Allied Player turn
Weather: In an Italian disaster (youll see why later,) a 5 and 6 result in mud across Greece and rough weather in the Med.
Initial phase: The Brits arrive for a massive reinforcement of the Greeks. Seeing the build up, Mussolini launches his fleet in an attempt to establish a naval presence in the Eastern Med and Aegean. The British and Italian fleets meet off Cape Matapan, and the Italian arms are victorious (a 6 rolled for a successful Italian interference sortie.) The Brits will now need to deal with not only Axis air power in Albania and the Dodecanese, but Italian battleships and cruisers patrolling eastern waters. Axis air power will unfortunately be mitigated by the very poor weather.
Movt through Exploit phases: Minor tweeks along the front. The real action is at sea and in the air. Since large convoys are no more successful than smaller ones, the Allies launch transfers to Greece in dribs and drabs. First, an attack supply point moves to Khania, both interference rolls failing on the 6 column, and it gets through. (Pair of 6s rolled for Eastern med & Aegean interference.) Next, the 4th NZ inf X heads for Khania. 8 and 5 on interference means the unit makes it to Khania. Z1007s just southwest of Rodi fail to make contact with a 4, and the unit unloads without incident. Next the 6th NZ heads for Khania, with 7 and 6 rolls failing to interfere in this movt. Z506s out of Scarpanto fly through the Hurricane patrol zone, but they allow the movt. The 506s fail to make contact however, with a 2 rolled.
Next on the docket is the 16th Aus Inf X, which heads for Kalamai.
(Illegal, but switched to Gythion once this is realized.) An interference roll of 2 gives the Italians hope, but this turns out to be a safe roll for the Brits as well as the effects chart roll results in no effect. The BR20Ms launch out of Valona, and make contact with a 6.
AA fails with a 7 rolled, but the bombing attempt is off widely (1 rolled.) Lastly, the HQ of the 6th Aust XX heads for Kalamai, but a 12 on the interference chart generates a positive result for the Italian fleet. On the effects chart, a 3 is rolled, and the HQ is returned to Port Said (finally!) At this point, Metaxas decides that he has had enough of the war, and gives up his authority, retiring to quiet island in the Aegean. In his stead, the King takes direct command of the Army, Navy and all Allied forces (Dean Moon takes over mid-turn for Master Broshot.) After a quick review of the rules, the King requests that all Allied forces still in Egypt proceed forthwith to Athenai. A single massive convoy launches with the Hq of the 2nd Nz XX, the 3rd Nz Inf X, the W Art X, the 57th Brit Lt AA II and 1 attack supply point. Main elements of the Italian fleet track this large force down and get in amongst the convoy forcing it to scatter to the 4 winds. The transports with the 3rd Nz Inf X escapes in the confusion, but each of the other 4 groups is contacted by the Italian Eastern Med Squadron (4 of 5 contact rolls successful). The Italians successful sink the transports carrying the 57th Lt AA II and the attack supply. Those carrying the Art X are forced to turn tail for Egypt, while the 2nd Nz XX HQ managed to hide in the squalls of the rough seas and avoid the Italians busily sinking British transports. The two groups of transports carrying the New Zealanders link up again and proceed into the Aegean, avoiding contact with the Italian Aegean Squadron. Ju88As then launch out of Scarpanto, attempting to meet the transports just outside of Athenai.
Unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, the poor weather and distance prevent contact from being made (+2 for range, -3 for rough seas, 4 rolled need a 6 to contact.)
On the gournd, the King begins a pull back from the line, straightening the line in the south but giving up all but the 3 southern-most hexes of the Cham region to Italian control (one mtn & one rough hex are retreated from since Greek hexes are no longer providing the Axis with Vps and thereby shortening the line by 16 miles.) The majority of Greek strength still lies to the south, where hexes are between 14 and 19 pts each. To the east, hexes are 5 to 6 points strong and bumped up in the last mtn hex row before the Phlorina valley. Further to the east, the King launches a reasonably aggressive scorched earth campaign, blowing both bridges over the lower Axios, 2 rail hexes on either side of the northern bridge near the Yugoslavian border as well as another rail hex at Phlorina itself. He also orders the destruction of 2 of the 3 airfield capacity points at Thessalonike.
The Dodek Mtn III is brought across from Samos and moved into Metaxas line in eastern Greece, while the Ipp Cav XX makes its way from the Peloppenesus into western Greece, slomping through the mud on its way to the line. Allied troops move north as well, with the 1st Arm X just shy of the Spherkios, the previously landed New Zealanders heading past Korinthos northwest and the 16th Aus Inf X making its way north from Gythion. On Crete, the 43rd RPC Const X moves to occupy Rethymon, previously emptied when its static III was sent to garrison Melos.
A planned air operation is cancelled (Dean tells me he cancelled something, but Ive no idea what.) At this point, movt ends, as does the Allied turn since they plan no combat nor exploit movt.
Axis player turn
Initial Phase: It is decided not to pressure Yugoslavia at this time.
The odds are roughly even that a positive result would occur for the Axis, but with a 2/3rds chance of poor weather and no desire to see a Mud-krieg in Yugoslavia, the Germans decide to wait until Apr I 41.
During the supply check, it is realized that most Italian units in the eastern part of the line are out of supply, as are most of the Greek units in the south. This would have had no impact on the Allied movt, so the units are brought up to their proper U status. Another supply officer is shot, as I decide later in the turn I would have liked to have some GSPs available in case the weather remains mud and the Italians in the east go U-2, but by the time I realize this, its too late to do anything about it. 1 German ARP is used to bring back the previously aborted Ju88A unit. There are no other reinforcement activities. No Allied air missions at this time.
Movt Phase: The Allies open the turn by transferring the Allied bomber force off Crete and landing it at Athenai, where it will be protected by the heavy AA presence in that city. The Hurricanes remain on Crete on standby.
The Italian high command sees a possible offensive opportunity in the east, so plans are laid for a possible combat against on of the weak, eastern most hexes of the Greek line. In the meantime, the units in the south occupy the two hexes given up by the Greeks. Once again, parades are held in Rome and Valona, and fascist recruiters are busily signing up warm bodies. Infantry troops are shifted south, while the mountain troops, currently in the southeast bend of the line move northeast. The 4th Cns Alpini division breaks down to further the offensive opportunities. The troops of 4 mountain divisions (one broken down), plus a ski battalion, three artillery regiments, the 131st Cn Lt Arm XX and some other combat motorized odds and sods converge on Kastoria and the hex just southwest of this point, planning an attack on hex 14A: 4415, currently defended by the just the Greek 15th Mtn Div, a reserve division by all appearances (4-5-6).
Combat Phase: There are no DAS opportunities as all Allied bombers have flown. The Greek high command fails to notice the build-up, or simply does not care, so the Hurricanes make no attempt to fly CAP over the at risk hex (Dean was busy and declared no missions since I had yet to fly any even though he hadnt looked at the file to my knowledge. Im not sure it would have mattered, and I may be mistaken about this to boot!)
The Italians put two fighters on GS, which bumps the odds up a bit (24.5+.5 for GS to 5, +1 for greater than 50% mountaineering, -2 for mud, -2 for mountains). Additional air units could raise this a bit more, if every air unit in the theater excepting those assigned to the Rhodes garrison are brought in. It is decided that its worth the additional chance for a positive outcome (5:1 -3 has 2 AS, 1 EX, 1 HX & 2 DRs; 6:1 -3 has 4 DRs, 1EX and 1 DH). All a/c from across the command fly GS, and a 2 is rolled in combat, for a DR. 131 Cn Lt Arm XX, the 2 Tri Alpini XX, 2 corps level art III, the ski II and the 4 M Arm II seize the hex. The plains of Phlorina lay before the victorious Italians. However, all planes are forced to base in Albania or Italy, so there is nothing to prevent Allied naval movt in Rhodes or Scarpanto except the garrison air units.
Exploit Phase: M/C units move into Kastoria to solidify the hex now that the Lt Arm XX has advanced.
I wish I had some GSPs in case of the likely poor weather, since my 17 pt hex will be U-2, but cest la guerre.
End of game turn: No VP occurring events, so the totals remain 42:6 in favor of the Axis.