The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: June 2018 (page 1 of 2)

December 1941

Dec I Allied Turn

Clear and calm.
Allied turn; Malta status = 1

Noting that according to the OB, the repair rate never rises about 2 hits per turn, and also that the pendulum seems to have swung with the Malta status now too easy to keep low, I’m going to retrospectively limit the repair rate to 2 per turn from now on.

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, Engineers start to improve Tobruch’s fortification, just in case…
Between Dec and Jan II is the highpoint of Allied strength, and there is no chance of breaking through unless Rommel does something rash. The Allied command decides to start to build fortifications of its own one hex east of Agheila, toe to toe with DAK

Dec I Axis Turn

From now on I’ll be reporting in a bit less detail, especially on the less interesting turns, as real life intrudes into my time again.  I’m going to drop the doubling of Malta repair rates and switch to David’s alternative suggestion of each hit = 0.5 reduction in Malta status number, though so far (as you’ll see) that’s moot. I’m applying a corrective now, too, so that the revised Malta number is now 9.
Between Dec and Jan II is a highpoint of Allied strength, and there is no chance of breaking through unless Rommel does something rash. The Allied command decides to start to build fortifications of its own one hex east of Agheila, toe to toe with DAK.

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, Engineers start to improve Tobruch’s fortification, too, just in case…
The El Agheila stalemate continues, with both sides concentrating on fortifying the front line and building airfields to bring forward their airpower.  The Malta bombers score only 1 hit = 0.5 reduction.
Dec II Malta status now 8, both sides continue to dig in.

November 1941

Nov I Allied turn

Malta status = 4

2 NTs are sunk en route to Malta but the third gets through.
8th Army closes with El Agheila and starts to build airfields within range of the front line; a Cons X is airlifted forward to assist.
Wel 2s attempt a long range bombing mission to Homs but miss.

Nov I Axis turn

The fort at El Agheila is completed.
2 hits to Malta for an He111 aborted. Status = 6
All replacements make it through bar 0.5 Ger and 0.5 It which are returned.
DAK digs in at Agheila with large numbers of fighters and Ju87s in support.

Nov II Allied turn

Seas are rough and E is mud.

Malta status = 3 (for comparison, CRUSADER scenario has Malta Status = 7)
2 NTs are sunk en route to Malta but the third gets through.
With airpower still moving up, best odds available to the Allies are 3:2 -1. 8th Army waits.

Nov II Axis turn

Quick construction of a second fort west of Agheila starts.
Malta takes 1 hit status = 4
The infantry reinforcements arrive.

Rommel’s maximum armoured attack, incl GS, is around 32 – 36 depending on AA, so best attack is 1:1 +2. Pulling the Malta bombers away to ground support won’t get that to 3:2, not until Jan when there are larger air reinforcements. Our Rommel also knows that the war with Japan is about to start and that the British will cripple their armoured XX with reorganisations all summer.  Hmm…  he waits and concentrates on wearing down the RAF and above all its airfields.
Only 2 hits are achieved but 2 Hurris are aborted.

October 1941

Oct I Allied turn

Malta Status now 4

Malta supply convoys arrive.
Now it is time for the Allies to make decisions. Should they push on to El Agheila and beyond?  Or should they use this opportunity to end the leaching of VP in the Levant and “liberate” the pesky Vichy French?

(Note; if not using Optional Rule 14A1e the Allies are required to devote 3REs of engineers, which is all or nearly all those available, to the Levant garrison where they’ll spend a year building a pointless railway between Haifa and Tripoli.  Loss of all 8th Army’s engineers is reason enough to leave the Levant alone, and the VP penalty for not fulfilling the engineer garrison requirement is 3 times greater than the penalty for not invading the Levant at all. Doh!
14A1e however makes this commitment to railway building optional (and no sane Allied player would ever build it).

In a game context, this inconsistency is a problem; or at least the level of obligatory engineering assets is.  What on earth was SO important about this railway 1000km from the front line that was worth risking the loss of the entire Desert war over? )

The decision is made to continue the pursuit for now, and leave the Levant to its own devices.
(Note; in reality advance warning of the Australian withdrawal in Feb, and the self inflicted crippling of the British Armoured Divisions shortly afterwards, was also a consideration. The British can’t spare 2 Inf XX to fulfill the Levant garrison requirement for the next year).

The Reinforcing engineers and Arm X arrive at Matruh, the rest at Alex.
The Arm XXs push forward, capturing ground to allow the Inf to admin move forwards behind them as far as Tobruch.  In Exploit the Arm XX advance a little further, to Gazala, having worked out that going further risks being killed in a ZOC lock by Axis motorised formations. 8th Army will advance together or not at all.

Oct I Axis turn

The Malta bomber force now totals 2 x Ju87 (1 It), 3 x Ju88, 1 x He111, and 2 x BR20M. They score 4 hits for a Ju88 aborted.
Malta status is now 8

All reinforcements and replacements arrive safely.
The airfields at Bengahzi are destroyed and the Axis armour forms a block just south of Msus. All the surviving Axis non motorised forces arrive safely at El Agheila.

Oct II Allied turn

A great day for the RN; AA gunners abort both SM79-2 torpedo bombers and the supplies arrive safely in Malta.
Malta status now 5

The existing line to Matruh finally repaired, construction of the extension to Tobruch starts at last.
8th Army arrives 30 miles NE of Msus, while 7th Arm XX takes Derna and Bengahzi via the coast road.

Oct II Axis turn

Quick fort construction begins at Agheila.
Only 1 code V bomber can be repaired per turn.
5Le cadre is rebuilt and converted into 21 Pz.
2 hits to Malta; status = 7
The Panzers screen the Agheila bottleneck; Rommel declares that the retreat is over.

September 1941

Sept I Allied turn

Malta status 2

Malta supply convoy gets through.
Engineers start to repair the rail line west of El Alamein.  2 more It Inf XX are eliminated as the advance continues.

Sept I Axis turn

3 hits on Malta; status = 5. 1xBR20M aborted by AA.
Once again 0.5 Ger and 0.5 It Inf RPs are sunk and the 0-1-10 lt AA is returned.
German engineers blow 2 hits on Bardiya port.

Sept II 41 Allied turn

Malta status 2, Malta supply convoys sunk.

8th Army advances, ending up in a line south 4 hexes east of Halfaya.
Cyprus is now garrisoned by 2 x 1-8 MG II, a Hurri, and a Blen 4, which should discourage any lurking Fallschirmjaegers.

Sept II Axis turn

5 hits on Malta; status now 7

The 0-1-10 Lt AA II lands at Bengahzi.
Rommel considers his options. He has 2 armoured XX plus a cadre, and a weak mot inf and a couple of Inf XXs; and not much in the way of support units. 8th Army is beyond air cover but has 6 strong infantry divisions, 2 Arm XX, and ample support, but has not ZOCed in the Axis non motorised formations.

The decision is taken to run now, and not to try to hold Halfaya or Tobruch. Forward supply dumps are blown up.

An It 2-6 Inf XX and a 3-4-6 Art III board ship at Tobruch. Everyone else skedaddles, non mot using admin movement and motorised units pausing to blow the airfields before heading towards Msus.

August 1941

Aug I 41 Allied turn

Malta status now 0

All supply convoys are sunk by anti shipping assets; Malta will be unsupplied next turn.
Deciding it’s time that Cyprus was garrisoned, the Allies ship an MG II and the SA armoured car regiment (II) there. 8th Army now has 5 Inf XX in line, plus 3 x 3-8 Inf X, an armoured XX plus the equivalent of three more armoured X (mostly 6 mp Infantry Tanks) and a support group, 3 Art X, and air superiority (albeit with significantly inferior bombers).  And plenty of supply.
They can mount a 70 pt attack with net -1 AECD. So they hit 5Le and its 20 pt stack again.
In big air battles 7 Pt DS are added, with an Me110 and a JU87 killed and a CR42 aborted.
9 pts GS area added for a final ratio of 79:27 = 2.9:1 -1 HX.
Losses; 5Le cadred, 3-10 mot inf, 1-10 Hvy AA, and a 3-4-8 German Art eliminated. Italian losses are a 2-3-6 Art, a 1-8 Mot art, and a tk II. The British cadre 70th Inf XX and eliminate a 3-8 inf X.
This time 8th Army does advance, putting nearly the whole of DAK into a ZOC.

Aug I Axis turn

The Axis  transfer the Ju88s back from the front line to Malta and together with the forces already on Sicily obtain 5 hits on Malta status for one Ju88 aborted.
0.5 it and 0.5 German Inf repl pts are sunk.
A general withdrawal gets underway, with temporary airfields destroyed and DAK acting as rear guard. A hapless It inf XX is a speedbump ZOCing in 8th Army.

Aug II Allied turn

Malta status now 2

All Malta supply convoys are sunk.
8th Army kills the Inf XX speedbump and closes on DAK again. It Losses are 1 x 3-6 Inf XX and 1 x 2-3-8 Art III

Aug II Axis turn

3 hits on Malta, status now 5.
The Ger 2-8 Inf III arrives safely at Tobruch.
DAK retreats to Halfaya, leaving the Italian Inf XX behind.

July 1941

July I Allied turn

Malta repair now 3 per turn; Malta status 5.

Supplies and the 0-1-8 Hv AA II make it through to Malta.
The Allied Front line is reinforced but still not strong enough to risk a sortie and attack on the strong DAK stacks.  Instead it solidifies further.

July I Axis turn

Malta takes 1 hit; Malta status now 6.
DAK inches forward to provide protection for the two cons units pushing the airfields forward, and is now toe to toe with 8th Army.

July II Allied turn

Malta status now 3.

8th Army decides it is time for a massive attack on the central hex with 5Le and support units, before the LW Ju87 ground support and multiple fighters move forward (which they will next turn).
Odds are 52 vs 18 – at -1.
An attempt to fly in DAS results in the biggest air battle of the campaign so far; a Hurri is aborted along with 2 Ju88s and a Me110, and an MC 200 eliminated.  The last Ju88 is aborted by AA.
11 Pts GS make it through the AA for 63 vs 18 or 3.5:1 -1. DR.
A frustratingly inconclusive result, and 8th Army declines to advance after combat, preferring to sit in its forts.

Axis July II turn

The Germans give an Arm RP to the Italians, who replace Ariete’s HQ. (are they allowed to do this in WW?!  I decided they could borrow from SF rules if not…)
2 Malta bombers are aborted and the third misses.
Ariete’s new Arm III makes it through safely and lands at Tobruch.
VP count – Axis 40 for control of Cyrenaica and a town in Egypt.
Allied 48.5 accumulated plus 30 for Cyrenaica – 8 for failure to invade the Levant = 70.5

June 1941

June I Allied turn

The Malta supply convoy from Gib is sunk – all E med transports are evacuating forces from Greece.
Malta status is now 8

The evacuation goes badly; only the two ANZAC HQs, one 2-8 Aus X, the artillery, MNBDO AA, and 1 pt lit AA are saved.
The second Alamein fort is completed, and the Allies retreat to that line blowing the Matruh airfield en route.
The Wel 1C attempts a night raid on Tobruch port but misses.

June I Axis turn

Ju87s and SM 79s both hit Malta, Status now 10.
One of the anti-shipping SM 79-2s rebases to newly captured Crete.
DAK forms up 4 hexes west of Alamein.

Jun II Allied Turn

Malta status now 8

Malta is supplied from Alex (with 1 West med and One East Med transport sunk).
The Alamein line solidifies. The Wel 1C misses Tobruch again.

June II Axis turn

Malta bombers miss, as the bulk of the Axis air forces moves up to the front line.
All reinforcements arrive safely, incl 2 AS at Tobruch.
DAK forms a defensive line 3 hexes east of Alamein.

May 1941

May I 41 Allied Turn

Malta status = 11
The first Alamein fort is completed.

The Hurri 2s are retained in the Desert, not sent to Malta. Malta AA is supplied from the East Med.
With AS now available the Allied army turns and attacks an Italian corps based on Trieste plus four tk II. One step of AS is retained so the attackers are only partially supplied. This corps is chosen because it can be surrounded for a ZOC kill (but unlike German c/m stacks can’t retreat over friendly units), plus killing Trieste deprives the Axis of the option of demotorising it for additional SMPs.  4 GSPs are moved forward by the 2nd SG to the 7th Arm XX stack to ensure full c/m movement next turn even if isolated.
With huge air support the attack goes in at 4:1 -1; a 3 is rolled, with -1 that is a HX result.
Afterwards, 7 Arm XX on the southern flank pulls back slightly
Losses; It; 1 x 5-8 Mot Inf XX, 4 x 1-6 tk II, 1 x 1-8 Mot Art III
Br; 3-8 Inf X, 1-10 Ind Mot inf X, 1-8 MG II.

May I 41 Axis Turn

1 hit on Malta takes the Malta status to 12.
DAK hits the Australian XXX at the north end of the Allied line, with Rommel sending 5Le swinging round and attacking them from the rear.  3:2 +2; a 5 turns into a 7 for DE
Disaster!  The Allies lose 2 entire Australian divisions plus an armoured brigade.
In exploitation the Axis manage to surround the two remaining front line Corps.

May II 41 Alied Turn

Malta status = 10
The Wellington is called away to Greece.
A second fort is started at El Alamein.
Malta supply convoy arrives.

Desperate times call for desperate measures; A British Inf X ZOCs in Ariete, 2nd SG gives a supply path out for the besieged corps.  The attack goes in at 3:1 -1; DR becomes HX.
Losses; It 5-8 Lt Arm XX, 1-8 Art III, Ger; Hvy AA and mot AT IIs.
British; 4th Ind XX cadred.

Exploitation leaves a strong stack built on 7th Arm XX stuck 4 hexes SE of Sidi Barrani, with the Indians on their own one hex to the NW. Matruh is garrisoned by the Greeks and Free French with an AT II in support.

May II 41 Axis Turn

5Le is out of supply (but not isolated).
A SM 79 and a Ju 87 miss Malta. Status remains at 10.

Both arriving AS are sunk en route, but the 3-10 Ger Mot III arrives in Bengahzi.
Cons units repair the airfield outside Tobruch and build a new temp airfield in Bardiya. 2 Ju87s (1 Ger, 1 It) fly in along with fighters and the BR 20Ms rebase forward too.
Rommel decides that 7th Arm XX is too strong to risk attacking with weakened Italian support, and instead mops up the Indians, saving the last available AS.
In Exploit the thin DAK forces form a ragged line halfway between Sidi Barrani and Matruh.
Losses; 3-8 Ind Cadre, 2-8 Br Inf X.

April 1941

April I 41 Allied Turn

Malta status = 13 The Allies decide to take their only Egyptian front AS as 3 x Res Pts – the Pioneers and newly arrives Aus engineers can start to fortify El Alamein next turn.
Malta AA is back in supply.

The general retreat continues, trading space (or rather distance from Axis AS) for time. The Allies form a 2 hex line starting 1 hex inland from the sea in the 01xx hexrow. 7 Arm XX is on the southern flank, with a few previously unengaged units left further east to keep the Axis honest

April I 41 Axis Turn

The Axis roll for Levant intervention and gain air rights.
3 AS ship to Bengahzi. Amazingly, even at Max damage, Malta sinks one of them. The first elements of 15Pz arrive at Derna and Bengahzi.
The very large LW withdrawals bring an end to the usual massive air raid hits on Malta. The remaining Ju87s and SM 79s fail to score a single hit, status remains at 13.
The BR20M transfers to Bengahzi, where the cons Engineers complete airfield repairs (total cap = 4)
The Axis explore attack options, but can’t get better than 1:1 +1 or 2:1 -1 so instead they close up tight.

April II 41 Axis Turn

The Wellingtons are away in Greece, no doubt something to do with the evacuation to Crete.
Malta status = 11.
The West Med supplies reach Malta, greatly assisted by the withdrawal of the He111 anti shipping bombers.

The engineers start to quick construct a Fort at Alamein.

The rest of the Army forms up in 2 stacks south of Sidi Barrani, with the newly returned 4th Ind XX as a backstop near Matruh. The stacks could be isolated, but the Allies calculate that even halved for lack of supply they could kill one of the Axis stacks if they stick their necks out.
Axis turn;

DAK Art arrives at Derna, as does the It cons unit from Bengahzi.  5 Pz III arrives at Bengahzi.
The Cons unit repairs the Derna port hit. (and in the exploit phase a second Cons, rebuilt in Tripoli, arrives there too using the last, newly repaired RE of port cap).
The Italians close up the Sidi Barrani line while DAK (incl the newly formed 15th Pz) swing south round 7th Arm on the southern Flank. They don’t attack, but the threat is clear.
The first of the Italian Inf XX from 5th Army is now close to the front after their long march east.

Entente II JUN 1917

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.”

In late June 1917, martial glory married misery and every army group on the Italian and Western Fronts experienced the glitz, glamor, excitement, optimism, copied equipment, improved tactics, low spirits, boredom, and terror typical of 1917 European weddings and war.

Limited service veteran officers watched new recruits parade before combat fatigued training sergeants in their usual thousands in mid-June, their coming and going as regular as the tide but with individual problems constantly being carried in or left behind.

French depot commander sent recruits to replace an engineer [III] and repair three air groups while not understanding that rifle and light divisions at the front were checking the “no new men needed” block that some optimist had included on the “division on the line, daily report” form initiated two years before.

Italian sergeants worked feverishly to shuffle men forward in their world. After two years of spasmodic violence the war on the Italian Front finally maintained vigor and constant violence at headline grabbing levels. Italian recruits and equipment replaced an engineer III, a heavy artillery XX, a heavy artillery [III], and a field artillery [X]. Other men and machines repaired two air groups and rebuilt a heavy cavalry XX from cadre. With the French replacement pool finally almost void of artillery and the French limit on trained gunners having been reached in early June, new guns remained in Entente parks for once to begin deploying high-attack, low-defense Italian heavy artillery units.

British planners split their work between the Istria and Flanders Fronts and managed to sustain both adequately in mid-June, as usual but with change on the horizon. Colonels of one each engineer [III] and air group received replacements to completely rebuild their formations. Lesser drafts brought an air group back from damaged and a rifle XX back from cadre while a field artillery [III] bloated to [X] size.

German generals in the West bemoaned Prussia’s contribution to prop up the Austro-Hungarian corpse as replacements flowed to two rifle cadres in Slovenia and not a man or gun arrived in France or Belgium.

Austro-Hungarian generals, reeling back and desperate to perform mandatory conversions and withdrawals could not afford to remove units from the line simply to receive replacements. A World War One battle into which new blood could not flow because the front moved too fast was certainly a novelty in DJ05.

Speaking of new, the first Polish unit deployed on the French side of DJ05 quite recently. The weak, white on red rifle regiment, lonely in a sea of blue and tan cardboard, bravely ensures the security of the Le Havre coastal defense guns. Poles praise regular rations and regularly chase away British riflemen on pass who want to gaze across the mined waters toward their homes.

At sea, while massive fleets glared endlessly into North Sea mists, lighter forces suddenly lunged into action in the sunny Adriatic. Entente destroyer flotillas from three empires escorted Italian mine layers to encase Pago Island in an explosive belt before chivvying the still-laden vessels to finally empty themselves off beaches north of Zara. No Austrian torpedo boat or submarine found this expedition, the Austro-Hungarian fleet lay far away southward at Cattaro, and elite French light troops quickly swarmed from landing craft to shore on both island and mainland to open another new front in the land war.

While the Royal Navy contributed in both obvious and insidious ways to victory, editors in London began to question the Army’s value in this great World War. Why slaughter men by the hundreds of thousands when decisive effects could be had by blockade and adventures on distant islands, as Britain had found victory so many times before? Haig ignored the naysayers, he could not have kept his sanity if he did not so assiduously practice pretending to have lost it, and the British military aimed its next war-winning offensive at THE vital objective, key to victory in the West…Brugge, Belgium!

Air Force machines circled overhead unbothered by light flak, easily spotting troop movements and artillery barrages, and wondering at the absence of German interceptors, the Germans having all gone south to fight the French.

The maximum British bombardment from two hexes in Flanders, seven 16-point, two 12-point, a one 3-point shot inflicted eleven hits and reduced the defense from 88 to 58 strength, a humdrum result.

Bulow adroitly coordinated the defense but the defenders enjoyed no substantial help while the attackers received light ground support from two bomber groups.

Observers offset Bulow, spotting his moves as he made them, but nothing in the British arsenal in Flanders could offset the trench network so that 3.6:1 rolled upward and 4:1 -1 achieved the usual, horrible, Both Exchange result.

British generals expended two resource points and a field artillery [X] as if man, machine, and ammunition all served equally in battle. Four rifle XXs also fell to cadre strength. 4.67 morale points worth of casualty lists sullied newspapers over the next few weeks.

German generals watched their forces wilt more or less equally with resource point and field artillery XX eliminated plus three Prussian XX’s reduced to cadre for an ultimate bill of 4.33 morale points.

Haig and Petain pursued apparently similarly valueless geographic objectives, as their armies had for years, but the latter deployed far superior tools in his sector and finally the stars aligned and the front moved in Lorraine.

Relatively fresh units from Flanders swung the aerial balance back in Germany’s favor south of Metz in mid-June. Five French escorts shepherded six observation balloon groups that successfully but expensively oversaw the battle. Nine German interceptor groups lost two damaged groups without damaging the French. Later, German fighter bombers swept down unopposed in the air and undeterred by flak to deliver seven points of defense. Three German interceptor groups then picked on the French escort of a bombing mission and destroyed three groups for no loss before flak sent a quarter of the bombers away uselessly and 17 bombing factors added to the carnage.

French artillery continued to demonstrate new heights of power in this battle. Eighteen 16-point shots contributed most heavily but one 5-point and six 12-point shots did not go unnoticed as 25 hits battered the German defense from 110 down to 56.25.

Combat effects went heavily in the French favor and pushed a showcase tactical performance into the status of legend. National will offset entrenchments. Observation offset Ludendorf’s close interest and participation.. Petain’s careful planning, two successful engineer assaults, and an incredibly rare successful gas attack actually rendered the roll of 6 into superfluous showmanship as 3.5:1 odds rolled upward and a Defender Loss resulted in geographic progress in the West.

German forces reeled back from grid 1919 without a good many colleagues. Two air groups and one each Saxon and Bavarian rifle XX’s suffered great damage. One resource point, two field artillery XX, one rifle cadre, and one light III all suffered elimination in the inferno that inflicted 5.33 morale points of loss on Germany.

French forces shook off their injuries much more easily. Three air groups, three resource points, and an engineer tank III all slipped through French fingers into a memory darkened by 1.87 morale points.

Mostly elite French forces advanced toward Metz, its outer works still several miles away, across a flat moonscape that ripped apart their formations and left them unduly weak and vulnerable.

While their comrades around Ypres labored under German fire with inferior artillery, no armor, and no sappers, the British force in Slovenia lunged forward to find its own Germans. The former lacked because the latter stole away the best supporting units as it redeployed the previous winter and again those assets proved useful. Aerial spies worked unopposed and successfully to guide a bombardment of three 25-point, one 16-point, and one 12-point shots that smashed the defense from 48 to 28.5. Engineers, in and outside of tanks, added some useful novelty to the attack, offsetting rough terrain as the planes had offset the trenches. British generals bemoaned not bringing more “colonial conscripts” to catch the bullets but the elite bonus would not have changed the outcome after exactly 4:1 odds brought a low Both Exchange reward.

German forces suffered two Prussian rifle XX’s reduced to cadre at the cost of 2 morale points. The German replacement point pool in Austria being too shallow to replace these losses, events may force responses toward better terrain.

British forces suffered a resource point, an engineer tank III, and 3.33 morale points lost in addition to a rifle XX reduced to cadre.

The campaign in Istria seems worthwhile but the benefits are not unmixed. British forces hammered Austro-Hungarians for a while and enjoyed a national will advantage but in a game without an East Front, it seems implausible to actually force an Austro-Hungarian surrender. Entente advantages accrued from capturing Trieste and Pola and related disadvantages befell the Central Powers from that but one factory, one naval base shipyard, and a small pile of gratuitous damage to a pointless fleet are not large changes after a year-long, major campaign. It is obvious now, however, that after capturing Pola in a relative coup and bashing into Trieste unexpectedly quickly, what Britain fundamentally gained from the campaign is the requirement to split its armies and to use one of them in nastier terrain against Germans who can easily enough wage war in the mountains of Slovenia and Austria. Italian forces are insufficient to hold this extended front now and will be extremely vulnerable to autumn 1917 infantry attacks if they cannot secure mountain positions along any significant part of the front.

In their quest to secure mountainous defenses while further driving the Austro-Hungarians toward destruction, Italian forces attempted to blast their way into the western mouth of the Ljubljana Gap in mid-June. Aerial observation began this battle too, dodging heavy flak from two regiments of guns, to usefully spot the bombardment and report on subsequent maneuvers. The Italian bombardment again demonstrated the low quality of its guns but also that luck counts as three 16-point shots scored five hits and reduced the defense from 65 to 50.75. Defensive air support bumped the firepower up a bit and 2.7:1 odds rolled downward. Eugene made what historians would call mixed decisions during the fighting, anyway contributing nothing useful, so that national will and aerial spying offset rough terrain and entrenchments. A successful engineer assault brought some Italian relief because an Attacker Exchange loomed like a nightmare on the horizon but in the end the usual Both Exchange proved bloody enough.

Austro-Hungarian forces suffered resource point eliminated and three rifle XX’s reduced to cadre at the cost of three morale points.

Italian forces lost two resource points, an engineer III, and a rifle XX entirely and also reduced four rifle XX’s to cadre at the cost of 5.67 morale points.

Despite Italy’s national will advantage over Austria-Hungary, the former is actually fewer morale points from collapse than is the latter and attacking with substandard artillery into bad terrain in World War One is not a way to force the defender to suffer more losses than the attacker. Italian generals certainly malign the Entente contribution to this front but Italian politicians are fighting hard to keep their allies engaged “down here.”

Italian forces in the high Alps did not rest in late June. While their comrades died in their tens of thousands in Slovenia, Italians in their tens of thousands attacked 30 miles north of Klagenfurt to take and hurt while the taking and hurting were opportune. A few aircraft, unopposed even by flak, provided significant help to the Italians who also enjoyed national will and elite unit advantages to more than offset the mountains. Boroevic remained distracted by events further south and did not realize his danger until a tsunami of Italian mountain units washed over his lone brigade, too small even for fieldworks, at 7.3:1 odds. Nothing comes easy in this war, however, and despite the odds rolling upward, 8:1 +1 still only netted a Defender Loss result.

Austro-Hungarian forces suffered resource point eliminated and mountain brigade reduced to remnant for 0.5 morale loss, in addition to another trackless mountain hex.

Italian mountain artillery, skillfully and bravely brought forward, suffered a bad counterattack and a III of it joined its resource point of ammunition in the hall of heroes for 0.33 morale.

The Central Powers sought desperately to cover for this string of brutal encounters during reaction phase. An army in the British sector shuffled its new cadres down the line and inserted fresh divisions from an increasingly translucent sector reserve. Ludendorf righteously urged an immediate counteroffensive south of Metz but Hindenburg calmed him repeatedly with “a 33% chance of an Attacker Quartered result is not something we can risk” as German armies nonetheless gathered for a potential counteroffensive during their own turn. A centrally-located Eugene reacted vigorously and most Central Powers in front of the Fiume – Ljubljana line of mountains retreated behind small rearguard units. Austro-Hungarian fortress and static units south of Fiume lay outside Eugene’s personal control and their army did not stir itself.

A long series of weather problems, terrible navigation, awful aiming, and a single scary flak barrage rendered the strategic air efforts of both sides null during Entente II June 1917.

On the ground, exploitation phase brought an unusual amount of noteworthy activities. French forces strengthened the shoulders of their break-in south of Metz and also loaded the contested hex itself to 78.5 defense strength (113 printed). French forces expanded their beachheads to encompass a patch of mountains across the eastern strait and the port of Zara to the south while an Italian rifle corps and a British cadre (large enough to have a ZOC) both formed the invasion’s second wave. In the high Alps, Italian troops exploited along the highest crests of the mountains to a point 50 miles north of Klagenfurt, stretching the front ever further because the Austro-Hungarians remain in an arc 30 miles around the western and northern fronts facing that city.

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