The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: March 1999 (page 1 of 2)

Apr I 16

The weather has cleared up with mud in the Alps. The French have used up all of their replacements – both manpower and equipment – but are unable to recover from last turn’s losses. The French 1st Colonial Corps withdraws. The rest of the French line is reinforced as much as possible while engineering troops take positions to start entrenching another line behind the existing one.

The British launch their offensive against Lens. The Germans repulse the attack with heavy losses on both sides.

Zepplins hit the factory at Lyons and do another morale hit on London, aborting the sole British fighter unit. The German 4th Army hits the French 8th Corps for mutual exchange. The German 3rd Army hits the French 35th Corps for another three divisions cadred. Although the Germans have lost troops too, the French are now down to only 11.5 morale points.

The Entente lost 34 British, 27 French Metropolitan, 7 Canadian Manpower, and 31 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 30 German, 22 Bavarian, 6 Wurttemburg, 5 Saxon Manpower, and 34 Equipment points.

Tom: The French are going to hit NW of 0 soon, there is nothing I can do about it. I only hope that they bounce back from it soon. The British have started their offensive and it is going okay, I will know if it has helped if Carl is forced to reinforce the area. With the clear weather, Carl’s artillery is going to be a big pain. He will be able to play the odds and just go for massive low number bombardments and probably overwhelm the defenders. It should prove interesting – but extremely painful!

The clear weather signals a start of a great Austrian offensive. The troops are moved up to attack the Italians in several spots along their line. The Germans move more troops up to continue their multi-pronged attacks against the French.

The Germans and Austrians combine in an attack on the Italian 2nd Corps in an attempt to clear the secondary rail line from Trent into Italy. The HX gives the Central Powers the hex with little loss. Another attack to the west (along the road into Northern Italy) yields another Austrian victory and advance. A German attack south from Toul is stopped at great loss by the French 8th Corps. Another attack on the French 35th Corps starts with a bombardment that only disrupts a single unit. The attack gained little ground but cost the French some more morale points. The grand attack on the French 37th Corps started with a devastating bombardment that left four of the six divisions cadred (one of the cadres was left without a disruption) and destroyed three smaller units. The attack then hit home and a single French cadre survives to retreat out of the hex. The French have lost all of their morale now.

The Entente high command is in shock and none of their armies manage to react.

The Central Powers lost 12 German, 8 Austrian, 7 Saxon Manpower, and 41 Equipment points. The Entente lost 44 French Metropolitan, 16 Italian, 4 French Colonial Manpower, and 81 Equipment points.

Carl: I got the French! Now to see what will happen with France in collapse (at least until they recover in a friendly initial phase – probably next turn with my luck). I probably should have refrained from the last attack and waited for the reaction combat phase so that I would get at least one of my turns with the French in collapse before they had a chance to recover. In the meantime, I do not know what Tom will do. The British really cannot afford to spread out too much while the Italians are finally being attacked and pushed out of the Alps. The capture of the mountain hex with the rail line gives me the ability to supply a push to the Adriatic Sea. I do not know if I can do it, but with the French down at the moment, I can afford to expend the time and supplies to try and find out. Things are definitely looking good for me at this time.

Sep II 1942

Orkney Islands

In the pre-dawn light, RAF ground crews prepare their charges for an attack on Stavanger. Agents in the port have broadcast that KM ships are present and a raid is determined as the best method of welcoming these newcomers to the fighting. With Beaufighters and Sunderlands escorted by P-51s, the RAF flys low and swiftly over the ocean. Outside of Stavanger they rise to attack height, faced by a wall of AA and the FW 190A2 fighters protecting the area. The FWs are too fast for the P-51s, and the Beaufighters are attacked. The British crews draw everything out of their heavy fighters, twisting in the air to avoid the superior German planes. The Germans fail to damage the incoming fighters and suffer enough casulties for them to concede the battle and return to their airfields for resupply. The Beaufighters are not so fortunate when they face the AA barrier and they are in turn forced to return to the Orkneys. The unwieldy Sunderlands, however, slip through the AA umbrella and coolly drop their payloads with great accuracy on the Scharnorst, hitting her amidships and reducing her fighting ability.
(P51 fails to hit the FW 190A2, which fails to hit the Bf 6C who in return fire sends the FW 190A2 back to base!! Port attack – 1 hit on the Scharnorst)

Namsos

Engineer units quickly construct a temporary airfield to allow air units to be stationed in the area. Soldiers swear blue murder when they are told they will remain in place to maintian it at operational readiness.
(No idea why this was done – it was never used through out the game. Kept a construction unit busy though)

Throughout Norway

Royal Marines and Commandos are pulled out of the front line and returned to Scotland, replaced by units transported across the North Sea. News of this event causes panic amongst the Germans who have to be wary of further landings in their rear.

Mosjoen

The US 34 XX forms at Mosjoen and pushes back the last surviving regiment of the 69 XX defending Moll Rana. Along side it, the Norwegian Mtn II overruns the the CD defending that sector of the coast.
(5:1, -2 results in DE)

Trondheim

The main battle erupts with the 15 Scottish XX, 2nd and 3rd Cdn XXs, massive artillery support and Naval Gunfire smashing the hapless 196 XX. The troops easily cross the river defence line – after crossing the North Sea, a piffling river is no obstacle the Allies. To the south of this battle, the 52 Mtn XX attcks into the mountains, their opponents the weak and poorly trained 702 Static XX. With air support from the Carrier groups who have returned to Trondhiem and USAAF air units at Trondhiem, the Germans are chased back over a dozen miles by the British mountaineers. This battle secures the bridgehead’s southern flank.
(9:1, -2 results in DE)

Somewhere in the North Sea

The German Northern Fleet slips undetected out of the Narvik Fjord, its mission to locate the Allied Carrier groups operating off the coast, believed to be somewhere off Trondhiem. For several days they search undetected, but fail to find their foes and return to Narvik frustrated
(Reaction movement by KM fails)

HQ German Commander in Chief – Norway

Orders are made up for returning to service some of the damaged Luftwaffe units to attempt to cut the Allied sea lines. Ju 88s are hurriedly repaired and crews reformed from the survivors of the previous two weeks.

Bodo

Troops of the 199 XX disembark at the port of Bodo from LCs from Narvik. Their role is to support the remnants of the 69 XX against the Americans futher to the south. The plan is to prepare defences in the mountains outside of Moll Rana, making it impossible for the Allies to advance further north and tie down troops while the mighty hammer blows of National Socialism destroy the Allied Bridgehead from the South. As the LCs return to Narvik, they receive reports from long range weather boats further out in the North sea of poor weather.

Mar II 16

The British begin to move their forces towards the German 7th Corps at Lens. The French reinforce between Reims and La Fere heavily to slow down the German offensive. The Italians rearrange some of their forces to be prepared against the Austrians.

The German 6th Army reacts and attacks south from Epinal. The rest of the front is silent.

The Entente lost 10 French Metropolitan Manpower and 2 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 11 German Manpower and 3 Equipment points.

Tom: I think the French have reinforced the endangered area sufficiently to make Carl hesitate about attacking without his artillery. This is the second time that the German army directing the offensive has reacted but not attacked. The British will be able to launch an offensive with the good weather. Until then they will just have to concentrate their forces and hope that the Germans do not reinforce too heavily. I really need Carl to respond to this threat and weaken his attacks on the French.

The Central Powers maneuver against the Italians in Italy. The French front sees additional shifting about of units also. The German defensive line is going down to only two divisions per hex against the French everywhere but a few locations to be attacked. The main offensive army has switched directions and is attacking the British at La Fere.

The attack out of Epinal is bloodily repulsed, but the three French divisions are still cadred. The French 1st Colonial Corps is mangled but manages to hold on to their hex. The attack on the British at La Fere surprises both sides as the British are attacked on 12:1 odds (reduced to the maximum 9:1) and are destroyed! The Germans march in and capture the rail intersection at La Fere and will be able to supply their forward troops on the road to Paris.

The British 1st and 3rd Armies react and send reserves to bolster the retreating 2nd Army and move the rest of the artillery up in preparation for the attack on Lens.

The Central Powers lost 35 German, 9 Wurttemburg, 7 Saxon, 6 Bavarian Manpower and 23 Equipment points. The Entente lost 40 French Metropolitan, 19 British, 5 French Colonial Manpower, and 34 Equipment points.

Carl: The French are down to 17.5 morale points now and it looks like I should be able to get them to 0 within the next few turns. The British are about to launch an attack near Lens (it is kind of obvious) but I have been able to reinforce my defenses there. The victory at La Fere was very surprising. I did not figure on having those kind of odds against the British, but he pulled a division out of the hex to reinforce his future attack and he paid big time for it. The capture of the hex and cadreing four British divisions was a good feeling. It also secured the rail lines I need to continue supplying my push on Paris.

Mar I 16

The weather has turned to mud. The Italian factory was able to produce properly despite the hit it took from the Zepplin attack. Final production was 17 resource and 13 equipment points – 2 equipment points above the historical!

The French reinforce their reserves behind the German offensive. The Italians reinforce a few of their more exposed defensive positions. The British have moved a reserve corps to the left of their line in case the French need them to take over an additional hex of the line.

The Zepplins return to London and get through but the barrage balloons succeed in keeping the city safe. The Austrian 11th Army reacts and reinforces the front line near Villach preparing for an attack on the Italians. No other Central Powers army is able to react.

Tom: The weather is starting to clear a bit and this could be dangerous for me in France. Fortunately, he has not been able to react with his offensive army for the past two turns so some of the pressure is off. We shall have to wait and see just what he does now and if the French troops can hold on.

The Entente celebrate as the Austrian factory in Triest is damaged and cannot produce this cycle. The total production ends with 22 resource and 19 equipment points – one resource point over historical!

The Zepplins return to London and are not thwarted by the barrage balloons this time as they do another morale hit. It is a slow process, but the British are beginning to be bothered by the raids. The Austrians and Germans maneuver their troops to attack weak points in the Entente line.

The Germans continue their offensive with a quick assault (no bombardment) and capture Soissons from the French. The thrust is now only four hexes from Paris. Another attack hits the French 1st Colonial Corps and does a bloody exchange there. Yet another attack from Epinal causes even more carnage.

The Entente are not able to react to the multiple attacks along the French line.

The Central Powers lost 34 Bavarian, 11 German Manpower, and 15 Equipment points. The Germans have also slipped to a National Will level of 3 – the British are now alone with a National Will of 4. The Entente lost 29 French Metropolitan, 10 French Colonial Manpower, and 40 Equipment points. The French are down to only 30.5 morale points.

Carl: I have stepped up my attacks. I knew that the German National Will was going to drop this turn (it was 602.5 after the variable losses) so I made a much broader amount of attacks and really hurt the French. They were only able to use reserves in the attack on Soissons since the other two attacks were in bad terrain where they did not have the ability to move into the hex. This has worn down their front line in sevaral places and another breakthrough may occur. My offensive is still able to continue and another hex is captured from the French. I think Tom is going to have to do something with the British now. I expect a quick offensive against my lines there to relieve the pressure on the French. We shall see if it is able to do anything. I did not bombard this turn because of the bad weather. The modifiers are just too steep and I am better off doing a quick assault.

Allied Surprise Turn

Somewhere high above the Arctic Circle

German troops patrol in the cold northern regions, defending the northern Finnish front against their bitter enemies, the Soviet Red Army. For the troops of the Wehrmacht posted to this region, things have been quiet for several weeks, as the Red Army continues to suffer the mighty hammer blows thousands of miles to the south where German troops and the European Anti-Bolshevik Crusade has swept into the Caucasus oilfields. In some place called Stalingrad, the Red Army is being bled to death while far away in the burning desert sands of North Africa, the ever victorious forces of Erwin Rommel supported by the Italians have launched their final drive to Cairo and the Suez Canal, fighting bitterly to crush the British line outside Alamein. In the Pacific, the Japanese continue to destroy the Americans, from all reports winning massive victories in the Southern Pacific tropical island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons and destroying the last of the Australians in Papua New Guinea.

To the Germans, the end of the war is in sight. With the end of the war so close, the German soldiers outside Petsamo look forward to Garrison postings in warm New Guinea once Germany has reclaimed former colonies and her place in the sun, far away from the cold, cold Arctic Circle.

The musings of the German forces are shattered by the sound of primary mortar fire and the whine of incoming artillery. The Mountain Troops and Bicycle companies are caught by a surprise Russian attack. Bitter fighting breaks out as Red Army Guards threaten to overrun the dug in positions of the Germans, supported by ghost like ski troops who sweep into the lines during the short night hours to create havoc in the rear areas. Gradually a fighting withdrawal is made by the Germans, but they leave behind many of their Kameraden, while the battered Red Army units occupy the tortured broken ground and mourn in their own way the loss of so many fine sons of the Rodina.
(Russians attack entrenched Mtn XX and Bike battalion for EX result)

As German Mountain troops fall back , they are forced to scatter into cover at the sound of airplanes flying overhead. Peering upwards they are amazed to see the red and blue roundels of the RAF overhead, flying from Russian bases and heading past the front lines. Where could they be going? wonder the Germans. Petsamo airbase? Kirkenes?

15,000 feet above sea level in the Norwegian mountains

Pilots of the RAF and RAAF Hampden bombers scan the horizon searching for enemy fighters. Behind them, flying in loose formations, are Whirlwind fighters flying with drop tanks to squeeze every extra mile of range from their planes. For several days they have been stationed in Russia, preparing for their current mission – striking the Luftwaffe anti-shipping forces at Bardufoss Airbase. Crossing the final crest of mountains, the navigators call through the final course adjustments to their skippers. Surprise is total as on the field far below, the lined up Junkers and Heinkel planes are inviting targets. “Tally ho” is the call as the Whirlwind pilots peel off to strafe the airfield. As they do so, the black puffs of AA begin to sprout as if by magic in the air. The AA ground crews are not accurate, but do enough to scare the Whirlwinds who abort their attack runs. With insufficient fuel to line up for another attack run, they return to their Russian airfields. The Hampden bombers curse at the fleeing fighter pilots as they rain their small bombloads onto the airfields. Damage is minimal due to the 1/3 payloads that had to be carried for the mission range, and the Luftwaffe alerts units up and down the Norwegian coast that something is afoot…..
(Extended range air base raid by Hampdens and Whirlwinds, AA Rtn to Base the Whirlwind and the Hampden have only 1/3 strength point to bomb the airbase.)

In Narvik, the Kreigsmarine is ordered to increase pressure in the boilers and improve aerial observation deception measures.

Trondheim Airfield

Local Luftwaffe staff are concerned by increased local population movements in the immediate area. Young Norwegian men are taking advantage of the fine Autumn weather to go hiking in large numbers in the woods and hills around the airbase. Despite the presence of the 196th XX and 280 Fortress XX in Trondheim City, the airfield itself is relatively undefended. Concentrating on the local population, the air base commander is caught off guard by the sudden appearance overhead of RAF Beaufighter 6C’s and Sunderland bombers who release bombs and strafe the parked up Junker 88 bombers. Severe damage is inflicted on one wing, aborting it from immediate flight operations. Scattered and light AA from the base defences fails to have any impact on the RAF who, waggling their wings in victory, return to their island stronghold in the Orkneys.
(Airbase raid at Trondheim , Abort JU 88. In intial phase, Norway’s Guerrillas turn active side up around Namsos and Trondheim , scaring the bejesus out of the German player who then has a long arguement with the Allied player about when they could move – before or after naval movement. Looking at the master sequence it was decided to be after naval movement, thereby forcing the Allied TFs and Transports to face the intact CDs)

Early morning in Scotland

The Royal Navy casts off from its moorings at Scapa Flow and sets out north into the flat grey ocean. All over the north of the British Isles various heavy Task Forces leave their ports to link up and form powerful naval bastions. The job of these ships is to shield the transports and landing craft of the Allied ground forces of Operation Jupiter. Reports have already come in of the air field attacks and the news is not as good as some TF commanders had hoped for. The knowledge that the powerful LW air fleet in Stavanger had not been touched was of serious concern, and this had prompted the naval units to sail north to extend the range of most of the land based bombers. Overhead in the morning skies, air units of the US Navy and Fleet Air Arm flew air patrols, vigilant for the glint of incoming air units and for the white wake of a U-Boat periscope.

From Stavanger, LW crews hastily prepare their machines for combat. Reports from long range air patrols have sighted allied naval units steaming north. The crews, old hands at often boring Naval Patrols in the area, quickly reach their cruising altitude and begin systematic searching of the sea lanes. The torpedo carrying Ju 88 returns to base disgusted at its inability to locate the reported enemy, but their comrades in two Ju 88 anti shipping wings are stunned when, through a break in the clouds, they spot the massive allied armada.

A dogfight erupts as the fighter craft of the FAA attempts to intercept the German bombers. Seafire 2C’s are handled roughly by the German gunners and they are forced to land their craft back on the deck of the carriers they are protecting. Sea Hurricanes are likewise unable to affect the dogged LW crews as they press onwards towards the seemingly helpless allied ships. A wall of AA is thrown up around the TFs and the JU 88 pilots try every manoeuvre they know to try and position themselves for their bomb runs. With aircraft being torn apart by the steel umbrella, the LW calls off the remaining bombers, but both wings that tried to attack the TFs are only a remnant and will require considerable time before being combat capable again
(Ju 88s from Stavanger locate and attack Allied convoy. Carrier based planes fail to hit, AA fire stops them dead – both aborted.)

Off the coast of Trondheim – dawn

Coastal defence personnel scan the horizon through powerful Zeiss binoculars. Reports have been received warning of a large allied convoy heading north – possibly a massive resupply effort for the beleaguered Bolsheviks at Murmansk – but no chances are to be taken. At the mouth of the Trondheim Fjord the powerful gun batteries overlook the only passage through to Trondheim . In the misty dawn, as another clear day breaks, gun position personnel are shocked to see the sleek grey shapes of allied destroyers and battle cruisers heading towards them. The western coastal defences of Trondheim fjord are quickly overwhelmed by the massive allied fleet, silencing them from participating in future combats for the next few days until repair works can be conducted. At the eastern peninsular, the CD commander has more assets under his command and is confident that he can inflict serious losses on the Allies. Heavy fire is exchanged, with one US Navy capital ship wheeling out of the battleline throwing smoke and fire into the sky as its crew fights desperately to keep afloat. RN and remaining USN ships succeed in suppressing the CD and allowing safe passage for the follow on Transports carrying the vital ground troops. A sudden sortie by He 115C aircraft from Trondheim airfield takes one quick look at the AA defences around the TFs and scurries back to base.
(Allied TF enter fjord, AA sees off He115C and take on the CDs suffering one hit to a Hvy TF for the suppression of both CDs)

Trondheim – early morning

German infantry of the 196 XX and 280 Fort XX have now had ample warning to prepare beach defences. Machine guns and artillery are test fired, ranging accurately onto the beaches that are expected to receive allied infantry. Anxious unit commanders scan the sky looking for air support, assured by Regional command in Oslo that the finest and fastest of the LW fighters are coming to keep allied air power suppressed.

In the calm waters off Trondheim itself, the deadly warships of the combined allied fleet begin to swing their heavy guns onto the shoreline. Seeing the massive calibre and amount of allied gunfire support, the German infantry suddenly don’t feel as confident as they did…….
(Prepare for NGS by Allied TFs)

Otter Island – several hours earlier

In the pre-dawn period, silent figures quietly crawl ashore underneath the looming gun batteries facing out to sea. These guns defend the approaches to Namsos, defended by a regiment of the 69 XX. The silent figures are commandoes of Norforce. Earlier they had slipped over the edge of the light cruisers who had carried them into their assault craft. Their mission was to silence those guns to allow the 49 XX to assault the port of Namsos. As they form up beneath the guns, a nervous commando slips, his tommy gun falling noisily across the rocks. Alert German sentries sound the alarm, and flares light up the sky, illuminating the commandoes caught in the open. The subsequent fight is short and bloody, as Layforce is virtually wiped out, the dazed survivors rounded up by gleeful German soldiers. This glee is short lived as the Allied TFs open a massive bombardment on the CD, preventing it from firing onto the Landing Craft carrying the 49 XX to its date with destiny. The dour Englishmen’s landing craft cut through the water scattered with the floating bodies of the men of Norforce.
(Coastal raid fails F* rolled. TFs suppress CD anyway)

Mosjoen

CD units around Mosjoen have been fully alerted to the possibility of Allied landing in the area and are not surprised when they see ships of the US Navy come over the horizon. The guns are dug in deep and well camouflaged. USN bombardment is largely ineffective, but the Allied TF commander is confused. No answering shots were received from the German CD and it is impossible to judge the damage to the guns. A decision is made to send the Transports and Landing Craft onto Mosjoen. As these ships approach, the gun batteries open up, smashing into the Transports carrying the Timforce Commando Brigade. The unit is lost before it can reach the shore. The American infantry and engineers are thankful that they are spared the effects of the devastating bombardment.
(US TF fails to hit CD protecting Mosjoen which saves fire for the transports and sinks Timforce)

Trondheim

Commandoes from Layforce launch a surprise assault on the fortifications in the city. These troops had come ashore under the cover of smoke provided by light cruisers who carried them into position. The German defenders had presumed the cruiser antics were a feint and nothing more. Caught by surprise, half the guns are overwhelmed and blown up by Layforce who, occupying support positions, help to cover the landing craft assault of the Canadian 3rd Division and the Royal Marine Brigades. The 3rd Cdn has broken into three supported brigades, 3/3 lands to the east of Trondheim , aiming to secure the airfield. The landing is nearly a disaster and the Canadians land confused and intermingled on the shore. The disrupted troops of the 3/3 attempt to advance to the airfield, but are held up by LW support personnel, and intermingled confused fighting occurs, but the Luftwaffe continue possession of the airfield.
(Coastal raid on Trondheim fort succeeds, landing at airfield disrupted)

Back in Trondheim itself, the 2/3 Canadians also lands poorly, and contribute little to the attack as does the 103 Royal Marines. German defences appear too strong for those Marines, Commandoes and Canadians who attempt to push into the streets of the port, only to gradually through the morning find themselves cut off in small groups, unable to communicate or coordinate between the broken formations. The German Trondheim commander seems to think the allies will be surrendering by lunchtime, especially when he hears the rumble of aircraft engines overhead – the Luftwaffe have arrived! He runs outside his HQ, only to receive the full impact of a spread of bombs dropped by the Albacores of the FAA. US and British Carrier aircraft are thrown into the attack, just as the heavy naval guns of the combined fleet open up – tearing the city apart and demoralising the German defenders, who over the course of the next few hours, then days, abandon the city and port facilities to the Allies and begin construction of new defences behind the river east of the city.
(3:1 attack by allied landing forces, -1 die modifier for fort gets DR)

Namsos – main landings

The LCs lunge ashore at Namsos, disgorging the soldiers of the 49th and engineers of the 10th Brigade. The Engineers and the 1/49 and 2/49 are badly disrupted, with the 3/49 in little better condition. With naval gunfire support however, the 49XX is able to destroy the regiment of the 69XX defending the town, but only after heavy losses amongst soldiers of 3/49.
(2:1 results in an EX)

Mosjoen – main landings

US Troopers of the 1/34 XX and engineers storm ashore against the lone regiment of the 69XX. With heavy naval gunfire support, the Germans are easily destroyed and the first US ground combat in Europe since WW1 is deemed a success.
(8:1 results in DE roll)

Throughout Norway

Across the scratchy airways, the BBC international service begins its weekly Norwegian broadcast, beginning with a special section on messages from family members living in Britain to their kin in occupied Norway. The messages, secret mobilisation codes, activate a series of Guerillas around Trondheim and Namsos. These lightly armed highly mobile units quickly form around SOE agents dropped several weeks before for these missions. The Guerillas outside Trondheim overrun the Coastal Defence network, freeing up the straits for Allied naval units to move freely to Trondheim . At Trondheim Airfield, the Canadians, in danger of defeat from a handful of clerks and aircraft mechanics, are rescued by Norwegian Guerillas who swoop from behind, overrunning the He115C bombers and positional AA and occupying the airbase for the allies. At Otter Island, the survivors of Norforce are rescued when Guerillas capture the island.
(Norwegian Guerrillas go on a kill fest on the CDs at the entrances to the major fjords, occupying them in their active mode)

Following these actions, the majority of waterways are judged to be generally free of shore based defences, allowing the allies to pour ashore their floating reserves. The Canadian Artillery X and 3 Arty XX are landed at Trondheim, the 1 Cdn XX lands at Namsos, the 52 Mtn XX and 1st Cdn Engineers come ashore at the beaches on Trondheim airfield while the Norwegian Mtn Battalion, Cdn HvyAA, US Tank Battalion and 2/34XX land at Mosjoen. The USAAF A20C flies into Trondheim field while the carriers, transports and some heavy naval task forces return to Scotland.

HQ German Commander in Chief – Norway

An alert is sounded throughout Norway and garrison forces are placed into operational readiness. These, and other German units are railed or marched as quickly as possible towards the allied bridgeheads. Around Narvik, KM LCs are readied to receive German soldiers marching from Bardufoss in preparation to help destroy the small US bridgehead. The Germans have few strong units in the area, many are spread out to defend the various ports and towns that dot the long coastline and no reinforcements seem likely from the Fatherland.
(Garrison troops called out)

East of Trondheim

The troops of the 280 Fort XX are ordered to the rear of the main line. Reports from rear units indicate a heavy concentration of Norwegian Guerrilla forces to the north of the new defence line being formed. Over a period of several days, the lightly armed Guerrillas who had overrun the vital CDs were hunted down and destroyed by the Fortification troops turned Jaegers. This movement, although destroying the small threat of lightly armed units in their rear, left the 196 XX by itself. The Divisional commanded pleaded for the 280th to remain attached to them, but the ruthless German High Command dictated otherwise, leaving them to face the growing Allied threat, which they could easily see as more and more transports sailed up the fjord with men and machines for the coming fight.
(4:1, -1 results in DH)

Somewhere in the Baltic Sea…..

The Kreigsmarine Baltic Fleet sails through the Skaggerak in the dark of night. Four TFs led by the Scharnorst sail at top speed, the commander under instructions to intercept and destroy any and all Allied shipping in the North Sea. Expecting to liase with the Northern Fleet, the Germans are confident they can defeat the Allies in a stand up fight. As they begin to pass Stavanger, only recently upgraded to a coastal fort with super heavy guns and fortifications, a coded message is received via Rastenburg from Hitler. The fleet officers are amazed – they are ordered to shelter under the AA protection and fighter cover at Stavanger! Goering has convinced Hitler that the Luftwaffe can destroy the Allied Fleet with air power alone. Angry at this snub to them, they change course and head for port.
(German player chickens out at the last minute on plan to link the two German fleets up and runs into Stavanger instead which is upgraded to Port Fortification)

300 feet above Trondheim Fjord

With the hills and mountains towering above them, the low flying torpedo Ju 88 bombers jink left and right to avoid the flak that protects the Heavy TFs at their anchorage in Trondheim . For several minutes they have braved the worst that could be thrown at them by the British and American sailors, but as they begin their final approach and steady to release their lethal torpedos, they are easy targets for the Allies and the bombers are shot down in large numbers. The few torpedos that are released have no effect and the remnants of the LW force return home in shreds.

Above them, the anti-shipping bombers (Junkers and Heinkels) have flown from all over Norway to try and sink the Allied Fleet. Transferring through Hamar and Bodo, these bombers have converged on a Fleet with no fighter cover. After seeing their comrades in the torpedo run shot down in heavy numbers, the bomber crews swear revenge, and unleash a barrage of bombs on the ships far below. Two significant hits are made on the Royal Navy Heavy Task Forces, ships keeling over in the deep waters to sink swiftly with heavy loss of life. Despite this, the RN shrug off the losses which are minimal compared to the total strength available.
(Ju 88 (V) aborted by AA, 2 x Ju 88 (S) gets two hits on Hvy TFs. 6 VPs for the German player, yeeow!)

Whitehall

Bitter recriminations fly between the Admiralty and the Air Force over the lack of fighter cover in Trondheim . Several Admirals and Air Marshalls are sent to Ascension Island as punishment.

Petsamo

German forces in the area feel they have weathered the intial Russian attack, and ME 106s are sent to Bardufoss to help gain air superiority in Norway. Units are moved to ensure good strength across the line.

February, 1916 Status

As the new year has started, we decided to issue a joint status report to compare to the Feb I 16 Historical Setup. This is where we are now:

Entente Status

Belgium has 17.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 1. They have lost a total of 103 Manpower points.
Britain has 234 Morale Points for a National Will of 4. They have lost a total of 192 British, 15 Indian, and 21 Canadian Manpower points. This is a grand total of 228 Manpower points.
France has 63.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 1. They have lost a total of 57 African, 87 Colonial, 10 Foreign, and 772 Metropolitan Manpower points. This is a grand total of 962 Manpower points.
Italy has 90.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 2. They have lost a total of 245 Manpower points.
Entente Equipment points lost are 732.
Total Manpower points lost are 1502.

Central Powers Status

Germany has 624 Morale Points for a National Will of 4. They have lost a total of 103 Bavarian, 744 German, 80 Saxon, and 38 Wurttemburg Manpower points. This is a grand total of 965 Manpower points.
Austria/Hungary has 197.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 2. They have lost a total of 37 Manpower points.
Central Powers Equipment points lost are 490.
Total Manpower points lost are 1002.

Historical Results

According to the Entente Initial Forces, Feb I 16:
Belgium has 46 Morale Points for a National Will of 1 and has successfully passed its first forced surrender roll.
Britain has 198 Morale Points for a National Will of 3.
France has 240 Morale Points for a National Will of 3.
Italy has 108 for a National Will of 3.

According to the Central Powers Initial Forces, Feb I 16:
Germany has 585 Morale Points for a National Will of 3.
Austria/Hungary has 186 Morale Points for a National Will of 2.

The difference is much more evident than the year previous. The French morale is much lower while the British and German is higher. Italy has had a bad war so far, they have lost almost seven times the losses of Austria/Hungary. This was helped some by the declaration of war and attacks by Germany. Overall, Entente losses are now 50% greater than the Central Powers.

APR I 1938

INSURGENT APR I 1938

Spring has awakened, and with a big bang at that! Warm sunshine and dry winds from the North African deserts dried up the snow melt’s slush. Another Azores high is on its way and promises continuing fair spring weather for all of Spain (fair weather now automatic).

Eager to strike before all those new Loyalist division reach the front, the Nationalists not only intensified their pressure at the Ebro, but started a second offensive out of their Cinca bridgehead at Barbastro (13:2929), attacking southward along the east bank of the river in the direction of Lerida. At the Cinca, the Nationalists broke into the entrenched Loyalist positions and reached Monzon (13:3029), but once again the Loyalists managed to fall back in good order. Not so at the Ebro: Although their elite Foreign Legionnaires and vaunted 13th Divison suffered losses (EX result), the Nationalists routed the defenders at Caspe (13:3332). Light armor, artillery on trucks, and the Legion Condor’s 88 Flak of Alcira fame stormed on across the Ebro bend and reached the river again near Gandesa (13:3431). Some unsuspecting Loyalist tank and construction crews taking the sun were rudely rounded up and led into captivity. The bulk of the taskforce is now at the Ebro less than 40 km from the Mediterranean coast, and a few patrols have pushed on across the river to the vicinity of Tortosa, causing disruption of traffic along the coastal highway (zone of control exerted).

Activities in the skies over Aragon slackened as both sides licked their wounds. Reconstituted Me-109s patrolled over Caspe, fending off Ratas and keeping Loyalist ground support away. The Barcelona red-eye continued its routine, as usual with no losses and to no effect. Renewed raids on Valencia achieved more: Savoia-Marchettis and Heinkels caused extensive additional damage to manufacturing facilities (2 more hits) while low-level attacks at the airbase wrecked the last few Republican bombers on the ground.

LOYALIST APR I 1938

Swayed by the impassioned pleas of envoys from Barcelona, raucously supported by the delegates of the left-wing parties, the French parliament took pity on the plight of the Republican cause and opened the border once again. Sadly, this is apt to do little more than provide a boost in morale. Whoever feels compelled to volunteer has already done so, and arms manufacturers are leary to ship to Spain on credit when all her gold has long been turned over to Stalin.

The Nationalist advance on Tortosa has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Nationalist bombers flew harassment missions against the coastal highway around Tarragona to hamper reinforcement of the Tortosa position. In response, the Republican merchant navy was awakened from its slumber to ferry troops, tanks, artillery, and anti-aircraft batteries to Tarragona, but the last proved ineffective. Meanwhile, repaired SB-2 bombers flew missions against the Zaragoza-Tarragona rail line at Escatron (13:3232). Me-109s tried to intercept, but were driven off with losses by Ratas bent on revenge. The bombers had a clear run, but failed to disrupt traffic.

Meanwhile frantic efforts were made to plug the gap at Tortosa with new divsions, artillery, and armor, some of it ferried at night by Barcelona’s taxis, some shipped through Tarragona to avoid bombing and strafing on the coastal highway. Also, construction brigades were summoned in an attempt to improvise a new fortified line.

To the north, the Nationalist advance to Monzon (13:3029) threatened to cut off the substantial Loyalists forces still forward of the Cinca, and a retreat behind that river was hastily odered, with only a bridgehead at Fraga (13:3230) still to be held. However, some stragglers did not make it in time because of overcrowding of the retreat routes, and now face certain annihilation.

The front between Teruel and Valencia remained unaffected by all this tourmoil, except that a few units were pulled out of line to help shore up the line at Tortosa.

COMMENTARY

With the breakthrough at Caspe into the Ebro bend, the Nationalists have reached the scene of one of the largest and hardest battles fought in an alternative history, but with reversed roles: with the Republicans as the attackers. Combined with the gains at the Cinca, the Ebro breakthrough has greatly increased the pressure on the Loyalists. The only saving grace for them has been one of timing: The near-disaster coincides with a whole slough of new divisions becoming operative, and that made it possible to patch up the front in a fashion, even though all entrenched positions between the Pyrenees and Teruel have now been lost. In the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Cinca river line is being outflanked, and a retreat behind the Segre, the next natural obstacle, would entail giving up Lerida. To the south at Tortosa there was just enough time to organize a defense of sorts forward of the coast. Whether it can hold is anyone’s guess. Between the Ebro and Teruel the imposing coastal Maestrazgo mountains form a formidable barrier but, as at Tortosa, its defenders have their backs against the sea: any Nationalist breakthrough here will split Valencia from Barcelona. And there is still a long, long summer ahead! Oh, Pasionaria, where are you when we need you!

This has been a very lucky turn for the Insurgents: good weather on a chance of 1 in 3 at a time when 2 “no change” and 4 clear results next turn guarantee good conditions into the summer; then the breakthrough at the Ebro with successful exploitation almost to the coast; and lastly 2 factory and 1 airbase hits at Valencia without losses to own aircraft.

The two aims of Nationalist strategy in Aragon are now becoming increasingly clear: Lerida and the coast. If both are achieved (and the French border is closed, as it will be for sure starting SEP I 38), the People’s Army and International Brigades will no longer have a general supply base, and Anarchists and Catalans around Valencia will have to rely on a naval supply line to Barcelona that is easily blocked. Although the Loyalists have ample supplies stockpiled in Barcelona and Valencia (over 40 ASP to date), these will no last forever once the troops have to start drawing on them. The next few turn will go a long way towar showing whether the Loyalists can still prevent that from happening.

Suddenly, what was a tiresome inch-by-inch slugging match has become a matter of options, motion, and maneuver once again. For how long, however, is anyone’s guess.

 

Feb I 16

The weather turns bad as snow hits the entire map. The Entente work hard at preparing their defenses. The French and British reinforce the areas between their armies to defend against the Central Powers offensive. French troops build up their reserves and another line of entrenchments is prepared. The Italians hit the Austrian factory at Triest again.

The Zepplins put two more terror bombing hits on Birmingham – the British player realizes that he will never have a fighter unit outside of London in this game. Army Group C successfully reacts and a ground assault is launched against the French 37 Corps. The artillery (since it is all in divisional form) is not able to participate and the French succeed in reinforcing with two chssr divisions. The air battle is won by the Central Powers, but none of the four tactical Recon missions succeed. The attack goes through for a BX. The French lose 8 morale points while the Germans lose 5.5 morale.

The French exploit two more chssr divisions into the hex.

Total losses were 18 French Metropolitan, 7 French African, 5 French Colonial Manpower and 26 Equipment Points. The Central Powers lost 42 German Manpower and 10 Equipment Points.

Tom: Once again, those ***** German divisions can absorb his losses with losing the morale. This will be scary, particularly when he gets to try out Arthur’s newest ruling on bombardment disruptions (where you can place a second disruption on a unit and destroy/cadre/remnant it). With all of that nasty artillery he has it will probably be very deadly.

The Central Powers are able to rebuild their cadres from the battle while the French are only able to rebuild three of their six divisions. Zepplins hit Birmingham for another terror bombardment. The air battle over the French 37 Corps results in the elimination of a Fok E1 and a Nie 11! Offensive bombardment disrupts three divisions and a cadre while also eliminating two cadres. The effectiveness was truly helped by great die rolls by Carl. Defensive bombardments are now fired by the defending troops to either side of the French 37 Corps. The defensive bombardment disrupts a MG X. The attack now hits and results in a 9:1 with no DRMs. The DD result hits the French hard and the German 17 Corps takes the hex! French morale is now at 46.5 and sinking fast.

The French army is frozen by fear (no reaction rolls made for any French army HQs!) but the British react and build up a reserve corps to send in aid.

The Central Powers have lost nothing while the Entente has lost 15 French Colonial, 7 French African, 5 French Metropolitan Manpower and 22 Equipment Points.

Carl: One hex down, another 5 hexes to Paris! Only 46.5 morale points for the French to lose. A few more turns like this one (where France has lost 17 morale points) and the French will be at NW 0 for the first time. I will have to make hay and hit the French hard while they are at 0 in order to get them to surrender. I will be giving the NW edge to Britain soon because the Germans are close to going down to NW of 3. I have probably ignored the British too much during the game but the French have really been worn down.

Dec I 15

Winter and snow hit the entire maps. The British have four divisions and an artillery unit in each of their eight front line corps. The French have managed to build a front line of three divisions per corps and some artillery spread out along the front. The Italians have three or four divisions in most of their front line.

Tom: Another quiet turn before the fury of a Central Powers offensive. I truly expect him to attack the French line at some point. I know he is massing reserves behind the lines in several points, almost all of his artillery is out of the front line and I know he has pulled back some of his rifle divisions too. I can do nothing but build up my front line and hope that I am ready when it comes.

The Central Powers have created a reserve army (Str/C) based around three corps (3, 10, and 13 Wur). Six artillery divisions, all of the available assault engineers, and the majority of the heavier rifle divisions are part of it. It is massed in the Metz area and will be able to deploy quickly anywhere on the French front by rail. The idea is that two of the corps replace two defending corps which consolidate their three divisions with the corps adjacent to them. These two adjacent corps are then reinforced by the third reserve corps which becomes the single reserve corps for the offensive. With sufficient manpower and equipment points in the replacement pool, this should be able to sustain an attack on the Entente for several turns.

The Central Powers defensive line in France is three divisions per corps. In Austria, the defensive line varies depending on the terrain it is defending. The Germans have not yet pulled out, but there is the possibility of some shifts because of supply restrictions.

Carl: A quiet turn with one or more to come. It is time for rebuilding and formulating new plans. I think my new attack will come in the Jan II 16 or Feb I 16 turn. This gives me a few turns of attacking before the Entente (and myself) get a production cycle to build up more replacements. I am still not sure where I will attack, although it will probably be against the French.

MAR II 1938

INSURGENT MAR II 1938

The Azores high has move on and warm air has invaded Spain in its wake. Melting snow has produced a sea of mud in the north, but the south is enjoying dry, spring-like weather.

In Aragon, an impatient Nationalist command insisted on continuing the Ebro offensive despite poor ground conditions. Starting out from Escatron and Hijar (13:3232 and 3233) the tired troops trudged forward through slush and sleet and gained ground toward Alcaniz (3432), presumably their next major objective. However, once again the Loyalists were able to fall back in good order.

In clear skies overhead, the battle royal continued. For the first time some Me-109s bit the dust, but not before having taken three times their number of Ratas with them (1K and 1A versus 1A). The 109s kept Loyalist ground support aircraft away, but could not fully protect their brethren: some obsolescent He-45s fell to the Ratas.

Meanwhile, the Barcelona red-eye continued: Savoia-Marchetti night bombers kept attacking, but not to much effect. A different story at Valencia: Here, Heinkel-111s caused additional damage to factories while fighters and light bombers savaged the airbase, destroying the two squadrons of hated SB-2s on the ground, at the loss of some hapless Italian Fiats to the ever sharp AA gunners.

Except for these hotspots, all fronts remained quiet.

LOYALIST MAR II 1938

Concerned about the worsening supply situation at their front east of Teruel, the Loyalists pulled back from their entrenched positions in the Alfambra valley (23:3303), el Pobo mountains, and foothills of the Sierra de la Canada (23:3302 to 13:3334). Even so, logistics remained a nightmare and mule trains were mobilized to get at least a modicum of supplies forward to the troops (attack supply converted to general supply and brought forward with SMPs).

Some troops freed by the shortening of the front near Teruel were transferred to Aragon. Otherwise no significant activities.

While the Me-109s still licked their wounds, new Ratas were got operational and attacked the air strip at Monreal in the Jiroka valley (23:3103), forcing Fiats to scramble, but doing no harm to ground installations. R-Z attack bombers did better, damaging the railway station at Cuenca.

COMMENTARY

The Ebro winter offensive so far has produced a tidy gain of territory (14 hexes), close to 14% of still Loyalist-controlled Spain and reducing that hold to barely more than 10% of the countries total. However, it has fallen short of reaching its greater objective: to inflict crippling losses. (In the eight “big” attacks in Aragon since November, with on the average a better than 50& chance of causing casualties, only two did so.) As a result, the Loyalists are now stronger than at any time since the collapse of the Murcia pocket. Moreover, a grand wave of reinforcements will become available starting early April (thirteen infantry divisions, a handful of brigades, ample artillery and armor points). The Insurgents will have a hard nut to crack! On the other hand, by now the Loyalists between Teruel and the Ebro almost have their backs against the wall, with only one mountain range between the current front and the sea. A further Insurgent advance of 80 km would split Valencia from Barcelona. If despite more difficult terrain Franco’s troops do better in summer than they did in winter, the Loyalist cause is apt to become critical.

The last few weeks have seen more activity in the air than at any time before. Losses have been heavy on both sides and about evenly distributed. However, having entered this round with inferior numbers (though with better fighters), the Loyalists can less afford the losses. They are now down to two squadrons of Ratas and one of R-Z fighter bombers while the Insurgents, in addition to two squadrons of Fiats, still have six of heavy and light bombers.

 

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