The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Tag: second front (page 1 of 10)

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.

May I 44

Weather: Roll is a 5, clear in zones D and E, no change in C (mud). Atlantic is rough on a 6, Med is calm with a 1.

Axis Player-Turn

Germany replaces 1x 5-7-6 in South and 1x 1-2-4 and 1x 1-2-8 in West while rebuilding a 20-10 SS Pz from cadre. Total spent 10 Inf and 8 Arm RPs. 4x forts are begun in Italy.

Axis forces pull back to just out of the reach of Allied forces, to a line 3-5 hexes west of the Seine and as far south as Tours. Scorched Earth tactics are applied and stay behind forces are left in all the port forts. The first attempt at an airborne V-1 attack ends when Mosquitoes abort the air unit. Seven Ju188 and Do217 units made night port bombing attacks in Brittany with 1x K and 1x A by NF. Weak flak was ineffective and 3 port hits were achieved. 2 out of 3 day air units crash land.

Forces are shifted in Italy to strengthen the front line. Two hexes are given up and the Gustav line now runs 26:2123-1821-1819-1719.

Allied Player-Turn

Americans and Brits each spend 8 ARP to replace all their losses. A small horde of new air units is placed on the map. Two damaged LC are repaired and an airbase is built at 17:0817. The LC at Yeu is declared a ferry and there are no Axis forces in the mainland hex opposite the ferry. Strat air roll is 5+1 = no change. Germans fly 1 pt of harassment in front of their line.

US troops roll through Rennes, liberating the first mainland French city, making the amphibious invasion “official.” For the 3rd turn in a row the Hamilcar GHT is eliminated delivering cargo, in this case 2x 2-1-8 Siege Arty II to a temp airbase adjacent to St Malo. Allies airlift 4 Inf XX and sealift 2x Arm and 1x Art XX (along with 4x Inf XX HQ and some odds and ends). The minor ports of Granville, Vannes and Les Sables d’Dionne are taken intact. Nazis destroy Natanz and St Nazaire. Two LCs were damaged.

There was good and bad news on the 4:1 attack at St Malo. The attack resulted in an EX, 3x US Engr were eliminated and the 1st Inf XX was cadred. However, the port was taken intact.

The big attack at Brest goes in with 15 points of NGS against 15 DF at 4:1 for a HX. Brits lose a 5-3-6 Aslt Engr Tank X and the Czech 5-10* Arm X, but take the port intact. Allied supply problems are a long way towards solved, but there are a lot of engineers in the replacement pool. MR 10 should be liberated on May II (occurs in Allied initial phase).

In the MTO the Allies find the Gustav Line still too strong to tackle without NGS and carpet bombing. An ENTF and four more damaged LC arrive in the MTO, making 6x LC and 30 points of TF.

Comments

So far the Allies seem to be well ahead of their historical schedule. May I 44 ends with the Germans in France holding a line along the XX09 and XX10 rows from 17:0909 to 2010 then to Tours and 2311 with an open flank south of that position. The Allied line runs from Granville to 17:1616 then to 2020. Germany still holds the ports from La Rochelle south, mostly with Static XX. Lorient is the only holdout behind the Allied line. Both sides are making use of the available bocage to strengthen their positions. German forces will probably fall back to within easy crossing distance of the Seine, but have no fortifications to help them hold that line. Engineers are concentrated in Italy (building forts) and along the strategic rail lines between Germany, France and Italy. With the capture of so many forts the Allies should be able to land the bulk of their forces in England over the next two turns. A sizeable amphibious force remains embarked in SW England.

 

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.

 

May II 44

Weather roll is a 4, clear everywhere. Atlantic and Med roll calm seas.

Axis Player Turn

Germans repair 2 killed and 10 aborted air units, all but 1 are bombers. 3x Ju88A4 remain in the Elim pool. Many are place in Paris where they can reach Allied ports. The air-launched V-1 unit is aborted, but drew 3x NF. Eleven Luftwaffe bombers raid St Malo and Grainville at night. They meet 3x NF and ineffective flak, net losses 1 Ju88 aborted. Grainville takes 1 hit, St Malo 4. 5 of 6 day units crash land (very bad dice). All available Pz XX move to a line in front of the Seine while an Infantry XX seals itself inside fortress Cherbourg. Hopefully this display of force will buy a little time at no great cost.

Allied Player Turn

French MR 10 is liberated and will produce replacements beginning Dec I 44. (Meanwhile the 1/2 Metropolitan Inf RP from the MTO goes away.) Several units come out of garrison in N Africa, Corsica and Britain. The first 4 rail cap are built in France.

Partisans take out the Do217 at Dijon in a bold attack. Strat air roll is a 2 for a +1.US replaces a 2-3-10 Mot Eng, Brits replace their 5-3-6 Aslt Eng Tk X and the 5-10* Czech Tank X, all are placed in Nantes. P-47’s bomb out the FW190 at Bordeaux and are immediately followed by an airdrop at 17:2723 by 2x US 3-5 Airborne Regts. Three Allied TF duel with CDs at 17:2521 and 2522, silence the CDs and suffer no damage. A Ju88 code V was shot down trying to attack the TF. The abandoned port of Caen is destroyed during Allied movement, Lorient falls to a 5:1 and the port there is also destroyed.

A DR at 17:1008 takes the minor port of Deauville intact. In a series of assaults US 1st Army takes the row of bocage running 1008-1410 inflicting 16 DF (12 AF) in losses with one EX cadring 4th Inf XX. Elsewhere British 53rd Inf XX takes the minor port of Blaye while US Paras take Pauliac, covering both sides of the Garonne estuary north of Bordeaux. Comments: By the end of May 44 the Allies have advanced to a line running from the east at Deauville (17:1008) to Tours (17:2110) then around to Poiters (17:2316). Axis forces still hold Bordeaux and port forts at Cherbourg, Rochefort and La Rochelle.

The British are being very cautious about casualties. Allied air cover is not keeping up with the ground advance in France, thus far only a few airbases are available on the continent. MR’s 4, 9 and 11 are set to be liberated Jun I 44 and the Allies are only 7 hexes from Paris along a wide front. Supply in central France will be a real issue for the Allies until their Jul I turn when the rail net comes up. The Allies continue to knock out rail lines in the Strasbourg area only to see a mass of German engineers repair the breaks. German rail nets anywhere near the front have been pounded into oblivion with no effort being made (or possible) to fix them. Many allied planes sit on the ground due to lack of targets within range.

Oct I 44

Weather roll is a 5, Mud in zone C, Clear in zones D and E., sea zones are calm.

Axis Player-Turn

All units are in supply. Westwall restoration completed, Westwall emergency still in effect. No garrisons are called up. Germany spends 14 ARPs, RSI 1 to return all air units to the map except an RSI Me109G6. Germany receives a net 172 DF from reinforcements, tehn disbands 18 DF gaining 4 Arm and 29 Inf RPs. 48 Inf and 11 Arm RPs are used to rebuild cadres and return units from the eliminated pool worth 68 DF. Seven forts are QCed or started. No strategic air is called up. Allies fly 15 levels of harassment in the ETO, 6 in MTO.

Due to the combined effects of harassment and rail hits reinforcements from eastern and central Germany can not reach the front in a single turn. This is more than made up for by liberally spent replacement points. A NODL is formed along the entire WEST and SOUTH fronts. Two V-2 and one V-1 hits are made on London.

Allied Player-Turn

All units are in supply. Brits/Canadians/Pols upgrade a total of 6 AT Bns to Mot AT (SPAT). 7 US and 6 Brit ARPs return all air units to the map. America spends 4 Inf RP, Italy 1 Inf RP, Poland 2 Inf and 2 Arm RP, Britain 3 Arm RP and Canada 2 Arm RP. No strat air is called up by either side. Strat air DRMs cancel each other out, the strat air war roll is a 1, and the strat air level increases to 7. 20 US Arm RPs are loaned to Britain, leaving the US with 124 Arm RPs.

Four Luftwaffe air units attempt DAS missions – 2 are returned, 1 aborted and 1 eliminated. One SAAF Spit16 interceptor is shot down in the MTO by a lucky Me109G6 (rolled snake eyes). The Allies continue with their front wide offensives in both theaters, making a total of 27 attacks. US forces capture Boulogne on the Channel coast, but find the port thoroughly destroyed. Americans also push the Nazis out of Reims, gaining s second VP hex this turn. A total of 130 German DF are eliminated while 26 British and 9 US AF were lost in exchanges. Hitler awards many medals to his anti-tank experten as the British Army decides to eliminate three Tank Bdes and only cadred one Inf XX. With special replacements the net cost is less than one British Inf RP. Of course the cost in Arm RPs was much higher than necessary, but that’s why the Brits have so many Arm Bdes and the US so many Arm RPs to lend-lease.

Comments

The Allies are again encouraged by the VP count. Their airborne landing plan didn’t work out this time, but there is always next turn. Sooner or later the Allies will guess right, drop behind the German NODL, and chop it up. Meanwhile the calendar advances into worse possible weather conditions. Germany has some ZOC surrounds on large Allied (full ATEC) stacks covered by plentiful Allied air support. The Allies are being very careful with the Pols, Canadians, French and other minor allies. With 79 British Inf RPs sitting in the bank and plenty of units that can be scrapped it doesn’t look like the risk of German losses is worth the potential gain any attack might bring. Germany will wait for bad weather, continue to NODL and allow the Allies to push 1 hexrow forward each turn. The Allies have little choice but to continue the meat grinder strategy until such time as they can see a way to break through.

 

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?

 

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.

 

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.

 

Older posts