The Greeks have chosen to defend Ioannina in strength, with both of their 5-6 Mtn XX’s in the immediate area, though a gap along the coast in the non-mountainous terrain exists. To the northeast of the 8th & 9th Mtn XX’s a line of border troops and mountain regiments exists all the way up to Yugoslavian border, with but a single unit in each hex, and most unsupported. Not wishing to get trapped along the coast (having seen similar things in various “alternate universes”), Mussolini chooses to ignore the bait of the coastal gap and instead sets up in strength in the northeast part of the line. Assaults on 3 hexes, each with 1 effective defensive point are planned. The lower line in Albania is screened with a single division in each hex, though one division will move a single hex into Greece (VPs are VPs after all). The northern Italian line includes Centauro, not typically a mountain asset, but with all 3 hexes along the border expected to fall, including Kastoria and its critical road junction, a modest exploit should gain an extra hex or two, plus with zoc ownership should generate a few extra VPs as hexes fall under the admittedly temporary sway of the new Roman legions.

Axis Initial Phase: Reinforcements arrive in Brindisi, awaiting transport to the Albanian front. Meanwhile, despite seeing the Italian buildup along the border, the Greek P.24F’s decide against flying any CAP and therefore will not be in a position to hinder Italian offensive air ops along the border (though they will remain a threat to any Italian ops against the capital.) The Greek Mxd bomber is placed on naval patrol to help fend off any Italian adventures in the Aegean.

Axis Movement Phase: The Italian 19 Vnz XX temporarily moves 1 hex to the rear, pinning the Grk 10th Inf rgt across the narrow straits of Kerkyra in ZOC’s, which will prevent any reaction attempts on that isle. The SM Marine II slips aboard its ANTP at Durazzo and heads south along the coast, attempting a landing at the town and port of Kerkyra. (The one house rule in effect gives the Italians a single ANTP in the Adriatic to use against Greek islands only. No landings allowed on the Greek mainland.) Greek interference is light, and the marines land without incident, surrounding the hapless 10th without supplies along the northern beaches. (Interference roll of 4 on 12 column) With luck, it will soon starve as it is now out of supply and isolated (will attack at ¼ strength should it choose to do so).

Following this, the 19th Vnz XX moves south again, leaving the defense of the straights to an Albanian brigade and crosses the border into Greece proper.

Finally, the Italian navy brings across 3 rgt’s of motorcylists, which land at Valona uneventfully (3 rolls on 12 column all miss). They wind their way forward to the front…

Axis Combat Phase: There is no possibility of Greek DAS, and there is no Greek AA along the frontier, so Italian GS ops occur along the border to make the 3 planned attacks go in at best possible odds. The first Italian attack goes in at 26:3601, 7:1 odds even (-2 mountains, +2 mountaineering.) Result is 3 for a DE, eliminating the 32nd Ev Mtn III. The 2nd goes in at 7:1 -2 against hex 26:3602, resulting in a 2 and an HX, killing the Grk IX Bdr X and the Italian 6 Ao Cav III. The final attack goes in at 7:1 -2 against Kastoria, in hex 26:3501 and results in a 3 for a meager DR, pushing back the XIII Bdr X along the road to Phlorina. Overall, the Italian attacks are a great success and Mussolini is well pleased… numerous medals are passed around and Italian newspapers declare that Greece will fall before the first snows fall!

Exploitation Phase: Centauro advances further into Greece, to gain ownership of hexes via ZOC as a VP scam, then retreats back to Italian lines, as Il Duce is feeling a bit conservative despite his public bravado. Italian motorcycles bolster the lines in critical locations, and the Italians look to their rear for reinforcements to continue the big push :) The bomber on Rhodes, lacking anything better to do and unwilling to risk air-to-air combat with the Greek fighters, chooses to strat bomb the port of Lesbos. A roll of 2 misses.

At end of game turn: The Italians garner 7 VPs for owning 7 unisolated hexes in Greece, though only 4 of these are on or behind Italian lines… heh, VPs are VPs!