Allied Player turn
Weather: Weather remains poor, with winter in the north and mud in the south. For the first time, the Med turns rough as well.
Initial phase: The first Allied air reinforcements arrive, with a Brit Glad showing up, along with 1 ARP each for the Greeks & Brits. The Greek one is used to put the Greek bombers back into service.
Movement phase: Engineers continue to clean up rail hits along the north-south rail line (a process begun last turn.) The Greek high command decides to concentrate troops more dramatically, and 6-8 pts are left defending all but 3 hexes, with those 3 each having 18-23 points. Hex 3705 looks to be the target, which would allow the Greeks to enter Albania for the first time.
Combat phase: All available DAS flies in support of the threatened hex in Albania. Greek strength is limited due to stacking and winter artillery rules, so only 42 points can manage to attack, faced by 13 points of Italians (including 2 construction regiments still furiously building a fort by dynamiting the frozen ground) and 2.5 points of DAS (1/2 and ½ again due to DAS & weather.) Despite the long odds (2:1 -1), the Greek command decides that it’s now or never and launches the attack…. Rolling a 2 for an AR! Newspapers in Rome trumpet the defeat the new Roman legions have inflicted upon the Greeks, declaring once again that Athens is just around the corner. The 5 Pst Alp XX and the 19 Vnz Inf XX earn numerous awards and battle ribbons as well as a legionnaire eagle, and mistresses are trucked in from the far corners of the empire for the divisional staffs.
Exploit: The one motorized rgt of the Greek army moves into hex 3805 (seized back from the Italians last turn), to solidify it’s defenses, since a number of the troops which garnered the AR came from this hex. Bomber units position themselves on Crete, protected by the P24, ready to bomb any sea mov’t from Rodi (the Italian Marines’ mov’t there apparently having been spotted.) The new Glad moves to Athens to protect it from marauding Italian bombers.
Italian Player turn
Initial Phase: A wealth of new reinforcements for the front arrive, consisting of 4 new divisions and a corps level artillery regiment. The Allied high command has apparently sniffed out the possible naval assault from Rodi, as both bombers on Crete go on naval patrol. (Since they are at different bases however, this means little, since the weather is rough and their 1 pt bombing factors halved, even a successful contact roll wouldn’t allow a bombing attempt.)
Mov’t Phase: Three divisions land at Valona and admin move toward the western part of the front. The fourth division, along with the corps artillery land at Durazzo and admin towards the eastern front. Allied naval power fails to interfere. Having just discovered that RPs are better placed on map, and can move about, the Ju52 transports two mountain RPs to Koritsa. Limited port capacity prevents the stockpiled Inf RPs in Italy from moving to Albania.
At the front itself, the Greek retreat has stranded a single 2-1-6 artillery reg’t alone in a hex, which would make a fine addition to the Italian line. Two possible approaches to the attack are considered… an 8:1 -1 using supplied mountain troops (with possible air support for a (9:1), or an 8:1 -3 (again with a possible (9:1 using air) with all troops unsupplied. Supplies are plentiful, due to the fact the Italians only launched attacks on the first turn of the game. However, limiting the attack to mountain divisions would lead to them being alone in the conquered hex, an 8 pt stack approachable from 3 hexsides. It’s decided to allow the Greek rgt an extra shot at getting away so that regular Italian infantry will be in the conquered hex.
The possible naval assault out of Rodi and aimed at Melos remains on hold, since the weather would almost certainly mean the Marines would be disrupted upon landing, therefore failing to gain ownership of the hex and port, and allowing Greek units to simply naval transport into the port and wipe them out…
Combat Phase: The attack is launched against 3704 at 9:1 -3 (I decided to add the air), but a 1 is rolled and the artillery calmly retreats down the road to its rear (there was an empty hex that I could have taken the would have allowed a zoc scam, but this hex would have been surrounded by 4 hexes in the Greek turn, and I didn’t think trading an Italian division for a Greek rgt worth the cost.)
Exploit Phase: A number of strikes are made against the Greek rail line again, garnering 1 hit. Another port bombing attempt against Mytilene fails. At this point, with VPs accumulating through the ownership of Greek hexes, there is little need to send unescorted bombers to brave the Allied fighters or 5 pts of AA. With the seizure of one hex of Greece thanks to the Greek AR, the Italians go back up to 5 VPs for hexes in Greece, bringing the VP totals to 32 to -3.