Allied Player turn
Weather: The weather holds, and remains winter in the north and mud in the south.
Initial Phase: The scheduled reorganization for this turn is put on hold, as the units necessary to accomplish it are not properly placed.
A 3-2-8 regt is rebuilt (eliminated in the first turn so long ago) using 3 of the 5 available Greek mtn Rps. The mxd B on Rodi goes on naval patrol, as does an SM81 in Albania (as I finally decided to try and stem some of the reinforcements flowing into Greece from the islands from the north end of the Peloponnesus…doh.)(Of course, as previously stated, none of these ports are legal for the Greeks to ship to since they cannot enter the Central Med.)
Movt Phase: Greek units move to assault the recently lost hex at 3704.
Since the hexs defense is only 10, it is assumed that much better odds than the previous 2:1 -1 can be acquired. To help in this endeavor, both Allied fighters fly CAP over the hex, to help drive off the pesky Italian DAS. The Italian fighter previously sent to Rodi returns via staging, and all 4 Italian fighters fly CAP to the same hex. The Allies choose to remain on CAP standby.
Combat Phase: The Italians sniff out a possible 2:1-1, 4 or 3:1 -1 combo that would result in a zoc scam. A single 2 pt bomber adds .5 points to hex 3603, which should prevent the 2:1 -1. The remaining Ju87 and Z.1007b fly DAS to 3704, with the 4 Italian fighters on CAP switching to escort. Without the Ju87s DAS, the attack will go in at 4:1 -1. If it gets through, the odds will drop to 3:1 -1. The Z.1007b is there primarily to increase the odds the Ju87 gets through. The Allies decide the risk is worth it, and both CAP planes switch to intercept, resulting in the first air-to-air combat of the Italian-Greco war. Both planes bypass. The four fighters, each with a 3 attack, get two free attacks on the bypassing P24 & Glad. The MC200 scores an R result against the P24 (rolls of 5 & 9 for these two attacks), but the Glad gets through the escorts (rolls of 9 & 1l.) Random allocation puts the Glad on the vital Ju87, but it rolls a 9 resulting in a no effect.
The Ju87 manages to score an R. The Greek command, not to be dissuaded by the air combat over the hex or last turns near disaster, chooses to launch the attack to regain lost motherland. Unfortunately, the thin Green line (to paraphrase) is equal to the task, and the 23rd and 49th Italian Inf Divisions earn their Roman legion eagles by driving the poor Greeks off again with another AR (rolled a 1 at 3:1 -1). The Greek commander comments that at this rate hes going to retreat himself back to Thermopolae. The resulting retreat results in hexes 3804 and 3703 vacant, and Ioannina defended by the artillery regt from last turns Italian attack. At this point its obvious that the God of War prefers the name Mars to Ares…
Exploit Phase: The Greek motorized infantry rgt rushes to protect Ioannina, bringing the def up to 2 pts, though this may or may not be sufficient to hold the vital road junction. The British Blenheims decide to launch a raid on the port of Valona since all Italian fighters are now inop, but they roll a 4 and fail to score a hit.
Italian Player turn
Initial phase: Three more infantry divisions along with a construction regiment and ski battalion show up for duty in Albania. Unfortunately, the Ju87s, so critical to the past two turns successful defense against Greek offensives, are withdrawn for duty elsewhere. The two forts that have been under construction for the past two months are completed. The Brits leave the Well 1C stood down again.
Movt Phase: All reinforcements move to Albania and then towards the front without incident. In a triumph of Italian arms, 2 empty hexes are seized, while an attack is set up against Ioannina. The possible assault on Melos is delayed again, since it is decided that long range fighter cover over the hex would better ensure victory and the Italians are not yet willing to bring in German support (i.e., theyre racking up too many juicy Vps and dont want to give them up until they get close to maxing out.) Feb II is targeted as the best possible time to pull off this stunt, as the Vps will be close to the 50 pt max at this point.
A minor fighter/bomber raid is staged at Thessalonike, where the Brits have stationed their Blenheim with 1 pt AA (virtually all other flak having moved to Athenai.) Weather and poor rolling results in no AA or bombing hits by 3 air units (two combined to get to 1 pt bombing strength.) At the end of the Italian movt phase the Allied High Command flies both of its fighters as CAP over Ioannina.
Combat Phase: The Italians can assault Ioannina under two scenarios…
the first would involve only supplied mountain troops much as the assault the previous turn. In this case, a 6:1, -1 would result, without air support. This would unfortunately lead to only 2 mountain divisions in Ioannina, an 8 pt defense, and a very likely target in the following turn. On the other hand, an 8:1 -3 with all available troops could be launched, using no supplies and not requiring air support to brave the Allied CAP. Since this also puts 10 points of less precious infantry into the seized hex, the Italians go with this plan. A 5 is rolled, and a Greek 2-1-6 Artillery rgt along with the only motorized elements of the Greek Army enter the dead pool.
Exploit Phase: The Z.506 launches in another attempt to hit the Blenheims at Thessalonike, getting by Greek AA (1 column, 9 rolled), and scoring a hit with a 6. Feeling lucky, the Z.1007b attempts to terror bomb Athenai, but snake eyes on the flak roll puts it into the aborted pile.
End of game turn: The Italians collect 8 Vps (the max) for hexes in Greece.
End of 6-month territorial ownership period: The Axis collects nothing for Greece or Yugoslavia. The Allies collect 10 Vps for Crete, but nothing for Greece or Albania (they have never owned all of Greece in any of their own initial phases…) VP totals are now Italians 40, Allies 7.