey is either dead or somehow freed Sand-Rot Mummy
from its grasp. Medium-size Undead
Invisible in Sunlight (Ex): A judgment Hit Dice: 2d12+3 (16 hit points)
beast is invisible in direct sunlight, Initiative: +0 (+0 Dex)
Initiative:
though others can see it in shadow or Speed: 30 ft.
artificial light (both firelight of candles AC: 12 (+0 Dex, +2 natural)
and torches, plus that of headlights and Attacks: Slam +2 melee
spotlights). Damage: By weapon or slam 1d6+1
See in Dar kness (Su): As a devilish
Darkness Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
manifestation, a judgment beast can see Special Qualities: Damage reduction,
perfectly in darkness of any kind, undead, partial actions only
including that created by spells. Sa
Savves: Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +3
Trample (Ex): An enraged Abilities: Str 13, Dex 10, Con –,
judgment beast can trample nearby Int –, Wis 10, Cha 1
Huge or smaller opponents for Skills: —
2d6+9 points of damage. Those who Feats: Toughness
choose not to make attacks of Climate/T errain:
Climate/Terrain:
opportunity against the creature can Warm mountains,
attempt a DC 24 Reflex save to halve desert
the damage. Organization:
Adventure Seeds Gang (2–5),
squad (6–10), or
A judgment beast should appear
mob (11–20)
only rarely during the North African
Challenge
campaign, possibly as the climax of
Rating: 2
a story arc. Although the OSI might
Treasur
easure:e: None
know the creatures exist—and even
Alignment:
have the knowledge to summon
Neutral
one—they might avoid dabbling in
Adv ancement:
dvancement:
that kind of magic given the
None
beast’s limited range and its
Sand-rot
potential to go out of control
mummies rise from
during the summoning.
dunes where the blood
The SBG, however, has no
of the slain and the hot
qualms about researching the
desert transform corpses
spell, collecting a copy of
into shambling bodies
the ancient Book of the Dead,
filled with rage against
and summoning a judgment
the living.
beast for their own purposes.
For centuries the
Perhaps the heroes first learn of
cultures inhabiting the arid
this scheme when thieves steal a
desert preserved their dead
papyrus from the Cairo Museum
by removing the moisture
containing the judgment chapter from
and decomposing
the Book of the Dead. Strange
elements of the body.
happenings at archaeological sites in
The Saharan sands
Egypt might also give away the SBG’s
naturally desiccate
plans.
anything containing
The characters might investigate a
moisture left buried
brutal slaying in Cairo or in an Allied
there for any length
rear area, discovering clues that
of time. For those
could only prove that a judgment
killed in the dunes or
beast slaughtered the victim.
buried in great sandy
They could run across other
patches their anger and
murders or attacks—supposedly by
fear at their death

139
Chapter Four

imbues their blood with energy that Adventure Seeds


transforms the sand and later empowers
Nobody’s quite sure exactly how sand-
their broken bodies.
rot mummies come into existence, so
The sand absorbs the blood, bodily
finding a way to create and control them—
fluids, and spiritual energy, desiccating
or prevent their formation—could become
the body and mutating it into a ghastly
the focus of the heroes’ mission. The
shadow of the human it used to be. The
characters could guard an Allied
sand not only dries out the corpse but
laboratory experimenting with various
crystallizes parts of their bodies into a
chemicals to weaken or dissolve the
hardy, leathery substance, making them
mummies’ flesh—meaning they need a
more resistant to damage from all types
fresh supply of captured mummies the
of weapons. Their hardened skins tend to
heroes must acquire. German agents might
slow them down, however.
try infiltrating this facility to sabotage
Although they aren’t wrapped in the
operations or steal the chemical formula
linen gauze one associates with
for their own use.
traditional ancient Egyptian mummies,
Perhaps the OSI obtains reports of a
sand-rot mummies still present a
secret SBG camp deep behind enemy lines
frightening sight. They emerge from the
where blood mages experiment on
sand and shamble about, moaning,
creating sand-rot mummies of their own.
howling, and venting their rage against
Unfortunately this research requires killing
those more fortunate to remain alive,
Allied prisoners and treating their corpses
Nazis and Allies alike. Their dried flesh
in a variety of ways to obtain the desired
still retains signs of the injuries that
effects. The characters must locate the
killed them, and tattered uniforms and
facility, penetrate its defenses, free the
gear hang on their frames like useless
Allied prisoners, and confront the Nazi
garbage.
blood mage.
Sand-rot mummies instinctively seek
out others of their kind, feeding off their
collective anger and inflicting their
Supply Rat
vengeance on any living souls they Small Animal
encounter. Hit Dice: 1d8 (5 hit points)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Initiative:
Combat Speed: 40 ft.; climb 20 ft.
Sand-rot mummies wander about the AC: 15 (+3 Dex, +1 size, +1 natural)
desert, seeking living creatures upon Attacks: Bite +4 melee
which to vent their wrath. Their rage and Damage: Bite 1d4 and disease
the torment of death erased much of Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
their common sense and basic instinct for Special Attacks: Disease
self-preservation and tactics, so they Special Qualities: Low-light vision 60 ft.,
simply try to overwhelm opponents with scent
their sheer numbers. They employ any Sa
Savves: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3
club-like weapons available (rifles, boards, Abilities: Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 1, Wis
pipes) or assault the living with their 12, Cha 4
toughened fists. Skills: Climb +5, Hide +8, Move Silently +8
Damage Reduction 7/– (Su): Sand-rot Feats: Weapon finesse (bite)
mummies’ crystalline-flesh composition Climate/T errain: Warm mountains, desert,
Climate/Terrain:
makes them particularly resistant to battlefield
damage of all types. They ignore the first Organization: Pack (11–20)
seven points of damage dealt to them Challenge Rating: 1/3
from each attack, no matter what kind of Treasur
easure:e: None
weapon is used against them. Alignment: Neutral
Partial A ctions Onl
Actions y (Ex): With their
Only Adv ancement: None
dvancement:
poor reflexes, sand-rot mummies can Supply rats have grown fat on pilfered
perform only partial actions—they can provisions and gone savage from eating
move or attack, but not both unless they the flesh of the dead. The oversized
make a partial charge. vermin can reach up to three feet in
Undead: As undead creatures, sand-rot length, yet still retain their instincts for
mummies have immunity against mind- finding tasty morsels and scratching their
influencing effects, poison, sleep, way to them.
paralysis, stunning, and disease. They The feral creatures lurk wherever food
ignore critical hits, subdual damage, is plentiful: supply dumps, battlefield
ability damage, and energy drain. trenches, kitchens, and field hospitals.

140
Bestiary

They munch on dry goods and dying their comrades, commanding officer, or
soldiers with equal gusto, snapping at secret contact is recuperating. Perhaps
each other for the choicest scraps. Their they head out on a nighttime patrol to
unsavory diets breed disease in their search for another recce unit that
mouths, which they inadvertently pass disappeared. They find supply rats
along to anyone they bite. Nothing seems gnawing on the survivors and must fight
to keep them away—they gnaw through them off to retrieve vital intelligence from
fences and tent canvas, and wriggle their the recon unit.
bloated bodies through the smallest
spaces to reach food. Large dogs seem Twisted Hulk
effective at tracking and killing them, Huge Construct
though they shy from larger rat packs. Hit Dice: 10d10 (55 hit points)
Only when supply rats become severe Initiative: –1 (–1 Dex)
Initiative:
problems in camp does command assign Speed: 30 ft. (can’t run)
soldiers to guard provisions or actively AC: 27 (–1 Dex, –2 size, +20 natural)
hunt down and destroy rat nests. Attacks: Slam +16/+11 melee
Combat Damage: Slam 2d6+9 melee
Face/Reach: 10 ft. by 5 ft./15 ft.
When confronted by a foe (or attacking
Special Attacks: Frightful presence,
a weakened creature) supply rats use their
trample
superior numbers to try overwhelming
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 50/
their prey. They fight to protect their food
water, water vulnerability
supply, but often flee in the face of
Sa
Savves: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3
intense opposition.
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 9, Con –, Int –, Wis
Low-light V
Low-light ision 60 ft.
Vision
10, Cha 1
Disease (Ex): Anyone bitten by a supply
Skills: —
rat must make a DC 12 Fortitude save or
Feats: —
come down with a debilitating fever in 1d3
Climate/T errain: Battlefield
Climate/Terrain:
days. The illness gives them a temporary
Organization: Solitary
loss of 1d3 points of Dexterity and 1d3
Challenge Rating: 7
points of Constitution.
Treasur
easure:e: None
Scent (Ex): Supply rats rely on their
Alignment: Chaotic neutral
keen sense of smell to alert them to
Adv ancement: None
dvancement:
approaching foes, seek out tasty morsels,
and track down dying creatures.
Adventure Seeds
Supply rats pose hazards in both rear
areas and front lines. The characters could
receive orders to guard a supply dump and
either catch or ferret out the thief who’s
been stealing provisions. After following
suspicious sounds and trails of crumbs,
they eventually discover a nest of
supply rats amidst the depot. If they
escape the rats the first time,
they must reorganize and
reequip themselves to
eradicate the beasts
from the supply
dump before they
consume or spoil all
the provisions
destined for the
front.
The heroes might
also find rats as
battlefield obstacles.
Supply rats might infest a
defensive trench the
characters need for cover, or
plague a field hospital where

141
Chapter Four

The burning remains of tanks, fueled All their hatred and fear twists the
by the bodies of their crews, sometimes remains of their tank—and others sharing
rise in anguish as twisted hulks, raging the same fate nearby—into an animated
beasts of metal intent on expending their hulk filled with vengeance for those still
spiritual energy on one last frenzy before alive. Their raging life forces assert
they burn out. themselves by binding parts of their
Nobody really knows why or how these destroyed tanks together in an
monstrosities form. Tank battles inevitably anthropomorphic form. Twisted hulks use
produce horrid results for panzer crews: tank chassis for torsos, turrets for
armor penetrated by shells, shrapnel shoulders and hips, and gun barrels,
tearing through the crew compartment, fenders, axles, and other bits for arms and
ammunition exploding, engines catching legs, all bound together by tank-tread
fire. The twisted hulk is born from the sinews and suspension spring ligaments.
frantic emotions of the crew members as They bash at foes with driver wheels,
they try hauling their shrapnel-torn radiators, armored hatches, and bogie
bodies from the burning tank. These wheels bound by sheer will into metal
intense feelings, raging fires, and fists.
desperate spiritual energy fuse the Twisted hulks fight like berserkers—in
tankers’ flesh, blood, and souls with that their fiery pain, the souls trapped within
of their vehicle. lash out at anything nearby, and anyone

142
Bestiary

attacking them. This fighting panic only make the Will save become immune to
add more confusion to the battlefield, as the twisted hulk’s frightful presence for
units of opposing sides become common one day.
enemies to the hulk, regardless of its Trample (Ex): Twisted hulks raging on
crew’s nationality. Most soldiers naturally the battlefield can trample nearby
flee such an unearthly construct, then Medium-size or smaller opponents for
attack it from a distance. Few realize the 2d6+9 points of damage. Those who
hulk simply wants someone to put it out choose not to make attacks of
of its misery with a good dousing with opportunity against the hulk as it moves
water—a precious and often rare resource can attempt a DC 24 Reflex save to halve
in the desert. the damage.
If they aren’t destroyed immediately, Water V ulnerability (Ex): Twisted hulks
Vulnerability
twisted hulks eventually beat off all ultimately seek to end their painful,
attackers and stomp their way north, into tormented existence by quenching the
the Mediterranean Sea, which finally fires burning within their bodies in water.
quenches the hot metal fires burning the For every gallon of water thrown on a
souls within. twisted hulk, it immediately sustains 1d6
points of damage.
Combat
A berserk twisted hulk on the Adventure Seeds
battlefield creates an immediate danger Twisted hulks appear on only the most
for any units nearby. The raging monster intense battlefields, but once they do, the
wildly attacks the nearest threats first, OSI sends the characters to the scene to
whether they’re armor or infantry. Any investigate the wreckage or track down a
reinforcements immediately become fleeing hulk. Reaching a hulk’s dead
targets for the hulk’s flailing metal arms remains might not prove easy, especially
and lashing whips of tank tread. Once it if the beast fell in enemy controlled
encounters no further resistance in the territory. They must determine what
immediate area, the hulk moves on to the conditions create the hulk—does it
next threat—often a unit some distance depend on how or where the tank was
away firing on it from a defensive made, the religious or superstitious
position. The twisted hulk attacks that beliefs of its crew, or some mysterious
force and any others that stand in the way power inherent to the location where it
of its march to the sea. rose?
Once it encounters no further The unnatural merging of humans and
resistance, it stomps off north toward the machines through supernatural energy
Mediterranean Sea, destroying anything in could spark an entire field of research for
its path, until it wades into the water and the SBG. Such a facility experimenting
quenches the agonizing fire within its with this phenomenon would have ready
armored body. access to useless panzers (perhaps near a
Construct: Twisted hulks have rear-area tank repair camp) and unwilling,
immunity against mind-influencing easily terrorized souls (Allied prisoners of
effects, poison, disease, and similar war). The heroes must uncover, investigate,
effects. They are not subject to critical and ultimately sabotage such inhuman
hits, subdual damage, ability damage, experiments to free Allied soldiers and
energy drain, or death from massive make sure the Nazis can’t summon and
damage. control the twisted hulks on the
Damage Reduction 50/water (Ex): The battlefield.
armored exterior of twisted hulks makes Or perhaps the heroes are sent to
them particularly resistant to damage. investigate an even stranger anomaly. All
(Note: War Masters may wish to vary the OSI records show that twisted hulks head
exact amount of damage resistance based north to the sea, but now spotting reports
on the type of armored vehicle fused into have come in of a hulk heading south,
the twisted hulk.) deeper into the desert. The characters are
Frightful Presence (Ex): When a dispatched to discover why this construct
twisted hulk appears on the battlefield, it is behaving in a different manner from the
may initially frighten others with its others. Does the creature have some sort
unnerving presence. Those of 9th level of goal? Is it driven by a need for revenge,
and lower must make a DC 15 Will save or or perhaps a sense of duty? Either way
flee as best they can, suffering a –2 it’s not willing to stop and discuss its
morale penalty on attack rolls, weapon motivations with the heroes—they’ll have
damage, and saving throws. Those who to find out the hard way.

143
Chapter Four

The wireless hound’s long spines


Wireless Hound vibrate in the presence of radio waves,
Large Magical Beast irritating the beasts and sending them
Hit Dice: 4d10+12 (34 hit points) into a fury the closer they get to a
Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex)
Initiative: transmitter. Given the huge influx of
Speed: 30 ft. wireless use throughout the North African
AC: 18 (+1 Dex, +7 natural) front and the Sahara desert, radio waves
Attacks: Tail gore +7 melee constantly plague the hounds. Instead of
Damage: Tail gore 1d8+4 fleeing their territory, they seek to destroy
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft. the source of their torment.
Special Attacks: Radio quills, Rage The previously timid creatures shy away
Special Qualities: Wireless sensitivity from large military units and armored
Sa
Savves: Fort +7, Ref +5 Will +2 combat, but commonly hunt down
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 5, Wis solitary transmitters in easily accessible
12, Cha 5 areas: rear-area headquarters signals vans,
Skills: Listen +4, Move Silently +3, Spot +4, hidden radios supporting resistance
Wilderness Lore +9* fighters, and the mobile wireless sets
Feats: Track desert raiders like the LRDG use during
Climate/T errain: Warm mountains, desert
Climate/Terrain: their forays across the Sahara. The beasts
Organization: Solitary manage to control their irritation enough
Challenge Rating: 4 to sneak up on the radio, but fly into an
Treasur
easure:e: None wild frenzy when they come within 75
Alignment: Neutral feet of an active transmitter. They focus
Adv ancement: None
dvancement: their attack on any parts associated with
A massive increase in radio waves the wireless set, including its power
tearing through the ether mutated the source, aerial, and the unit itself. Anyone
North African porcupines living in the in its way who tries preventing it from
hills into fierce beasts able to track and destroying the source of its torment also
destroy the source of their torment. becomes a target.

144
Bestiary

Once it demolishes the wireless set (or Wir eless Sensitivity (Ex): Radio waves
ireless
someone has the sense to turn it off), the vibrate the hounds’ spines, giving them
hound eases out of its rage and lumbers the ability to sense the direction and
off to forage for food and water, return to distance to wireless transmitters and
its nest, or to seek another radio signal trace them using the Track feat and
for destruction. Wilderness Lore skill.
Combat Adventure Seeds
Characters frequently encounter The wireless hounds’ ability to sense
wireless hounds near actively transmitting and track radio transmissions makes
radio sets. Enraged by the intensity of them an aggressively accurate alternative
radio waves disturbing the ether, the to the time-consuming, sometimes
hounds fly into a frenzy, attacking the inaccurate high-frequency direction-
transmitter, aerial, power source, and finding equipment (Huff-Duff) used to
anyone standing in their way. They locate enemy radios. Axis or Allied efforts
typically leap toward a target, then spin to harness and control this power could
their bodies and gore their foes with their form the focus of an adventure.
long, spiny tail. Once they destroy the After the heroes survive and report a
wireless set, the hounds lumber off into run-in with a wireless hound, their OSI
the desert to seek another annoying superiors assign them the task of luring a
transmitter, and flees any subsequent hound into a trap using their radio set,
attacks. capturing the beast, studying its behavior,
Rage (Ex): When within 75 feet of an and somehow training it as a friendly
active wireless set, hounds immediately tracking hound.
fly into uncontrollable, violent rages Their test comes when they must seek
focused on the radio transmitter and out an enemy patrol transmitting sensitive
anyone in the vicinity. They temporarily information from a location deep within
gain bonuses of +4 Strength, +4 the Sahara Desert. But when they find
Constitution, and +2 morale on Will saves; this German patrol, they discover that it,
however, they suffer a –2 penalty to AC, too, has trained a pack of wireless
and cannot use their skills effectively. hounds to track down Allied radio
This rage lasts until they destroy the transmissions—and savagely attack Allied
wireless set (or someone turns it off), soldiers on command.
after which the hounds become fatigued Heroes in an RAF campaign might be
(–2 to Strength and Dexterity, and they assigned a different task. They are given a
cannot charge or run). top secret mission and a number of
Radio Quills: Anyone struck by a heavy wooden crates are loaded onto
wireless hound’s tail gore is also jabbed their aircraft. The heroes aren’t told what’s
with 1d4 of the creature’s long, barbed in them and the crates’ solid construction
quills. These easily rip through clothing prevents them from seeing inside. They
into flesh but are blocked by any sort of can hear faint noises coming from within
armor. the crates, though. Each crate is equipped
The quills are sensitive to radio waves with a parachute.
and channel the energy of any The heroes are tasked with dropping
transmitting radios within 75 ft. into the these crates behind enemy lines at the
victim. This causes intense pain at the suspected positions of German radio
quill’s location. For each quill a victim has transmitters. They are warned that they
embedded in his flesh, he receives a –1 must maintain complete radio silence
cumulative penalty to all actions when in during the mission for their own safety.
the presence of a transmitting radio. Once underway, curious heroes might
Removing a quill can be done as a peek into the crates to get a glimpse of
standard action in combat, but yanking it their mysterious cargo, only to find some
out in this way causes the victim 1 point cute, if slightly over-sized, porcupines.
of damage. Outside of combat, quills can They might also hear agitated noises
be removed with a Heal or Combat coming from the crates whenever they
Medicine check with a DC of 10. This receive a message on their aircraft’s radio.
causes no damage to the victim and If the characters violate the order on
requires approximately 1 minute per quill. maintaining radio silence or if they fly
Skills: *Wireless hounds receive a +5 directly over a transmitting radio, the
racial bonus to Wilderness Lore checks wireless hounds may fly into a rage and
when tracking radio signals received on break out of their crates—causing a
their spines. confused melee in within the confines of
the aircraft.

145
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Hell Freezes Over—The Brutal Russian Front!

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