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Europa Games and Military History

Month: February 2015 (page 1 of 2)

JAN I 1940 Axis Player Turn

Initial Phase

Not wishing to be outdone by the Allies, we publish our own special op as well (so there!)  Axis units in East Africa are at U-4 except those around Mogadiscio and Chisimaio, where a/s points were converted to GSPs in our last turn.  They didn’t get to use them in defense since El Kaid is still yet too fearful to cross the border, and probably won’t use them for mov’t either since conservatism is still in effect, but at least the Allies can’t overrun the a/s.  Rhodes is U-4 and Tobruk goes U-2, while Benghazi’s road supply line has been cut and it goes U-1.  I had planned to send GSPs to Benghazi by sea, but then forgot to run the mission, so our c/m forces are now at ½ mps in the area.  Don’t think that will have any real effect though.  On the Allied side, the 14th X on Crete and the pos AA in Greece are U-4, while the new units just shipped in go U-1 (though the mainland troops have GSPs available to them.)  The Free French at Derna and 7th Armored at Agedabia go U-1 as well, and without GSPs will go to ½ mps in their next turn.

Iraqi conspirators meet for the first time, coming to the conclusion that Imperialist forces in Iraq must be removed from their country.  However, the time is not yet ripe for the coup, so they decide to make additional connections and plans before launching their strike against the hated British and their lackeys (3 rolled on coup attempt.)

Early January is an even bigger reinforcement time for the Axis than it was for the Allies.  In the BF area, 4 Inf XX’s and a corp level Arty III arrive with plans to move to Albania now that the Greeks have managed to push into the freedom loving Republic.  Two inf RPs, an arm RP and a mtn RP, plus one a/s also arrive, as does 2 Ital ARPs, one of which is immediately spent to bring back the Mxd B unit on Rhodes.

For North Africa, Mussolini sends the 2 AC mot Art III and a pair of arm II’s to assist.  Five ARPs arrive, one of which immediately is used to repair the aborted CR.42 (at Tripoli this time.)  The CR.32bis at Benghazi converts over to CR.42’s while the SM.81 on Sicily converts to torpedo-carrying SM.79-2’s (watch out convoy runners!)  Not to be outdone, Hitler sends a whole swath of Luftwaffe a/c to assist the brave Italians in fending off the Allied aggressors seeking to add Libyan territory to their Imperial conquests.  A pair of Ju88A1’s, some sea bombing He111H’s, an Me110D and three gruppen of Ju87B’s plus a longer range gruppen of R models arrive on Sicily.  The only negative is that the Italian Ju87’s depart for service elsewhere.  Two a/s and a ½ pt of Ital Inf RPs arrive at Palermo for shipment south.

In East Africa the Duca sees his first reinforcements.  The CR.32bis converts to slightly upgraded CR.42 models, while the SM.81 converts to SM.79-1’s.  An ARP arrives as well, which puts the other SM.79-1 which starts the game in the pool back into operation.  A ½ point of colonials is gathered up at Massaua as well.

GSPs are produced at various points in the Med, while an a/s at Dire Daua and one that had been on its way towards Massaua convert to gsps (surely the Allies will not continue to cower simply due to the expenditure of a few Italian shells?)  Lastly, my fort at Koritsa is finally completed and the GSPs at Chisimaio and Mogadiscio are used up.

Movement Phase

Scads of naval and air missions kick off the turn.  First, bombers of all types are sent to pound away at Malta.  Two Ju88A’s and the four SM.79-1’s run strat bombing missions against the Malta status, w/ flak failing to score any results and two hits generated by the bombers (Malta status to 7.)  We then shift to trying to shut down the Malta airfield so we can determine how many Ju87’s might also go after the Malta status.  The Ba.65 goes after the field, and flak again fails, but w/ a roll of 5 the low level bombers just miss.  This mission is followed up by a combined Ju87B and Me110D attempt against the field.  Flak misses both units and then a 5 and 6 are rolled, putting two more hits onto the airbase and shutting it down.  Wanting to keep the sea bombers available for naval patrol next turn, the He111H ‘S’ code & SM-79-2 ‘V’ code run missions against the port at Valletta, scoring a single hit after flak misses.  Not needing the remaining Ju87B’s just yet in North Africa (Benghazi cannot be attacked next turn), we send the remaining short leg Stuka’s after Malta’s status.  No flak results, but bombing is similarly ineffective, so no hits are generated.  Our cross the Med missions will go on the 7 column.

We then kick off the majority of naval missions for the turn.  In the Adriatic, all missions are completely successful with no naval interference from Allied forces.  The new arty III is dropped directly into the front line at Egouminitsa, one 3-4-6 XX lands at Porto Edda and two other inf XX’s land at Valona.  Wanting to do some work with a broken down III, the 6 Cno XX (4-6) is broken down into unsupported III’s, with the 2-6 shipped to Valona and the 1-6 going into Porto Edda.  The a/s, infantry points, and mtn point are shipped into Valona, Durazzo and the small port of San Geo. de Medua.  Even so, there just isn’t quite enough port capacity in Albania to get everything across, so an arm rp and the Hq for the 6 Cno XX remain stuck in Italy for the time being.

In the Med, bad luck kicks in a bit, so things don’t go so smoothly.  Our first mission to bring the 2 AC mot Arty III across to Tripoli results in contact with a 2 rolled on the 7 column, followed by a 1 on the effects chart, sinking the NTP and eliminating the III w/ it.  The two Arm II’s make it across to Tripoli and Homs unhindered, and an a/s shipment to Benghazi also arrives unscathed, but then another end of the scale roll of 11 makes contact and automatically sinks the 2nd a/s point attempting to land at Tripoli.  This is followed by a 2 contact roll against the ½ inf RP, but the effects roll is a 5 this time, so the ½ point is chased into Tripoli with the Allies at its heels.  Four GSPs are shipped into Benghazi’s port and make it, but another 4 GSPs trying to land at the beach are contacted and destroyed, also eliminating one of the Axis on-map NTPs, reducing us to 2 until Feb’s replacements arrive.

The last remaining res pt at Assab is easily shipped up the coast to Massaua thanks to friendly coastal hexes.  Then, after ensuring full legality, one of the 1-2-5 Art X’s on Rhodes is shipped into Scarpanto (I had anticipated that the 2nd active Allied special operation might be targeted at the Scarpanto airfield, so it was time to better defend the location.)  Given that the contact roll is on the 0 column, I consider contact a foregone conclusion, but the unit still has a 50% shot of getting through the effects and even its loss won’t cost us VPs.  In actuality however the contact roll is another weird low end roll, a 4, which in this case turns out to be good since it results in the X slipping through the gap between the two islands unspotted.  Figuring I might as well get the airfield’s flak up to one effective point (at U-4, the unit that starts there is effectively worth nothing), I attempt to send in the Rhodian Lt Flak III.  Contact this time occurs with a 7 rolled, and the effects chart sends the unit back to Rodi with a 2 rolled.  Guess the Allied naval forces were paying closer attention this time!

Ground and some more air mov’t then kicks off across the area.  In Greece, units are shifted north to cover the hole that had been at Koritsa.  Also, the cadre of the Julia XX is pulled out of the line for rebuilding next turn.  By the end of exploit, the 3401 hex should be at 7 pts defense, as will the Koritsa hex.  To the southwest, 8 points and then higher on down the line until Egouminitsa is reached, which will end up only at 7, which could perhaps be risky if a 1 is rolled on weather next turn (resulting in clear in the E zone.)  Units that landed at ports shift forward, and SMPs are used to move the new a/s to a central location in Albania (3105), where road junctions would allow it to shift forward to any portion of the front next turn, as opportunities present themselves.  Finally, the Ju52 stages to Valona’s airfield and then runs a one-way transport mission with the 2-6 III from the 6 Cno XX to Scarpanto to ‘support’ the arty X already there, bumping the hex’s defense up to 3.5 until lack of supply returns it to around 2.5.  On Rhodes, all units which had been covering the southern airfield consolidate at Rodi, reforming the full XX on the island and bringing its defense up to 3.5 as well.  That should more than dissuade any possible Allied Winstonian adventures.

In North Africa, the 5th Army Art III was the unit released, so it and the two new Arm II’s admin as far forward along the coastal road as possible.  At El Agheila, the 3-4-6 art III joins the 1st Arm II and 1st Lt Arm X just in front of the British 7th Arm XX at Agedabia.  Its limited mps next turn will ensure no flanking can take place and a/s should also be impossible to provide so the 6 pt defense there should be more than adequate (1/2 AECD, 1/10th ATEC.)  The remaining units concentrate at El Agheila itself, consisting right now of just the Tonini parachute-inf III and the 10 C Art III.  Further north at Benghazi, the const units repair a hit on the port and get half way through repairing the other, while all units in the vicinity enter the port hex itself, bring the DS up to 11 (with 1/10th AECA/D, but no ATEC.)  Even with clear weather in E next turn, no attack could be launched against the port city as there isn’t anything within range.

In East Africa, the Duca Luna remains ensconced in his Hq, oblivious to the Allies encircling him (a 1 is rolled, so we are again stuck with only 2 RE’s of mov’t.  So far the Duca has rolled a 2 and a pair of 1’s, so while the Allies are clear to go wherever they wish, the Italians are essentially in the same positions they were in 2 months ago.  More grist for my EA scenario mill.)  This time the Duca chooses to move one of the Hq’s near Tessenei back to Barentu, while a X in the far west moves across the border and seizes Kurmuk in Sudan.  However, his logistics folks are up to speed.  Eight of the Dire Daua GSPs are railed and SMP’d into the Addis area, while 10 from the other point are moved along the mountain road up into the Asmara area, then some of these are railed forward to supply the units in the Tessenei-Barentu areas.  All units which are likely to face attack next turn in Eritrea should at least be supplied.  His field commanders may be stuck in the mud as it were, but at least the quartermaster is keeping busy (we are now down to 13 SMPs thanks to burning out trucks.)  While his units are stuck, they do manage to complete destruction of the Assab and Barentu airfields, and partially damage the bridge over the Barca near Agordat.

The mov’t phase ends with a series of more air missions, most in the BF area.  Four rail bombing missions w/ five air units are run on the rail line hexes near the front or between Athenai and central Greece, with one hit at 4314.  Given that the Greek engineers all appear to be tied up (or soon to be so) building forts, rail hits will probably not get fixed before the Germans make an appearance.  The repaired Mxd B on Rhodes stages to Scarpanto and then runs an airbase bombing mission against the British transports at Matruh, but misses badly with a 1.  It returns back to Scarpanto, and the Mxd F unit then joins it and the Ju52’s at that field.  One airbase repair point is used to fix this field so that all three units can go operative next turn.  In North Africa, the new MC.200 transfers to Benghazi, bringing that airbase up to four fighters strong, while the Luftwaffe’s Ju87R transfers to El Agheila.

Combat Phase

We are in no position to attack anything, so this phase passes without fanfare.

Exploitation Phase

Limited.  At sea, another 4 GSPs is run into Benghazi now that the port has another RE of cap thanks to mov’t phase repair.  In the Balkans my one remaining m/c III exploits into Koritsa to bring the defense up to the planned 7 points.  This should ensure no better than a 1.5:1 -2 is possible from a single hexside, assuming even minimal DAS.  In North Africa, the two new tank II’s exploit along the coast.  They should get in or near El Agheila by the end of our next turn.

End of Turn

The Axis collects another 4 VPs for hexes in Greece.  VP total is now 40 to -1 in favor of the Axis.

JAN I 1941 Allied Player Turn

Initial Phase

Weather:  Weather rolls result in winter arriving in D, mud in E, and clear in the rest except for mud around the Lake Victoria area.  The Med and Red Sea are clear but the Indian Ocean goes rough.

El Kaid, the Allied East African CC cancels his planned special operation and plans a new one instead.  Axis units on Rhodes are U-4, as are all the ones in East Africa except those w/in 7 hexes of the GSPs created at Mogadiscio and Chisimaio, which get some special supply from same.  Tobruk is invested so it stays at U-1, and with no chance to ship any supplies in until Crete is taken and the eastern Med goes back to its normal shape, Tobruk will stay that way.  The real question is, will the Allies continue to invest and wait for it to go U-2 (taking the supply hit to their forward troops west of the fortress), or seize it this turn and risk further exchange losses?  Allied command still refuses to establish a standard supply terminal in Greece, so Allied units on the continent are U-3 but in special supply via GSPs being created at Thessalonike and Athenai.  It’s a new year, so Allied flak goes up at various locations.  This year, Suez ports, Malta hexes and Gibraltar each go up by a single point.

It’s a big reinforcement turn for the Allies.  The 2nd Spt Grp & 2 arm X’s, the 18th Aus X, the 13th Brit Art X, the 65th AT II and the 10th Hvy flak II arrive in the Indian Ocean for shipment into the Mideast and Malta.  Two a/s, 2 Brit inf pts and a few other ½ pts for the Commonwealth units arrive, as do a total of 4 ARPs for the Mideast and the Balkans.  The active Blen-1 in Greece (owned by Mideast command) is converted to a Blen-4, but the Wellsly on Crete withdraws from service.  In the East African area, a tank and arty II both show up in the Indian Ocean, likely destined for Sudan.  Two more a/s, plus some Indian, Colonial and South African RPs arrive too.  The 26th East African X shows up at Muddi Gashi in Kenya for duty, while up in Sudan the two Indian mot machinegun II’s add some arty to their OB’s, becoming fully supported in the process.  For the air forces, two South African air units transfer in to Kenya, a mixed fighter unit and a mixed transport w/ some sea bombing skills.  Two ARPs also arrive for the command.  Finally, for Greece, ½ a res pt is produced locally, as is another Grk Mtn RP, bringing the total available to 5 and allowing the destroyed 4th Mtn XX to be replaced at Athenai.  One ARP transfers in from the Mideast Command directly.  This is immediately used to replaced the aborted Blen-1 at Larissa.

The Greek High command chooses to convert one of its a/s points to 3 res pts, no doubt to continue the process of building the Aliakmon line, extending it westwards from the Mount Olympus hex.

At the end of the phase, the Italian SM-79 a/c that did such a poor job of bombing Malta’s status last turn go inop by rule.  The Ju87 and Ba.65 on Sicily go on naval patrol.

Movement phase

At sea, the huge pile of troops, supplies and replacements sails up into the Red Sea and passes through the Canal, ending its mov’t just north of Port Said.  Interestingly, the 20th Aus X and 23rd Brit X at Matruh then load onto NTs and sail directly for Athenai.  I guess in this version of history the Allied generals are not only not fighting Winston over sending troops to Greece, they are beating him to the punch!  GSPs at Alexandria are likewise shipped into Athenai though it seems unnecessary.  In the Aegean, the British 14th X which had been at Athenai is swapped w/ the Greek 5th Mtn Hq on Crete at Khania.

On the ground in Greece, in the south part of the front units shift about to make for better defensive stacks, but no offensives seem likely.  In the northern mountainous part of the front, Greek mountain units concentrate for an assault on hex 3502.  However, all three arty III’s in the front line mountain hexes back off into the valleys to the southeast.  4th Mtn XX rails up and then admins through the mountain pass on the way to the Kalpaki front.  Two engineer units move into position to begin westward construction on the Aliakmon line (4714 & 4715.)

In North Africa, the bulk of Indian and Commonwealth infantry and arty X’s continue to invest Tobruk.  However, the 7th Arm breaks down and spreads out seizing territory south of the El Mechili road.  The slower 7th RT Tank II meanders behind them, while the Free French 1M mot Inf II makes for Derna, bumping up against the immobile flak gunners still in the port.  The New Zealand X at the Gazala airfield remains in place.  GSPs are flown into the airfield just south of Tobruk.  Overall, with the armor and other c/m forces sent west, a direct assault on Tobruk is now unlikely.  Further to the east, the 66th RPC Const X struggles to haul its own res pts towards the front, making it to just west of Sidi Barrani with 1 res pt.  Further back, the Czech II rails up to Matruh.  At this point, the Delta has been completely denuded of troops, except the Egyptians.  Logistically, one a/s is railed up to Matruh and then carried via trucks to Bardia.

In East Africa, units already along the border mostly stand in place, while the 6th Aus XX rails up to join the front line units in Sudan.  However, El Kaid chooses not to cross the border and face the wrath of the mighty Italian forces in the AOI just yet.  A/S is shifted forward in both Kenya and Sudan.  Major forces are deployed now just west of Tessenei along the border and down south at Mandera in Kenya (with add’l units scattered along the fair weather road leading all the way back from Mandera to Malindi on the coast.)

Combat Phase

DAS in Greece is flown to 3603, where a 6 pt stack could theoretically get attacked at 3:1 -1 odds without, but the Ju87’s ensure this cannot happen.  The two Z bombers fly to the more threatened 3502 hex, approachable from 3 hexsides and clearly the Greek target since assaults on 3401 have proven repeatedly unsuccessful.  The 1 pt of DAS ensures that the Greeks get no better than 3:1 -1 odds.  They do go and launch that attack, and once again their bloody luck holds, this time with a 4 rolled (mtns, full supply, winter wx, mountaineering), generating another HX (they’ve had 3 or 4 HX’s, the best roll imo for the Greeks, and two AS’s I think in the war so far.)  The 49 Par and 51 Si XX’s, previously heroes in early Dec at 3401 are destroyed, while the Greek 17th Mtn XX is cadred (with the 1st Mtn XX, the 17th’s cadre and two independent mtn III’s advancing into the seized hex.)  This is the first hex seized by the Greeks in Albanian territory, but Albanian Troop Command vows that no more Albanian territory will fall.  Elsewhere, Derna is overrun by the Free French in an auto-kill against the zero strength position flak unit.  No attacks occur in East Africa (by RAW it would appear that attacks and overruns could occur across the border and so long as the Allied units involved did not choose to cross the border (or were no longer across by end of exploit), then Italian conservatism would not ‘end.’  This is too rules-lawyerish for El Kaid and he chooses to declare conservatism to end if any ground attack or overrun occurs in Italian territory despite what the RAW says.  He therefore passes on attacks this turn.)

Exploitation Phase

At the beginning of exploit the huge task force off Port Said presses westward, dropping of units at ports along the way.  Most all peel off and land at Alexandria, but the 18th NZ X lands at Matruh, the 1st Arm X and 13th Art X land at Port Bardiya, and then the flak unit and two points of a/s press onwards to Malta.  Contact rolls by Axis forces are unsuccessful so naval interference is no impediment when the task force enters the Central Med in the south Ionian Sea.  The 2 a/s and flak unit make separate runs into the port of Valleta at this point.  The convoys use night mov’t to approach Malta (I pass on long range intercept attempts, since the units must eventually get to Malta and unload.)  After unloading begins during the daylight hours, the Ba.65 makes the first attempt against the flak unit (I’m more concerned with the Allies getting add’l flak into the port than I am the a/s.)  A contact roll of 2 is successful (+3 for calm, +0 for distance), and flak is ineffective (9 rolled on 2 column), but my bombing attempts just miss (5 & 3 rolled, with 6’s needed.)  The Ju87 then heads for the same target.  Contact is again no problem with a 6 rolled, and flak is again ineffective w/ a 6 rolled.  Four bombing attempts, each at +1, look bad at first but then the last few bombs finally zero in and sink the NT with the heavy flak II (rolls of 1, 3, 2 & 6.)  The II enters the Mideast command dead pool, since the Med is in that command (units must actually land before the become part of Malta command, so the unit will need to run the gauntlet again should the Allies rebuild it for Malta.)  The two a/s points land unhindered.

On the ground, nothing happens in Greece and East Africa.  The various parts of the British 7th Arm XX continue pressing forward to the coast south of Benghazi (cutting the road supply line and also making a portion of the coast unfriendly to force Tripoli to Benghazi shipments to brave the Malta table.)  It then reforms at Agedabia, just in front of the most forward Italian units not in Benghazi itself.  To the west, the just landed armor at Bardia and 2nd Spt Grp at Alexandria move forward as far as possible.  The 7th RT Tank II backs up to the lines in front of Tobruk.  The Free French at Derna and the 3rd Arm X at Alexandria remain in place.  Axis intelligence believes the 3rd Arm X will likely head for Greece next turn, given the Allied forces that have headed there already (and since it is a mandatory shipment there in a couple of months regardless) and the fact that it didn’t move into western Egypt.

In the air, the EA CC sends his South African Mxd A unit on a transfer from Kenya to Sudan, while his Wellsly bombers unsuccessfully bomb the rail line just in front of the Cheren pass (2 rolled.)  In North Africa, the Blen 4 in Greece is reclaimed from the Greek command and after staging joins its sister Blen 4 unit on a raid against the fighter base at El Agheila.  The CR.42 rises up to meet the unescorted bombers and rolls a 6, aborting the lead a/c.  The bombers however roll a lucky 4 and counter abort the Italian planes.  The remaining Blen 4 unit does its comrades no justice by missing the airfield, with a 3 rolled.  The Well 1C unit however does quite a bit better.  It launches a night strat bombing mission against Benghazi’s port, and despite the mud halving it’s factors, easily gets by the 1 pt of flak (can’t hit) and rolls a 6, putting another hit into the port (reducing the capacity to 4.)  Finally, the rebuilt Blen 1 at Larissa takes off to attempt a strat port bombing against Egouminitsa, but rolls a 3 and misses (needing a 6.)  Italian papers trumpet the obvious desperation in the Allied ranks if they are reduced to bombing territory they claim as their own!

DEC II 1940 – Axis Player Turn

Initial Phase

Axis units on Rhodes remain U-4, while the stack in Egouminitsa goes U-1, isolated.  Over on Kerkyra, the Greek 10th Inf III remains U-4 isolated so it makes a surrender check.  A 1 is rolled and the Greek 10th joins other units in the dead pool.  In the EA area, 9 RE’s of ground units near the Addis area use 12 GSPs created last turn to go into supply.  The remaining 3 RE’s are used to put the Italian bombers into supply for upcoming bombing runs across the front.  In North Africa, the siege of Tobruk begins with the defending Italian units going U-1 isolated.

In Italy, the 4th Cns Alpini XX shows up for duty on the Albanian front, as does a “volunteer” unit of Ju-52 drivers from the Luftwaffe.  One inf RP is used to bring back at Valona the 1-2-6* ‘B’ III that was killed in the Greek turn.  In Sicily, the 10B mot Inf III and the 5th Tank II show up for duty in the North African area.  We choose to delay the reorganization of the 5th Army, using .5 of our 2 Ital RPs in NA for rebuilding the 10th Army Const III (killed at Bardia, but not during the Italian disarray period.)  The 5th Army’s const III is declared as the unit that can move this turn.  The Ju87 killed a couple of weeks ago is repaired on Sicily since we judge their to be no chance that attacks in the Benghazi area will be launched by the Allies next turn and it hasn’t the legs or the air cover to assist with the defense of Tobruk.

Anticipating possible Allied action in the south portion of the EA theater, the Duca converts the a/s at Chisimaio and Mogadiscio to 12 GSPs each.  At the very least this will keep the grubby Allies from seizing attack supply by coup de main, and it could force them to use more units for overruns during their turn since we’ll be able to supply units in that area.  If anything remains, the GSPs will be available for mov’t in our next turn as well.  Back in Italy, the one res pt I shipped back in our Dec I turn is converted to airbase repair points, but since I figure the Allies may be thinking special ops in the south Aegean islands area, I delay using them for the time being.

Only change in garrisons is that the Cyrenaica garrison was released in the previous Allied turn.  The Koritsa fort continues to be worked on, and given that no Allied unit is even adjacent to the town it looks as if it will be completed on the Axis Jan I 41 turn successfully.  That should assist in holding the airfield and town quite nicely.

At the end of the turn the Allies declare naval patrol operations by the three bomber units currently stationed at Larissa in Greece.  They make no other naval patrol or CAP declarations.

Movement Phase

The turn kicks off with various naval and air operations.  Our first mission launches with 2 SM.79-I’s and an SM.81 strat bombing the Malta status number.  No flak can shoot due to column shifts, but Italian bombers roll very poorly with a 1 and two 2’s rolled, for no hits.  The Ju87 and Ba.65 launch air raids against the Maltese airfield.  Flak is ineffectual, with a pair of 9’s rolled.  The Ju87 misses with another 2 rolled, but the Ba.65 does manage a 5, putting a hit on the field.  Given the poor performance of the strat bombers and the new Ju87 that should help fend off Allied naval missions to Malta, the other two SM.79’s that had previously been planned to bomb the port instead go after the status number.  They roll no better than their comrades however, rolling a pair of ones.  Argh… we need to clean the bomb sights I guess.  In the hopes that our luck will change, we shift air ops to the EA area.  The SM.81 stages from Addis to Massaua and runs a bombing op against the rail junction at the Haiya oasis (hoping to prevent the 6th Australian XX which shipped into Port Sudan last turn from using rail mov’t to get into the attack on Tessenai, which we expect.)  It rolls a 4, better than our previous attempts but unsuccessful nonetheless.  One of the Ca.133’s does the same, but after staging it improves insufficiently with a 5 rolled for yet another miss.  Hoping to change things up again, the last Ca.133 stages to Dire Daua and then bombs the Aden airfield and the Blen1 sitting on the ramps.  One point of flak rolls an 8 and misses, but the Italian bombing fails to improve again, with another 2 rolled.  Horrible air turn!

In our first naval mission in North Africa, the 5 A and 10 A const III’s are hauled via the coastal route (no interference rolls) from Tripoli to Benghazi.  We then run three missions from Italy to Albania, with the 2nd and 3rd ferrying the supported but broken down III’s of the 4th Cns Alpini XX across to Porto Edda and the 4th ferrying an arm RP to Valona.  All three get by Allied naval interference.   I run them separately to ensure a lucky naval patrol or interference roll can’t take out the whole XX.  The Mid-East owned Blen1 at Larissa launches against the 1st III’s mission while it unloads at Porto Edda during daylight hours.  Contact is a failure however with a 1 rolled (+4 for calm seas, -1 for distance).  The Balkan a/c both launch against the arm RP mission at Valona and this time contact is successful with a 3 rolled (+4 for calm seas, -2 for dist.)  However, no covering fighters are available since they haven’t the legs for the mission, so two Italian fighter units rise up to defend the unloading tanks, one CR.42 out of Valona and one CR.32bis from Koritsa.  They get randomly allocated with the CR.32bis against the British Blen1 and the CR.42 against the Greek Mxd B unit.  The CR.32bis rolls a 5, modified to 4 for F vs B and scores an abort on the 0 column.  The Blen1 returns fire, also rolls a 5, but modified to a 6 for B vs F, and gets an R on the 0 column.  The CR.42 rolls a 7 (mod to 6) for an R against the Mxd B unit (0 column), while the Greeks roll a 6 (mod to 7) for a miss on the CR.42 (-1 column).  No Allied bombers remain, so the air missions end at this point.  Our next naval mission moves another res pt from Assab on the Red Sea up to Massaua, via the coastal route to avoid naval interference.

Returning to the air for a moment, the Ju52 in Italy air transports one inf and one mtn RP over to Koritsa so that the town can be used as a replacement location in the future.  In our final air/sea move, the 5th Tank II loads up on Sicily and crosses the Med to Benghazi (5 rolled on 6 column for no contact) and the 10 B mot Inf III crosses to Derna (7 rolled on 6 column for no contact.)

Proceeding with ground mov’t, in the Balkan area I concentrate a massive (for the Italain) force for a counter-attack opportunity against the Greek 4th & 13th Mtn XX’s and the supporting 5/14th Mtn III.  All mtn units are used, as are the remaining armored and c/m forces, plus various other units.  The attack should go in at 3:1 even, thanks to reconnecting with the Egouminitsa defenders to alleviate their isolation.  The 3503 and 3603 hexes will have to be somewhat decreased in defensive value, but I do manage to increase the 3401 hex which has twice previously been attacked up by a point to 8 points defending.  The 3:1 will risk an AS, which would leave me ill-positioned, but the Centauro and a m/c III can exploit a bit to mitigate the risk and mud will almost certainly occur next turn in E so hopefully Egouminitsa won’t be too threatened with an AS result.  Other Balkan ground mov’t sees a const III complete all repairs to the Valona port while another such III admins through the mud up to Durazzo.  The replaced ‘B’ III admins over to the eastern front, making 3302 where it can get into the line next turn.  A few SMPs are used to move up an a/s to near Valona as well so that it can be used in the upcoming counterattack.

In North Africa, tank II’s destroy both the Soluch and the 3617 airfields, while the 2nd Lt Arm X and 10 B mot Inf III’s manage to destroy the Derna field.  All are permanently removed.  The infantry and arty that had been defending two hexes northwest of Gazala use the clear weather to admin west along the coastal roads to just east of Benghazi.  The 1st Lt Arm X admins over to Agedabia, while the 10 C Arty III admins to 2228, a couple of hexes south and west of that town.  The Tonini parachute inf and 24 dM Art III admin to El Agheila.  With the Agedabia airfield soon to be destroyed, the CR.42 stationed there does a quick transfer over to the field at El Aghiela.  Attack supply is SMP’d as far as 2529, about 60 miles to the rear of the El Aghiela position.

In East Africa, the Duca rolls a miserly 1 for Axis conservatism, limiting him to 2 RE’s of mov’t  He admins the 65th GdS Inf XX as far forward as possible, but is otherwise restricted to completing the blowing of the Om Ager, Tessenei and Adama bridges and putting hits on various airfields (permanently removing both the Tessenei and Agordat fields.)  Logistically, he does keep the trucks moving, moving an a/s point from east of Addis to almost the village of Macalle (16 SMPs used, burning up 2 SMPs permanently and leaving just 15 remaining.)

Sidebar:  I seriously begin to wonder whether the Italians could possibly move all their units into historical positions even with max conservatism rolls, and given that we are getting no where near max (rolls of 2 and 1), it would appear the AOI area is not only pro-allied for its way too early allowances of Allied mov’ts (something I’ve carped about previously), but also very much anti-Axis given what I feel to be an exceptionally trying straight-jacket with these conservatism allowances.  Why are the Italians forced to deal with such “idiot rules” which even further limit their historical performance, while the Allies don’t even face the limits they did have historically?  (I.e, they get to start 6 weeks early on this campaign, while the Italians are forced to both endure the early start and react so sluggishly that I for one don’t believe they can get into historical positions even with the best rolls, and certainly not the worst!)  One hesitates to use the word “broken” but I’m getting closer and closer.  We’ll have to see how the Allies do on their campaign in Eritrea before I at least solidify that opinion, but I for one am certainly leaning that way.  It’s not as if the historical Italian performance could be considered the “best” they could do and the Allies were historically simply blundering about, yet this reversal on activity limits seems to imply such.  One wonders how the historical Allies ever managed to let the Keren pass battles occur, or how the Italians ever managed to fight delaying actions at the various rivers leading to that spot and then held off the Allies as long as they did since the units around Tessenei and Barentu-Agordat are essentially locked in place given all the units the Italians “need” to move.  Anyway, returning to the game at hand…

At the end of mov’t, the Greek player clearly sees the ‘big push’ that is occurring in the south against his forward units.  He flies the Greek P.24F unit up to 3804 to attempt to fend of the presumed GS which is coming.

Combat Phase

No DAS is flown since all Allied air units within range of our one attack are currently inop or aborted.  Since the Allies flew CAP I am forced to fly all units that can bomb in the Albanian theater to 3408, including the Mc.200 fighter (no dropping of bombs allowed by the IAF), to ensure that I get the necessary 6 points of GS, escorted by the single remaining fighter available (the G.50).  This is necessary to ensure that if the P.24 bypasses and gets allocated to the Ju87B/R and gets a result on it, I still get 6 points to kick the attack over to a 3:1.  In the actual event, the Greek fighters do attempt to slip by the G.50 and engage the bombers.  Fortunately, my rolls of 1’s previously experienced during bombing attempts continue, and the G.50 rolls snake-eye’s against the Greek fighter, promptly eliminating it.  This will really hurt the Allies in the Balkans since the Greeks don’t get many ARPs.  It will be March 41 before the Greek F can be rebuilt!  Finally, some positive results in the air.

In combat, we launch just one attack.  All four Italian Mtn XX’s are martialed (for both their strength and due to the mtn hexsides in the area), as are a pair of Inf XX’s (one broken down however), the Centauro XX, an m/c III, a tank II, a Cav III, an Albanian Inf X, the SM Marine II and a couple of Arty III’s, plus 10 points of effective GS.  Facing the Italians are a 12 point DS stack, consisting of the 4th and 13th Mtn XX’s and the 5/14th Mtn III.  The actual attack goes in at 3:1 even (a/s fully provided, rough terrain, 1/10th AECA, some mtn hexside affects), rolling a 3 for an HX.  All Greek units die (yippie!, that should really hinder their offensive ops from now on), but the elite 3rd Julia Alpini XX is cadred and the 19 Gde Cav III eliminated.  I should however soon have a third mtn RP with which to rebuild the Julia… Two 4-8 Alp XX’s, the Centauro XX and the 2 ‘C’ Inf III’s advance.

Exploitation Phase

Very limited.  In the Balkans, the ‘C’ III’s recombine into the 37th Inf XX in the seized hex, while the Centauro exploits into Egouminitsa to bring it’s defense back up since one of the ‘C’ III’s had been in that hex.  The 2B M/C III exploits into the muddy mountains at 3603 to bring its defense back up to 6.  I’m tempted to send the 4 M tank II as well, but then decide to leave it in Kalpaki so that hex remains at 9 DS.  In North Africa, the 10 B mot Inf III and the 2nd Arm X exploit back over to just east of Benghazi, while the 3rd Tank II enters the city itself.  The 1st Tank II moves from Soluch to just southwest of Agedabia, joined by the 1st Lt Arm X after it destroys and removes the Agedabia airfield.  The Duca sadly sits on his kiester, sipping Italian wine in Massaua and ignoring reports from field units about Allied units concentrating on his borders.  Certainly they wouldn’t dare cross into Italian territory (guess he missed the word about Compass?)

At the end of the turn, the Glad south of Tobruk transfers up to Athenai while the transport unit at Matruh transfers back to Alexandria.

DEC II 1940 – Allied Player Turn

Initial Phase

Weather:  A 2 is rolled for weather in the north, so D stays muddy and E goes clear.  That will help the Axis in bombing Malta, moving in the hump and may help out quite a bit in the Balkan area on defense.  Hopefully it will go muddy again before the Allies get to the outskirts of Benghazi.  A 3 is rolled in the south, so all areas are clear.  At sea, the Atlantic is rough, as is the Indian Ocean surprisingly, while the Med, Red Sea and Lake Victoria are clear (a lake w/ sea conditions!)

The 10th Greek Inf III on Kerkyra goes U-4 isolated, but rolls a 5 and manages to find enough rats to keep itself fed for the moment.  On Crete, the Eraklion Static X is mobilized, while on the mainland the 4th Mtn X converts to the 4-5-6 15th Mtn XX.  The RN-1 TF is called up for the second time in the quarter (-1 VP.)  One a/s in Alexandria is converted to 3 res pts.  As expected, the Thess const X begins a fort in 4612.  Clearly the Greek High Command hasn’t the stomach for war and plans to retreat away from the ever victorious Italian Albanian Command J.  The Blen4 and Wellsly each stay inop due to harassment bombing while 2 SM.79-I’s and an SM.81 on Sicily stay inop due to Malta bombing.  At the end of the ini phase the Italian fighters south of Tobruk abandon their airfields by flying CAP over Benghazi (2 units, with a third already on the field) and Agedabia (1 CR.42).

Movement phase

The turn actually opens with an Italian air mission, the Ba.65 flying a transfer mission to Sicily to avoid what will likely be a quick run up of Allied units.  Its 2 point tac strength will help there in naval patrol and airbase bombing, and it won’t be nearly so hindered by its short legs as it otherwise would be on the main front (a 3 hex DAS range for a B, so it would be at risk if it were within range of anything.)

In Greece, the Greek army concentrates in the north for possible attacks on either 3401 or 3502.  Taking advantage of the clear weather, the Greeks also concentrate a very large portion of their army in the southwest for possible assaults on either Egouminitsa (3 hex side frontage) or 3804 (a 2 hex side frontage.)  Practically every major Greek unit is now in the main line, with only flak troops and the Metaxas and Eastern Greece garrison units outside (plus the Brit 14th X, which shifts down to Athenai.  Clearly the cowardly Brits intend to be close to a port so they can skedaddle at the first indication of trouble, or perhaps Gen Metaxas needs British guns to stiffen his back?)  On Crete, the Erak X guards its namesake city, while the Khania X shifts over to Rethymnon, leaving just the 5th Mtn Hq guarding Khania.  Perhaps the Brit X is the unit the possible special op was planned for in the BF area??  I’ve got a bit of time to worry about that issue…

In North Africa, the 7th Arm XX, the 4th Indian XX (regrouped), 7th RT Tank II, 1M Free French mot II, 16th Australian X, W Art X and 1st RNF machinegun II all concentrate for an assault on Bardia.  For the moment Tobruk has not been invested, but the 5018 airfield is taken and garrisoned by the 51st Hvy AA II.  To the immediate rear, 6th Nz X and a transport plus an a/s point make it to 0419 in the Halfaya Pass just south of Bardia.  20th Australian X and the 23rd Brit X remain in Matruh, while the 66th RPC const X moves up to join them.  A res pt is moved up there and an a/s sits there as well… RPC and the res pt will likely be used to improve Tobruk?  The full 6th Australian XX is formed up in Alexandria and then shipped south to Port Sudan (as opposed the historical shipment of the 4th Indian, so Wavell is making more economical use of his troops logistically) as is the Free French Orient X.  The Delta is practically denuded of all troops (so much for Winston’s desire to maintain a strategic reserve, a rule not used in the current game), with just the 4th NZ X in Alexandria, the Czech II in Port Said and of course the Egyptians themselves.  In Sudan, the Indian X’s which cleared Gallabat move up to assault the 1st Cav mot Inf X from the northwest while the 9th Ind X continues railing around and then moves around to assault the X from the southeast.  The unsupported EC Inf X takes up residence in Gallabat, from which point it sends evil glares at the Bande X just across the border.  The FB Inf II and the Ethiopian II march triumphantly into the empty Kassala.  Emperor Salassie awards himself a dinner plate sized medal.  Mot machinegun II’s screen roads leading north out of Eritrea.  In Kenya, the 1st SA & 24 GC Col X’s abandon Moyale and head overland to assault the 103rd DB Bande X from the northwest, while the 2nd SA brigade does likewise from the southeast by moving through El Wak.  Two East African X’s, the SA recon II and a construction unit are also moving along this line, so perhaps the EA commander is going to ignore the Chisimaio/Mogadiscio area in favor of an assault directly towards Harar province from the Mandera area?  In the far south, the 23 N Col X remains stuck in Liboi, while the 27 NR Col X moves up to Bura but no further.   A/S is moved along the Mudda Gashi to Wajir axis, but nothing is currently moving along the coastal road to Chisimaio.

At the end of mov’t, I make some quick DAS calculations and determine that I can ensure no better than a single 3:1 -2 attack in the north of Greece by putting 1 pt of DAS (.25 effective) at 3401 and 4 points with the Ju87 (1 effective) at 3502.  Four more points at 3804 (2 effective) ensures no better than a 3:1 -1 there.  I have just one more point to spend at Egouminitsa, and it can’t ensure odds won’t go to 4:1 -1 if the Greeks press with GS, so I fly all three non-bombing fighters to that hex on a CAP mission.  That should keep the Allied bombers away, though it will leave me vulnerable to counter airfield or port ops in exploit.  C’est le guerre, but I’d rather defend the port (a critical VP issue.)

Combat Phase

I fly the DAS as indicated above.  No DAS flies in NA or EA.  The clever Greeks choose to attack the 3401 hex yet again, but they use the same routes of attack and the XX’s which vacated it for 3502 warned the new defenders what the Greeks did two weeks previously.  The 23rd Fer XX, the elite 3rd Guards of Savoy III and the 1st Albanian X are well prepared.  The Greek High Command orders yet another very risky 3:1 -2 attack, and it rolls a 3 for another AS.  Lucky they didn’t get the AR or AH!  Anyway, clearly the Italian Albanian command has established a ‘no pasaran’ line along the northern Albanian/Greek border as the Greeks are no closer to Koritsa then they were a month ago.  In the south, the Greeks choose to attack the 3804 hex, ignoring the Egouminitsa port hex for the moment.  They probably figure that success here would force a retreat from the port hex.  The attack on the ‘B’ Inf III, 2 m/c III’s and a 3-2-6 Art III features 4 full Greek Mtn XX’s, a Mtn X, 3 Mtn III’s, a Bdr X and 2 Art III’s, a 3:1 -1 attack.  This time a 5 is rolled (again no AR), and they get another HX (urgghh.)  The 8 points defending dies, but so does the big 39th Ev Mtn III and the A Arty III.  4th Mtn XX, 13th Mtn XX and the 5/14th Mtn III all advance into the hex, for a 12 point DS stack.  This will temporarily cut the direct supply line from Egouminitsa back to Albania.  The attack doesn’t do anything for the Kerkyra defenders however, so they will still need to make a surrender roll next player turn.

In North Africa, the massive assault on Bardia is launched at 5:1 -1 odds (a/s provided, unimproved fortress, 4 pts NGS from RN-1), but sadly, the Allies roll yet another 5.  A DH is achieved and what doesn’t die in the combat is forced through zoc’s and dies in the retreat out of the hex.  At least the attack used a goodly portion of the Allies’ North African resources, so they aren’t advancing leaps and bounds through Cyrenaica for the time being.

In East Africa, the Allies smash the 1st Cav mot Inf X in Sudan and the Bande unit in Kenya at super high-odds (no a/s expended but GS provided as overkill, each attack at well over 9:1 -1 odds.)  ZOC’s ensure even a DR would have been deadly.

Exploitation Phase:

No ground mov’t in Greece.  The Blen1 from the North African area does however choose to support the Greek command by staging up to Larissa from Crete and then launching a strat port bombing mission against Durazzo.  The 1 pt of flak misses with a 7 rolled, but the bombing attempt is equally ineffective (4 rolled on the 1 column due to poor weather.)  The Blen1 and Greek Mxd B unit already in the area also stage up to Larissa, launching strat port bombing against Valona.  Three points of flak misses both a/c (5 & 6 rolled) and while the Greeks miss with a 3, the Blen1 hits the port with a 5.  In North Africa, the 7th Armored XX breaks down and the 4th Arm X, 7th Spt Grp and the Free French mot Inf II leap forward and seize Gazala.  The 7th Arm X and a transported 6th New Zealand X seize the airfield at 4818 and begin the siege of Tobruk.  The 7th RT Tank II moves up to join the heavy flak II at the 5018 field.  After these mov’ts, the Well1C stages up from Alexandria and launches a strat port bombing attempt against Benghazi.  One pt of flak misses (6 rolled) as does the a/c (2 rolled.)  The Bombay transports stage back to Alexandria and then pick up the 4th NZ X, flying it on a one-way mission to the airfield at Gazala.  Two Glads and the Hurri1 than transfer in to the 4818 field outside Tobruk.  In East Africa, the Sudanese forces sit in place.  The units in Kenya move up to Mandera (4 full X’s w/ transports plus the SA recon II), from which point they may easily strike north into Harar province or south against Somalian area.  At the end of the Allied exploit, all three Italian bombers transfer to Addis, where they can take advantage of the GSPs converted last turn.  No point in wasting them, since the Allies chose not to dare enter the AOI, and we certainly can’t roll an 11 on a d6!

DEC I 1940 – Axis Player Turn

Initial Phase

In the Balkans an SM.79-I withdraws but a much better tactical Ju87B/R arrives.  Two inf pts, one mtn & one armor also arrive.  2 ARPs are spent to return the Mxd F to Rhodes and a previously aborted SM.81.  We review the situation in the East Africa area and believe there is a 75% chance that the Allies will not cross the border.  Even so, to facilitate mov’t next turn a point of a/s is converted to GSPs at Addis.  The point in Assab is converted to res pts.  Due to Indian units at Gallabat, the Gondar garrison is released.  Air woes continue and of the four units at the front in North Africa and the fighter to the rear, only a single CR.42 goes operative at 5018.  Still, we can’t use our Italian Navy, can’t really attack, so the lost usage of a few fighters and the Ba.65 won’t hurt us really.  On the positive side, Matruh is overstacked so the Bombay and a Glad go inop as well.  At the end of the phase, the Greek P.24F flies a CAP over Athenai to prevent any more terror bombing runs while the Wellsly & Blen4 fly an unescorted harassment mission to 0218, the hex just west of Bardia.  Our operative CR.42 flies intercept.  Random allocation pits it against the Blen4, but the CR.42 rolls a 9 and the Blen a 7 so both planes miss one another.  Time for some remedial training for our fighter pilots!

Movement phase

In Greece, with the elimination of one stack and the Greek terrorists having gained a pair of three hexside attack opportunities in the center of my line, the Italians are forced to temporarily give up some of the liberated Cham area (though we’ll get VPs for them at end of turn), two hexes total.  The line now runs along the border in the north to Kalpaki and then southwest to Egouminitsa.  So far no Greek feet have managed to set foot in Albania proper!  I do switch the units in 3401 and 3502, since the 3502 hex will be able to be attacked from three sides.  The defense strength will be the same, but the Albanian X should be better protected (a political issue) in the northernmost hex.  This will put the hero XX’s from last turn’s AS at 3401 into the 3502 hex, so we’ll see if they can withstand yet another assault.  The 48th Taro XX and a III from another XX admin up to Koritsa to be fed into the line next turn.  The Albanian Blackshirt X backs off a hex, since it’s got no DS.  5 Pst Mtn XX lands at Porto Edda and moves one hex inland to join the line next turn.  37 Mod XX breaks down and it’s larger III lands directly in the line at Egouminitsa while it’s other III lands at Port Edda and moves inland with the Pst mountaineers.  Back at Valona, the two const III’s repair another hit via quick construction, and then one puts two more mps toward repair while the other begins moving north to Durazzo.  One a/s each is transported to Valona & Durazzo.  Five SMPs are used to move these points forward, while the remaining 10 are used to move the 2 res pts in Koritsa back to Valona, one then being transported back to Italy and the other shifting south along the coastal road.  One inf and one mtn point are landed at Valona as well.  Knowing I’ll have no attacks, and it will be obvious to the Allies, 4 rail bombing missions are run against the Greek rail net around the 5014 rail junction and the Sperkios river area.  One hit is achieved at 5013.

At Malta, 3 strategic bombing missions are launched against the interdiction forces, resulting in one hit (2 SM.79-I’s and the SM.81 participate, Malta number goes back to 6.)  Flak cannot fire due to the low amount available (2 column shift is off the chart.)  With Malta’s port essentially immune to complete reduction (12 RE capacity cannot be reduced to less than 5 RE’s), we bomb the airfield with some strat bombers, combining 2 units to get a 1 pt attempt.  Flak misses, but so does our attempt on the field (to ensure we have some units available for naval patrol, two units are used in non-Malta bombing missions.)

On the ground in North Africa, a general retreat is ordered.  Two XX’s and the const III in the front lines make the “safety” of Bardia, while units that were previously in Bardia or not in the front lines manage to make Tobruk.  Blackshirts and an arty unit that had been in Bardia admin up into the hump, midway between Derna and Gazala.  10th Corps artillery admins to 3921 in the hump bypass, while the 24 dM Arty III and the Tonini parachute infantry admin to 3722 along the same road.  1st Arm II admins as far along that road is its mps will carry it, but the 3rd Arm II actually moves forward via rail along the Cyrenaica net and then via admin to the 3617 airfield.

In Italian East Africa, a meager 2 is rolled, so the Duca is limited to 3 RE’s of mov’t.  He needs to get off his duff and give some orders <grins.>  The 65th Grenadiers of Savoy XX admins along the road leading east out of the Addis area, while the other RE is spent on the 22nd Col X, which admins up to just west of Gondar to block any mov’t south from Gallabat.  Our Red Sea NTP carries one of the Assab res pts up to Massaua via coastal sea hexes.  SMPs are burned liberally, with the Gondar a/s point moved east to Adua, the remaining Addis point moved east, and the 12 converted GSPs also shifted slightly east to accommodate next turn’s mov’ts.  Three SMPs worth of trucks are left dead on the side of the roads due to an inability to perform proper maintenance (due to lack of spare parts, etc. caused by the command’s unfortunate but only temporary isolation.)  Fortunately, the Duca’s conservatism limits don’t prevent him from blowing up various infrastructure items, so airfields at Iavello, Neghelli, Magi (a very rare mountain airfield), Afmadu and Bardera are blown up and removed.  Likewise, various bridges and airfields get hits on them up in the northern areas circa Tessenai to Agordat.  Units that are outside of the AOI are not limited by conservatism, so the 12th Col X abandons Kassala and heads southeast into Eritrea, while the 1st Cav mot Inf X actually heads two hexes west of Kassala, where it begins the process of destroying the rail bridge across the Atbarah river.  The other unit remaining outside the AOI, the 103 Dub Bande X, shifts northeast a hex, taking up residence at 3W:0113 in the bush, hoping to avoid the coming onslaught of Allied transported inf X’s bearing down on it.

Combat Phase:

There isn’t any.

Exploitation Phase

Nothing happens in the Balkan area, literally.  In the EA area, only the 1st Cav mot Inf X accomplishes anything.  First it completes the destruction of the rail bridge and then it breaks the rail in the hex as well.  It then settles in to await its fate, which will no doubt be ugly.  In North Africa, the 2nd Lt Arm X exploits up to the “23M” group at 4317, the 1st Lt Arm X joins the 10th Corps Art III at 3921, and the 1st Arm II takes up residence at Soluch, previously home to the 3rd Arm II now at the 3617 airfield.  For the Allies, their CAP over Alexandria lands at Volos while a Blen1 and Glad at Matruh transfer over to Khania on Crete.  Axis earns 6 VPs for Greek hexes, so the totals are 34 Axis to 0 Allied.

Assessment

In Greece, despite lucky rolls with poor odds/mods attacks, our line is still fairly solid.  In North Africa, both Bardia & Tobruk are well garrisoned and will hopefully cause either a delay in an Allied advance as big units are assembled to assault, or will cause exchange losses in the event the Allies go with smaller scale attacks.  We have good blocking positions both in the hump and in the bypass.  Airfields were unfortunately left unscathed around Tobruk (by rule we cannot destroy airfields on Dec I 40), and one ungarrisoned one still has three of our air units while the other has a single air unit, but we’ll take care to move them out before the Allies can move into them.  The East Africa area is still in a ‘wait and see’ period while the Allies decide whether to press their claim to the area and cross the border.

DEC I 1940 – Allied Player Turn

Initial Phase

Axis spies get word that two special operations are in planning on the Allied side, one in the EA area and one that is probably in the BF area.  I cast about for possible targets and figure the sneaky Brits may be trying something in the Dodecannese.  We’ll have to see about that.  The only supply issue of note is the 10th Greek Inf III on Kerkyra, currently at U-3 and isolated.  In East Africa, the 27th NR X shows up for duty in Nairobi, while the Ethiopian 1/2 Inf II arrives at Port Sudan.  South African units show up on the south edge of the map ensconced in NTs, including the 5th Inf X, 1st Recon II, various replacement tanks and 10 smp’s worth of lorries.  In Suez the 6th Aus Hq goes full, while a/s arrives at sea for mov’t forward.  Also, the FF Inf X upgrades to a 2-1-8 “Orient” X.  GSPs are generated at 4 locations, two in Greece which are being used to keep the British 14th X in supply, and two more in Egypt, possible use as yet undetermined.  Malta is repaired to a 5.  Italian bombers in Massaua are placed on naval patrol.

Movement Phase

In Greece the Greek army moves up to engage the Italian forces intent on liberating the Cham, weakly in the south and more strongly in the northeast.  Three to one attacks in the muddy mountains appear the best that can be achieved.  The Thess Const X moves around to 4612, northeast of Mt. Olympus where a res pt is also located, probably intent on fort building in the gap between the mountains and the swamps to the east.  The Keph X is moved to Athenai via sea mov’t.  In North Africa, the Allies remain conservative regarding their left hooks, with two armored units and the W Art engaging the 0519 hex from the front, with the 4th Arm X, 7th Spt Grp, and two Indian and two Brit Inf X’s swinging around to take the 0520 hex from the rear.  Because of the impassible escarpment hexsides at the Halfaya Pass the forward Italian units are not isolated.  Hurricane and Glad air units fly CAP over 0519, while just a single Glad flies CAP over 0520.  To the rear, 16th Aus & 7th Indian X’s move up to 1018, while the a/s seized at Sidi Barrani is moved to the rear to join them.  20th Aus & 23rd Brit X’s are moved up to Matruh, while the 1M Free French II & the 66 RPC Const X are a bit further to the rear.  Of note, the GSPs created back in the delta are railed up to Matruh as well, where the Bombay transports are currently based.  A pair of NZ X’s join the two Australian X’s already in Alexandria, joined by the 6th Aus Inf Hq.  21st Aust moves to Ismailia and the Orient FF X shifts east to Suez.  The a/s that arrived for the Middle East command passes by the Italian bombers in Massaua unscathed, as do SMPs that are shipped in to Port Sudan from South Africa.  In Sudan, Kassala is lightly screened at a distance by a few battalions, while the heavier 10th and 29th Indian X’s engage the defenders of Gallabat from east and west.  9th Ind X is railed around to the rail junction at 15W:1305.  In Kenya, 2 X’s and some transports reach a point just north of the town of Buna, a couple of hexes southwest of Moyale, defended by the 25th Italian Col X.  More admin mov’t sees 21st EA X to just southwest of the airfield at El Wak and the 2nd South African X to Muddi Gashi via lorries.  22nd EA & 27th NR X’s admin towards the road junction at Garrissa from Nairobi, while the recently arrived 5th SA X and some transports admin through Nairobi from where they landed at Mombasa.  23rd N X admins up to Liboi, from where it can keep an eye on the Italians Colonials at Afmadu and in the Chisimaio area.

In response to the various Allied moves, the Axis stages the CR.42 on Sicily to Derna and then flies a CAP over the airfield at 4818, just south of Tobruk.  We judge that the Allies may be planning to seize the airfield in exploit and then fly in GSPs with the Bombay transports.  The Italian fighters should give the transports pause, which could put the kibosh on the whole enterprise.  The CR.32bis in Tripoli is likewise staged forward and flies a CAP over Benghazi to keep any port bombing missions to a minimum.

Combat Phase

In Greece, I fly das more for practice than anything else, as no matter how I allocate it Greek odds cannot be lessened beyond 3:1 -2, nor can they get any better with GS on their part.  In North Africa, I as the air commander make a bit of a mistake.   We have a chance to increase the odds of losses to the Allies by flying the Ju87 to the 0519 hex (1 in 6 of losses, whereas the Ju87 at 0520 would reduce the odds but still leave the chance of losses at 1 in 3.)  Of course, we have only 2 fighters that can fly escort, so there is a much better chance that the Allies will bypass and get after the Ju87.  Still, I reason that we have 2 ARPs in the bank, the Italians could get some free shots at Allied fighters, and even if the Ju87 is aborted or killed, we can bring it right back and it won’t have to go through the roll to be made operative… the mistake being of course that the Italians are apparently restricted from spending ARPs in their Dec I 40 turn in North Africa, a point I missed.  Anyway, the Allies promptly change their CAP over 0519 to intercept, having the Hurri bypass and the Glad engage the escorts.  In combat, the Glad returns the CR.42 with a 6, while the CR.42 misses the Glad w/ a 10.  The CR.32bis gets its free shot at the Hurri1, but rolls a 7 for no effect.  The Hurri then blasts the Ju87 with a 4 modified to a 3 for a K, with the Italians rolling a 7 modified to an 8 for another NE.  Dang.

In actual ground combat, the Allies begin in Greece with a 3:1 -2 attack (mud, mtns, mountaineering, auto a/s) against hex 3401, but the stalwart 49 Par and 51 Si XX’s catch the Greek mountaineers attempting to sneak up on the Italian lines send them back to their start line (3 rolled for AS.)  For this feat of arms, each division earns its Legionaire Eagle.  Further south at the 3602 hex things go less well, with another 3:1 -2 attack (same mods) rolling a 5 for a HX.  Six points of Italians die, as does the Greek 16th Mtn X while two Greek XX’s enter the hole in the Italian line.  The Greek commander is clearly feeling ballsy, launching two attacks at 3:1 -2 odds, which could easily have seen the cream of the Greek army destroyed or sent packing with a 1 in 3 chance of an AH or AR in each case.

In North Africa things go better for Italian arms despite the trials and tribulations in the air.  The valiant 2nd Lt Arm X screens the 64th Inf XX’s defensive line and the Britsh 7th Arm X, the heavy tanks of the 7th RT II and the W Arty X find themselves seizing empty entrenchments (the 3:1 +3 attack at 0519 rolls a 2, resulting in a DR.)  Thanks to Halfaya Pass escarpments and Italian tankers, the defending Italians escape to the west no worse for wear.  Guarding the entrenchments and flank of the 0519 defenders, 63rd Cir XX and the 21st Corp Arty III are well sited despite the feeble Allied attempt to take their box in the rear.  The 2:1 +1 attack rolls a 4 for an HX result and while the defending 5 points of Italians die, they take two 2-8 X’s of British troops (16th & 22nd) with them.  In both these attacks the Allies used GS, but Italian flak had no effect.

In East Africa, the unit defending Gallabat is routed in an automatic kill.

Exploitation Phase

Nothing to speak of in Greece.  In North Africa, the 7th Arm XX forms up at 0321, but otherwise makes no aggressive moves towards Bardia or Tobruk.  I guess our CAP at the 4818 airfield prevented any GSPs transport mission.  In Sudan, the few motorized units remain in screening positions back from the border.  In Kenya, Moyale is overrun, but Allied units remain on their side of the border.  Various other units are transported further forward, especially along the axis leading to El Wak and Garissa.  It would appear that the Allied EA commander is operating under a strategy of cleaning up the border areas first, probably to prevent the Axis from earning any VPs for owning towns in Kenya or Sudan.  In the air, the Allies get aggressive and launch an air raid against the airbase at Scarpanto, where the Dodecannese air force is based.  The Mxd F intercepts and bypasses the Greek Pz.24 in an attempt to keep the bombers on the ground safe, but the Allies roll a 6 aborting the fighters.  The Blen1 & Greek bombers then combine for an effective 1 bombing strength attempt and roll a 6 there as well, aborting the Italian Mxd B on the ground.  Bad turn for the Italian AF.  The Allied Navy than attempts to run the a/s from the Middle East Command into Malta, using night mov’t to get close to the port and then unloading during the day.  Two SM.79’s from the coastal base at 0603 quickly launch a naval patrol mission to Valleta, making contact with a 6 rolled (+3 for calm seas, -0 for distance), 2 points of flak fails to drive them off (8 & 9 rolled), and then a 6 and 3 are rolled in bombing, resulting in one NTP sunk and the a/s point eliminated as it was attempting to offload at the docks.  A small bit of vengeance for an otherwise bad air turn.

DEC I 1940 Allied player “Compass” surprise turn

North African/Near East set up:

For the Axis, things are basically set out on a hex by hex basis.  There is very little variability allowed for our side.  In the Levant, we run a sort of in-house TEM contest to come up with the best possible position focused on trying to make overruns difficult or costly in terms of the number of Allied units necessary to implement.  In Lebanon, two support infantry III’s screen Beyrouth two hexes south of the city, while 2 cav III’s occupy the city itself.  The large 24th MC Inf III guards Tripoli.  In Syria, a cav III and 2 Lt Arm II’s garrison Damas, with the MS.406’s based there as well.  Two hexes from the border, 2 more inf III’s guard the line leading up to Damas.  Alep has the 3 LE Inf III and the const X.  In Iran, all units are placed by rule, but the fighter unit sets up in Ahwaz.  In Iraq, the variable units are all set up in Baghdad for defense, while the air unit is set up in Kut al-Imara, where it can reach Baghdad but is out of range of the British Audax’s from either base the Allies control.  In Libya and Egypt all ground units are also placed by OB.  In the air, we have a CR.42, Ba65 low level bombers and the Ju87’s set up forward at 18:5018.  Another CR.42 fighter is set back at Gazala.  If the forward air units survive the surprise turn bombing attempts, they may be able to help out either on defense or any possible counter-attack scenario that might develop.  Back in Tripolitania, the two worst air units are placed, a CR.32bis and an SM.81.  On Sicily, all four big strat bombers, SM.79-I’s are placed with their 5 point strat bombing strengths.  A CR.42 is also in attendance for when Brit fighters should show their faces.

For the Allies, forces around Matruh are set up as forward as possible.  All of the infantry X’s, 7RT Tk II, the W arty X and the 4th Ind XX Hq, plus a transport are set up in 19:1119, while the remaining 4th and 7th Arm X’s and the 7th Spt Grp are in 19:1219.  Matruh has the 51st Hvy AA II, plus a Hurri1, a Glad & some Blen1’s.  One a/s is in Matruh and the other is way forward at 19:0920, no doubt in preparation for use in the regular turn.  The 7th Ind X guards El Alamein, while Alexandria has two X’s of Australians, a X of Brits, a constr X and a machinegun II.  Five air units including the Well1C’s, the Blen4’s, the Glads, the Bombay transports and the Wellsly’s are also based in Alexandria.  Two more Australian X’s are placed east of the city on coastal defense (?).  New Zealander’s garrison Port Said and Damietta, with the 3rd Egypt X also located in Damietta.  Cairo has a hodgepodge of troops and nationalities, including both Free French units, the Czech Inf II, the Egyptian 1st and 2nd X’s, the Egyptian 1st Lt Arm X and the Egyptian Glads.  The Egyptian 1st MG X is further north at Tanta.  Over in Palestine, 3 Brit Cav X’s and the 21st Australian Inf X garrison various cities in the territory.

Weather: The weather roll for Europe & North Africa is a 3, resulting in mud in D & E and clear in F & G.  The East Africa roll is a 4, resulting in clear everywhere except around Lake Victoria, which is muddy.  Sea zones are calm in the Med (2), calm in the Red Sea (2) and calm in the Indian Ocean (5).  Sea zones not in play didn’t get a roll.  With a 4 rolled, there are no desert storms.

Initial Phase

All units involved in Compass or defending thereby are in supply.  The RN-1 TF is called up for NGS support.  No air units fly on either side (the Italians cannot fly at all.)

Movement phase

Only the air and naval units, plus the Compass force, may move.  The RN fleet heads for 19:0818, where it preps for NGS.  The RAF then takes off en masse to put the Italian AF out of action.  The Blen 1’s fly an airbase bombing mission to the big Italian airbase south of Tobruk at 5018.  Since Italian XX’s in NA have flak, they must at least survive nominal flak rolls.  The roll on the 1 column is a 5 for no result, but the air units roll a 3 and miss, with the Blens then heading for Eraklion to land.  The Blen 4’s attempt to do better by staging through Matruh with the same target, but a 7 for flak and a 3 on bombing result in more misses on each side.  This unit also returns to base on Crete, this time at Rethymnon.  The Wellington’s try their hand, but a 7 flak and 4 bombing roll mean no hits again.  The Well’s return back to Alexandria.  Finally, the Bombay transports attempt to bomb, but a 5 on flak and a 2 on bombing again result in zippo results.  The transports return to Matruh.  The German planners for the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union take note of how things were handled so they might improve upon things in say the June timeframe…

The Allied ground units then trundle out of their start positions, knowing full well that the Italians are asleep at the switch.  Thanks to reduced Italian zoc’s, the 7th Arm X and 7th Spt Grp move to 0619 where they can take the motorized elements of the Libyan forces in the rear and isolated both forward Italian stacks.  The 4th Arm X, the W Art X and the transports move to 0720 where they can attack the Italian right flank.  The remaining four infantry X’s, the 7RT and the 4th Ind HQ charge right up the coast directly at the 1st Libyan XX, the 4th “3G” Blackshirt XX and the 22nd Corps Arty.

Combat Phase

Both the Wellsly’s and the Hurri1’s fly GS to 0719, where it is supposed that one point of flak will be insufficient to drive both air units away, thereby ensuring a 3:1 +3 attack.  Italian flak rolls a pair of 4’s, but that’s sufficient only to drive the Wellsly’s away with an R.  The two armored X’s, arty and spt grp then attack the 2nd Lib Inf XX, both Lib mot inf III’s and the Italian 2nd Arm II.   Thanks to Italian disarray, the attack goes in at 3:1 +3 (a/s, 1 pt of GS) and a 6 is rolled, completely eliminating the Libyans to a man.  The 7th Arm & 7th Spt Grp advance east into the hex, away from the zoc’s of the Italian 2nd line.  In the second Compass attack, the infantry, arm II & NGS attack the 0718 stack at 4:1 +1 (a/s), and with a 4 rolled a DH kills half the units and zoc’s do in the rest.  The Allies continue their streak of good rolls when a pair of 6’s shows on the attempt to seize the Italian forward supply dumps, both a/s falling into the hands of the advancing Brit 22nd Inf X.  The only “bright spot” for the Italians is the rule change that prevents all these units from being considered scrapped.  The Libyans and Blackshirts die permanent deaths due to their fragility, but the arm II and art III will at least go into the pool for rebuilding a few months hence.  This also saves our side a whole passel of VPs.  At this point, the turn ends and rolls into the regular Dec I 40 allied player turn.

Interlude

The figure of a driver pushed his way through the flaps of the tent, bringing wih him an unwelcome blast of heated air and sand. The storms outside were still raging and the figure quickly pulled the flaps of the tent taut again

“Damn these sand storms that keep blowing up what” said General Pasco, looking up from the maps in his command tent somewhere in the desert outside Matruh.

“What is the news from the tankers? Lets just hope that it is better than that from the fly boys what….”

The figure froze at that reference to the failure of the air assualt against the Italian air force. The surprise attack in the air that had been planned to smash the enemy stukas on the ground so that they could not interfere had largely come to naught as the airfields had been obscured by sand storms. The 200 bombers sent to smash the planes on the ground before they could react hadn’t been able to find the target, let alone attempt to bomb it.

Regaining his composure the figure snappily fired off a salute

“Corporal Jones sir, reporting in sir. Its good news sir. The sand storms hid our advance and our troops have carried the day whenever they have come into contact with the enemy. They are surrendering en masse, just as you said they would”

“Yes. Mussolini’s boys have no stomach for a fight what ho. Not like our lads! What news of the supply dumps at Sidi Barrani?”

“Captured intact by the 22nd Guards, with almost no casualties.”

“Excellent news, I knew we could rely on those chaps. I feel better already, carry on Corporal.

Turning to his planners he smiled a teethy grin “Now lets have some tea and get the next phase of operations underway.”

NOV II 1940 Allied Player Turn

Initial Phase

Rhodes goes to U-3 black, the Kalpaki pocket & Kerkyra are U-2 red.  British units (the X up in the Metaxas line and the pos AA in Athenai) are U-2 black, but go into special supply by using GSPs generated from the Greek restricted full supply sources.  All Italian ground reinforcements arrive at Bari for transfer to the Albanian front.  2 a/s are placed at Trieste, all replacement points at Taranto and the new MC.200 fighters are placed at Brindisi.  Fort building continues at Koritsa.  At the end of the phase, the MC.200’s fly a CAP over Kalpaki so they can be first on the scene.  Other F’s in Albania will wait to see if the Greak AF wishes to commit.

Movement Phase

The turn starts with a series of naval mov’ts, reinforcements from Bari crossing over to Albania.  First, the 3 C Art III travels to Egouminitsa (interference roll of 7, with only a 12 generating a contact) and moves directly into the line.  2 Tri Alp (6 rolled) and 8 C Art III (9) travel to Porto Edda and from there move east a hex to engage the Kalpaki defenders on their west flank.  The two construction III’s then move to Valona (5 & 9), and with their two remaining mps left combine for some quick repair of the port, removing a hit and getting it’s available capacity up to 4 (2 used so far.)  This nets me an add’l RE of capacity immediately, and then the 4 M Arm II (8) and one supported III of the 33rd Inf XX land (6), admining towards the southern front.  Finally, the second III of the 33rd (10) and the 48th Inf XX (9) cross the Adriatic and land at Durazzo, both admining through the mud southwards to the road junction at 3919.

On the mainline in the east, the 51st XX withdraws a hex, and minor tweaks occur to leave the northernmost two hexes at 7 ds, the next two at 6 ds.  Part of this process sees the big Julia Mtn XX shift a hex south so it too can participate in attacks against the Kalpaki pocket this turn.  M/C III’s shift about to help out as well, and some unsupported units will be attacking from the northwest and northeast just to ensure that no cadre can retreat into Albania on a DR.  Attack supply is moved a hex forward, though this isn’t really necessary.

Back in the main portion of Europe, 2 a/s is railed around through Germany and Hungary into a map edge hex in Rumania, should add’l a/s be required latter in that part of the world.  I’ll have more than enough Italian attack supply given the limited Italian opportunities to attack, though I need to try and get more landed… just not enough port capacity in Albania, and I’d rather have units than a/s at the moment.

Combat Phase

No DAS flies.  I fly the Z.506 & Z.1007 bombers with their 2 pt tac strengths against Kalpaki, bring the total attack strength up to 27 against the 4.5 effective defense strength of the Kalpaki encirclement (6:1 even, a/s to all Italian troops, rough, 1/10th AECA, defenders U-2).  A 5 is rolled in combat and the Greek 9th Mtn XX, and VIII & IX Bdr X’s are eliminated to a man.  A m/c unit from the northwest and the 2 Tri Alp XX and 8 C art III from the west advance into the hex.

Exploitation Phase

M/C III’s and the 4 M Arm II advance into the front lines in the south, bringing the defense at Egouminitsa up to 8 (rough), the 4619 hex up to 5 (rough) and the crook in my line at 4618 to 9 (1/2 or better AECD in rough terrain.)  That hex and Egouminitsa are both assailable from three hexes, but the first is guaranteed a -3 mod regardless of the next weather roll and the port hex is a bit far away from the biggest Greek units, so I’m hoping for a stalemate to begin developing.

In the air, the SM 79-I flies another daylight terror bombing raid against Athenai, but improved flak defenses push them off after ineffective bombing runs (5 rolled on flak).  It returns to Durazzo to open up space at the Valona airfield for the MC.200’s.  The Mxd B on Rhodes then flies its own terror raid at Athenai, slipping by flak guns which were trained northwards (6 rolled) and putting cracks into the Parthenon (6 rolled for a hit.)  It lands on Scarpanto, and the Mxd F transfers there as well. Greek civilians demand action of their government against these perpetual raids damaging their historically significant sites (+1 VP for Axis.)  Lastly, the SM.81’s at Koritsa attempt to raid Athenai as well, but because of their range they must transit the patrol zone of the P.24’s at Larissa.  The P.24’s do patrol attack, and a 6 rolled results in the SM.81’s being aborted.

End of Turn

Axis earn 8 vps for hexes in Greece, though one of these hexes will be lost next turn as I have abandoned it.  If the Italian line benefits from nasty weather, we’ll be netting 7 per turn or thereabouts from this point forward.  Current VP total is 26:0.

NOV II 1940 Allied Player Turn

Initial Phase

Weather:  Weather rolls of 1 for land and 3 for the Med see mud remain in zone D, clearing in E, while the Med stays calm.

All Axis units are in supply other than those on Rhodes.  Greek units on Kerkyra and in the Kalpaki pocket are U-2 red.  The Khania static X shows up for duty in its patronymic city, while the Dodek Inf III arrives in eastern Thrace.  The 3rd Mtn X withdraws.  4 GSPs are generated at both Thess & Athenai, presumably to supply the Brits since there is so far no Allied supply terminal established in Greece.  Neither side declares CAP, and I put the Mxd B’s on Rhodes on naval patrol.

Movement phase

Movement opens with the Greeks sailing the Keph Stat X to Athenai by way of the Corinthian Canal.  Italian fleet elements catch wind of the movement and make contact with the Greek fleet (10 rolled on the 9 column), but fail to sink the transports (6 rolled for contact effect, for an NE result.)  Two regiments of the Greek 5th Mtn XX at Khania then board transports heading out of the port as night falls, bound for Nauplion.  However, Italian bombers on Rhodes attempt to contact the ships after the loading is complete but prior to the departure from the port’s hex.  Unfortunately this just fails (4 rolled, +3 for calm, -3 for distance.)

On land, in the south the Greeks concentrate for an assault on the 19th Vnz XX in 4719, with two large stacks on the wings and a smaller stack in the center.  In the mountains, 4 to 5 pt stacks are built up to the bend in the line at 4316, where 2 Mtn XX’s plus a strong III are in place.  One of the units from near Thessalonike catches trains to the front, reaching Phlorina to help support the border X’s.

In the rear, the rest of the units that were held up east of the Axios cross the river.  They make it generally to just east a hex or two behind the main Greek line along the east side of the front via admin mov’t.  The two 5th Mtn XX regiments from Crete admin through the Patrai narrow straits and up the west coast road.  In Athenai, large numbers of flak points admin or rail in to get the flak strength up to 7, no doubt as a result of last turn’s massive terror bombing raids.  Those that were in Thessalonike move to Larissa’s airfield, where the Allied AF is current based, bring its flak strength back up to 5, while Thess’s strength drops to 2.  The Brit 14th X is railroaded up to the Metaxas line, while a border unit moves into the line from eastern Thrace, which frees up some troops for the Albanian front.

At the end of the turn, the Greek P.24 unit flies CAP over 19th Vnz Inf XX.  I counter CAP with all three Italian F’s, and the Greeks wisely choose not to respond.

Combat Phase

I put 2 pts of DAS (.5 effective) over 51st so that there is at least a chance for a good result, ensuring the Greeks no better than either a 5:1 -2 or -3, depending upon to what extent they wish to put their mountain units at risk.  Just to be safe, the Egouminitsa hex gets 1 pt effective as well, to ensure no better than a 3:1 -1 should the Greeks decide to abandon the attack on 19th Vnz and instead go after the port.  The 19th gets the last effective point, flown by the SM81’s and SM79’s to lessen the chances that all DAS will be returned.  With three fighters, I decide to convert the CR.42’s to escort and leave the remaining two fighters on CAP.  This allows me to get a free shot against the P.24’s should they attempt to get at my DAS, and ensures I have a shot at the Allied air should ignore my DAS & choose to fly GS missions in support of their attack.  I figure this gives me the best chance to keep the odds against the 19th to 4:1 vice 5:1 (possible if both their air units got through or my DAS gets hit.)  The Allied commander chooses to intercept my DAS, and the P.24’s bypass.  CR.42’s fire ineffectively with an 8 rolled, but the P.24’s do worse when randomly allocated against the SM.79-I’s, with a 12 rolled by the interceptor and a 7 rolled by the bombers.  The Allies choose not to fly their bombers into my two CAP units, remaining on the ground.

The Allies do in fact launch the attack against 19th Vnz in wooded rough terrain with some mountain hexsides, but the attackers are all arty or mountain themselves, which cancels the wooded rough terrain.  The 4:1 even (wooded rough, mountaineering) attack rolls a 6 for a DE, with 3rd Mtn XX and 4th Mtn X advancing into the hex.  In the east however, three Greek mountain XX’s, a 3 pt Mtn III and an arty unit fail to make headway against the stalwart 51st Si XX at 4215 when the 5:1 -2 attack goes off poorly with a 1 rolled for an AS.  The 51st XX earns its legionnaire eagle and Albanian Command Hq decides the unit has done its duty and will be pulled from its exposed position (the effects of cutting down the number hexsides the Greeks can attack from against 4216 are now nullified by the arrival of the units from east of the Axios.)

Exploition Phase:

The two Allied bombers combine in an attack on the airfield at Koritsa, gunning for the CR.42’s.  A three is rolled however, so the Allies miss.  They then end their turn.

NOV I 1940 Axis Player Turn

Initial Phase

A 6 is rolled for the weather, turning both D & E zones to quagmires of mud and the Med into rough.  The Dodecanese go U-2 black, while Kerkyra and the Kalpaki pocket remain U-1 red.  All British units in Greece go U-1 black since there is no Allied standard supply terminal in Greece (Athenai is a restricted full supply source for Greek units only, so the British must set up their own terminal or face supply questions.)  Italian M/C units arrive for service in Albania at Bari, while another F and B show up at Brindisi.  A/S is produced at Trieste and an Ital Mtn RP at Taranto.  A fort is begun at Koritsa to protect the airfield, although with mud and the new WW rule, it will be Jan I 41 before the fort is finished.

Movement Phase

Naval transport across the Adriatic kicks off the turn.  The 1 B M/C III is transported to Porto Edda, the 2 B to Valona and the 4 B to Durazzo.  Interference has no effect (8, 8 & 5 rolled respectively).  The Ital Mtn RP is also sent to Port Edda (5).  Because of insufficient port capacity and no need to risk unloading a/s at a beach, the a/s in Trieste remains on the quays.  The M/C regiments at Durazzo and Valona are able to admin forward a single add’l hex.  Along the front, the Julia pulls back a hex now that the Greeks have engaged her.  Minor tweaking along the whole front creates a line from 4215 to 4216, then southwest to the wooded rough at 4719 and then west to the coast at 4720 (Egouminitsa.)  Along the main front, 5 or 6 pt DS stacks are the rule, though at 4215 the 51st XX still stands alone in a 3 pt stack, while in the far south 4719 and 4720 are 4 and 3 pts respectively.  The Italian high command hopes for mud, though Mussolini questions why his troops are not advancing faster (Note:  The Axis backed out of one hex, but did take a new one and that one was a good defensive position.  The line is fairly straight actually.)  Since there is no chance to launch an attack anywhere, the Italian AF chooses to tip its hand and run missions in the mov’t phase.  Five strategic terror bombing missions are launched against Athenai since it has no fighter cover and only slight flak (3 pts).  All bombers participate with the following results: SM81, flak 7, bombing 5, hit; Z.1007b, 6, 4 miss; Z.506B, 7, 4 miss; SM.79-I, 9, 1 miss; Mxd B, flak 4 for an R.

Combat Phase

No DAS is flown.  No combats occur.

Exploitation Phase

The three m/c units each move south as far as their mps will take them, except the southern most one at Porto Edda, which moves one hex west to provide non-arty support to the 26 C Arty III.

End of turn

The Axis collects 1 VP for terror bombing Athenai, plus 8 more for Greek hexes, for a total of 17:0.

Assessment

The Axis seems to be doing fairly well in Greece.  Weather should prevent any attacks in the eastern part of our line, while in the south, it will depend upon whether mud remains in zone E.  There’s a 50/50 chance of mud or clear.  The Greeks could launch an attack to help relieve the Kalpaki pocket in clear, but I doubt they could do so in mud.  Even in clear, they’ll be facing a –2 mod at 4719 thanks to wooded rough, and this hex won’t allow a reconnection with the pocket.  The rough at 4618 provides a more direct route to the pocket, but it will face a –3 mod regardless of the weather (either –1 for rough plus –2 for mud or –2 for AECD.)  The Axis will have air superiority over the whole front, which is a big help in keeping the line defensible against more numerous and stronger Greek units.  I’m not sure which I’d prefer, clear weather with the risk of a Greek counterattack but which might allow a chance to clear the pocket having gone U-2, or mud, which would better protect my line but prevent any assault on the pocket.  I suppose the more conservative mud would be better, but we’ll have to see how the weather plays out.

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