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Europa Games and Military History

Month: June 2000 (page 2 of 3)

Analysis

The inclusion of SoS and FWTBT maps to Second Front really changes the dynamics of the campaign. I look forward to the designers handling of trying to mesh the games in Grand Europa and trying to account for the neutrals and the Allied ability to invade at will anywhere. In this game, it put the Axis on the back foot once Spain became operational with insufficient troops available to cover Italy and maintain a viable Atlantic Wall while trying to prop up Franco’s tottering regime. In this game Madrid fell far to easily, due to a large amount of luck and to a sub-conscious desire of my opponent to destroy Nationalist Spain (he was Robert Jordan in a previous life and owns a video copy of Land and Freedom – needless to say he is always the Loyalists in FWTBT and never seems to win).

This opened up southern France and Germany faced a three front war in the west – way beyond the existing OoB resources to handle effectively.

The early destruction of Italy helped too – the slaughter in Sicily of the Italians and the seizure of Messina before the Germans were in position to retreat to the Toe accelerated a panic in my opponent who was forced to react more to my plans and upset his timetable for an easy withdrawal up the boot. The advance up the boot was quite speedy as many German units were diverted to the Pyrenees and gaps developed early in the line allowing the succesive lines set up to be outflanked.

The highlight for me was the race across Southern France by the British Army – aside from the hiccup with the Guards Corp it was sheer pleasure to reach the Rhine with minimal effective interference from the Germans.

The Battle for Germany was a hard slog – thankfully the US units were in the right position to fight for the Ruhr and Holland – I don’t think the Commonwealth forces have enough engineers and seige equipment to take this part of the map without extreme losses. The advance through Bavaria and Saxony towards Berlin by the British was very lucky – my opponent had his eyes on the developing US breakout from the Channel Beachhead and put insufficient units in the south until it was too late and the Rhine was crossed in force.

Things I would do differently in a similar game

Ignore Scandanavia – I should have invaded at the begining of Summer with more troops or ignored it completely. By the time the poor weather arrived I was too far from Oslo and hadn’t taken a big enough port to try and activate Swedish involvement. I think Norway is an all or nothing approach. The paratroopers should have been used to reinforce the British drive across southern Germany.

Use paratroopers in assisting the drive across Southern Germany (see above) – I might have lost a few, but it would have assisted in seizing some key terrain, especially the rough hexes leading into Czechoslovkia which meant I could have finished off the southern sector forces a lot earlier (Vienna etc) and shifted my focus onto Berlin.

Invaded at Normandy – the invasion site was chosen to avoid the Atlantic Wall but the lack of Bocage to defend the cardboard troops meant that when my opponent lashed out, it hurt. if anything I would invade at Normandy, and then, after a couple of turns, hit the beaches again around Bolougne-sur-Mer and probably trapped a lot more units.

My opponents biggest regrets

The failure to leave a garrison in Madrid, trusting in mountain terrain in Italy and the Alps to prevent a rapid Allied advance (not in this game – an EX is better than a DR), failing to provide a second line of units in Italy and behind Trento to prevent a rapid advance and (naturally) manning the Westwall earlier.

My opponents highlights:

The Battle of the Shetlands, the Battle off Barcelona (starting to see a trend here?), the near crushing of the beachhead at Boulogne sur Mer and his initial handling of the retreat up Italy up to the Arno (where after, in his words, it all turned to s**t) and, surprisingly, the last few turns of the game where he commanded his shrinking empire from his bunker and tried to hang on with a diminishing army and no replacements other than special RPs.

Victory Points: Without being too exact, the Allies had 98 VPs and the Germans around 74 (10 from failure to maintain the Spanish garrisons). 46 Allied VPs came from cities inside Greater Germany/Berlin hexes – so if I had sat outside the Westwall I would have lost most convincingly (mind you a bundle of German VPs came from the loss of the Canadian Armoured Corp at Kottbus that was still sitting in the dead pile so this logic might be challenged).

All up a very enjoyable, but mentally and physically sapping game. Total casualties: 3 bottles of scotch, 14 cubans (cigars, not people), 3 cartons of beers, one pack of cigarettes. Total time taken: around 35 hours spread over 10 days.

Jan II 1944

S, S, S, S, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

With big withdrawal due to fight the Russian hordes storming over Oder, the few units that actually are not in the dead pile wave farewell to their comrades and disappear off the map (not many disappeared though as most were not available). In Copenhagen, the Garrison commander activates his forces and sends them marching down the Jutland peninsula to join the defenders of Hamburg, Kiel and Lubeck.

In Berlin, the defenders draw themselves into the city and prepare to sell themselves dearly. Kottbus is retaken by a C/M stack drawn from around Dresden but they are too weak to try and break the british grip on the southern approaches to the city.

The few command groups left to Berlin to shuffle about the map are small, weak and generally without flank protection. The boys in the bunker start planning to fly out to Copenhagen or Oslo to prepare an alternative government.

Allied Player Turn

Magdeburg falls to a 6:1 attack DE while Hamburg falls to the US Army in an EX result.

Prague is surrounded and falls to a HX attack and Czechoslovakia is liberated.

At Vienna the Polish armoured forces rush in and secure an undefended eastern hex and launch an attack across the Danube in support of the mixture of Allied forces who try and wrestle control of the western half from the defenders. The attack is unsuccessful and the attackers are stopped in their tracks.

Over Berlin, a massive air battle breaks out as the Strategic reserve contests local air superiority with the Allies. Enough GS sneaks through to aid the two attacks launched on the city from the north and south by the Americans and British/Canadians. The southern Commonwealth attack with massed artillery, engineers and funnies is enough to push back the LW Paratroopers, SS and eastern cossack troops defending the hex. In the north the Americans force an exchange with the defending paratroopers and city is nearly split in two.

Through the smoking rubble, Allied forward scouts observe a ragged Nazi Party official approach with a grimy white flag held of his head, he requests access to the Allied High Commander to discuss terms. With fewer than 6 cities remaining in Greater Germany, resistance is recognised as being futile and the Third Reich surrenders unconditionally to the Allied Alliance.

April 1938

Apr I 38

The weather is now clear everywhere.

Insurgent Player Turn.

The Nationalist Ju.52 is rebuilt. The Cac XX converts to the 16 XX.
Insurgent air units continue to launch raids, now in the north as well as the south. At Gijon, a KL He45 is aborted by AA fire. At Murcia, an escorting Nationalist CR-32 is killed by an I-15 but manages to abort its opponent. Loyalist AA guns score a victory here as well, aborting a Nationalist R0-37.

An attack is launched south of the Tajo into difficult, mountainous terrain (hex 2616). An advance here will clear the flank of the drive on Madrid and threaten the flank of the Loyalist offensive to the south. Despite GS, the terrain proves to much for the attackers and they are thrown back (3:1 -3 = AR).

Loyalist Turn.

The French border is closed again. An I-16 is rebuilt. The Loyalists follow the retreating Rebels across the Tajo and launch an attack against the 54 XX (hex 2415) to isolate the 4 Urg XXX at Talavera de la Reina. Pressing forward despite losses, they destoy the 54 XX and cut off the force at Talavera de la Reina (3:1 -1 = HX) (ZOC kill).

Continuing the offensive, the People’s Army attacks the 1 Mad XX (hes 2719). A disastrous showing in the air (both I-16’s aborted, 1 by the KL Me109B and 1 by a Nationalist CR-32) allows heavy DAS for the Insurgents, resulting in a botched attack (3:2 0 = AR). However, a renewed attack an the 14 XX (hex 3018), with the Insurgent air engaged further north, smashes the Rebel division (6:1 -2 = DE).

Apr II 38

No change in the weather.

Insurgent Turn.

Th KL He 45 is rebuilt. In yet another air raid on Gijon, an I-15 manages to kill a Nationalist CR32 escorting the bombers, which fail to hit any targets. The 4 Urg XXX attempts to break out of encirclement. Attacking (hex 2516) with help from units outside the pocket and air units flying support, it is able to extricate itself and in the process destroys the PA 47 XX ( 5:1 0 = DR) (ZOC Kill).

Loyalist Turn.

An 1-16 is rebuilt. The aerial victory over the CR32 at Gijon has left the Insurgent bombers based at Oviedo without any fighter protection. Trying to exploit this, the I-15 based at Gijon attempts to bomb the Insurgent airbase, but is aborted by AA fire.

Two attacks are made attempting to clear the flanks of the attack alonf the rail line. North of the rails,the 6 Nav XX is attacked (hex 2619). Both sides throw in a lot of planes. A large air battle breaks out, but the fighters on neither side accomplish much. Both sides manage to get their close support aircraft thru. The fact that the Loyalist troops are attacking across the river prevents a successful assault (2:1 -1 = AR). To the south, the 15 XX is attacked (hex 2919). Despite only Insurgent aircraft appearing over the battlefield here, the defenders are not protected by a river line and are pushed back (4:1 -1 = DR).

Jan I 1944

S, S, S, S, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

With the Russians closing in from the east, withdrawals hurt OK West heavily. The Luftwaffe blue is the most noticable colour on the map from Berlins perspective, Goering sits chuckling in his corner of the bunker drinking schnapps – the main defensive power around Berlin are his fanatical paratroopers, the foolish Allied decision to allow the 7th FS XX to fly out of Holland is coming back to haunt them! Hanover is declared a Festung and Harburg is abandoned with troops falling back to join the sailors and Hitler Youth in Hamburg. A rough line is pulled back from Magdeburg to Wittenburge and around Berlin. The remaining elite C/M units guard forward positions to slow the US advance on the Capital. Prague is reinforced by SS mountain troops and a thin line is set up on the road from Linz to Vienna. Over the German capital the newly arrived Jet and Rocket fighters fly in formation, inspiring the cities defenders that the hour of redemption is at hand!

Allied Player Turn

The operations of the Allied air forces are slightly hampered by the appearance of new German aircraft from the Strategic reserve throughout this period. Despite this, the USAAF and Commonwealth airforces more than adequately hold their own and support the frontline offensives.

Ljubjana and Klagenfurt are subjected to heavy US attacks, but both hold out valiently in their fortresses. At Linz, the remaining Germans are destroyed by a mix of Indian armour (finally available after training for so long), US infantry and APC-mounted British infantry. Budweiss falls to Czechs, Indians and Poles who loot the brewery. Disheartened by the news that all local beer supplies are cut off, a German stack south of Prague is surrounded and destroyed easily by French, Poles and the British.

At Luneburg, the Americans attack across the Elbe into two Infantry divisions who are shattered and forced to retreat into Lubeck. The LSSAH Pz XX and attached units fight to the death against surrounding US forces and cause an EX result before surrendering when no escape route is available for the LSSAH cadre.

Magdeburg is attacked by a joint US/French attack but the American engineers pay the ultimate price in the result (-5 die modifiers in this battle – scary) and the city holds on. Hanover falls to a text book use of Seige Artillery and Engineers.

The Third Reich burns……

At Kottbus the British retake the town and in the exploitation phase push into the wooded lake area SE of Berlin cutting off all land contact with the southern front (or what remains of it). Along the danube, American armor rushes along the south bank towards Vienna while Indian armour and mechanised infantry drive along the north bank

Dec II 1944

S, S, S, S, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

“Operation Winter Storm II”

Another offensive is launched, this time on the hapless 7th Armoured XX and attached units. Pz and PzG XXs throw themselves into the battle with determination, but the RAF is in the sky in force and equals up the balance significantly, despite the fact the German Mech Commando’s are successful in infiltrating the British positions and, despite Red cap checks, are able to answer questions on who won the Ashes in the last test series, who was Victor Trumper, what was the Don’s batting average, where can you find a silly mid-on and why is it important to bowl a maiden over. The battle results in in the attackers falling back in disorder and retreat. The Allies breathe a sigh of relief.

Allied Player Turn

With the Ruhr virtually cleared, the vast bulk of the Americans are available to drive onto Berlin. 11 stacks of Americans crash into 4 German Corps between Hanover and Bremen.Several breaches are made in the line but Hanovers defences hold the yanks at bay. The last of the Ruhr falls to the Americans, ominously releasing another 6 US Stacks. Berlin shivers in fear.

At Festung Frankfurt, French and British forces polish off the last of the defenders in a DR ZoC scam and march them to the PoW cages dotted along the Rhine.

At Linz, feeling sick from eating too many chocolates, the defenders are forced to abandon the city after inflicting an EX result on the vengeful Allied attackers.

Festung Ljubjana holds out again, despite extensive air and engineer support, this time chasing the Americans back towards the italian border with an AR result.

In Czechoslovakia the Allies grind towards Prague. The New Zealanders attempt to seize the city in a coup de main but are rebuffed for an AS while the Springboks and attached units destroy some SS training units caught in the open outside Pilsen (cut off from their beer supply the Germans were weak and fatigued and surrended willingly for a litre stein each).

In the exploitation phase the Americans drive purposely forward to the western outskirts of Velzen, almost severing Hamburg’s communications with northern Germany.

Dec I 1944

S, S, S, W, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

“Operation Winter Storm”

The Canadians in Kottbus are attacked by three Fallschirmjager, one Panzer, One Panzer Grenadier divisional group, an SS Mountain, two Eastern Cossack Divisions and assorted rocket units while Hitler Youth and Infantry assualt from the South. The last of the Luftwaffe flies out of Berlin and Copenhagen to provide GS. In an inept display of aerial combat, the Allied fighter aircraft return to base on 2 of 7 bombers and attack craft. AA is only able to return two more bomber units and allied DAS is slaughtered by German AA. Luckily for the Allies the OKW Mechanised Commado unit fails to have any impact (rolled F). Surrounded the allied units are doing okay in defence until the Canadians spot the Cossacks on their horses. It is almost a year to the day they suffered their ignomious defeat at the hands of Spanish cavalry outside Zaragosa and suffering post traumatic stress flash backs, they panic and abandon the line. The retreat dissolves into a rout and two Canadian armoured divisions, an Indian Infantry division, allied contingents for Belgium and the Netherlands and valuable Engineer tank and motorised Artillery brigades are marched off into captivity (HX ZoC retreat scam).

Linz is recaptured and elsewhere the lines are strengthened. In the exploitation phase Dresden is reinforced and the Elbe line regained.

The thousand year Reich is being born again!

Allied Player Turn

Reports are coming into the news desks that the champagne has been returned to the cooler. Victory parades in Allied capitals have been postponed.

Winter gear is being rushed to the Western Front from mills in the US and Canada. US reinforcements destined for the Pacific Front are being diverted to Europe.

Victory Slogan “Home for Christmas” has been replaced by “Home alive in 45”

Owww. That hurt. The Allied Commander contemplates tossing the table over and resorting to fisticuffs to settle the domination of Western Europe but settles for a good scotch and practices his stiff upper lip in the mirror.

To teach the Germans a lesson Essen falls to the Engineer/Seige Artillery strong US forces as does another hex of the Ruhr conurbation. Around the Frankfurt pocket more troops are thrown into the battle and Festung Frankfurt shrinks back into the city itself, the remaining troops wait expectantly as Goebbels informs them via radio of the massive German offensive coming to relieve them. In northern Germany the US forces begin to crumble the German line – lots of attacks destroy various stacks and units but no significant breakthrough is acheived.

The British take Zossen in a 6:1 attack and press further around the outskirts of Berlin.

In the Sudenten a nasty EX result occurs in some wooded rough terrain and the possibility of liberating Prague appears as distant as ever.

At Linz the Allies attempt to ratake the city but the ferocious defence kills half the attackers and leave a US armoured division a smoking ruin in the snow. Defenders fortify themselves with locally made chocolates.

At Ljubajana the US army is unable to shift the defenders despite superiority of 4:1 due to fortifications and weather.

Exploitation. As a result of the exchange in the Sudenten, the Dominion mechanised units are able to push into Czechoslovakia proper and the SA Armoured XX seizes Pilsen, drinking large quantities of beer and leaving the snow yellow for miles around. The New Zealanders in the north enter Aussig on the border.

Nov II 1944

S, F, F, M, C R, R

Axis Player Turn

Frost! Frost! Frost!

Berlin lines up its Weather Section and shoots them.

The defences of Berlin are strengthened. The last remaining motorised units are gathered together for a final hurrah and positioned outside the capital to strike north or south as circumstances may dictate.

Allied Player Turn

Well, with Frost firming up the ground, an all out assault is launched. In Norway Trondheim is attacked by Commandos, marines and tank brigades but the defenders hold them off (AS) In the Lagen Valley the 6th para XX with Norweigan support gets a HX result against Punitive Troops, SS Police men and some Infantry. The US Amphibious battalions then race down the valley into Hamar. Oslo is looking vulvnerable.

In Greater Germany the following attacks occur – on a pocket near Frankfurt, west of Klagenfurt, and Ljubjana – all are beaten off for AS results much to Allied High Commands shock. At Linz the newly arrived Jewish brigade joins the Americans and Brits in attacking a german battlegroup but is beaten back with an AR! In the Sudentenland, Poles, Czechs, Kiwis and French push further towards Prague (8:1 -5 mods on dice roll!).

Chemnitz falls to an EX result, burning up some valuable (and scarce) British comabat engineers. The Elbe is crossed again north east of Reisa while the Wittenburg bridgehead is expanded by the Guards Corp into Luckenwalde, reaching the outskirts of Berlin itself. In the exploitation phase, the Canadian Armoured Corp overruns a single cadre in some woods before entering Kottbus, cutting Berlin off from the south and splitting the front.

In the American sector, Koln, Duisburg and Essen fall to US Infantry and Engineers. The Ruhr is surrounded by a sea of green cardboard and the German Commander can only hope the region will hold for as long as possible to delay the infantry flooding eastwards and joining the assualt on Berlin. At Bremen, two US corps attack the 1st LSSAH Pz Division with attached troops in support. In what should be a simple attack, the SS dig in and fight tenaciously, forcing the attacking americans to reel backwards with an AR result! To compound the failure, all retreat paths are in German ZoC and the corps are forced to surrender and are marched up into Danish PoW camps. The cadres enter Bremen where they are reinforced in the exploitation phase.

Despite good weather, results were generally terrible for the Allies. Hitler claims that this is the long awaited turning point in the war. With the enemy at the gates of Berlin the miracle has happened – surely the failure to seize significant ground is a sign of divine intervention?

March 1938

Mar I 38

The weather reverts to the same pattern as at the start of February–mud in the north and clear in the south.

Insurgent Player Turn.

The Nationalist RO-37 and CTV SM-79 are rebuilt. In yet another air raid on Madrid, an escorting KL Me109B kills an I-16. Making a desperate attempt to prevent the iniative from passing entirely to the Loyalists, the Insurgents launch an attack on the 2nd XXX (hex 2516) along the Madrid rail line. The Loyalists are pushed back but are able to withdraw in good order (3:1 -1 = DR).

Loyalist Turn.

The I-16 is rebuilt. The spring offensive begins in a most inauspicious manner, as Insurgent forces repulse the initial attack (hex 2818) (2:1 0 = AS). Some Loyalists air units had provided GS, but Insurgent DAS was also an important factor in the battle. No counter attack is possible along the Madrid rail line at this time.

Mar II 38

No change in the weather.

Insurgent Turn.

An air raid on Murcia results in the loss of the Mxd T unit, killed by an I-15 which bypassed an escorting Nationalist CR-32.

The Insurgents follow up their earlier success with an assault on Talavera de la Reina. A wild air battle results as both sides attempt to provide close support. Honors in the air go to the Insurgents. A CTV CR-32 on CAP aborts an I-16 attempting to get to the bombers, and a KL Me109B bypasses escorting fighters to abort an R-Z. On the ground, the Insurgents again manage to push back the defenders, but the People’s Army is continues to fall back in good order (4:1 -2 = DR).

Loyalist Turn.

The French border is reopened. An I-15 is rebuilt. Despite the earlier setback and the fall of Talaver de la Reina, the Loyalist continue their offensive. Another big air battle erupts. This time, and I-16 is aborted by an escorting KL Me109B, but another I-16 gets past a Nationalist CR-32 and kills a Nationalist Ju.52. Therefore, no close support is available to either side in the ensuing ground attack. (The loss of the R-Z has left the Loyalists with only fighters operational, while other Insurgent aircraft were otherwise busy; see below.) The Loyalists are able to advance against the 2 Av XX (hex 2718) (3:1 -1 = DR.) Further south (hex 3018) a strong attack is stopped by the 14 XX and aircraft flying DAS (5:1 -2 = AS).

Jan II 1942

The Germans dropped on Belomorsk and put the Arctic front out of supply.
Meanwhile, the Russians undeterred by lack of mail or the threats to
Moscow and Leningrad continued their assaults on the Finns eliminating a
division and cadre for two others.

AGN: The skies were black with planes as the Germans pushed next to Leningrad for the first time in the game.  Russians retreated rather than take losses
(DR) and moved reserves in their turn.

AGC: The Germans launched three attacks and inflicted heavy losses on the
Russians.  The attacks were not well coordinated, however, as the effect of
surprise wore off before the other attacks were resolved (a DH, followed
by a HX, followed by an EX).  The Russians counterattacked in their turn and
inflicted a HX on a German division suffering from the cold.

AGS: Mud continues, but supply lines advance.

Total losses for Jan II 53 soviet, 27 German and 12 Finnish.

Nov I 1944

S,M,M,M,M,M R&R

Axis Player Turn

A call to arms results in a mass of timely reinforcements for the German High Command. Added to this is the call out of WK III and its mass of units. The Nazi Party chiefs release their special bodygurad units to help defend Berlin. In a special deal with the Allies, the 7th Parachute XX is flown out of Amsterdam to Berlin in return for the surrender of Haarlem, The Hauge and Walchern Island. (Seemed like a good idea at the time!) A bundle of 30+ units are disbanded – mainly training and reserve forces while a new line is formed on the banks of the Elbe River. The US units in Bremen are blocked off and units in the Ruhr are stripped out of the line and sent eastwards to help defend the capital. Naturally most are strung out with little rail capacity or continuous rail lines available for rapid transit. Austria and Czechoslovakia are stengthened.

Allied Player Turn

Le Harve and Dieppe fall to portuguese troops with US engineer support. Most French ports are now Allied and operational. An attempt is made on Ljubjana but is beaten off by the weather and terrain.

SE of Linz the defenders are finally crushed by the American tanks and infantry while some ground is taken pushing towards Pisek and Pilsen. Leipzig falls to a 4:1 DR ZoC scam and kassel is subjected to a 9:1 DE attack. Various operations mop up the defenders around the Rhine Valley and in Holland while the route to Bremen is secured and strengthened by the Americans.

The Guards Corp assaults across the Elbe from Dessau into Wittenburg and seizes the town. To follow up this attack it exploits into Brandenburg – a narrow waist of three hexes links the north and southern fronts for Germany.

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