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Collapse of Fascism: Alternate rules for Italian Surrender in Second Front

In the RAW rules, a crafty Axis player can not only delay any Italian surrender check for an extended length of time, the Axis player can also control when that check is made to a much greater degree than would seem appropriate given the historical situation and record. This Fascist Collapse rule attempts to address both of these concerns.

Basically, the rule assumes that Allied ownership of Sicily is enough to trigger the sequence of events which lead to the overthrow of the Fascist regime in Italy. Once the Allies control Sicily [in game terms, once they own all ports and cities on Sicily and there are no Axis units there in regular supply] the Allied player may check for the collapse of Fascism in Italy at the END of any Allied player turn in which Sicily is controlled by the Allies.

At the end of each Allied player turn in which Sicily is Allied controlled the Allied player rolls a die, modifies it as appropriate and if the die roll is six [6] or greater, then Fascism has collapsed in Italy. The effect of this Fascist collapse is that the Capital of Italy is treated as having been captured by the Allied player – note that this is a Surrender condition and is treated, for the purposes of this rule [only] exactly as if the Allies had captured the Italian capital. Note that since Allied Control of Sicily is also a surrender condition [and must have occurred for this special house rule to have been implemented], if the Allies control Sicily AND have caused the collapse of Fascism in Italy then a surrender check will be made during the next Axis initial phase.

Note that this house rule ONLY affects Rule 38.B.2 and is not considered for purposes of Rules 37.G or 38.B.1. The effects of a capital being captured by the enemy player, such as morale, do not apply due to the collapse of Fascism.

There are two possible modifiers to the die roll for the collapse of Fascism in Italy:

each turn following the first turn that Fascism could collapse in Italy, a cumulative +1 DRM is applied to the die roll. So during Fascist Collapse 1 [i.e. the player first turn in which the Allies control Sicily] will have no DRM. During Fascist Collapse Turn 2, a +1 DRM would be applied, during Fascist Collapse Turn 3; a +2 DRM would be applied, and so on.
during any Allied player turn in which the Allies have more than 3 REs of units in regular supply in Mainland Italy, a +1 DRM is applied to the Collapse of Fascism die roll.

Example of play: The Allies control Sicily by the end of their Aug II player turn but have no units in regular supply in mainland Italy. This allows the Allies to check for the Collapse of Fascism at the end of their Aug II player turn. This is Fascist Collapse Turn 1. Since there are no Allied units in regular supply in mainland Italy, no DRM’s apply to this die roll and Fascism in Italy would collapse on a die roll of six [6]. The Allied player rolls a 3 and Fascism in Italy does not collapse. Assuming that the Allies still control Sicily and still have 3 or fewer REs of units in regular supply in mainland Italy, Sep I will be Fascist Collapse Turn 2, and a +1 DRM will be applied to the Allied player’s die roll at the end of their Sep I player turn. Thus Fascism in Italy will collapse on a die roll of five [5] or six [6] due to this turn’s automatic DRM of +1. The Allies roll a one [1] and Fascist Collapse in Italy does not occur. Still assuming Allied control of Sicily and insufficient Allied units in supply in mainland Italy, Oct I will be Fascist Collapse 3 [and there will be a +2 DRM to the Fascist Collapse die roll, Oct II would be Fascist Collapse 4 [with a +3 DRM] and so on.

In this example note that Fascism in Italy would collapse automatically during the Axis Nov II initial phase, since there would be a +5 DRM – even a die roll of one [1], in this case, would be modified to a six [6] due to the automatic +5 DRM. The historical situation would be that the Allies control Sicily by the end of their Aug II player turn. Thus Aug II is Fascist Collapse Turn 1 and the Allies are lucky enough to roll a six [6] and Fascism Collapses in Italy. The Axis would be forced to check for Italian surrender during their Sep I initial phase, since the Allies have fulfilled two surrender conditions, namely control of Sicily and having forced the collapse of Fascism in Italy. The Allied player rolls the die to check for Italian Surrender [as per Rule 38.B.2], rolls a three [3] and Italy surrenders.

The intent of the rule is to add another random factor into the procedure for modeling Italian Surrender. The Axis player should not be allowed to control when Italian surrender occurs [as he can now, to a large degree] and further, he should not know precisely when a surrender check will have to be made. The Allied player is rewarded for attempting to capture Sicily [as was historical] but he is also not overly penalized for not taking Sardinia and Corsica. As the RAW stands now, the Axis player can easily protect the Italian Army enough such that they will not suffer 50 REs of losses [a surrender condition] until after the Allies take Sardinia and Corsica – this pretty much insures that the first surrender check will be triggered not by Allied control of Sicily and 50 REs of Italian losses [as was historic] but rather will be delayed until the Allies control Sicily AND Sardinia & Corsica.

This sequence of events serves to severely distort the game as it stands now – the Allied player, knowing that he will not be able to inflict 50 REs of losses on the Italians in any sort of reasonable amount of time, is forced to invade and control both Sardinia and Corsica before any surrender check can be made. Corsica, in particular, can be a very hard nut to crack due to the broken terrain there, but the Allies have no real alternative other than conducting a campaign there. Historically, neither Corsica or Sardinia were taken before Italian surrender so it seems to me that we have to provide some mechanism for a possible Italian surrender that does not depend so completely upon the capture by the Allies of Corsica/Sardinia.

The house rule also makes a wholesale Sicilian Runaway defense less attractive to the Axis, since the loss of Sicily will not only be a surrender condition [as it is under RAW] but will also lead, ultimately, to the collapse of Fascism in Italy and thus another surrender condition. Thus abandoning Sicily without a fight is not quite the “no brainier” tactic that it is now.

The overall effect of the rule will be, I hope; that Corsica and Sardinia will no longer be the main focus once Sicily is Allied Control, abandoning Sicily will be less attractive as an Axis option, Italian Surrender will be somewhat more randomized and that the current situation where the Axis player can, in effect, control when Italian surrender occurs will be altered in the Allied player’s favor. Italy had historically suffered huge manpower and territorial losses by the time frame of the game and were certainly well on the road to collapse, if not teetering on the edge of surrender by Summer ’43. Mussolini was, after all, overthrown before the end of July and Fascism was on its last legs at this time. The rule assumes that Mussolini is deposed pretty much as happened historically[which happened due to the Allies successfully LANDING on Sicily, not controlling it…] and that Fascism does not long survive his fall.

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.

Mar II 44

Weather roll: 4 = mud in zones C & D, clear in zone E. Atlantic is calm with a 2, Med is calm with a 4

Axis Player Turn

Once again Allied unitd in 26:2020 go U-1 due to mud shortening their supply lines. Elba is U-3, but has supply points to cover the ground and air units there. Germany spends 7 Inf replacements to rebuild a 5-7-6 Inf and 7-8 Mtn division from cadres. 3x forts are completed and 2 more begun, all in Italy.

Toscana and Liguria garrisons are activated (3x 2-3-4* Static [XX]) due to Allied units on Elba. Germany shuffles a few uhnits along the Gustav line and sends two divisions from Italy to France. This just about evens the game deployment with the Apr I 44 OB book, though South is a bit stronger in non-divisional units and has no cadred divisions or Anzio beach head to worry about. Some anti-ship air units are sent to France where they have a tough time finding space at airbases within reach of the coast but fr enough from Allied air bases to be safe.

VP Count:

Allies hold 5 naval bases, 5 dot and 2 major cities for +16 VPs. There are no net losses (with possible exception of 8 points of Italians in the replacement box). So, add 16 to the existing total of 34 and we get 50 VPs (or 34+8=42 if you count the dead Italians).

Allied Player Turn:

Partisans manage 1 hit, taking out the RSI G.55. RM TF again sweeps mines off Northern Italy (at 26:0130) with no losses. All excpept 3 Allied LC, 12x NT, a US 12-pt TF, and an Infantry Corps sail to the ETO. Air units put another 20 rail hits on Axis nets. Otherwise a slow turn.

Commentary:

The Allies now have the bulk of their naval assets in England, along with plenty of air and several broken down divisions. The Axis rail situation is pitiful, the Allies don’t really need to worry about hitting rail cap in France. Airfields in France near the front are not sufficient to deploy anti-ship air units.

The difference between what is shown on my maps and what you get from the 1944 scenarios is striking. The rail nets in France, Belgium, Holland, NE Germany and Italy are pockmarked with well over 100 hits. German Engineers have managed to keep the rail line running north of the Swiss border and 1-2 Rhine crossing open, but they don’t lead anywhere near the coast. Rail links between France and Italy haven’t existed for several turns and the Axis has given up trying to repair them. Every rail line out of Italy is blocked by multiple breaks.

The replacement and VP situations are equally in the Allies favor. Before any Apr I 44 production is added the US has 102.8 Inf, 67 Armor and 69 ARPs. The British have 50 Infantry, 17 Armor and 63 ARPs France has a total of 13.2 Inf, 7 Armor and 7 ARPs. Other allies have the following Infantry replacements: Canada 11.5, Poland 4, NZ 1.5 and India 3. There are 25 NRPs and 63.67 Resource points in the bank, with a debt of 2 NRPs that have yet to be paid for hits on a RM TF. Compare this to the Apr I 1944 initial conditions of US: 12 Inf, 17 Arm, 37 ARPs; British 6 Inf, 5 Arm, 30 ARPs; French 3 Inf; Canada 3.5, Poland 4, NZ 4.5, India 3; 170 resource points (Allied Rail cap and air bases accounts for some, but not all of this difference), and ZERO NRPs. VPs for the 44 campaign are a measly +8 VPs verses 50. Somehow the Allies must’ve lost 42 VPs, seesh!

The Germans have also taken less losses, and have accumulated 35.1 Inf, 28 Armor .5 NRP, 46 ARPs and 65 Resource Points. There are no German cadres, and a single point of positional AA is the only unit in the replacement pool. Per the OB book they should have 9 German Inf, 15 German Armor, 2.75 RSI Infantry replacements, 22 German ARPs, and 118 Resource points.

Victory points and field position are what counts. The Allies hold everything they did for the April I 44 start except the Anzio death trap, er, beach head, plus Belle and Yeu. They have 42 extra VPs, a heck of a lot of replacements, 16 REs of rail cap in Italy and many augmented airbases near the front that SF rules doesn’t let them build. The 25 NRPs are particularly important because that allows them to take risks and build up the two Italian TF if they desire. Anzio is a mistake waiting to prove itself, too many negative VPs for the Germans to ignore. The fact that the Germans are also better off is of some compensation, but not a lot. If the weather turns good in France it is unlikely that the Allies will have to wait until June I to land.

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.

 

Nov II 44

S, F, F, M, C R, R

Axis Player Turn

Frost! Frost! Frost!

Berlin lines up its Weather Section and shoots them.

The defences of Berlin are strengthened. The last remaining motorised units
are gathered together for a final hurrah and positioned outside the capital
to strike north or south as circumstances may dictate.

Allied Player Turn

Well, with Frost firming up the ground, an all out assault is launched. In
Norway Trondheim is attacked by Commandos, marines and tank brigades but the
defenders hold them off (AS) In the Lagen Valley the 6th para XX with
Norweigan support gets a HX result against Punitive Troops, SS Police men
and some Infantry. The US Amphibious battalions then race down the valley
into Hamar. Oslo is looking vulvnerable.

In Greater Germany the following attacks occur – on a pocket near Frankfurt,
west of Klagenfurt, and Ljubjana – all are beaten off for AS results much to
Allied High Commands shock. At Linz the newly arrived Jewish brigade joins
the Americans and Brits in attacking a german battlegroup but is beaten back
with an AR! In the Sudentenland, Poles, Czechs, Kiwis and French push
further towards Prague (8:1 -5 mods on dice roll!).

Chemnitz falls to an EX result, burning up some valuable (and scarce)
British comabat engineers. The Elbe is crossed again north east of Reisa
while the Wittenburg bridgehead is expanded by the Guards Corp into
Luckenwalde, reaching the outskirts of Berlin itself. In the exploitation
phase, the Canadian Armoured Corp overruns a single cadre in some woods
before entering Kottbus, cutting Berlin off from the south and splitting the
front.

In the American sector, Koln, Duisburg and Essen fall to US Infantry and
Engineers. The Ruhr is surrounded by a sea of green cardboard and the
German Commander can only hope the region will hold for as long as possible
to delay the infantry flooding eastwards and joining the assualt on Berlin.
At Bremen, two US corps attack the 1st LSSAH Pz Division with attached
troops in support. In what should be a simple attack, the SS dig in and
fight tenaciously, forcing the attacking americans to reel backwards with an
AR result! To compound the failure, all retreat paths are in German ZoC and
the corps are forced to surrender and are marched up into Danish PoW camps.
The cadres enter Bremen where they are reinforced in the exploitation phase.

Despite good weather, results were generally terrible for the Allies.
Hitler claims that this is the long awaited turning point in the war. With
the enemy at the gates of Berlin the miracle has happened – surely the
failure to seize significant ground is a sign of divine intervention?

Apr I 44

Weather Roll = 6, Mud in zones C & D, clear in E. Atlantic = 2 – calm, Med = 4 – calm.

Axis Player Turn

The defenders of WEST front breath a collective sigh of relief as spring weather continues to be poor. Complements of the weather Allied units in 26.2020 go U-1 yet again. Swaping units has kept the effects to a minimum, but with no way to man-handle supplies the only alternative is a very uncertain air drop (1/3 chance of success). After last turn’s civil unrest in bologna the Emilia garrison is called up to occupy that city (actually allowed due to Allied forces on Elba). Engineers finish two forts and begin three more. With 10 engineers dedicated to fort construction rail repairs proceed at a slow pace. One rail line between Italy and Germany is cleared. There is however, barely a rail hex without a hit below Firenze. Any retreat fom the Gustav line will be by road or cross country. Hit markers are again running low.

Allied Player-Turn

The airbase augmented on Elba is completed, and the port will be rebuilt next turn. Neither side calls up strat air. 5 SAS is airlifted to Belle, entering a hex of France – Germans don’t react by popping up their garrison. 3x ENTF, 1x WNTF and 1x RM enter map 17 and make for Brittany. CD at Paimpol engages and gets a hit, return fire silences the CD. Next in line is St Brieuc which misses, but receives 6 hits from return fire. Morlaix is also attacked and silenced. Meanwhile LC’s have loaded a large invasion force and NTs a second wave of armor, artillery and supplies. During the second naval movement step Quimper is bombarded and the CD there is silenced. The naval TF splits up and each sub-part is joined by NTs and LCs. US forces begin landing at 17:0618 and 0717; British, Canadian and French troops land at 17:0519, 0521 and 0722.

Axis command quickly notes the landing at 0722 has no naval cover and immediately orders air strikes. A missile armed FW200 makes contact, is met by 3 groups of interceptors and is returned by the first Allied fighter. A massive strike from Bordeaux inexplicably fails to find the invasion force (rolled a 3). The only remaining naval patrol, a lone Ju88, also fails to make contact. Allied bombing of German air bases along the Biscay has paid off. 2x LC are damaged during first wave landings and 2x US 2-1-10 Amphib Tank Bns sink on their run in to the beach. Fortunately both of the 6-4-10 Amphib Tank Brigades made it safely ashore. After the amphibious troops are ashore a cloud of transports, many staging from Gibraltar and North Africa, drop US and British Parachute divisions (less HQs) at 0718 and 0723, with French Para-Commandos landing at 0622. Despite the use of every available glider and skies clear of any enemy aircraft 2 US Regts and one British Bde are disrupted. 11x gliders go to the eliminated pool.

German defenses in Brittany had been limited to the ports themselves, there are no units in a position to use a reaction move to influence the battle.

Quimper is defended by a mixed lot, including a 1-2-8 SS-Pol X, 3-8 Art, 1-10 Mot LtAA and port CD. The Allies needed 9 of their 12 air units for a 6:1. Sure enough, the 1 point of German AA returns 3 and aborts 1 Allied air unit, reducing the attack to a 5:1 -4. A 2 is rolled for an AS to spoil the day for British and French attackers.

Paimpol is defended by a 5-5 Static XX and local CD. The Allies completely surround the hex and at 6:1 -2 roll a 1 for a DR. Germany loses 5 isolated combat factors while 2x 3-8 Eng and 2x 1-8 Rangers advance to take the port intact.

At Morlaix the Allies make a 7:1 -2 attack against another 5-5 Static XX and roll a 2 for a net 0 and a HX. The German Cadre retreats to 0619, British lose 2x 2-3-8 Engineer X (isolated) and advance 2x 3-8 Mar-Cdo X into the port. -8 VP for isolated losses.

After a lot of less than productive aerial bombardment the turn ends with the Allies holding 12 hexes of Brittany including 2 minor ports. There are 39 REs ashore, including 5 divisions (2x US, 2x British, 1x Canadian). Brest is isolated, but none of the Allied units will be unless both ports are knocked out, an extremely unlikely event given Allied air superiority. However, 5 more LCs were damaged during the second wave, and only 5 undamaged LCs managed to replenish (including 3x LC moved up from the MTO). The Allies should’ve loaded their first wave units at least a turn in advance if they wanted to replenish after landing a second wave. Coastal hexes are fully covered by NGS.

Comments

Making an honest landing is probably the hardest thing to do while playing solitaire. I tried to apply previous experience against other players with what I know of Rich Velay’s defense. April I 44 is a low point in German defenses, but with few troops loaded on LCs, no Allied strat air call-up and mud weather I didn’t believe an Axis strat air call-up was warranted. Had there been rough weather in the Atlantic the Allies would’ve waited a turn. Even if the weather turns clear in zone D the Axis will not be able to fix enough rail hits to get their arriving 20-10 Panzers to Brittany. I suspect Allied harassment will slow down any Infantry to a crawl. The France garrison, 2-3 Inf/Static XX, and a few c/m ants will reach Brittany. Germany prays for more bad weather.

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.

 

Apr II 44

Weather Roll = 2; mud in zone C, clear in zones D & E. Atlantic = 2 – calm, Med = 2 – calm.

Axis Player Turn

All units are in supply, but Elba would be U-4/isolated without the delivery of supply steps last turn. Brest is isolated. Germany activated most of the France garrison and called on their General Invasion Alarm and Luftwaffe Alarm (conditional reinforcements).

Germans place as many fighters as possible from their Strat Air Force with naval patrols, the others within staging distance of the Allied beachhead. The intention is to draw off Allied fighters with naval patrols and hit the ports hard. This open display of Axis air power will also probably diminish the amount of harassment flown by the Allies.

Naval Patrols: The Allies don’t like to take chances with code V and M air units and allot multiple interceptors to each. A Fw200 and Ju88 code V are shot down while a Ju88 code S and Me109 are aborted. A missile armed Do217 eludes two fighters and is aborted by AA while a Me410 gets through only to miss the RM TF at 17:0617.

Battle of the Ports: The Luftwaffe is thrown at both Allied minor ports in a series of day and night raids. Heavy fighter escorts cannot prevent carnage wrought by P-47’s and Spitfire IX’s. In the end 6 German bombers and 1 fighter are killed, 8 bombers and 1 fighter aborted. The Allies suffer 2 fighter and 1 night fighter aborted. Several German day bomber units crash attempting night landings. Many Luftwaffe fighters attempt bombing runs, but decide to ditch their bombs when confronted by Allied interceptors. Allied Air Forces show that they now rule the skies over Brittany.

On the Ground: In Italy the German lines are thinned. Germany leaves rear guards, but otherwise abandons the Biscay coast. No counter-attack is mounted in Brittany, where the Germans leave enough troops to prevent a rapid advance. Panzer forces are moved forward to threaten an over ambitious Allied advance. (Given Allied harassment there was not a single German c/m division within reach of Allied troops.)

Allied Player Turn

US replaces 2x 2-1-10 Amphib Tank II, Brits replace 1x 2-3-8 Engineer X and repair the hit to their ENTF. All Allied air units are repaired. The US MTO strat air force is called up. The Allies begin feeding massive amounts of troops into Brittany. The unsupported regiments of four Infantry divisions are airlifted to temp bases built adjacent to the ports of Quimper and St Brieuc, meanwhile LCs deliver the HQs. Ports at Elba and Bari are rebuilt and repaired.

The Allies make a series of attacks at: 17:0817 against 6 DF at 9:1 from three hexes. A 5-6 Inf XX suffers a DE and the cadre retreats to 0816. The Allies take the minor port intact. 17:0919 verses a 2-5* cadre at 7:1 -1 getting a DE. 17:0820 verses a 5-7-6 Inf XX. A DE is rolled at 4:1 +2 and the cadre is killed by ZOC. 17:0920 at 9:1 -1 verses a 1-2-8 SS Police III for another DE. 17:0822 against 4 DF at 9:1 -1 gets a DH and kills the remainder by ZOC (isolated), capturing the port of Quimper. During exloitaion the 2-6 cadre at 17:0816 will be overrun. No DAS, GS or NGS was used in these attacks.

In Italy: US Strat Air carpet-bombs 26:1921 and suffers short bombing. The attack goes in at 7:1 -3. Dice roll is a 5 for DH result, 4th Fallshirmjaeger XX is cadred and retreats, along with 924th Fortress III. During exploitation 2nd NZ Mech XX and a Brit Mot Art X enter the devastated hex.

In the ETO: The Allies now have 4 minor ports worth 60 REs of supply and a port capacity of 12. By the end of April II there are 15 divisions (3 Armored, 9 Infantry, 2 Airborne and 1 Artillery), along with 26 REs of non-divisional units on the continent. However, the allies have yet to capture a city and 4 LCs were damaged unloading cargo. The Germans had 13 AF of unisolated and 2 AF of isolated losses. A significant force of Allied units is embarked on LCs at Plymouth (12:3715), there is an LC at sea in 17:1722 (Yeu) and the equivalent of 2+ Airborne divisions are still in England with a third in the MTO.

Commentary

The Allies can build up fast, very fast. Four minor ports means no worries about becoming isolated, and a significant supply burden is gone so long as the troops stay close to those ports. Brest and another marshalling yard should fall next turn. Germans in France should be able to retreat in good order since few of their units are in Allied ZOC. The Gustav line will need to pull back a bit, and is in need of a few more troops to hold against carpet-bombing. The Germans will start the May 44 2-month replacement cycle with significant numbers of dead and aborted air units.

 

July II 44

Weather is clear everywhere. Atlantic rough, Mediterranean calm.

Axis Player-Turn

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

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

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

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

Allied Player-Turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments

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

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

 

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