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July I 44

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

Axis Player-Turn

All units are in supply, Allied Western Europe rail net is up for supply (Cap=12). Germans welcome the arrival of Infantry AT weapons – all non-ATEC units are now ATEC neutral. Germany spends 10 of 52 ARPs, 8 Inf, 7 Arm and 1 NRP (mines). Two forts are QCed. Several Static XX are converted to the new 4-6-6 Inf XX TO&E. Jul I reinforcements are rather lean. Axis fighters get the best of the RAF over the Rhine rial crossings – two P51D5’s are aborted and a B-25 eliminated for an RSI MC205V aborted. Allied harassment gets through however as the Axis runs out of defending fighters.

Germans in southern France form a line behind the Rhone and in the Alps. Lyon, Grenoble and the ports of La Nouvelle and Port Vendres are abandoned. The CdR Fortress X is reincarnated yet again and moves to Sete (now DF 5) to prevent an overrun and slow the British advance. In Central France German forces pull back to less than 10 hexes from the Westwall, a close Allied pursuit will trigger an emergency. Major c/m stacks are formed at 17/1306 and 1905. The Luftwaffe continues to try air-launched V-1 attacks, this time the He111 is only aborted. All V-1 attacks miss London.

German flak does better this turn, 13 AA attacking 17/1506 abort 4 of 5 DAS leaving 10 DF +2 DAS verses 61 AF resulting in a 5:1 +2 for a DE killing a US tank Bn and reducing the 35th Inf XX to a cadre. LSSAH advances and has a clear breakthrough – there are no Allied ZOCs in the way. 7 AA returns 2 of 3 DAS at 17/1805 leaving 8 DF (full ATEC) and 2 DAS verses 76 AF for a 7:1 -1. The combat roll is a 6 for a DE and the US loses a 3-10 Mot AA, Cav Bde, AT Bn and Tank Bn. Germany can’t afford to EX or HX, with the Allies so attacks are being made a fairly high odds.

During exploitation the LSSAH overruns a US 0-1-8 Construction III halfway between Paris and Le Mans, then dashes back behind the Seine. Two other Pz XX make sure the Axis regain control of several rail lines behind Paris, but were unable to close the supply net noose. There just aren’t enough forces to hold open the breakthrough or the Seine defense line while c/m XX’s roam around the Allied rear. The Axis end with a strong line from the Channel to 17/2003 and then an intermittent line (covered by ZOCs) to 16/3132.

Losses: 15 unisolated US DF.

Allied Player-Turn

MRs 17 and 18 are liberated and will start producing Jan I 45. All Allied units are in supply and 4 more rail cap are added to the French net. US spends 16.5 Inf and 8.5 Arm points, Brits spend 10 ARPs. The Luftwaffe flies some rare harassment in S. France, just out of reach of Allied fighters. No strat air forces are called up, the strat air war roll is a 1 so Strat Air level goes to 3.

MTO: Allied forces close on the Germans as they retreat northward toward Rome. Several units including a Brit Arm XX are moved from Italy to N. Africa and left aboard NTs.

ETO: Canadian/British forces advance to te Med coast capturing Port Vendres and La Nouvelle, Sete is isolated. US/British forces take Lyon but do not close on the Swiss border, prefering to form a strong defensive line along the upper Loire. US forces line up toe to toe with the Germans from Paris to the sea with large stacks around Le Havre and Rouen. The Allies still show a healthy regard for the Panzers.

Combat Phase: A 6:1 -1 attack on Sete results in an EX of 5 points and a destroyed major port. The CdR Fort X is getting a reputation for bad luck having been destroyed while isolated 3 turns in a row. A 5:1 -1 DRs 15 DF at Le Havre, a 1-2-5 Static cadre survives the retreat and the port is destroyed. No NGS or air support is used in the attack, just lots of Artillery supporting US Infantry and Armor. The Allies fight there way into a third hex of Paris at 17/1604 with Engineer and air support making a 6:1 even up for a DR. US 29th and 80th Inf XX advnace, along with a 4-8 Art. The British EX at 4:1 -2 against 16 DF at 26/1822. They eliminate two Arm X and a Mot Art X such that after rebuilding there will be a net GAIN in British Inf replacements (don’t you just love those special replacements). US forces capture two more hexes in attacks on the eastern side of the Italian boot.

Exploitation Phase: The 49th Static cadre is overrun while isolated near Le Havre and Allied troops firm up their line between Paris and Lyon. British-Canadian c/m close on the Rhone at Nimes (17/4211).

Losses: Germany lost 19 unisolated and 24 isolated DF, Britain lost 20 unisolated AF, France 1 unisolated AF (1-10 Cav in EX at Sete for special replacements).

Comments

Not a great turn for the Allies, almost as many losses as the Germans, but clearing the Normandy MR for liberation is a positive note. British and French take advantage of the fact that eliminated armored units generate special Infantry replacements, but use mostly Armor replacement points. As long as there are plenty of Arm RPs pouring in they will continue to abuse this situation rather than cadre available Infantry XX. The US on the other hand can cadre Infantry to its heart’s content. Allied air forces are starting to get the range of the Rhine rail crossings and Austrian rail lines leading into Italy. Once the Allies push past Dieppe the Germans are going to find it difficult to man their line, which is very weak near the Swiss border already. Allied concentration on clearing Paris and the Normandy MR along with a desire not to trigger an early Westwall emergency has kept them from advancing to the Swiss border. An Axis retreat to the Alps and Nice appears imminent. Less successful is the Axis retreat from the Gustav line. They can’t outrun the Allies, and in fact can’t run far at all due to ZOCs and harassment. The US on the Adriatic coast keeps edging ahead and the Brits on the Tyrrhenian coast can find at least one hex to attack every turn. Large Allied amphibious and airborne forces threaten the rear of both theaters. German losses in Italy are a drain, but the retreat must not become a route.

 

November 1943- The Corsican Assault and Street fighting in Messina

Historical – French Expeditionary Corps starts landing for the mountain campaign

The Mud DOES arrive this turn (phew !!), and with the compulsory armoured withdrawals, the Axis attack in Corsica is now toothless. Both sides breathe a huge sigh of relief as the Air Cycle restarts. The month starts with, basically, an Axis Air Phase – trying to blow the Bonifacio port come what may – which they do, at a cost. Air supply flutters onto the beleaguered troops on Corsica. It’s also a fairly quiet fortnight for the Allies – a combined assault on Messina comes to nought, and only another Italian pest division succumbs on Corsica – the rest are herded further northwards. However, the build-up is inexorable – though slowed with only 4 LCs available with the rough seas.

With the back of the Axis anti-shipping force broken, Derek then has another low-activity turn to conserve his ARPs. The attrition of the air war is starting to tell – both the Axis and the Americans have 20+ planes to repair, but the Brits are in 100% health. Derek is only flying intercepts which target the Yankee fliers. By calling up the Strat fighters one last time, he does manage to air-drop more supply into the Corsican hill-country with ½ his air force while the other half try to bomb out Bonifacio again, but to minimal effect (13 AA).

In the south, the Americans assemble 157 pts in 4 stacks surrounding Messina (42 pts), and with all 5 Med Task Forces getting past the coast defences, get to 5:1 (-3) with %-odds. The resulting Exchange clears Messina, but devastates the engineering corps with compulsory losses.
In Corsica, the Commonwealth troops make short work of Ajaccio, & the Indian, British and French mountain troops take out the central spine’s defenders. An AA brigade exploits into Calvi to leave just a bombed out Bastia to capture. All in all, a relatively satisfactory turn.

Jan II 44

Weather roll = 5. Snow in zone C, Winter in zone D and Mud in zone E. Atlantic and Med are both rough.

Axis Player Turn

Axis receive the Occupation turn 7 RSI reinforcements which should help reduce extra Italian partisan attacks. Luftwaffe and RSI fighters intercept Allied harassment missions intended to slow down rail repairs. A French P-39L and US P-39Q are killed, a US P-40N is aborted and a US P-39N is returned at the cost of one Fw190A2 aborted. The Allies however keep sending planes until they achieve their intended purpose, there just aren’t enough Axis fighters to stop them. Next time the Allies might want to try a few escorts or send better fighter-bombers and avoid the slaughter.

Allied Player Turn

Axis occupation forces are up to strength in all areas. Taranto is finally rebuilt and 5 hits are removed, the Allies will finally have unlimited regular supply in Italy. The Allies spend 5 French African RPs to rebuild their 3-8* Mtn Cadre to an 8-8 division. 2-point RM TF in England sustains no losses sweeping another mine in the English Channel. No attacks along the Gustav line. Allied air and partisans put another 22 hits on Axis rail lines. The FW190A at Roma is taken out by airbase attacks. 29th Infantry XX (US) moves from the MTO to the ETO. (To fulfill its destiny?) Several Allied TF move to Messina where several LC laden with unsupported British Infantry have been waiting patiently.

Commentary

Italy is starting to look like the moon, there won’t be much rail movement except in the north. Other than air attacks not a lot of action. Still waiting for better weather and more Mountain units to attack along the Gustav Line.

 

July II 44

Weather is clear everywhere. Atlantic rough, Mediterranean calm.

Axis Player-Turn

All units are in supply. Germany spends 10 Inf RPs rebuilding cadres and upgrading to 4-6-6 Inf XX along with 3 German and 1 RSI ARPs. FW 190’s shoot down a P-47D25 escorting harassment near Strasbourg, but one B-26B makes it through. Allies put down 7 levels of harassment in the MTO and 11 in the ETO.

In Italy the front pulls back to a fortified line running through Roma to 26/1520 with a second line directly behind the first (NODL). 29th PzG XX arrives on the Adriatic coast to stiffen the defense. In France German c/m mount a two front attack on US 8th Inf XX in Rouen. The attack is conducted under skies darkened by DAS (8 units) flying from England. AA aborts 4 DAS leaving 11 DF + 7 DAS with 1/7 ATEC verses 101 AF for a 5:1 -1. A 1 is rolled for an EX, Germans recapture Rouen and cadre 21st Pz XX. A Pz XXX uses a 4:1 +3 to DE 5 DF of US Cav and Arty at 17/2207. An 84 point Pz XXX attacks 8 DF of US non-divisional units at 17/1806. Net +1 from 1/2 ATEC verses full AECA, but the flak misses all the DAS and 4 pts are added to the defense. 84:12 is a 7:1 +1 for a DH, and some of the survivors are overrun during exploitation.

Except for a rear guard in Marseille all Germans in S. France pull back to the Italian frontier and a blocking position 2 hexes west of Nice. 15th PzG XX heads north to assist defenses near the Swiss border.

Player-turn losses: US 16 DF, Germany 7, all unisolated.

Allied Player-Turn

Allied European rail Cap goes to 20 and the first French liberation reinforcements arrive in MR 18. MRs 13 and 16 are liberated. Britain spends 1 ARP, 3 Inf and 16 Armor RPs. The US spends 13 ARP, 8 Inf and 4 Arm RPs. The French spend 1 Arm RP. Partisans take out an Me109G6 at Belfort. No strat air is called up. The strat air roll is a 3, stat air level increases to 4 = 80% rail Cap and 75% aviation fuel. 3 Allied airbases are dismantled by slow moving British and Colonial construction units.

The Allies consider and then reject the idea of transporting ground units to Southern France. There are too few Allied fighters and they are too far away. Ground forces move more aggressively, lining up for 8 attacks in the ETO and 3 in the MTO, where the Axis is running out of mountains to hide in. Spitfires fly CAP over Rome where a thousand British guns open up on 13 DF (3x Arty divisions, Canadian Arty brigade, LR and Siege battalions). The 5:1 -1 attack rolls a 6 for a DE, reducing two German Inf XX to cadres. Rome falls to British arms! Heavy air support pushes the attack at 26/1622 to 8:1 -2 with a 4 rolled for a DH cadring another 5-7-6 division. An American attack against 5 DF at 26/1521 at 9:1 -2 results in a DR and 30 points of US troops advance to flank the German position on the coast.

British and Canadian troops take the port fort at Port-de-Bouc with a 7:1 -1, but the port is destroyed in the process. Marseilles falls to a 9:1 -2 but German port destruction units do their dirty work well. A US 5:1 at Dieppe retreats the defenders (kills the Port Fort) and sees the port destroyed. A 5-7-6 is cadred in the bocage at 17/1204 (9:1 -1) and US VII Corps (24 DF) advances to claim the hex. German flak at 17/1904 aborts 2 and returns 3 of 6 GS units. All the AA and parachuting pilots must’ve distracted the defenders who suffered a DH (3:1 rolled a 6) and only the 7-3-10 Mot Rocket Art retreated. A Mot Hvy AA Rgt and Tiger Bn were destroyed, but the American attackers decline to advance (something about crossing the Seine with LSSAH and another Pz XX on each flank). 116th Pz XX at 17/2303 is less lucky with AA, aborting 9 and returning 3 of the 36 points of GS. The resulting 5:1 -1 US/French attack is a DR for no losses. A British attack against two SS PzGrn Brigades at 17/2802 is also a bloodless DR.

Finally, after 2 months of heavy fighting the last hex of Paris is liberated by American forces. Much of the city lays in ruins, but at last the French capital is free from Fascist oppression. The Eiffel tower is one of many landmarks destroyed in “the Stalingrad of the West” despite all attempts by Allied troops to avoid unnecessary damage. Parisians vow that Berlin will suffer a worse fate. Hitler vows that every occupied Allied capital will be a fortress city like Paris.

During exploitation the port of Toulon is overrun, but the docks are found to be destroyed. British Infantry and US ants again form a line on the west bank of the Loire. US forces are across the Seine all the way from Paris to the Channel coast. Jets flew their first combat mission, RAF Meteors strafe a Luftwaffe base in France.

Player-turn losses: Allies none; Germany 7 isolated and 31 unisolated DF. Total losses for the turn 16 US, 45 German.

Comments

The Allies are finding it hard to create much momentum, too many troops are still sitting things out in England and the MTO. The Allies want to have a viable invasion threat to keep German forces tied up on beach defense, but are feeding in some of their uncommitted reserves. The port situation in S. France (a total of 2 minor ports are functioning) will not resolve itself quickly, so troops are being shipped around the Iberian peninsular to the Biscay ports (a time consuming process). At least the Allies are not outrunning their airbases.

Between upgrades, replacements and reinforcements Germany is getting almost as many DFs as she is losing. The air situation is getting worse and c/m ants with more AF than DF will never be rebuilt. July 44 ends with 1 Pz XX cadred, none in the dead pile, 55 Arm, 41.35 Inf and 43 ARPs. The Allies still have not crossed the line that initiates the Westwall emergency. The Allies on the other hand have 106 Arm RPs (combined), 132 US Inf, 64.6 Brit, 18.4 French, and 42 other Inf RPs, along with 32 NRPs, 81 US ARPs, and 54 British.

 

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?

 

Oct 1943 Revised – Invasion Corsica

October 1943 Revised – Invasion Corsica

Historical – MUD, Germans fall back to the Gustav line & Allies slowly get to Naples and Foggia

The Brits, this time, land in southern Corsica (1003 & 1103). Nearly 2 divisions of paras descend on an unsupported German regiment in 1004 trying to overrun it, but only the tiny Italian-American battalion lands undisrupted. All 5 Task Forces and the last call-up of the Carrier Group heavily support the invasion. The northern Regiamarina intercepts but the Albacore fails to spot the ships sailing right under its nose! The Roma sinks an HQ (of course) and several regiments & marine brigades. Heavy air support and NGS help the Brits get ashore – though the Mulligan chip changes hands again when a ‘AS’ comes up on 4:1(-1) with a 90% chance of rolling up to 5:1 – Sod’s Law! At least the port of Bonifacio falls intact.

As mentioned elsewhere, 108pts of GIs storm Mt Etna (18pts) in a bloody assault (EX) and the bombers leave no airbase or port access in Corsica.
Mud does NOT roll up as hoped in the ‘D Zone’ – which is a major headache with a panzer division sitting on Corsica, suddenly a -3 modifier in the rough yawns out to +2. The night bombers saturate Bonifacio, but the Mosquitoes and abysmal Axis dice means that not a single hit is scored. This is important, because when the para stack (26pts) is attacked by the panzers (and half the LW bomber force) out of Ajaccio at 3:2 (+2) and takes an exchange, they aren’t isolated – phew, THAT was close- uurrrgggghhh!!

However, the remainder of the Axis bomber fleet takes out Bonifacio later in the turn leaving the Corsican landing unsupplied. The Brits land the Indian 4th and British 52nd Mountain divisions, with the HQs that weren’t able to land last turn. Both sides’ bomber fleets take a pounding this turn – the Axis anti-shipping force is wiped out, and the Allied port bombers are blown out the sky by 190’s (finally loaded with ammo). A 5:1 (-2) forces an Italian division out of 1002 leaving the Brits occupying the 10xx hexrow. A massive airlift brings in enough tea for the boys on their 1-capacity cricket pitch, just in time for the quadrangular tournament between the English, the Indians, South African pilots and West Indian construction engineers. The Canadians look on, bemused…

Jan I 44

Weather roll = 4 = Snow in zone C, Winter in zone D and Mud in zone E. Atlantic = storms, Med = rough.

Axis Player Turn

Germany pours a lot of reinforcements into Italy to patch up coastal defenses. The Gustav line is fully manned with at least 12 DF in each hex. Engineers open a rail line across the Rhine and all the way to Southern France. A few bombers relocate from France to Northern Italy.

Allied Player Turn

Germany is short 1 RE of occupation forces in Italy. Brits rebuild the 6-4-6 Tank X they lost last turn. Partisans score two rail hits in France and one in Italy. Axis defenses along the Gustav line look too formidable to the Allies who make no ground attacks. Allied engineers continue to repair rails and complete two permanent airbases (Fogia and Corsica). Still no major ports on mainland Italy, though Taranto should be in operation next turn. Allied bombers place another 20 hits on Axis rail nets.

Comments

A slow turn all the way around. Breaking the Gustav line is probably going to require better weather but the Allies believe time is on their side and are in no hurry to rack up AH results. By spring there won’t be many unbroken rail hexes within range of Allied fighter-bombers. By relocating a few fighters to Alsace/Lorraine the Germans have raised the stakes for Allied medium bombers wishing to cut the link between France and Germany.

 

Dec II 43

Weather roll = 3, Zone C Snow, Zone D Winter, Zone E Mud. Sea Conditions: Atlantic Storm, Med Rough.

Axis Player Turn

Winter weather means mountain hexes are now prohibited terrain for c/m and artillery. Those Axis c/m and arty units that were still south of the final defensive line moved out of the way, two non-c/m divisions couldn’t make it back to the fort line and were left behind to fend for themsleves. Axis NT’s risk DZ rolls to lay mines along the French Med coast and at 16/0321, one mine point is held in reserve.

German Engineers give up any thought of maintaining rail through Paris. This frees up 3x 0-1-5 Cons III which move south. They will attempt to keep the Strasburg-Mulhouse-Belfort-Dijon-Bourges-Tours line open, along with at least two Rhine River crossing points.

Allied Player Turn

Axis are short 2 RE of occupation forces in Italy. Allies receive 1/2 RP for disbanding their two former Axis Italian units (0-1-6 Cons and 1-3-6 LAA), not enough to place any units as forming. No Italian replacement points will be produced until Apr I 44. French Partisans abort a Me109 and break a rail, Italian Partisans are ineffective. Allied repair 3 hits to their Naval TF, leaving 16 NRPs in the bank.

American Infantry (2x 1-8 Bn) land on Elba, followed by a 1-10 Lt Tank Bn. Furrious LW attempts to attack the supporting TFs result in heavy LW losses. USAAC lost 1x A-36A killed while the Luftwaffe lost one each Me109G6, Ju88C6, He177A and Ju88A4 (code S) killed and 3x Ju88A4 (including one code V) aborted. Only one LW unit made it through the fighters and AA to bomb the fleet – it missed. One LC was damaged during the landings. Commonwealth forces attacked 26/2121 at 7-1 (-2) and roll a 2 which becomes a HX against 1st Fallshirmjaeger XX. A British 6-4-6 Tank X is exchanged to avoid any loss of Infantry RPs. This places 44 HuD in a ZOC surround at 26/2120 and she suffers a HX at 5:1 (-4). Allied used 16 points of air (reduced to 4) and exchange a 9-8 Brit Inf XX. Allies move all but 2 of their 20 LCs to the Med and several c/m units to ports where they could be used for 2nd wave landings on the Italian/French Med coastlines. They continue to maintain several US and British divisions broken down in North Africa. The Allies are using their high MP Engineers and low MP Cons units with transport counters to repair rail and airbases in Italy while their Port Construction units work on Naples and Taranto.

The end of 1943 finds the following situation in regard to replacement points: Inf RPs: US 54.8, Brit 39.2 French 12.2 (all types), Canadians 7, Pol 1, Allied Italian .5, German 38.1, RSI 0. Arm RPs: US 43, Brit 15, French 1, Germans 8 NRPs: Allies 16, Axis 0 ARPs: US 46, Brit 50, French 6 Allied anti-ship 8 Allied Italian 3, Germany 36, RSI 1.

The Axis have 1x 5-7-6 Inf XX and 1 point of positional AA in the dead pile, along with a LW 4-8* cadre (9-8*) in the GUSTAV line and a 6-8* Pz Gren cadre at Rome. All German strat air units are operational. The Allies have a dead 6-4-6 Tank X along with a 3-8* Inf X, and a 4-5-8* Inf Cadre (9-8) (plus a French Mtn cadre and some dead Brits which began the game in that state). Allies have 1 hit which counts against them on an Italian TF, and several more which don’t count for VPs they could repair if they chose to do so. The VP total remains at +34.

Commentary

Another example of Luftwaffe impotence verses a well-covered Allied naval force. This time the Allies landed right at the German doorstep, but their bases on Corsica and Sardinia were immediately at hand. It is obvious that the only real threat to an Allied amphibious landing is a strong ground counter-attack force. The Germans are finding it hard to guard both the GUSTAV line and their rear areas. They don’t have anything resembling a counter-attack force in Italy anywhere north of the Gustav line. The terrible rail situation makes it impossible to shift troops quickly, yet the Allies threaten a major landing in the. As the Allied player it is very tempting to put in a landing Med (probably between Rome and Livorno) which would undoubtedly force the Germans to pull back from the GUSTAV line. It simply isn’t worth the cost in German replacement points to land in France at this point.

 

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.

October 1943 – Invasion Italy

Historical – MUD, Germans fall back to the Gustav line & Allies slowly get to Naples and Foggia

A mega Axis stack builds up in front of Messina: (1st SS, HG and 16th Pzr) which forces an HX on the northern US stack (44pts). With Sicily now an American airbase, air support isn’t a factor (despite another LW Strat Call-up), but that’s now 6 US divisions cadred or lost in the past 2 turns!!

Seeing the imminent arrival of Mud looming, the Allies have plotted a desperate assault on the narrow neck of the Calabria peninsula. (Actually, truth be said, they had an abortive double invasion of Elba & Gaeta, but the losses were so bad, we rebooted from start!) The Brits land on both the northern (3619, 3720) and southern coast (3719). They are heavily supported by all 5 Task Forces, and the last call-up of the Carrier Group, which proves its worth: The southern Regiamarina intercepts South Force, and the Albacore deals out 4 hits and the US fleets finish the job. However, Roma sinks several LCs (no NTs of course – that would be too easy!!)

Elsewhere, 108pts of GIs storm Mt Etna (18pts) in a bloody assault (EX) and the British planes leave only 2 REs of port access in Corsica. Quite a few Axis units are now out of supply in Sicily/Calabria and Corsica and both sides’ air forces have been heavily battered. Let’s hope there’s enough Allied air power to hold up the British landings.

Mud arrives in Oct II. The Germans call up their Strat fighters and cover the British landing hexes with aircraft – as do the Allies. Obviously, the stakes are high here. I do expect to lose one stack – sinking those LCs had a huge impact in getting the follow up waves on the beach. In a bold move, Derek decides to throw it all at two hexes – to open the supply lines to the, not inconsiderable, panzer forces in Calabria; most surprisingly he targets the biggest stack of Poms – 28 points with 13 AA. With 30+ air battles over the hexes there is surprisingly little debris – but then the FlaK and ack-ack open up – and pieces of planes fly off in all directions! As expected, the small stack falls (with an EX), but in an all-too-familiar theme now, against slim odds, so does the main British stack – to a DR thru ZOC result! The Queen is not amused. How the hell can we redeem this disaster!?!!?!

With only 6 LCs now left undamaged, amphib invasions are cancelled, as the dilemma is now do we throw more Poms into the grinder, or pull the survivors out? It’s only getting harder – mud, then rough seas will arrive; the SS corps will garrison Messina against all-comers, so we throw more boyo’s in. The landings are unopposed, but AGAIN the LCs lose half their complement to damage on friendly beaches! All the TFs are deployed to support the attack across the mountains into 3819. An EX is rolled – not ideal, but it puts Calabria back out of supply again. With four LCs remaining only a paltry reinforcement can bolster the lads.

Elsewhere, the Corsican ports have been hit by bombing missions – there’s only 2REs of capacity left, and the NFs are patrolling Ajaccio airfield (Bastia was bombed out). The Yanks grind into Milazzo – there’s only the cape hex and Messina itself now held by the Germans. Derek is playing well – most losses are coming off the Germans, and disbanding all the Italian artillery is keeping a shallow Replacement Pool. But it looks grim for the Calabrian British: probably a game-losing amount of losses could happen next turn – although we can pile virtually 80% of the Allied fighter complement over their hexes. Hmmmmm…..

OK, giving Derek the moral victory, I agree that the Calabria debacle is right up there with Gallipoli on the Very Stupid Ideas scale. So after a couple of hours fiddling, we rewind the situation back to the end of the German Oct I turn to replay the British half of the Allied turns.

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