Weather: Weather rolls result in clear in all European zones, clear in the important East African zones (there is mud in the western portion of East Africa, plus must of Harar province and along a good portion of the Sudan-AOI border) and clear in all sea zones.
The first major item in the ini phase is the surrender of Greece, mandated by Greek demoralization and Axis units being within 5 hexes of the capital (to whit, they are right outside on three sides of Athenai.) All Greek units on the mainland give up their arms, all on map resources (a/s, res pts, Inf RPs, SMPs) are lost, and all units in the various pools are removed from the game as well. Only a single cut-off static brigade between Khania and Rethymnon and the Greek P.24F remain on Crete to represent the Greek flag. The Allies then cancel their only currently active special operation.
In supply items, Tobruch is U-3 red/isolated, but the a/s point converted to GSPs last Allied turn keeps the fortress supplied for at least the current allied turn. More supply will need to be shipped in during the movement phase or Tobruch will shortly be untenable. The lone Greek unit on Crete is U-1/isolated, while two Allied X’s in British Somaliland are U-2/U-1, though not isolated. Malta’s units are all U-4. On the Axis side, all of the AOI is out of supply, while a few units are isolated in the far west, though not within 2 hexes of Allied units. In the Dodecannese all Axis units are U-4, while on Crete, the Italian C Inf III is U-4, the Luftwaffe paratrooper III’s are U-2 and the recently airlanded infantry III and Gebirgsjagers are U-1. Of the 9 RE’s on the island however, all but one at the western tip of the island (7/2 Para III) are supplied via 8 gsps airlanded last Axis turn. All Axis units on the island are isolated however. Following this, nearly all of mainland Greece reverts to Axis control, the only exception being various ports along the coast which don’t change hands merely due to out-of-supply/isolation effects. In Yemen the TC surrenders with a 4 rolled, while on the Blue Nile in South Sudan, 2dC Lt Inf Bande [X] also quits the field, prior to completing the wrecking of the bridge at 15W:1305.
East African reinforcements consist of Indian, Colonial and South African RPs; the conversion of the 5th SA Inf X to it’s 2-8 status; the new 2 SEAC Cons X sent up from South African; two bomber units converting to A-22’s and 2 ARPs (1 immediately transferred to the Mid-east). The Glad in Port Sudan is withdrawn, which apparently leaves this theater without any fighters, though the bomber strength is much improved.
In the Mid-East, the Hq of the 70th Inf XX arrives at Ismailia, a new P-40C unit from South African that is also brought in at Ismailia, 4 ARPs which are all immediately sent to the Balkans and a convoy w/ 2 Brit Inf RPs, ½ each of Kiwi’s and Aussies, 2 a/s, ½ Arm RP, the 2nd Aus lt flak II and a Hurri2 unit that is theoretically intended for Malta command, though it’s doubtful it will go there. The East Med NTP pool is brought back up to 10 from 8, while the RN-1 TF is brought back up to full strength at 4.
In the Balkans, no more units will be sent to Greece, and the loss of VPs for the Kiwi XX at Tobruch ends. A rag-tag group of fighters arrives to oversea the evacuation of the Greek government (contingency reinforcement of a 4F3 unit.) Additionally, the 4 ARPs sent from Mid East Command are used to replace 3 of the aborted/eliminated a/c in the area, the Blen1 and Bombay at Melos, and the eliminated Glad at Athenai. The Blen 1’s long-delayed conversion to Blen 4’s occurs. After this 1 ARP remains to the Allies in the Mid-East, with another in East Africa. (A South African Hurri1 is currently eliminated at Malta, a Blen 4 sits aborted still in the Balkans, while another Blen 4 is eliminated in the Mid-East.)
Oddly, the Allies choose to maintain the tight interdiction zone around Crete. It seems unlikely that the Allied units in Athenai will go there, so perhaps they just want to encourage Axis bombing to put our a/c at risk of flak damage?
4 GSPs are generated at each of Aden, Athenai (the Brit standard supply terminal is still active), Alexandria and Suez. In East Africa, the airfield being built 8 hexes north of Massaua at Mersa Taclal is completed, though there are now no fighters to occupy the place.
All a/c go operative (excepting two Ca.133’s that bombed the Malta status last Axis turn), but then a whole host of a/c go inop due to overstacking. For the Allies, this is just the P.24F at Eraklion, overstacked w/ a Brit Hurri1. For the Axis, things are a bit more hairy, as lots of a/c are operating in the South Aegean area. On Scarpanto, 3 Italian a/c go inop; on Rodi, 4 Ju-52’s and the Italian Mxd B go inop; at Khania, 3 Italian F’s, an Me110C and an Me109E go inop; while at two temp bases north of the Spherkios a Ju87B and BR.20M go inop.
However, there are still plenty of a/c available for naval patrol, including: 4x SM.79-1’s and a BR.20M operating out of the Levant against the Canal; an He111H on Rodi; 2x Ju88A’s and an Me110D on Scarpanto; a Ju87R and Z.506B at Rethymnon; an Me110D and Ju87B at Khania (with an Me109E for escort/intercept vs airbase bombing); and three Ju87B’s, an SM.79-1 and a Z.1007B just north of the Spherkios at various airbases from Larissa to Volos to the river. On Sicily, two Ju87B’s and the SM.79-2 torpedo bombers are available to keep the island isolated.
For the Allies, the Mxd F in Alexandria stages up to Melos and then flies CAP over the Piraeus port.
As always, naval movement begins the operations. The action starts in the Indian Ocean. The ½ South African point is landed at Mombasa, the ½ Col point is sent to Aden, while one of the two a/s rec’d is sent to Port Sudan. The 1 Ind RP and the other a/s are transferred to Mid-East control and sent towards the Canal. The big Allied Convoy w/ all the other RPs, the a/s, the Aussie flak unit and the Hurri2 heads up for the canal and passes through on mass. When this convoy reachs Ismailia, Italians in the Levant begin striking. First, 2 SM.79-1’s out of Damas attempt contact at the port, (+3 calm, -3 distance, roll 6), and make contact. The P.40C at Ismailia immediately seeks to intercept the Italian raiders, but combat is inconclusive and the bombers drive on (P.40C and SM.79-1 each roll 9’s for misses); the 2 pts of flak fail to impact the raiding a/c (two 8’s rolled), but Italian bomb sites are a hair off and both attempts to get hits fail (4,5 rolled). At this point, the convoy splits with most continuing on towards Port Said and the Med, but the NTP with the Hurri2 attempting to offload at Ismailia itself. Two SM.79’s out of Beyrouth attempt to contact the major portion of the convoy outside Port Said, but fail w/ a 2 rolled (+3 calm, -3 distance.) However, the BR.20M out of Beyrouth does contact the offloading Hurri2 NTP at Ismailia (5 rolled, +3 calm, -3 distance); flak again fails (8), and the near misses of the SM-79’s are turned to hits with box cars (2 attacks on 1 column, 6’s rolled). It’s worth two hits, but only 1 is possible. The Hurri2’s are “sunk” in the canal and eliminated to the Mid-East pool!
Action then shifts to the Aegean (with 9 NTPs remaining unused… the two left as Aegean only are not terribly useful at this point, as it is clear the Allies are heading for the hills, as it were.) A series of 7 naval missions are mounted with these NTPs as follows:
First, 24th Aus Inf X travels Athenai to Alexandria. Ju87B’s attempt intercept off Athenai’s coast, contact is successful (5 rolled), Glads in the city intercept, Ju87’s aborted in air to air, no result vs Glads (Glads 6, Ju87Bs 10.) 2nd Ju87B attempts to bomb at same location, contact successful (5), flak rolls a 4 and gets an R. An Me110D attempts contact off the eastern tip of Crete, contact successful (4), flak misses (10), 4 bombing attempts miss (4,1,4,3). 24th proceeds to Alexandria heralded by Cairo newspapers & the Royal Navy.
(This mission and all the ones below made best use of night movement, etc., but there are too many a/c flying from too many locations to avoid naval patrol entirely.)
Next, the 7th Aus Hq attempts travel Athenai to Alexandria. Z1007B’s attempt
intercept at Athenai, contact is successful (3). Mxd F chooses not to intercept, flak misses (5), bombing gets 1 hit (3,6) & 7th Aus Hq goes to Balkan dead pool (Eastern med NTP pool to 9).
Thirdly, 25th Aus Inf X travels Athenai to Alexandria. SM.79-1 out of Larisa attempts contact at Athenai and fails (1). Ju88A’s out of Scarpanto attempt contact off Crete & makes contact (2). Hurri1’s at Eraklion covering the area don’t intercept, Ju88A is driven off by flak (4 for R.) He111H’s out of Rodi attempt contact at same location, make contact (6), flak misses (9), 2 bombing attempts miss (4,4). Finally, the Z.506 out of Rethymnon attempts contact at same location, makes contact (5), flak misses (12), 2 bombing attempts get 1 hit (6,3). 25th Aus Inf X to Balkan dead pool, Eastern Med pool to 8.
4 GSPs then travel Athenai to Malta. Ju87B out of Sicily attempts contact at Malta but
fails w/ 1 rolled. 2nd Ju87B attempts contact, succeeds (2), flak misses (5), 4 bombing attempts at +1 get 3 hits vs 1 NTP (6,5,5,4). NTP & 4 GSPs sink quickly. Eastern Med pool to 7.
Fifth, the 57th Lt AA II & 1 brit pos AA travel Athenai to Alexandria. Me110D attempts contact at 2008, rolls 2 and fails. Units continue unmolested.
The Allies then launch an airbase raid against Eraklion to clear out the Ju87R at that location (with the Z.506B floatplanes now inop there as well.) A Hurri1 from Alexandria stages to Eraklion. Then the Blen4 on Melos, the Hurri1 from Eraklion & and the Hurri1 staged to Erak all fly air base bombing missions vs Rethymnon (no dropping of bombs by the hardy Brits). The Me109E from Khania intercepts and is randomly allocated to Blen4 (blast, why always the weak bomber when F’s not dropping bombs are in the majority!) Air to air aborts the Blen 4 (7 by Me109E, 7 by Blen4). The inop Me110D on the Rethymnon field scrambles to Egouminitsa. Hurri1’s bomb the airfield and get 2 hits (5,6) (The Allies do an extremely good job of bombing airfields, with something like 5 hits in 6 attempts… the Axis have I think 1 hit in 8 or 10 tries. Ju87R & Z.506B to the aborted box. Argh… there are something like 11 ARPs worth of German a/c in the aborted/elim pool, and with just 3 ARPs coming into the Balkans in our half of the turn, the Allies will be getting back some of their lost VPs due to Luftwaffe losses. Rough campaign for the Axis in the air, but we’ve certainly made up for it on the ground.
Anyway, more naval movement then proceeds, with 1 A/S picked up by 3 NTPs at Kalamai and moved to Malta. The miserable excuse of an SM.79-2 unit rolls a 1 for no contact, allowing the possibly critical a/s point to land. The commander of the torpedo unit is sent to the Italian equivalent of a gulag.
Lastly, the 26th Aus X moves Athenai to Alexandria. The Ju87B out of Volos attempts contact, & contact succeeds (6). The Mxd F goes CAP to intercept; Mxd F rolls 7 (-1 mod to 6) for an R, Ju87B rolls 7 (mod to 8) for a miss. The last Ju88A at Scarpanto attempts contact at 19A:0717 and fails w/ 1 rolled. The lucky 26th X makes Alexandria. This last mission took a slightly different track, going around the west edge of Crete once the Ju87R at Rethymnon was out of the picture.
At the end of naval movement, all Allied NTPs are used up. The 43 RPC Colonial Cons X is still stuck at Athenai, but the Bombay transports are still available. However, they will need to choose between rescuing this unit, or trying to get some small numbers of GSPs into Tobruch, as the Allies have no more logistics resources to do both. The Axis flies a CAP mission by a CR.42 over the fortress (to go with the Me109E already within intercept range) to prevent a transport mission with either GSPs or the Cons X heading there. (Night landing would still be an option, but there are few other options for the 43rd… only Crete, Melos and Tobruch are within one-way Bombay range; and again, such a mission would ensure Tobruch goes without supplies in the upcoming Axis turn (resulting in a drop from 14 to 7 DS, albeit in an improved fortress.)
Meanwhile, upon reflecting at the Allied dead pool, there are currently 12 pts of dead Aussies in the various pools, with only 11 pts of Aus RPs to arrive over the remainder of the game. I’d bet the Aussie nation isn’t too terribly pleased with Winston’s use of their boys (though it must be stated that there isn’t a single British Inf X left in the Mid-East or Balkans either, nor any Brit Armor. The Allies have the Kiwi XX at Tobruch, along w/ the 7th Armor XX’s spt grp, the 1st MNBDO flak X, the 66th RPC Cons X and a small machinegun II. In Egypt, the survivors of the Greek adventure consist of two X’s of Aussie’s, the 57th Lt Flak II and a point of pos AA. They join the fully rebuilt 4th Indian XX, the Czech II, the Polish X, the Free French II, the 65th AT II and mid-East Marine Commando II in defending the entire Delta. GHQ-MEF however maintains a stiff upper lip, as is their want. Still, Kesselring’s Hq (remember our little Axis anachronism) in Italy is of the belief that Wavell wouldn’t mind tidying up the East African theater a bit quicker so that the units down south can head north to defend the Delta and Canal.
Ground movement then proceeds… The 43rd RPC Cons X repairs a single hit at Athenai, which will allow both fighters on the tarmac to go operable in the Axis ini phase (presumably to quickly fly out at first opportunity…) It is then transported by the Bombay’s to Melos (perhaps to later put hits on the field to allow it’s destruction? Or merely has a stop gap location?). The Bombay’s then land at Eraklion, which will end up overstacked, though it’s unlikely the Allies will be able to make much use of the Greek fighters there.
In the Mideast, 4th Ind XX moves out of Alexandria and sets up a defensive position at El Alamein, albeit without a fort, and in a broken down set of X’s. The Polish Karp X catches a train, offloads short of Matruh, and then runs around the port to gain temp ownership of its facilities again. It’s joined by a TC which was also railed up.
In East Africa, along the coast north of Massaua, the broken down Aussie 6th XX screens the area. 17th X screens the airfield at Mersa Taclal, while the 21st and 19th X’s are in the south exit of the Nacfa valley, engaging the weak Italian line west and southwest of Cub Cub. 9th and 29th Ind X’s are just southeast of Cub Cub, also engaging the Italian defenders in the mountains. In the Asmara Valley, 10th Ind X and a TC run up to just northeast of Asmara from Adua, but can’t quite reach what appears to be the main Allied target this turn. The Orient FF X joins the 2nd MMG II at Cheren, while the 1st MMG II moves up the mountain roads and into the Asmara valley to Adi Ugri. 1st and 2nd South African X’s bypass Dessie and head up the mountain road for the Massaua front, though they won’t be able to engage in offensive operations for another two weeks. Southwest of Dessie, the 5th South African and 24th Gold Coast X’s are also moving at best speed to the Massaua front (presumably), though they end the phase well short of Dessie (which by itself is causing at least some delay in shifting troops north as it blocks the only admin movement corridor (that doesn’t go well out of the way via Gondar and the broken bridges east of that city.) Around the Addis area, 1st East African Recon II departs Gimma and reaches a point 30 miles southwest of Addis. The EAC Cons X begins repairing some of the damaged bridges in the area, while the 1st Belg X admins from the Dessie area to a blocking position southwest of Addis just to ensure no Italian stragglers from the Oromos Highlands or Mendebo mountains approach from that direction. In the Dalle area, 21st and 25th East African X’s engage two of the three Italian units nearby. Up in the north, i.e, Southern Sudan, a few minor units putz about near to where Italian units are, merely attempting to stay within 2 hexes for eventual surrender rolls presumably. Interestingly, the 68th Arty II and the 4th Royal Tank II catch trains and head towards the end of the rail at Wadi Halfa (near the 2nd Cataract, and presumably intending to catch the river transports at Faras for a trip up the Nile to Aswan where they can rail up to the Delta. I guess the Allied naval transport capacity really is being taxed…)
In British Somalia and Aden, units just remain in place.
No DAS. No combat in the Balkan or Egyptian theaters. In Galla & Sidamo province, the 21st and 25th East African X’s launch attacks against two Italian X’s (5dF Lt Inf and 18th Col Inf respectively). Using GS out of Addis and some limited A/S, each is an 8:1 even attack that is guaranteed to be successful. A 6 and 4 are rolled, both DE’s. Up north, the 19th Aus X and the Orient FF X take on the 2nd Col Coastal III in the mountain pass just west of Cub Cub. The attack goes in at 8:1 -2 (a/s, A-22 on GS), and with a 3 rolled is sufficient to generate a DH. The Aus X advances into the pass. In the battle to the immediate southern flank of this engagement, things don’t go quite so well for the Allies. 9th and 29th Indian X’s attack the Msw Inf III (supported naval troops called up for service), in the mountains at 2005. The attack goes off a bit poorly, and with a 2 rolled generates an HX result (6:1 -2, a/s, mtns, A-22 on GS). While the naval troops head for the dead pool, they take the 29th Ind with them (and as no Indian Inf RPs are available in East Africa, all having been sent to the Mideast, there they will stay for at least a turn…) The Duca Luna draws his second blood price.
MEF-GHQ surprises the Axis a bit in naval movements. Rather than sending flak units still on board ships or new ones to Malta, they send the pos AA and 57th Lt flak II from Greece and the newly arrived Aus 2nd Hvy Flak II to Tobruch, along with the 26th Aus X just escaped from Greece. This bumps the Tobruch defense up to 9 pts, plus 7 pts flak, once next turn’s out of supply conditions are taken into account. One a/s and most all of the new replacement points are landed at Alexandria. In a second surprise, albeit a minor one, one British Inf RP is shipped to Malta, along with a second a/s. The Inf RP and the a/s are both contacted by light naval forces out of Sicily and while the Inf RP manages to slip away (6 rolled), the a/s is automatically sunk. With the torpedo plane failure from earlier in the turn, there are now two a/s and the Brit Inf RP at Malta. Not sure about the Inf RP, as there are no units in the Malta pool to be repaired, and the Aug 41 conversion of the Mchg II comes w/ RPs… perhaps it was decided to ship some stuff in while the naval patrol a/c were down, no guarantee of this in the future after all…
In the Mideast, the Karp X and its TC exploit back to Alamein, creating a 10 pt stack well away from any Axis units. In East Africa, 4th Royal Tank II ignores the Falas river transports and goes overland via road towards Aswan. Well south, 10th Ind X and 2nd South African w/ TC’s box in the Erit m Inf X at Nafasit w/ zoc’s to force a surrender check next turn. The MMG II’s occupy the hexes just west of Nafasit. 1st South African continues towards Massaua, making Adi Caleh on the mountain road. 5th South African takes up a position just east of Dessie in the wooded rough at 10W:1615. The 1st East African Recon II heads off towards the units near Harar, a bit odd given it’s unsupported and just a II. Given we have no bombers in East Africa for GS however, it’s probably safe regardless. At the end of the turn, the Italian Ju87B/R at Egouminitsa transfers to Scarpanto, while the CR.42 on Sicily transfers to Benghazi (leaving just one F on Sicily, the short range G.50.)