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Europa Games and Military History

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Oct 43 II

Mud in zone D, clear in E. Med Calm, Atlantic Rough.

Axis Player Turn

Italy surrenders on the first roll. All Axis units on Corsica and Elba are isolated. All Italians except a 0-1-6 Cons III on Sardinia (left behind to finish destroying the port of Ajaccio) and a 1-3-6 Lt AA X rearguard at Galipoli. The Italian fleet mostly goes over to the Allies, but then suffers Nazi Yahtzee dice and a great deal of it scuttles. German forces scurry around like cockroaches to man port defenses and get as far away from the Allies as possible. Strong Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions hold a line in along the 31XX hexrow attempting to hold the British on the toe for one more turn while their non-c/m brothers make for the first fortified line north of Napoli. Air forces position themselves to attack the remnants of the Italian fleet when it attempts defect. (The SF rules on this are a bit, shall we say, unclear, so I muddled through in true Royal Navy fashion).

When the Italians tried to defect (move to an Allied port) they first moved at night. There were 10 NTs and 5 points of TF left and the Luftwaffe attempted to naval patrol off the east coast of Corsica, well within range of many Allied fighters. Two NTs were sunk. Allied air losses were 1 RAF Spit9 eliminated and another aborted, a USAAF P-40 aborted. The Axis lost 1 RSI MC.205V eliminated and 2 Luftwaffe Ju88A4 aborted. Several naval patrols failed to make contact. The Italians move to Alexandria. Germany captures 4 points of TF and 2 NT. 267 AF of Italians are disarmed, netting 26.7 Inf RP. Those were all on-map. I still don’t know what to do with the Italians in garrison – do they get disarmed and count for replacements, or don’t they? Italian units that stay loyal to the Axis are: 1x 2-5 Para, 1x 2-8 Para-Inf, 1x 1-2-6 Inf (CCNN).

German transport planes are able to get into Corsica and retrieve the 8-6 Inf XX and several ants – Allied fighters are tied down defending the Italian fleet. These units will come in handy, very handy. The Axis is woefully short on units to garrison Italian cities, and the rail net is a wreck, so little help is expected from France short of a massive airlift.

Allied Player Turn

Three British corps nail German rearguard at 26/3216 with a 7:1 -3 attack (terrain, 1/2 AECA, full ATEC). LSSAH is cadred! US/British forces capture Btindisi intact (rolled a 6 on port destruction). British/French forces can’t catch the fleeing non-c/m units north of the German rearguard.

90th SS PzGren cadre is eliminated (isolated) on Corsica and Allied troops advance adjacent to Bastia and Calvi. The 44 HuD Inf XX is cut off and weak German forces remain in Calvi and Bastia.

More damage to the French, Belgian, Dutch, German and Italian rail nets. Very few repairs are getting done. Multiple cuts on each rail line block movement across the French-German frontier and along the North-South rail lines in Italy. Rail lines in France south of Paris and in Northern Italy are mostly functioning, but for how long?

 

Aug 43 II

Axis Player Turn

Axis forces retreat up the Italian toe, destroying rail hexes in their wake. A sacrificial 2-3-2 Coastal XX is left in the mountain hex at 26/3922 to delay any Allied advance. Rail damage and harassment prevent significant movement of German ants to WEST. Italian engineers are airlifted to cities in the north that sustained RMY hits in Aug I, and this should help clear the rail. No response is mounted to the capture of Yeu. With two engineers on the island any minor damage would be easily repaired, and a major effort is out of the question as Axis air needs to stay concentrated in SOUTH. With so many Allied fighters guarding their two LC ferries to Corsica the Axis decline to interfere, but prepare their NODL and beach defenses.

Allied Player Turn

The airbase on Belle is augmented, a new one on Yeu is built, and several are placed in northern Sardinia. Allied LC make a mass migration to the ETO and end with 3x TF, 15x LC and ample NTs in the ETO. One LC is set up as a ferry at Yeu. Four British and Canadian Infantry XX and an Armored XX are broken down in Britain. Eight REs of airborne including all the components of the British Airborne XX are in the ETO. A British 8-8 Inf XX is shipped to Yeu, ready to take advantage of that ferry. US troops from Iceland land in the UK. The only weak link is Allied air power (or lack thereof), a measly 14x F, 1x A, 6x B-types are in the ETO now, but all Sep I Allied air reinforcements can go to ETO. Everything with range 15 or better can transfer between theaters using Yeu and Sardinia, possibly during the Axis Sep I player-turn.

Allied attacks net a measly 4 REs of Italians, and that count stands at 27. Allied units attack into Corsica via ferries and advance up the toe, reaching a line 26/3619-3618-3718. Allied air forces continue their anti-rail campaign with both MTO and one ETO strat air forces called up. Tactical air units can now reach the East Coast of Italy from Sardinia and concentrate on breaking rails in the middle of Italy. Allied air in the ETO seems to be isolating the Biscay-Brittany-Normandy region and the limited number of German construction troops will be hard pressed to do much about it. Rail into/out of the coast from Belgium to Le Havre is also kaput, Paris has four rail hits and the lines leading between Italy and France have multiple hits.

Commentary

So far the accountant’s defense is working like a charm. This doesn’t seem to be hindering the Allies much, and has not enticed them into precipitous adventures. But what will the Axis do to meet the threat posed in their WEST theater?

 

Nov I 43

Mud in zones C, D and E. Med Calm, Atlantic Rough.

Axis Player Turn

Luftwaffe night bombers raid Ajaccio losing a Ju188 to RCAF night fighters, but manage the one hit needed to shut down the port. Several Allied units will find themselves out of supply. Mud hampers the Axis retreat toward their fortified line and hinders the destruction of airbases and rail lines. Several c/m divisions break down to allow more MPs for the scorched earth campaign, then reassemble in the exploitation phase. Many Italian cities are still short their garrisons and engineers can only make feeble attempts at rail repairs, concentrating on getting a line open between Germany and central France.

Allied Player Turn

Axis find themselves short 8 REs of occupation forces in Italy, partisans make hay while the sun shines but are mostly ineffectual. (A total of 3 rail breaks in France and Italy this turn, though aircraft add another 17 rail breaks.) Very little Allied construction due to continued mud – one airbase upgrade on Yeu and 1 airbase dismantled on Malta. Mines are swept at the mouth of the Adriatic, opening up the Italian east coast ports to Allied ships and the beaches to invasion. British 5th Para X lands on an undefended Lagosta and is disrupted, despite using gliders. The Italian RM-1 Task force (strength 3) sails from Alexandria to Britain, rumored to be conducting mine seeping practice enroute.

The last flames of German resistance are extinguished on Corsica by strong US forces. The ports of Calvi and Bastia were overrun. 36th US Inf XX and its cadre are exchanged for the 10-6 44 HuD Inf XX in the mountains south of Calvi. The US player could’ve used a smaller c/m unit as part of the exchange, but the difference in RPs is slight and this gets the Inf XX off Corsica immediately. Unlike the isolated Nazis many US soldiers live on as special replacements. The 44 HuD is expected to be rebuilt on the mainland as soon as possible. Two French 1-5 Construction units are flown into Ajaccio to become the island’s garrison next turn.

On the Italian mainland Allies employ 4 TF and much air power to gain a 7:1 (-3) attack against 16th Pz XX defending the west coast road south of Salerno. They roll a 4 (-3) for a DR. A 2-1-R LR Siege Bn and a 0-1-6 Penal II are killed in the mountains. The ports of Taranto and Bari destroyed as Allied units enter them. Two French Infantry XX and the mighty 15-10 NZ Mech XX land and march toward the front. The Allies have now captured two connected marshalling yards and next turn can begin building rail capacity. Allied aircraft spend most of the turn bombing rail hexes. Total losses: Axis 19 AF (17 isolated on Corsica), Allies 9 AF.

 

Feb II 44

Weather roll is a 2. Zone C is an N, which means more snow. Zone D remains Mud. Zone E is finally clear weather. Atlantic roll is a 6 for storms, Med is a 2 for calm.

Axis Player Turn

Very glad to get the Mud in D. Repaired 5 air units in the aborted box and the two 5-7-6 Inf XX coming full in the West go to beef up the rather lax defenses in Normandy. The Gustav line is straightened and now runs 26:2124-2123-2022-2021-1922-1920-1719, approximately the historical line. Allied units on Elba use special supply, New Zealanders and company in 26:2020 go U-1.

Allied Player Turn

USAAF is again short air units to garrison the Mid-East, -2 ARPs for that and -3 more to replace losses. The air cycle ends with the following ARPs unused: US 44, Brits 56, French 6, Italians 6, Allied anti-ship 8, Germany 21, RSI 5. Axis meet all occupation requirements, so no extra partisan rolls. Allied engineers rebuild Napoli’s port and remove port hits from there and Taranto. Other than shuffling the line forward over ground the Axis retreated from and a lot of engineers moving around/fixing things not much happens on the ground. Allied air forces continue to pound away almost without opposition on the Axis rail nets. Another 21 rail hits are scored between partisans and air units. British 11th Armored XX ends the turn in Gibraltar after embarking during the exploitation phase at Reggio.

Commentary

There really is no Axis rail net in Italy on map 26, nor in France within fighter range of Corsica, England, Belle or Yeu. Rail movement between Italy and France is out of the question, but a single line is open between Germany and France, though it doesn’t go far. The Allies get another increase in quality and quantity of air units next turn, and campaign season is not far away. It will be interesting to compare results of this 1943 campaign against the SF Apr I 1944 start data.

Nov II 43

Weather roll = 2. Zone C and D Mud, Zone E Clear. Atlantic Rough, Med Calm.

Axis Player Turn

44 HuD is reincarnated as a 5-7-6, along with the 4-5* Static XX, 2-1-R RR Art II and 1-2-4 Fortress III for a total of 12 Inf RPs. The 0-1-6 Penal II (LW) is a freebee.

The KM brazenly steams out with a single NT and lays mines to cover the port of Den Helder. Coastal Command fails two attempts to make contact in the rough North Sea. Aircraft lay other mines along the French Mediterranean and northern Italian coast. German troops pull back to the first fort line which runs 26:2222-2220-2019-2018-1918. Allied harassment was a minor irritation, but not plentiful enough to cause significant problems.

Allied Player Turn

Germany is short 4 REs of Italian occupation forces. Partisans in Italy and France score a total of 3 rail hits. Both sides call up their strategic air forces. The US rebuilds the 9-8 Inf XX lost in an exchange last turn.

Allied ground forces close up on the German fortified line, but can find no place for a profitable (or even reasonable) attack. Movement is hindered by harassment flown by LW (mostly strat air assets). Allied NTs are busy carting units off Sardinia and Corsica, the US sends an 11-8 Inf XX and 16-10 Arm XX to the ETO.

Counter-air and rail attacks are the major missions, but mud and flak make the bombing of airbases less profitable. The Luftwaffe rose only once for air to air (no casualties). Bombs and flak account for 3 RAF and 3 Luftwaffe fighters aborted. Due to the wide coverage of German strategic fighter reserves Allied medium bombers are afraid to venture deep into enemy territory as they have in the past. Allied strategic bombers close down all but one Rhine River crossing, and do more damage to the rail nets in southern France and northern Italy.

 

Mar I 44

Weather roll: 4 = mud in zones C, D & E. Atlantic is clear with a 1, Med is rough with a 4.

Axis Player Turn

Construction begins on more forts in Italy. Elsewhere engineers clear a few airbase hits. The division of labor slows rail repairs somewhat. Allied troops on Elba would be U-2 but for the supply points landed last turn. 2x British 9-8 Inf XX in 26/2020 go U-1. Two more points of rail cap are added to Western Europe, brining the total to 57. So many resource points and so little to do with them.

An Axis NT slips out of Genova at night and instantly makes contact with Allied patrol craft (rolled a 6 for the DZ). Luckily the Allies are slow to react and the NT escapes damage (Allies miss their damage roll). The NT goes on to lay mines and on the daylight return to port the Allies fill the sky looking for the NT, but fail to find her. (Allies missed 3 contact rolls with naval patrols from Corsica ad Sardinia.)

Allied Player Turn

Lots of new aircraft show up, a gain of 25 air units on the map. The damaged LC is repaired and the airbase on Elba is completed. Allied forces begin to shift back to the ETO. This turn 6 LC, 2 TF, a Brit 13-10 Arm XX, and the US Amphib Assault Engineers join the forces in England. There are now 2 Br, 1 Can and 2 US Inf XX broken down in the UK, with another 2 US and 1 Brit in the MTO. Italian TF sweep mines off the Dutch and Northern Italian coasts. No hits to either of these 2-pt TF.

Allied planes wreck further havoc on the Axis rails and make it a point to bomb RSI air units. Axis airmen quiver like scared children, they stay on the ground rather than risk air-to-air combat. LR fighters plaster northeastern Italy, there will be no quick train rides between SE theater, Germany and Italy. A small concentration of naval forces is held at Algiers (1x 12-pt TF, 9x NT and 3x LC loaded with US Infantry).

Commentary

Another slow turn playing in the mud. The Gustav line is still too tough to crack, and the Italian coast is well guarded. The invasion of France is still a few turns off (unless the weather cooperates) and it would not be wise to commit a bunch of LCs to an isolated beachhead in Italy. There will be no Anzio in this game.

Dec I 43

Axis Player Turn

Weather roll = 4, zone D Frost, zones C & E Mud. Seas: Atlantic storming, Med calm.

Germans feel short along their front and attempt ot activate the 362nd Inf XX early – they get the cadre and rebuild to XX at Pescara near the eastern edge of their line in Italy. The Allies fly 11 harassment hits to slow down German movement, Germans abate 1 point. German forces fully man the fortified line and place what they believe to be sufficient forces in their second line to avoid losing any ground during exploit. German troops are stretched thin everywhere, coastal defenders and occupation forces both had to give up some units for the front. Another Panzer XX is diverted from the West to South. The rail nets are a total mess, troops arriving from Germany can’t make it to the front.

Allied Player Turn

Axis occupation forces are 6 REs short in Italy – however the Alies will not make any additional attacks due to the Guru’s clarification of the occupation rule. Partisans score 1 rail hit in Italy. The Allies increase their mainland Italy rail cap by 4 (now 8). Axis mines are swept from the ports of Napoli and Salerno. Both sides call up their strategic air forces. US Port Construction Engineers get to work repairing Taranto while others are shipped into Napoli.

Four Allied TF sail into the westernmost hex of the German line, taking 1 hit from CD for their trouble (the first hit to any Allied naval unit). Herr Goering takes offense and sends his Luftwaffe after the Allied armada and a furious air combat takes place. A large group of 3 bombers with three escorts heads in from Firenze and manages to make contact (rolls a 6). No hits are scored and a He177 is shot down while a Ju88 torpedo bomber is aborted. The Allies fly more CAP just in time to see a group from Bologna fail their contact roll. A third group from La Spezia succeeds in making contact and eluding Allied fighters, dodges the heavy flak and plants a hit on a 16 point RN TF. A final group from Genova fails to make contact.

In a 6:1 (-1) attack supported by 54 points of NGS the Allies roll a 6 (DE) to cadre 15th PzGren and kill two LW Mot AA Regts. The allies roll another 6 in a 5:1 (-3) attack two hexes away at 26:2220 and get a DR. 1st Fallshirmjaeger XX in hex 2221 feels a little lonely. Meanwhile in the ETO the Bomber Command and 8th US Air Force are having a hard time finding rail yards that haven’t been destroyed. Several attacks are sent against the Ruhr for lack of targets in France and the Low Countries. LR Allied fighters escort packs of B-25’s and B-26’s to close down the only remaining rail link across the Rhine. Frost weather slows down rail repairs, but has no effect on bombing – isn’t it great. The Italian 3-pt TF in Britain sallies forth into the channel mine belt and immediately takes two hits. It finishes sweeping one hex and retreats back to an off-map port to be repaired. That’s a total of 4 hits to TF this turn, and luckily for the Allies those are the only hits so far in the game.

Ground losses: 1x 13-10 PzGren XX cadred, 2x 2-10 Mot AA killed. Air losses: 2 German units killed, 7 aborted; 4 US and 4 British units aborted.

Comments

Had the Germans pulled back to their final defensive line (Gustav Line) the Frost weather probably would’ve allowed the Allies to force their way into that line. The Germans will undoubtedly have trouble infiltrating the 9-8* Fallshirmjaeger XX back to the Gustav line, but it will be able to move adjacent to that line and can not be cut off. The Allies have managed to get most of their major units off Corsica/Sardinia and onto mainland Italy (most all the way to the front) or back to the ETO, but suffer from a shortage of both forward airfields and forward engineers. There are slightly over 100 rail hits in Axis controlled areas and nowhere is there a cleared line between France, Italy or Germany. Germany has started to expend Resource Points on building rail cap, but she may not have any rails to use by May 1944. Does GRD sell sheets of hit markers?

 

Mar II 44

Weather roll: 4 = mud in zones C & D, clear in zone E. Atlantic is calm with a 2, Med is calm with a 4

Axis Player Turn

Once again Allied unitd in 26:2020 go U-1 due to mud shortening their supply lines. Elba is U-3, but has supply points to cover the ground and air units there. Germany spends 7 Inf replacements to rebuild a 5-7-6 Inf and 7-8 Mtn division from cadres. 3x forts are completed and 2 more begun, all in Italy.

Toscana and Liguria garrisons are activated (3x 2-3-4* Static [XX]) due to Allied units on Elba. Germany shuffles a few uhnits along the Gustav line and sends two divisions from Italy to France. This just about evens the game deployment with the Apr I 44 OB book, though South is a bit stronger in non-divisional units and has no cadred divisions or Anzio beach head to worry about. Some anti-ship air units are sent to France where they have a tough time finding space at airbases within reach of the coast but fr enough from Allied air bases to be safe.

VP Count:

Allies hold 5 naval bases, 5 dot and 2 major cities for +16 VPs. There are no net losses (with possible exception of 8 points of Italians in the replacement box). So, add 16 to the existing total of 34 and we get 50 VPs (or 34+8=42 if you count the dead Italians).

Allied Player Turn:

Partisans manage 1 hit, taking out the RSI G.55. RM TF again sweeps mines off Northern Italy (at 26:0130) with no losses. All excpept 3 Allied LC, 12x NT, a US 12-pt TF, and an Infantry Corps sail to the ETO. Air units put another 20 rail hits on Axis nets. Otherwise a slow turn.

Commentary:

The Allies now have the bulk of their naval assets in England, along with plenty of air and several broken down divisions. The Axis rail situation is pitiful, the Allies don’t really need to worry about hitting rail cap in France. Airfields in France near the front are not sufficient to deploy anti-ship air units.

The difference between what is shown on my maps and what you get from the 1944 scenarios is striking. The rail nets in France, Belgium, Holland, NE Germany and Italy are pockmarked with well over 100 hits. German Engineers have managed to keep the rail line running north of the Swiss border and 1-2 Rhine crossing open, but they don’t lead anywhere near the coast. Rail links between France and Italy haven’t existed for several turns and the Axis has given up trying to repair them. Every rail line out of Italy is blocked by multiple breaks.

The replacement and VP situations are equally in the Allies favor. Before any Apr I 44 production is added the US has 102.8 Inf, 67 Armor and 69 ARPs. The British have 50 Infantry, 17 Armor and 63 ARPs France has a total of 13.2 Inf, 7 Armor and 7 ARPs. Other allies have the following Infantry replacements: Canada 11.5, Poland 4, NZ 1.5 and India 3. There are 25 NRPs and 63.67 Resource points in the bank, with a debt of 2 NRPs that have yet to be paid for hits on a RM TF. Compare this to the Apr I 1944 initial conditions of US: 12 Inf, 17 Arm, 37 ARPs; British 6 Inf, 5 Arm, 30 ARPs; French 3 Inf; Canada 3.5, Poland 4, NZ 4.5, India 3; 170 resource points (Allied Rail cap and air bases accounts for some, but not all of this difference), and ZERO NRPs. VPs for the 44 campaign are a measly +8 VPs verses 50. Somehow the Allies must’ve lost 42 VPs, seesh!

The Germans have also taken less losses, and have accumulated 35.1 Inf, 28 Armor .5 NRP, 46 ARPs and 65 Resource Points. There are no German cadres, and a single point of positional AA is the only unit in the replacement pool. Per the OB book they should have 9 German Inf, 15 German Armor, 2.75 RSI Infantry replacements, 22 German ARPs, and 118 Resource points.

Victory points and field position are what counts. The Allies hold everything they did for the April I 44 start except the Anzio death trap, er, beach head, plus Belle and Yeu. They have 42 extra VPs, a heck of a lot of replacements, 16 REs of rail cap in Italy and many augmented airbases near the front that SF rules doesn’t let them build. The 25 NRPs are particularly important because that allows them to take risks and build up the two Italian TF if they desire. Anzio is a mistake waiting to prove itself, too many negative VPs for the Germans to ignore. The fact that the Germans are also better off is of some compensation, but not a lot. If the weather turns good in France it is unlikely that the Allies will have to wait until June I to land.

Jun II 44

Weather is clear everywhere. Atlantic and Mediterranean sea zones are calm.

Axis Player-Turn

All units are in supply, though a number of Allied units had to rely on supply points. Axis engineers complete 4 forts and begin another. Cdr Static X is reincarnated a second time, to help the port fort at Bayonne and prevent liberation of MR 18 (DF at Bayonne now 10). All 6 German cadres are in Allied ZOCs. The HG Mot Hvy AA Rgt is rebuilt in SOUTH. Total 1 Arm and 2 Inf RPs spent, leaving 43 Arm and 37 Inf. Germans spend 14 ARPs to bring 9 bombers and 1 fighter back to the map. 3 ARPs remain in the bank at the end of the air cycle.

The Luftwaffe intercepts a harassment mission near Strassbourg shooting down an RAF B-25D while loosing an Me109G6 to the P-51 escort. A US P-39N is lost and a P-38G aborted near Torino. Allied air units harass 6 hexes (9 levels) behind the Seine north of Paris, another hex near Strassbourg, 2 in Northern Italy and 4 behind the Gustav Line. The code Z He111 is shot down over the channel by Mosquito NF. Four ground-launched V-1 attacks are made on London, all miss. Five German bombers are aborted on RMY missions, but after many misses 3 hits are scored which will prevent the Allied rail net from coming up (late breaking GURU post cancels this effect). The RMY attacks use up most of the available bombers and may impact on air support for ground attacks.

German c/m concentrates for attacks: 67 AF in 17/1506, 66 in 17/2105 and 54 in 17/2004. Allied air flies DAS over 17/2005, 1905, 1606 and 1507. The first attack went in at 17/2005 against 8 DF with 6 DAS at 4:1 -1, results in a DR. Next is 17/1905 with 11 DF plus 6.5 DAS. A DE results in US 2nd INF XX and a US Tank Bn eliminated (ZOC killed cadre). Finally, at 17/1606 a French Inf XX and US non-divisional units (18 DF) and 4.5 DAS defend. The Luftwaffe gets a Ju-88 through to make a 3:1 +1 resulting in a DR. (Really wanted to cadre that French XX.) German AA fire was very unlucky in all three attacks. After a successful combat phase German c/m assumes strong defensive positions along the Seine and extending south to Dijon. In SW France German forces converge on strong positions in the Massif Central and near Carassanne (17/4119). Toulouse and Clermont-Ferrand were abandoned after all facilities in those cities were wrecked.

Losses: 11 unisolated US DF.

Victory point count: Allies gain 30 VPs, total now 72 – ahead of the historical count by a good number of VPs, as I figure it.

Allied Player-Turn

MR5 is liberated. Allied units are in supply, only the Germans holding out in Cherbourg and Rochfort are isolated. Six RAF and Commonwealth Spit9 go into the V1 interceptor force. The last two Allied LCs are repaired. RAF spends 5 ARP, leaving 48; USAAF spends 13 leaving 52. 10 US Inf and 2 Arm replacements are spent, as well as 2 Brit Inf RPs. 1 NRP is used, 29 remain. Allied rail cap in France is upped to 12 (less 3 for RMY), meaning the rail net will be up for the Axis Jul I supply determination. Rebuilding of Nantes is begun and Strategic Air war roll is a 4 – no change. Partisans make a successful attack on a single rail line.

A German 1-8 High Mtn Bn which was unable to make the German main line of resistance is overrun by a US Arm XX. Two NZ/British/French mountain corps attack 26/1821 with heavy air support. German DAS is returned and the result is a 5:1 -2 for a DR. 21 DF of British units advance into the hex. On the eastern end of the crumbling Axis line US forces make an 8:1 -2 attack and DE against 12 DF. A single 2-3-6 cadre retreats from Pescara as US 2nd Corps advances into the city.

A 5:1 with heavy air and naval support takes Cherbourg with an HX against 15 DF. The port is destroyed and a US 8-8 Inf XX is cadred. US Armor attacks across the lower Seine, isolating Le Havre and overrunning the minor port of Fecamp. A second hex of Paris is liberated by US/French forces. The defenders of Bayone are retreated into Spain (eliminated) by British/Canadian troops with strong naval support, but the port is destroyed. Rochfort is attacked at 6:1 -1 by British forces and taken intact with a DR. The Static XX successfully retreats, but will be U-3 and isolated in the German July I player-turn. Except for the 4-5 Static the entire Biscay is clear of Axis forces and forts. British forces exploit to form a line along the upper Garonne and Tern rivers and hold Toulouse (MR 17 and 18 will be liberated July I). US forces seize Clermont-Ferrand and form a line running north to Paris then along both banks of the Seine to the Channel. Large numbers of Allied fighter-bombers move to a line of forward airbases.

Losses: Germany lost 27 unisolated and 28 isolated DF, US lost 5 unisolated AF.

Comments

Allied forces are extended to cover a long front, but they are now better able to do that than the German defenders of France. With the rail net up for the next supply check and plenty of US reinforcements on the way over the next few turns they should be able to push the hinge of the Germans line back on the Swiss border and force the abandonment of most of Southern France. British forces are still located along the Biscay coast and around Toulouse, with a few divisions mixed in the US line south of Paris. It may take 2-3 turns to get the British forces on the Biscay coast back into the fight. The Gustav line appears to be wrecked, and a retreat toward Rome seems likely. Several Allied units are positioned in Napoli ready for a quick transfer to Southern France should ports become available. A large number of allied units remain in North Africa or aboard naval units in Tunis and Bizerte. Allied Airborne units in the ETO moved forward to cover airbases behind the front and are in position to make landings anywhere from Southern France to Holland. Allied air continues to pound at the R hine crossings and rail lines in Northern Italy, tying down a lot of Axis engineer assets. The Allies have made good progress clearing rail lines from Brest toward Paris and St Nazaire, but there are now long stretches of broken rail lines between the ports and the front at Toulouse and Clermont-Ferrand.

The Germans will have a tough time transferring their troops from Southern France north through Lyon to cover the Rhine approaches near the Swiss border and will probably have to run fast to avoid British c/m catching them short of the Italian border. They can probably get most of their forces away however, unless there is heavy harassment. Gaining access to garrison forces in Belgium, Holland and the western WK is starting to look better and better. Another turn along the Seine is about all that can be expected, and cadres need to get back to cities where they can be rebuilt. So far only 1 c/m division has been reduced, but losses are exceeding replacements at a growing rate. Several non-divisional c/m units, static divisions and artillery regiments have been eliminated and will not be replaced. Strong coastal defenses along the English Channel, Southern France and Italian coast soak up a lot of German units. So far the Allies have made sure they cleaned up Port Forts, very strong garrisons will have to be left if they are to survive. The weak defenses along the Biscay coast have caused some delay for the British, and the cost is considered acceptable.

 

Apr I 44

Weather Roll = 6, Mud in zones C & D, clear in E. Atlantic = 2 – calm, Med = 4 – calm.

Axis Player Turn

The defenders of WEST front breath a collective sigh of relief as spring weather continues to be poor. Complements of the weather Allied units in 26.2020 go U-1 yet again. Swaping units has kept the effects to a minimum, but with no way to man-handle supplies the only alternative is a very uncertain air drop (1/3 chance of success). After last turn’s civil unrest in bologna the Emilia garrison is called up to occupy that city (actually allowed due to Allied forces on Elba). Engineers finish two forts and begin three more. With 10 engineers dedicated to fort construction rail repairs proceed at a slow pace. One rail line between Italy and Germany is cleared. There is however, barely a rail hex without a hit below Firenze. Any retreat fom the Gustav line will be by road or cross country. Hit markers are again running low.

Allied Player-Turn

The airbase augmented on Elba is completed, and the port will be rebuilt next turn. Neither side calls up strat air. 5 SAS is airlifted to Belle, entering a hex of France – Germans don’t react by popping up their garrison. 3x ENTF, 1x WNTF and 1x RM enter map 17 and make for Brittany. CD at Paimpol engages and gets a hit, return fire silences the CD. Next in line is St Brieuc which misses, but receives 6 hits from return fire. Morlaix is also attacked and silenced. Meanwhile LC’s have loaded a large invasion force and NTs a second wave of armor, artillery and supplies. During the second naval movement step Quimper is bombarded and the CD there is silenced. The naval TF splits up and each sub-part is joined by NTs and LCs. US forces begin landing at 17:0618 and 0717; British, Canadian and French troops land at 17:0519, 0521 and 0722.

Axis command quickly notes the landing at 0722 has no naval cover and immediately orders air strikes. A missile armed FW200 makes contact, is met by 3 groups of interceptors and is returned by the first Allied fighter. A massive strike from Bordeaux inexplicably fails to find the invasion force (rolled a 3). The only remaining naval patrol, a lone Ju88, also fails to make contact. Allied bombing of German air bases along the Biscay has paid off. 2x LC are damaged during first wave landings and 2x US 2-1-10 Amphib Tank Bns sink on their run in to the beach. Fortunately both of the 6-4-10 Amphib Tank Brigades made it safely ashore. After the amphibious troops are ashore a cloud of transports, many staging from Gibraltar and North Africa, drop US and British Parachute divisions (less HQs) at 0718 and 0723, with French Para-Commandos landing at 0622. Despite the use of every available glider and skies clear of any enemy aircraft 2 US Regts and one British Bde are disrupted. 11x gliders go to the eliminated pool.

German defenses in Brittany had been limited to the ports themselves, there are no units in a position to use a reaction move to influence the battle.

Quimper is defended by a mixed lot, including a 1-2-8 SS-Pol X, 3-8 Art, 1-10 Mot LtAA and port CD. The Allies needed 9 of their 12 air units for a 6:1. Sure enough, the 1 point of German AA returns 3 and aborts 1 Allied air unit, reducing the attack to a 5:1 -4. A 2 is rolled for an AS to spoil the day for British and French attackers.

Paimpol is defended by a 5-5 Static XX and local CD. The Allies completely surround the hex and at 6:1 -2 roll a 1 for a DR. Germany loses 5 isolated combat factors while 2x 3-8 Eng and 2x 1-8 Rangers advance to take the port intact.

At Morlaix the Allies make a 7:1 -2 attack against another 5-5 Static XX and roll a 2 for a net 0 and a HX. The German Cadre retreats to 0619, British lose 2x 2-3-8 Engineer X (isolated) and advance 2x 3-8 Mar-Cdo X into the port. -8 VP for isolated losses.

After a lot of less than productive aerial bombardment the turn ends with the Allies holding 12 hexes of Brittany including 2 minor ports. There are 39 REs ashore, including 5 divisions (2x US, 2x British, 1x Canadian). Brest is isolated, but none of the Allied units will be unless both ports are knocked out, an extremely unlikely event given Allied air superiority. However, 5 more LCs were damaged during the second wave, and only 5 undamaged LCs managed to replenish (including 3x LC moved up from the MTO). The Allies should’ve loaded their first wave units at least a turn in advance if they wanted to replenish after landing a second wave. Coastal hexes are fully covered by NGS.

Comments

Making an honest landing is probably the hardest thing to do while playing solitaire. I tried to apply previous experience against other players with what I know of Rich Velay’s defense. April I 44 is a low point in German defenses, but with few troops loaded on LCs, no Allied strat air call-up and mud weather I didn’t believe an Axis strat air call-up was warranted. Had there been rough weather in the Atlantic the Allies would’ve waited a turn. Even if the weather turns clear in zone D the Axis will not be able to fix enough rail hits to get their arriving 20-10 Panzers to Brittany. I suspect Allied harassment will slow down any Infantry to a crawl. The France garrison, 2-3 Inf/Static XX, and a few c/m ants will reach Brittany. Germany prays for more bad weather.

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