July 1916 brought the game a couple more “first” events during what has become an unexceptional string of economic and initial phases. During the previous two months, zeppelins hit several Entente factories and the Entente calculated that purchasing extra iron from Chile, simply to place into production factories that would probably not fully produce their hoped-for product, would be unwise. Chilean trade went forward at only a minimal rate for the bi-monthly period. Subsequently, one factory did fail to produce, justifying Entente fears at fortunately small cost. In the end, the Entente produced 25.5, and the Central Powers 25.0, equipment points, in addition to what will surely prove to be plentiful ammunition. For Austria-Hungary, France, and Germany, a downward spiral of infantry income continued in July, with the French by far the worst afflicted. Germanic air replacements continued to be relatively overwhelming, but really only adequate, but French and Italian air units increasingly litter the pools; about their only British losses are self-aborting fighters in patrol attacks over London. The first Russian unit in France also became combat-ready in early July.
Entente Initial Phase Replacement Activities:
Prussia: 2x 9-12-5 rifle XX’s from cadre
Wurtemburg: 16-18-5 rifle XX from cadre
France, Army of Africa: 10-13-6* light XX from cadre
France, Colonial: disband and scrap 2-3-5 rifle [X]
France, Metropolitan: 10-13-7* light and 8-12-7 light XX’s from cadre; replace 0-2-5 siege eng [X] and 3x
7-5-4 hvy art III; repair two and replace one air units
Britain: 2x 10-13-5 rifle XX from cadre; repair SEEngland Air Defense Garrison fighter; disband and scrap 2-1-7 hvy cav X
In the air, the normal, superb Germanic flak continued to reign. Four Italian and French groups tried to visit Koln for some recreational terror bombing, but half a group fell, two groups fled, and the remaining group lacked the strength to roll alone. The lone Ca-2 group, however, went around interceptors at nearer cities to visit Nurnburg and scored a rare hit after dodging light, local flak.
British artillery units continued to mass against the German salient toward Lille while the French army spent some weeks preparing for several reorganization and reinforcement activities, therefore massing forces only against a mixed Germanic force in grid 2419. A French attack went in there without an air battle and French aerial reconnaissance succeeded, though half a group of attack bombers fell to flak. National will, reconnaissance, and a pair of successful assaults by two brigades each of engineers more than offset entrenchments in wooded rough terrain, but General Eugene provided inspirational defensive leadership to keep the die roll modifier even. Odds of 3.7:1 rolled upward and hope was high in Entente ranks that a very rare DX might result, but Eugene had saved the situation and the roll of “5” provided the usual BX.
French losses: RP and 0-1-4 eng III eliminated; 3x 8*-11-5 rfl XX to 3*-5-5 cadre
Austro-Hungarian losses: RP eliminated; 10-13-5 rfl XX to 4-6-5 cadre
Prussian losses: 9-12-5 rfl XX to 4-5-5 cadre
No German reaction rolls succeeded on the main or Italian fronts in early July 1916.
In the air, Germany’s Zeppelin fleet found mixed receptions. Over Naples, three airship groups found good weather and scored the monthly maximum of two terror hits against Italy – French factories will presumably feel their wrath next. The first British fighter capable of hurting a Zeppelin took up duties in London, so the northern attacks went instead to Nottingham, finding the city but not terrorizing the subjects therein.
At sea, the bulk of the Entente transport and landing fleet arrived again in Venice with a large Franco-Italian escort.
Central Powers Turn
During the Central Powers half of early July 1916, events continued apace.
German: replace one air group and repair two air groups; rebuild 5-6-5* and 4-5-5* Prussian cadres to full rifle XX’s; replace 3*-4-4 rfl X
French: rebuild 3x 3-5-5* cadres to full rifle XX’s
Austro-Hungarian: rebuild 4-6-5 cadre to full rfl XX and replace 2-7 high mtn III
In the first Central Powers anti-shipping strike of the war, the Austro-Hungarian LohH air group took only a quick look at the Entente fleet in Venice before fleeing its flak.
On the ground, Central Powers forces again contented themselves with preparing for the continuing steady stream of reorganizations and reinforcement activities while ensuring frontline security against Entente threats.
In reaction, in Italy all Entente armies failed to activate, but on the main front some armies did bestir themselves to wage war. French forces massed against grid 1719, as usual, but in this case the long delay in the gaming sessions served the Entente wrong: the French can only attack that location after a bombardment, as the odds in reaction combat phase are less than 2:1 with a probable even or negative roll modifier. British forces likewise massed against grid 0621 and likewise pulled the plug on their prospective attack, though in their case only after the usual failure of their aerial reconnaissance effort.
At grid 2118, the French did manage an attack that met their (low) standard for being “good.” The French massed elite troops, superior morale, and aerial reconnaissance against defending entrenchments for a die roll modifier of “+2.” A brigade of engineer committed suicide attempting to improve that modifier: another month of engineer replacements and almost the end of the French ability to use them against more than one hex in a turn. Odds of 2.6:1 rolled upward, but with a +2 modifier the roll was an inevitable “1” for the usual BX result that is gradually losing the Entente this war.
German losses: RP consumed; 13-15-5 rfl XX to 6-7-5 cadre
French losses: 9-12-7 and 8-11-5 XX’s to 4-5-7 and 3-5-5 cadres; RP consumed
It is at this moment observed that the Germans must lose 103 morale points before the end of January 1917 in order to not gain any morale point bonus at the annual national morale check. Such a loss is beyond imagination.
In the air, Zeppelins hit one French factory while various Entente efforts against Germans cities suffered flak-fright or simply missed their targets.