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.
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.
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…
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.