Initial Phase

Weather is automatically clear throughout the Balkans area of operations by rule.  Reinforcements show up per the OB, predominately Greek XX’s going full strength or arriving in toto, while various other cavalry and artillery regiments also mobilize.  In Egypt, the British 14th Inf X, a position AA unit and some Blen 1’s prepare to deploy to the Balkans.  The Well1C is not called up.  2 Grk Mtn RPs are produced at Athenai, as is ½ a res pt.  Neither side flies any CAP, while the bombers on Rhodes go on naval patrol for the Axis.

Movement phase

In naval mov’t, the 14th X and the pos AA board transports and head along the coast towards Matruh, then cross the Med to the west of Crete, aiming for Nauplion.  Effective night mov’t results in their only being interceptable by the Rhodian naval patrol along the coast of the Peloponnesus, at a maximum 21 hex range.  The bombers attempt to do so but a contact roll of 3 fails (+3 calm, -4 for distance, needing a 6).  The British X arrives at Nauplion, then admins to Athenai, while the flak point admins to the airfield northwest of the city.  In Greek mov’ts, admin and some limited regular mov’t allows the Greeks to build a 4-6 pt defensive line from 4920 up to 4717 on the west coast.  Only contact with the Italians is with Centauro, but neither side is a threat to one another just yet on the west coast.  To the east, regular mov’t sees stacks of 5 to 8 build up from around Phlorina into the salient at 4316 and south to 4516.  Back in Thrace, a minimum garrison for the east takes up residence in Alexandroupolis, while a similar minimum garrison arrives in the Metaxas line hexes.  [Oddly, the Greeks choose to garrison only the two western most hexes, the ones with the rail lines running in from Bulgaria, leaving the flanks to the east wide open.  Presumably this is either a temporary arrangement, or they are positioned to try to hold the western most hex in strength to delay the eventual German ‘surprise’ attack, figuring 14 pts sufficient for this.]  The rest of the units in eastern Greece pile up west of Thessalonike, except for the flak units, which make the city itself their home.  Clearly, the Allied AF will be using Thess as a base in the future given its 7 pts of flak.  At end of turn, the Greek P.24F’s fly CAP over the Italian Julia Alpini XX and the GdS III.

Combat Phase

The Allies have sent only enough troops to just get a 3:1 against Julia and the GdS III.  Both of the 2 pt tac bombers fly DAS over Julia to ensure no better than a 2:1 even.  Both G.50’s and CR.32bis’s fly escort.  A second DAS mission is flown to support the 51st XX at 4215 with the SM.81’s.  This should ensure no better than a 3:1 -1.  (I actually made a mistake with these DAS arrangements, since the SM.81’s and one of the Z’s could have switched places, still ensuring no better than a 2:1 against the Julia but dropping the max odds against the 51st to 2:1 -1.)  The P.24’s choose to remain on CAP, letting the DAS over the Julia XX get by unscathed.  Either attack by the Greeks entails a 1 in 6 of an AR, which leaves the large stack at 4316 subject to an AR through enemy zoc’s.  The Metaxas and Greek high command size up the risk and choose to launch no attacks this turn.  All Italian bombers return to Valona, while the CR.32bis’s return there as well and the G.50 returns to Koritsa.  The floatplanes can use the port as their airbase, so I can stuff 4 planes into Valona where they are protected by all the Italian flak available in Albania (a modest 3 pts.)

Exploitation Phase

The Blen 1’s in Egypt and Greek Mxd B in Athenai stage up to Thessalonike, then run a bombing mission to Valona.  The CR32’s choose not to scramble, as there is little point to it.  The Allied AF gets its free shot at the Italians since there are still insufficient Italian fighters in the command to double escort and have a unit on standby for intercept.  In this case, it doesn’t matter since the Allies choose to go after the port.  Flak is unsuccessful (9 vs Mxd B, 11 vs Blen1), but so are the bombing attempts (4 & 3 respectively.)  In a minor surprise, all Allied air units choose to return to Larissa vice the flak field at Thessalonike.