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Tag: BF (page 2 of 4)

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Jan I 41

Axis player Turn

North-west of Ioaninna – the Greek battle group is finally destroyed, but not before aborting a Z-506B flying GS and inflicting a HX result (5:1 -3). This only opens up the road to Ioaninna and the Italian footsloggers shamble through the mountain passes onto the next Greek defensive position.

Allied Player Turn

The Greek and British Air Forces make a joint effort to shut down the sea supply route by taking the port of Valona out of action. Italian Cr-42s chase away the Blenheims while the Mixed Bomber force of the Greeks return to base some disorganised CR-32bis aircraft. Despite making it through the fighter and AA barriers, the Greeks drop their payloads well off target and return to base.

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Dec II 40

Axis player Turn

Determined to spend Christmas in Ioaninna, the Italian Expeditionary force launches it’s biggest offensive to date through the snow filled passes on the annoying little battle group blocking its path but again fail (5:1 -3 = AS). Benito rolls about a bit and tells off Clara for laughing at him. Kastoria and Arta are reinforced.

Allied Player Turn

By clever movement Arta is placed out of supply by the Greeks although an attack to dislodged from the town fails (2:1 -2 = AS). At Kastoria four Mountain Divisions fail to shift the Italians (AS). What are they putting in their pasta?

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Dec I 40

Axis player Turn

Bad weather slows the Italian drive to beef up the defenders in Arta with cavalry and Artillery caught short of the town. Elsewhere the foothills on the west of the Pindus Mountains are occupied by the invaders, providing a buffer to the defence. In the mountains around Ioaninna, Alpini and infantry try to drive out a small battlegroup of cavalry, mountaineers and artillery with 200 planes flying ground support overhead. Despite relatively good conditions for the attack, the determined Greeks dig in and hold the line (4:1 -3 = AS).

Allied Player Turn

The gutsy Greeks refuse to allow the Italian incursion to pollute the scared Hellenic soil for a day longer than necessary. Arta is attacked again but the Italians hold (2:1 -1 = AS). Southwest of Kastoria another attack fails (3:1 -3 = AS). Some good news is received when south-east of Egoumenitsa the 19th and 47th Divisions are destroyed in a HX result to attacking Greeks forces (3:1 -2).

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Nov II 40

Axis player Turn

Italian reinforcements arrive from the mainland at Valona and Durazzo. In the eastern frontline, Koritsa is occupied without a shot being fired to the chagrin of the Greeks. The effort towards Egoumenitsa continues with the shattered defenders being chased further from the front line (5:1 -1 = DR). The town is seized and in the exploitation phase Bersaglieri Motorcycle units and the Centauro cadre race down to seize Arta just before the Greek 4th Mountain Division advancing from Patrai can enter the town. Viva Il Duce!

Allied Player Turn

In desperation the Greek 4th and 5th Divisions attempt to drive the unsupported motorcycle and tankette troops out of Arta but are rebuffed (2:1 -1 = AS). A 1.5:1 -1 odds attack is launched against the neck of the Italian breakthrough at Egoumenitsa but the combined might of artillery, infantry and cavalry beat off the attackers (AR). The attempt to regain Kastoria fails badly (2:1 -2 = AR). The government in Athens is sent a reassurance from Britain that help is available if required

Game Report Balkan Front 1: Nov I 40

Axis player Turn

Mussolini’s vision of a new Roman Empire is given birth on the rocky slopes of the Pindus Mountains as the might of the Italian Army begins its march to Athens. The immediate targets are Ioannina and the western coastal strip. In the mountains the Alpini divisions and supporting Infantry rabble are held by a stubborn Greek Mountain defence (AS) of the 9th Division and 42nd Ev Regiment. Along the coast the Greek 8th Division is shattered but not before taking its toll on the tanks and armoured vehicles of the 131 Centauro Division with Infantry support (HX). The object of the drive in this region is Egoumenitsa.

Allied Player Turn

In Athens, the call to arms goes out. Troops hurriedly report to their designated depots and march bravely to the front line in the Pindus Mountains. The Metexas Line is manned to prevent the Bulgarians getting uppity about Thrace and a series of blood curdling speeches are made about drenching the Albanian valleys with Italian blood. To show their resolve, the Greeks High command launches a fierce attack on Koritsa across the border. Unfortunately the Italian and Albanian defenders are well dug in and the Greeks are sent reeling back beyond their start line (AR). Hanging his head in shame, the Greek commander sulks for a bit.

Game Commentary

Italian Strategy

I followed a fairly conservative strategy at the beginning of the game, essentially looking to seize a few hexes for VP purposes, and then hope to weather the Greek counterattack. I had read of and seen numerous games of BF where the Italians sprint down the west coast of Greece, only to be cut off by strikes out of Ioannina, so I choose to push more towards the eastern side at Kastoria. I believed this would protect Karditsa, which is often a battle ground, and would possibly prevent the seizure of an Albanian town, a +5 VP bonus to the Allied side. Karditsa was fortified as soon as possible, though there was a delay due to my failure to account for attack supply breaking down to res. Pts. After contruction begins. The airfield was also immediately brought up to full capacity by repair. After seizing 4 or so hexes strongly, the Italian army settled in for the winter, expecting a long campaign. I launched no attacks until German intervention after the opening turn (except one or two gimme‘s after Allied Ars), primarily due to insufficient numbers of mountain troops and huge weather/mountain terrain combat modifiers. The Italians simply can‘t afford to attack at 2:1 or 3:1 -3 or worse.

In the air, I generally had complete air superiority over the critical front line hexes. Careful management of ground troops and DAS allowed me to try to prevent anything better than a 3:1 -1, and usually no more than one of those after the first turn. The Allied AF is very small, though they have a slight quality advantage in fighters. One unlucky roll on the P.24Fs though can reduce even this meager advantage.

For air missions, early in the game I struck at the opposing AF whenever possible. When it pulled back to Larissa, one turn of bombing against Athens was accomplished, then the Allied AF pulled back further. At this point there was little the Italian AF could accomplish. Bombing empty airbases only hinders future operations and does the Allies‘ work for them. I did bomb rail junctions and managed to keep the lines reasonably well broken between Athens and northern Greece, in the hopes that it would limit the Greeks strategic mobility when the time came to rush troops to the front (or away from it.)

I also made great use of Rhodes to hinder the Allied sea mov‘ts. This location made for an exceptional aircraft carrier, and knowing precisely when the Allied forces are forced to cross to Greece made it a simple matter to ensure maximum numbers of air units and the Italian fleet would be waiting. In the actual event, a poor weather roll allowed the Allies to slip by with practically no loss, but I believe the strategy is sound. Even so, I did sink at least 3 or 4 units as they were attempting to transit the Aegean at various times, or unloading more frequently, since proper use of night mov‘t essentially limited me to either unloading hexes or maximum range strikes, reducing chances for contact.

At sea, I chose to use the Italian fleet fairly aggressively, and it cost me little and might have paid great benefits. The fleet sortied 3 times, once inhibiting Allied naval mov‘t, twice without any affect to either fleet. I also used the NT‘s aggressively in the Aegean, once I started the Cretan ops. Even the 3 column allows for a good shot at getting troops through to their destination, since only 50% of contacts have an effect on a troop mov‘t. Supplies on the other hand are probably not best sent through the more dangerous zones. I‘ll cover the Cretan/Melos operations later.

Greek/Allied Strategy

I think initially the Allied strategy was too conservative, and it let the Italian army get too large. The Greeks need to whittle the Italians down immediately, or the force ratios will only improve to the Axis good. The Allies did not attack in their first turn, presumably because it was believed a 2:1 even was too risky.
Unfortunately, the muds come quickly, and by the time winter weather arrives, if the Italians haven‘t taken sufficient (or any) losses, 3 and even 4:1 -1‘s can turn into disasters, which is what occurred. The Greeks have no AF to speak of, so the Italians will be able to put DAS where they need it. So, first I would recommend that the Greeks attack immediately, taking as many 2:1 or 3:1‘s even as possible (mountains are essentially clear to the majority of the Greek army, thanks to their plethora of mountain troops and WW‘s mountaineering ability, a rule I heartily agree with despite the fact that I was facing them.) This will push the Italians enough that the Greeks can mitigate the growing Italian army hopefully. It also pushes the Italians out of Greece, mitigating VP benefits the Axis accrues by holding Greek territory.
Also, VP awards for the Greeks are in Albania, as are the political benefits related to Bulgarian and Yugoslavian rolls, so the Greeks must head north. Secondly, the Greeks need to be aware of economy of force, and just how weak the Italian ability to attack is. They should mass their troops in one area and attack relentless at that location. Other areas should be left with minimally sufficient troops. They can afford this because: Even if outnumbered 4:1 in raw terms, the Italian attacks will generally be no better than 2:1 -2 due to limited mountain assets, weather and terrain. They can therefore afford 5 or 6 point hexes in one part of the front, and 18 to 20 point hexes in the other. The Italians will of necessity be spread more evenly since their units are not as strong, stacking is limited, and the Greeks have more mobility in the mountains since their troops are generally mountain. They can therefore shift about easier, adjusting their schwerpunkt as necessary.
In this game, the Greeks didn‘t attack immediately, didn‘t mass until the later part of the winter, and rolled poorly on two of their three attacks, which became AR‘s and ultimately resulted in lots more Vps for the Italians.

As for when the pull back occurs to southern defenses, this should be at least one turn prior to good weather being possible. For why, see the German strategy below.

Finally, the rules, for whatever reason, allow the Greeks to destroy all of northern Greece during the game. Do this immediately, at least no later than January/February. Every rail hex should be blasted, all airfields destroyed and abandoned where possible, and ports hit for maximum damage. This can be done since the Bulgarian and Yugoslavian borders are within 7 hexes of practically all of Greece. The Germans should find a wasteland upon intervention. In our game, the first Allied commander did not do so, and the second had just begun by the time intervention occurred.

German Intervention/Strategy

I wasn‘t pressured in this game since the Greeks never got into Albanian territory, so no Germans were called in until I had squeezed the „Italians holding Greek territory Vps“ dry. At this point, I brought in some long range fighters and Ju88a‘s for long range naval strikes/interdiction.

Intervention for the Germans can be a real dicey affair. Pressuring Yugoslavia before the upcoming weather rolls are made can lead to a very muddy Blitzkrieg indeed. Moreover, the Yugo‘s are guaranteed at least one full turn of mobilization, two if mud stays/hits and the Germans choose not to go in during mud. It is highly likely that a nodl could be formed around Belgrade which would hold during the two „free“ turns of German operations against the Yugo‘s. Yugo survival past the German invasion turn will net huge VP and political benefits.

In this case, I chose not to invade Yugoslavia, for a number of reasons: First, a neutral Yugoslavia nets +20 Vps at end of game, which will offset at least one turn‘s worth of extra operations in Greece. It also allows all of the forces in the Greek invasion to be directed there, vice having some clearing southern Yugoslavia. Two, in this case, when good weather arrived the Greeks began pulling back. Fortunately from the Axis perspective, this left them a bit strung out immediately behind the front and the Germans capitalized. No Metaxas line hex should be overrunable (don‘t forget to include the German Gebirgsjaeger‘s in this calculation… at takes at least two points supported to withstand these folks irregardless of the fortified hex sides. I got in behind the Greek line because one hex was overrunable. I then managed to destroy the entire Metaxas line and its troops in the surprise phase, allowing the Germans to overrun Greek units strung out, trying to make their way to the Spherkios. The Greeks should begin pulling back in bad weather.
The Italians can‘t attack a 5 or 6 point hex in the mountains in mud, so main line troops should abandon the area in March and head for the Olympus gap or the Spherkios, depending upon where the Allies want to make their first stand.

Supply considerations

The Italians have more than enough supply during the first two thirds of the game, especially since their attack potential is so limited. I shipped a number of points around to Rumania in the first half of the game for use by German troops in case a Yugoslavian bypass became an option/necessity, which in this case it did. The Germans can supply their troops along the Bulgarian railways in full attack supply all the way to the Spherkios river, and one hex beyond. Since in 4 out of 6 games this will likely be sufficient due to Greek morale failure, little attack supply will likely be necessary. In the event it is, the Italians have plenty to spare, and the Germans get some as well, albeit in Germany. GSPs can be created on high volume rail line hexes on the map edges, and then shipped south to put units in supply during the Allied player turn. Attack supply will put them in supply during the combat phase. Engineers should focus their efforts on repairing the main line leading from Bulgaria to Athens for this purpose. I never found myself even slightly hindered by supply during operations against the Greeks, despite the „failure“ to secure the Yugoslavian rail line, so I would heartily recommend that Axis players of the future leave the Yugo‘s alone.

Under the WW rules, the Allied (not so much Greek) and Axis forces on islands are going to be out of supply practically the entire game. As an Axis player, the airbase supply rule needs to be looked at with a harsh eye. (As a side note, I‘ve not heard or read anything to indicate that the Rhodes garrison should be considered out of supply during this period, or that air operations were hindered either, so perhaps Rhodes should be some sort of limited supply source, as opposed to merely a terminal preventing elimination at U-4 status, much like the Greeks get on their islands?)

As an Axis player, don‘t forget to use the airbase repair points for the islands, if this rule is in effect. It will rapidly hamper any Allied airstrike missions‘ effectiveness, since your bases can be up and running again in no time.

Special Operations/the Islands Campaign

The Greeks are not going to be able to defend their islands very well, since they can‘t send any troops there during the game pre-intervention… however, troops which start on an island may move to another one. I‘d recommend that since the Greeks probably aren‘t going to be hurting too much under an „aggressive in the early game and conservative in the late winter“ game strategy, that all island troops remain on them, and the Allied player hold off on sending the divisions that start the game on Crete, etc. to the main front.
Allied troops are necessary on the continent to ensure the Greeks have the best chance not to fold during the morale roll, so there won‘t be many of these folks to protect Crete or Melos unless the Allied side is willing to let the Greeks surrender early.

Melos is a great place if the Axis can get to it. The Italians have an ANTP in the game in the Aegean (we added one in the Adriatic as well in this game to cover the possibility of a Kerkyra invasion, which WW for some reason excludes). Using the Ju52 to transport the SM Marine II and somebody else (I sent just the battlalion, which cost me later) so that a full RE landing can be made against a limitedly defended island would be a good idea for the Axis, even as feint to draw off defenders from the north. Having the full RE is necessary for GS if required. In this game, I let myself focus on grabbing the Italian Vps (not necessarily a bad thing) and the weather, and when the chance came to grab it, the Allies had finally got defenders in place and I only had the Marines.
They later abandoned the island and its airbase, so I grabbed it post-haste much to their detriment. The island‘s airbase cannot be destroyed by the Greeks before German intervention, like the ones in northern Greece can, and Me109E‘s or Me110‘s in this location can gain air superiority over all of Crete and Athens as well. It‘s a key piece of terrain, so if the Axis can grab it they absolutely should. The Allies should prepare accordingly. Crete can be assaulted before the Greeks surrender on the mainland. The airborne troops can be shipped to Rhodes via air transport and then dropped the turn after intervention.

They have advantages in seizing airfields and in the turn of drop‘s combat phase, which should be used to advantage. In this game, these advantages didn‘t work out so well, but the island was practically devoid of troops anyway, so it all worked out fine in the end. Another advantage is that he Allies cannot declare an exclusion zone around Crete if the Greeks have not folded on the continent. This means that shipping troops to the island via sea transport is much more likely to go off well. On the 3 column, a troop shipment is going to get through 70.8% of the time. With the exclusion zones up, this drops dramatically to 61.1% in a loose zone, and 30.6% in a tight one. If the bombers as transports rule is in effect, these forces can be routed to Rhodes that much earlier and easier for an assault on either Melos or Crete.

The Spherkios: The most critical spot on the map. It should be garrisoned early and strongly. There is no reason why the Greeks can‘t make this line practically impenetrable by late March. The most critical hex is 0413. Stack at least 18-20 points here, with assorted Greeks in the mountains west (figure a 3 hex line, 4 at most), and ensure you have 2 engineers to get quick construction of a fort going.
As the Greeks did here, put a sacrificial stack in front of this hex to delay an attack if necessary to get the fort. This hex can be made a 2:1 -2 fairly easily, and should be done so at the first opportunity.
That, plus some AA should force the Germans into an untenable situation.
Hold this hex, and even if the Greeks are going to fold if the Germans get within 5 hexes of Athens, you should be fine since taking the hex at these odds can give the Axis fits (with a bit of luck!.) However, don‘t forget to properly defend Patrai from a cross-strait attack. A smaller force at Corinth should be ample to fend of paratroopers, and if it isn‘t, any Axis troops that land should be out of supply and therefore unable to force a Greek surrender even if they advance to Athens.

Overall

Despite the somewhat lopsided nature of my victory, I think by and large the Allies have this game to lose, and an Allied side that recognizes the key points of the game is unlikely to come away with anything other than an Allied Victory. The time schedule the Germans are on is extremely tight. Even with my having cutoff practically the entire Greek Army the Spherkios was held until an assault through a weak Patrai and the fall of Athens left the Allied divisions without benefit of Greek help. A conservative Allied side that punches the Italians in the face early to grab some Vps, scorches northern Greece of infrastructure, and hedgehogs in southern Greece is going to be nigh undefeatable. The only Axis response would be to call the German mountain troops in early. With their assistance, a pair of 16 point stacks could be built (albeit at a huge penalty in Vps) that might force the Greeks to maintain at least 10-12 point stacks in the north. Still, I would wager that 3 to 4 Greek divisions could be stripped from the northern front to garrison the Spherkios and a solid defensive front could still be built facing even massive German aid. Allied troops could then bring the Spherkios line up to full strength upon their arrival in March. At this point the Allied player should be able to sit back and smile as the Axis gnashes its teeth and bludgeons its way over that bloody river, hemorrhaging Vps turn by turn.

Rules commentary

Overall, I think the rules played out just fine.
Having a good portion of the Axis air forces on Rhodes for a turn or two may or may not be historical, but is a viable strategy. As for whether the island could support the air units, I‘ll leave that to others to decide. I have already noted Rhodes‘ supply situation. I think it should probably have some supply capabilities of its own, since I don‘t think the garrison is in the same straits as say the troops on Malta were. Regarding the morale roll for the Greeks, I think this is an excellent rule, but would add some more modifiers for the state of the Greek army when the roll is made. In this particular game, all the troops in eastern Greece were destroyed, and practically the whole of the rest of the Greek army was in northwestern Greece, and out of supply (and a good portion isolated), and German troops had seized Greek territory all the way to Larisa. It seems to me at least that the morale of the Greek gov‘t would have been deeply affected by this turn of events, yet the modifiers don‘t take any of this type of thing into account. In other words, other than taking out Yugoslavia for a single modifier, Axis actions don‘t seem to have any effect on Greek morale.
Parking Allied troops in mainland ports should be insufficient to eliminate the negative modifiers for a lack of Allied support as well, though this wasn‘t an instance that occurred in this game.

Jun II 41

Allied Player turn

Initial phase: Nothing really, though the allied troops do go U-2, reducing them to ½ defense strength.

Mov’t phase: All units consolidate in hex 0514 and promise to give as good as they get in the upcoming Axis turn. There being no airfields in the area, and the troops being tankers and Imperials, even the generals decide to wait till the end.

Combat & Exploit: None.

Axis Player turn

Initial Phase: All but 30 RE’s German of mountain, parachute and infantry units withdraw, presumably to become Jul I reinforcements in the just opened Russian front. The 15 VP hemorrhage finally ends. GSPs throughout the theatre put units into general supply. .5 German special replacements are earned, placed in Valona, and then the 1st III/7th Fallshirmjaeger XX is rebuilt at Valona. The Italian 1 B M/C III is rebuilt at Durazzo. This leaves only German units in the pool, 1 Mtn RE, 1 Inf RE and the HQ of the 7th Fallshirmjaeger. Centauro’s conversion is again delayed due to supply and zoc’s. Attack supply and GSPs are placed, though hardly expected to be needed. 1 ARP is spent to bring back the floatplanes again. There are 5 aborted German air units, 1 eliminated German glider unit and 1 eliminated Italian air unit still in the pool.

Mov’t Phase: Italian infantry divisions admin north to Albania, while others move south into the Peloponnesus or engage the remaining Allied troops holed up in the mountains. Lots of mountain troops and some German infantry, Centauro and odds and sods, complete surround the Allied troops in 0514. Remaining troops on Crete spread out to garrison the important sites until such time as the less mobile, less combat oriented types show up (after game…)

Combat Phase: With AA halved, it’s supposed that 5 Me 110’s/Ju87’s will be sufficient to ensure an 8:1 -2, thereby reducing any chance for further combat losses. Allied flak rolls no better than a 6, so all 5 get through unscathed to drop bombs on the Allied troops. A 1 is rolled in combat, but the poor roll doesn’t matter as it’s still a DR, eliminating all units in the hex. Huge numbers of Allied troops choose to surrender instead of being destroyed, boarding trains headed north for the stalags of Germany.

End of Game turn: Final VP count, except for end of game VPs is 22:4.

End of Game

VPs are added as follows:

Axis:

  • +1 per Allied enemy RE in pool: +12
  • +1 per Allied eliminated air unit: +2 (assuming bombers in Egypt “surrender”)
  • +1 per two Allied aborted air units: +1
  • +1 per accumulated RP: +7 at Bari, +2 at Brindisi, +2 at Durazzo, +1 at Tirana, +3 at Valona, +10 at Koritsa, total of +25
  • Control of Greece: +20
  • Control of Crete: +10
  • Yugoslavia ends game neutral: +20

Allied:

  • +1 per non Commando/Airborne Axis RE in pool: +1
  • +2 per Commando/Airborne Axis RE in pool: +2
  • +1 per Axis eliminated air unit: +2 (assuming gliders are “eliminated” for VP purposes)
  • +1 per two Axis aborted air units: +2 (5 units, rounded down to 4)
  • +1 per Axis NTP sunk: Should have been added earlier, as an event item, but forgot: None in combat, interference sunk a few (1 attack supply for 3 NTs sunk, 4 GSPs for 1NT, and 2 GSPs for .5 NTs, which I assume rounds to 0.) +4
  • Control of Crete: +10

Added to the previous totals the Axis had 112 VPs, compared to an Allied total of 25 VPs. Differential is 91 VPs for a decisive Axis victory.

Jun I 41

 Allied Player turn

Weather: Clear throughout.

Initial phase: Things look bleak for the Allies, though the VP count may not be too bad since the Axis clearly haven‘t taken Greece out in the same period of time as in the real event, despite their individual successes and breakthroughs. The Greeks convert two border units in Athens to the 22nd Inf XX, and rebuild the X Bdr X. Defense of the hex rises to 8 from 5 points. In the oldest pocket at 4514, Greek units finally go U-4 and begin surrendering, with 15 Mtn XX cadred, 12 Inf Cadre eliminated, and the E Art III eliminated.

Mov‘t: Practically none. In the major mov‘t of the turn, the A Lt AA III boards ship and attempts to make its way back to Athenai to bump up the AA value for the expected assault against the capital. They travel by day nearest to Crete, and thence into Athens via night, with the P.24‘s planned to CAP the Athenai hex just prior to their arrival to cover the unloading. However, Allied High command misses the naval patrol craft flying out of Rethymnon, so the transports are soon spotted in hex 4303 and contact is made by a Ju88a escorted by an Italian CR32bis (2 rolled, +3 for calm, -0 for distance). P.24‘s immediately cancel their planned CAP to Athenai, since it hasn‘t happened yet and attempt to stop the bombers, bypassing the Italian fighters. The biplanes roll a 3 however and send the P.24‘s to the deadpool. Two points of naval flak rolls an 8, so the bombers are able to press home their attack, making 3 attempts to hit on the 1 column, of which one 6 is rolled, sinking the Greek III and it‘s NTP. The Greek construction brigades give up their digging south of the Spherkios line, and instead move north into the main line to await the final assault.

Combat and exploit: None.

Axis Player turn

Initial Phase: The Axis again lose 15 Vps for failing to withdraw the German forces (they are need to maintain the cordon around the Spherkios defenders and to assault Athenai this turn). In the Greek U-4 pocket, the 16th Mtn XX is cadred, the 15th‘s cadre surrenders, but the D Lt AA III manages to survive a second roll for elimination. More attack supply arrives in Germany, as do more GSPs along high volume rail lines for shipment south. The 395th OFK Static [XX] shows up for duty in the Balkans. Centauro‘s conversion is delayed, as it is out of supply at this time. There are ample Rps of various sorts scattered about Albania, but none are needed as only a 2 regiments of germans (1 mtn, 1 parachute and a single para HQ are in the deadpool.) Thanks to previously unmentioned Axis transfer missions, no airbases are overstacked at this time.

Expecting the end to come soon, and not willing to face complete Axis air dominance, the Allied bombers attempt to fly night transfer missions to Alexandria from Athenai (both fighters are aborted or eliminated at this point.) The Greek Mxd B lands fine, but the Blen 4 is aborted upon landing when a 1 is rolled.

Mov‘t Phase: Though not terribly necessary, 4 fighter units CAP Athenai. Near Athens, Das Reich, Leibstandarte and the 60th mot Inf along with various mechanized non-divs invest Athenai. Centuaro makes it to just east of Corinth, while a regiment of mot Inf takes Kalamai.
The 198th Inf XX crosses to Patrai and moves southeast, while other infantry divisions invest the southern pocket. Screens are maintained against the 3 northern pockets. The Pzr Corp and mountaineers with supporting artillery plan to assault the Spherkios again from the north, though the Battle of Athenai will to large extent determine what can be done in this regards. Engineers, paratroopers and Italian artillery move up to Khania to clear the last 3 points holding out on the west end of the island.

In naval mov‘ts, 1 attack supply is landed at Prevesa to supply any needed assaults in this area. Another point is moved to Valona for shipment south as required. Rail mov‘t of attack supply and GSPs continues south to the main front from the Balkan areas. GSPs are also shipped into Korinthos via naval transport, with 2 of the three shipments interfered with, and one shipment halved and the other eliminated in effects rolls.

Combat phase: First, a few of the Greek pockets are cleaned out. A 12:1, -2 against the U-4 survivors is launched against 4514, with a 3 rolled for a DH, clearing the hex. Next, Missolonghi is cleared with a 6:1, +0, DH (3 rolled). This leaves three one hex pockets of Greek troops, all in mountain hexes north of the main line. Next, limited GS is flown in support of an attack on Khania, resulting in a 6:1 -1 attack generating a DR with another 3 rolled. The Greek units retreat out of the hex to the western tip of Crete and the last outpost on the island is seized by a smorgasbord of German paratroopers and combat engineers and Italian infantry and artillery. Finally, plenty of air (13 units) flies GS over Athenai, facing 5 points of flak. Nine units get through, 2 Ju87‘s are returned, and a Ju88a and the poor floatplanes are aborted.
This leaves the odds at 3:1 -1, and in a surprise a 4 is rolled for an HX, eliminating all but the cadre of the Greek 22nd Inf XX. The German 125th Inf III and Italian 1B M/C III enter the pool on the Axis side.

The Liebstandarte and the 50th Aslt Eng II enter the city in triumph.
Clearly the Greek government will be made to pay for their insistence on fighting on even after the German intervention ensured their eventual defeat, so they choose to fight to the last man on the Acropolis. The majority, including King Moonopolis fight to the bitter end in the Parthenon, but eventually their resistance is over come. (1 rolled on Gov‘t attempt to flee, +5 Vps for capturing the government). SS troops round up the survivors. International organizations decry the damage done to the historic building, but Hitler waves such trivialities away, promising to send Speer down to build a real monument. Elsewhere in the city numerous stocks of munitions are seized (2 attack supply captured with 2 5‘s rolled), though an entire city block filled with fortification materials is somehow destroyed (2 attempts to seize res.
Pts fail.) The Greek SMPs in Athenai are captured as well, as is the Allied Supply Terminal that had to be opened upon the entrance of Allied troops into mainland Greece (+5 Vps to Axis). I‘m unsure what happens to the Greek bombers in Alexandria, as there is no „escape“ mechanism in WW, so I suppose it surrenders too since it is not on a Greek island.

At this point all Greek troops on the mainland surrender, leaving the bewildered Brits, Aussies and Kiwi‘s trapped with no where to run and no where to hide. With the Greek troops marching off to prison camps northwards, an attack is launched on that dratted hex 0413, now reduced to just the NZ 2nd Inf XX and the Brit 1st Arm X. The attack goes in at 4:1 -1, 5 rolled for a DR, and the Allies are pushed from their fortifications. Too bad I had no ZOC‘s to spare to put behind them…

Exploit: The victors of Athenai move north to form a strong line facing the Allied troops on their south flank. Hex 0413 is packed with other troops, while 2nd Pzr and mot Art III‘s seize the 0515 hex, limiting to some extent where the Allied troops may choose to hide. Italian troops are left behind to garrison Athenai. Numerous medals are handed out by Mussolini, church bells ring throughout the country and Il Duce begins casting about for his next target. Hitler has his eyes firmly fixed eastwards….

End of turn: Axis lost 15 Vps for failing to withdraw, but gain 10 for seizing Athenai, its supply terminal and the Greek gov‘t. Totals are now 22:4.

May II 41

Allied Player Turn

Weather: Clear everywhere.

Initial phase: Allied fort construction is completed at 0413 on the Spherkios, and at 0715 in the Peloponnesus. Fort construction begins at 0513, using 1 Res Pt. The Allied High Command chooses to activate the Well1C and Blen4 at Alexandria (-2 Vps). Two harassment hits are placed behind the Allied line at hex 0513. In overstacked Melos, both Me109E‘s, the S code He111 & the Italian Floatplanes are made operative.
The Italian fleet sorties for the third time this game, in an attempt to impede expected naval mov‘ts to Crete, but a 3 is rolled for an inconclusive naval action (no impact to either fleet.)

Mov‘t phase: The mov‘t phase opens with an Allied air mission aimed at reducing Melos‘ ability to interdict Allied sea mov‘t and support the Cretan front. The Hurricanes are joined by the Greek Mxd B, 2 Blen 4 units and the Well1C in a bombing strike on the island, escorted by the P.24‘s. The Me109E‘s rise up to defend the island, and attempt to bypass the single escort. As seems to be the case over the last turn and half or so, the dice favor the allies. The P.24F‘s roll a 4, aborting one of the Me109E‘s. Random allocation of the other 109 pits him against the Hurricanes, which chooses not to drop its bombs. Both units roll 6‘s, resulting in the Hurri1‘s being aborted, no effect to the 109‘s. There being no flak, the bombers line up for the runs, the Mxd B and the Blen‘s on the airfield needing 6‘s, and the Well1C on the port and needing a 4+. The Well1C misses, but the other three bombers manage to roll two sixes, and the S code He111 & the poor, benighted Italian Z.506 floatplanes again enter the aborted pool.

The A. Lt AA III then uses sea mov‘t, partially at night to attempt to reach the undefended Khania port and airfield complex on western Crete.
Ju88A‘s on naval patrol out of Larissa attempt to contact this mov‘t but fail on a 2 rolled. The Axis stalwart Mxd B unit out of Rhodes similarly fails, with a 4 rolled (+3 for calm, -3 for distance). The unit lands successfully at Khania, redefending the hex.

The Ath. Static X then follows the Lt AA III to Khania. The 3 remaining Axis air units on naval patrol throughout the theater expect artillery to be brought in later, so they choose not to interfere with this mov‘t and the Static X is landed without incident.

As expected, the G. Art III then moves from Athens to Khania. If successfully landed, this would bring the defense of the hex up to 4 pts supported. Ju88A‘s out of Rhodes attempt contact, but fail on a 4 rolled (+3, -3) Ju88A‘s out of Scarpanto fail as well, with a 3 rolled (+3, -2), so each missed by 1 pip of the die (curses again!) The last naval patrol craft can do nothing due to a few night mov‘t hexes, so the artillery is landed as well…

The Allies then adjust their lines near the Spherkios front and await the coming Axis attempts to break the line. From east to west, 0413 is fortified, and defended by the NZ 2nd Inf XX, the Grk 21 Inf XX, the Brit 1st Arm X, with assorted other Greek non-divs, working out to a 20 pt stack, 1/7 ATEC. Hex 0514 is defended by the Aussie 6th Inf, and the Grk 7 Inf, for 11 points of defense in the mountains, assailable from just one hex. Hex 0515 is defended by all Greek units, the 14th Inf XX, 13th Mtn XX and a couple of III‘s for a 13 pt defense assailable from 3 hexes. The Eper Eng X is busy fortifying 0513 and the Mak Eng X has moved up to 0614 to do the same next turn. Athens has 5 points and Patrai has 3 across the narrow straits. Khania has 4, while the lost in the woods Khania static X moves east to the hex just west of Eraklieon to interfere with possible moves against Khania from the eastern side of Crete.

The Allies „skip“ their combat and exploit phases.

Axis Player turn

Initial phase: The Axis lose 15 Vps for failing to withdraw the German forces. The Italian float planes are rebuilt for at least the fourth time as is a Ju87B. In the Axis air pool the Italian BR.20M night bombers sit eliminated, as do the Luftwaffe gliders. The S code He11H sits aborted, as does another normal 111. Additionally, one Ju87B and one Me109E are aborted. More attack supply shows up for rail mov‘t south in Germany, and more GSPs are created to be used in defense by units too far south into the mountains west of the Sperkios line to be in normal supply. A full point of German Inf Rps has now been earned via special replacements, which is placed in Valona. In the islands area, all fighters on Melos go inop due to overstacking, leaving one Italian bomber operable. On Crete, the Allies put the Athenian Stat X in supply via their one RE per turn per port capability. Finally, the P.24F‘s once again CAP Khania.

Mov‘t phase: As part of the requirement that the activated air units must return to base in Egypt by end of turn, the Allies fly transfer missions for the Blen 4 and Well1C to Alexandria. Following this the Axis high command decides to push Italian artillery to Crete via naval transport to ensure the island can be successfully held and taken, so many regiments of Italian gunners move to ports for mov‘t. No Allied bombers were placed on naval patrol, as they were to be used for DAS in defense of the Spherkios line. Therefore, first, the 4C Art III was successfully shipped from Volos to Rethymnon (all interference rolls on the 3(?) column for contact; 6 rolled no contact.) 8C Art II was then moved to Erakleion, again via Volos (2 roll, contact, 4 rolled no effect on contact). 9C Art III moved from Volos to Melos, to finally bring support to that location (6 rolled, no contact… this was done because a planning doc‘t for an Allied special op was published in the Allied initial phase. It was considered possible, but unlikely, that the Allies might call up the British commando‘s and attempt to do something at Melos. The airfield was key to interdicting the Aegean and taking Crete before the rest of Greece had fallen.) Following this, GaF+Sud art III was moved from Volos to Scarpanto, for the same reason as the mov‘t to Melos (7 rolled, no contact.) With all of these mov‘ts successful and plenty of defensive artillery in support of the island redoubts available, Axis High Command decided to continue tempting fate by sending in additional artillery to Rethymnon, so an assault on Khania could take place. So, 14C Art III was shipped Volos to Rethymnon successfully (7 rolled, no contact.)

In ground mov‘t, units on Crete moved to engage the Khanian Static X trapped between Rethymnon & Erakleion, while the 3rd/7th Fallshirmjaeger moved down to take the port of Hagios Nikolaos, returning part of the way back to Erakleion. The last of the airbase repair points currently on hand were used to bring the Melosian, Rethymnon & Erakleion airbases up to full capacity. Additionally, one way transport missions brought the Wehrmact 685 Eng III and the 658 Mtn Eng II‘s into Rethymnon, the Italian 9th Const III to Erakleion, and the 26th Const III to Melos.
The Sturm Glider brigade was moved from Melos to Scarpanto to fully „support“ the artillery regiment on the island, ensuring full defensive capabilities all across the Aegean locations previously seized. An assault on Khania is anticipated next turn.

On the mainland, each of the three small pockets of Greek troops were surrounded by minimal numbers of Italian troops, generally a single division in each hex. The rest were shifted south to assault the larger pocked north of Das Reich. Two plans were launched to attempt the break the deadlock at Spherkios. A combined Pzr/Mtn corps was formed in 0414, whose target was the Australians at 0514. A successful combat here, even with an Allied DR could not cover all hexes behind the Allied line since there were only two divisions defending. One of these three hexes would necessarily be overrunable, or simply left open for exploit. With sufficient air support and mountaineering, a 3:1 -1 is expected to be reached. In the west, the small 3 point stack at Patrai looked capable of being beat, so a combined arms assault across the narrow straits was planned, with Das Reich, the 60th mot Inf XX and 198th Inf XX (winterized) expected to lead the way. Air support would provide the bulk of the striking power due to the terrain effects associated with the straits. Only 3 points of defense makes for easy odds shifts due to air power.

Combat phase: Seeing the massing of troops north of Patrai and fearing a possible breakout, as there are no other Allied troops in the Peloponnesus (even Corinth was emptied to defend north of Athens), the Allies fly their Blen4 to Patrai on DAS. The Greek Mxd B‘s choose not to fly into Me110 interceptor range over the main front (side note, many temp airfields were built up in and around the Larissa/Lamia area, so the Axis by this point have complete air dominance over the front.)

Massive GS is then flown to the two main assault hexes. Over 0514 some small amounts of GS are driven off by flak, but insufficient to drop the odds to less than 3:1 -1. However, the assault to break out of the Spherkios line fails yet again, as a 2 is rolled, resulting in an AS.
Fortunately, the Axis does better in the west, with a 6:1 -2 across the straits into Patrai resulting in a DH on a roll of 5. The border X is destroyed and the lone Greek B art III retreats southeast towards Corinth. All mech units cross to Patrai in preparation for an exploitation breakout into the Allied rear. A third attack is launched against the middle hex of the pocket north of Das Reich‘s previous location, led by Centauro and the Leibstandarte, resulting in a 5:1 +0 DH/zoc kill against the 8th and 9th Greek Mtn XX‘s. The Italian mech corps and Leibstandarte advance into the hex with other non-divs, splitting the pocket into two and opening the way for further exploit into Patrai. Finally, the Khanian Stat X is wiped out in a 9:1 -1, DE (3 rolled) on Crete.

Exploit phase: Das Reich and the separate regiments of the 60th mot Inf XX overrun the hapless B Art III, then proceed to take Corinth and then points further east. Das Reich ends its turn in Levadia, directly behind the main Allied front in Greece. To its southwest, one regiment of the 60th and a heavy flak III guards its flank and protect the Corinithian approaches from the north. To its east a single aslt eng II watches its other flank and seals the now pocketed Spherkios defenders.
The other regiment of the 60th holds 0811, just northwest of Athens, ensuring no significant assaults or counter mov‘ts into the Axis rear from Athenai will take place. Leibstandarte and Centauro cross over to Patrai, moving as far towards Corinth as their mps will take them, while a single regiment from another mot Inf XX heads west along the Peloponnesus coast towards Kalamai.

End of turn: VP count stands at 27:4.

May I 41

Allied Player turn

Weather: Guaranteed clear and calm throughout the theater.

Initial phase: More special replacements arrive from the front and „behind“ the forward lines, allowing the Greeks to rebuild a number of previously destroyed units. 21st Infantry division forms up from Greek non-divisionals. Greek and British air replacements arrive, allowing the British to rebuild their two aborted air units, with the Blen 1‘s immediately converting to the newer Blen 4 models. The MNBDO British Marine base unit shows up for duty at Alexandria, awaiting transport to the Balkan theater. It looks across the Eastern Med with trepidation at the large number of Axis air units now flying naval patrol misisons about the south Aegean area of operations. (All bombers on Scarpanto, Rhodes and now Melos on naval patrol. Melos is stacked with a Me109E, Ju87R, the S code He111H, and finally the Italian float planes.) A number of harassment missions are flown, escorted, just south of the Spherkios line to hamper Allied efforts to move troops up from Athenai.

Mov‘t phase: The Grk airfield just north of Athenai is destroyed and abandoned. Likewise, the static unit garrisoning Eraklion destroys that city‘s air field, and then abandons the city moving northwest. The airfield at Rethymnon, previously repaired up to full capacity, is now partially blown up with the advance of Luftwaffe paratroopers into the Aegean island area (2 hits placed, returning it to it‘s previous status. I would guess that it would have been destroyed entirely if King Moonopolis had had the mov‘t points to do so.)

At sea, the MNBDO and its transports slip their moorings and head into the teeth of Axis air coverage over the Aegean. Approaching Khania at night, they begin the process of unloading with Hurricane 1‘s flying CAP overhead. The drone of a large armada of Axis aircraft arrive overhead, warned of the arrival of the British marines thanks to Egyptian agents. All three bombers on Melos, escorted by the Me109E fly a naval patrol mission against the unloading unit/transports. Contact is easily made (+3 for calm seas, -1 for distance, a 6 rolled). The outnumbered Hurricanes immediately switch to intercept, bypassing the swifter Messerschmitts. This move was apparently unexpected, as in air to air combat the Me109E‘s roll a 12, easily letting the Hurricanes by to the bombers. The Hurricanes have too many targets however, and random allocation pits them against the Italian floatplanes (worst possible, since they have only 2 pts of bombing factors and no positive modifiers to the bombing roll that the S code and dive bombers will have.) Air to air is equally uneventful however, as the Hurri‘s roll an 11 and the Z506b‘s roll a 6, for no result on either side. Perhaps they all forgot to load their machineguns? The NTPs AA is a bit better, and the large, slow Z506b‘s are easy targets (rolls of 10, 7 & 2 put the Z506‘s back into the aborted pool, their second or perhaps third trip in this game. I keep rebuilding them however since they don‘t take up regular airfield capacity, thereby increasing the number of units I can base at Scarpanto and now Melos.) The Ju87R‘s get 4 rolls on the 1 column against the transports, at +1 to hit, get no better than 4 on any of their rolls, but there are numerous near misses to scare the merchant marine types. The He111H‘s however are apparently the real danger, with 2 rolls on the 1 column again at +1 to hit. Two 6‘s are rolled, and the transports and marines of the MNBDO unit slip beneath the waters in Khania harbor, the waves running red.

At the front, the 6th Austrialian slips left to seal off the peninsula (down to hex 0515.) The rebuilt Greek 13th Mtn XX replaces it in the center of the Allied line (0414), though this hex is now the weakest of the line, with just 5 points defense and approachable from 3 hexes, albeit in the mountains and with two these approaches across the Spherkios. The Greek 21st Inf XX moves up to join the 2nd New Zealand in the rough hex at 0413, as does the British 1st Armored Brigade, bring this critical hexes defense strength up to 18 (a Grk construction brigade furiously attempting to finish fortifications and a lt AA II are also present.) Beyond the main front, 5 pockets of Greek troops trapped by the quick advance of the Wehrmacht languish, one U-2 near Veroia, 3 in the mountain hexes south of the Cham region (one of these a two hex pocket), and the last a 3 hex area north and west of the Das Reich XX guarding the approaches to the narrow straits at Patrai. With no supply lines and no attack supply in any of these pockets, and ample Axis DAS available should the need arise, the Allied high command orders the units not to attempt a breakout. (I‘m not sure, but the Allies may have been able to get close to a 2:1 -1 against Das Reich, but with no attack supply and DAS, it would probably have ended up a 1:2 attack with no chance to cause Axis losses.)

The Peloponnesus is practically empty, except for a 2 unit, 3 defense point stack guarding Patrai, and a construction unit building a fort in the hex just northwest of Korinth. At some point Kalamai‘s airfield was wrecked, but I don‘t recall when this happened. Behind the main line at the Spherkios reserves are in place, consisting mainly of two groups centered on the recently rebuilt 14th and 7th Inf XX‘s. The Greeks have been forced to use all of their Rps immediately, to include using their mtn rps on border brigades whose defensive strength is higher than their attack strengths. King Moonopolis is clearly trying to delay the advance to Athenai with everything but the kitchen sink, while the Axis must hurry to get there as VP penalties start to accrue shortly. The large VP pad the Axis currently enjoy won‘t last long at -15 per turn!

Combat-Exploit phases: Nothing occurs, other than a Luftwaffe transport transferring off an otherwise overstacked airbase. There is another overstacked airbase, but the air units there flew harassment missions, so their inop status is guaranteed regardless.

Axis Player turn

Initial phase: The Italian Z.506 floatplanes and 2 Ju88A‘s are returned to active duty from their aborted status. Attack supply shows up in Germany, and numerous GSPs are dropped on high volume rail lines along the eastern edge of the map, for later transfer to the south.

Mov‘t phase: Italian XX‘s and the Wehrmacht 50th Infanterie maintain the cordon around the Greek stack at 4514, now at U-2. Others move and surround the two pockets (3 hexes total) just south of Cham. German infantry, Italian Alpini and the Italian Armored Corps, along with plenty of artillery move up to engage the Greek 17th Mtn in 4201 from the south and east. Das Reich holds at the northside of the Patrai crossing. 4th Gebirgsjaeger, along with a broken down mtn III and AA III take 4701, facing the southwestern most hex of the Greek Sperkios line at 0515. 5th & 73rd Gebirgsjaeger, along with 2 Alpini III‘s take 0415, flanking the Sperkios line hex at 0414. 46th and 72nd Infanterie, along with 3 Julia Alpini and large numbers of artillery III‘s hold 0315, while a full Panzer Corps in 0314, centered on 2nd, 5th and 11th Panzer faces the main Sperkios hex at 0413. The Allied AF watches all mov‘t impassively, refusing the temptation to CAP any of these hexes. The Greek P.24 does CAP Khania, as the large number of parachute regiments now sitting in Rhodes and the new Axis airbase on Melos is giving the Allied high command worries (sidenote: I was unsure why this was done, since the unit was already based in Khania, and obviously therefore in range to intercept anything at that location. It appeared that the Allied commander was giving up the flexibility of intercepting over other Cretan bases, but I may have missed some tactic…)

At this point Operations Minoan Fury kicks off. In the first of a series of missions, Ju52‘s stage from Kavalla to Scarpanto, while Me109E‘s stage from Volos to Melos. 2 gruppen of Ju52‘s then air transport 1st III/7th Fallshirmjaeger XX to drop on Khania, via Melos, where 2 Me109E‘s launch to provide escort. Hurricanes and Greek P.24F‘s choose not to intercept or patrol, which could be very dangerous if the airfield is seized by coups d‘main. The regiment lands undisrupted (4 rolled, mods of -1 for rough and -1 for enemy in hex) so the Luftwaffe unit makes an attempt to seize the airfield for follow on troops. With 2 pts supported and in special attack supply due to an airdrop against the 2 points unsupported in the hex, the 1st/7th has a 2:1 attack with a +1 modifier for dropping directly into the hex, with any HX, DR, DH or DE result leading to airbase seizure (the combat itself is notional, and determines only the status of the airfield; no combat losses will actually occur, as a „real“ combat will be fought in the combat phase.) Unfortunately for the paratroopers a 3 is rolled, which at 2:1 +1 equates to an EX, 1 shy of seizing the field. This saves the Allied AF from an escape from airbase mission… drat!

Next, Me110Cs and G50bis‘s stage to Melos, escorting transports flown into Rhodes to airdrop on the nearly destroyed airbase at Rethymnon. Again, Allied air chooses not to make an intercept attempt. 2nd III, 7th Fallshirmjaeger then drops on the city, rolling an unfortunate 2 on its disruption roll, leaving the unit disrupted and ½ in the following combat phase. No seizure of this airbase is allowed due to the disrupted status of the 2nd.

Next, the last regiment of the 7th Fallshirmjaeger drops on Eraklieon, whose airbase has already been hit. Disruption roll of „6“ indicates they have landed in fine shape, but as there is no enemy in the hex and the airbase has max hits on it, there is little to seize.

Following this, the SM Marine II on Rhodes boards an ANTP and successfully transits the Aegean sea, landing at Rethymnon, targeted last turn when their previous operation was cancelled due to Melos being abandoned by the Allies.

Upon realizing that despite the successful seizure of Eraklieon that the Axis units don‘t control the port until the next initial phase, and the beach at the beginning of the next phase in the current turn, a planned move of the HQ for the 7th is delayed until exploit. The 7th does board another ANTP however, in preparation for this mov‘t.

At this point a major turn of mov‘t ends.

Combat Phase: Both allied bombers fly DAS to 0414, defended by just the Greek 13th Mtn XX. The Luftwaffe flies a small GS mission to Rethymnon, the Italian Z.1007bs and Z.506‘s escorted by a single CR.42 staged through Melos. The Hurricanes unfortunately continue to sit on the ground (I was hoping they‘d eventually come up, to mitigate the need to continue flying escort, and also to better clarify the numbers of bombers/GS points needed for various combats, but no such luck.) Next, 2 Mc.200 and a Cr32bis stage through Melos while 3 Ju88a units fly in from Rhodes and the main front on a GS mission to Khania. The P.24s on CAP and the Hurricanes on the ground finally come up for a fight (Brits must have finally run out of tea, eh whot?) All attempt to bypass to get to the critical Ju88a‘s. The 3 Italian fighters each have 3 attack strengths, so the extra is aligned against the Hurricanes. Rolls of 6 and 5 against the Hurricanes result in a return result. An 8 on the P.24‘s allows the Greeks into the bomber stream. The Greeks roll a 7 against the bombers, getting an R. The Ju88a‘s roll an 11, for no effect. Finally, 9 air units fly GS to 0413, the main hex in the defense of the Spherkios and hence Greece. There are sufficient bombers to generate a 3:1 +1 if no more than 1 of the Ju87B‘s are returned (smaller tac point air units are included to bump up the chances of the Ju87‘s getting through…), or no more than 3 units total of the nine by AA. The Axis high command figures there is a better than 55% chance that sufficient air support will get through to garner the 3:1 +1 with it‘s guarantee of success.

In actual combat, first a large number of Italian divisions reduce the size of one of the Cham pockets by means of an 8:1 -1 attack on the 11th Greek Mtn cadre, getting a 6 for a DE, eliminating 2 pts isolated. The Greek 17th Mtn XX is then eliminated to a man in a 7:1 -2, 5 rolled for another DE. Then Mars chooses to continue to flaunt the odds, as he did earlier over Crete when a number of airdrops that might have seized airfields failed to do so. A planned 3:1 +1 against 0413, which could have eliminated the majority of Allied power in Greece, and done so prior to the fort furiously being built by the Allies and then allowed a higher odds zoc kill attack against 0414 goes awry. 2 points of flak in 0413 manage to roll two 3‘s against two of the GS Ju87B‘s, dropping the odds to 2:1 +1. A miserable 2 is then rolled in combat, repulsing the armored corps attempt to cross the Spherkios with an AS. The follow-up attack of mountain and infantry against the lone 13th Mtn in 0414 goes in at 5:1 -1, with limited DAS and GS, and mountaineering effects, rolls a 3, for a DR. Without the zoc‘s from a successful attack on 0413, the Greeks retreat one hex relatively unscathed, though at least the 0413 hex is now flanked. Argh.

Even more frustrating, the attack at Khania also runs into a hitch. The GS ensures a 5:1, +0 (rough -1, but direct drop of paratroopers garners a +1), but a 1 is rolled, resulting in an HX. The Greek units go into the deadpool, but unfortunately so does the 1st/7th Fallschirmjaeger, resulting in the Allies maintaining control of the hex (and allowing possible naval transport into the as yet unseized port, and also allowing the blasted Allied fighters a place to land.

Combat at Rethymnon goes somewhat better however, with a 10:1 -1 attack (the SM Marines negate the +1 for direct drop), but a 4 is rolled for a DE. At the end of the combat phase, the Spherkios is flanked but not pierced, while all Allied units on Crete have been eliminated except for the Khania Stat X just east of Rethymnon, though Khanis is as yet not owned by the Axis.

Exploit phase: Centauro and its supporting non-divs cross the mountains and engage the Greeks facing Das Reich from the rear. The 60th mot Inf XX secures Das Reich‘s rear by moving to 4601. The major armored corps at Lamia fumes, unable to run for Athens, as had been hoped. Finally, the HQ of the 7th Fallshirmjaeger attempts to land at the beach in Eraklieon‘s hex. A naval interference roll of 3 indicates that the Allies have found the ANTP, but a roll of 4 on the effects charts means the unit gets through unscathed. Unfortunantely, since the terrain is rough and the unit is landing across the beach, there is a -4 mod on the disruption roll, and a 1 results in the HQ being destroyed. (Side note: No way the Allies land in Normandy if they must makes these disruption rolls. This rule needs to be looked at again, if a unit can land in friendly terrain with no enemies within 100 miles and vaporize, what happens to units landing at enemy held beaches. At least don‘t expect HE units, and especially C/M units to land. By my count, a C/M unit landing at Normandy would be looking at a -7 modifier to land on the beach. HQ or artillery would be looking at a -5. SF players beware!) Two weak Italian fighters land at Rethymnon, overstacked by 1. The failure to take Khania results in 8 air units stacked on Melos, with only 3 plus the Italian float planes able to become operable next initial phase. (Air units include 2 Me109Es, 2 MC.200s, a G.50bis, the S code He111H4, the Z.1007b and the Z.506B floats.)

End of game turn: Vps stand at 42:6. The numbers look good, but does the failure to cross to the southern side of the Sperkios and the failure to seize Khania mean Mars would now prefer to be called Ares?

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