Axis Player Turn
Weather turns to Mud
Italy – Forts are built behind various river lines and bridges under threat from the Americans are demolished. It seems the Germans are in the area for a while when more troops are rushed to the south.
Spain – Rebuilt Pz Cadres arrive at the San Sebastian front while Barcelona is heavily reinforced with the rail lines finally repaired to France. Eastern troops arrive and are sent to an advanced position at Zaragoza. A Panzer XX and Sp Mtn XX position themselves at Tortosa to block the advancing British while the Spanish armoured XX and Cav XX arrive at Calatyud. With Spain split in two, Hitler organises for a daring paratroop raid on the Asturian mountain top fortress where Franco is being held awaiting transportation to Canada for post war trials. Snatched successfully and flown back to Barcelona he begins to arrange a new government. In the west Spanish forces try and hold what is left of Galacia, Estramaduras and north western Anadalucia. Generally things aren’t looking to good in Spain at the moment for the Axis cause.
Allies Player Turn
Announcing the need to help maintain Iberian freedom from extremist elements that threaten traditional conservative values in the region, Portugal trumpets its intention to join the allies. Portuguese troops cross the border and seize Vigo. The British Commander of the “Peninsula Army” is delighted to have Britain’s “oldest ally” joining him, especially as the lousy job he is doing garrisoning the fractious Spanish cities is causing widespread bloodshed as old feuds are paid off by Republicans coming out of hiding to revenge themselves on their hated Falange rivals. Elsewhere Spain is quiet with more troops coming ashore at Tarragona and the French arriving in force at Valencia.
In Italy the front is quiet as the air forces shuffle about to prepare for the long winter ahead.
With poor weather closing down much of the Front I suppose its time to give an Allied Commander’s review on progress to date with this mini-Grand scenario. Spain certainly opened up the theatre and put a new slant on campaigning in Europe. The ability to seize some high capacity ports looks, on the surface of things, to have allowed a massive flood of (in this case) British forces from the MTO and UK to get well established – Gibraltar helps a lot too! Spain appears too hard to defend – too much coast line and not enough troops, especially when the 2-6* cadres are picked out by the attacker and squashed. The bonus of picking up Madrid without a fight was a critical factor in this campaign, splitting the country in two and shattering Spain’s capacity to do anything more than offer meagre assistance to the Germans. The early capture was aided by the fact that Spain is big and it is difficult to secure the flanks allowing deep exploitation moves. I doubt if I was to play this game again I would see an unguarded Madrid!!
The addition of Spain (and Scandinavia) adds a completely different focus to Second Front. Troop commitment to Italy by both sides was a lot less – the Germans having to guard the Pyrenees (which require a lot more troops than Italy!) as well as having to maintain the defences of Northern France from an allied attack, consequently they are spread thin on the ground. If I was to commit an historical amount of troops to Italy in this game, I would swamp the German defence and be drinking coffee in Vienna by now, but about 70% of British forces are tied up in Spain with a significant proportion sitting in Garrison on cities – which, I must add, I failed to establish early enough or with enough force to cost me significant VPs as listed in our home made VP charts – basically I’ve lost 8 VPs from Spanish unrest compared to the 3 I’ve gained for capturing Madrid! Under these rules one is tempted to question the value of the whole enterprise…. hmmmm, perhaps we should of just used the RAW from FWTBT. Portugal’s entry to the war is a definite bonus for the Allies – even though their divisions are relatively weak half a dozen Portuguese XXs can free up a couple of US/UK XXs that might just be spared for a side show in Scandinavia…….