The Axis gain 3 VPs for owning Massaua. The Axis are then forced to declare a German withdrawal from the Balkans, as the Greek gov’t has escaped into exile. This is hardly critical, as the only allied items that remain on the mainland are a pair of fighters in Athenai, both of whom will presumably vacate the city prior to getting overrun in movement. Thirty RE’s of non-c/m troops are retained for on map use. Essentially these consist of all Gebirgsjager XX’s, the 7th Fallshirmjager, all the combat engineers, a few artillery III’s and a X, plus 3 of the 8-6 Inf XX’s.
In special ops planning, three plans are cancelled that had to do with landing in Creten areas, as these are no longer necessary. One new plan is made.
In supply, all units in the Dodecannese are U-4, the various units on Crete are, for the most part, U-2 isolated or worse, but 8 GSPs delivered by air supply all but one of the RE’s on the island. The campaign for Crete is all but over. In East Africa, all units are U-4, a few units in the far west are isolated but not within 2 hexes of any allied unit. In Nafasit, the Erit m Inf X was cutoff in exploit by the Allies, so it too is isolated. It fails a surrender check and gives up the fight.
On the Allied side, the Greek static X, last Greek ground unit on the map, is U-1 and isolated, and will soon get overrun. The 43rd RPC Cons X is U-1 but not isolated on Melos, and will soon find itself facing a naval invasion of the island. With no GSPs shipped in, all the units in Tobruch that did not arrive last turn are U-3 red & isolated, and will face their first surrender rolls next Allied turn, if not destroyed by combat before then. The 3 or 4 new units delivered last turn go U-1 isolated. In East Africa, the two allied units in British Somalia are U-2 and U-3.
Despite a good political outlook for the Axis, the Iraqi’s still cannot quite get up the gumption to rebel against their British overlords (5 rolled, modified to 7 what with German troops in Egypt and the Greek gov’t having just gone into exile. We’ll get a +4 mod next turn. We’ll see how that plays out.)
A decent reinforcement turn for the Axis. More a/s and replacement points arrive in Brindisi and other spots in Italy, though there is little to no need for them at this point. More importantly, 2 Italian ARPs arrive, along with 3 German ones. In Italian point is spent to bring back the bombed out Z.506 floatplanes at Scarpanto. The 3 German ones are used to bring back 2 Ju87R’s (Scarpanto & Rodi), along with a Ju88A1 up in mainland Greece. Still, there are still quite a few aborted Luftwaffe a/c (lucky airbase bombing rolls and flak rolls have taken their toll…) In Sicily, 2 a/s, the 115th m Inf III, a half point of Italian infantry, and an Italian Ju87B show up for duty in North Africa. Also arriving are 5 Italian and 3 German ARPs. One Italian point brings back an Mc.200 at Benghazi, while the aborted SM.79-1 is brought back on Sicily at the cost of another, and then immediately converts to a torpedo carrying SM.79-2. The North African damaged air pools are empty at this point. In East Africa, ½ EAC point arrives at Massaua, and is used to return the Msw Inf III (a supported unit) back to duty thanks to the ½ point already in the city. The ½ point in Dessie is used for a pos AA pt, which when combined with 1 pt already in that redoubt will result in an effective 1 pt AA defense. We may get some sort of shot against the bombers that will eventually arrive.
GSPs are created at each Central Med island, plus all the rail hexes on the east edge of Map 14, though only the latter will get used this turn. One of the new a/s points in Italy for the Balkans is converted to 3 res pts, one of which is then converted to 6 airbase repair points, which should get Crete and Melos (once seized) fully back up for air ops.
The evacuation of the Greek gov’t releases the Dodecannese garrison, though there is little need for them to do anything at this point. I suppose this means the Mxd F and B can go elsewhere in the Balkans though… whoopee!
There are still a number of overstacked airbases, so a BR.20M on the mainland, 3 Ital fighters at Khania, two Italian F’s on Scarpanto, and 3 Ju52’s on Rodi go inop. The Greek F at Erakion does the same.
After this, a series of CAP’s and counter CAP’s occurs. In the first, 2 Me109E’s CAP Eraklion to prevent or at least dissuade that base from being used as a staging point for the Allied a/c in the Balkans from escaping (at the beginning of the turn, there are a Glad and Mxd F at Athenai, 2 Hurri1’s on Melos, and a Bombay transport and the Greek F (inop) at Eraklion.) The Allied units cannot get back to Egypt directly from Athenai or Melos due to range… they must stage through Eraklion or Tobruch in some fashion. The inop Greek F responds to the CAP over Eraklion by scrambling to Melos, for whatever good that will do it. The remaining Allied units choose not to fly a mission at this point, so an MC.200 and 2 CR.42’s from rear bases in North Africa move up to CAP Tobruch (with an Me109E in intercept range of that fortess as well.) After this, an Me110D and Me110C CAP Melos itself. The Allies decide they’ve had enough of this, and send the Hurri’s on Melos to Tobruch for a CAP of their own (staging to the fortress and then flying the mission.) They are interrupted by the Me110’s converting to patrol attack (where they can face the Hurri’s on an even keel). The combat rolls are exceedingly poor however, with two one’s rolled, so both Me110’s gett aborted. That’ll end up giving the Allies another VP down the road, but it was considered best to do as much as possible to hurt the RAF before it escapes back to Egypt, especially with Balkan a/c since they will be going away for good soon enough. The Allies then fly the Mxd F at Athenai on a CAP to Tobruch as well. The Axis give some consideration to picking off this a/c via intercept, but then decide there is still a good shot that we will storm the fortress directly, and if this is successful, all the Allied fighters on CAP will be digging holes in the desert soon enough. Why risk the Axis a/c in the desert for K’s that will come on their own?
After all this air action, 5 bomber type craft on Scarpanto and Rodi are put on naval patrol, where they can hit the tight interdiction zone around Crete later in the turn for more VPs.
Naval movement should kick things off, but there are yet more air ops that must come first. A Ju87B from Khania, a Ju87R from Rodi, and an Me110D and Mc.200 out of Scarpanto all converge in a mass raid to kill off the Bombay at Eraklion before it escapes. All four hit the airfield, but only one manages a hit (the Ju87R), sufficient to abort the Bombays and eliminate the Erak air capacity. The Allies respond by sending their Glads on a multi-leg transfer from Athenai to Tobruch to Alexandria to Nicosia on Cyprus. The Mc.200 on CAP over Tobruch and the Me109E just west of the fortress both intercept the Glads however. The Me109’s line up first, but miss with a 9 rolled, while the Glads manage a 5 for a return. The Mc.200 pilots take a shot, but do even worse with a 10 rolled for a miss, while the Glads get a 6 for a second return. The Glads continue on to Cyprus, while the commanders of the two Axis fighter units are cashiered for a decided lack of aggression.
With no additional flak at Malta, it’s decided to go ahead and send the two Ca.133’s to bomb the island. Flak misses both, and one gets a hit, returning the Malta status to 15.
Actual naval movement then begins, first with the 3 III’s of the 72nd Infantry XX boarding ANTPs in the Aegean and floating to Melos. With the tight zone around Crete, the interference column is only a 12, so all three get by Allied naval forces unscathed. All three then land on the island, and with excellent rolls none are disrupted despite the -1 mod to the disruption roll. The 1 Mtn and 2 Inf RPs move from Brindisi to Valona without incident.
In Axis moves across the med, the 8th Pzr III uses on map NTPs to head for Derna. The 115th m Inf III lands at Benghazi, along with one a/s point. The other a/s point and the ½ Ital Inf RP are landed at Tripoli. All the naval interference rolls are on the 12 column, and only the inf RP is contacted, and it gets by the Allies with a 4 rolled for an NE. Finally, a pos AA pt that has been cooling its heels at Homs is moved towards Derna via the coastal route, though it can’t quite reach the port in movement due to the slowness of slipping in and out of the coastal hiding spots.
Before ground movement commences, the Axis air force in the Levant runs some ops. The BR.20M flies a night time naval harassment mission against Port Said, getting missed by flak and hitting the port with a 5 rolled (+1 VPs to Axis). One SM.79-1 flies an extended range RMY mission against Qena, on the rail line leading from Egypt to Sudan (given there are units attempting to use this route to get up to the Delta, we decide to make that process a bit more difficult.) Needing a 6, the Italians roll one and put a hit on the RMY, and reduce next turn’s Allied rail cap by 1 to boot. The other 3 SM.79-1’s in Levant attempt to do the same to the Asyut RMY, but all three miss.
On the ground in Greece there is mostly just clean-up action to take. Nearly all hexes are Axis owned due to isolation effects, but there are some ports where this doesn’t apply. Italian units on the west side of the mountains in northern Greece head south, gaining ownership and/or positioning themselves to do the same next turn. On the east side, Italian Cons III’s admin into the temp airbases the German Eng III’s created north of the Sperkios. The German III’s build up 2 of the temp fields to accommodate the a/c on them and then move to repair rail hits along the rail line to Athenai. The most forward Axis unit, the Italian 1B motorcycle III slips into the Peloponnesus (where various German c/m units had been up until withdrawal) and takes control of Patrai. This allows a railed and admin’d Italian Inf XX to garrison the place. Axis rail CAP goes up to 34.5, while the Allied CAP drops to 1. The 6th Gebirgsjager moves into Athenai, destroying the intrinsic AA, the allied standard supply terminal (+5 Axis VPs), dropping the Allied rail cap to 0, increasing the Axis CAP to 35.5, and finally increasing the Axis Aegean NTP total to 10 while decreasing the Allied one to 0. GSPs at Pleven are railed forward, and then the 5th Gebirgsjager cartages them to Athenai, where a Ju52 stages in and flies them into Eraklion (later in the turn.) The 5th then proceeds into the Peloponnesus, making for Gythion. Lots of Italian units on the east side of the mountains rail or admin into the Athenai or Peloponnesus, mostly just for garrison purposes. In the north, probably 60% of the Italian units close up shop and begin admining back to Albanian ports. No impact in the game, but that’s what they’d do in a larger war. Eight GSPs are railed off-map, then back on at Pleven, and thence to Plovdiv. They are then SMP’d to Kavalla, where staged in Ju52’s fly them to Rethymnon one-way (later in the turn.)
On Crete, 3 Gebirgsjager III’s and the 125th Inf III overrun the Greek Rethymnon Static X, permanently eliminating the last independent Greek unit. Future units will have to rely on their British masters… The 4th Gebirgsjager III on the island moves east to seize Eraklion and Hagios Nikolaos, putting all Crete ports into Axis hands. After this, the Axis troops on the islands just spread out, garrison each of the major cities/ports, and await the end of the Greek adventure. Four airbase repair points are used to completely rebuild Rethymnon and Eraklion’s airfields (allowing the GSP air transport missions listed above.)
A great debate then kicks off on how to approach North Africa and Tobruch. At the cost of 2 a/s points, a 4:1 -1 can be launched against the now out of supplied (and for some units, U-3) stronghold. This attack would have a 5 in 6 chance of eliminating 16 defense strength points (effectively at 9 due to supply issues at this point.) These would include the very hard to replace Kiwi XX, plus 2.5 pts worth of Aussie units, and a few odds and sods. Additionally, three Allied F’s on CAP over the city would be forced to crash land into the elim box, at a 6 ARP cost to replace them. However, there is some risk in that there is a 1 in 6 chance of an EX, and a 1 in 6 for an HX. Both would be at the printed strength, so either result would likely see the 21st Pzr XX cadred, and of course some number of Italian units either destroyed or cadred. After the whole Axis command structure meets repeatedly to discuss the merits of attacking immediately, the North African CC eventually decides that there is little need at this point to risk any significant losses to the DAK and Italian Army in Africa. It is decided this attack will be forgoed. The major units in Tobruch will at least face one surrender check. Therefore, forward units again move forward to temporarily gain ownership of terroritory near Matruh and points southwest of that city. Lots of Italian units again screen the three hexes adjacent to Tobruch, while the recently arrived elements of the 15th Pzr admin forward from their arrival ports, albeit not far given how few mps are left after unloading. More significantly, the 5th Army Cons III adds another point of temp cap to the airfield at 4618 and then shifts forward to complete construction of the Tobruch bypass at 4718. The 10th Army Cons III moves into 4818 and completes the bypass in that hex. This connects the Tobruch-Oasi di Giarabub to the Axis supply net, allowing Axis units as far into Egypt as 19:1020 to be in general supply. However, ZOC costs will prevent the bypass from being completed any earlier than Jun I 41 unfortunately. Attack supply points continue the slow trudge forward as well.
In East Africa, there is little to be done at this point. Two units in southern Sudan move south, back towards Italian holdings, if only to get further from Allied units which will be looking to force surrender checks. The two units in northern Kenya do much the same, albeit via northern moves. The Asb Inf X, midway between Massaua and Dessie begins a slow trek toward the latter city. Two units are still active in the Addis-Mendebo Mts-Oromos Highlands area. Each X moves generally east further into areas with open lines of communication to Harar, while remaining in mountains. Near Harar, 3 units converge on the city, hoping to shortly join the one unit defending the limited supply terminal. The 3rd Coastal III continues to slog its slow way towards the war, though it is still in southern British Somaliland and months away from Harar. Well to the south, a Lt Inf [X] actually takes the train from Bulo Burti to Villa Duca di Abruzzi, since the Allies never gained ownership of the rail line just north of Mogadiscio. From this point, it can at least threaten to retake possession of the city, currently garrisioned by just the 2nd SEAC Cons X and the Mxd S transports. More important are the moves around Massaua. The two X’s still in the Rora and Cheren ranges move to put zoc’s on allied troops, though their survival past the current turn is unlikely in the extreme. The strongest units on the Massaua side of the Allied line all retreat into the city, creating as the Duca Luna terms it, “The Nut.” Unsupplied, the stack is 9.5 DS strong, with 3 flak pts and the CR.42 still on the field. The defense consists of the 5-6 65GdS XX, 4x 2-6 Inf X’s, 3x 2-6 Art III’s, with 3 a/s in warehouses to supply the defense once the Allies are fully within striking range of the city. As it is considered impossible for the Allies to get better than a 2:1 -1 against the city this coming turn, the Duca chose not to convert any of these points in our ini phase for defensive use next turn. In fact, given printed combat strengths, any attack prior to Jun I 41 is considered to be doomed as the Italians would have the higher printed strength and therefore win an EX/HX result. The Msw Inf III admins along the coast, joining up with an Italian TC at 10W:0405, while two X’s take up the defense of the port of Mersa Fatmah, joined there by the Nord Cons III. They could all be assaulted easily enough, but doing so would likely delay the assault on Massaua by a turn, whenever that comes (it’s assumed this won’t occur until Jul II 41at the earliest at this point, given no assault should be possible on May II, and defensive a/s to GSP conversions should keep the allies stuck in a siege for 6 further weeks.) Further south, two cons III’s continue to slowly damage the minor and marginal ports along the coast north of French Somaliland.
One Ju87B flies GS to Melos from mainland Greece via staging through Athenai. This pushes the odds against the defending 43rd RPC to 9:1 even, and a 2 is rolled for a DE. This automatically eliminates the Greek F on the field as well, since it has no legal airfield to which it could escape even if it successfully did so (which also, prevented it from scrambling when the Ju87’s flew). The Ju87B’s land on the newly seized island’s airfield.
In the air, air units still on naval patrol around Crete launch short ranged missions against the Allies’ interdiction zone around Crete. Four hits are garnered (3 by the Italian Ju87B/R and 1 by an He111H unit, at the cost of one of the just rebuilt German Ju87R’s aborted (again with the lucky flak rolls against German planes!) +4 VPs are gained by the Axis. Additionally, a Ju52 flies in GSPs to Melos, just because, returning to Athenai; while another Ju87B from Greece transfers to the island. In the Balkans, the 4M Arm II crosses the narrow straits to seize control of the port on Leukas, while the 1B Motorcycle III seizes Kalamai. This leaves only Gythion in ‘Allied hands.’ In North Africa, the 15th Pzr XX forms up west of Tobruch when the 8th Pzr III joins the 200th m Inf III already there. The 115th m Inf exploits from outside Benghazi to a point 4 hexes northwest of Tobruch. To the east, the 21st Pzr, Ariete and various smaller Italian c/m units form a defensive ring about 4 hexes in radius east and southeast of the Halfaya Pass. In East Africa, the TC moves the Msw Inf III into Mersa Fatmah. CR.42’s over Tobruch land at 4618 and 4122 temp fields. The 3 Allied F’s all land at Tobruch’s field.
End of Turn
The Allies lose 1 VP for Axis access to the Levant. VP totals stand at 85 for the Axis against negative 12.75 for the Allies.
The game went only a turn or two beyond this point. The Allies retreated back to El Alamein with limited forces and the position was unprepared. It quickly fell and the allies essentially stopped the game (no more file submissions in our JET game) with a stack of Allied units, one Ind XX and some non-divs all but surrounded outside of Alexandria. The front itself was wide open at that point… no reason to suspect that the Axis wouldn’t have overrun in whichever direction it chose to go. That had not yet been decided. This was the first WW game for anyone and the EA was still actively, so I have a feeling that I would have directed an advance both south towards the EA area and east to cross the canal and get the Turks in on the Axis side. The eastern drive would have been secondary though… we had allies in that direction, with the Levant not yet invaded and allowing Axis air and from memory I think the coup in Iraq had finally occurred