The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: June 2008

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Jan I 41

Axis player Turn

North-west of Ioaninna – the Greek battle group is finally destroyed, but not before aborting a Z-506B flying GS and inflicting a HX result (5:1 -3). This only opens up the road to Ioaninna and the Italian footsloggers shamble through the mountain passes onto the next Greek defensive position.

Allied Player Turn

The Greek and British Air Forces make a joint effort to shut down the sea supply route by taking the port of Valona out of action. Italian Cr-42s chase away the Blenheims while the Mixed Bomber force of the Greeks return to base some disorganised CR-32bis aircraft. Despite making it through the fighter and AA barriers, the Greeks drop their payloads well off target and return to base.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Dec II 40

Axis player Turn

Determined to spend Christmas in Ioaninna, the Italian Expeditionary force launches it’s biggest offensive to date through the snow filled passes on the annoying little battle group blocking its path but again fail (5:1 -3 = AS). Benito rolls about a bit and tells off Clara for laughing at him. Kastoria and Arta are reinforced.

Allied Player Turn

By clever movement Arta is placed out of supply by the Greeks although an attack to dislodged from the town fails (2:1 -2 = AS). At Kastoria four Mountain Divisions fail to shift the Italians (AS). What are they putting in their pasta?

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Dec I 40

Axis player Turn

Bad weather slows the Italian drive to beef up the defenders in Arta with cavalry and Artillery caught short of the town. Elsewhere the foothills on the west of the Pindus Mountains are occupied by the invaders, providing a buffer to the defence. In the mountains around Ioaninna, Alpini and infantry try to drive out a small battlegroup of cavalry, mountaineers and artillery with 200 planes flying ground support overhead. Despite relatively good conditions for the attack, the determined Greeks dig in and hold the line (4:1 -3 = AS).

Allied Player Turn

The gutsy Greeks refuse to allow the Italian incursion to pollute the scared Hellenic soil for a day longer than necessary. Arta is attacked again but the Italians hold (2:1 -1 = AS). Southwest of Kastoria another attack fails (3:1 -3 = AS). Some good news is received when south-east of Egoumenitsa the 19th and 47th Divisions are destroyed in a HX result to attacking Greeks forces (3:1 -2).

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Nov II 40

Axis player Turn

Italian reinforcements arrive from the mainland at Valona and Durazzo. In the eastern frontline, Koritsa is occupied without a shot being fired to the chagrin of the Greeks. The effort towards Egoumenitsa continues with the shattered defenders being chased further from the front line (5:1 -1 = DR). The town is seized and in the exploitation phase Bersaglieri Motorcycle units and the Centauro cadre race down to seize Arta just before the Greek 4th Mountain Division advancing from Patrai can enter the town. Viva Il Duce!

Allied Player Turn

In desperation the Greek 4th and 5th Divisions attempt to drive the unsupported motorcycle and tankette troops out of Arta but are rebuffed (2:1 -1 = AS). A 1.5:1 -1 odds attack is launched against the neck of the Italian breakthrough at Egoumenitsa but the combined might of artillery, infantry and cavalry beat off the attackers (AR). The attempt to regain Kastoria fails badly (2:1 -2 = AR). The government in Athens is sent a reassurance from Britain that help is available if required

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Nov I 40

Axis player Turn

Mussolini’s vision of a new Roman Empire is given birth on the rocky slopes of the Pindus Mountains as the might of the Italian Army begins its march to Athens. The immediate targets are Ioannina and the western coastal strip. In the mountains the Alpini divisions and supporting Infantry rabble are held by a stubborn Greek Mountain defence (AS) of the 9th Division and 42nd Ev Regiment. Along the coast the Greek 8th Division is shattered but not before taking its toll on the tanks and armoured vehicles of the 131 Centauro Division with Infantry support (HX). The object of the drive in this region is Egoumenitsa.

Allied Player Turn

In Athens, the call to arms goes out. Troops hurriedly report to their designated depots and march bravely to the front line in the Pindus Mountains. The Metexas Line is manned to prevent the Bulgarians getting uppity about Thrace and a series of blood curdling speeches are made about drenching the Albanian valleys with Italian blood. To show their resolve, the Greeks High command launches a fierce attack on Koritsa across the border. Unfortunately the Italian and Albanian defenders are well dug in and the Greeks are sent reeling back beyond their start line (AR). Hanging his head in shame, the Greek commander sulks for a bit.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Introduction

Balkan Front was the first Europa game I played. I was stuck in the Middle East sweating it out on a desert island when I decided to get the girl friend to go buy me a wargame that would take hours to play, be complex to learn and be enough of a distraction from the world around me while I was counting the days off to my next leave period.
With Wavell’s War upgrading Balkan Front, I thought take the opportunity to waltz the old mistress around the table one more time before her counters were replaced and the absurdly thin rule book consigned to the back of the cupboard rarely to be played with again.

With a new child demanding much of my time, Balkan Front remains the easiest game of the Europa Series to play, able to be knocked off in a few hours of beer and port and cigars, and more beer. So when I was able to get a free evening with my long suffering opponent, the battered old box was dragged out and set up for a showdown in the Balkans. I drew the Greek card and prepared to defend the home of Democracy against the Fascists.