Weather: A 1 is rolled in Europe, and a 2 in East Africa, so all but but the Lake Victoria area and a bit of terrain along the southern coast of Kenya go clear, with these last two remaining mud. Further rolls indicate all sea zones are clear.
In supply calcs, for the Axis the Dodecannese remains U-4. For the Allies, the Aus X on Melos is U-1, the Tobruch defenders go U-1, isolated now that they are completely surrounded. On Malta all units are U-4 except the two flak II’s, at U-2. All but a mchg II get special supply via GSPs. In East Africa, the 21st East African X defending Soddu goes U-2, while near Addis 3 stacks (including two TC supported ones) go U-1 thanks to the 4th Col Cav X putting a zoc on the road leading northeast out of Gondar (the Allies appear to be shifting their southern forces from a southern LOC to a northern one, though so far they have not yet managed to create a single command by linking both north and south during an Allied ini phase.)
In reinforcements, Gibraltar stands up a 2nd fortress X for local defense. At Athenai, the 21st Mtn X, the Athenai Static X, 1 Grk Mtn Rp and ½ of a res pt arrive. The Greeks then use all three of their Mtn RPs to rebuild three 1-2-6 units, one each of mtn, inf & border troops. In the mid-east, TF-1 and CG-1 go to “not used this quarter”, and TF-1 is repaired up to a strength of 3. The NTP pool in the Eastern Med is likewise increased by two to its maximum of 10. One Brit Inf RP at Alexandria is used to bring back the just recently destroyed 65th AT II. Then, off the coast of the Aden territory a convoy arrives with 2 a/s, 2 Brit Inf RPs, ½ pt each of armor, Kiwi’s and Aussies, and the Australian 1st Eng X. In the Indian Ocean along the south edge of the map, additional convoys arrive with 1 col and 1 Ind RP, plus 2 a/s and ½ a S.Afr RP. The 1st South African Inf Hq converts to its ‘fully supported’ incarnation, but the conversion of the 5th SAfr X and the SEAC Cons X is delayed as the units are currently not together. Force T in the Indian Ocean is then activated at Aden.
GSPs are created at practically all Allied and Greek supply terminals, while the only a/s point on Malta is converted to 2 repair points. The Axis then converts the only a/s point outside of Massaua in East Africa, the one at Asmara, to 12 GSPs. Construction of a permanent airfield at Tobruch is then begun, using the 1 RP in the fortress, to replace the temporary field currently being utilized. We’re not sure why this was done, but clearly the Allies intend to hold the fortress and its supply line blocking position at all costs. The Maltese repair the Malta status down to 11 from 14 with the a/s generated repair points & the one via the OB.
A few Axis air missions are then flown. Three CR.42’s from temp fields fly back to the northwest and CAP Benghazi to keep off the bombers, or at least force night missions. Then in Albania, in anticipation of German intervention and hoping to keep the Alaikmon not fully garrisoned, Italian bombers fly max harassment (for them anyway), consisting of one 2 pt harassment at Larisa, and a 2 and 1 pt harassment in the valley at and north of Grevena. Finally, the Mxd B on Rodi and a host of a/c on Sicily (3x Ju87B, plus two coded bombers) are placed on naval patrol.
Naval movement kicks off the turn, with attack supply being shifted about in the Indian Ocean, the 0.5 South African RPs going to Mombasa (along w/ 1.5 pts sitting in Mogadiscio), the 1.0 Col RPs going to Aden and the Indian RP going to the Port Sudan harbor. The first special operation of the game then kicks off with the 26th East African X, Force T and 4 GSPs moving to the port of Bulhar in British Somilaland. The 26th offloads its ANTP, while Force T preps for NGS. Things aren’t very smooth on the landing, and the 26th ends up disrupted when a 2 is rolled, with a -1 mod for landing in an occupied hex. This landing releases the Italian garrison in British Somaliland. The reinforcement convoy for the Mideast travels up the Red Sea and through the canal, ending the phase just north of Port Said. Lots of action occurs in the Mediterranean however. With harassment and rail hits impeding, the three rebuild X’s in Athenai are shipped via sea to Thessalonike to take up its defense. The Australian X on Melos is shipped to Athenai and then the British 14th Inf X is shipped from the Peloponnesus to Melos in the continuing round-robin beach tour. At Tobruch, in a ‘no surprise’ move, the 4th Ind XX’s cadre boards ship and sails for Alexandria. What is a surprise is that the 2 remaining NZ X’s in Greece, plus the HQ of the Kiwi 2nd XX are shipped back to Tobruch and formed up as a full XX. This costs the Allies 6 more VPs, plus the 2 for retaining the X already at Tobruch, for -8 in total. Thanks to moves in the Indian Ocean, this leaves just 1 NTP for GSP movements to Malta or Tobruch. Four GSPs load at Alexandria, head for Malta, but the air blockade of that island this turn is simply too much for the British merchant marine to handle. With 3 Ju87B’s and a pair of coded a/c on Sicily searching the seas for Malta convoys, the results are almost inevitable. The first Ju87B automatically makes contact w/ the NTPs offloading more flak ammo and rations, slips past flak and registers a single hit with its 4 bombing attempts (1 column, +1 each). The NTPs sink into the harbor (Eastern Med total to 9) and with no more NTPs available, the island’s flak guns will have to go without next turn.
Ground movement then begins. In Greece, small units supported by artillery, interspersed with full XX’s are sent to fully main the Metaxas line. Strength ranges from 3-5 points in each hex, so it is overrun proof. Some of these points are made up of the recent rebuilds just sea lifted in and admin’d to the likely front. 2nd Mtn XX, a flak III and an arty III move into defensive positions around Thessalonike. Along the Albanian front, 5-6 point hexes are built from the coast to the mountains, while to the northeast two 5 pt hexes with a 1 pt (effective) hex between them remain. In the center, facing the Italian armored thrust, 4 and ½ Mtn XX effectives, plus two more in the main line on the flanks, are sent to countattack the Italians. Clearly the Greeks are interested in pinching off the Centauro group and gaining some vengeance for previous losses. This is ok for the Axis however, as this leaves the Aliakmon line less then fully manned. The swamps at 4611 have a 3 pt def, the fort/wooded rough at 4612 gets 8 DS. The mtns at 4613 are currently empty, but the fort/rough at 4714 has 10 pts including the Greek motorized XX, so it may exploit into the gap to fill the line. The next hex at 4715 has a 4 pt defense, and there is a gap between this hex and the units assaulting the Centauro group. The British 1st Arm X moves up to Trikkala behind the Aliakmon line, but it may go most anywhere into the line (not the mtn hexes) in exploit, so there’s little intelligence to be gleaned from this move. At the Sperkios, the Greek and Col Cons X’s, plus a border X create a roadblock, and have a res pt in-hex for a quick fort build later. At Athenai the 7th Aus XX forms up fully, garrisoning the Greek capital along with a host of Greek flak units. To the west in the Peloponesus, the loss of the Kiwi troops is felt. Korinthos is abandoned entirely, while Greek Eng and static X’s make up for the loss of the British 14th on Melos by joining the W Art X at Patrai. The new 21st Mtn X takes up the garrison of Kalamai. Barely 7 RE’s of Allied troops are currently in mainland Greece.
In North Africa, movement options are limited. The Tobruch defenders, bullied by the arrival of the Kiwi’s, standfast against the horde of Axis c/m troops outside the fortress’s lines. The Czech and Free French II’s at Matruh blow and remove the airfield, then catch trains back to Alexandria or the airfield at 2417 just southwest of the city. The Polish Karp X likewise admins to the rear at 2417. El Alamein is empty.
Down in East Africa, 6th Aus XX overruns a road block X at 1803 along the coastal drive to Massaua, then engages the next road block X at 1804. Meanwhile, the two Indian X’s cross the mtn range into the Nacfa valley and assault the blocker X in that town. To the rear, 1 res pt is hauled forward by SMP and a cons X moves to Mersa Taclal, probably to build an airfield within 8 hex fighter range of Massaua. To the west, the FF Orient X and 68th Arty II overrun the Bande X southwest of Gedaraf, while an Ethiopean II plays cat and mouse w/ Italian colonials near Dinder by the Blue Nile. Near Gondar, the other Indian X, both MMG II’s, the 4th Royal Tank II and the Colonial FB Inf II converge on the Italian blocking position in the mountains east of Gondar which is tying up the northern supply route to Dessie and Addis Ababa. At Addis, three X’s (East African, South African and Belgian, quite a hodgepodge), with some TC support and a Cons X to boot, surround the 2 Italian X’s east and southeast of the city. The 5th South African, SEAC Cons X and 3 a/s points converge at 7W:0105, some 60 miles southwest of Addis and create a massive supply dump. Meanwhile, the 1st South African X and the East African Recon II converge on a point east of Soddu to help the ‘surrounded’ 21st East African X in the city. Finally, the 27th North Rhodesian X catches the train from Mombasa to Nanyuki, then admins northeast towards one of the Italian runners in central Kenya, reaching Archer’s Post before ending its movement.
Before the end of the phase, the Desert Air Force launches limited attacks in Libya. First, the Bombay transports attempt to strat bomb Derna, but miss. Then, with the three CR.42’s CAP’ing Benghazi, the Well1C is forced to fly at night when it strat bombs that port. It gets by flak with ease, but misses with a 1.
The Italian AF in Albania, seeing the threat of a possible 4:1 against the Centuaro group, flies two fighters on CAP over the c/m units.
Two MC.200’s fly DAS to lend a hand to Centauro. This should prevent a 4:1 as all a/c with any bombing strength remaining in Greece and North Africa would need to converge on the XX, and get by the two fighters overhead. The Greek high command appears quite satisfied with a 3:1 however and launches a massive attack on the Italian tankers. Five Mtn XX’s and four Mtn III’s assault from 4 sides, and with no AECD and full mountain effects, things don’t look great. Even worse, a 3 is rolled for an HX, eliminating the XX and two m/c III’s at the cost of 2 III’s of Greek mountaineers. (Mtn, mtneering.) Well, the Italian tankers tooks some with them, and more importantly, the Greeks aren’t positioned to the east, so the sacrifice was more than worthwhile. One Mtn XX from the rear advances into the hex, leaving two XX’s and two III’s as a second line/reserve for the Albanian front.
Combat then shifts to the East African front. The first attack is just east of Gondar, with the unsupplied Allied troops easily managing a 9:1 -2 after two GS planes fly in support (no a/s, mtn). The 3 rolled results in a DH kill of the single defending Italian X. Action then shifts to the coast, where the 6th Aus XX rolls over a single unsupported and out of supply Col unit (no a/s, 9:1 -1 for a 3 rolled DE.) The XX chooses not to advance however as there are significant Italian units to the south that might launch some sort of a/s supplied counterattack. To the northwest, things aren’t so rosy. The 9th and 29th Indian X’s fail to launch properly aggressive attacks into Nacfa, and the 92nd Col Inf X retreats in good order into the mountains west of Nacfa (no a/s, wooded rough, 8:1 -2, 1 rolled for a DR.) Turning south, at Bulhar the single Italian X could likely have defeated just the disrupted 26th East African X, but with two points of NGS and another GS point provided by British Wellsly bombers, things don’t quite work out. Instead the amphibious landing is a bit of a cakewalk despite the inausipicious beginning (EA X is ¼ for amphib, ½ for disruption, but gets auto a/s and is supported by the TF. 2 pts NGS, 1 pt GS for a 9:1 even attack, roll of 4 for a DE.) The road leading southeast out of Addis is then cleared in a massive 8:1 even assault when 2 X’s attack the hemmed in 14th Col Inf X. A 3 is rolled for another DE. Finally, the north side of Soddu is cleared of the Ghim Col Inf X when the East Africans in the city and the South Africans outside launch an unsupplied 9:1 +1 attack, roll a 3 and get another easy DE.
Naval movement is fairly quick, with one a/s of the main Mideast convoy splitting north and unloading at Kalamai outside Mxd B range on Rodi. The remaining points and Australian Engineers offload at Alexandria. The Indian RP from the EA theater is offloaded in Suez.
The Hurri1’s at Tobruch then decide to try some strafing practice against the MC.200’s at the forward 4122 temp field. The Italians simply scramble away, but the Hurri’s roll a 6 and do shut down the temp field as it’s only at 1 cap. More action then occurs in Greece. With the Italian fighters spent on CAP over the Centuaro, the Hurri1 and Blen1 units launch airbase bombing missions against Koritsa and Egouminitsa. Both roll lucky and a BR.20M and Z.1007b get aborted. (Interestingly, as these two units had flown harassment they would not have been available for bombing in the Apr I 41 turn, following the German surprise turn… As it is, they now will be available, albeit at the cost of the last 2 Ital ARPs in North Africa (and the only Axis ones remaining. The air war is getting expensive on both sides.) The Mxd S transports in southern East Africa stage to Kenya, pick up GSPs railed to Nanyuki in movement, and then transport them to Soddu. Now that I think about it, this may have been illegal for an exploit phase, but it could just as easily have been done in movement so it hardly matters.
In ground exploit, the Greek motorized XX does occupy the empty mountain hex at 4613 in the Aliakmon line. The Brit 1st Arm X exploits to just behind the Aliakmon line at Katerine. Nothing occurs in North Africa as most c/m units are dead (only the FF II near Alexandria and the recently rebuilt Spt Grp trapped in Tobruch remain.) In East Africa, one MMG runs east from Gondar to the defended Tirare river crossing. The other runs south from Gondar towards Dessie. The 4th Royal Tank II heads north from Gondar, probably to help clean out the three Italian units messing about in southern Sudan along the Blue Nile, though it could catch trains to the east to help along the coast too (bit far away for that, but we’ll see.) Around Addis, one Cons and TC are exploited into Addis, no doubt to repair the airfield. Oddly, one X and TC combo are exploited from the northeast side of the city to the southwest side. Lastly, the 1st S.Afr, its TC & the EA Recon II shoot from east of Soddu, along the Butjadira mountain road then around to a point 30 miles west of Addis. From there, it would appear that movement and exploit might see them all the way to Gimma, so the Duca’s defenses east and south of Gimma are now flanked (and with no units actually in the city, it would appear likely to fall in a coup d’main next turn. C’est le guerre.)
End of Player turn
The Axis announces that the Germans are intervening in the Balkans, despite having never brought pressure to bear on the Yugoslavians. Given Greek moves, this doesn’t appear to have been a surprise per se, though the Germans still get their extra move & attack. As Germany intervenes, Bulgaria joins the Axis. Its units are set up in various towns and cities, though border hexes are avoided so as not to cause stacking issues with the arriving German troops.