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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.

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.

 

Aug 43 II

Axis Player Turn

Axis forces retreat up the Italian toe, destroying rail hexes in their wake. A sacrificial 2-3-2 Coastal XX is left in the mountain hex at 26/3922 to delay any Allied advance. Rail damage and harassment prevent significant movement of German ants to WEST. Italian engineers are airlifted to cities in the north that sustained RMY hits in Aug I, and this should help clear the rail. No response is mounted to the capture of Yeu. With two engineers on the island any minor damage would be easily repaired, and a major effort is out of the question as Axis air needs to stay concentrated in SOUTH. With so many Allied fighters guarding their two LC ferries to Corsica the Axis decline to interfere, but prepare their NODL and beach defenses.

Allied Player Turn

The airbase on Belle is augmented, a new one on Yeu is built, and several are placed in northern Sardinia. Allied LC make a mass migration to the ETO and end with 3x TF, 15x LC and ample NTs in the ETO. One LC is set up as a ferry at Yeu. Four British and Canadian Infantry XX and an Armored XX are broken down in Britain. Eight REs of airborne including all the components of the British Airborne XX are in the ETO. A British 8-8 Inf XX is shipped to Yeu, ready to take advantage of that ferry. US troops from Iceland land in the UK. The only weak link is Allied air power (or lack thereof), a measly 14x F, 1x A, 6x B-types are in the ETO now, but all Sep I Allied air reinforcements can go to ETO. Everything with range 15 or better can transfer between theaters using Yeu and Sardinia, possibly during the Axis Sep I player-turn.

Allied attacks net a measly 4 REs of Italians, and that count stands at 27. Allied units attack into Corsica via ferries and advance up the toe, reaching a line 26/3619-3618-3718. Allied air forces continue their anti-rail campaign with both MTO and one ETO strat air forces called up. Tactical air units can now reach the East Coast of Italy from Sardinia and concentrate on breaking rails in the middle of Italy. Allied air in the ETO seems to be isolating the Biscay-Brittany-Normandy region and the limited number of German construction troops will be hard pressed to do much about it. Rail into/out of the coast from Belgium to Le Havre is also kaput, Paris has four rail hits and the lines leading between Italy and France have multiple hits.

Commentary

So far the accountant’s defense is working like a charm. This doesn’t seem to be hindering the Allies much, and has not enticed them into precipitous adventures. But what will the Axis do to meet the threat posed in their WEST theater?

 

June 1944 Special

C, C

Axis Player Turn

In Italy a few units slip into the mountain passes leading across into
France while the Arno line is strengthened. Theatre Command designates La
Spezia a National Socialist hero city and forms it into a western redoubt,
anchoring the line against the Allied advance.

In France around the allied beachhead at Cannes a slight withdrawal is made.
Toulon is abandoned to its fate with 2nd rate troops holding the fortress
while Marseilles is garrisoned to hold as long as possible. the cadre in
Lyon is strengthened by the arrival of a SS PzG XX and Tiger battalion while
the area around Clermont is abandoned as the Loire line is reinforced as
more and more infantry units arrive. Around the smoking beachhead on
Bolougne the Germans withdraw 16 miles to avoid a three hex attack on their
position to the boos and hisses of the watching allies. From Dunkirk, V-1
rockets scorch across the sky and impact into London docklands, requiring
Fighter Command to beef up its defences.

Allied Player Turn

Calais is assaulted by US infantry and engineers who destroy half the
defenders and force the remaining Eastern Troops to flee along the coast.

At Nantes a joint Canadian-British attack surrounds and destroys the
defenders, cutting across the mouth of the Loire and threatening Brittany.
Around Tours several attacks wipe out some German static units unfortunate
enough to be caught in the growing British advance in the region.
Stragglers around Clermont are gobbled up and spat into the dead pile.

A French attack across the Rhone west of Avignon fails to dislodge the
German defence, especially annoying is the Aborting of 4 GS aircraft by a
single LW AA unit.

The beach head around Cannes is expanded further as toulon is assaulted for
a HX result and the Paras push north west towards the Rhone over the broken
country side.

In Italy, caution is thrown to one side as the border is crossed from France
to outflank the German line.

In the mountain passes several defenders are crushed while Pavona is overrun
by the South African Armoured and other motorised odds and sods while a
Motorised 82nd AB XX attacks and seizes Genoa.

At Festung La Spezia, Poles, Kiwis and Brits attack the city and seize it
courtesy of some heavy GS flown by the USAAF. So much for the invulnerable
redoubt theory. East of Florence, Indian and Polish Mountain units force
back the RSI/SS defenders in the mountains while on the coast of the
Adriatic a US Corp treats harshly a joint RSI/PzG stack and blows it away
for a HX.

In the exploitation phase Milan falls to the Springboks with Mussolini
escaping just in time to take up residence in Trieste. The US 1st Armored
and 34th Motorised Infantry enter Ravenna before swinging inland towards
Bologna.

In France the Canadians advance to Nevers and the 7th Armoured to Dijon.
The bridgehead over the Loire is expanded near Tours and the 1st Armoured
enters Rennes while recon units enter an empty Brittany to seize some minor
ports along the Channel coast.

Jan I 44

Weather roll = 4 = Snow in zone C, Winter in zone D and Mud in zone E. Atlantic = storms, Med = rough.

Axis Player Turn

Germany pours a lot of reinforcements into Italy to patch up coastal defenses. The Gustav line is fully manned with at least 12 DF in each hex. Engineers open a rail line across the Rhine and all the way to Southern France. A few bombers relocate from France to Northern Italy.

Allied Player Turn

Germany is short 1 RE of occupation forces in Italy. Brits rebuild the 6-4-6 Tank X they lost last turn. Partisans score two rail hits in France and one in Italy. Axis defenses along the Gustav line look too formidable to the Allies who make no ground attacks. Allied engineers continue to repair rails and complete two permanent airbases (Fogia and Corsica). Still no major ports on mainland Italy, though Taranto should be in operation next turn. Allied bombers place another 20 hits on Axis rail nets.

Comments

A slow turn all the way around. Breaking the Gustav line is probably going to require better weather but the Allies believe time is on their side and are in no hurry to rack up AH results. By spring there won’t be many unbroken rail hexes within range of Allied fighter-bombers. By relocating a few fighters to Alsace/Lorraine the Germans have raised the stakes for Allied medium bombers wishing to cut the link between France and Germany.

 

Dec II 43

Weather roll = 3, Zone C Snow, Zone D Winter, Zone E Mud. Sea Conditions: Atlantic Storm, Med Rough.

Axis Player Turn

Winter weather means mountain hexes are now prohibited terrain for c/m and artillery. Those Axis c/m and arty units that were still south of the final defensive line moved out of the way, two non-c/m divisions couldn’t make it back to the fort line and were left behind to fend for themsleves. Axis NT’s risk DZ rolls to lay mines along the French Med coast and at 16/0321, one mine point is held in reserve.

German Engineers give up any thought of maintaining rail through Paris. This frees up 3x 0-1-5 Cons III which move south. They will attempt to keep the Strasburg-Mulhouse-Belfort-Dijon-Bourges-Tours line open, along with at least two Rhine River crossing points.

Allied Player Turn

Axis are short 2 RE of occupation forces in Italy. Allies receive 1/2 RP for disbanding their two former Axis Italian units (0-1-6 Cons and 1-3-6 LAA), not enough to place any units as forming. No Italian replacement points will be produced until Apr I 44. French Partisans abort a Me109 and break a rail, Italian Partisans are ineffective. Allied repair 3 hits to their Naval TF, leaving 16 NRPs in the bank.

American Infantry (2x 1-8 Bn) land on Elba, followed by a 1-10 Lt Tank Bn. Furrious LW attempts to attack the supporting TFs result in heavy LW losses. USAAC lost 1x A-36A killed while the Luftwaffe lost one each Me109G6, Ju88C6, He177A and Ju88A4 (code S) killed and 3x Ju88A4 (including one code V) aborted. Only one LW unit made it through the fighters and AA to bomb the fleet – it missed. One LC was damaged during the landings. Commonwealth forces attacked 26/2121 at 7-1 (-2) and roll a 2 which becomes a HX against 1st Fallshirmjaeger XX. A British 6-4-6 Tank X is exchanged to avoid any loss of Infantry RPs. This places 44 HuD in a ZOC surround at 26/2120 and she suffers a HX at 5:1 (-4). Allied used 16 points of air (reduced to 4) and exchange a 9-8 Brit Inf XX. Allies move all but 2 of their 20 LCs to the Med and several c/m units to ports where they could be used for 2nd wave landings on the Italian/French Med coastlines. They continue to maintain several US and British divisions broken down in North Africa. The Allies are using their high MP Engineers and low MP Cons units with transport counters to repair rail and airbases in Italy while their Port Construction units work on Naples and Taranto.

The end of 1943 finds the following situation in regard to replacement points: Inf RPs: US 54.8, Brit 39.2 French 12.2 (all types), Canadians 7, Pol 1, Allied Italian .5, German 38.1, RSI 0. Arm RPs: US 43, Brit 15, French 1, Germans 8 NRPs: Allies 16, Axis 0 ARPs: US 46, Brit 50, French 6 Allied anti-ship 8 Allied Italian 3, Germany 36, RSI 1.

The Axis have 1x 5-7-6 Inf XX and 1 point of positional AA in the dead pile, along with a LW 4-8* cadre (9-8*) in the GUSTAV line and a 6-8* Pz Gren cadre at Rome. All German strat air units are operational. The Allies have a dead 6-4-6 Tank X along with a 3-8* Inf X, and a 4-5-8* Inf Cadre (9-8) (plus a French Mtn cadre and some dead Brits which began the game in that state). Allies have 1 hit which counts against them on an Italian TF, and several more which don’t count for VPs they could repair if they chose to do so. The VP total remains at +34.

Commentary

Another example of Luftwaffe impotence verses a well-covered Allied naval force. This time the Allies landed right at the German doorstep, but their bases on Corsica and Sardinia were immediately at hand. It is obvious that the only real threat to an Allied amphibious landing is a strong ground counter-attack force. The Germans are finding it hard to guard both the GUSTAV line and their rear areas. They don’t have anything resembling a counter-attack force in Italy anywhere north of the Gustav line. The terrible rail situation makes it impossible to shift troops quickly, yet the Allies threaten a major landing in the. As the Allied player it is very tempting to put in a landing Med (probably between Rome and Livorno) which would undoubtedly force the Germans to pull back from the GUSTAV line. It simply isn’t worth the cost in German replacement points to land in France at this point.

 

Feb II 44

Weather roll is a 2. Zone C is an N, which means more snow. Zone D remains Mud. Zone E is finally clear weather. Atlantic roll is a 6 for storms, Med is a 2 for calm.

Axis Player Turn

Very glad to get the Mud in D. Repaired 5 air units in the aborted box and the two 5-7-6 Inf XX coming full in the West go to beef up the rather lax defenses in Normandy. The Gustav line is straightened and now runs 26:2124-2123-2022-2021-1922-1920-1719, approximately the historical line. Allied units on Elba use special supply, New Zealanders and company in 26:2020 go U-1.

Allied Player Turn

USAAF is again short air units to garrison the Mid-East, -2 ARPs for that and -3 more to replace losses. The air cycle ends with the following ARPs unused: US 44, Brits 56, French 6, Italians 6, Allied anti-ship 8, Germany 21, RSI 5. Axis meet all occupation requirements, so no extra partisan rolls. Allied engineers rebuild Napoli’s port and remove port hits from there and Taranto. Other than shuffling the line forward over ground the Axis retreated from and a lot of engineers moving around/fixing things not much happens on the ground. Allied air forces continue to pound away almost without opposition on the Axis rail nets. Another 21 rail hits are scored between partisans and air units. British 11th Armored XX ends the turn in Gibraltar after embarking during the exploitation phase at Reggio.

Commentary

There really is no Axis rail net in Italy on map 26, nor in France within fighter range of Corsica, England, Belle or Yeu. Rail movement between Italy and France is out of the question, but a single line is open between Germany and France, though it doesn’t go far. The Allies get another increase in quality and quantity of air units next turn, and campaign season is not far away. It will be interesting to compare results of this 1943 campaign against the SF Apr I 1944 start data.

Comment to date

An exciting time period once the tears had dried in my eyes. As I watched the attacks go in one after the other at 1.5:1 I was incredulous. One or
even two of the attacks causing me damage I could accept, but all four!
Even my DAS let me down (although admittedly it reduced odds from 3:1 or 2:1
in all cases) by falling prey to accurate AA fire. Oh well, never
underestimate the enemy ability to take risks and the curse of the die. The
landing at Pas de Calais lacks the AEC nullifying terrain of Normandy and it
showed when a modifier of +1 was enough to force a retreat into terrain that
was choc-a-bloc with units or in enemy ZoC. As for the Brits in Bourges,
that was just jammy! Watch the flanks!!

The critical factor in this time period was that it again drained the
British RPs and put a dent in the US pool, all this before the German can
convert most of his units to higher defence strength and the really bad
terrain of Holland and the Westwall comes up. The prospect of liberating
Norway are starting to look slim unless the remainder of Italy can fall
before mud/snow chokes up the map, but we’ll have to wait and see.

With two turns (special June turn included in this game) until I could enter
northern Italy and avoid an extra 15 REs of German being released from the
South-east, the German player knew this so the Franco-Italian border was
manned by a couple of amputees with shotguns while five XXs worth of British
and allied units waited to cross the border and flood the Lombardy plain.

The declaration of emergency is a real pain for the allies as it gives the
germans the ability to rebuild a lot of units lost in desperate EX battles
of in holding up the main allied advance. Oh well, Paris will be mine
soon….

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