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Europa Games and Military History

Month: March 2015 (page 3 of 3)

MAR I 1941 – Allied player turn

Initial Phase

Weather:  A 5 is rolled for Europe and North Africa, so D and E both stay muddy, while F is clear and G remains strangely stuck in a frost.  The 2 in East Africa results in the mud clearing, which should help the Allies a bit.  All sea zone rolls result in clear seas.

With the sudden discovery that the 27th NR X should be supported (missed a bit of errata), the Allies plan a new special operation in the EA theater.  Axis spies indicate the operation is code-named “MIKADO,” but have yet to determine its target.  In supplies, we use the 12 GSPs in the Asmara area to supply various units within the immediate area of Asmara-Cheren and Massaua, plus some to the south as well.  On the Allied side, 4 small stacks of units in the Soddu to Addis valley are out of supply thanks to the Duca’s movements last turn.  All units in Greece remain out of supply and isolated, though Greek produced GSPs ensure special supply.

In reinforcements, first the Allies choose to activate the RN-1 TF (-1 VP).  The ME Mar Cmdo II arrives at Alexandria, as do 2 ARPs.  These are immediately spent to bring back the killed Well1C unit.  1 Brit Inf RP is used to bring back the second of the sunk Hvy AA II’s at Alexandria, while 1 Arm point is used to return the TC destroyed in the Agedabia battles to the field.  The 7th Aus Hq and the Polish Karp Mtn X go full at Alexandria.  In the Indian Ocean, a large convoy arrives on map with 2 a/s, 2 Brit Inf, ½ each of Arm, Aus and NZ Inf; the Indian 3rd m Inf X, Layforce, 5th NZ X, 25th Aus X, the MNBDO1 flak/base force, the 57th Lt Inf II and another ARP.  In East Africa, a TC is withdrawn back to West Africa, but it comes from the units in the south so that the Belg X can remain motorized.  A second convoy arrives in the Indian Ocean, with 2 more a/s, 1 each Col and Ind Inf RPs plus ½ a SA point.  One ARP arrives via the OB, plus another for the Italians still having an active air unit.  Both are put into the Kenyan command.  The South African Mxd F unit converts over to Hurri1’s.  Up in the Balkans, another Greek ARP arrives, which allows the destroyed P24F to return to duty.  One Mtn RP and a ½ res pt arrive at Athenai.  The 1st Arm X conversion is delayed, as is the Glad to Hurri1 conversion, since all Allied units on the mainland are currently isolated (again, due to the Allied desire to not put a supply terminal into Athenai which is assumed to be too risky (really, they just want to keep us from getting 5 VPs later when Athenai falls.))

GSPs are placed at Thessalonike, Athenai, Alexandria and Suez.  The fortress at Tobruch is brought up to improved status.  Malta goes to a 9 status after a 1 pt repair.  The nine Axis bombers that bombed Malta last turn go inop due to their mission.  An MC.200 at Benghazi goes inop as well, though I can’t recall why.  All bombers in Albania, on Rodi and not inop on Sicily go on naval patrol.  Two Ju87B’s at Benghazi stage down to the temp field at 3324 and then fly harassment missions against the two allied boxes at Mechili and 4122.  Flak fails to drive off the dive bombers, so the infantry XX’s and supporting non-divs should find it difficult to get away what with Italian zoc’s affecting them as well.

Movement Phase

Kufra becomes owned by the Allies by rule.  Then, as usual, the phase kicks off with a variety of Allied naval missions.  The first sees the GSPs at Thessalonike shipped to Athenai via Greek NTPs.  The next has the 43 RPC Cons unit at Tobruch being shipped over to Athenai.  The Mxd B unit on Rodi responds and makes contact just outside Athenai with a 4 rolled (+4 for calm, -3 for distance).  The Glad unit in the area rises up on intercept, and despite the Axis rolling better, the Mxd B ends up worse for wear (6 rolled by F for an A, 4 rolled for the B for a no result.)  The RPC unit lands without incident.  Having lost their fighter coverage near Athenai, the P24 at Larisa stages down to the Greek capital and flies CAP over the Piraeus.  The 7th Aus Hq is then shipped into Athenai from Alexandria.  Axis air in the Balkans lets the mission be.  The Allies then route the repaired Hvy AA II and 4 GSPS at Alexandria to Malta, escorted by TF RN-1.  Light naval forces in the Central Med fail to make contact, so it is up to the two coded a/c on Sicily to prevent the flak from getting in again.  The Allies have the other flak II at Tobruch, and it could be sent later, so the air commander considers sending in just the SM.79-2 against this first mission.  However, TF could escort a second mission in as well and the He111H4 is unlikely to get 2 hits.  Air CINC decides its best to really plaster the first mission in the hopes that enough hits will be generated to at least kill one of the flak II’s.  (It would take 4 hits to guarantee the flak is sunk, though 2 would give a 50/50 shot at it, thanks to the way hits are distributed.  Sending both the He111H4 and the SM.79-2 would average 3 hits.)  Both a/c are launched against the presumed first mission to Malta.  Contact is guaranteed, and 4 points of flak (2 each from TF and NTs) fails to drive off the bombers.  The resulting 8 bombing attempts on the 1 column, +1 each, result in three hits.  Two are automatically applied to the TF (+2 VPs to the Axis), but the hit to the NT ends up getting randomly allocated to the GSPs, so the flak II manages to get to the island this time.  Drat.  As expected, the 5th and 6th Allied naval missions see the other flak II at Tobruch and the GSPs at Suez shipped to Malta.  Not surprisingly, the shipments slip by Italian sea patrols.  Next the NZ X at Porto Bardiya is shipped to Melos.  The BR.20M at Koritsa manages to make contact at the island (6 rolled, +4 calm, -4 dist), but pays for the attempt when the 2 pts of flak from the NT rolls snake-eyes and aborts it.  If it weren’t for bad luck…  The Aus X that had been on Melos then ships over to Athenai, and the two bombers at Valona attempt to sink that one.  Another 6 is rolled for contact, so the P24 converts to an interceptor and engages the two Z bombers that launched against the Aussies.  It ends up allocated against the Z.506, and air to air ends up with the B returned (8 rolled), vice no damage inflicted (6 rolled.)  The Z.1007b gets by flak, but misses twice with 2 attempts on the 1 column.

The big troop convoy in the Indian Ocean ships up and through the Suez canal, ending the phase just outside Port Said.  In the final Med mission, the Karp Mtn X is shipped from Alexandria to Porto Bardiya just vacated by the Kiwis.

Down in the EA area, one a/s and the ½ pt of SA troops are disembarked at Mogadiscio, the Col RP ships to Aden and unloads, while the other a/s and the Ind RP is shipped around the Horn to Port Sudan, where it unloads.  Finally, one res pt at Mombasa is shipped to Aden, while the pt that was at Aden is shipped to Aqiq, about 1/3rd of the way south from Port Sudan to Massaua.

In ground movement in Greece, the Greeks begin to get inklings that German intervention may be imminent.  A few units begin to pull out of the main line, while the only hex in Albania owned by the Greeks is given up entirely.  Hex 3502 is the hex given up, and the elite 42nd Ev Mtn III moves out of the northern portion of the Greek line entirely, making the road between Kastoria and Grevena.  In the south, a bdr X and the 2nd Greek Mtn XX are withdrawn from the line.  Two arty X’s at Prevesa move back north to the 3903 hex and join the bdr X that pulled out, forming what Axis intelligence presumes is a small reserve, but what could also head east to help garrison the forming Aliakmon line.  The 19th mot Inf XX begins crossing the mountains into the eastern half of Greece as well.  Further east, another bdr X that had been moving west shifts back east to Larisa to help bolster the city’s immediate defenses.  A third bdr X moves up to the 4612 portion of the Aliakmon line when the Nest Fortress X moves north via rail to garrison the railroad border crossing into Yugoslavia at 4311.  Along the Metaxas line, one full XX moves out of the two hex hedgehog that had been in the northwest portion of the line and takes up the defense of the only full mountain hex of the line, hex 4308.  The Greek 6th Cav III catches a train out of the same hedgehog and takes up the defense of the 4405 railroad/Metaxas hex.  In the south, the Thess Cons X begins repairing the rail hit at 0413 on the south side of the Spherkios, while it is joined on its south flank by the 43rd RPC Col X.  7th Aus Hq and the 24th Aus X move out of Athenai and guard the city’s northwest flank.  26th Aus X and the Kiwi 2nd Inf Hq move west to garrison Korinthos, while the Brit 14th X moves up to Patrai to garrison it as well.  Close behind is the British 1st Arm X.  Finally, the Bombay transports stage to 4818 and pick up the 4th NZ X (which first destroyed the Gazala field and moved to 4818), transporting the X one-way to Kalamai.  Clearly the Allies plan on tucking tail and hiding in the Peloponnesus while the Greeks deal with that little matter of a German invasion J  Typically British tactics, fighting to the last “ally.”

In North Africa, the task force organized around the 9th Aus XX pulls back due east, making the coast at the road junction just northwest of Gazala.  The slow, heavy tanks of the 7th RT II are about 30 miles behind in the retreat, but should catch up nicely in exploit.  Further south, the 4th Indian and the non-c/m support troops flee east and a bit south to 4521, in a clear hex but with sand on its northeast flank and stony desert to its south.  Third Arm X heads nearly due south in a land ownership grab (lots of this land grab sparring going on in North Africa), leaving it well away from anything by end of movement (it’s likely to rejoin the Indian XX’s box at 4521 by exploit however, otherwise the XX will have no tanks (read AECD/ATEC) in support.)  Strangely, the Allies use a majority of their SMPs to ship an a/s point from Tobruch to the offroad 4521 location.  Perhaps they plan to launch a counterattack from the exposed desert, or more likely, will convert to GSPs in our initial phase in case they feel the Indian XX will be cut-off??  At Tobruch, the 66th RPC Cons X repairs the temp field at the fortress to a full 3 cap, leaving 4 available in the hex now that the fortress itself is upgraded.  The little machinegun II to the south destroys the 4818 field after the Kiwi X air transports out (see above), then joins the Tobruch defenders.  The Free French 1 M m Inf II admins east from the Tobruch area all the way to Matruh, then reverses course and ends the turn at Sidi Barrani.  No idea why the odd movements.  On the otherhand, the rebuilt TC at Alexandria rails and admins all the way to Porto Bardiya, where it joins the Polish Karp Mtn X that just arrived by sea.  The Delta garrison consists of a single II of Czech troops and the 0-8 ME Mar Cmdo II, plus the not entirely trustworthy Egyptians.

Meanwhile, down in East Africa along the coast the broken down X’s of the 6th Aus XX engage the two forward Italian X’s in the mountains circa 1303 and 1503.  They are joined by the 29th Ind X, with the 9th Ind X to the rear at Aqiq, and a Cons X moving up to presumably repair the bridge at Tokar.  One a/s is shipped to Tokar to supply the attacks along the coast.  In a reversal of previous movements, the 2MMG II again reverses course and starts moving away from the coastal route and back north towards the rail at the Sinkat oasis (though it can’t quite reach, since admin movement was not available due to the aforementioned broken bridge.)  West of Cheren the Orient FF X backs off to west of Biscia to watch the Cheren defenders from a far distance.  To its rear, a Cons X moves up to repair the bridge at Tessenei, where an a/s point is also positioned via SMPs.  Further to the rear, the SRD RR Eng III returns to Kassala, joined by the 68th Art II.  Another Cons X moves down to Om Ager, probably to fix the bridge there as well.  A bit to the west, the EC Inf X and the FB Inf II engage the Gondar Blackshirts X across the Angereb river.  A bit south, the 10th Ind X and 4 RT Tank II move south to engage the 21st Col X in the woods at 14W:2217.  More interestingly, the 1st Belg Col X and the 1st MMG II ignore the Italian X’s ensconced across their supply lines to the rear and shoot south through Gondar (the MMG was out of supply, so it doesn’t shoot far regardless.)  The Belgians and a TC make it to just shy of Celga, while the MMG II enters Gondar, destroys the empty fort and removes the city’s ability to be an Italian limited supply terminal before continuing movement 16 more miles south along the road to Dessie.  Two Ethiopian II’s screen the rail line in Sudan from Gedaraf to the Nile, a front of only 110 miles or so.

To the south, between the Oromos Highlands and the Mendebo Mountains more Allied movements occur.  The EAC Cons and TC, despite supply difficulties, head towards Soddu from near Alghe.  The out of supply 21st East African X heads from Soddu east to a point about 30 miles due south of Butjadira, where it is joined by an a/s point SMP’d forward.  Further east, 24th Gold Coast X, 2nd South African X and the 1st South African recon II engage the Italian 60th Col X in the mountains at Aselle.  1st South African X moves over to defend the mountain valley at Dodola from the 61st Col X just to the east, at least temporarily reopening the supply lines to the forward Allied troops.  25th East African in Kenya moves up to engage the Italian 9th Col X at Moyale, while the 1st EA Recon II heads towards Moyale from the northwest.  5th South African X and the SEAC Cons X admin up from Italian Somaliland as far as their mps will take them, but they make it no further than Megalo and El Cari respectively.  Much further south, the 22nd East African X engages the last Italian unit that had been in the Chisimaio-Mogadiscio area, at 3W:1007.  Along the coast, the 27th NR X heads west and south to Brava, while the 23rd Nigerian X admins through Brava to Mogadiscio.

In the last bit of movement phase action, the Brit Hurri1 and Glad fighters in North Africa CAP Tobruch (not sure why), while the three bombers at Tobruch launch against Benghazi.  The Italian CR.42 on CAP engages, lines up against a Blen4 unit, and promptly gets itself aborted while causing no damage.  Miserable turn in the air for the Axis… but wait, the two points of flak still gets to fire and clearly the CR.42’s lined the bombers up like a sheepdog.  The first plane in is a Blen4 and a 3 is rolled, sufficient to send it packing with an R.  Now that the Italian gunners have the range, a pair of 2’s are rolled and the next Blen4 and the just fixed Well1C unit are sent to the abort box.  We take what we can get J

At the very end of the phase the supplied CR.42 at Massaua flies a CAP over the Italian 2nd Col Cav X at 14W:1503 just to try and keep bombers from bumping up the anticipated odds, or least get a shot at a bomber in EA.

Combat Phase

No combat is launched in the Greek or North African theaters.  Plenty of combat goes on in East Africa, one of which finally has a potential to cause some Allied losses.  In the first combat, the 17th Aus and 29th Ind X’s smash the 5th Col X from east and west in 1303 in an autokill at 8:1 -2 (mtns, a/s provided, no GS), but a 5 is rolled for the record, netting a DE.  Next, another 5 is rolled against the 2nd Cav X at 1503, attacked by two more Aus X’s.  This Italian unit actually had a potential to get away, but the 8:1 -2 attack gets another 5 for a DE.  So much for the forward coastal defenders, but at least they are forcing the Allies to deal with them on their way to Massaua.  The next attack is further west against the Gondar Blackshirts at 14W:1919.  It’s across rivers, and only two unsupplied Allied units are attacking, but a single GS point is provided, so the odds are shifted to 5:1 even.  A potential for actually Allied losses!  Doesn’t work out for the Duca though, as yet another 5 is rolled for yet another DE.  Next the 21st Col X is assaulted by the unsupplied 10th Ind and 4th RT Tank II, at 9:1 even odds thanks to more GS from the allied air force (a/s, woods, 1/10th AECA).  A 1 is finally rolled, but it makes no difference since the result is a DH, killing the single unit.  Next, the mountain redoubt at Aselle is assaulted by three allied units.  The Allies use their 1 ‘free’ RE of supply to put the 24th Gold Coast X into supply, and with the South Africans also assaulting and a high mountain hexside to its rear, the result against the 60th Col X is a foregone conclusion.  Still the attack is rolled and a 4 nets a DH (some a/s, mountains, 1 pt GS from Audax’s at Soddu.)  Lastly, the BGuib Inf X is assaulted and destroyed by the 22nd East African, eliminating the last Italian unit in southern Italian Somaliland, in a 8:1 even attack (no a/s, GS from the Mxd S air unit).  The 3 rolled is another DE.

Exploitation Phase

At sea, the RN TF-1 returns to Alexandria, where it is deactivated for the time being.  The big reinforcement convoy splits up.  The big 3-8 NZ Inf X, 2 a/s and the 57th Lt AA II sail for Athenai.  The MNDBO flak unit and the Indian 3rd m Inf X sail for Tobruch, while the 25th Aus X, Layforce and all RPs/ARPs sail for Alexandria.  Lastly at sea, 2 GSPs at Athenai are shipped to Patrai for use by the allied troops there.  In Greece, the 19th Mot Inf XX moves southeast out of the mountains to Trikkala, due west of Larisa about 30 miles.  In North Africa, the 3rd Arm X joins up with the 4th Indian in its box, while the 7th RT Tk II joins up with the 9th Aus XX along the coast.  They are joined by the Indian 3rd mot Inf X.  The apparently confused Free French m Inf II heads back from Sidi Barrani and returns to Matruh.  (I think the Mid-East CINC, who is British, just likes to push the Free French about to make them looked confused.)  In East Africa, the 2nd MMG II heads towards Kassala, making it about half way from the coast.  The Belgians and TC exploit to Gondar, then move northeast along the road to gain ownership, then return to Gondar where they are joined by the 4th RT Tk II.  In the Valley, the EAC and TC exploit into Soddu to defend the airfield.  El Kaid then gets aggressive and the 24th Gold Coast and the 1st South African recon II cross the Auasc river and make for a point about 30 miles northeast of Addis Ababa (with the recon II making Ficce.)  They overrun an Italian Cons X in the process, but they will be out of supply next turn thanks to zoc’s of Italian units in the eastern tip of the Oromos Highlands.  The Addis Ababa garrison is released due to these movements (we are not using the open city rule btw.)  Further south, the 1st EA recon II bypasses Moyale entirely, passing through Ballele heading towards Neghelli.  In the last bit of action, the South African Hurri1 unit abandons East Africa and flies a multi-stage transfer op up to Matruh.

FEB II 41 – Axis player turn

Initial Phase

All Axis units in the EA area are U-4, though none are isolated so we need make no surrender rolls.  On mainland Greece there are now more Allied RE’s in the Athenai area then there are Greek produced GSPs to feed them, so the Aussie 26th X goes without since it is a recent arrival.  On Melos, the 24th Aus X goes U-2, but thanks to the Aegean port is unisolated.

In politics, not much occurs.  The Iraqi conspirators meet again, and while the time for action is approaching the time is not quite ripe (7 rolled, highest roll so far.)

In Albania, Centauro’s cadre rebuilds up to a full XX.  On mainland Italy, the 38th Pug XX shows up at Brindisi for shipment to the northern Albanian front, while the Ju52 on loan from the Luftwaffe withdraws.

In North African action, the first portions of the DAK arrive in Sicily, consisting of the 200th m Inf III (of the 21st Pzr XX), plus the 605th AT II.  A pair of Italian m Art III’s also arrive, as does a leg Art outfit.  The CR.42 that crashed at El Agheila is rebuilt at the cost of 2 ARPs, and then the 17th Pav Inf XX is released from movement restrictions near Tripoli.

In East Africa, the Azz Inf III completes formation, consisting of IAF members called up for ground duty.  The 3rd Art III and 4th Col Inf Hq’s concentrate at Adua into a much stronger 2nd Art III (2-6).  One a/s just southwest of Asmara is converted to 12 GSPs.

In other logistics areas, the airfield at Egouminitsa continues building up, though the mud is making it a long endeavor.  For air actions, the 4 Ju87B’s and R at Benghazi go inop due to being involved in harassment ops last turn.  The G.50 and CR.42 on Sicily CAP Malta again.

Movement phase

Movement begins with air operations against Malta.  1 Ju88A, 6 SM.79-1’s and 2 Ca.133’s launch Malta status bombing missions.  Flak (shifted to the 1 column) fails to have any affect, but bombing attempts are miserable and the 9 missions garner just a single hit.  Malta status goes back to 10.  (Mathematically, so far this game we are 4.2 hits under the average one would have expected, given the number of attacks, weather, etc.)  The coded a/c plus the Ba.65 launch against Malta’s port, and flak sees the Ba.65 into the aborted pile.  The two naval bombers fail to score hits too.  Argh.

Sea movement sees the Italian XX at Brindisi over to Durazzo without incident.  A cons III at Durazzo, having completed that port’s repairs, is moved along the coast to Egoumintisa.  Likewise, all shipments to North Africa arrive without any Allied naval forces making contact, so the German m Inf III and both Italian m Art III’s move to Benghazi, while the leg art III and the German AT II land at Homs.

On the ground in the Balkans, things are fairly stable due to poor weather.  I shift a few units about, moving the Centuaro XX into the line and concentrating some artillery and the remaining c/m units with it in a large 18 pt stack northeast of Egouminitsa.  Italian stacks are otherwise 12-14 pts strong along the line, more or less impervious to Greek offensive action and threatening to launch operations of their own should the E zone clear up.  To the rear in Albania, the three XX’s put into northern Albania move up to the Yugoslavian border for possible action against that nation.  The new arrival at Durazzo admins up as well… Hitler has given Mussolini some indications that he is not happy with Yugoslavia sitting on the sidelines and may wish to press things a bit shortly.  A con III begins the process of repairing the San Gio. de Medua port for getting attack supply and reinforcements in quicker in the north, should that prove necessary.  In the air, a night strategic terror bombing mission against Athenai gets by flak but misses, as do two more missions against rail/rail marshalling yard hexes on the mainland.  An attempt by the Mxd B on Rodi to hit the Melian port likewise comes up short (15 bombing attempts fail to register a single 6… need to find a new die rolling web-page J)

In North Africa, infantry XX’s, the various pieces of the Trento mot Inf XX and the 605th AT II admin east along the coast road.  The Italian leg arty remains at Homs for possible shipment via naval transport later, when port capacity is available.  At the front, Ariete and the 7B m Inf III move to engage the 9th Aus Inf XX and it’s non-divs at El Mechili.  A bit to the south, various leg arty and non-divisional armor and light armor units engage the western and northwestern flanks of the 4th Ind Inf XX and it’s supporting non-divs.  To the immediate rear, two Arty III’s and the Tonini para-inf III are about 30 miles back, while the recently arrived m Art III and 200th m Inf III admin out of Benghazi one hex, putting them on the edge of the mud zone for a good exploit opportunity.  The two cons III’s in Benghazi go overland and via rail to point about 30 miles due south of Soluch, where they put up a 2 cap temp airfield.  One a/s point is SMP’d along the coast to point about 30 miles northwest of El Agheila.  The other point in North Africa remains ensconced in Tripoli for the time being.

Down in East Africa, mud inhibits Italian movements nearly as much as the Allies.  Along the coast north of Massaua, two inf X’s remain in mountain hexes just off the coastal road, forcing the Allies to either root them out or risk action against their supply lines.  The Erit mot Inf X, the last fully c/m unit in the AOI (less two TC’s still active) backs off along the coast to the south side of the Wadi Mallacie, just east across the mountains from the town of Nacfa.  An inf X admins up to the Cub Cub road junction from Massaua (replaced by the Asb inf X that had been guarding the Mersa Fatmah port).  The big 12th Col X and a 1-8 Art X move east out of the Cheren pass fort, where they can move up to protect the coastal road.  This leaves two coastal III’s guarding the Cheren pass, but given that all the Allies appear to have abandoned any pretense of engaging this position this defense would appear to suffice.

Around Asmara, units continue to shift north towards the city from the Adua and Adi Ugri areas, though the going is slow given the mud.  Two Inf X’s are used to cartage the GSPs created earlier 15 miles southwest of Asmara into the town so that the Cheren and Massaua defenders can each reach them if the mud weather continues next turn.  In other logistically moves, 1 res pt is burned in Massaua to raise the capacity of the Asmara rail line 50% (from 2 to 3!), just sufficient to move one a/s point from Asmara back to Massaua without costing us any further SMPs.  Further west, the 4 still active units north of Gondar (about 75 miles or more north, mostly on the Allied side of the border) adjust themselves for either defensive terrain or to ensure that a zoc front is presented against the advancing Indian and Col X’s.  This also puts the 1MMG II out of supply so it cannot go tearing through the Amhara province if the weather clears.  Further west, three units take up position around Er Roseires, faced by the 1/2 Ethiopian [II] a bit to the north.  Finally in the northwest, two X’s slime forward, including one that actually makes it to the White Nile, cutting off the river between the towns of Kaka and Paloich.

In the central part of AOI, the Gimma defenders remain in place protecting the mountain roads in the Oromos Highlands to the south of the city.  Three units take up defensive positions in the mountains north of the valley leading to Addis Ababa (near Butjadira), or on the east bank of the Auasc river.  One more X takes up positions in the mountains on the south side of the valley.  Meanwhile, units to the west in or south of the Mendebo mountains plus a unit that shifts up to just east of the small valley at Dodola manage to put a zoc lock on all three roads the Allies are using for supplying their Addis advance.  The units to the east can just manage a supply line anyway by tracing overland through some mountains, but the three stacks at Soddu and along the Dalle-Alghe-Iavello road will go out of supply.  Futher east, along the Dessie to Asmara mountain road, units continue to head north to the main front.  One a/s point uses 8 of our 9 remaining EA SMPs to move along this road as well, reducing our total to 8 for next turn.

In the far south, the last remaining unit from the Chisimiao-Mogadiscio area attempts to flee north, but supply and nearby Allied Col X’s will see this unit killed next turn regardless.  Meanwhile, in the southwest Italian units continue to advance into Uganda and Kenya.  In the southeast, one unit north of Gorrohai begins breaking a bridge, while a unit to the southeast of the town moves toward it.  The 3rd Cst III in the far southeast continues its meager attempt to admin toward the fronts.

Combat Phase

Blen4’s out of the Tobruch area fly DAS in support of the 4th Indian stack at 4122, but given we could do no better than 1:3 +2, even an HX would only hurt us.  We launch no attacks.

Exploitation Phase

None in Greece.  In East Africa, one TC hauls a pos AA and another an Inf X along the Adua to Adi Ugri road.  The Erit mot Inf X on the coast chooses to remain in place since it cannot be attacked and blocks the road, preventing exploit advances by the Indian 2MMG II where it sits.  In North Africa, the 8 B m Inf III joins its sister the7 B and Ariete just west of El Mechili and the 9th Aus XX box.  This Italian stack goes up to 9 points DS.  The 1st Lt Arm X, after a quick detour for terrain ownership purposes, joins the forward line at 4021, bringing this middle stack up to 5 pts defense.  Just to the south at 4022, another arm II and the 200th m Inf III join units already in place to form a 10 pt stack just west of the 4th Indian box.  The flanks seem unlikely to be attacked since no better than 1.5:1 -1 seems likely, while both Allied XX’s groupings could assault the 5 point stack in the middle this would leave the Allied units exposed to armored counterattacks.  (Each of the three forward Italian stacks is ½ AECD and 1/10th ATEC; the Allies have just 1.5 REs of armor units available in North Africa, for the time being.)  Further to the rear, the 1 AC m Art III joins the two cons III’s at the temp airbase in 3324 to ensure no suicide overruns will take the base and kill the weak cons units.  The 3 AC unit joins the slower elements of the Trento group, which exploit up to 3425, about 6-8 hexes to the rear of the forward line.  Well back along the coast, the 605th AT II exploits to just east of Sirte.

End of turn

Four hexes in Greece are Axis owned, but only 3 VPs are earned as this brings the total for such hexes to 50, the max per game.  Current VP total is 57 to 9 in favor of the Axis.

FEB II 1941 – Allied player turn

Initial Phase

Weather:  A roll of 4 in Europe and North Africa sees the D zone remain wintery and the E zone muddy.  F is clear, while that little bit of G in central Turkey remains frosty.  A 6 in the East African theater mucks things up a bit for the Allies.  H1, the mountain zone in western Saudi Arabia gets muddy, while the H2 zone (the northern half of Galla & Sidamo province, nearly all of Amhara province, and the mountainous strip of northern Eritrea) experiences some late winter rains, turning the roads to muddy muck.  This should have a pretty dramatic impact on any assaults out of the Soddu area or towards the Cheren and/or Adi Ugri areas.  The Cheren escarpment and the Oromos Highlands south of Gimma seem pretty secure at this point.  Finally, the Lake Victoria area experiences more mud as well, though this won’t impact operations in the slightest.  At sea, all sea zones are clear except the Red Sea, which remains rough.

In supply action, the Dodecanese are a pretty firm U-4, though one III is U-3.  All of East Africa is U-4 with no GSPs on board.  Benghazi’s supply line is now firmly open with the loss of the British 7th Armored and sundry supporting units, which should free us up from having to run GSPs into the place (also limiting the risk to our Med NTP pool.)  For the Allies, all the Allied troops on mainland Greece are at least at some level of U status, plus isolated, but Greek gsps are provided to keep them from ‘surrendering.’  On Melos, the 24th Aus X remains U-1 black.  Down in East Africa the 2 and ½ brigades worth of c/m forces, plus two TC’s go U-1 red since the Allies failed to gain ownership of the Sciasciamanna road junction before they seized the Soddu area.  Since these units are also stuck in the southern limit of the muddy H2 zone, their movement will be quite limited.

No reinforcements in East Africa or the Mideast fronts, but the Greeks continue to press units into service.  The Nest Fort X shows up at Xanthe, while a pair of border X’s combine into the 20th Inf XX in the Metaxas line.  Finally, the 19th mot Inf XX is formed up by way of the Mekh mot inf III.  The reorg of the Ipp Cav X to divisional status is forestalled for the time being since that unit is currently in the deadpool.  The Mid East CC does rebuild one of the flak II’s sunk in runs to Malta, replacing the unit at Alexandria.

Ultra picks up Axis air communiqués that were improperly broadcast (I sent a msg for the Axis group about air plans including some harassment missions against the 4th Indian XX & company to the group at large.  Silly me.)  This results in the Hurri1’s at the 5018 field south of Tobruch staging to Gazala and then flying a CAP over the threatened Indians.  Given that we are limited for offensive operations next turn (no a/s in the immediate area and little way to get any there), we go with a massive harassment option circa the Ind XX.  Four Ju87B’s and the R fly harassment missions to the east side of the XX, plus an additional along the road hex.  This blankets the area behind the XX with harassment hits and should really limit any retreat of the infantry (the two c/m units can escape in exploit, but the Allied Mideast Commander may face the unenviable position of having both the 7th Armored destroyed and the Indian XX surrounded before it can make Tobruch, just as the Aussies and Kiwi’s are all headed to Greece…)  In other air ops, two fighters fly CAPs over Malta, while the fighters that transferred away from forward airbases at Benghazi, El Agheila and Sirte stage back and fly CAP over their respective bases to keep counter air strikes to a minimum.  Finally, four bombers on Sicily go on naval patrol, as does the Mxd B on Rodi and three bombers in Albania for good measure.  With the Hurri1 already tasked, the two remaining British fighters will be hard pressed to cover naval ops to Greece (hopefully) or any other escort duties that might wish to perform.

Movement phase

Naval movement in the Indian Ocean kicks off the Allied phase.  The Const X at Aden reboards an NTP and shifts to the port of Suakin south of Port Sudan and north of the position the 6th Aus XX has taken up along the Wadi Ashat.  Its place at Aden is taken by the 26th East African X, brought in from Chisimaio.  The two Col Inf RPs and one SA Inf RP at Mombasa are shifted to Mogadiscio, and finally a res pt at Mombasa is shifted to Aden but not offloaded due to mp usage presumably.  All told 5 of the Eastern Med/Indian Ocean NTPs are used up by the EA commander.

Action then shifts to the Med, where the rebuilt flak II is run into Tobruch via naval transport.  Interesting, as I was rather expecting this unit to make another attempt at Malta, but perhaps they’ve given up on that, or the likely approach of Axis forces on Tobruch in the near future is forcing them to seek its defense.  Next, the British 1st Arm X at Derna is moved to Athenai on a back and forth route.  Naval patrol intercept is available just southwest of the port so Italian planes launch.  First, the Mxd B on Rodi attempts contact (+4 for calm, -3 for distance), but rolls a 2 and fails to find the Arm X and its NTs.  Two Z bombers (506b and 1007b) out of Valona make an attempt, at the same odds, but they also roll a 2 and fail to spot the naval units.  Finally, the BR.20M out of Koritsa tries, but yet another 2 turns up.  Three attempts with a 50% shot each all miss.  Blast.  At least the Glads at Athenai never get the chance to intercept since no contact was ever made.  As the last item, GSPs from Alexandria are shipped into Malta and partially unloaded.  Despite their being no risk that flak or attack supply might be run into the island later (no units or NTPs in sufficient amount), the naval patrol craft on Sicily ignore it.  Why risk flak and ARP losses for an single NTP that will automatically regenerate next turn.  Besides, supplying infantry units on Malta means nothing at this point.

Ground movement in Greece is fairly limited.  General Metaxas (David Chandler) has retired, so the Mid East CinC takes over, but there isn’t much in the way of shifting strategies to show for the command change, at least not yet.  The new Nest Fort X is pulled out of eastern Thrace and occupies the just completed fort at 4612, the first completed portion of the Aliakmon line.  It is joined by an arty III out of the Metaxas line, freed up when the new infantry XX formed up and generated another RE.  The arty that had been in reserve on the west coast begins shifting back across the mountains, where it will likely form up in the Aliakmon line.  In the far south, and const unit and border X are shifted by rail and overland admin movement (thanks to rail hits) to the south bank of the Spherkios.  The 1st Arm X admins away from Athenai heading toward the Peloponnesus.  Likely going to garrison Korinthos or Patrai I’d wager.  Remaining Allied units cower in Athenai, partaking of uzo and deflowering the local young ladies of their virtue, but remain decidedly far from the actual fighting (all being performed by the Greek men-folk up near Albania… never let the Kiwi’s and Aussie’s and Brits hang out w/ your wives J)

On the other side of the pond, Aussies move forward abandoning Derna and take up a blocking position on the bypass road at El Mechili.  They are joined the 23rd Brit X and an AT II.  The 4th Indian XX heads southeast into the clear terrain about 30 miles south-southwest of El Mechili, forming up a zoc front and screening the rear area troops far to the east at Tobruch.  The 22nd Guards X joins them in their hedgehog.  The 3rd Arm X which had been with the Indians moves southwest instead, so it may be considering another land grab behind the forward Italian troops.  However, cutting the supply lines to Benghazi and the forward troops near Zaulet Msus would require the X to remain on or near the road circa Agedabia, assuredly a suicide mission for the British tankers.  The Free French mot Inf II heads as far east as its mps will allow.  Back near Tobruch, one of the RPC const X’s continues rebuilding the fortress, while the other builds up a 2 capacity temporary airfield.  The W Art X abandons Gazala and takes up position within the fortress, though this is at best a temporary measure since it is projected for movement to Greece soon.  Kiwi X’s remain in Gazala and Bardiya.  The machinegun II at the 5018 field wrecks the field, abandons it and then heads for the 4818 field.  At this point, the Bombay transports stage back to Alexandria, and return on a one-way mission to the 4818 field with a res pt.  Finally, the a/s point at Bardiya is SMP’d back to the rail head at Matruh and thence railed to Alexandria.  One a/s is still in Tobruch, though the Allies are now clearly on the defensive in North Africa.

In East Africa, the 6th Aus XX breaks down and engages the 5th Col X in the mountains southwest of Aqiq, where it sits astride the supply line and coastal route the Allies now appear to have settled on as the approach to Massaua.  This is further highlighted in that two of the 3 X’s of the 5th Indian are sent to the rear at Kassala and railed around to coast, admining as far as they can (one reaches just west of Suakin, where the 3/4 Eth II and an a/s are moved to; the other makes it as far a south along the coast as Tokar.)  Back west, the Orient FF X and 68th Art II remain 30 miles northwest of the Cheren position, content to eye the Italian defensive works from a distance.  The 4 RT Tk II shifts west toward the remaining Indian and Col units circa Om Ager.  These units, the 10th Indian X and the EC Col X engage one of the two CCNN X’s that had been moving north to threaten the rear of the units that had previously been heading toward Cheren and/or Adi Ugri (neither approaches now appear to be in the Allied CC’s plans.)  The 1 MMG II abandons Roseires and its field and heads east to just west of Gedaraf.  The 1/2 Eth II is railed in to replace it presumably, though it can’t make the airfield itself.  The Belgians admin in to a point just south of Es Suki along the Blue Nile just before the rail turns away from the river, so they will probably take up the defense of Er Roseires in exploit to ensure the Bande don’t get it.  The WArC Cav II admins west to protect the Mallakal field to likewise keep green jello from sliming its way into the Sudan-Kenya airbridge.

Down south, the units near Soddu are somewhat limited in movement opportunities.  The units that had slipped into the mountains retreat back to the city itself, while the 24th Gold Coast X and its TC manage to move into the clear weather area at least.  The 2nd South African X departs the southern mountain area near Dalle and heads east, grabbing terrain (including a quick back and forth foray into the mountains at 7W:0507 before ending the turn around 45 miles distant from the Italian units defending in front of Addis (conveniently exactly outside the 6 hex limit that would release the Addis garrison units.)  To the South African’s rear the Col Recon II advances up from Lugh Ferrani all the way to just north of Dalle.  To the south, the 0 attack strength EAC Const X and a TC sweep west through Ballale, down towards Moyale and thence north to just north of Mega grabbing terrain the entire time with their zoc (argh, please.)  Meanwhile, the 1st South African X moves north as well, but takes the right fork in the road at Dolo and heads to a point just west of El Cari.  Clearly it intends to open up the Dolo-Dodolo road as a supply route since there are some Italian units astride the other two routes leading up to the Soddu-Addis Ababa area.  In the far far south, the 5th SA X and SEAC Cons X abandon the Mogadiscio area as well, admining north.  This leaves just the 22nd East African, 23rd Nigerian, and 27th Northern Rhodesian X’s to clean up the two remaining stacks of Italian Col units in the area north of the Uebi Scebelli river.  They move first against the eastern stack at 3W:1306, engaging on the northwest and southeast sides with the 22 EA and 27 NR X’s.  The 23 N X moves along the coast road to eventually catch up with the other stacks’ rear.

All this land movement is followed by a few air missions.  The first is the most successful.  Two Blen4’s go on an airbase bombing raid against El Agheila.  The CR.42 on CAP intercepts but both it and the Blen it engages miss (8 rolled by F, 7 by B).  The bombers then make two attempts on the field needing 6’s, but with a 4 and 6 rolled one hit is achieved.  Unfortunately, this leaves the CR.42 no place to land since the field started with two hits already and the unit crashes into the deadpool.  A Ju88A was on the field, so it too is sent packing to the aborted box.  Should have sent the bombers back to Sicily immediately instead of waiting for a possible DAS need.  Remaining raids accomplish nothing.  The Well1C tries another nighttime strat port-bombing mission against Benghazi, but flak and bombing both miss.  The Blen1 in Greece tries a strat port-bombing against Egouminitsa, but misses as well.  That minor port as held up quite well against a goodly number of air raids and been extraordinarily useful in getting Italian troops directly into the line.

Combat Phase

We fly no DAS anywhere.  The Allies have no attacks in Greece or North Africa.  The East African Allies do manage three attacks however.  The three X’s of the 6th Aus XX, unsupplied and with two air units in support dislodge but fail to kill the 5th Col X thanks to mountainous terrain (9:1 -2 attack results in a 1 for a DR.  The Duca’s first ‘successful’ combat!)  That result should help cause another turn’s delay for the Aussies and Indians on their coastal attempt to reach Massaua (running down the coast is easy enough, but without clearing the Italians from off the road, the Allied supply route would go out and the forward units couldn’t do anything once they got to the vital Axis port.)  West, the 10th Indian X and the EC Col X wipe out a CCNN X in a 9:1 even attack which scores a DE.  Finally, the Col units in the far south decide not to wait for surrender rolls and launch a 7:1 even attack against the 92nd Col X and the 102nd Col Hq at 3W:1306.  One X receives ‘free supply’ from an a/s point further north to improve the odds and another DE is rolled eliminating the Italian units.

Exploitation Phase

The GSPs finish unloading at Malta unmolested by Axis naval patrol for the same reasons as previously given.  No movement in Greece.  In North Africa, the 7 RT Tank II moves up to join the 9th Aus XX at El Mechili and the 3rd Arm X decides not to advance west to the Agedabia road.  It moves forward a bit to grab terrain ownership (doesn’t mean anything really) and then retreats back to the 4th Indian XX’s box.  In southern Sudan the 4 RT Tank II joins the EC Col X on the east flank of the Gondar CCNN X at 14W:1918.  The TC and South African Recon II abandon Soddu (but it retains a garrison to protect the stuck Audax air unit consisting of the 21st East African X) and head out of the mud.  The SEC Const X and its ZOC run up through Iavello and Alghe gaining ownership of more territory, while the Col Recon II heads the opposite direction and passes it moving southwest.  Odd.  Especially in light of the fact that the Italian 18th Col X is in the mountains just off the road and still projects a zoc onto it preventing its use as a supply line.  More importantly, the 1st SA X and its TC move up the road through Megalo and Goba, linking terrain ownership of the road with that gained by the 24th Gold Coast X moving south from near Soddu into the mountains and then to the forest at 7W:0606.  Dodola is still unoccupied, so an Italian zoc can be put onto the road through the town which will prevent road supply.  Forward units won’t be impacted by a supply line squeeze however so long as the weather doesn’t shift and reduce the overland supply length to less than 7 since the Italian ZOC could be bypassed by an overland route.  The player turn ends at this point.

FEB I 1941 – Axis player turn

Initial Phase

Nothing political happens during the first part of the phase, so in supply issues Axis forces in the Dodecanese and throughout EA (less one III on Rhodes) are U-4.  Near Afmadu one small stack of troops are isolated by zoc’s and distance, as are some hexes in the far south of Somaliland to this stack’s southwest.  Benghazi goes U-1, but w/ 4 GSPs landed, all but the CCNN XX there remain in supply.  In Greece, the Brit 14th X and the Brit pos AA are U-4 isolated, but draw supply from Greek GSPs.  The Aussie 26th and the Kiwi 2nd Inf XX Hq are U-1 and isolated, but likewise draw supply from Greek GSPs.  The Aussie 24th X on Melos is U-1, but not isolated thanks to the Aegean ports rule.  Maltese units are U-4.

Since the small stack of two colonial units in Somaliland is now isolated it must make surrender rolls.  With a 2 and 3 rolled, both the Bande [X] and the Coastal III give up the ghost.  In turn, a group of about 20 hexes in far southern Somaliland convert to allied control since these Italian units are no longer nearby.

The Iraqi coup plotters again keep their heads down with a 4 rolled (they haven’t rolled larger than a 5 yet I think.)

In reinforcements, it’s a good turn for the Axis.  Four more XX’s show up for duty in Italy projected to head for Albania, while the SM.81 there converts to a night-bombing BR.20M unit.  One a/s, 2 inf RPs and an arm RP also arrive at Taranto for shipment across the Adriatic.

In Sicily, the components of the Ariete Lt Arm XX and the Trento mot Inf XX show up for shipment south, as does the 24th Corps Art III, plus 2 a/s, 0.5 Ital Inf RP, and a pos AA point.  In Vichy territory in North Africa, two Lt Arm X’s form up at Casablanca and Alger.  One NTP is replaced, giving the Axis 2 NTPs in the Med currently, and finally the 27th Brs XX in 5th Army is released from its movement restriction.

In East Africa, .5 EAC inf RPs join the ½ point already in Massaua, along w/ 1 full RP provided by the air crew call up.  These 2 points are used to bring back two 1-6 Inf X’s at Massaua, the 43rd and 96th.  Two Coastal III’s, three Bande [X]’s, and three Col Inf X’s are scrapped in the pool, generating another 1 EAC RP at Massaua for future use.

All garrisons are in place, but the Gimma one is released thanks to the approaching British Colonal troops on the south side of the Highlands.

In construction, the two Ital Const III’s at Benghazi complete the construction of the fort there.  Meanwhile, a III at Egouminitsa begins building an airfield at that port town using an RP at Porta Edda further up the coast.  Finally, the Ju87B that was used for harassment in the Allied half of the turn goes inop while two fighters on Sicily fly CAP over Malta.

Movement Phase

The phase kicks off with the now traditional Malta runs.  Six SM.79-1’s fly missions against the Malta status number, with six flak attempts on the 1 column missing and generating 2 hits on the 6 bombing tries.  The Malta number goes up to 10.  In anticipation of combat needs in North Africa, the Ju88A’s remain on their fields.  The Ba.65 attempts to hit the port, avoids flak, but misses badly w/ a 1.  The S and V code bombers also attempt to hit the port, and the He111H ‘S’ code is driven off by flak, while the SM.79-2’s just miss w/ 5 rolled.  The Ju87B on Sicily holds off pending the combat phase.

Naval movement then kicks off.  Three divisions are shipped into northern Albania to begin prepping for possible action against Yugoslavia.  The forth XX is sent to Porto Edda to act as a small reserve in the south.  The a/s point is dropped at Valona, where it can be easily moved to either the northern or southern Albanian fronts.  The arm RP is also sent to Valona, while the 2 Inf RPs are flown into Kortisa via a Ju52 mission.  All these movements go off without a hitch, though there is a slight scare when British subs in the Adriatic make brief contact with the 41st XX as it moves to Durazzo (12 rolled).  Fortunately the speedy transports avoid any repercussions when a 5 is rolled for the contact’s impact (perhaps it was just whale noise!)

Crossings of the Med to North Africa go surprisingly well.  The Ariete moves first by subunit to Benghazi (Hq – 9; 32nd Arm III – 6; 7 B mot Inf III – 7 rolled) w/ no contacts made.  The III is forced to wait off the quays until the const III’s in the port complete repairs (movement phase cap is 5, but the last point will be fixed by end of movement, allowing the III to offload in exploit w/o risking disruption or worse.)  Trento and its 3 subunits all move to Tripoli (Hq – 9, 8 B mot Inf III – 5, 61st mot Inf III – 9, 62nd mot Inf III – 3) w/ the 62nd barely avoiding contact.  The 24 C Arty III also makes it to Tripoli w/ no contact (7 rolled.)  The pos AA point attempts to go to Benghazi where it is projected to land on the beach (as light flak it has no HE, so it could be disrupted but not eliminated), but it rolls a 4 and is contacted by British light naval assets.  Despite the fast transports used, the British forces manage to sink the NTP carrying the point (1 rolled), eliminating the unit, for the second Malta kill of the game.  A/S points each make it to Homs and Tripoli however w/o incident (6, 10.)  Finally, 4 GSPs each from Palermo and Lampedusa are sent to Benghazi’s beach and offloaded w/o incident as well (8, 5 rolled.)  Unsure as to whether they must roll for scatter, 7 appear to land successfully once it is agreed that the -3 mod for not landing from ANTPs doesn’t apply in any case.

The last naval move sees the 2nd Cst III at Assab shifted via friendly coastal hexes to Massaua.

Ground movement in the Balkans is fairly static.  The const III at Durazzo completes repair of the port, while the other moves up to San Gio. d. Medua, where it will start repairs next turn.  Units landed at Durrazo and SGM admin towards the northern front.  In the south, one Mtn XX breaks down into a pair of III’s, allowing the middle mtn hexes to be more fully stacked, while two XX’s move into Koritsa’s hex.  In the south, two inf XX’s join the line, while the Centuaro’s cadre is backed out of the line for rebuilding next turn.  C/M units along the road through the mountains shift southeast into the E zone now that the middle part of the line is better manned (by end of exploit, minimum manning will be at 11 DS, with some hexes at 14 pts DS.)  We begin looking at further offensive opportunities, pending breaks in the weather.

In North Africa, it is felt that the British have again perhaps stuck their necks out a bit too far, so Graziani will again attempt to make up for the Compass fiasco by launching another all Italian assault against the impertinent British 7th Armored XX, now reinforced by some non-divs.  All units nearby move to assault positions (some in a round-about way to regain ownership of coastal hexes, the Soluch rail head and some desert areas south east of Zaulet Msus.  See below for the units involved.  In Benghazi, one arty III uses the rail line to join in the assault against the 7th, while the const units repair the last hit on the port.  The two landed parts of Ariete admin one hex southeast, where they can begin a proper exploit in the F zone.  The Benghazi a/s point is moved south a couple of hexes.

To the far rear, a pair of infantry XX’s, some arty and the recently landed Trento XX components all admin as far forward as their mps will allow.  The a/s point at Homs is moved at maximum speed as well, given that 2 SMPs were used to Benghazi.

In East Africa, supply limits movements to small adjustments.  In Eritrea and northern Amhara provinces, defensive positions are built up at the Cheren pass area and at Adi Ugri in case of a swing south to flank Cheren.  Northeast of here, units slip into the mountains along the coastal road to inhibit any advance by the Aussie XX south of Port Sudan, but the c/m X north of Aqiq spends the turn dropping the bridge at Tokar.  To the west, a few X’s make limited advances on the Allies’ southern flank.  The Gallabat airfield is destroyed.  In the Adua area, one TC joins a 2-6 X moving east towards Adua, while the other hauls an arty unit to that location.  A decent sized reserve is now located in this flanking position to the south of Adi Ugri.  At Massaua, the const unit continues port demolition, while the two rebuilt X’s put a pair of hits on the Massaua field.  The just landed coastal III is railed up to the Cheren position, where its 0 attack strength isn’t an issue.  In central Amhara a X destroys the Bahar Dar airfield.

Near Gimma, X’s take up defense of the two crossings on the north bank of the Omo-Bottego river, trusting to the impassable escarpments nearby to protect their flank.  Near Addis Ababa, X’s set up defenses across the Auasc river and in nearby mountains to protect the city (both bridges here are now blown.)  Further east, various small units and pos flak points continue admin’ing along the mtn road into Eritrea province.  In the far west, units continue to advance into Allied territory, with one X actually entering Uganda and seizing the Lokintaung Oasis.  Lake Victoria or Bust!  In deep Somaliland, a few units still active between Mogadiscio and Chisimaio attempt to move eastwards, while those in eastern Somaliland merely shift about a bit.  Two more SMPs worth of trucks are burned up shifting a/s one hex in the north and 10 hexes in the south away from Addis.

Finally, given no opportunities for an offensive in Greece thanks to lousy weather, the IAF in Albania launches some bombing raids.  A night strategic terror bombing mission against Athenai just misses (flak of 6 on 7 column, 5 rolled bombing on 2 column at -1 for night), as does a strat bombing mission of the Volos railyard (4 rolled on 2 column).  However, the Z.506B does manage to put a rail hit near the Spherkios river when a 6 is rolled on that mission.  A strat bombing attempt against the Melian port gets close with a 4 but misses as well.

Combat Phase

A single Allied DAS mission is launched in EA just to ensure we don’t launch any sort of low odds suicide attack hoping for a 6 exchange result.  On the Axis side, the Ju87B and R craft at Benghazi, plus staged in Ju87B’s and Ju88A’s from Sicily launch GS missions to 18:3424, the 7th Arm XX box.  Two points of flak provided by the XX and the 2nd Arm’s Spt Grp manage to drive off one of the Ju88A’s, but the attack still works out to a 3:1 -1.  Defending are the 7th Armored, the aforementioned 2nd Spt Grp, and the 13th Arty X w/ a TC providing lift.  Assaulting forces are all Italian, consisting of the 10B mot Inf III, 1st & 2nd Lt Arm X’s, 3rd Lt Arm III, four II’s of tanks and four III’s of artillery, all supplied.  This time the Allies pay when a 4 is rolled on the 3:1 -1, resulting in an HX.  The Italians lose a 2-1-6 arty, the 2-1-8 Lt arm III and a pair of tank II’s, but the entire stack of Allied troops is lost when the non-divs die and the XX is cadred then captured in a zoc scam.  Once again O’Connor is marched off to captivity, but at least he is promised all the pasta he can eat in a nice warm Sicilian POW camp.  With one X of armor scheduled to head for Greece soon thanks to the insistence of Whitehall, the Allies are limited to just one Arm X, one FF II and a Tk II in all of North Africa (so far as c/m troops are situated), and the DAK has not yet even arrived, and Ariete and Trento aren’t yet engaged.  The Allies do have the Kiwi units, plus a full Aussie and full Indian XX in infantry, but ole’ Winston is insisting that the Kiwi’s and most of the Aussies be sent to help their beleaguered allies the Greeks.  So ends the Compass offensive to eliminate the Axis presence in North Africa…

Exploitation Phase

In naval movement, the 7 B mot Inf III is finally landed at Benghazi.  With bombers near to overstacking at Benghazi, El Agheila and Sirte, a pair of fighters is transferred back to Tripoli and a third to Sicily so airfields can handle the all the bombers.

In Greece, very minor movement in the line w/ a m/c III and a tank II shifting to more central positions in the E weather zone, while the Centuaro cadre pulls back another hex to be more centrally located.  In EA, the c/m X near Aqiq pulls back along the coast with its bridge destruction completed.  2-6 Inf X’s are shifted to near Adua and to Adi Ugri by TC’s.  The 1st Col Inf XX is formed up with an Hq and the 43rd and 92nd X’s in Massaua, improving the port’s defense a bit.

In North Africa, c/m forces exploit along the Libyan coastal road as far as their mps will carry them.  The Trento XX’s components should reach the Agedabia area by the end of the next Axis turn.  Meanwhile, the victors against the 7th Armored have their own exploit to manage.  A Lt Arm X, a pair of Tank II’s plus two components of the Ariete Lt Arm XX and the 10B mot Inf III from the recent battle all exploit up to engage the 4th Indian XX east of Zaulet Msus on its western flank, with the Ariete forming up at end of turn.  They form an 8 point DS stack with ½ AECD and 1/10th ATEC, and put a full zoc onto the 4th Indian XX’s position which will prevent an admin retreat and limit the regular movement of the stack as well.  Back to the west of Zaulet Msus a three hex line of non-c/m arty is given some c/m support to ensure each of the arty III’s has a full defense (including the just landed 7 B mot Inf III.)  This process leaves Benghazi at a meager 2 pts DS, but given that nothing can reach it and it is still fortified, this should present no problems.

At the end of exploit the Allies in Sudan land their CAPs and transfer a bomber or two to make sure that their small airbases are not themselves overstacked.

End of Turn

Axis collects 4 VPs for hexes owned in mainland Greece, bringing the totals to 54 Axis vs 9 Allied.  The Axis is 3 VPs from gaining the maximum possible for Greek hexes.  Now that the Axis is not limited to having to own a piece of territory at the end of VP cycle to gain the VPs for it, a quick check indicates that so far the Axis will earn VPs for Sudanese and Kenyan towns, plus the British Somalia VPs, while the Allies have again earned the Crete VPs for the next check in Jul 41.

FEB I 1941 – Allied player turn

Initial Phase

Weather: Weather patterns return to normal in Europe, as the E zone shifts back to mud while D remains ensconced in wintery blows (3 rolled.)  Things are dry and calm across the Horn of Africa (1 rolled.)  The Med calms after last turn’s sea swells, but the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf both go rough, so whatever storms were around the Med the past two weeks have shifted south and east.

In supply issues, the Dodecannese remain out of supply, and the C Inf III is now U-2.  All Axis units in EA are U-4 as no a/s was converted last turn to GSPs.  However, the road line to Benghazi has been reopened, so that city, port and airfield return to normal operations.  GSPs are still in warehouses however should the Allied advance once again close the road line.

On the Allied side, Malta and British units in Greece and on the Greek islands are all out of supply, though GSPs on Malta put two X’s into supply, as do GSPs in various points around Greece (Gestapo agents discover that Allied staff officers have gone beyond their authority in allowing more than 1 RE of British troops onto Greek islands, and further allowing GSPs to be shipped to same.  A diplomatic note is sent via Canaris’ back channel communications to Whitehall insisting that General Metaxas’ instructions on limiting such Allied incursions be complied with forthwith. J)  In North Africa, the 7th Armored XX, lucky to still be in play, is U-1 and isolated.  In East Africa, the Indian 2nd MMG II is likewise U-1 and isolated in Aqiq on the Red Sea coast.

It is a big turn for reinforcements… at sea, the RN-1 TF is brought back up to full strength when it gets a 1 pt refurbishment.  Two more NTPs show up as well to return the East Med/Indian Ocean pool to 10.  In the hump, the 22nd X is given Guards status, converting to a 3-8 X but losing its artillery in the process, becoming the 22 G X.  The 2nd NZ and 9th Aus Hq’s finish working up in Alexandria, so more full XX’s may now be formed up in the Mid East.

In the Indian Ocean, the Feb I convoy arrives bringing with it 2 a/s, 2 Brit Inf RPs, ½ each of Brit Arm, NZ and Aussie Inf RPs, the 43rd RPC Const X and a pair of Australian Inf X’s.  In addition, one Ind Inf RP from the EA command joins this convoy, though whether it is headed up to the mid-east or just Port Sudan is yet undetermined by Axis agents.

In East Africa, the 3rd and 4th Companies of Ethiopians show up at Port Sudan as the 3/4 Inf II, defending against possible incursions of Italian troops flowing north along the coastal road.  Well to the west at Wau, the 1st Belgian Inf X with British trucks providing transport arrive for mov’t into the theater.  A second convoy shows up off of Mombasa, consisting of 2 more a/s pts, 1 col and .5 SA inf RPs, as well as a Col and a SA const X.  The arm RP left in the command for some time is used to create the 1st East African Recon II at Mombasa.  Finally, the ARP in Kenya is sent up to Sudan, and then the two total in theater are used to return the Blen1 to active duty following last turn’s burnings on the Gedaraf field.

In the Balkans, 1 Mtn Inf RP is produced in Athenai, as is another ½ res pt, bringing a full point into existence.  The delayed conversion occurs just behind the Egouminitisa portion of the front, with a Mtn XX, and mtn X and a border X converting into a Mtn XX and two Inf XX’s.  Over in Alexandroupolis a pair of Fort X’s and a static X from the islands and eastern Thrace complete forming up.

Returning to North Africa, the 66th RPC Const X at Tobruch begins to improve the fortress, using a res pt in Bardia to begin the construction effort.  Completion date is expected to be Mar I 41.  Meanwhile, the three forts along the Aliakmon line continue abuilding, with the first scheduled to be functional next turn.  Over on Malta, the Maltese civilians bring the Malta status number down to 8.

At end of turn, various air ops occur.  First, the 7 bombers on Sicily involved with Malta reduction go inop.  Then the two fighter units on Sicily CAP the island, again just for practice.  The four bombers (He11H4, SM.79-2, a Ju87 and a Ba.65) not involved w/ Malta reduction are placed on naval patrol to ward off any attempts to get more supplies into the port of Valleta.  Over on Rhodes, the Mxd B likewise goes on naval patrol.  Lastly, one Ju87 out of Benghazi flies harassment to just west of the 2nd Arm XX’s location at El Mechili.  This will prevent the 2nd from being able to engage the Italian corps operating around the 7th Arm XX near Agedabia.  There is no need to do likewise against the infantry X’s taking the coastal road to Benghazi, as mud roads will keep them away from the port.

Movement phase

The phase opens with a pair of Axis transfer missions.  The Ju52 on Rodi transfers back up to Taranto.  The remaining SM.79-1 at Gorrohai in Somaliland does a multi-leg transfer to Sicily (by way of Massaua and the Kufra airfield.)

The Allies then run some naval ops.  First, the British 14th X on Crete is moved back to the mainland at Nauplion.  The loading goes off during the day, and then the intention is to slip off the mooring lines at night, but prior to this occurring, the Mxd B on naval patrol at Rodi slips around the patrol zone of the Hurri1’s at Eraklion and manages to find the transports just weighing anchor (6 rolled on contact attempt, +4 for calm seas, -3 for 19 hexes distance.  Contact attempt made as last mp spent to load, but prior to first night point spent to leave hex.)  Flak makes no impact on the marauding Italian raiders (9 rolled on 2 column), but with just the last rays of sunshine gleaming the Italian bombers mistake some shadows for actual ships and just miss, splashing the docks but doing no real damage (4 rolled for miss.)  The Brit X then continues night mov’t to just shy of Nauplion, where it successfully lands.  This cleans up the little error regarding too many Allied RE’s on Greek islands, so both Metaxas and the German Gestapo are pleased.  Next, in a bid to ensure a U-1 or better X is constantly on Melos, the Brit 23rd X embarks on an NTP and shifts to Derna where it disembarks and remains.

Movement then shifts to the Indian Ocean, where new replacement points are dropped off at Mombasa (.5 SA and 1 Col) and Port Sudan (1 Ind).  An on-map NTP picks up the Col recon II just built at Mombasa and carries it to Mogadiscio, where one a/s and the SEAC South African const X are likewise landed.  Curiously however, the remaining a/s point and the 44th RPC Col const X is moved around the Horn and dropped off at the port of Aden.  Perhaps El Kaid is preparing to invade Yemen, though how a const unit would help in that endeavor one can only guess…?  More likely the Allies see the writing on the wall in North Africa and are preparing to build their last stand redoubt at the port, figuring that the Saudi Army will protect them from Rommel’s panzers! J  The larger naval mission in the Indian Ocean travels up through the Red Sea, crossing into the Med via the Suez Canal carrying along with it the 2 Brit inf RPs, ½ pt each of NZ, Aus and Brit armor, 2 a/s, the 24th & 26th Aus Inf X’s and the 43rd RPC Col Cons X.  They reach a point just outside Port Said, awaiting further mov’t in exploit.

In the Med itself, the just formed up 9th Aus XX Hq is shifted to Derna via naval transport, while the Kiwi 2nd XX Hq shifts over to Athenai for some Balkan ops (a few turns earlier than historical.)  Lastly, 4 GSPs at Alexandria are sent to Tobruk, where they are then SMP’d to the Gazala field and then in turn picked up by the Bombay transport planes and airdropped to the 7th Arm XX southeast of Agedabia and nearly surrounded by Italian units.  With the Italian patrols closing in on the British box, most of the canned hash ends up in Axis hands (scatter rolls see 3 of the 4 GSPs lost.)

Ground movement then picks up.  In Greece, things are fairly stable.  On the northern half of the front not a single unit moves.  In the southern E zone part of the front, the three new XX’s created from the reorganization join the line, retaking the 4005 coastal hex taken and then abandoned by the Centauro XX last turn.  The big stack at 3803 southeast of Kalpaki is raised up to a 16 pt def, limiting the possibility of Italian c/m assaults should the wx clear.  The 3904 wooded rough hex stands at 10 pts DS, and then the 4004 and 4005 hexes are each brought up to 6 pts DS.  At the road junction in 3903 a small reserve is built consisting of the Hq of the 5th Mtn XX, 2 arty III’s and the Mekh mot inf III.  In eastern Thrace the new fortress and static troops take over the defense of Alexandroupolis, allowing the 3 Bdr X’s current there to board trains and head west, making it as far as Kalabaka on the southwest flank of the Aliakmon line.  From here they are well positioned to cross the mtns and join the lines in the southern part of the Greco-Albanian front.  To the far rear, the Brit 14th X landed at Nauplion admins east to just shy of Athenai.

In North Africa, things are much more fluid, if a bit more confusing.  The mini-infantry corps that was approaching Benghazi, perhaps due to weather or upcoming transfers to Greece, does an about face and mostly heads east.  The Aussies join their Hq at Derna, along w/ one X admin’ed in from the Tobruk area, forming up the full 9th Aus XX by end of phase.  They are joined by an AT II from Porto Bardiya.  The 4th NZ X admins all the way back to Tobruch, quite a retreat, while the 6th NZ which had been just west of Tobruch takes up the defense of Bardiya.  The W arty X shifts just a bit west from Tobruch to Gazala, while the 22nd G X which had been west of Derna also retreats all the back to the Tobruch area, taking up defense of the airfield at 4818.  The mchg II at Tobruch moves to the airfield at 5018.  This mov’t away from Benghazi by most infantry and the subsequent occupation of ports and airfields may very well signal the end of the Allied attempts to take Cyrenaica.  Instead, it appears to indicate the possibility of a general retreat in the near future, with units positioned to blow airfields?

Even so, the 7th Ind XX marches in the opposite direction, admining through the Axis harassment along the Mechili road to 30 miles east of Zaulet Msus.  The 13th Art X and a TC which had been supporting the infantry X’s west of Derna cross the hump overland and reach a point 16 miles west of Mechili.  The Brit 2nd Arm XX breaks down, with the 1st X going east on what can only be described as a coastal land grab, gaining ownership of a hex that was missed by infantry southeast of Derna.  The 3rd X goes west along the Mechili bypass road, while the 1st’s spt grp shoots southeast and then west in the empty lands, grabbing terrain.  The FF II gives up the defense of Derna now that the Aussies have arrived (along w/ the 23rd Brit X in naval mov’t) and admins east along the coast and then west along the bypass road to Zualet Msus, where SMPs bring an a/s point up all the way from Bardiya.  Finally, even after the failure of the GSP mission, the 7th Armored XX decides to stick it out in the Agedabia area, albeit broken down.  The 7th Arm X and the spt grp remain in 3427 with the one GSP, while the 4th X moves one hex east, at least temporarily reopening the supply lines.

Finally, air units raid Benghazi, despite the muddy weather.  Both Blen 4’s stage back from Greek areas and are joined by the Well1C unit on a bombing mission over the port.  The MC.200 rises up to greet them, and random allocation pits it against one of the Blen’s.  It manages just an R result however, while the Blen misses entirely.  The remaining Blen 4 and Well1C manage to avoid the 2 pts of flak and run a tactical airbase bombing mission, probably targeted against the Ju87R’s on the field.  However, with a 3 rolled the Allied planes are forced to return home with little to brag about from the mission.

Moving further south, El Kaid, the Allied commander in EA, is forced to pull back a bit to deal with rampaging Italian Colonial troops on his flanks.  The 6th Aussie XX admins back west to Kassala from Cheru, then catches trains east toward Port Sudan, getting off at the town of Suakin and setting up a defensive position along the Wadi Ashat.  The Indian 2nd mot mcgh II abandons the port of Aqiq and flees westwards after they discover that they would need to abandon their heavy trucks to use the artificial port to escape by sea.  Their poor state of supply limits them to a single hex mov’t.  The mixed-bag group based on the Orient Free French X does advance towards the northwest flank of Italian 42nd Col X defending the Barca river crossing east of Agordat.  However, the 5th Indian is forced to breakdown and engage different Colonials to its south and rear flanks.  The 9th and 10th X’s overrun a Col X at 14W:1815, then advance along the north side of the Sitit river, apparently intent upon clearing the 2014/2115 crossing, defended by a Col Inf X on the south bank.  To its west, the British Equatorial Corps Col Inf X advances southwest to engage the Gondar Blackshirt X which had been advancing on Om Oger.  To the rear, minor units at Kassala abandon the city and head west to the west bank of the Atbarah river at 1517.  The 29th Ind X, previously part of the 5th Ind XX, moves due west to remove the danger of the Italian AOI Lt Arm X, which had so unceremoniously burned the Blen 1’s on the Gedaraf airfield last turn.  In support, the Indian 1st mot mchg II sweeps around the AOI unit and engages from the west side, though with no zoc or attack strength, it acts merely as a blocking force.  Further west, the West Arab Corps Col Cav II, which had been defending the road to the Roseires airfield abandons its position along the Sudan-AOI border and flees at maximum speed northwest as far as Idris, about mid-way between the Blue and White Nile rivers.

Further south, the Kenyan Command’s troops are fairly conservative.  The 21st East African and 24th Gold Coast Col X’s w/ their transports are content to advance a single hex to Dalle and engage the Italian troops defending to the town’s northwest.  The 1st South African recon II does sweep around to the east and then up to Soddu, seizing the airfield (at least temporarily, as it alone cannot gain permanent ownership.)  Just to the rear of the Col X’s, the 1st South African inf X advances up towards Dalle, making it to a point about 15 miles south of the town, still along the mountain road.  SMPs are used to get two a/s points into the area, one w/ the SA X, and the other just one hex further south.

Much further south, the 26th East African Col X advances from north of Afmadu to the west of the Italian blocking position at 3W:1416 and seizes the abandoned port at Chisimaio.  The 25th East African X admins south to the point north of Afmadu the 26th just departed.  Meanwhile, the 23rd Nigerian Col X advances along the east side of the Dera river and engages the Italian units at 1416 on their east flank across the river.  It appears however that these various units are content merely to create a zoc screen in the hopes that the Italians will simply surrender next turn.  A bit further to the east the 22nd East African X advances south from Bandera to a point about 30 miles from the Italian forces which are north of the port of Brava.  To the east, the 1st and 5th South African X’s take Vittorio d’Africa, then overrun an Italian Col X just west of the town, with the 5th continuing along the coast, while the 1st and its TC heads north back towards the Iscia Baidoa airfield.  (Sadly, had we not rolled a one in combat at Iscia last turn, the units at Mogadiscio would all have been out of supply and this overrun would have been impossible.)  The 27th North Rhodesian X moves south from Iscia to Mogadiscio, and there awaits naval transport elsewhere.  The SEAC Cons X that landed at Mogadiscio repairs the airfield there, while the 1st East African recon II that landed at the port admins as far north as its remaining 2 mps will allow.  Finally, the EAC cons X that had been garrisoning the Lugh Ferrandi airfield moves up to join the TC that had been supporting the 1st SA X, which left that brigade grounded and admin’d from Mogadiscio all the way north to 7W:1907, about 30 miles shy of the town of Filtu.

Combat Phase

In Greece, there are practically no real chances of the Greeks launching any attacks.  However, the Z.1007b’s fly DAS to the 3401 hex which has previously been repetitively attacked.  After this DAS mission, the Greeks have nothing better than a pair of 1.5:1 -1’s across the front, with most possible attacks quite a bit worse.  In North Africa, clearly the Allied Mid East commander is intent on launching some sort of low-odds high-mods attack against the Italians around Agedabia, or there would have been no reason to shift a/s so for forward and leave his units of the 7th Arm XX so exposed.  Either 3426 or 3428 are possible attack points (two other possible attacks are much worse), so Ju87R’s and B’s fly in support of these two hexes (ensuring no better than 1:2 +3 vs 3426 or 1:1 +3 vs 3428.)

Actual combat kicks off in the south.  Near Dalle, the 21st East African and 24th Gold Coast X’s smash the 85th Col X and the AOI Arm II in an 8:1 even attack.  One of the Allied colonial X’s uses the “free 1 RE of supply from an a/s” rule, and the Audax in Somaliland stages up to the seized air base at Soddu to support the attack, which rolls a 5 for a DE (partial a/s, 1 pt GS.)  Following this, the valiant 42nd Col X defending the east bank of the Barca east of Agordat is assaulted on its northwest side by a mix bag of Allied units.  The Allied units include the Orient FF Inf X, the FB Col Inf II, 4 RT Arm II and 68th Art II.  The attack gets a big 6 for another DE (10:1 even, no a/s, woods, 1/10th AECA.)  In both of these first two attacks the Allies advance.  Then, the 29th Ind X attempts to clear out the AOI Arm X that took Gedaraf last turn.  The South African Mxd A unit flies GS in support, so the unsupplied attack goes in at 8:1 even, so even with the 1 rolled, a DH kills the Italian tankers (no a/s, 1 pt GS.)  The Indian X advances into Gedaraf, while the 1st MMG II to the west of the town that was “blocking” the road remains in place.  Next, the 45th Col X defending the south bank of the Satit river at the 2014/2115 crossing is assaulted by the 9th and 10th Ind X’s.  With the river and woods, the Allies are forced to bring in two air units from the Khartoum area to get the odds up to where no exchange losses are possible.  Eventually, the odds do go to 12:1 -1, and another good roll of a 5 results in a DE (no a/s, woods, river, 2 pts GS.)  The two Indian X’s choose to remain on the north side of the river.

Finally, the Field Marshal in North Africa makes a risky attack against the Italians at 3426, 16 miles east of Agedabia.  The Italians make up a small Italian Lt Arm XX, though they have no HQ to tie them all together, consisting of the 2nd Lt Arm X, 10 B mot Inf III, 1st Arm II and 10th Army Art III providing support, for a total of 5 pts DS.  A Ju87B flies DAS overhead.  The British tankers consist of the broken down X’s of the 7th Arm XX, plus the 7th’s Spt Grp, all provided a/s.  Even so, the attack goes in at 1:2 +3 odds (thanks to poor Italian AT strength).  Yet another 5 is rolled, this time for a DR, but thanks to harassment air on the 2nd Arm XX earlier there are no zoc’s nearby and the Italian division like grouping gives a good account of itself, withdrawing in good order.  Presumably the Allies would have preferred a 3 or 4 rolled for the HX, which would have allowed them to trade one of the Arm X’s for 4 Italian units.  Still, they dodged yet another AR bullet, which this time would have cost them the Spt Grp and a X of tankers.  C’est le guerre.

Exploitation Phase

The big convoy just off Port Said continues its mov’ts by splitting up and heading in a bunch of different directions.  All the replacement points are dropped off at Alexandria, while the 24th Aus X heads for Melos to keep it garrisoned and the 26th Aussie X heads for Athenai.  More units are showing up in Greece earlier than historical.  Intriguingly, the 43rd RPC Cons X heads for Tobruk.  We figure they may be planning to build an airfield at Tobruk, since if it was going to rebuild the Bardiya fortress it could have just landed there.  Perhaps not though, since the two a/s points are dropped in the desert at Bardiya and Tobruch.  We’ll see come their next ini phase.

In ground mov’t, nothing really occurs in Greece.  In North Africa, both X’s of the 7th Arm, plus its spt grp, plus a TC w/ the 13th Art X and finally the 2nd Arm’s spt grp consolidate at 18:3424, 30 miles southwest of Zaulet Msus w/ their backs against a bit of salt desert.  The 7th Arm XX fully forms up creating a hedgehog w/ an 11 point DS.  The 3rd Arm X which started at this position moves up to Soluch to gain control of the town and some of the coastal hexes in the area (recutting the road supply line to Benghazi plus preventing coastal naval mov’t in friendly hexes) then pulls back along the bypass road to the 7th Ind XX box 30 miles east of Zaulet Msus, where it is joined by the Free French 1 M mot Inf II.  Further east, the 1st Arm X heads east to Tobruch, probably in anticipation of being shipped to Greece, while the 7 RT Tk II climbs up an escarpment to the 5018 airfield.

Down in East Africa, the Indian 2 MMG II slips west another hex on its retreat from Aqiq.  Its sister unit well to the west races west to the Er Roseires airfield to take up the defense there from rampaging Ital X’s (green jello.)  To the south, in an interesting twist, the 21st East African X plus a TC, and the 1st South African Recon II exploit into the mountains at 7W:0112, just across the river from Uaca.  Perhaps they intend to cross the river and then move up the road to Gimma?  Still, the Oromos Highlands don’t look like particularly inviting territory for c/m troops.  The 24th Gold Coast follows the East African X, but ends its mov’t at Soddu where it can garrison/protect the seized airfield which has Audax’s sitting on the ramps.  Further south, the EAC const X w/ transport exploits to a point 30 miles southwest of Neghelli in a combat mode, protecting the supply line of the troops in the valley between the Oromos Highlands and the Mendebo Mountains from the Italian 7th Col Cav X a bit further west if its position.  Much further south, the East African Recon II and the 1st South African X (transported) exploit up to Lugh Ferrandi field, where they will no doubt kick off further northern mov’ts next turn.

Finally, the Hurricane 1’s on Crete transfer to the 5018 field west of Bardiya where they can cover the Desert Air Force, currently consolidated at Gazala, 4818 and 5018.

JAN II 1941 – Axis player turn

Initial Phase

No big political items occur at the beginning of the turn.  In supply issues, the Dodecanese remain U-4 except for the recently arrived C Inf III.  East Africa remains U-4, although quite a few units go into supply thanks to 2 a/s points that were turned into GSPs last turn, then distributed about via SMP and rail previously.  Notably, a good number of units in the Cheren-Asmara area, the 65th GdS XX, a bunch of units in and around Addis, and some near Dire Daua, plus the entire Italian AF in East Africa gets some supply… and this time, since El Kaid as actually invaded, all these supplied units will actually get to move.  Benghasi is U-2 now, but all but the ‘23M’ Blackshirt XX get supply via GSPs delivered last turn.

For the Allies, GSPs supply Brit X’s on Crete, Melos and in Greece proper.  Units on Malta are U-4, but the two GSPs (that undoubtedly had been intended for the flak unit since sunk) are used to put the X’s into supply, for whatever that’s worth.

In reinforcements, despite it being an “off” turn, quite a lot occurs.  In the BF area 3 more XX’s arrive in Italy for service in Albania, as does another Const III and a Ski II.  The last Italian ARP in the BF area is used to bring the Mxd B back on Rodi, while a German ARP is transferred in from North Africa to replace the bombed out Ju-52 unit.  While the Ju87B/R withdraws (and will be sorely missed), the 29th Pie Inf XX and 3rd Julia Alpini cadre are both fully rebuilt with RPs located at various points in Albania.

In North Africa, the 3rd lt Arm III arrives at Syracuse for shipment to Africa, while the last remaining Ger ARP is used to rebuild the ‘S’ code He111H4 unit.  The 55th Sav XX is released from the 5th Army mov’t restriction.  In East Africa, an emergency call-up of ground crews is initiated, and the Azz Inf III begins forming up in Addis.

GSPs are generated at each of the Mediterranean supply terminals, and one of the two a/s in Benghazi is converted to 3 res pts.  One of these is immediately used by the two Const III’s in the city to begin quick constructing a fort, as the Allies are now heading for this critical port since Tobruch has fallen.

At the end of the phase, the G.50 and a CR.42 from Benghazi fly CAP over Malta.  The Allies respond by putting the Bombay and Blenheims on Melos on naval patrol and having the Hurricane 1’s on Crete again CAP Scarpanto.

Movement Phase

We kick off the mov’t part of the turn with a huge mission of 2 Ju88A’s and 5 SM.79-1’s against Malta.  Flak of 1 pt effective (3 pts intrinsic reduced by two columns) results in no effects, and this time our sites are well-aligned, as the 7 attempts result in 5 hits, driving the Malta status number from 4 all the way to 9.  Our next mission sees the Ba.65 slip past Malta flak as well, scoring a hit on the port with a 6.  The ‘S’ code He and ‘V’ code SM.79-2 aren’t quite so successful, as the SM is returned by flak and the He misses the port with a 3.  Figuring that the Malta status number took a sufficient number of hits this turn, and wanting to ensure a good naval patrol group, the Ju87B on Sicily which is planned to remain there is also used for some port bombing, and it gets by flak and scores a hit as well with a 6 (bringing the total to 3 hits on the port, 3 hits on the airfield and the Malta status number to 9.)  As the Dire Daua field is intended to get destroyed by the Duca Luna this turn, the Ca133 located there stages up to Massaua and runs a rail bombing attempt at the Haiya junction, but another 3 rolled results in a miss.

Naval mov’t then kicks off, with 7 missions across the Adriatic.  The ‘C’ Inf Hq, an Arm RP, the 22nd and 24th XX’s all cross to Valona, the 2nd Inf XX and the MC Ski II cross to Porto Edda and the 4th Cons III crosses over to Egouminitsa.  No allied interference attempts are successful.  The 8th naval mission sees the 3rd Lt Arm III on Syracuse safely to Benghazi w/ a 7 rolled, but the 9th with 4 GSPs is caught by Allied submarines and sunk (10 rolled, and w/ only one NTP in the convoy contact is a guaranteed kill.)  The 10th mission, with another 4 GSPs does slip into Benghazi, but our Med NTP pool is now down to just 1 available, though we’ll get a replacement next turn.  Lastly, the Red Sea transports take the Assab Inf X from Assab to Mersa Fatmah to provide some flank support to Massaua, just in case the Allies have any adventures planned for a flanking sea mov’t.  This mission is along the coast, so no naval patrol or interference opportunities exist.

In ground mov’t, I push three rebuilt or new XX’s into the line, really bumping up my strength across the front.  Infantry takes over the job of defending 3804, as the Centauro and a pair of Arty units shift into Egouminitsa for an assault against the mini-Cav and arty corps in 4005 to the city’s southwest.  Two XX’s in the rear admin up to near Koritsa, making a nice reserve in that area, while the 2nd Inf XX and the MC Ski II have enough mps to go directly into the line.  The XX’s landed at Valona admin south along the coast to further increase the strength in the E zone of my lines (Italian strength across the front is around 10-11 pts average, though Koritsa is at 8 since it can only be assaulted from one hexside, and Egouminitsa is at 15 due to the planned assault out of the city.)  Const units fix two more port hits at Durazzo, and start work on fixing a third, so next turn that port will be fully operational.

In North Africa, the 55th Sav XX, plus the arm II’s and arty moving along the coastal road in Tripolitania continue their advance to the front.  The units at El Agheila, plus some arty and c/m forces out of Benghazi charge forward to engage the 7th Arm XX on 4 sides.  It should be attackable at 3:1 -1, and a 3 or better will see it either destroyed or severely mauled.  Even c/m units which cannot reach the 7th Arm XX depart Benghazi for the Agedabia area, for better positioning possibilities in exploit, or to fill gaps should an EX or HX develop in combat.

In East Africa, quite a bit of action takes place as the Duca has finally realized that the Allies are serious and will (and have) invaded the AOI.  In the far north, the 5th Col X, followed by the Erit mot Inf X and the 2nd Cav X begin pushing up the coastal road towards Aqiq and the 2nd Ind MMG II ensconced therein.  2nd Col X, the 1st Col Hq, and the Nord Const III move to Massaua, with the const III even managing to put a hit onto the port, just for fun.  A pretty good stack of units, including a 2-6 Inf X, a 1-6, an arty X and the 1st Coastal III all take up positions in the fortified Cheren pass, while their front is screened by the valiant 42nd.  This X crosses the Barca then completes destruction of the bridge, and from the wooded east bank is immune to overrun and will prevent all infantry type units from engaging the Cheren defenders (only c/m forces could reach the pass’ defenders in exploit.)  To the south, the 65th GdS XX takes up position on the flanks of the Cheren Escarpment at Adi Ugri, ensuring that the southern flank to Asmara is secured.  A bit to the west, four 1-6 X’s of various flavors advance up roads towards Om Ager, threatening the flank of the Allied advance past Agordat.  The 8th X, the only survivor from the original Tessenei group, moves a bit southwest, and is joined by the AOI Arm III in what appears to be a defensive arrangement to preclude overrun, but is actually a mask to try an overrun against the Gedaraf airfield in exploit, should the Allies fail to note the threat thereto.  Even further west, with Gallabat abandoned by the Allies the 6th Col X and a Bande unit retake the town, with the X putting 1 mp towards a hit onto the airbase for good measure.  At Gondar, the 3rd Inf X takes up the defense of the city, while the 22nd  X and a pos AA point flow east to reinforce the Asmara region or the “pin-prick assaults” along the 5th Indian XX’s flank, as necessary.

In the Dessie-Dire Daua-Harar-British Somalia area, units flow towards the north for the most part, with in supply TC’s rushing critical Arty units north along the mountain top road from Dessie to near Asmara.  In the big valley between the Oromos Highlands and the Mendebo mountains, just southwest of Addis Ababa, a large group of Italian colonial units takes up position.  Both mountain roads into the Oromos are covered by X’s, while the entrance to the valley is covered by two staggered stacks at 0103 and 0204 southwest of the city, which are non-overrunable in the best possible Allied scenarios.  Immediately in front of the Allied column at Dalle, the 85th X takes up defense.  The AOI Arm II from near Addis shoots into the valley to nearly Sciasciamanna, where it will in exploit blow the field and then join the 85th.  Other units take up the defense of the western part of the valley at Alghe and about 60 miles west of Soddu, but that city is itself left open.  No unit could defend it successfully, so better to leave it empty.  Should the Allies decide to use it as an airbase, they will in turn have to siphon off some of their strength to garrison it.  All in all, the defense of the valley leading to Addis and thence to the north is looking fairly decent.  The Allies will either need to assault into the mountains to protect their flanks and supply lines, or shoot forward and risk having Italian trash slip in behind them and cut those same lines.  Further to the south, X’s slip into either defensive terrain or advance a bit, with Moyale even retaken thanks to a zoc.  In the far west, either in north Kenya, Uganda or southwest Sudan a few Italian units advance to or across the border to make tracking them down and eliminating that much more difficult, plus picking up some town ownership.  In the very far south, the units north and east of Chisimaio advance to the east, though the Chisimaio coastal III abandons the city and takes up defense of the road leading south 16 miles southeast of Afmadu, joined by a Bande X in what is hoped will be a non-overrunable stack.  West of Iscia, now held by the allies, the 92nd X moves east to put a zoc onto the road line which is supplying the South Africans in Mogadiscio.  If the Allies don’t spot it, a GS mission could fly to Iscia and enable a 2:1 even assault on the town/airfield… If they do, an assault could even be launched at 1:1, with an AR or AS not hurting at all since the zoc cut to the supply line would still be in place.  In destruction items, aside from those things mentioned above, Gimma and Addis’s airbase capacity is eliminated, as is the Dire Daua field, which is then removed from play.

Combat Phase

In Greece and North Africa the Allies do not have any air units that can impact the upcoming Italian counter-attacks.  In East Africa, El Kaid does sniff out the possible assault on Iscia, but strangely, instead of flying DAS with the units on the field, he launches Audax’s out of Lugh Ferrandi further to the north in support.  This opens up the possibility of a successful 1:1… if a DR is gained on a 6, then the Mxd T ‘S’ code at Iscia would be forced to attempt an airbase escape or be eliminated (which in turn would cause a garrison requirement failure.)  Given that the gain probably outweighs the similar 1 in 6 chance of an AH, the Duca decides to launch the assault on Iscia regardless of Allied DAS.  The SM.79-1 still at Massaua stages to Gorrahai, one of the few airbases still functional in south East Africa, and flies GS to Iscia.  In Greece, 2 bombers launch as GS to support the armored assault on 4005, while in NA, to ensure not even crazy flak rolls can impact the combat, 2 Ju87B’s out of Sicily, a Ju87R, an Me110D and the MC.200 at Benghazi all fly GS against the 7th Arm XX.  Only three can be effective due to GS limits, but launching 5 should ensure 3 get through.

Our first attack goes in along the coast southwest of Egouminitsa, with the Centauro, the 47th Bari Inf XX and 2 arty III’s attacking the Ipp Cav X, another Cav III and the S Art III.  Z.1007b’s and an MC.200 fly in support, and with the attack fully supplied from a point at Porto Edda, the attack goes in at 3:1 +1 (1/2 AECA, rough, a/s provided).  A 2 is rolled, which leads to an HX.  Centauro is cadred thanks to required losses, but at least the whole stack of Greeks dies too.  This should put some more pressure on the Greeks to maintain a full line, so hopefully their reorg scheduled for next turn will end up having to get spread into the line vice launching assaults on my own line.

The second attack goes in at Iscia, with the out of supply and unsupported 92nd Col X relying on SM.79 GS support to see them to victory over the 27 NR British Col X supported by Audax’s.  Sadly, Axis die rolling luck continues to hold, and a 1 is rolled for an AH, resulting in the death of the 92nd (and also the loss of the zoc’s supply line cut… it’s a sad day when the Allies can roll 5 attacks at 3:1 -1 or worse and not see a single AR/AH, but we roll just one 1:1 even and get an AH.)

Worse, things don’t go that much better against the 7th Armored near Agedabia.  The 7th’s 1 pt of flak manages to roll one 2 in the 5 rolls against our GS, so the Me110D is unfortunately aborted.  Then, the 3:1 -1 attack is launched and we get another poor roll of a 2, resulting in an AS.  Clearly, the Allies aren’t getting what they deserve for having stuck their neck out so far.  The worm will turn however…

Exploitation Phase

Exploit kicks off in the EA area, where the AOI Arm X shoots west over the Atbarah and seizes Gedaraf by coup-de-main.  The Blen1’s stationed there attempt to escape from the on-rushing Italian tankettes but for once Italian arms seem to be moving with haste and they fail, leaving only burned-out bombers wrecked on the field (4 rolled on airbase escape attempt.)  Over on the Red Sea coast, the Eritrean mot Inf X slides around the west flank of the 2nd MMG II in Aqiq, surrounding that unit and port w/ zoc’s and taking the town of Tokar in the process (via zoc’s.)  Along the mtn road to the Asmara area two TC’s haul Art units north as fast as possible.  Finally, the AOI Arm II advances to the Sciasciamanna airfield, lays down a hit and removes the airfield, and then joins the valiant 85th Col X currently attempting to stem the tide of the British advance near Dalle.  The last active bomber in the command launches an airbase bombing raid against the Mxd A unit at Kassala, but rolls a 3 in the bombing attempt and misses.

In Greece, the cadre of the Centauro XX backs up into Egouminitsa having at least gained temporary ownership of 26:4005.  In the air, the Mxd B on Rhodes attempts to bomb out the Bombay transports on Melos, but a 5 is rolled and they just miss.  SM.81’s attempt to hit the rail marshalling yard at Volos via strat bombing, but their accuracy is way off and they scatter their bombs across the country-side (1 rolled for miss.)  Finally, the Z.506b floatplanes go after the rail junction at 15:0115, just 15 miles west of the old battle site at Pharsala.  Italian arms this time do just a good a job as Caeser did against Pompey and wreck the rails in the critical communications node (5 rolled for hit.)

In North Africa, all the c/m forces that left Benghazi remain in the Agedabia area, clearly unwilling to let the first battle of the town stand as the final result.  Lines are built up on the four sides (north and west) of the 7th Armored, leaving it to be out of supplies and isolated come the Allied ini phase.  Benghazi is itself down to just 5 DS, but we anticipate that the Allies will be unable to launch any sort of attack on the port until the arrival of the Axis Feb I reinforcements and the completion of the fort being quick constructed.  In the air, a CR.42 transfers out of Benghazi to prevent overstacking, taking up residence of El Agheila since the Me110D’s are currently out of action.  The one CR.42 at Tripoli that started there transfers east to Sirte, just to cover all our fields.

End of Turn

The Axis gain 5 VPs for owning hexes in mainland Greece.  Additionally, it is now the semi-annual territorial VP check time.  The Axis gain 2 VPs for retaining ownership of British Somalia through the Jan II 41 turn, plus an additional 2 VPs for owning a town in Sudan during the Jan II 41 ini phase (Kurmuk.)  On the opposite side, the Allies gain 10 VPs for ownership of Crete, but fail to get any for ownership of Greece (during no Allied ini phase did they own Egouminitsa and therefore they never controlled all cities and ports).  Likewise, the stubborn defense in North Africa prevents the Allies from gaining any VPs for Cyrenaica, since the Axis still owns Benghazi.  By rule, the Axis do not gain VPs for their own ownership of Cyrenaica or Egyptian towns during this first VP check, as they are not owned on Jan II 41.  VP totals are now 50 to 9, in favor of the Axis.

JAN II 1941 – Allied player turn

Initial Phase

Weather:  A 1 is rolled in Europe, resulting in a ‘no change’ in D (which stays winter), but a dry spell in E as things go from mud to clear.  This could complicate things in Greece for me, since the Greeks could manage to launch two attacks vice just one now that the south part of the front has gone clear.  The clear will however improve bombing against Malta and ensure the that the fort we had planned to start last turn will get completed by the beginning of our next, with no time lost had we in fact started it on Jan I 41.  The Med unfortunately goes rough however, which no doubt will result in further convoy attempts to Malta once our naval patrol is halved in effectiveness and contact attempts are further reduced in mods.  In Africa, a 3 is rolled and all zones go clear.  The Indian Ocean calms down, but the rough seas in the Med apparently are kicked over to the Red Sea, which goes rough.

Axis units in the Dodecanese are all U-4, except for the “C” 2-6 Inf III which was just airlifted in, which now goes U-1.  Units in the Benghazi area are also out of supply, U-1, but all but the two const III’s use GSPs for supply.  Finally, Axis units in EA remain U-4, but a goodly number in the Addis Ababa, Dire Daua-Harar, and Tessenie-Barentu-Agordat area use GSPs to go into supply.  GSPs are also available to put the Ca133 at Dire Daua and an SM.79 and CR.42 at Massaua into supply.  On the Allied side, the Greek units on the mainland are U-4 and isolated, but GSPs from Greek full supply sources keep them from “surrendering.”  The Allies are clearly not interested in putting an allied supply terminal into Greece and thereby ensuring the eventual VP gain for the Axis when it is taken upon German intervention.  Bit gamey, but perfectly legal.  The 14th X on Crete is U-4, but the ports on the island act as limited supply terminals, keeping the unit from isolation and surrender as well.  Units on Malta remain U-4.

In reinforcements, the two new Brit Inf RPs are used to bring back the 22nd Inf X, destroyed in Compass, while a single ARP sees the aborted Blen4 replaced.  The RN-1 TF is called upon for further service, probably for NGS at Tobruk, a run to Malta, or both.  In Greece, the Rethymnon static X enters service on Crete, but the scheduled reorganization of mountain and border units into 2 inf XX’s and a mtn XX is delayed due to the units not being consolidated (and being in zoc.)  GSPs are produced at both Greek full supply locations, plus the two active Allied supply terminals in Egypt.  An A/S point on Malta is converted to two Malta repair points.  The Malta status number is then shifted from 7 down to 4.  Over in Greece, the two engineer X’s that moved into the Aliakmon line last turn begin building forts.

In air items, four SM.79-1’s, two Ju88A’s and two Ju87B’s on Sicily go inop due to Malta bombing.  I put the remaining Ju87B, the Ba.65, the He111H4 ‘S’ code and the SM.79-2 ‘V’ code on Sicily on naval patrol.  The G.50 on Sicily flies CAP over Malta, mostly just to get into the habit since the airfield is now wrecked.  More importantly, the Me110D at Sirte flies a CAP over the El Agheila airbase where the Ju87R is based.  On the Allied side, the Hurri1 which is currently based at Eraklion flies a CAP over the Scarpanto airbase, where the Ju52 and the Rhodian airforce is based.  I announce possible air transfer missions at the start of the mov’t phase, but the Allies choose to launch the first mission of that phase.

Movement phase

Mov’t kicks off with a large airbase bombing raid against the Scarpanto field.  Both Blen4’s from North Africa, plus the Blen1 and Greek Mxd B from Larissa converge on Scarpanto (by staging into Crete and Melos respectively.)  I consider possible patrol attacks against the bombers, but I’m more likely to abort my own fighters than do any serious damage to the bombers.  The Italian Mxd F could scramble away, but I think I’d rather encourage the Allies to hit it vice the Ju52, so all three Axis air units simply wait out the raid.  The U-4 flak II on the island is useless, so the bombers make their 4 attempts unhindered, rolling a pair of 1’s and a pair of 6’s.  The Allies send the Ju52 and the Mxd B to the abort pile.  Three of these bombers return to base at Khania, while one Blen4 heads for Melos.

A very busy naval mov’t process then kicks off.  First, the RN-1 TF moves to northeast of Tobruk and preps for NGS.  The Brit 23rd Inf X is moved from the Athenai mainland to Melos, no doubt to prevent any Axis adventures in the Aegean, so my mov’t of an inf III to Scarpanto has not only defended that location but forced the Allies to react to defend their own islands.  Similarly, another NTP is used to move the Aussie 20th X from Athenai back to Derna in North Africa (I guess the big allied plan to send add’l troops to Greece has been cancelled.  Must have been a change in Whitehall J), which then picks up the 51st Hvy AA II at Bardia and moves to join the TF off Tobruk (no doubt intending to run to Malta w/ TF cover.)

Next, the British 3rd Arm X and 65th AT II are moved from Alexandria to Bardia, and the newly replaced 22nd X at Alexandria and the Aussie 18th X at Matruh are both shifted to Derna.  Lastly, GSPs are shifted about, with one NTP moving one GSP each to Melos and Khania, while two NTPs move 2 GSPs separately to Malta.  One of these missions is contacted by Axis forces on a 10 on the interference table, and a 1 on the effects charts sees the NTP sunk, dropping the East Med pool temporarily to 9.  The other succeeds in getting through Axis patrol boats.  This op is clearly a stalking horse for the later flak II move to Malta, so only the Ba.65 attempts to make contact with the supply run.  A 1 is rolled, so contact fails, and the 2 GSPs are unloaded without incident.

On the ground, the Greek front surprisingly sees little offensive moves.  The units on the north part of the front don’t move, which means the Greeks probably will not be able to get even a 3:1 -1.  In the south, units are mostly concentrated at 3803, probably due to concern that the Centuaro XX will launch further AECA assaults.  This hex is brought up to 12 DS, but cannot launch any reasonable attacks itself.  Other units are pulled out of the line and concentrated at 4003 to allow the infantry reorganization to occur next turn.  In the rear, the art units which pulled out of the northern portion of the front admin around to the rear of the south part of the front.

In North Africa, the 7th Armored XX pulls back from Agedabia, making its way back to the bypass road.  The three inf X’s which were landed at Derna advance to 3917, two hexes due west of Derna, joined by a Kiwi X which had been at Gazala.  The out of supply Free French II backs off from Derna and moves to Gazala.  Nearly all the rest of the Allied forces concentrate for a massive assault on Tobruk, to include the 66 RPC moved up from the Sidi Barrani area by way of a TC.  To the rear, the 2nd Spt Grp admins but doesn’t quite reach Tobruk.  The 65th AT II remains at Bardia as a garrison, while a res pt is SMP’d into that port.  More SMP’s are spent to get an A/S point from Matruh forward to support the attack on Tobruk.  Finally, the Czech II reverses direction and moves from Matruh by train back to Alexandria.

In East Africa, El Kaid finally makes the decision to cross the border, in force.  In Sudan, the 5th Indian XX overruns an Italian Col X at Om Ager and then engages the Tessenei defenders from their southeast flank.  The Col EC X moves up and engages the same Italian units from the northwest.  The 6th Aus XX moves away from the 8th Col X near the border and heads around the Tessenei forces, making Cheru.  A miscellaneous task force based on the Orient FF X engages the 41st Col X to Tessenei’s rear.  A/S is moved up by SMP to support the planned attacks in the Tessenei area.

Down in Kenya, “Mandera” force charges into Somaliland and then splits up.  Two Col X’s w/ TC’s move north along the Dolo-Neghelli road, making it as far as 7W:1509 in Galla-Sidamo province.  They are joined by the South African 1st Recon II and the 2nd SA X which admin’d forward, plus one a/s hauled up by SMPs.  The south push is based on the 1st and 5th SA X’s, transported by TC’s, which take the Lugh Farrandi airfield and then move down to the Iscia Baidoa road junction/airfield.  The NR Col X then admins up to an airfield in the rear in Kenya and is air-transported into the just seized airfield at Iscia.  The Mxd S transports land at Iscia.  Further west, the 22nd EA Col X moves southwest from El Wak to just across the river at Bardera, currently defended by the Italian 20th Col X.  Two more Col X’s move down from the Diff area towards Afmadu on the road to Chisimaio.

CombatPhase

DAS in the Balkans is flown by all available a/c to ensure that the Greeks can get no better than one or another 2:1 -1’s in the northern front near Koritsa, which is itself immune to attack this turn (a 1.5:1 -2 at best.)  In the south, attack possibilities are worse, ranging from 1.5:1 -1 to 2:1 -3.  Since GSPs were available to supply one of the SM.79-1’s at Massaua, DAS is flown to 14W:1713 to support the Italian 41st Col X.

In actual combat, the Tobruk assault kicks off the Allied action.  Two Italian XX’s, a pair of GaF III’s and the 23 C Art III face untenable opposition, consisting of the full 7th Ind XX, 1st and 3rd Arm X’s, 6th NZ X, 16th Aus X, 13th & W Art X’s, the 7th RT Tank II, 1st RNF Mchg II and the 66th RPC Const X, with 4 pts of NGS delivered off-shore.  All told, odds are 8:1 -1 (unimproved fortress, a/s provided) and a 2 is rolled for a DR.  With nowhere to retreat to, the Italian forces surrender and are eliminated.  Still, they managed to hold for nearly a month and well past the historical fall date, so we consider this a victory of sorts.

In East Africa, three attacks are launched.  The first is by the 22nd EA Col X across the Giuba river into Bardera, defended by the 20th Ital Col X.  Sadly, the 20th is U-4, and with the East African X getting “free” a/s supply from the one a/s point still at Mandera, the attack goes in at 8:1 even.  A 6 is rolled for a DE.  The Orient FF X, and 68th Art, 4th RT Tank & FB Col Inf II’s then assault the Italian 41st Col X protecting the east bank of the Gash river to Tessenei’s rear.  The Italians have an SM.79 flying DAS, but the Allies burn an a/s point for the 2 RE assault, so odds end up 5:1 even (DAS, rough terrain, 1/10th AECA, a/s provided.)  A two is rolled, so we just miss an EX result and the 41st dies retreating through zoc’s (DR rolled.)  Finally, the 7th Ind XX assaults Tessenei, with 3 air units flying GS in support, with the 16th Col X and the Hq’s of the 2nd Col XX defending.  Final odds end up 6:1 even (3 pts GS, no a/s reachable), and another 2 is rolled for another DR zoc kill.

Exploitation Phase

The phase kicks off with the expected convoy run to Malta, consisting of the RN-1 TF, 1 NTP and the 51st Hvy AA II as cargo.  Axis light naval forces fail to make contact w/ a 6 rolled.  As the II unloads at Malta Axis naval patrol forces go into action.  The Italian SM.79-2 ‘V’ unit launches first.  Contact is made (+2 for rough,, -0 for dist) w/ a 6, and flak fails to drive off the torpedo bombers (2 pts each for the TF and NTP, a 9 modified to an 8 on the 3 column).  The bombing units have a 3 tac factor, doubled for torps and then 1/2’d for rough weather, so 3 rolls on the 1 column are made.  Rolls of 1, 6 and 5 result, putting 2 hits onto the convoy (+1 mod for V code).  Thankfully it was two hits, so the first is allocated against the TF by rule and the next hits the NTP.  The TF hit results in 1 VP to the Axis, while the NTP sinkage puts the second flak II run to Malta into Davy Jones’ locker (eliminated to Mid-East pool.)  With flak now reduced to 2 pts, and no more naval missions possible (all Allied NTPs have been used), I figure we might as well try for some more VPs against the TF.  The Ju87B launches against the TF, but a 2 is rolled and contact fails.  The He111H4 ‘S’ code launches, and with a 5 rolled contact is easily made.  However, the 2 pts of flak manage a lucky 3 rolled and the ‘S’ code Heinkel’s are aborted for no loss to the Allies.  Drat.

In non-naval exploit, in the Balkans exploit is limited to the Mehk mot Inf III shifting a single hex.  In North Africa, the Well1C launches a night strategic port bombing mission.  Two points of supplied flak rolls a 4, but with the night and bomber mods misses.  The Wellington’s however fail to hit this turn, rolling a 4 which is modified to a 3 for a miss.  At Gazala the 1 M Free French II reverses course again and heads back to Derna, joined by the 7 RT Tk II.  The TC which had been carrying the Const X into Tobruch picks up the 13th Art X and transports it forward to the big stack of commonwealth inf X’s 30 miles east of Derna.  Meanwhile, the 2nd Arm XX forms up at El Mechili, as far forward as its Spt Grp could get.  In the south, the 7th Arm XX also reverses course, ending the phase 16 miles southeast of Agedabia, engaging Italian artillery and light tanks on their eastern flank.

In East Africa, in the Sudan sector the 4th RT Tank II joins the 6th Aus XX at Cheru, but otherwise the Sudan-Eritrean front is quiet.  On the other hand, in the deep south out of Kenya the two c/m stacks are active.  The northern stack overruns Neghelli, and then the SA 1st Recon II breaks out of the Mendebo mountains and takes Dalle, with the 21st East African Col X and 24th Gold Coast Col X traveling behind them just 16 miles to their rear.  Way to the south, the 1st and 5th SA X’s in TC’s shoot straight for Mogadiscio, overrunning the city with their last few mps.

In the very last Allied action of the turn, the Bombay transports from Matruh stage to Crete and then attempt a bombing run against Scarpanto.  The Hurricanes on CAP attempt to convert to escort, but before the Bombay’s can get within striking distance the Mxd F unit slips out from under the Hurris and runs a patrol mission against the transports.  A 3 is rolled for no effect, but fortunately on their bombing runs they also roll a 3 and miss (I should have simply scrambled away to Rodi and left them with nothing to bomb, but I wanted to get after the transports… having missed however, I put myself at risk that they’d get a hit on the field and leave me nowhere to land.  Silly thing to do…)

At the end of turn the Axis the SM.79-1 at Massaua that had not been supplied runs a multi-stage transfer mission from Massaua to Kufra and then up to Sicily, departing the East African campaign area for good.

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