The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Author: Ralph Sunley (page 1 of 4)

References

Second Balkan War
http://mlahanas.de/Greece/History/SecondBalkanWar.html

Greek War of Independence
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greece/History/GreekWarOfIndependence.html

A History of the Greek Revolution – Turkish Rule
http://www.hellenism.net/cgi-bin/display_article.html?a=95&s=25

Wikipedia article on Greece during WWI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece_during_World_War_I

The Abdication of King Constantine I of Greece
First World War.com – Memoirs & Diaries – The Abdication of King Constantine I of Greece

Greece and the Allies 1914-1922, G. F. Abbott,1922, Methuen & Co Ltd
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22677

Lecture 14: Greek nationalism, the “Megale Idea” and Venizelism to 1923, Steven W Sowards, 1996
http://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect14.htm

Arnold J. Toynbee and Kenneth P. Kirkwood, Turkey, 1926, London: Ernest Benn, p. 94
Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922)
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greece/History/GrecoTurkishWar1919_22.html

Wikipedia article on the Greco-Turkish War
Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Greco-Turkish War 1920-22, Peter Kincaid Jensen, International Journal of Middle East Studies, (Cambridge University Press, 1979), Volume 10, Issue 04, pp 553-565

GREEK BARBARISM – Part 2 – Greek Atrocities and Massacres of Turks During Greek Occupation of Izmir and Adjoining Territories, 1919

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/talk.politics.european-union/4O-d_06W2JM
Turkey and Greece: A History of Colliding

Cyprus: A Place of Arms (London: Praeger, 1966), chapter 6
http://cyprus-conflict.net/turkey-greece%20history.html

The political and diplomatic Background to the Metaxas dictatorship 1935-36, Harry Cliadakis.http://www.metaxas-project.com/library/political-diplomatic-background-metaxas-dictatorship.pdf

“Neither Fascist nor Authoritarian: The 4th of August Regime in Greece (1936-1941) and the Dynamics of Fascistisation in 1930s Europe”., Aristotle Kallis
Neither fascist nor authoritarian – Research Portal | Lancaster University

King George II article on Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_II_of_Greece

Greece becomes part of the British sphere of influence
http://www.fhw.gr/chronos/14/en/1923_1940/foreign_policy/facts/12.html

The American College of Greece – Art (Ioannis Metaxas)
http://www.acgart.gr/ACG-COLLECTION/ARTISTS/A/ApAn/ApAn1940meta.htm

Great Britain, House of Commons PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES, Vol. 346, col. 13. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1939/apr/13/european-situation

The Political and Diplomatic Background to the Metaxas Dictatorship, 1935-36, Harry Cliadakis, Journal of Contemporary History, SAGE, Vol 14 (1979), p117-38
www.arts.yorku.ca/hist/tgallant/documents/cliadakismetaxas.pdf

Ioannis Metaxas

http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=263
[Comments on page by Metaxas’ grand-daughter Ioanna Phoca-Metaxa]
Translation of memoirs from Italian Ambassador to Greece Emanuele Grazzi
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2616050/posts

THE CHRONICLES OF A CAREER – Sir Anthony Eden, LEWIS BROAD, Hutchinson & Co 1955, p152-154.
http://www.archive.org/stream/siranthonyedenth012634mbp/siranthonyedenth012634mbp_djvu.txt

The Battle of Greece

Battle of Greece

The German Campaign in the Balkans (Spring 1941) a model of crisis planning, General Major Burkhart Mueller-Hillebrand, Office of the Chief of Military History, 1952
The German Campaign in the Balkans 1941, by Mueller-Hillebrand

MEMOIRS – Winston Churchill (abridged), Houghton Mifflin 1959, Chapter 18 vol 2, pages 420-433, 792, 797
Operation Harling COMBATSIM.COM: Operation Harling: Destruction of the Gorgopotamos Rail Bridge, 1942

Axis Occupation of Greece during World War II
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greece/History/AxisOccupationWorldWarII.html

THE GREEK CIVIL WAR 1943 – 1949,  Major Jeffrey C. Kotora, USMC,  1985, Marine Corps Command and Staff College

Command Decisions, Chapter 10, Richard M Leighton, United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 70-7. OVERLORD Versus the Mediterranean

Ideology, calculation, and improvisation: spheres of influence and Soviet foreign policy 1939–1945, Geoffrey Roberts, Review of International Studies (1999), 25, p655–673

Strategic Deception Behind the Normandy Invasion
Major Jon S. Wendell, United States Air Force
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1997/Wendell.htm#_ftn30

Deceit on D-Day Outtakes from Victory and Deceit, A. Nofi
StrategyPage.com – Military Book Reviews

Bulgaria and the Aegean Sea (1941-1944) Military- Political aspects, Dimiter Yonchev
http://www.kroraina.com/knigi/dj/index.html (in Bulgarian)

Sofia was bombed? : Bulgaria’s Forgotten War with the Allies, Irina Gigova
http://www.academia.edu/928716/Sofia_Was_Bombed_Bulgarias_Forgotten_War_with_the_Allies

U.S. State Department [Eizenstat] Report on Allied Relations and Negotiations With Turkey
http://1997-2001.state.gov/www/regions/eur/rpt_9806_ng_turkey.pdf

The Republic of Turkey & Nazi Germany
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/26/979480/-The-Republic-of-Turkey-Nazi-Germany

World War II: Turkey
World War II — Turkey

The Duke of Edinburgh
http://www.royal.gov.uk/ThecurrentRoyalFamily/TheDukeofEdinburgh/TheDukeofEdinburgh.aspx

Greek civil war http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/greek.htm
Greek Civil War
http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Greek:Civil:War.htm

General Reading
The Greek Dilemma War and Aftermath, William Hardy McNeil, J.B. Lippincott Company, 1947
http://www.scribd.com/doc/47404466/William-Hardy-McNeill-The-Greek-Dilemma-War-and-Aftermath-J-B-Lippincott-Company-1947

28th October 1940: “OXI” (NO) DAY – the day Greece – Feldgrau.net

Liberation and Aftermath

Dodecanese campaign

The surrender of Italy in 1943 opened up an opportunity for Britain in the Aegean. Italian troops garrisoned much of Greece including many Aegean islands.  On Rhodes, Allied hopes were pinned on the 40,000-strong Italian force stationed there changing sides. However, quick action by the Germans forced the Italians to surrender, and they were disarmed, along with all the other Italians occupying Greece (with the exception of Kefalonia where they were massacred instead).  The British still managed to occupy the islands of Kos, Leros and Samos with a small force by the middle of September. But, as November drew to a close, local German air superiority had won the day, and the remaining British units were forced to withdraw. The defeat was a blow for Churchill, but he was as yet undeterred in his plans for the Eastern Med. (This campaign is covered in detail in David Hughes’ “Disaster in the Aegean” scenario published in TEM 57 and Frank Watsons’ “Dodecanese Adventure” article in the same issue.)

Tehran/Cairo conferences

Churchill continued to push for an East Mediterranean strategy at the Cairo and Tehran talks in late 1943. His primary objective now was to open the Aegean and secure a sea route to the Turkish ports, with the aim of bringing Turkey into the war on the Allied side. A major outcome would be a sea route to the Soviet Union through the Dardanelles that bypassed the dangerous waters of the Arctic–echoing his ill-fated 1915 Gallipoli campaign. However the Americans were opposed to the idea for several reasons. They suspected the British of not being wholly committed to the planned invasion of Northwestern Europe, were suspicious of Britain’s political motives with a view to post war influence in the region, and not least were concerned about getting bogged down in the difficult terrain and politics of the Balkans. Another attempt at taking Rhodes was seriously considered by the British, but the US reiterated it would not provide a single landing craft for the attack. (At this stage in the war, the British could only spare minor forces,  like they did in the Dodecanese, from their main commitments, and US support thus was needed to ensure success in secondary operations against the Germans.) In the end the realpolitik of the US and the Soviet Union put an end to all the British ideas of major activity in the Eastern Mediterranean until the Germans evacuated Greece in October 1944. The British, though, kept the diplomatic channels working and were able to agree with the Soviets that Greece was to come under the British sphere of influence (while Rumania and Bulgaria were to be left to the Soviets).

Strategic Deception

In order to deceive the Germans about the upcoming invasion of Normandy, elaborate operational ruses were devised and fed to Nazi intelligence under the overall guise of Operation Bodyguard. One such ploy was Operation Zeppelin, a planned invasion of Greece by (almost) non-existent forces. This phantom invasion threatened landings in Greece, Albania, the Adriatic or even the Black Sea. The desired (and realised) outcome of this plan was that the Germans were forced to keep formations in Hungary in reserve to defend against this perceived threat, instead of in France where they would have been far more useful.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria had mostly managed to remain at arm’s length from the war until 1943. Although it joined the Axis in 1941, it never declared war on the Soviet Union and did not participate in Barbarossa. Yugoslav Macedonia and most of Thrace were given over to Bulgarian administration after the Balkan campaign, and Bulgaria spent the next 3 years trying to control these sectors with a variety of harsh methods. By late 1943, though, things were starting to go seriously wrong. Heavy Allied bombing raids on Sofia had shaken the Bulgarians confidence in the alliance with Germany. The Soviets were pushing westwards hard from Ukraine, and a communist insurgency threatened the stability of the government.  In addition there were constant fears about the Allies landing in the Aegean or in Thrace and posing a direct threat to Bulgaria itself, not to mention the possibility of Turkish involvement on behalf of the Allies. The Bulgarian 2nd Corps units stationed in Thrace were therefore a first line of defence for the homeland against an Allied attack in the Aegean, but had the situation deteriorated it is likely that these units would have withdrawn to the passes of the Rhodope mountains to defend the Bulgarian homeland. In the end, the Red Army entered the country unopposed on September 5th, 1944 and on the 9th a communist coup succeeded in taking control of the government and country.  Subsequently the Bulgarians began fighting alongside the Third Ukrainian Front to drive the Germans from the Balkans, and they remained in the Soviet sphere of influence for another 46 years.

Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died in November 1938 and was succeeded as President of Turkey by İsmet İnönü. An alliance agreement was signed with Britain and France in 1939. However, this agreement largely failed, as Turkey refused requests to help Greece and stayed out of the war until it symbolically joined the Allies in 1945.
The British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Chief of the Imperial General Staff Sir John Dill met with the Turks in early 1941 as part of their efforts to create a united Balkan Front, but the Turks were in no mood to confront the Germans. The Turkish Army was in a poor state and in dire need of modern equipment, plus the economy required many resources. In addition Turkey was fearful of fighting both the Soviets and Germans (who were still allies) at the same time. Only if attacked would they enter the war.
General James Marshall-Cornwall headed a second British Military mission to Ankara in April. The Turkish authorities demanded impossible amounts of Allied assistance.  While these talks were taking place, the Wehrmacht unleashed its assault on Yugoslavia and Greece. Turkey remained neutral.
In June 1941 Turkey signed the German-Turkish Treaty of friendship with Germany, although Hitler had written to İnönü three months earlier guaranteeing the Turkish borders. Stymied, Allied negotiators decided to send just enough supplies to keep the Turks friendly, without actually pressuring them further  to enter the war at that stage.

Churchill held direct talks with İnönü at Adana in southern Turkey in January 1943, aiming to bring the Turks into the war by late 1943. This would open up the shipment route to southern Russia and divert German forces away from the Eastern Front. The demands of İnönü in terms of resources and equipment were again prohibitive, and thus Turkey still remained neutral.

Turkey did possess one item of strategic importance–chromite ore which is the major source for chromium. Chromium is an essential component in the steelmaking process, and Germany had no supplies under its control after 1943. The US and Britain signed preclusive trade agreements with Turkey for chromite ore and were the sole buyers from 1940-1942.  To their consternation, the Turks then signed a trade agreement with Germany beginning in 1943, and according to Allied estimates the amount was sufficient to meet or even exceed German requirements. Diplomatic pressure from the Allied powers was brought to bear, but did not deter the Turks from continuing to send the precious ore to the Reich. When German negotiators arrived in Ankara in April 1944 to extend the existing agreement, the Allies had had enough. A note from the US and British Ambassadors containing a direct threat was sent to the Turkish Foreign Minister. It ended “…any renewal of agreements or the conclusion of fresh agreements on the same lines will entail the application to Turkey of blockade measures such as the two Governments have throughout the war applied to neutral countries”. Six days later, all shipments of chromite ore to Germany ceased.

Turkey continued to resist all efforts to get it to join the Allies until February 1945, when it made a token declaration of war on Germany in order to become a member of the United Nations. This declaration did not have any practical effect on the war, and Turkey sent no troops into battle.

Aftermath

The British had long-standing interests in the Aegean and tried to protect them throughout the war.  They sent valuable forces to disaster in 1941 and after that played a strong hand in the resistance against the Axis occupiers.  Despite all of Churchill’s diplomatic manoeuvring, they were unable to successfully return until October 1944 when the Germans evacuated the country in order to avoid being cut off by the Red Army advancing through Rumania and Bulgaria.

Almost as soon as they landed, they became caught up in the “Second Round” of the Greek Civil War when ELAS attacked them and Greek Government forces. The lightly armed irregulars of ELAS were no match for the well trained and supported British, and by February, the ELAS had agreed to peace via the Varzika Agreement.

This agreement was however to provide only a temporary respite for the war-weary citizens of Greece. The civil war flared up again in May1946 and continued for another 3 years until the ELAS was finally dispatched with US and British assistance. Over 100,000 people were reportedly killed before the Communist forces were defeated.

Greek-British ties continue to this day. Both countries are members of the European Union and NATO. Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh is a grandson of Greek King George I.

German Occupation

British support in 1941

When Italy attacked Greece from Albania in December 1940, Metaxas requested assistance from the British. At that time, however, only a few RAF assets were available, plus some small forces sent to Crete to allow Greek troops there to redeploy to the mainland. Almost completely unassisted, the Greek Army was able to repel the Italians and push into southern Albania before a stalemate developed.

Churchill sent his close aide Anthony Eden and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Sir John Dill on a lengthy diplomatic and military mission to try and mobilise the friendly Balkan nations to defend Greece from the expected German attack in the spring of 1941. The idea was to persuade Yugoslavia and Turkey to join the fight, but both countries refused.

Direct British intervention was therefore the only feasible option. Churchill instructed Eden that as desirable as it was to send the Greeks assistance, it should not be done “if the prospects were no more hopeful than for another Norwegian fiasco”. The Allied commanders in Egypt, however, considered that there was a good chance of success. The Italians had been swept away in Libya and a sizeable Allied force was able to be deployed.

Churchill’s memoirs show that he was still hesitant about committing ground forces to Greece, but he wrote of Anthony Eden’s message from Athens:

“… Collapse of Greece without further effort on our part to save her by intervention on land, after the Libyan victories had, as all the world knows, made forces available, would be the greatest calamity. Yugoslavia would then certainly be lost; nor can we feel confident that even Turkey would have the strength to remain steadfast if the Germans and Italians were established in Greece without effort on our part to resist them. No doubt our prestige will suffer if we are ignominiously ejected, but in any event to have fought and suffered in Greece would be less damaging to us than to have left Greece to her fate . . . . In the existing situation we are all agreed that the course advocated should be followed and help given to Greece.”

This proved to be the decisive argument and the War Cabinet agreed. Thus the British and Greek governments agreed in early 1941 that ‘Lustre Force’ would be deployed to Greece. Originally planned for 100,000 men, bickering between Allied commanders and events in Cyrenaica resulted in only around 70% of the planned number actually being sent, comprised mostly of Commonwealth units. The force was severely lacking in tanks, artillery and air cover.  In addition, the decision weakened the British forces in North Africa, allowing Rommel’s Afrika Korps to counterattack.

The presence of significant Allied forces on the Continent, especially so close to the oilfields at Ploesti, crossed a red line for the Germans.  They quickly drew up plans to expel them and did so with Operation Marita in April 1941. Shortly afterwards Operation Merkur captured Crete and ended all British presence in continental Europe (apart from Gibraltar), despite the valiant efforts of the Allied troops on the island. Greece had been completely defeated within 8 weeks and some 25,000 Commonwealth soldiers became POWs. At the time these losses were a severe setback to the war in North Africa.

Although the Greek expedition had been a military failure in itself, Anthony Eden stood up in the House of Commons to defend the venture. “In this war,” said Eden, “we are fighting not for gains but causes. Greece is the embodiment of those causes. I believe that had we not gone to her help we could not have raised our heads again.”

The effect of the campaign on Barbarossa is debatable and outside the scope of this article. What is beyond doubt is that although conventionally defeated, Greece (and Yugoslavia) became a festering sore for the Axis, requiring large amounts of troops and resources to control resistance movements that could not be pacified.

Axis occupation

Greece was divided into 3 occupation zones – Italian, German and Bulgarian. Italy administered most of western Greece apart from Athens, as well as a portion of Crete and a significant portion of the Aegean islands (including the Dodecanese). Bulgaria was granted Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace – territory it had held up until the end of The Great War. Germany controlled the rest including Athens, Central Macedonia and Thessaloniki, as well as the far east of Thrace along the border with Turkey.

During the occupation, the already severely weakened Greek economy was strained even further by the Germans who requisitioned large amounts of raw materials and food. A “war loan” to Germany only added to the misery.  A famine struck during the winter of 1941-42, exacerbated by an Allied blockade, and an estimated 300,000 people perished. Eventually the Allies partially lifted the blockade so that the Red Cross could distribute emergency supplies.

Immediately after the defeat of Greece, there was little that could be termed as resistance. After a few months, small guerrilla bands and networks to aid escaped POWs began to appear but were of little concern to the occupiers as yet.

In 1942, organised resistance movements began to appear, in two main groups. One was the ELAS (Ethnikos Laikos Apelevtherotikos Stratos, Greek People’s Liberation Army), the military arm of the EAM (Ethnikon Apelevtherotikon Metopon, National Liberation Front). The EAM was a front for the KKE (Kommounistikon Komma Ellados) or Communist Party of Greece. On the other side of politics was the EDES (Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos) or National Republican Greek League. The EDES was only small to begin with and consisted of around 300 former Greek Army officers and men.

Sporadic attacks occurred on Axis troops during the summer of 1942 but by the autumn both groups clashed with the Italians in larger scale operations. In October, a British SOE (Special Operations Executive) unit headed by Colonel E.C.L. Myers made contact with ELAS and EDES, and a combined attack destroyed a key viaduct and railroad at Gorgopotamos (Operation Harling). This was SOE’s first major success of the war. It inspired the Greek guerrilla movement and many other bands began to spring up, each with their own political aims right across the spectrum. By the end of winter EDES and ELAS had increased their numbers to 1500 and around 4500 respectively.

Meanwhile, internal politics in the KKE was producing some contradictory outcomes. In the first half of 1943, ELAS made some attacks on EDES and other small non-communist forces. However the KKE then signed up to a ‘National Bands Agreement’ in July 1943 establishing a common HQ and operational areas for all resistance groups, thereby ensuring the continued flow of British weapons to ELAS.

Events of the next 3 months turned out to be a pivotal point in the struggle.  The KKE sensed that an Allied return to Greece was imminent after the Italian surrender in September. The KKE leaders in favour of seizing power over all of Greece by any means became the dominant faction, and they wished to complete this goal before the Allies arrived. They estimated that the strength of ELAS (around 15,000 under arms) was sufficient to crush all opposition, and importantly they no longer needed British supplies as they had captured the equipment of the entire Italian 24th (Pinerolo) Division, which had surrendered to them.

In October 1943, the ELAS launched a campaign to destroy all the other resistance groups. This incident led to the British ceasing all weapons shipments to the ELAS and throwing their resources entirely to EDES. It was also the beginning of the Greek Civil War, which would continue in various forms for another 6 years.
This “First Round” of the war initially lasted around a week. EDES repulsed the ELAS attacks but other smaller groups were dispersed or destroyed by the ELAS. The fighting was interrupted when the Germans began an assault of their own. Both major groups suffered significant losses, with the ELAS getting the worst of it. German operations continued well into the winter of 1943/44, concentrating on Macedonia and Epirus. Once the Germans paused, EDES counterattacked ELAS and regained some lost ground. Naturally the British were extremely concerned by the situation and eventually managed to broker a truce between EDES and ELAS in February 1944.

It was now that political developments came to the fore. On March 10th the KKE declared that it had set up a provisional government – the PEEA (Politiki Epitropi Ethnikis Apelevtheroseos, Political Committee of National Liberation). This posed a direct threat to the Greek government-in-exile. Although the KKE had taken great care to project the PEEA as an anti-fascist rather than a communist organisation (to widen its appeal), the strings were being pulled in secret by the KKE’s Central Committee. The first impact of this declaration was a mutiny by elements of the Greek forces in exile on 31st March (which was quickly put down by the British).  The Greek government in exile had to respond. It called a conference in Lebanon in May 1944, and under the stewardship of George Papandreou a new government of national unity was formed, to include members of all parties and the PEEA. The KKE delegates, however, had overstepped their authority in signing up to the plan, and as a result the KKE had been outmanoeuvred. It tried to stall for time but larger diplomatic forces had also been at work. A Soviet delegation flew to the KKE headquarters on the 26th of July. Although there are no records of what exactly took place, shortly thereafter the KKE dropped all its objections and joined the new government.

Although German forces still continued ground operations during 1944 (mostly against ELAS), the Soviet advance had cast the die and they prepared to depart. By October the British were in Athens and the Axis occupation had effectively ended after 3 and a half years. Over 300,000 civilians and thousands of guerrilla fighters had died, and the country was in ruins.

Metaxas

Metaxas

Ioannis Metaxas came to power in early 1936. He came from a military background and in his youth he had attended the Berlin War Academy for 4 years from 1900-1903. His time spent in Germany was a happy one, and he was later considered by most to be a Germanophile. He worked his way up the ranks of the Greek Army to be Chief of Staff by 1913 and was then King Constantine’s principal military adviser until the King was forced into exile in 1917. Metaxas also went into exile, later returning and entering Greek politics. After a further exile and return, he was appointed to the post of Prime Minister President by King George II in April 1936. Four months later, he suspended the Greek parliament and parts of the constitution, taking all power for himself and soon assuming the title of Arkhigos (“Leader”). This was perceived at the time by Metaxas and the King as the only solution to a political crisis (one of many) that had paralysed Parliament. Opposition parties were banned and the dictatorship of the “4th of August Regime” had begun.

He was a staunch royalist and anti-Communist, but whether his regime can be classified as “Fascist” is the subject of academic debate. Certainly it was authoritarian or at least quasi-fascist. He engaged in many reforms but also brutal repressions of his left wing enemies. His government has been compared to that of Franco’s Spain, rather than the pure fascist states of Italy and Germany.

During this period Italian expansionism began to assert itself against Greece. This drew Greece ever closer to the British, although Metaxas made an effort to keep the country effectively neutral for as long as possible. He did, however, declare that in the event of invasion he would fight alongside the Allies. A factor in this position was that the Allies promised the return of the Dodecanese after the war, which had been occupied by Italy in 1912.

Nonetheless, the Italian occupation of Albania in April 1939, along with a subsequent guarantee of Greece’s borders by Britain and France, began to sway him even further towards the Allied side. Prime Minister Chamberlain declared to the House of Commons on 13 April that

“…in the event of any action being taken which clearly threatened the independence of Greece or Rumania, and which the Greek or Rumanian Government respectively considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Greek or Romanian Government all the support in their power”.

In addition, Metaxas’ patron King George II and many of Greece’s elite were strong Anglophiles. For better or worse, Great Britain was committed to supporting Greece in the event of an attack.

Metaxas was also prepared for an assault from Bulgaria, and he had a huge chain of fortifications that bore his name built along the border. Redoubtable as they were, the Germans were to easily outflank them in 1941 by going through Yugoslavian Macedonia during Operation Marita.

The Greek cruiser Elli was torpedoed by the Italians at anchor in August 1940, but Metaxas chose to ignore this provocation in a last ditch attempt to keep Greece out of the war. Unfortunately this was in vain. At 3am on 28th October 1940 the Italian Ambassador Emanuele Grazzi delivered an ultimatum demanding free passage for Italian troops to unspecified strategic sites in Greece. Metaxas’ paraphrased reply was said to be “Oxi!” (No!). The date is a national holiday for Greece to this day – Oxi Day. Within hours of the rejection, the Italians invaded Greece from Albania.

Ioannis Metaxas died in January 1941, with the Greek Army having successfully counterattacked the Italians and driven them back into Albania. It was the first time during the war that Axis forces had been defeated in a land battle.

Anglo-Greek Relations between the Wars

WW1 and earlier

Anglo-Greek ties predated WW2 by well over a century, beginning with British support during the Greek War of Independence fought against the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s. After 8 years of fighting (with British, French and Russian support), the Greeks finally threw off more than 350 years of Ottoman control. Throughout most of the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th, King George I, a former Danish prince with family ties to the rulers of Great Britain, France and Russia, sat on the Greek throne. These powers supported Greece through the various intrigues and wars of the period, the most notable of which were the two Balkan Wars of 1912-13. As a result of these politically complex conflicts, Greece gained a large amount of territory and population from the Ottomans. In WW1, Greece eventually entered the war on the Allied side in 1917. In a failed attempt to aid Serbia, Entente forces had landed at Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1915 with the permission of the Greek Prime Minister. However, Greece remained neutral, as the pro-German King Constantine (who was married to the Kaiser’s sister) had resisted Entente requests to join the war. Beset by internal political crises and heavy Entente pressure, the King was forced to abdicate in June 1917. His son Alexander assumed the crown and the Greek Army subsequently fought alongside British and French troops at the conclusion of the Macedonian campaign. As a reward, Greece gained Western Thrace from Bulgaria after the war.

Between the wars

The Entente also allocated additional lands to Greece to administer in Anatolia (where there were sizeable Greek minorities), which had belonged to the collapsed Ottoman Empire. Greek forces landed at Smyrna (Izmir) in May 1919, precipitating the Greco-Turkish War (known in Greece as the Asia Minor Catastrophe), which was to last for the next 3 and a half years. The Greeks attempted to realise the “Megali Idea”, a nationalist vision of an enlarged Greek state, Megali Hellas (Great Greece), encompassing all Greek populations that had been a part of the Byzantine Empire. This included a significant portion of Asia Minor. The noted historian Arnold J. Toynbee described the conflict thus: “The war between Turkey and Greece which burst out at this time was a defensive war for safeguarding of the Turkish homelands in Anatolia. It was a result of the Allied policy of imperialism operating in a foreign state, the military resources and powers of which were seriously under-estimated; it was provoked by the unwarranted invasion of a Greek army of occupation.”
There were also tensions with the Italians, who had forces stationed in nearby Antalya. However, diplomacy ensured a demilitarized zone (“The Milne Line”) was created to keep the Greeks and Italians apart. Italy believed it had been promised territory in western Anatolia via the secret Treaty of London in 1915. This agreement paved the way for Italy to join the Entente during WW1. However, after their delegation walked out of the Paris peace conference for two weeks in April 1919 over a range of territorial disputes,  the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos was able to take advantage of their absence and persuade the British to allocate Smyrna and the surrounding region to Greece instead. The British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was an admirer of Venizelos and called him “..the greatest statesman Greece had thrown up since the days of Pericles”. Venizelos used a combination of exaggerated population data and forged reports of atrocities against Greeks in the Smyrna region to further his case. In any event, by this time Britain and France were opposed to Italian expansion, and Lloyd George remarked “Any day it might be found that Italy had captured Anatolia and it would be difficult to get them out of there once they had occupied it”. On the 6th of May, approval was given to the Greeks to land in Smyrna. Italy was most aggrieved by this turn of events.

In 1920 the Greek Army advanced steadily eastwards, but they were unable to land any telling blows on the Turkish forces, which steadily retreated in good order. In October of that year, King Alexander died of septicaemia after being bitten by a monkey. As he had no heir, a political crisis developed. Eventually Prime Minister Dimitrios Gounaris organised a referendum which returned King Constantine to the throne, despite Entente threats to withdraw all support. The upper ranks of the Army were purged and replaced with inexperienced officers loyal to the new King.

In the winter of 1920-21 two large battles at İnönü saw the Turkish revolutionaries finally halt the Greek advance. In the meantime political developments resulted in the Italians, French and Bolshevik Russians begin to provide support to the Turks.  Only Britain remained in the Greek corner.

The summer of 1921 saw further Greek advances, to a point where they were only 100km from Ankara. At the Battle of Sakarya, King Constantine personally commanded his troops against the army of Mustafa Kemal, the future Atatürk and founder of the modern Turkish state. After a bitter 21 day struggle, the Turkish lines had held, and the Greeks would move no further eastward.

A stalemate then persisted for roughly 1 year as both sides dug in. Finally the Turks launched a major counterattack Büyük Taarruz (The Great Offensive) on 26th August 1922. Decisively defeated at the Battle of Dumlupinar, the Greeks were routed within 2 weeks and Smyrna fell to the Turks on the 9th of September.  Western diplomatic officials reported that the retreating Greeks engaged in “scorched earth” practices, though it has been documented that atrocities were committed by both sides during this period against each other’s populations in Turkey.

The conflict officially ended with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which created the internationally recognised Republic of Turkey.

King Constantine was again forced to abdicate in 1922 following the Greek defeat at Dumlupinar, and King George II, the eldest son of Constantine, took over the throne for the next 2 years. In March 1924 the Greek Republic was proclaimed and he went into exile. During the following 11 years there were 23 changes of government, a dictatorship and no less than 16 coups as Royalists and Republicans slugged it out on the political stage. A rigged plebiscite restored George II to the throne in November 1935

Game Analysis

Victory points

  • German
  • Spanish surrender – 50
  • Capture government – 10
  • Government goes into exile – 5
  • Terror bombing – 6 (3 hits)
  • Hits on Naval units – 72 (9 hits)
  • Enemy losses – 34 (3 elim air units – 12, 7 aborted air units – 14, 7 REs in repl pool, 1 c/m – 8)
  • Territory – 60 (6 major city hexes) + 60 (12 dot cities) + 40 (20 reference cities) = 160

Total: 337

  • Allied
  • Allied ground units present in Spain from Jul I – 400 (8 turns)
  • Territory – 100 (Gibraltar) +70 (Canary Islands) +10 (Ifni & Spanish Sahara) = 180
  • Enemy Losses – 12 (3 aborted air units)
  • Exile forces – 24 (3 task forces in play) +4 (1 air unit in play) +102 (51 REs in play) = 130

Total: 722

Result: Allied decisive victory

Commentary

As the scenario is hypothetical, it is obviously difficult to compare the game as played to any potential real-world events. However, with the materials at hand, I have the following observations about this game

  1. It is rather one sided, and quite suitable for solitaire play. In my view it is similar to First to Fight, as the Allies have few chances to attack and only one real strategy – delay.
  2. The forces available to the Germans are not the right kind of units and are insufficient in number for the job at hand. Considering the terrain in Spain, there should be a lot more mountain, jaeger and other specialised units as part of the invasion force. Also, the Spanish have roughly one division for every German division, a ratio which is difficult to quickly overwhelm, even with strong air and armoured assets.
  3. It would have been interesting to see an option for Italian involvement via the Regia Marina. A case could be made that the Italians could have been promised Vichy territories in return for their participation, and it would have made life for the Royal Navy a bit more challenging, at least in the Mediterranean.
  4. The victory point table is rather unrealistic. In the scenario as played, the Germans did not take Gibraltar, but they conquered Spain with minimal losses, and would have been able to significantly impact naval traffic through the straits of Gibraltar. However, the scenario result was a decisive Allied Victory. There are two VP awards that seem out of place – points for controlling off map areas that the Germans can never reach, and the 50 points per turn after Jul I that there are supplied Allied units on the Spanish mainland. This is a very high penalty, and seems to imply that the Germans have somewhere else to be. If they are still planning to launch Operation Barbarossa after attacking Spain, then I view that as extremely ambitious. Nonetheless, it is very difficult for the Germans to make the Spanish fall over in a hurry due to several factors – terrain, the surrender rules and the supply rules
  5. The supply and rail conversion rules are a big impediment to the Axis. They cannot use the Iberian rail net for supply until they have 10REs of capacity on that net. This is difficult to achieve, since they must capture at least Madrid, Barcelona and 6 dot cities, plus use all their resource points to permanently increase capacity up to 10. The other problem is that they have only two RR engineers, and they can only regauge 2 hexes each per turn to European gauge with the rules as written. It has been pointed out to me that these rules are in fact in error, and the FitE rules should be used, but I had already started the game so kept going with the RAW.
  6. Partisans are very effective tool for the Allies, who receive 3 attacks per turn. The only restriction is that an attack cannot take place in an enemy occupied hex. Without any security troops, the Axis is very vulnerable to these operations.

Oct II 41 – Allied Turn

Initial Phase: All units are in supply, however all Spanish units are halved due to demoralisation. All German air units are assigned to Naval patrol. No Allied units are replaced this turn. The Allies have no ARPs left to bring back any aircraft this turn. All the active German Me109s plus 2 Me110C1s fly CAP over Gibraltar. Spanish guerrilla units are ordered to lay low and begin to prepare stockpiles for a resumed sabotage campaign in the spring of 1942.

Movement Phase: The Allied fleet that has been providing fire support for the ground forces is sitting in the Straits of Gibraltar. Luftwaffe units fly as many sorties as they can in an attempt to send it fleeing. First contact is made by 2 Me109Es escorting a Ju87 from Jerez. Two Hurricanes from Tetuan intercept, and 1 tries to bypass the screen. The bypassing unit is shot down, while the other two fighters return each other. AA fire from the fleet is on the mark however, and the dive bombers are aborted without causing any damage. Missions from Sevilla, Malaga and hex 3419 fail to find the Allied ships due to a mixture of fog and cloud in the area. Having survived the aerial assault this turn, the Allied fleet rotates the LC on ferry crossing duty, and also refuels, tying up at the Gibraltar docks.

The forces that successfully defended LA Linea de la Concepcion are ordered over the Straits to Spanish Morocco. They all move to Ceuta, except for the British 7th Artillery brigade which stops in Gibraltar. To make room for them, the Allied armour moves west to Alcazarquivir and the units that were in Ceuta enter 4128.

Combat Phase: No combat

Exploitation Phase: No activity

End of Turn Summary

The Germans call off their campaign at this point and the game ends. Spain has been conquered with minimal losses but there is no reasonable prospect of taking Gibraltar since there are no resource points to assemble to special artillery units and the weather is about to become mud.

Losses

  • Spanish Unisolated – 0
  • Spanish Isolated – 0
  • Spanish Air – 0
  • German Unisolated – 0
  • German Isolated – 0
  • German Air – 1A
  • British Unisolated – 0
  • British Isolated – 0
  • British Air – 1A

Oct I 41 – German Turn

Initial Phase: There is no sign of an early autumn. The weather remains clear in Zones D and E, but the Atlantic and Mediterranean remain rough. All units are in supply Spain generates 3 GSPs in Sevilla. 2 ARPs are used (5 left) to bring back an aborted Me109E and an aborted He111. The bomber unit appears in Toledo while the fighters come on at 3313.

Germany has 15.5 Infantry RPs in its pool, and it receives another 6 from production this turn, for a total of 21. 5 are used to restore the 57th Infantry division to full strength in Cordoba. 5 more are used to bring back 2 regiments of the 11th Infantry division that were lost in Galicia last turn. They appear in Almeria. Finally 2 RPs are spent reforming the 610th Artillery regiment in Cordoba. 8 Inf RPs and 16.5 Armoured RPs are still available. Germany sends 3 Me109Es and 2 Me109Fs to fly CAP over Seville.

The British fly a Hurricane and a Spitfire from Malaga on CAP over Sevilla. They also send 2 Hurricanes from the RAF reserve at Tetuan, making a total of 4 fighters.

Movement Phase: The 22nd Air Landing division breaks down in 0914, into its supported components. The 65th regiment then moves to capture the port of Vigo but can only reach 0718. The other two regiments move north to 0413. Following them is the now reformed 15th Mountain Corps, which advances to 0414 and prepares to attack La Coruna.

In the west, the 5th Infantry division heads further down the road from Caceres towards Sevilla, reaching 2922. Behind them the 616th Motorised AT regiment follows, using admin movement to reach the same hex. In the quiet Madrid sector, the 1st RR Engineer unit moves to 2811, but it does not have enough MPs to repair the rail hit this turn.

Temporary airfields are abandoned in hexes 3211, 3212 and 3312. To continue the rolling forward airbases system, the 7th Construction regiment moves to 3516, the 71st goes to 3415 and the 16th heads to the airbase in 3215. The 108th Construction regiment does not move, but it repairs the rail hit in its hex at 3313. 3 more temporary airfields are constructed to replace the ones already abandoned. One is built in Cordoba by the 674th and 512th Combat Engineers, which move up from 3516 and pool their efforts. A second is built next door in 3419, again with quick construction, this time by the 604th and 667th Combat Engineers from 3415. Finally the 517th Combat Engineer shuffles forward to build a temporary airbase in 3216.

Along the Mediterranean coast, a regiment of the 11th Infantry division advances out of Almeria to the mountains at 4119, threatening the port of Motril. At the same time, the GD Motorised regiment and 608th Motorised artillery also head into mountainous terrain, this to the pass at 3918.

A major German attack is planned on the city of Sevilla, the last major city in Allied hands. The 65th Corps heads north of the city to 3124, the 66th Corps leaves Cordoba, crosses the bridge over the Guadalquivir river and then heads west across the Genil to 3324. More siege artillery is brought up with 64th Corps, which positions itself in 3223. The last unit to approach is the 25th Armoured Corps, which moves to Utrera, cutting off any retreat. Granada is held by the Spanish 93rd Infantry division. It is marked down for capture by the 62nd Corps, which moves to 3819.

In the centre of the German front, the 33rd and 34th Corps are sent to take out the Spanish position in 3723, which is held by infantry, and will hopefully be vulnerable to the attacking armoured units. The 33rd enters the woods at 3622 while the 34th goes to 3722.

Combat Phase: Every serviceable aircraft flies on DS over Sevilla. The British and Spanish can muster 7 fighters (4 Hurricanes, 2 Spitfires, 1 Me109E) and 4 bombers (2 Blen 4s, 1 Whitley, 1 A-22). The 6 German aircraft flying CAP in the hex switch to interception, and a Me110C from Cordoba also flies an interception mission. 2 Me109Fs attempt to bypass the screen. The sky over the provisional Spanish capital swarms with aircraft, and a bloody battle ensues. The two bypassing units get past the escorts and shoot down a Whitley. The British get slightly the better of the fighter combat, losing 1 Spitfire and 1 Hurricane aborted, while the Germans have a Me109E shot down with a snake eyes, and another aborted. However, in a blow to Allied hopes, the AA of the 25th Corps (1 effective point) is in remarkable form and returns the A-22 and a Blenheim, leaving only a second Blenheim to provide effective DS (0.5 points).

With all the Allied fighters desperately trying to protect their bombers over Sevilla, the Luftwaffe can afford to fly its GS missions unescorted. 4 He111s fly in to support the attack on Seville. The city ha 4 points of AA from a variety of sources but they are perhaps confused as to which aircraft to shoot at, since there are so many overhead. All the bombers get through and deliver 4 points to the target.

3 Ju87Bs and a Ju88A are sent against 3521, in support of the 53rd Corps. In another example of top class gunnery, a Stuka and the Ju88s are aborted by the 74th Heavy AA regiment. 8 points of GS will be added to the attack. A Ju87B and a Me110C1 loaded with bombs attack 3723, and another mission with the exact same profile is flown against the 93rd Infantry division in Granada. There is no AA at either site so 5 points of GS will be included for each assault.

The last remnants of Spanish resistance in Galicia are attacked by strong German forces. The 15th Mountain Corps charges into La Coruna, which is defended by only 3 leg infantry regiments. These units are unsupported. The odds work out to 17:1.5 or 9:1, with a -1 for the cover provided by hedgerows around the city. Only 1 outcome is possible, and a DE comes up. The 15th Corps occupies the city.

Nearby, 2 regiments of the 22nd Air Landing division attack the N Marine regiment that is holed up in the fortress of El Ferrol. The marines are also unsupported, unlike the attackers, so the odds are 5:0.5, 9:1 -1. Again the result is a foregone conclusion, another DE. The 47th Air Landing regiment advances into the city. No Spanish units are now left outside Andalucia.

The 62nd Corps, backed up the GD Motorised regiment and the 608th Motorised artillery attempt to take the city of Granada. In their way is the 93rd Infantry division, an elite Colonial unit. The Germans have 31 ground attack factors, plus 5 points of GS for a total of 36. As the Spanish are worth 6, it is a 6:1 attack, with -1 for rough terrain. Perhaps due to the increasingly precarious Spanish situation, resistance collapses quickly. A 6 comes up, modified to 5 for a DE. The cadre retreats to 4019, and the motorised units advance into the city.

Sevilla is subjected to a huge attack by German infantry, armour, plus air raids and siege artillery. The combined 25th, 66th, 64th and 65th Corps have a total of 81 combat factors, plus 4 points of Ground Support from the He111s. This gives a total of 85. In the city, the Spanish government is defended by the British 3rd and 43rd Infantry divisions, plus several smaller units. A few surviving Blenheims provide an extra 0.5 to the 20 defensive factors in the city. The city fortifications built some time ago will subtract 1 from the 4:1 attack. The British forces are surrounded (and isolated), but put up a fierce fight, repelling wave after wave of attacks with heavy losses. Finally though, German armour proves decisive in the house to house fighting, and the city is taken. A 2 is rolled, modified to 1 for an EX. Franco and his cabinet are caught by the Germans still trying to direct operations from a basement in the centre of the city. Due to ZOCs, the British cadres cannot retreat and many thousands are taken prisoner. The Germans lose many tanks in their final push and cadre the 3rd and 4th Panzer divisions. The 25th Corps advances into the city.

Due to the capture of the Spanish government, the Spanish army becomes demoralized, causing them to be halved for the remainder of this game turn, plus all of the next one. The village of Lucena is occupied by the Spanish 74th AA regiment, plus 2 artillery regiments (1 British, one Spanish), Due to the lack of infantry, only one of the artillery units defends at full strength (the British 7th brigade). The Allied units are worth 4.5, while ranged against them is the 53rd Corps, which is backed up by 2 Stukas and is worth a total of 32. The odds are 7:1 with a -1. 3 comes up, modified to 2 for a DH. Both Spanish units are eliminated, while the British artillery manages to retreat to 3421. The 53rd Corps advances.

Finally, the German mechanised forces of the 33rd and 34th Corps try to break through the middle of the hastily constructed Allied line at 3723 in front of Malaga. The Spanish 23rd and 92nd Infantry divisions are stacked with the 3rd Construction regiment and 3rd British Combat Engineer brigade. However, morale is collapsing, so the Spanish are halved, giving a defensive total of 7.5. The attackers have 52, made up of 21 from the 34th, 26 from the 33rd, and 5 points of GS. Again, rough terrain gives a -1 modifier but the Germans have full AECA so the roll is 6:1 +2. The infantry is devoid of antitank weaponry and cannot resist the German Panzers. 3 is modified to 5 for a DE. The cadres retreat into 3823, and the 33rd Corps advances.

All German fighters that were flying CAP over Sevilla, plus a Ju87 land in the captured city. The rest of the short range planes are placed in Cordoba and Granada. One Heinkel is sent to Cordoba and the other 3 land at the temporary airbase in 3419.

3 Allied fighters land in Malaga, while 1 goes to Ceuta. All the bombers go to Gibraltar.

Exploitation Phase: The 33rd Corps chases the Spanish cadres that flee from the attack in 3723. Relatively unhampered by ZOCs, it is able to overrun the Spanish who are halved and worth only 2. The Corps then moves back to 3723. Meanwhile, the 34th Corps diverts north to overrun the British 7th Artillery regiment, and then turns around to end movement in front of the Allied armour at 3622.

Losses

  • Spanish Unisolated – 1+3+7+4 = 15 (3 Special RPs received)
  • Spanish Isolated – 3+3
  • Spanish Air – 3A/1K
  • German Unisolated – 12 (3 Special RPs received)
  • German Isolated – 0
  • German Air – 2A
  • British Unisolated – 2+4 =6 (1 Special RP received)
  • British Isolated – 17
  • British Air – 2A/1K

Oct I 41 – Allied Turn

Initial Phase: All units are in supply, however all Spanish units are halved due to demoralisation. All German bombers are assigned to Naval patrol.

Spain has lost its last mainland replacement city, so it only receives 0.5 Inf RPs in the Canaries (2.5 available) and 0.5 Colonial Inf RPs in Spanish Morocco (2.5 available), plus 3 Special RPs are received. 2 Colonial Inf RPs are spent to bring back the Tdl Infantry regiment (2-6 version) in Melilla, while the 12th and 13th Cavalry regiments plus the 48th Artillery regiment appear in Villa Sanjurjo. The collapse of the front means that Spain must now try to hold on to Spanish Morocco. 2 RPs are also spent in the Canaries to bring back the 83rd and 87th MG regiments in Las Palmas di Gran Canaria. The Spanish government is re-established by loyal officials on the island of Gran Canaria in the Canaries. Las Palmas di Gran Canaria is the new Spanish capital.

British casualties were high last turn, with the defeat at Sevilla. They receive 3 more Inf RPs from production plus 1 Special RP to give them a total of 9, while 1 more Arm RP is received to increase the pool to 6. All 9 Inf RPs are used to reform the 43rd infantry division and 25th Infantry brigade in Gibraltar. The Allies have no ARPs left to bring back any aircraft this turn. 3 Allied fighters from Malaga fly CAP over Gibraltar. Due to the imminent threat to Gibraltar, the Home Fleet is activated in Britain.

Spanish freedom fighters are disheartened by the capture of the government, but fight on nonetheless, attacking rail hexes in Lerida, Valladolid and Tomelloso. Only the attack against Valladolid is effective enough to cause rail disruption. A fort is constructed at La Linea de La Concepcion by the 2nd Construction regiment and 2nd Combat engineer regiment.

Movement Phase: The Allied High Command calls a general retreat. All Spanish units are ordered to get to Spanish Morocco or the Canaries by any means, while British units will fall back to Gibraltar.

The Allied fleet deploys to assist the evacuation of Spain. Firstly, the Swordfish loaded aboard the carrier group in Gibraltar transfer to Ceuta. The Allied fleet heads out at night, in 4 separate operations. Force H escorts the Spanish Landing Craft LC-1 out to the straits to act as a ferry. The Spanish BB group escorts 2 transports to Huelva to pick up the 88th and 90th MG regiments. 2 Spanish NTs dock at Malaga, while 6 British transports slip into Cadiz. The German air units in Sevilla attempt to locate the Allied fleet which is in the Straits of Gibraltar. However, persistent cloud cover prevents contact being made.

The Spanish ships sent to Huelva have a problem. Just as they are within sight of the port, dawn breaks, rendering them vulnerable to air attack. Air units from Cordoba do not find anything but 3 He111s from 3421 spot the Spanish trying to sneak through just outside the port. The AA guns of the battleship are unable to make a significant dent in the attackers. Two hits are achieved, further damaging the capital ship, and a transport is sunk. 16 more VPs for the Axis.

Despite the damage, a significant number of Spanish troops are able to be loaded up and transported to Spanish Morocco. The 88th MG regiment is taken to Tangier, the 38th and 39th Infantry regiments are evacuated from Malaga to Villa Sanjurjo, and the entire Cadiz garrison (6 leg infantry regiments) boards its transports and is shipped to Larache, Tangier and Ceuta. Under cover of darkness, none of the transports are seen by any Axis forces, and they all return to base in Gibraltar. The heavily damaged BB group heads into Gibraltar to attempt repairs.

The Home Fleet departs England and heads south, ending the phase in the port of Gibraltar. Allied units fall back wherever possible. The Spanish 31st Infantry division, 4Car Border regiment and 16th Guardia Civil regiment retreat to Malaga, where they are hoping to be picked up by sea. The 93rd Infantry cadre is also ordered to Malaga but is slowed by mountainous terrain. It moves from 3920 as far as Velez Malaga.

In Spanish Morocco, the S Naval Infantry regiment and 5th Construction engineers leave Ceuta and take up positions in Tetuan. The 5Car border regiment is sent to Cadiz from Jerez de La Frontera. In Gibraltar, there is an overstack due to reinforcements, so the British 25th Infantry bridage crosses the straits via the ferrying Landing craft and moves to Tetuan. The 2 Gib Static brigade is also sent across the Straits, but it can only reach Ceuta due to its slow movement rate. All the Allied armour is to be sent over the Straits as well, but it only moves as far as Algeciras in this phase.

The secondary Gibraltar perimeter is unable to be held in sufficient strength, so the Allied units reorganise to the smallest profile that they can. La Linea de La Concepcion is occupied by the 102nd Infantry division, 86th and 89th MG Regiments, 1LE Infantry regiment, and British 8th Artillery and 20th Guards Infantry brigades. The outer bastion of 3726 is held by a rearguard of the 61st, 36th and 37th Infantry regiments.

The 4 Engineer and Infantry units that were in La Linea de La Concepcion are weak, but nonetheless manage to make their escape to Africa via admin movement. They end movement in Xauen in the Rif mountains. Tangier is overstacked due to forces arriving by sea, so the 6MK Colonial regiment leaves and moves next door into Arcilah.

Combat Phase: No combat

Exploitation Phase: Force H and the Spanish fleet spend 30MPs replenishing their fuel and then prepare their guns for NGS. The Home Fleet also sorties into the straits and prepares its guns for NGS. The Allied armour crosses the Straits and ends movement in 4128. Allied CAP fighters land at Tetuan.

End of Turn Summary

Spain will surrender next turn but it will have little effect on the game – no Spanish units will surrender due to the length of time taken by the Germans to conquer them. The Germans now control 99% of the country. A significant portion of Allied units has been able to get away into North Africa which will be very helpful to the cause. Spanish units are halved next turn, but the Royal Navy should be able to protect the hex outside Gibraltar for at least a short while, hopefully long enough for the rains to arrive.

Losses

  • Spanish Unisolated – 0
  • Spanish Isolated – 0
  • Spanish Air – 0
  • German Unisolated – 0
  • German Isolated – 0
  • German Air – 0
  • British Unisolated – 0
  • British Isolated – 0
  • British Air – 0

Sep II 41 – German Turn

Initial Phase: The Weather remains clear in Zones D and E, but the Atlantic and Mediterranean remain rough. All units are in supply Spain generates 3 GSPs in Sevilla. Germany uses 3 ARPs to replace an aborted Me109E and an eliminated He111. The fighters are brought on at Jaen and the bombers at Madrid. No units are in the replacement pool to reactivate this turn. From Sevilla, Spanish Me109s are joined by British Hurricanes and Spitfires in a CAP mission over the Allied armour in 3619.

Movement Phase: The 1st RR Engineer regiment repairs the rail hit in 2412 north of Madrid, then moves to 2511. This allows the 22nd Air Landing division to entrain and head north to the mountains of Galicia. It ends its movement in 1013 with the 15th Mountain Corps. However, the 15th splits up in order to surround the Spanish units in 0914. The 3rd Mountain division moves to 0915 while the 2nd Mountain division heads around the other flank to Monforte de Lemos. The 98th Mountain regiment stays with the 22nd Air Landing in 1013, and the two regiments of the 11th Infantry also move into that hex. The AT guns of the 616th battalion stay in reserve in 1113.

In the German rear near Barcelona, the port of Tarragona is occupied by a regiment of the 263rd Infantry division, as a precaution against any Allied amphibious landings. Nearby the 4th RR Engineer repairs a hit in 3530 before regauging the hex. In the west, the 5th Infantry division is ordered to moves down the road towards Caceres, which it does via admin movement, and it ends its turn in the reference city.

As the Allied line has been pushed back, it is now out of range of some of the forward airbases constructed last turn. Therefore closer fields are required. To facilitiate this, some shuffling of Engineer units takes place. Firstly, the 108th Construction regiment moves to 3313. This frees the 674th Combat Engineer regiment to advance towards the front to 3516. It is joined there by the 512th Combat Engineers, who move south from Cuidad Real. Together they use quick construction to build a temporary airfield in the hex.

Next, the 71st Construction regiment uses rail movement to get to the airfield in 3312. Following that, the 604th Combat Engineer can now move ahead to 3415. Along the way it picks up the 667th from 3313, and they combine to clear an airfield in 3415. A final temporary airfield is built in 3215 by the 517th Combat Engineer, which advances from 3213. The maintenance of the 3213 airfield is taken over by the 519th Engineer regiment from 3211.

Meticulous preparations are made before the assault on the Allied front line. After much analysis it is decided that there will be 3 points of attack. The largest concentration of defenders is in Cordoba, so 3 full Corps are sent to deal with it. The 65th moves around the north flank to 3220, the 25th with its tanks is ordered to 3219, and the 66th moves laterally across the German positions and the Guadalquivir river to 3319. Looking south, the Colonial units in 3620 are considered a weak link. The 64th Corps moves forward to assembly positions in 3519 and the 53rd advances into 3419. Finally, the 23rd and 92nd divisions in 3719 are targeted for an armoured thrust, despite the unfavourable terrain. The 33rd Corps moves into Martos, overrunning the British 8th Artillery brigade which was left behind last turn. This is the first British casualty of the campaign. The German 62nd Corps is kept in reserve, but it moves up to Jaen.

Combat Phase: All the Allied bombers fly defensive support over Cordoba. There are no Axis fighters in intercept range so they are unescorted. However, there are 2 effective points of AA thanks to the German 35th Corps, and it manages to abort a Whitley and a SM79-1. 2.5 points of DS are delivered for the city. 2 Me110C1s and 2 Me109Fs escort a bomb-laden Me110C4 and a unit of He111s against 3719. There is no interception or AA fire so 5 points of GS reach the target.

Cordoba is attacked by the rest of the German Luftwaffe, consisting of an escort of 4 Me109Es, and a mission force of 5 Ju87s, 3 He111s and 2 Ju88s. The fighters in the city fly up to intercept. Spanish 1-16s and British Hurricanes take on the escorts, while the Spitfires try to bypass the screen. The I-16s and Hurricanes are both aborted, while the Germans also suffer an abort to one of their Me109Es. The Spitfires get past the first fighter but are aborted by the second one. Having got past the fighters, the German bombers have to negotiate the huge barrage of AA fire that rises towards them from the ground (7 points total). All the Stukas are able to evade the flak, but a Heinkel is aborted, and a second Heinkel plus a Ju88A are returned. 25 points of GS will be added to the attack.

Cordoba is held by good quality units, including the 1st Canadian Infantry division, the Tdl Colonial infantry brigade, 3 AA regiments, plus artillery. There are not enough German tanks attacking for any ATEC modification, so the roll will be modified by -1 for rough terrain. The Allied force is worth a total of 19 plus 2.5 points of air support for a total of 21.5. Ranged against them is the 25th, 65th and 66th Corps, which are all strong units, and worth a total of 87. The Luftwaffe provides an extra 25 for a total of 112. This is enough for a 5:1 -1. 2 is rolled, modified to 1 for a HX. The Allied forces are eliminated as they cannot retreat due to ZOCs. The Germans cadre the 57th Infantry division and lose the 610th artillery from the 66th Corps, which advances into the city.

Hex 3519 is held by various non-divisional units headed by the Mar Colonial Cavalry brigade. It is attacked by the 53rd and 64th Corps. The attackers have a total of 55, while the defenders can only muster 10. There is a -1 on the roll due to the rough terrain, and the final odds are 5:1. In a carbon copy of the Cordoba assault, 2 is modified to 1 for another HX. The Spanish are destroyed, and the Germans cadre the 267th Infantry division. The 53rd Corps advances.

2 German Panzer divisions backed up by 2 Motorised divisions attack the Spanish in 3719. The unfavourable terrain ensures that there is only a +1 on the roll despite full AECA capability. The Spanish divisions holding the hex are backed up by British engineers, and they are worth 13. The German 33rd and 34th Corps, assisted by 5 points of GS have 52, for a 4:1 +1 attack. 3 comes up, modified to 4 for a DR. The Spanish and British retreat to the mountains in 3720. The 33rd Corps advances into the empty hex.

In Galicia, 3 Spanish units are surrounded by German Mountain and Air Landing divisions. The defenders are worth a mere 5, and are outgunned by the 30 points of the enemy. Rough terrain modifies the attack by -1 but it is still 6:1. In a brave effort, the Spanish fight to the last man, taking many Germans with them. A 1 comes up, modified to 0 for an EX. All the Spanish are eliminated, while the Germans lose 2 regiments of the 11th Infantry division. The 22nd Air Landing advances, as do the 2nd and 3rd Mountain divisions, and 98th Mountain regiment.

In the air return step, the Allied fighters land at Sevilla, as do all the bombers except the A-22, which go to Gibraltar. German fighters land at the newly captured Cordoba, plus Jaen and the forward temporary airfields. Long and short ranged bombers are also placed on temporary airfields.

Exploitation Phase: The 616th Motorised AT battalion is ordered south to 2115. 25th Corps is sent around the flank of the Allied forces from 3219 to 3424, on the far bank of the Genil river. From this position they are threatening the Allied supply lines.

Losses

  • Spanish Unisolated – 9+9+5 = 23 (4.5 Special RPs received)
  • Spanish Isolated – 0
  • Spanish Air – 2A
  • German Unisolated – 7+4+5 = 16 (4 Special RPs received)
  • German Isolated – 0
  • German Air – 2A
  • British Unisolated – 4+8 = 12 (2 Special RPs received)
  • British Isolated – 0
  • British Air – 3A
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