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