Allied Player Turn
Weather: Clear everywhere.
Initial phase: Allied fort construction is completed at 0413 on the Spherkios, and at 0715 in the Peloponnesus. Fort construction begins at 0513, using 1 Res Pt. The Allied High Command chooses to activate the Well1C and Blen4 at Alexandria (-2 Vps). Two harassment hits are placed behind the Allied line at hex 0513. In overstacked Melos, both Me109Es, the S code He111 & the Italian Floatplanes are made operative.
The Italian fleet sorties for the third time this game, in an attempt to impede expected naval movts to Crete, but a 3 is rolled for an inconclusive naval action (no impact to either fleet.)
Movt phase: The movt phase opens with an Allied air mission aimed at reducing Melos ability to interdict Allied sea movt and support the Cretan front. The Hurricanes are joined by the Greek Mxd B, 2 Blen 4 units and the Well1C in a bombing strike on the island, escorted by the P.24s. The Me109Es rise up to defend the island, and attempt to bypass the single escort. As seems to be the case over the last turn and half or so, the dice favor the allies. The P.24Fs roll a 4, aborting one of the Me109Es. Random allocation of the other 109 pits him against the Hurricanes, which chooses not to drop its bombs. Both units roll 6s, resulting in the Hurri1s being aborted, no effect to the 109s. There being no flak, the bombers line up for the runs, the Mxd B and the Blens on the airfield needing 6s, and the Well1C on the port and needing a 4+. The Well1C misses, but the other three bombers manage to roll two sixes, and the S code He111 & the poor, benighted Italian Z.506 floatplanes again enter the aborted pool.
The A. Lt AA III then uses sea movt, partially at night to attempt to reach the undefended Khania port and airfield complex on western Crete.
Ju88As on naval patrol out of Larissa attempt to contact this movt but fail on a 2 rolled. The Axis stalwart Mxd B unit out of Rhodes similarly fails, with a 4 rolled (+3 for calm, -3 for distance). The unit lands successfully at Khania, redefending the hex.
The Ath. Static X then follows the Lt AA III to Khania. The 3 remaining Axis air units on naval patrol throughout the theater expect artillery to be brought in later, so they choose not to interfere with this movt and the Static X is landed without incident.
As expected, the G. Art III then moves from Athens to Khania. If successfully landed, this would bring the defense of the hex up to 4 pts supported. Ju88As out of Rhodes attempt contact, but fail on a 4 rolled (+3, -3) Ju88As out of Scarpanto fail as well, with a 3 rolled (+3, -2), so each missed by 1 pip of the die (curses again!) The last naval patrol craft can do nothing due to a few night movt hexes, so the artillery is landed as well…
The Allies then adjust their lines near the Spherkios front and await the coming Axis attempts to break the line. From east to west, 0413 is fortified, and defended by the NZ 2nd Inf XX, the Grk 21 Inf XX, the Brit 1st Arm X, with assorted other Greek non-divs, working out to a 20 pt stack, 1/7 ATEC. Hex 0514 is defended by the Aussie 6th Inf, and the Grk 7 Inf, for 11 points of defense in the mountains, assailable from just one hex. Hex 0515 is defended by all Greek units, the 14th Inf XX, 13th Mtn XX and a couple of IIIs for a 13 pt defense assailable from 3 hexes. The Eper Eng X is busy fortifying 0513 and the Mak Eng X has moved up to 0614 to do the same next turn. Athens has 5 points and Patrai has 3 across the narrow straits. Khania has 4, while the lost in the woods Khania static X moves east to the hex just west of Eraklieon to interfere with possible moves against Khania from the eastern side of Crete.
The Allies skip their combat and exploit phases.
Axis Player turn
Initial phase: The Axis lose 15 Vps for failing to withdraw the German forces. The Italian float planes are rebuilt for at least the fourth time as is a Ju87B. In the Axis air pool the Italian BR.20M night bombers sit eliminated, as do the Luftwaffe gliders. The S code He11H sits aborted, as does another normal 111. Additionally, one Ju87B and one Me109E are aborted. More attack supply shows up for rail movt south in Germany, and more GSPs are created to be used in defense by units too far south into the mountains west of the Sperkios line to be in normal supply. A full point of German Inf Rps has now been earned via special replacements, which is placed in Valona. In the islands area, all fighters on Melos go inop due to overstacking, leaving one Italian bomber operable. On Crete, the Allies put the Athenian Stat X in supply via their one RE per turn per port capability. Finally, the P.24Fs once again CAP Khania.
Movt phase: As part of the requirement that the activated air units must return to base in Egypt by end of turn, the Allies fly transfer missions for the Blen 4 and Well1C to Alexandria. Following this the Axis high command decides to push Italian artillery to Crete via naval transport to ensure the island can be successfully held and taken, so many regiments of Italian gunners move to ports for movt. No Allied bombers were placed on naval patrol, as they were to be used for DAS in defense of the Spherkios line. Therefore, first, the 4C Art III was successfully shipped from Volos to Rethymnon (all interference rolls on the 3(?) column for contact; 6 rolled no contact.) 8C Art II was then moved to Erakleion, again via Volos (2 roll, contact, 4 rolled no effect on contact). 9C Art III moved from Volos to Melos, to finally bring support to that location (6 rolled, no contact… this was done because a planning doct for an Allied special op was published in the Allied initial phase. It was considered possible, but unlikely, that the Allies might call up the British commandos and attempt to do something at Melos. The airfield was key to interdicting the Aegean and taking Crete before the rest of Greece had fallen.) Following this, GaF+Sud art III was moved from Volos to Scarpanto, for the same reason as the movt to Melos (7 rolled, no contact.) With all of these movts successful and plenty of defensive artillery in support of the island redoubts available, Axis High Command decided to continue tempting fate by sending in additional artillery to Rethymnon, so an assault on Khania could take place. So, 14C Art III was shipped Volos to Rethymnon successfully (7 rolled, no contact.)
In ground movt, units on Crete moved to engage the Khanian Static X trapped between Rethymnon & Erakleion, while the 3rd/7th Fallshirmjaeger moved down to take the port of Hagios Nikolaos, returning part of the way back to Erakleion. The last of the airbase repair points currently on hand were used to bring the Melosian, Rethymnon & Erakleion airbases up to full capacity. Additionally, one way transport missions brought the Wehrmact 685 Eng III and the 658 Mtn Eng IIs into Rethymnon, the Italian 9th Const III to Erakleion, and the 26th Const III to Melos.
The Sturm Glider brigade was moved from Melos to Scarpanto to fully support the artillery regiment on the island, ensuring full defensive capabilities all across the Aegean locations previously seized. An assault on Khania is anticipated next turn.
On the mainland, each of the three small pockets of Greek troops were surrounded by minimal numbers of Italian troops, generally a single division in each hex. The rest were shifted south to assault the larger pocked north of Das Reich. Two plans were launched to attempt the break the deadlock at Spherkios. A combined Pzr/Mtn corps was formed in 0414, whose target was the Australians at 0514. A successful combat here, even with an Allied DR could not cover all hexes behind the Allied line since there were only two divisions defending. One of these three hexes would necessarily be overrunable, or simply left open for exploit. With sufficient air support and mountaineering, a 3:1 -1 is expected to be reached. In the west, the small 3 point stack at Patrai looked capable of being beat, so a combined arms assault across the narrow straits was planned, with Das Reich, the 60th mot Inf XX and 198th Inf XX (winterized) expected to lead the way. Air support would provide the bulk of the striking power due to the terrain effects associated with the straits. Only 3 points of defense makes for easy odds shifts due to air power.
Combat phase: Seeing the massing of troops north of Patrai and fearing a possible breakout, as there are no other Allied troops in the Peloponnesus (even Corinth was emptied to defend north of Athens), the Allies fly their Blen4 to Patrai on DAS. The Greek Mxd Bs choose not to fly into Me110 interceptor range over the main front (side note, many temp airfields were built up in and around the Larissa/Lamia area, so the Axis by this point have complete air dominance over the front.)
Massive GS is then flown to the two main assault hexes. Over 0514 some small amounts of GS are driven off by flak, but insufficient to drop the odds to less than 3:1 -1. However, the assault to break out of the Spherkios line fails yet again, as a 2 is rolled, resulting in an AS.
Fortunately, the Axis does better in the west, with a 6:1 -2 across the straits into Patrai resulting in a DH on a roll of 5. The border X is destroyed and the lone Greek B art III retreats southeast towards Corinth. All mech units cross to Patrai in preparation for an exploitation breakout into the Allied rear. A third attack is launched against the middle hex of the pocket north of Das Reichs previous location, led by Centauro and the Leibstandarte, resulting in a 5:1 +0 DH/zoc kill against the 8th and 9th Greek Mtn XXs. The Italian mech corps and Leibstandarte advance into the hex with other non-divs, splitting the pocket into two and opening the way for further exploit into Patrai. Finally, the Khanian Stat X is wiped out in a 9:1 -1, DE (3 rolled) on Crete.
Exploit phase: Das Reich and the separate regiments of the 60th mot Inf XX overrun the hapless B Art III, then proceed to take Corinth and then points further east. Das Reich ends its turn in Levadia, directly behind the main Allied front in Greece. To its southwest, one regiment of the 60th and a heavy flak III guards its flank and protect the Corinithian approaches from the north. To its east a single aslt eng II watches its other flank and seals the now pocketed Spherkios defenders.
The other regiment of the 60th holds 0811, just northwest of Athens, ensuring no significant assaults or counter movts into the Axis rear from Athenai will take place. Leibstandarte and Centauro cross over to Patrai, moving as far towards Corinth as their mps will take them, while a single regiment from another mot Inf XX heads west along the Peloponnesus coast towards Kalamai.
End of turn: VP count stands at 27:4.