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The Europa Magazine 73

The Europa Magazine #73 - Cover

The Europa Magazine #73 – Cover

(Vol.XIII, No.3, 2000)

Contents:

  • “Company Briefing: …and Behind Door Number Two” (Commentary) Winston Hamilton
  • “From the Editor: We Give Up – Sex is What Sells” (Editorial) Frank Watson
  • “Inside Europa: Second Front Q&A” (Discussion) John Astell (Second Front)
  • “Battlefield Report: Second Front Colorado Style” (Series Replay) Cory S. Manka (Second Front)
  • Europa Aloft: It Could Have Been a Contender: The Heinkel He 280” (Historical) Jason Long
  • Europa Aloft: Jet Powered Aircraft” (Historical) James A. Broshot
  • Europa Battle Scenario: Gothic Line – Operation Olive, August – October, 1944” (Scenarios) Frank Watson (Second Front)
  • “Battlefield Report: Playtest Notes – Gothic Line” (Series Replay) Chris Baer (Second Front)
  • Europa as History: Breaking the Gothic Line” (Historical) Frank Watson
  • “Orders of Battle: Gothic Line Axis OB Notes” (Designer Notes) James A. Broshott (Second Front)
  • “Rules Court: Second Front” (Discussion) Rich C. Velay (Second Front)
  • Europa Staff College: Coast Defense Strength as Artillery” (Discussion) Rich C. Velay
  • “Europa Staff College: Yet Another Second Front Amphibious Example” (Discussion) Rich C. Velay (Second Front)
  • “The Reader Always gets the Last Word: EXchange – Second Front Strategies” (Strategy/Commentary) Readership  (Second Front)

 

The Long Left Flank – Two short game reports

Introduction

At the Origins Game Fair this year, I attended a “War College” lecture on Market-Garden as a victory wasted. The speaker walked through 4 (of many) things that could have allowed the Allies to make it through Arnhem, but his real interest lay in what could have happened after that. According to his research, British planners weren’t really looking at going to the Ruhr, their next objective was the coast of the Zuider Zee, to cut off the Germans west of that.

So, I wanted to play Long Left Flank again, and see what Europa has to say about the operation. Unfortunately for half of my experiment, the scenario cuts off in November, so I cannot see what the German winter offensive might look like. I suppose I could play again, and extend it with using the Battle of The Bulge scenario that’s also in TEM. I ran out of time, so I will have to do that later.

First attempt: Sending the First Airborne Army against the Antwerp approaches

The scenario opens with the German forces scattered from their retreat from Normandy, and the Commonwealth forces mostly still in Normandy. I sent strong forces on the Sep I turn to assault most of the Channel ports, taking Boulogne, Le Havre, and Dunkerque. It is possible for motorized forces to reach Antwerp in exploitation, which I did, as well as Ostend. I flew the 52nd Airlanding division into Antwerp, in advance of the later airborne assaults.

Sep II 44

the Allied supply shortage came to bite, and only 3 corps were active. The parachute landings (0924, 0823, 0723) went smoothly, except for the 1 Para HQ, grabbing the Breda-Drodrecht causeway as the Rhine crossing. XXX Corps broke through from Antwerp, but the wily Germans massively flooded 0824 in the combat phase. (Fortunately, the scenario rule meant that I didn’t lose all of my Resource points.) Meanwhile, Gent was also taken, and its port was also intact. The islands were now cut off.

Oct I 44

The Allied forces fought into Rotterdam (port destroyed) and isolated The Hague. 0927 and 1026 were taken, clearing 2 of the 5 hexes remaining to open Antwerp and Gent. This turn, I unwittingly violated a scenario rule by using USAAF transports to fly in more GSP, so this playthrough is somewhat invalid after this point.

OCt II 44

The Germans tried a rare counterattack into the woods east of Antwerp, which succeeded in a DR on 3:2 odds! This didn’t quite isolate the Allied spearheads north of them, but it is closer. With (too much) supply, the Allies are able to make a lot of ground this turn. Even partial flooding on one of the peninsulae was unable to prevent its total capture. Only Walcheren island remains. Other Allied forces crossed the Albert Canal and drove east, exploiting all the way into the 2 northernmost (unoccupied) West Wall hexes!

Nov I 44

The Germans tried to get behind the rivers again, anchoring their line at Nijmegen. An attack into 1220 (West Wall) is a miserable failure at AH. Shouldn’t have attacked into a Mud turn! When the Allies try to assault Walcheren island, they are crossing water, into Mud, against a port fortification, when the island is partially flooded. Use of carpet bombing is effective, though—no short bombing. The result is a 3:1 -2, and they rolled an AS.

Nov II 44

With Mud on Nov II, and me realizing that I had given the Allies too much airlift on Oct I, I suspended the play. The Allies had a Decisive Victory (72 VP), holding 2 West Wall hexes and 5 hexes over the Maas-Waal, including Rotterdam. That wasn’t the drive to the Zuider Zee like I wanted to see happen, but it was fun to play, and the Allies looked to be in good shape for later attacks once their supply situation improved. Another assault on Walcheren would have to happen, I think I did not realize just how tough a nut that would be to crack. As a German player, I knew that next game I would work more on stuffing that hex with more defense factors. As an Allied player, I learned that I really didn’t want to risk any more massive flooding results!

Second try: planned for historical drop zones, except with swapped the 101st and British 1st targets.

Sep I 44

The Allied turn went almost the same as the previous one, except I didn’t try for the Channel ports, except Boulogne (port wrecked).

Sep II 44

The Allied airdrops had some nail-biting die rolls: The SS cadres reacted into the 101st’s drops at 0820 and 0920. The Americans were thrown out of the former, but held Arnhem on a DR roll! Praise to Allied air support! The British airborne rolled a DE at 1023, and the XXX Corps blasted 1024 with an exchange to cross the Albert Canal. With no Germans in the way, the 11th Armoured Division raced all the way to Appeldoorn. Breda was also uncovered, so the Allied breakthrough was 7 hexes long and 1 wide, with a branch through Breda to Rotterdam (port blown).
Meanwhile, the Canadians attacked 0927, but the German cadres escaped. Walcheren will be at 16 df when attacked later. They also captured Le Havre (port blown). The commandos and 1 brigade of the 49th Division landed on Schouen Island, taking that. Strategic airpower was used to suppress the CDs on Walcheren.

Oct I 44

the Germans set up a counterattack at Arnhem, but called it off when lots of DAS appeared.
The Allies again unleashed carpet bombing on Walcheren, this time before Mud hit, so the attack was an Exchange, without partial flooding. They also captured 0926, so Antwerp is clear. Amsterdam was captured from an unsupported SS regiment, port blown. DEs were rolled for Eindhoven and 0820, so more German cadres were heading for the replacement pool.

Summary

This game was an Allied walkover, I don’t think it could have gone any better. I played it until Nov I, when the weather was Clear, and wrote it off as an Allied Decisive Victory: over 130 VP when I stopped counting. While dice were clearly in the Allied favor this time, I probably didn’t play too well as the Germans. I suppose that’s a weakness inherent to solitaire play, at least for me.

Analysis

Sometime I will pull this out again, hopefully with a live opponent. I’d also like to mix it with the Bulge scenario, probably just exporting the Sixth SS Panzer Army to this front on the Dec I turn.

Going back to the original concept, it seems to me that once Arnhem is taken, going north the last 2 hexes to the coast is a good move. The Germans further west become no threat for a while, and there is nothing but clear terrain across the Ijssel River, either east towards Bremen or southeast to cut off the Ruhr. Sending the airborne forces into western Holland risks more flooding of hexes, so that seems less of a good thing. If one is playing the scenario, with the rule that Antwerp’s port is captured intact, then the Allies need to strain every nerve to get into Walcheren island before the Germans can stuff it with defense factors. Attacking it with forces quartered or eighthed looks like a bad bargain.

Sep I 44

Weather is clear everywhere, sea zones are calm.

Axis Player-turn

All units are in supply. Luftwaffe Tac Air loses a net 28 air units, while the Strat Air OB picks up 12. 10 ARPs are spent to return all fighters to the map. Reinforcements provide a net gain of 77 DF. One WK V garrison unit is activated for +4 DF. Disbanding costs 28 DF and gains 33 Inf and 7 Arm RPs. Reorganizations gain 2 Inf RP and 7 DF. 31 Inf and 8 Arm RPs are spent, 10 forts built or begun. Strat Air is not called up.

SOUTH Theater Axis forces withdraw to the 26/12XX hexrow, form a NODL, and strengthen defenses along the Adriatic coast.

WEST Theater Germany scores another V-1 hit on London, total now 4, costing the British an Infantry RP. In France the line stands along the Map 16/17 border. Hitler orders his troops to cling as closely as possible to Paris. Engineers are now building more forts and repairing less rail hits. A significant number of front line hexes are held by lone Infantry divisions, but the front is continuous with a NODL from the channel to hex row 19XX. No attacks are mounted against the well defended Allied line.

Allied Player-Turn

The French government relocates to Paris – French become a new third contingent. Bordeaux is rebuilt. Strategic Air roll is a 1, level increases to 5. Neither side calls up strategic air assets.

MTO Advancing British troops capture Civitavacchia ehich had max damage from Axis Engineers, but was not destroyed. Six attacks eliminate 11 German DF for 0 Allied losses. A US attack at 26/1320 against 15 DF in a fort and ravines behind a riverwas thwarted by 2 AA which turned back/aborted enough GS to make it a 5:1 -2 attack. Of course a 1 was rolled for an AS. However, 5 of the 8 frontline hexes were pushed back.

ETO More French units transfer to the ETO from Africa and Italy. In eleven attacks from The Channel to Switzerland’s border Allied forces destroyed a LW 7-9-8 Para-Inf XX and cadred 1 SS Pz, 1 SS PzGren and six Infantry Divisions. Allied units show little fear in advancing this turn, though there is little opportunity to more than advance after combat.

Total German losses for the turn are 70 DF.

Comments

So far the Axis are making the Allies fight for nearly every hex they take, and are paying for that with large numbers of cadred Infantry Divisions. If the Axis can hold out for a few more turns the weather will change to their advantage. I haven’t counted VPs yet, it will be interesting to see what the SEP II 44 count is and how that count would play out if there are no further Allied advances.

 

Jun I 44

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

Axis Player-Turn

Germany places most of her ground reinforcements in or ready to enter WEST. Germany spends 8 ARP for 6 aborted and 1 eliminated air units, leaving 17 ARP. 21Sk SS Mountain XX fails its roll and is completely eliminated. The Italian NRP is converted to mines. Germany spends 7 Inf and 6 Arm replacements to rebuild divisions from cadres. 6 forts are begun.

Allies lay down only 8 harassment hits totaling 11 levels, mostly aimed at slowing engineers making repairs and non-c/m unit withdrawals. The code Z (V-1) He111 is aborted by patrol attack and a Ju88 torpedo bomber is killed by French P-47s attempting to attack a British TF north of Bordeaux. German night bombers put 3 hits on the port of Paulliac.

Harassment in Normandy is abated enough to allow non-c/m units to withdraw to a new defensive line. No Axis ground attacks were launched, the only practical attacks were against US armor in clear terrain. Given the US replacement pool it makes no sense to risk HX and EX. Attacking unisolated US Infantry in bocage makes less than no sense. So, a strong defensive line is formed 1 hex in front of the Seine north of Paris and behind the Seine south of that city to hex 17:2003. From there down to Toulouse the German front consists of a crescent of divisions, ZOCs and bad terrain. Neither side can hope to cover the entire front. Strong coastal defenses remain in place along the Channel coast. (Several Allied divisions sit aboard LCs in England.)

In Italy there is some shifting of troops along the Gustav line, but no withdrawal. Reinforcements move to strengthen coastal defenses near west coast ports and several divisions move from Italy into southern France.

Allied Player-Turn

June I starts with a lot of opportunities for the Allies. Only a few units are in contact with the German line in France and several ports are either empty or lightly defended. Hundreds of hexes can be liberated at no cost whatsoever. MRs 4, 9 and 11 are liberated and will begin production on Jan I 45. Two of 4 damaged LCs are repaired. One airbase is QCed in Normandy, another completed in Italy. 4 more rail cap are built in France (now 8). Strat air roll is a 3, status now 2 with extended range limits and Axis rail cap = 90%. Neither side calls up strat air.

Three Allied TF engage CD at La Verdon, taking 1 hit before silencing the defending guns. 3 more LC and a 16-point TF move from the ETO to MTO, making about a 50/50 split of TF and LCs. Significant Allied forces debark at French ports from Deauville to Blaye, unhampered by the Luftwaffe. British 6 Armoured XX enters an undefended Bordeaux to find the port destroyed.

In the MTO the Allies line up for 2 attacks – at 26:1820 against 15 DF and 2 AA with -2 DRM for terrain, and on the coast at Ortona (26:1719). Rather than risk a 3:1 -2 in the mountains the Allied throw everything at the 17 DF and 5 AA at Ortona. 7 air units are aborted, 4 returned and 9 get through with 35 TBF. The attack goes in at 4:1 -1 with a HX result. Two 5-7-6 Inf XX get cadred and the 2-3-10 HG Mot Hvt AA Regt is eliminated. Two US 3-8 Engr III are eliminated and a 9-8 Inf XX cadred in exchange. A 34 point US stack advances/exploits into Ortona. It looks as if the Gustav line has finally been turned.

In France the port of La Verdon (17:2422) is destroyed during a 6:1 (-1) attack by British forces. Another 6:1 British attack at La Rochelle has similar results. Germans miss their roll to flood 17:1107 so the US attack goes in at 6:1 (-1) and nets a DE, reducing a 5-7-6 and killing a 1-10 Hvy AA Bn. A full AECA attack against 9th Panzer XX (16-10) at neighboring 17:1207 supported by 33 points of GS comes off at 6:1 (-1) with a 4 (-1) for a DH. Finally, a US/French attack into the NW hex of Paris at 5:1 succeeds (DE), reducing 5th Falschirmjaeger XX and killing a 3-2-10 Assault Gun Brigade. Parisians celebrate as the US VII Corps advances into the city. During exploitation the Allies form a thin line from Deauville to 17:2005. At a right angle a ragged line runs to 3017 and across to 3025. Panzers can probably make a few holes in this line, but it would very likely prove suicidal. Transports fly in large amounts of supplies to ensure any pockets remain fully effective. The Allies now have 17 P-38/47/51 fighters on the continent, enough to cause serious pain to the Luftwaffe should it venture forth. Allied bombers range as far as Prag in search of marshalling yards.

Comments

The Allies are at the end of their logistical string for now. They will have to decide whether to leave a credible landing force in England or shift resources to the MTO. Going along with that, they must decide how many troops to leave in England to back up any landing along the Channel coast. A landing in Southern France by air or sea is an option, right now significant British forces are in the Bordeaux/La Rochelle area and will have to be moved overland to someplace more useful which could be into Southern France. However, two German-occupied ports hold out along the Biscay coast and an SS Panzer Corps holds a blocking position at Toulouse.

Germany should be able to make some decent attacks against US troops in France next turn, but there appear to be no opportunities to kill isolated units for victory points. The British, French and Canadians are pretty well protected with the Americans taking up most of the exposed positions. Germany will probably try to knock down the Allied rail cap in France with RMY missions, preventing the establishment of the rail element of supply. The Allies have so many ports and engineers that port bombing is no longer profitable. German V-1 units will be able to launch attacks on London next turn, forcing the RAF to divert fighters.

Both sides are finding it increasingly difficult to safely cover the long crescent shaped front in France. The Axis position in Italy is still good, and the fall of Rome has been delayed for another victory point count, but there is increasing pressure to release troops from coastal watch. Should the Allies encourage a withdrawal from the Gustav line by withholding harassment bombing, or should they rain bombs on any withdrawal?

 

Jun II 44

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

Axis Player-Turn

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

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

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

Losses: 11 unisolated US DF.

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

Allied Player-Turn

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

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

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

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

Comments

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

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

 

Sep II 44

Weather is clear everywhere, sea zones are calm.

Axis Player-turn

All units are in supply. No garrisons are called up. Westwall restoration continues. 33.5 Inf, 8.5 Arm RPs are spent to rebuild cadres & replace units, gaining 43 DF. 3 ARPs are spent to return 1xF and 2x A to the map. 8 forts are quick constructed or begun. Strat Air is not called up. Allies fly 12 levels of harassment in the ETO, 7 in the MTO.

Hitler allows his field commanders to pull back from Paris and form the shortest possible front line. A NODL is formed in France covering all but 2 hexes. All of the Italian front is NODLed. Germany has to be very careful to ensure the minimum strength is met in every hex, mostly this is 7 or 8 DF. Three V-2’s and one V-1 hit London.

Victory point count: Allies collect 27 VPs in the MTO and 42 in the ETO, total 69. There are no excessive losses or other subtractions. Added to the previous count of 72 we have a new total of 141 VPs. If the front s tays where it is for the rest of the war the Allies will collect 69 VPs in Dec 44, March 45, and at the end of the game for another 207 VPs. The resulting total of 348 is a marginal Allied Victory under the revised victory levels. Additionally, this total is 17 short of a substantial victory and 66 short of decisive. There are 9 more VPs in Italy, 9 in France and 13 in Belgium which the Allies should pick up fairly easily. Exactly how many of these are taken for multiple quarterly counts will determine the final victory level (supposing the Allies don’t break either front line).

Allied Player-Turn

All units are in supply. French MR 8 and the Italian province of Umbria are liberated. The ports of Marseilles, Toulon and La Rochelle are rebuilt; rebuilding of Rouen and Sete are begun. 2 NRPs are spent on an Italian TF; US spends 13 Inf and 8 Arm RPs; British, French and Italians each spend 1 ARP. Rail cap in France is increased to 30. Strategic Air roll is a 3 with no DRMs, level increases to 6. Germany calls up strat air, Allies call up both ETO strat air forces.

RAF strat air flies 15 night RMY, scoring 5 hits. US flies A/FB Tac Bombing. Allies conduct attacks along the entire front in France, taking, among other places, historic Compiegne. The Luftwaffe flies a heavily escorted DAS mission for 15th PzGren XX in 16/2532. A FW190G and Me19G6 survive interception, but AA returns the FW. In 15 attacks with several ZOCed out defending hexes the ETO eliminates 89 German DF with no Allied losses. Another 30 German DF are eliminated in the MTO when the Allies take 7 of the 9 front-line hexes, bringing the total German DF lost for Sep II to 119. Even as they collect 23.5 special replacements Germans pray for mud to save their crumbling front. British c/m manage a small advance (2 hexes) in front of the Vosges Mountains during exploitation. Germany spends 8 ARP while returning strat air units to the holding box, many German air units remain in the Elim and Aborted boxes.

Comments

Allies are encouraged by the VP count. They thought hard about conducting a major air/sea invasion of Holland, but decided not to make the landing due to the number of troops this would take away from the main front. Sizeable forces remain in England to threaten such an attack. Meanwhile, they rewrite their airborne landing plans to take out portions of the German NODL.

 

Feb I 44

Weather roll = 2. Zone C no change, stays Snow. Zones D and E Mud. Atlantic is rough on a 4, Med is calm with a roll of 3.

Axis Player Turn

Germans rebuild 4-8* Para-Inf cadre to 9-8* and 2nd Panzer cadre to 17-10, both at Roma. Engineers again open a rail line across the Rhine and into central France. Some German units get to strat-rail almost to Paris. Shuffling takes place along the Gustav line. All hexes are at 14 DF or higher.

Allied Player Turn

US finds itself short the two new air units required to garrison the Middle east. With 51 ARPs in the bank there doesn’t seem to be any need to divert valuable air units to this mundane chore. Engineers clear up all remaining rail breaks behind the front and begin to QC two forward airbases. Three more hits removed from Taranto and rebuilding of Napoli’s port will be completed next turn.

Combined NZ, Indian, French and British forces heavily supported by GS assault the Gustav line. The Germans have two divisions (14 DF) in 26/2020 and at 4:1 -5 the Allies roll a 6 for an EX. Germans cadre their 7-8 Mtn and 5-7-6 Inf Divisions while the British sacrifice two 7-10 Armor Brigades. 2nd NZ, 52nd Lowland and some c/m non-divisional units advance. A port contsruction unit lands on Elba, along with two construction brigades, supplies and a resource point.

Allied air goes after German fighters and puts 5 hits on airbases. Only 12 rail hits this turn as so many air units were providing GS and bombing the Luftwaffe. RSI fighters shoot down a B-25 over the Rhine rail crossings.

Commentary

Thought this would be a slow turn, and with a 1/6 chance of success a fruitless attack. Axis will have a problem fixing their defenses if the weather turns back to winter weather, but otherwise should be able to fall back in a couple of hexes and form a straight line of equal or greater strength. Some AA in the defending hex would’ve both raised the DF above what the Allies could get a 4:1 against and probably driven off enough GS to drop the attack odds. If weather permits the Germans will do this in Feb II. It is only a matter of time before the weather changes and the Allies get to use GS that is only halved instead of quartered.

 

July I 44

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

Axis Player-Turn

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

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

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

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

Losses: 15 unisolated US DF.

Allied Player-Turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments

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

 

Setup and Pregame Turn

Setup:

Axis set up with almost every ant in the WEST along with most of the better divisions stacked to the max along the French-Italian frontier rail lines. Forces on Sicily are cloistered around Messina, those on Sardinia around La Maddalena. Axis air forces are all in Italy, Southern France and Corsica, well out of range of Allied fighters. Axis anti-ship air units are concentrated in two large stacks at Roma and Napoli. The defense of France is entrusted to a single Panzer XX along with the 4-5, 5-5 and 5-7-6 Infantry XXs. Axis engineers are set to continue construction of the Atlantic Wall and the Winter Line across central Italy.

After covering their garrison requirements in Britain the Allies set up all but 9 fighters in the MTO. Many NTs are set up in the Mid and Near East loaded with troops. More are set up off map in Britain, also loaded with troops. About three-quarters of the LC are loaded with troops, though some are c/m and artillery.

Pre-game:

The Allied air force is left unmolested by Axis fighters to pound the rail net on Sicily, in the toe and to a lesser extent on Sardinia. The fighters in Britain score a single rail hit in France. Bombers take out the port at La Maddalena and place hits on all the ports in NW Sardinia and SW Corsica. It looks like Italian divisions will need their LC-ferry to get off Sardinia.

Jan II 44

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

Axis Player Turn

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

Allied Player Turn

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

Commentary

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

 

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