All units are in supply except for the cadre of the 21st Infantry division, which is hiding in the Cordillera Central. All the German aircraft, except for a fighter in Madrid and the transports, go on Naval Patrol duty.
Spanish guerrillas employ a change of tactics this turn, targeting airbases instead of the rail network. Attacks are made against Madrid, Albacete and Tarragona (which actually has some Me110s there protected only by RR Engineers). Unfortunately, runways are not as easy to blow up as rail tracks, and none of the operations are successful. The last remaining Spanish ARPs is used to bring back a SM79-1 bomber at Sevilla. Meanwhile, 5 British ARPs (leaving 1 for next cycle) are used to replace all the fighters lost over Valencia last turn. A Hurricane and Spitfire are placed in Cordoba, while two other Hurricanes are brought on in Spanish Morocco at Tetuan. The 2nd Spanish Construction regiment completes defensive fortifications in Sevill
Movement Phase: Force H has been stripped of its air cover that was based in Valencia, and the Luftwaffe now launches multiple sorties in an attempt to locate the Allied ships protecting the Spanish city.
First off the rank are 2 Me109Es escorting torpedo laden Ju88s based in 3304. The search modifier is +2 (calm weather, 6 hexes flown). Contact is made with a 3. The Fulmar fighters on board a carrier fly up to intercept, and attempt to bypass both of the escorts. However, a 7 is rolled by the first Me109 and the Fulmars are returned to the decks. The Ju88s begin their attack runs in the face of withering AA fire from destroyers escorting the carriers.6 is rolled, modified to 5, returning the bombers to base, their torpedoes wide of the mark.
The second patrol mission comes from 3303, a carbon copy of the first. Radio transmissions from the previous mission guide the torpedo bombers directly to the target area. This time there are no enemy fighters, but the AA gauntlet must again be run. Learning from the mistakes of their compatriots, the Ju88 pilots literally skim the waves, below the effective angle of fire of the flak which pours in their direction. 10 comes up for a miss. One torpedo slams home, sinking a Spanish destroyer.
Next in line are 2 Stukas from 33:3633. There is a Me109 at the airbase but it does not need to participate due to the lack of interceptors. Due to the proximity of the airbase to the target zone, the search modifier is +3. 5 comes up for another contact. The dive bombers scream down on the fleet out of the sun, blinding the AA gunners (8 and 9 rolled). 3 hits are scored, damaging a carrier, a British cruiser and a Spanish cruiser.
3 more Ju87s from 3632 attempt to keep the assault going, and the smoke emitted by burning ships gives away the position (4 rolled). The shriek of dive bombers is again heard over the sound of engines at flank speed, which are trying propel the ships in evasive manoeuvres. The pitching and rolling of the decks gives the Flak gunners little chance, and again they miss all incoming aircraft (8, 7, 8 rolled). Despite 12 rolls, only 3 more hits are scored, finishing off the burning RN cruiser, sinking a second Spanish destroyer, and a burst through the flight deck causes serious damage to a second carrier. In the ensuing fires, the Fulmar fighters are burned to a crisp, eliminating them.
The next wave consists of 2 He111s from Barcelona. Due to their increased distance, the search modifier is only +1. A navigational error (2 rolled) sees them patrolling further east than intended, and they do not find the enemy.
The final mission is another 2 He111s from Zaragoza, again with a +1 on the search roll. Somewhere over the mountains, the weather closes in and they get lost (3 rolled). While trying to determine their location fuel runs low, forcing them to return to base. For their efforts, the German pilots earn 56 VPs.
The Allied fleet has taken a pounding (7 hits) and now faces a tough decision. If it stays where it is to provide NGS then the Germans will be able to attack Valencia at a guaranteed 3:1, which gives the city only 1 chance in 6 of holding out. In addition the fleet will be subject to another wave of air attacks. Withdrawal will mean the city will be certainly overrun. The decision is made to evacuate the city instead. 6 British Naval transports and 4 Spanish transports head to the city from Gibraltar and Ceuta. There are still a couple of German fighters operative in the area so the Allied capital ships escort the transports from 4104 into the Valencia harbour. There they embark all the Spanish units and head west, along with the fleet acting as escort. The 31st Infantry division is unloaded at Motril in 4120, the 5th Guardia Civil regiment is taken to Cadiz, while the rest of the evacuees land in Malaga. All the transports end movement in the disembarkation ports. The Allied fleet sails on to Gibraltar and ties up at the docks there.
The 31st Infantry division moves off the docks in Motril into the mountains at 4119, protecting the coastal flank of the Gibraltar perimeter. From Malaga, the 62nd Artillery regiment heads north to join one of the reserve stacks in 3522. Also moving north is the 2Car border regiment and 3rd Combat Engineer regiment, which head to 3622. At Cadiz, the ground units holding the city rip up the airbase there, reducing it ot 0 capacity and denying use of it to the invaders. Northwest of Madrid, the 21st cadre retreats further into the mountains at 2315. Since the Spanish rail capacity is now only 3, it remains out of supply.
The Spanish light armour sorties from 3518 on another operation to deny rail lines to the Germans. The 1st and 2nd regiments move to 3917 and break the line in that hex, while the 5th regiment is ordered to do the same in 3916.
Now that the Germans have captured a significant portion of the Spanish rolling stock, they have a useful rail capacity on the Iberian rail net. In an attempt to reduce that capability, the RAF launches a series of night raids against the marshalling yards of Madrid. 2 Whitleys from Gibraltar attack 2711 and 2 Blen 4s from Malaga go in against 2710. There is 1 point of AA in 2711 and none in the other hex. The second raid against 2711 is done during a full moon, and the German gunners are able to clearly see the enemy flying overhead. Accurate fire means that the bombers cannot penetrate the target zone, and they return to base (another snake eyes comes up). The rest of the air units drop their bomb loads but are well wide of the mark, and no damage is done to the rail network.
Combat Phase: No combat
Exploitation Phase: All the Allied transports retreat to the relative safety of Gibraltar. Spanish Light armoured units return to 3518.
End of Turn Summary
The Royal and Spanish Navies could not sustain the pounding they were taking once they had no air cover, therefore it was decided to give up Valencia. In any case it had served its purpose in delaying the Axis advance. It was a surprise at how quickly the Germans were able to concentrate their air power in the area once presented with a high value target. Most of Spain has now been taken, and the front moves inexorably towards the Gibraltar perimeter.
- Spanish Unisolated – 0
- Spanish Isolated – 0
- Spanish Air 0
- German Unisolated – 0
- German Isolated – 0
- German Air – 0
- British Unisolated – 0
- British Isolated – 0
- British Air 0
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