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Game Report Balkan Front 1: Jun I 41

Axis Player Turn

The 5th Mountain is flown to Khania and Rethymon is seized by the Germans with Ground Support (3:1 -1 = DR) – the RAF Hurricanes are lost in air combat.

Allied Player Turn

With only a few units left, Eraklion is held by the Allies and the only fighting is over who gets the last beer.
With the game ending here, the VPs were calculated and the Allies won with a marginal victory – mainly due to the successful evacuation of the Greek and Yugoslav governments and the holding of Crete.

Lessons learnt:

  • 1. A pile of brigades and regiments does not a divisional ZOC make.
  • 2. The 395R regiment is officially classed “Hero’ of the game for the AH result on the 16th Motorised Division.
  • 3. Yugoslavia is a dead duck when it comes to a well thought out attack.
  • 4. When bringing reinforcements into play, remember to use all of them – at game end I found that I had forgotten to deploy 50% of my Nov I units. They sat for all the game on the reinforcement track staring at me and I completely forgot about them. Naturally my opponent was well aware of this and had a dirty grin on his face throughout the game (the beer and port could have contributed here).
  • 5. Despite the loss of Yugoslavia and Greece by game end, I was ahead in Victory Points courtesy of Italian RE losses. Bless ’em.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: May II 41

Axis Player Turn

The Germans withdraw most troops from the region leaving an Infantry Corps to attack the 19th Motorised Division and 43rd Palestine Construction Brigade guarding the road to Athens (9:1 -1 = DE). More units of the 7th Para arrive at Khania while German mountain trrops attack and destroy the 21st Greek Mountain brigade defending the approaches to Patrai (4:1 -1 = DH).

Allied Player Turn

The Australians abandon Athens and with the 1st Armoured sailing from Korinthios land at Eraklion on Crete. The RAF Hurricanes transfer to the island where the MNDBO deploy to Rethymon. The Greek Government sails to Alexandria and Greek troops on the mainland begin to surrender.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: May I 41

Axis Player Turn

The Axis commander elects to hold onto his troops for one more turn rather than leave Greece undefeated. This allows the Spherkios line to be attacked and the defenders soundly spanked (4:1 +2 = DH). Mountain troops cross the Pindus Mountains to harass the retreating Greeks but an AS is the only result. In a surprise move the 1st Sturm Glider and 1/7 Para Regiments land at Khania in Crete, destroying the Greek defenders (5:1 = DE). The Allied Commander is outraged – Greece isn’t even defeated yet and sky gangsters are already trying to take Crete!

Allied Player Turn

On the mainland the 1st British Armoured and 21st Greek Mountain reach Patrai and the British exploit to Korinthos. On Crete the Greek Militia is moved from eraklion to Rethymon, in doing so it uncovers the 14th British Infantry Brigade who have been having a jolly little holiday totally forgotten by Allied High Command. They are quickly given their marching orders and sent to Rethymon also.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Apr II 41

Axis Player Turn

Troops in Yugoslavia race to join the fight in Greece, their advance blocked by Yugoslavians insisting they be allowed to surrender. The Italians attempt to take Kastoria but fail (AS) while the Construction Brigade is overrun by the LSSAH Division. This allows the DR and 2nd Pz Divisions to drive along the coast and bypass the 1st British Armoured position and attack the 7th Australian Division (another lack of ZOCs – repeat after me “You are not in the desert now” – now write it 500 times on the blackboard). Luckily the Australians hold (1.5:1 +1 = AS). Further north the New Zealanders are surrounded and destroyed by mountain divisions and the 2nd Pz (3:1 +1 = DH). There is a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Greeks in the Metaxas Line are finished off by German infantry and Bulgarians and to finish the turn off the German player elects to attack the 1st British Armoured and 21st Greek Mountain units, luckily the AECD is in the Allied favour and they retreat westwards to Karpenesion (4:1 -1 = DR). Airfields are constructed around Edessa and the 7th Paras fly in. In the exploitation phase, motorised forces advance around the flank of the Australians across the Spherkios River.

Allied Player Turn

The 19th Greek Motorised Division replaces the Australians at the Spherkios line which allows the Australians to head to Athens (Britain informs the Greek Government that this movement is all part of a cunning plan, and not a reckless retreat). Troops in the west move towards Patrai in a hope of reinforcing Athens.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Apr I 41

Note: The players obviosly introduced a “Special Invasion turn” here. As to my knowledge of the rules, the Germans do NOT get an extra invasion turn in “Balkan Front”

Axis Special Invasion Turn

Berlin’s diplomatic response to Belgrade is sent via a flight of He-111 bombing the streets of the Yugoslavian capital. The outraged Nazi Government commence a massive invasion designed to destroy Yugoslavia and Greece in a 4 week Blitzkreig. In Slovenia, Border Guards in the mountain passes are attacked by German Mountain troops but despite the surprise the two regiments attacked beat back the superior forces (6:1 -2 = AS). Early news of this victory is transmitted around the free world as a sign of the plucky Yugoslav’s fighting ability. Further along the border however, Light Infantry overruns Maribor and cuts into Croatia – an Infantry Corps attacks and seizes Zagreb, although the defenders escape their barracks (6:1 = DR). Another Corps arrives outside Celj while the 14th Panzer and 16th Motorised overrun their way into Slavonski Brod. Infantry forces operating from Romania cut their way through startled Infantry regiments on the border to assault the Infantry Division defending Petrovgrad, destroying it and chasing its survivors into the swamps to the west (5:1 = DE).

The 2nd Cavalry Division defending Pozarevac is destroyed by the 294th Infantry with Ground Support (4:1 = DE) while to the south the 4th Mountain Division attacks across the Juzna Morava River to seize Krusevac from the 34th Cadre (6:1 = DE). The 11th Pz Division seizes Nis (9:1 = DE) while the GD Regiment with attached Engineer and Assault Gun support pushes over the mountains west of Sofia and heads towards Skopje. The DR and 2nd Pz Divisions overrun their way from outside Sofia to north east of Vranje. Mountain units operating from Bulgaria overrun the defending infantry units in the mountains and push on to the east bank of the Vardar River, attacking the surprised Greek 20th Division and crushing it through sheer surprise, but not before the Greeks inflict the first losses on the Germans (3:1 = HX). The 9th Pz, LSSAH and 60th Mot. Divisions to slip west of the Metaxas line and destroy the western most defenders – who, forgetting to have a Division in this hex, couldn’t exert any ZOC in the enemy’s path (a painful lesson I will not forget next time!).

The Axis Commander makes a cup of tea while the Allied Commander lies down in a dark place for a while.
In the exploitation phase the Germans went a little crazy and started pushing deeper into Yugoslavia. The 5th Pz reached the south of Belgrade, the 16th Mot pushed into the Dinaric Alps heading for Sarajevo, the 14th Pz seized Osijek and pushed on to outside Novi Sad while the 60th Mot in Greece raced south to seize Thessalonika and put the Metexas Line forces out of contact with the rest of Greece. The LSSAH and 9th Pz push onto to north east of the New Zealander’s positions near Larisa. The Das Reich and attached units overrun Skopje forcing a Blen 1 to rebase to Split. The 2nd Pz pushes to just south of Prilep while the GD Regiment takes Phlorina. To finish off the special invasion turn the 11 Pz at Nis pushes through the countryside to take Pristina.
The Allied Commander goes and lies down again and asks to be woken when the Axis have finished their regular turn – but only if he has any units left worth moving on the board.

Axis Player Turn

The remnants of the Croatian forces outside Zagreb are eaten up by the Germans (7:1 – 1 = DE) while to the west the Italians open their account by overrunning the border units and forcing their way into Ljubljana and the Bihac region. At Zara the garrison attack a Yugoslav 0-1-5 infantry regiment but despite overwhelming air power can only force it back (5:1 = DR). The 16th Mot Division attempts to drive to Sarajevo through a measly 395R Regiment but gets a bloody nose instead with the Germans suffering 50% casualties (AH) – that’ll teach ’em to attack into mountains. In the Backa region the Hungarians attack and seize Subotica, Novi Sad and Sombor, destroying the hapless defenders. The 11th Pz pushes through the Alps via Pec to threaten Sarajevo from the east while the italian 43rd Division attacks from Albania with support from a LW AA Regiment and Artillery advancing from Pec. Rankovicevo falls to the 4th Mountain Division, but not before the defenders get a HX result (5:1 = HX). Belgrade is surrounded by a mass of tanks and infantry and the defending Garda, tanks and cavalry are overwhelmed and the city falls to the triumphant Axis powers (6:1 – 2 = DE). Loaded into civilian transport, buses and taxis, the Yugoslav Government escapes the city’s fall and using backroads and trails through the mountains finds its way to Split (Rolled 1 for Government capture!).

In Greece, the GD Regiment pushes its way into Kozana with the 2nd Pz 16 miles behind it. Mountain units leapfrog their way over the mountains via Edessa to attack Greek defenders west of Phlorina but despite Italian support arre rebuffed (2:1 – 2 = AS). The Metaxas Line is attacked and a portion of it overrun (5:1 – 1 = DR) by Bulgarians and Germans with lots of Stuka support. The 60th Mot Division enters the mountains southeast of Veroia while the Das Reich, LSSAH and 9th Pz attack the New Zealanders in their positions northeast of Larisa but are rebuffed by the resolute Kiwi defence (2:1 +2 = AS). In the Albanian side show, the Italians are finally able to breakthrough to the besieged 37th and 48th Divisions (5:1 = HX).

The Axis commander wakes the Allied commander and asks if he wants to watch the Exploitation phase.
The 60th Mot Division overruns the scant defenders in Larisa destroying the RAF Blen 1 but watching the Mix Bomber force escape to Athens. The GD Regiment (still being the spearhead for the Axis drive) pushes its way to the wooded region northwest of Trikkala, blocking any re-deployment in or out of the Pindus Mountains. Sarajevo falls to the 11th Pz while Split is overrun by the 131 Littorio Division who watches the Yugoslav Government sail out of the harbour to safety in Alexandria.

Allied Player Turn

With the Yugoslav Government evacuated, the Yugoslavian forces are disarmed (accompanied by the grumbles of the Allied Commander who spent so much time setting them up). In Athens the 7th Australian Division lands and moves into position south of the Spherkios River. The 1st British Armoured Brigade and the 21st Greek Mountain Regiment valiantly place themselves as a speed bump in the rough terrain north of Lamia to slow any drive on the Australians. The New Zealanders with the W Artillery Brigade and AA units try and slip through the Germans to Trikkala, leaving a Greek Construction Brigade to face the Germans while Greek Mountain units attempt to dislodge the GD Regiment so a retreat to the south is feasible – it fails (2:1 -1 = AS).

Along the coast the Greeks have a small amount of revenge on the Italians by finally snuffing out the 37th and 48th Divisions, just when it looked like they might be saved (6:1 – 1 = DE). The 19th Motorised Division scuttles its way to Patrai while the trapped forces in Thrace attempt to retake Thessolonika, defended by a single German engineer regiment – tension is high when the dice is rolled but the Greeks luck out and the Germans hold (AS). The Allied line is shattered and scattered. Things look grim.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Mar I 41

Axis player Turn

A single attack is made along the coast to try and link up with the isolated forces. It is a total disaster and more ground is lost due to local unit commander negligence (at least that’s what the high command claimed 4:1 -2 = AR!). To deflect local criticism of the regime, demands are made to Yugoslavia that free access for Italian troops be allowed to outflank the Greek line. Belgrade is outraged and declares it is entering a state of armed neutrality. The British High Commission entertains Serbian Generals with a wine and cheese night and slide show of burnt out Italian tanks in North Africa. In response the Italians move several formations into northern Albania. The Reichstag issues a statement that it is taking note of the Balkan actions and will be issuing a suitable diplomatic response in the near future.

Allied Player Turn

The Greeks celebrate the latest Italian woes by surrounding and destroying the starving pocket of troops around Arta (5;1 -2 = HX). The loss of several motorised forces is a serious blow to the Italians, especially in terms of VPs. In Yugoslavia, the mobilization response is slow. Serbia mobilizes two Divisions in the Backa region while Montenegro forms up two units that rush to the Albanian border. Only in the Bosnia-Herzogovina highlands is there any enthusiastic response with four Divisions heading to Zara and Montenegro. Slovenia, Croatia and Kosovo/Macedonia are hostile to Belgrade’s pro-allied stance.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Mar I 41

Axis player Turn

Panicked by the Greek offensive, the Italians attack with heavy air support and determination. Mussolini fails to exhort his men into feats of valor and the troops flee the resolute defence and stream away from the battle field in tatters (3:1 -3 = AR). Egoumenitsa is left undefended!

Allied Player Turn

The Greeks follow up their defensive victory by scuttling into the town, occupying the border positions and marching 16 miles into Albania. The isolated 27th and 48th Infantry Divisions south west of Egoumenitsa are attacked but they hold on (3:1 -2 = AS). German Abwehr passes information to the Italian embassy in Berlin that agents have reported the off loading of British Valentine tanks and personnel at Piraeus.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Feb II 41

Axis player Turn

Italian reinforcements enter the frontline. Depression has set in amongst the high command over the limited opportunities for forward movement. To demonstrate Italian supremacy in the Adriatic, the island of Kerkya is attacked across the straits, destroying the defending infantry regiment and allowing the motorcyclists of the 10th Bersaglieri seize the town (4:1 -2 = HX).

Allied Player Turn

The Greek counter-offensive in launched with the aim of driving shut the supply line to the Italian invaders in Arta and Egoumenitsa. Cavalry and Mountain units attack the 6th Infantry Division supported by the remnants of the 2nd Alpini and the MC Ski Battalion and force them back (4:1 -3 = DR).

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Feb I

Axis player Turn

The Italians are limited in their options other than to continue to struggle through the passes to Ioaninna, suffering terrible losses that fill the casualty lists in the newspapers (5:1 -3 = EX).

Allied Player Turn

Crete and eastern Thessaly are left in the tender care of local militia and static troops, allowing the 5th and 13th Divisions to head to the front line. A couple of units are rebuilt in Athens from new troops.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Jan II 41

Axis player Turn

The Z-506B is repaired and sent to join a massive attack on Ioaninna by six Alpini and Infantry divisions and massive air support. The commander is confident of clearing the town with three times the strength of the defenders but weather and terrain causes the attack to become disjointed and the Greeks counter attack and chew up the Italians (AH) – the survivors flee in terror back into Albania.

Allied Player Turn

The Greeks Army advances to the border and holds. Athens sends nasty telegrams to Rome accusing them of torturing small mammals and having poor personal hygiene.

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