Allied Player turn
Initial Phase: King Moonopolis rallies his troops despite the extremely threatening position and the Greeks refuse to reduce their morale (Demoralization roll is a 6, with no mods since sufficient Allied troops are on the mainland and no others apply.) This puts the Axis in a time bind, since a quick surrender would have practically been assured on a 1-4 roll (getting within 5 hexes of Athenai forces the Greek govt to escape.) Since the Greeks refuse to give up the ghost despite their predicament, the Axis lambasts the central and southwestern parts of northern Greece with harassment missions. Two are flown in the central area since a proper movt unimpeded by harassment would have allowed a Greek division to get a zoc on the unoccupied Katerine hex, which would have temporarily put all German units south of this point out of supply.
Five more missions are flown between Arta and Patrai to keep the Greeks from admin moving into the Peloponnesus. Unfortunately Das Reichs zoc doesnt quite cut off the Greeks to the northwest. These air units park at a temporary airfield built by Italian construction units along the west coast and at Larisa, slightly overstacked, but the operative units will be able to transfer out to ensure no significant issues. A final harassment mission escorted by a Me109E & Mc200 is flown to just south of the Spherkios, but Allied fighters choose not to get involved. The Greeks begin forts at Lamia and in the rough hex just south of the Spherkios, but it is expected these positions will both fall before the forts are completed (2 turn construction time, since there is only one engineer unit in each hex.) A third fort is begun just northwest of Korinth, but the Axis high command does not expect it to play a part in the upcoming campaign to take Athenai and destroy the Greek government.
Movt through Exploit phases: A 12 point stack of Greeks joins the cadre of the 12th Inf XX at the mountain hex of 4514, just west of Veroia. The remainder of Greek units along the previous main front form a three hex front from 3801 to 4002, while 11th Mtn XX moves up to 4004 to delay the advance of the Italians. The units that were fleeing southeast form a front running northeast to southwest from 4101 to Missolonghi at hex 4603, though the strength is inconsistent from hex to hex. The front also includes a salient at Karditsa. Along the Sperkios, the Ipp Cav XX and various border trash moves up to hold Lamia. The 6th Australian Inf XX and Brit 1st Arm X move into the mountains at 0414. The New Zealanders admin around from the Peloponnesus and into the rough hex at 0413. The Greek 10th Inf III moves to hex 4601, protecting the flank of the western Greek front by holding the flank of the lake hexside. Allied air units change bases, but accomplish little due to overwhelming Axis superiority in the air.
They are particularly hampered by Axis ownership of the airbase at Larisa, which had only a single pt of damage against it. On Crete, the 43 RPC const X repairs the airfield at Rethymnon (a surprise to the Axis, since they would expect the Allies to prefer as little airfield capacity on Crete as possible.) It then moves to Khania, while the Rethymnon static III currently garrisoning Melos abandons that island and moves by sea to its home on Crete. It fails to damage the airbase at Melos in its haste to vacate the island. The many Luftwaffe units in the Dodecanese on naval patrol choose not to interfere with this movt, as there is no fighter with range to engage the Hurricanes on CAP over the destination hex.
Axis Player turn
Initial phase: All Greek units except the northernmost units are back in supply and unisolated. Lots of harassment air units remain inop, which will limit to a degree the offensive action that can be taken in the south, since roughly 45% of possible GS is unavailable. German attack supply shows up in Germany. The Allies CAP Athenai with the Greek fighter unit. The Axis high command sends a diplomatic note to the Greeks reminding them that they did not use any of their Rps or special Rps last turn. The Axis allows units to be rebuilt and moved up to a second line north of Athenai, and to garrison Patrai and Athenai itself. This empties the Allied pool of all Rps except a single Brit ARP & .5 Inf Rps.
Movt phase: Since the Greeks now have 5 pt hexes, there are no real overrun opportunities. A one point hex, unsupported in the mountains could have been overrun at hex 4302 by Das Reich, which would have reisolated 6 Greek divisions and various non-divisionals, but it would have allowed 4 other mountain divisions and strong non-divisionals to escape to Patrai next turn. Instead, it moves to hex 4502 in preparation to assault the division guarding Agrinion. Victory here will allow an exploit to 4602, which would in turn permanently cut off all Greek troops to the west and north of the Spherkios/Patrai.
Supporting this movt, 6 engineer units furiously repair seven rail breaks along the main high volume line in east-central Greece. The 4th, 5th and remaining III of the 6th Gebirgsjaeger XXs rail along the low volume and high volume lines into southern Greece (11th Pzr is forced to remain in place to prevent Greek zocs from inhibiting this movt). Two options are looked at. A pair of weak attacks against the Greek 10th Inf III and 6th Australian could be launched, but there is limited air available to support both attacks. Perhaps a 2:1 +0 across the Spherkios and a 4:1 +0 against the 10th. Any loss against the 10th would reduce the single mtn xx, and prevent a zoc from prohibiting movt to 4602, which is Das Reichs intended goal. Success against the 6th Australian would turn the Spherkios early, but might result in critical casualities. Since there are still 2 more turns after this before VP penalties start to accrue, the more conservative set of attacks is decided upon. All mtn divisions will focus on the 10th, ensuring its destruction. Pzr units will exploit to 0415, which will turn the Sperkios and hopefully allow assault at both hexes by a combination of mountain units on the western hex and Pzr units directly across the river next turn. Success should leave just the Greek remnants rebuilt last turn to defend Athenai and its approaches. Hopefully a NODL wont keep the Axis away from the Greek capital, as there are few troops available to form one. Two Pzr units engage Greek Mtn XXs in the plains, while the Italians continue their relentless drive against the Greeks facing them. The single 13 pt hex at 4514 is completely surrounded by Italian infantry, though perhaps one hex might face a 2:1 suicide attack next turn (DAS will remain available to lower the chance of a Greek assault.)
Italian mountain divisions admin around from the northern Albanian front into southern Greece via the Olympian gap. The Volos airfield is repaired, but there are no engineers left to repair Larisa due to the emphasis on rail break repair. Much infantry and armored units move to strike at Lamia, and its destruction is virtually assured by the planned massive assault. Attack supply and Res Pts are SMPd and railed forward to prepare for later turn assaults. Bulgarian units enter Thrace, annexing that area to their country. Engineer units enter hexes that might be used to build temporary airfields, as necessary. Finally, Operation Melian Dialogue is launched by the Sturm Para III and Sturm air landing II. Two transports and a glider stage to Kavalla, then carry the units to Melos, where they are dropped on the now abandoned airfield. This operation would have taken place regardless, but the disruption rolls are poor, so it is good for the Axis that the island had just been abandoned. The Para III rolls a 2 (no mods due to good weather and clear terrain) so it remains undisrupted and seizes the island, port and airfield. The air landing II rolls a 1, but the use of gliders provides a +1 mod, so it too remains undisrupted. The airfield is fully usable, so Me109Es will be transferred in during the exploit phase to provide air cover over Athenai and all of Crete. (The SM marine II had been part of this op, but its participation is cancelled and a different op is planned for it when the island is abandoned by the Allies.) Likewise, the best naval patrol aircraft and the Italian float plane will head for this base, which should seriously impair the Allies ability to naval transport about the Aegean! Three attack supply are sea transported into Valona, as is 1 Lt Arm RP, all unimpeded by Allied naval assets. Finally, the 7th Fallschirmjaeger is flown into Rhodes and surrounding airbases by transports on one way transport missions. Its HQ is railed into Thessalonike.
At the end of the movt phase, the British Hurricanes fly CAP over the threatened 10th Inf III. The Axis counters with CAP by an Me109E and an Mc200.
Combat Phase: The Allies fly the Blen out of Athenai on DAS. The Hurricanes switch to escort. Both Axis cap planes switch to intercept.
The Me109Es engage the escorts, while the Mc200s engage the Blenheims.
In the first pairing, the Messerschmitts roll a 6, aborting the Hurricanes, while the escorts roll a 10 and fail to score a result. The Mc200s also roll a 6, aborting the bombers. The Blenheims roll a 4, but this merely returns the Italian fighters. This makes up for the losses the Italian bomber corps suffered a turn or two ago…
In combat, an 8:1, -2 is launched against the Greek 51st Mtn III, destroying it with a roll of 4 for a DH. In the west, much combat supply is expended to cadre the Greek 11th Mtn Div (8:1, -1, 1 rolled for DR, zoc cadres unit). The Greek 10th Mtn is destroyed to a man by the 2nd Pzr and GD Lb mot Inf III (3:1, +3, 5 rolled, DE, cadre killed via zoc). The Greek 2nd Mtn XX is similarly destroyed by the 11th Pzr and 294th Inf XXs, plus odds and sods (4:1, +2, 4 rolled, DE, cadre zocd.) These two attacks were almost cancelled since the Greeks were not isolated prior to combat and therefore the special replacements would simply reappear in Athenai, but is decided that 2.5 pts probably wont make or break the campaign against Athenai, and killing the divisions helps clear up the western flank (feels good too!)
Unfortunately, the assault by the LSSAH allows the Greek A Corps Cav III to get away (9:1, -2, 1 rolled for a DR.) The assault on the semi-critical hex guarded by the Greek 10th Inf III goes as planned however (11:1, -1, 6 rolled for DE.) The last attack of the turn as an automatic success, a 9:1 +1 vs the 12 Allied points at Lamia. The Ipp Cav XX, and Eng X, 2 Bdr Xs and the W art X enter the dead pool despite the roll of 1.
Exploit Phase: 5th Pzr with support troops cross the western Spherkios, outflanking the 6th Australian. Das Reich enters 4602, and will be out of full supply, but cuts off and isolates all Greek Army elements north of Patrai and the Spherkios line. 11th Pzr moves to enter the western line in the mountains at Karpension. LSSAH overruns the A Cav III, but chooses not to enter the hex, as its rear would have been threatened since no other troops could have reached the hex it would be departing.
The Centauro group enters hex 4301, putting the squeeze on the Greek 17th Mtn XX. The 294th Inf entered Karditsa in the combat phase, and further to the north the Gross Deutchland Mot III III enters the line northeast of the nearly surrounded 17th Mtn. Finally 2nd Pzr and other motorized troops enter the hex north of the Spherkios vacated by the 5th Pzr.
A large air mission is then launched against Athenian air fields to put the Greek AF out of commission. An Me109E staging through Melos escorts 3 gruppen of Ju88As and another of He111Hs. The Greek fighter on CAP refuses to engage. Unfortunately for the Axis, Athenian AA is well sighted, and three 3s and a 6 are rolled, aborting 2 Ju88As and the He111H. The single Ju88A that gets through fails to score a hit against the Greek bombers when it rolls a 4.
End of game turn: Vps remain the same, 42:6. The Allies lost 22 unisolated and 4 isolated strength points, for no Axis losses.
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