Weather: Weather rolls in Europe result in continued mud in D but the E zone dries up and goes clear, which should help the Axis out over Malta. In East Africa, things get wet around Lake Victoria and the areas immediately adjacent (south and western Kenya) going muddy. All active sea zones are clear as well, again, helping out with Axis counter sea air operations.
In supply issues, Axis forces in the Dodecanese remain U-4. All axis units in EA are U-4 as well, as no GSPs are currently in play there. For the Allied side, the 1MMG II running towards Dessie goes out of supply, as do 24th Gold Coast X and 1st South African Lt Arm II north east of Addis. Also, 2 SA X’s, a Col X and a Col Cons X in the valley between the Mendebo Mtns and the Oromos Highlands go out of supply thanks to various Italian Col units which have intruded upon 3 possible supply lines. On Malta, all units are U-4 except the two recently delivered flak II’s, which go U-1. All but a mchg II are put into special supply via GSPs. Finally, in Greece the Allies face the music and create a standard supply terminal in Athenai, thereby putting all Allied forces on the mainland back into supply, and unisolating them to boot. On the other hand, the 6th Kiwi X on Melos goes U-1.
In reinforcements & replacements, the 25th Aus Inf X first converts to its full 2-8 status at Alexandria. Then, the Allied ARP pools is emptied (4 ARPs spent), bringing back the SA Hurri1 at Alexandria, the Glad at Tobruch, and the Well1C and a Blen4 at Matruh. The other Blen4 remains aborted. The allies use ½ an Arm RP and ½ of a Brit Inf RP to rebuild the 7th Spt Grp at Alexandria, and then they activate CG-1 at Alexandria. Clearly they’ll be attempting to send the South African Hurricanes to Malta, currently without air defenses other than flak. Nothing occurs in East Africa. In Greece, with the establishment of a standard supply terminal and the resultant correction to the isolation issues the Allies have been experiencing there, the 1st Arm X gains its artillery via conversion, going to a supported 4-3-10. Also, the Brit Glads convert over to Hurri1’s as well. GSPs are then created at Alex, Suez, Athenai & Thessalonike.
The two western forts in the Aliakmon line are completed. The Malta status number remains at 8, as the Allies choose not to utilize the Cons X on the island for that effort. They will no doubt be fixing the airbase instead to give the South African fighters a place to land. No Allied air units declare any ini phase missions. On the Axis side, 5 SM.79’s that bombed Malta in the last Axis turn go inop. The Mxd B on Rodi, the He111H4 S code at Benghazi and the SM.79-2 V code on Sicily are put on naval patrol. The G.50 on Sicily CAPs Malta.
Naval activity kicks off the phase. First the Kiwi’s on Melos are rotated off the island (lots of Allied X’s getting their vacation time on Melos) and back to Korinth. The 26th Aus X is then sent to Melos. The Italian Mxd B attempts to sink them while they are offloading, makes contact, gets by flak, but misses in its one bombing attempt with a 1. In East African waters, the 27th North Rhodesian X is picked up at Brava and then transported back to Mombasa. The 23rd Nigerian X is picked up at Mogadiscio and then routed to Aden. Lastly, 3 Indian Inf RPs sitting in Port Sudan are picked up and routed to Mid East command, sailing to Alexandria where they are dropped off. In the Med, 3 sets of GSPs from Alexandria, Suez and Athenai (the Allied terminal, vice the Greek one) are sent to Tobruch’s waters, but not offloaded. The W Art X at Tobruch is picked up and then routed to Korinthos, via using various night mps and a somewhat jumbled route to avoid possible contact by the He111H4’s at Benghazi. Then the just upgraded 25th Aus X is sent from Alexandria to Athenia. Lastly, the CG-1 picks up the South African Hurri1’s and routes to a point just off the Greek coast southwest of Kalamai.
In ground movement, the retreat from Italian forces begins, so apparently General Metaxas has decided to pull back to the Aliakmon line fearing possible German intervention. Three Mtn XXs with a pair of Mtn III’s in support set up a line from 3501 to 3702, abandoning three hexes previously held (1 in the far north and two in the middle.) This frees up the 17th Mtn cadre which retreats back to Ptolemais and the 1st Mtn XX, which pulls back to the valley between Kastoria and Grevena. The 32Ev Mtn III which had been the north’s reserve retreats back into the Aliakmon line. The hexes given up create a one hex gap in the north along the Yugoslavian border, but mtn terrain and mud will prevent anything like an exploit. In the middle, the two hexes given up create a one hex gap between the mtn defenders and the units defending in the rough terrain along the western coast. These units remain in line, but the line is stripped down as well. The two remaining III’s of the 5th Mtn XX, plus the 3rd Mtn XX are pulled from the line and put on the fair weather roads that cross back to the east. Also, the 2 Art III’s, the Bdr X and the 2nd Mtn XX which had been in the west’s reserve are sent east, making points near to the Aliakmon line or Larisa. Along the Aliakmon, various other border X’s and arty units begin moving into position, as does the 19th m Inf XX. Eng X’s that just completed fort construction move south and repair one of two hits along the rail lines leading back to Athenai in the Pharsala area, while a pair of Greek and Brit Col Con X’s fix the rail hit south of the Spherkios. Larisa is stripped of its pile of flak units as the Mtn and arty units from the west move in, one flak III moving up to garrison Thessalonike while the remainder head to Athenia and the airfield just northwest of that city. In the northeast, a bdr X puts a hit on the rail line at Kilkis, but otherwise not much occurs. In the south, Allied units take up garrison of the various cities in the Peloponnesus, while more allied units garrison Athenai and the airfield to the northwest. A res pt is moved up to the Cons units south of the Spherkios, where a fort will likely begin construction next turn as a fall back position for the forward defenders.
In North Africa, the allies have few options. The 4th Ind XX’s cadre, which only just survived last turn, pulls back to Tobruch. The large stack centered on the 9th Aus XX is stuck at the road split northwest of Gazala. It cannot make either Derna or Tobruch. The Allies choose to push east towards the safety of Tobruch, but are limited to two hexes of movement due to being U-1 isolated and zoc costs. That puts the infantry units at 4618, 15 miles southeast of Gazala, with the c/m units actually behind at Gazala itself due to ½ mps. The TC at Porto Bardiya does move up to join these units however, which will allow at least one inf X to escape the noose in exploit. Still, there is a one hex gap between the Aussie XX and the safety of the Tobruch fortress. The units that are at Tobruch itself stay in place, and are joined by a Kiwi X flown in from Greece at the cost of 2 VPs (-2 VPs to the Allies, 1 per strength point for departing Greece early.) Furthermore, the 7th Spt Grp rails up to Matruh from Alexandria, and then admins close to Tobruch. It will no doubt join the Tobruch defenders to provide some support to the hex given that the W Art X was forced to depart to Greece this turn. The last a/s point in the Mid East theater is railed forward to Matruh as well, from which point it is SMP’d to Tobruch before the Axis units cut off the port from overland access. The Polish Karp Mtn X abandons Porto Bardiya, admining back to Matruh, where it joins the 1 M Free French m Inf II already in place and the Czech II railed up from Alexandria. An eclectic and very international 5 pt stack there. In the Delta, only two Commando units remain outside of Egyptian troops. They are at Alexandria. Nothing is currently defending El Alemein. On Malta, the Cons X repairs two hits on the airfield at Valleta.
Well to the south in East Africa, three Aus X’s and a pair of Ind X’s converge against the Italian blocking position on the coastal road at 14W:1703. 44 RPC Cons X repairs the bridge at Tokar, allowing a cheaper A/S SMP movement along the coast, 1 a/s moving to Aqiq. Further to the west, the Orient FF X and the 68th Art II move west to engage the 1dC Bande X currently sitting astride the rail line at 14W:1720. A pair of Cons X’s fix bridges at Tessenei and Om Ager, while the 2MMG II admins forward and screens Biscia to prevent any Italian adventures out of the Cheren defenses. A bit to the southwest, the EC Col X and the FB Col II, along w/ the 4RT Tk II engage the Italian unit blocking the road southwest of Metamma. The 10th Ind X rushes south through Gondar to engage the West Blackshirt Inf X partially blocking the road to Dessie. The 1MMG II moves up to join in the attack from the southeast, though it can provide no real assistance with its 0 AS. On the other hand, the 1st Belg X and a TC move out of Gondar to the west of the lake and mtns, via Gorgora, Danghila and approaching Dambecca. They should approach Addis from the northwest in exploit, opening up a northern supply line to the Allied units in that area. Speaking of which, the 24GC X and the 1st SA Recon II assault Addis from the northeast while the 2nd SA Inf X assaults from the southwest. Two more SA X’s attempt to assault the 61st Col X southeast of Dodola as well, which would open up the supply lines to the Valley west of Addis, and possibly create a full line of communication between Sudan and Kenyan commands. In the valley, the EAC Cons X moves east out of Soddu, while the 21st East African X takes up the defense of that city and its unbroken airfield. Well to the south, the 1st EA Recon II and the 25th EA X assault Moyale, previously retaken by the 9th Italian Col X. In the deep south, 21st EA X admins from near Dinsor to close to Mogadiscio, but doesn’t quite make it. Back at Mombasa, the 27th North Rhodesian X uses its few remaining MPs to rail north, perhaps to go clean up some of the Italian units slowly sliming their way into Kenya and Uganda. Throughout the Kenyan front, a few a/s points are moved forward via SMP as well.
At the end of the phase, the SA Hurricanes transfer from CG-1 off the coast of Greece to Malta. G.50’s on CAP let the Hurri’s by, as no combat result can prevent the Hurri’s from getting to Malta (a K or A puts them in the Malta pool, while an R just has them land at the field. And of course, the chances are much more likely that the G.50’s are going to eat any combat result. We’ll see if the Allies can keep that Hurri1 unit active however…)
The Blen4 at Tobruch launches a daylight bombing raid against Benghazi, so the Me110D intercepts from its temp base to the southeast. It manages a 2 against the offending bombers, killing them, while the bombers miss. A second raid is launched by the Well1C, this time at night to improve the odds vs the flak. The aircraft get by flak just fine, but roll a 1 and miss the port.
No Axis DAS anywhere. No combat in Greece or North Africa. East African Allied forces do launch a goodly number of attacks. The first, at 8:1 -1, rolls a 3 for a DR, zoc kill against the Italian roadblock at 14W:1703. The Aussie units all advance into the hex, while the Indian X’s remain behind. Surprisingly, in the 2nd attack the 1dC Bande X puts up a decent resistance to the FF Orient X and its supporting Art II, with the allies rolling a 2 on the 6:1 even attack. The Bande escape to the southwest. The 6th Italian Col X is crushed in a 11:1 even (woods, 1/10th AECA) attack southwest of Metamma despite a 1 rolled, since a DH is the result. Likewise, the West Blackshirt X’s is similarly crushed in an 8:1 even attack when a 3 is rolled for a DE. This clears the road to Dessie to units moving in from the north via Gondar. However, Italian arms finally exact a toll in blood against the Allies at Addis. The aircraft mechanics of the Azz Inf III defend the city and take up strong positions in various points. The 24th Gold Coast X and 1st SA Recon II are attacking from the northeast, while the 2nd SA Inf X attacks from the southwest. With no a/s in the area and the partial city effects, things aren’t quite so rosy for the Allies as they have been throughout most of the combats in the theater. The Mxd S transports from Mogadiscio do stage in to provide some air assistance, but the mechanics apparently know how to disable AFVs in the narrow roads and the recon II is killed when a 2 is rolled in an HX (4:1 even attack). Italian newspapers in Massaua trumpet this ‘victory’ of sorts, glad to have caused some losses. Mussolini sends the Duca d’Aosta a medal via carrier pigeon, though the Duca is ensconced in his bunker in Massaua and not too close to the actual fighting in the Battle of Addis Ababa. Even greater Italian feats of arms are shown near Dodola, as the 61st Col X fends off two South African X’s in the mountains near that town. The attack goes in at 5:1 -2 (mtns, some a/s provided), but rolls a 1 and is stalled in an AS. This will prevent the southern supply route to Addis and Soddu being opened up, though it may be a temporary closure since the 61st is still now isolated (and hence must roll for surrender in the next Axis turn.) Lastly, to make up for the poor rolls previously, a 7:1 +1 attack at Moyale (no a/s, but some GS) rolls a 6 in an overkill DE.
More naval moves. Three shipments of 4 GSPs are off the coast of Tobruch. The first attempts to land half of one set of 4 GSPs at 4618 where the 9th Aus XX is located. He111H4’s don’t mess with this, as it is occurring within range of two fighters at Tobruch. One of the 2 GSPs landed is disrupted thanks to Axis zoc’s but the other lands fine. The remaining 2 GSPs then run for Malta. Light Italian naval forces fail to make contact, so the SM.79-2 attempts to sink them (if they don’t fly, then the GSPs get through and it won’t matter what the Allies do with the remaining GSPs. Best to kill the first run and hope interference manages against later attempts.) The SM.79-2’s automatically make contact thanks to clear seas and the short flight. They slip past 2 pts of flak unscathed, and then get 6 bombing attempts on the 1 column (3 tac pts doubled for torps, +1 on each die roll.) The first 5 attempts miss but the 6th finally rolls a 5 and sinks the GSPs (Allied eastern NTP pool to 8) Four more GSPs are then run to Malta (around the He111H4’s at Benghazi), get by naval interference and land unscathed. The remaining four are landed at Tobruch, where they are then SMP’d forward to the Aussie box. The 7th RT Tk II and Ind 3rd m Inf X exploit up another hex and join the 9th Aus XX and 65th AT II at 4618, plus those 5 GSPs. The Brit 23rd X and the TC exploit out of the trap however and make Tobruch. Just like the Brits to leave the Aussies and Indians hanging in the breeze (to be fair, the tankers and AT troops are Brits…) The 7th Spt Grp also exploits into Tobruch, bringing the current defense up to 11 (7th can only support 2 RE’s), with 6 pts of flak and an improved fortress. Should be a tough nut to crack, though not as strong as it might have been. The Axis will be sure to trap and/or crush the 9th Aus XX before it joins the Tobruch defenders… Elsewhere, no exploit in Greece. Along the coast in East Africa the 6th Aus XX forms up. The 2MMG II exploits back to Tessenei to provide a very far screen of the Cheren defenders. 4RT Tk II exploits to Gondar, joined by the 1MMG II so it can’t be killed off due to its 0 def strength. The Belgian 1st Col Inf X and a TC exploit to Ficce and make contact w/ other Allied units near Addis, opening up a northern supply route to the city what with the 24th Gold Coast and a TC exploiting to southwest of Ficce. In the Valley, the EAC Cons and its TC exploit just one hex, protecting an a/s brought up in movement to 7W:0206. Finally, the 1st Col Recon II exploits away from Moyale back up north to just past Alghe.