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.
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)
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)
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)
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!)
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.
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.