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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.

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.

 

Aug 43 I

Axis Player Turn

Axis withdrawal from Italian toe is hampered by Allied harassment and rail breaks. Two 2-3-2 XX and two ants are left to prevent Allied overruns of Reggio and Giovanni, a 2-3-2 XX is disbanded and German c/m XX cover 3821 and 3921, to hold up the Allies during their exploit. The 20-10 SS Pz XX is rebuilt and also backs up the Axis position on the toe.

Several German ants migrate back to France and strong defences are maintained along the toe, heel and west coast of Italy as well as the French Med coastline. Anti-shipping air units shift north to Roma-La Spezia-Genova. A strong group of B-tupes with a few fighters stay a Napoli, and an even smaller group of 1x A-tyoe and fighters are at Foggia, just in range of Taranto. The bulk of the Axis air is deployed to protect the Med coast from Roma to Marseille, backing up the danger zones.

With 5x German c/m XX’s south of Napoli and two more around that city it seems unlikely that the Allies will attempt any tricky moves.

In WEST 1x 14-10 Pz XX and 2x 6-8* Resc Pz XX back up 5-7-6 Inf and 4-5 Static divisions, with only a few ants to fill in.

During the Axis turn the Allies transfer a few more B-types to England.

Allied Player Turn

After considering an airdrop on Corsica the Allies chicken out – there are just too few friendly fighters and too many enemy naval patrols. To console themselves the Allies take Yeu, wipe out La Madallena (11 isolated Italian REs KIA) and cross the straits of Messina to the toe. Poor dice allow both Italian stacks to retreat, but it seems unlikely those 2-3-2 Coastal XX’s will be able to get away in Aug II.

Both MTO and the RAF ETO strat air forces join Allied TacAir in chewing up the French/Italian rail nets. Although rail lines out of Italy are cut the damage will be temporary, though it looks like any rail traffic to France will have to go via Germany.

Allied navies set up two LC for a crossing to Corsica on Aug II. With 15 fighters within intercept range and more ready for CAP it seems likely that at least one LC will survive. In addition numerous special ops are prepared. Allied bombers put 2 hits on Calvi, leaving Bastia the only untouched port on Corsica.

A couple of US ants ship to England, along with all the components for the British Airborne XX. The ETO now has 3x TF, 7x LC, 23x NT, 2 division-equivalents of airborne and 3x Marine-Commando Bdes.

Commentary

The question is, will the Axis feel inclined to send more forces to the Biscay coast, or air units to France? The next few turns may be critical. Allied air remains weak in the ETO with 11x F, 1x NF, 1x A, 2x T and 5x B-types. However, when Yeu’s airbase becomes operational the air distance between Allied theaters drops to 45 hexes and a lot of air units can easily switch theaters.

 

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.

 

August I 44

Weather is clear everywhere. All sea zones are calm.

Axis Player-Turn

All units are in supply. Piemonte and Liguria garrisons are activated.

Reinforcement activities result in a net loss of 1 DF for the Axis. Germany spends 14 Inf and 4 Arm RPs rebuilding cadres and upgrading to 4-6-6 Inf XX gaining 24 DF in the process. 7 German ARPs are used to return all air units to the map and the RSI NRP is converted to mines. 4 rail cap are added to the Italian net, making it 46 (no sense in letting all those Resource Points sit in the bank). The Allies put down relatively few harassment hits.

Luftwaffe night bombers get a hit on the port at 17/4417 (La Nouvelle).German defenses are pulled back on Nice and the adjusted slightly in Italy.

The line in France is shortened by pulling back a hex here and there, most notably along the Seine south of Paris. Some hexes are now held by solitary German Infantry divisions with no river to assist their defense. Swordfish catch a German NT laying mines off the Danish coast, but are aborted by flak. Several other attempts are made to find the German by Coastal Command, but all fail to make contact. SS and Wehrmacht Panzer XXX roll up to the Loire line adjacent to British, US and Canadian held hexes. Allies fly copious DAS over those hexes, but the Luftwaffe does not attempt to interfere with ground combat, instead laying several mines in both the Adriatic and North Sea. The Nazis attack a hex held by US ants. Because of the intervening river AF is down to 71.5 vs 8 DF and their flak aborts 3 and returns 1 air units, leaving 2 to provide DAS. The attack goes in at 71.5:12 or 5:1 -1 (full AECA and ATEC), roll is a 1 for an EX. SS PzGren XX 10F is cadred and 8 DF of US ants go to the eliminated pool.

V-1’s score 2 hits on London, their first in the game.

Player-turn losses: US 8 DF, Germany 8, all unisolated.

Allied Player-Turn

French MRs 3, 14 and Paris are liberated. French 19th Static XX comes full and Italian Nembo Para-Inf XX is bought out of eliminated pool. US Spends 10.5 Inf, 6.5 Arm and 9 ARPs, the British spend 2 ARPs. A US Mot Hvy AA converts to 3-RE transport counter. Allies QC 1 airbase and 1 fort. Strat air roll is a 4 – no change, and no strat air is called up by either side.

Allied European rail Cap goes to 24.Seeing no profit in waiting to build up to attack Nice, the British admin move 3 Arm, 1 Inf and 1 Art XX, along with ants, up the Rhone River valley.

There is a steady droning of transports delivering non-divisional units from the MTO to S. France. The Hamilcar glider unit is once again eliminated while delivering a Port Construction X to Marseilles. August I brings a significant buildup of Allied strength along the upper Rhone – gone are the 8 point stacks of ants and most hexes are held by 2 divisions plus enough ants to give some ATEC/AECD.

A major air battle erupts over 17/2802 as USAAF P-47’s intercept Luftwaffe DAS and escorts. One P-47 is aborted, 2 Ju-88’s and a He-111 are killed.

ETO Combat: 17/1004 at 5:1 +3, a 5-7-6 XX is DE (cadred), US advances. 17/1304 at 5:1 -1 a 5-7-6 XX is retreated from Bocage, US advances 20 DF into the Bocage.

17/1504 at 5:1 -1 retreats 11th Pz XX, no Allied advance. 17/1904 at 5:1 +3 a 5-7-6 XX is DE (cadred). No advance by the French/Polish Armored divisions.

17/2802 at 7:1 -2 results in a DH and the cadre of SS PzGren XX 10 F is eliminated and a PzGren X is retreated. No advance by US. 16/3132 at 7:1 +2 a DE cadres a 4-6-6 and kills an SS Tiger Bn. British must withdraw to avoid triggering the Westwall emergency, so cadre lives.

MTO Combat:

26/1524 82 Br/Fr/Can/NZ/Indian/Pol AF supported by 9 GS (AA missed all 4 units)attack 21 DF. AECA balances out terrain for a 4:1 even up attack with a DH result. Germans cadre 4th Para XX and kill a 1-2-4 Fortress Rgt. The British advance to ZOC out the adjacent 4-6-6 Inf XX.

26/1523 Br/Fr Mountain troops attack at 6:1 -1 and DH the above mentioned 4-6-6, cadre is killed by ZOCs.

26/1626 Two British Corps attack across the Tevere river west of Rome. Engineers cancel out the Fort DRM and a 4 is rolled in this 5:1 attack for a DH which cadres one of the two defending German Inf XX. 29 British DF advance.

26/1420 A German 5-8 Jaeger XX is DRed by US forces at 5:1 -2. 26/1421 14 DF of German Infantry is attacked at 4:1 -2 under a hail of bombs (32 GS halved for terrain). The attack is a bust – AR.After having sat on the ground throughout movement and combat phases to guard against Luftwaffe incursions Allied fighters go on an airbase bombing rampage. Allied bombers visit rail yards in Leipzig, Magdeburg and on both sides of the Rhine.

Player-turn losses: Germany 39, all unisolated

Comments

The loss of German DF (47 this turn) is starting to affect the Germans, and many Infantry cadres are unable to get back to a city where they can be rebuilt. Germany still has plenty of Arm RPs, but is feeling a shortage if Infantry replacements. The Allies’ decision to leave the Axis in possession of Nice released significant forces that were easily moved into place in 1 turn. I expect the Allies will stop hiding behind the Rhone River and advance to trigger the Westwall Emergency next turn. This will open up opportunities for German c/m to inflict British/Canadian/Polish casualties. The Axis in Italy are a constant drain on replacements, but can not break free for a clean retreat to their next line. They need bad weather DRMs to hold that line anyway, so must suffer and trade blood for time.

 

Sep 43 I

Axis Player Turn

Calm seas and clear weather.

The Axis call up their strat air and place it in France. Heavy air raids on Yeu KO the port (5 hits) and damage the airbase (1 hit). Air-to-air combat favors the Axis slightly. Weak AA (3 points) at Yeu is not effective. Engineers were unable to clear the rail lines leading from Italy into France, but did manage to clear the line up the east coast. This allowed several German ants to strat-rail into France, though not to the threatened part of the Biscay coastline. Axis reinforcements placed at Nantes and St Nazaire moved to put up blocking position opposite the Yeu ferry. The Allies rolled good dice to return two Fw190 attack units which should’ve sunk the ferry, then the Axis rolled poorly and failed to make contact with a group of heavily escorted bombers coming from Bordeaux. With the port closed and only a single 8-8 Inf XX and 2-3-8 Engr the 15 DF opposite the ferry site should be a significant deterrent to a British led crossing. On Sardinia the 12-10 PzGren (reinforcement) is place in Bastia and moves to help block the Allied bridgehead.

Allied Player Turn

Significantly, the Allies do not declare the Yeu LC as a ferry. With 15 LC sitting in the ETO the Germans don’t feel inclined to save Strat Air call-ups placing it in France once again. For the first time in several turns the Allies don’t call up any strat air. Axis and Allied air forces spar over the Biscay region, with few losses. The main event is a couple of unsuccessful attempts by Axis fighters to place harassment hits on Yeu (to hinder port repairs). Axis fighters again inflict more than losses than they take, and fewer Allied planes can make rail/airbase attacks in the Biscay. Rail from the Ruhr to Normandy takes a pounding from the increasing number of Allied air units in England. Allied forces advance to make contact on the toe and attack two hexes in Italy, killing a 4-7 Mtn XX, 2-3-2 Coastal XX, 1-3-6 LAA X and a 1-6 Penal II. Since the Germans get to replace one Penal unit per turn for free the Allies expect to see that unit a lot over the next few turns. An undamaged Crotone falls during the Allied advance.

Forward airbases now put the Italian heel within Spitfire range, but with only 5 LC in the Med there isn’t much of a threat. A well-escorted tactical bombing raid on Roma is answered by a hail of flak, but no fighters rise to defend the sky. The Allies net a single rail and airbase hit, with several aborts and returns. On Corsica the Allied air is oppressively strong. German Fw190 attack aircraft attempt to provide DAS to the 12-10 PzGren division, and manage to get one air unit past Allied fighters only to have it returned by AA fire. The Allies don’t attack the Panzer Grenadiers, going instead for a high odds +1 DRM attack on a mixed stack of German-Italian Infantry in 27/1104. They figure stretching the line will eventually force the Axis to give ground or pre sent weaker targets. More Allied units exploit from Sardinia to Corsica using the ferry.

 

August II 44

Weather is clear everywhere. Atlantic is rough, other sea zones are calm.

Axis Player-Turn

All units are in supply. Replacement activities result in a net gain of 30 DF. The rest of the France garrison is activated (2 Regts). Germany spends 18 Inf, 7 Arm to rebuild cadres and 10 F SS PzGren XX for a net gain of 32 DF. 11 Luftwaffe and 1 RSI ARP are spent to return all but 1x He111 to the map (22 German ARPs remain). Luftwaffe fighters intercept Allied harassment over Mulhouse and kill a B-26B, P-47’s abort a FW 190. A second mission to the same hex drew no challengers. No Strat Air is called up.

One V-1 hit on London, total of 3 so far. In France the Germans adjust their lines and get set for a major Allied offensive. There are no profitable attacks, so none are launched. A NODL with several front line hexes held by single Panzer XX runs from the 19XX hex row north to the coast at Le Treport. From 18XX south 7 front line hexes are held by c/m and a second line of 6 non-c/m stacks is 1-2 hexes behind the first. Once again the rail lines across the Rhine are cleared for traffic. So far only a handful of forts have been constructed in Belgium and German annexed France, the engineers have been tied up repairing rail lines.

North of Roma the German line retreats from exposed positions, but for the most part remains in contact with the Allies. Two PzGren divisions move south from coastal watch in Northern Italy, one to the front, the other opposite Elba. Engineers that aren’t engaged in fort building repair rail and airbase hits.

Player-turn losses: none.

Allied Player-Turn

Rail cap in France and Italy are each increased by 2. La Havre rebuild is completed, Marseilles and Toulon rebuilds begin. Three permanent airbases are quick constructed near the front in France. Strat Air roll is a 4 – no change. Germany calls up her strat air force. Several C-47s replace fighters in garrisons, these fighters are due to be replaced next turn by newer models.

The Allies conduct the expected major offensives in Italy and France. A British attack against 16th SS PzGren XX at 26/1526 at 6:1 -1 is a DH cadring the division and ZOCing out the adjacent hex. At 26/1525 a 5-7-6 Inf XX is DE at 5:1 +2. An Me109G6 was shot down over 26/1422 trying to provide DAS. 25 TBF of GS (halved) makes for a 6:1 -2 attack resulting in an EX cadring a 4-6-6 and eliminating a British 6-4-10 Tank X. Brits advance to ZOC out the 15 point stack n 26/1421. Allied aircraft deliver enough GS to bring the attack at 26/1421 up to 4:1 -2, and roll a 6 for a DR, reducing two 5-7-6 Inf XX to cadres. The US 88th Inf XX and Japanese-American 442nd RCT advance, along with armor and artillery. MTO losses 27 German DF, 4 British.

Despite Allied airbase bombing which took out or drew up several LW fighters the Germans fly a major DAS mission (3 air units) with heavy escort (4 fighters) and CAP (2 fighters) over the LW ground division in 16/3132. The reasoning being that if this hex is held the adjacent c/m stack will have a place to retreat. Allied CAP and interceptors (7x P-47D25) have a turkey shoot. Two escorts aborted, two shot down, 1 ground attack returned, and 2 bombers shot down, for one Allies fighter aborted. A second DAS mission over 21st Pz XX at 17/1203 by Me109G6’s with a G10 escort is met by the best fighters the RAF has. Meteors score their first air-to-air victory, aborting a G6. Spit 14’s and Tempest 5’s abort the other Me109’s with no RAF losses.

ETO Combat: 16/3132 at 4:1 +2 a DR ZOCs out 3133.

16/3133 at 7:1 -2 another DR cadres 10 F SS PzGren XX due to ZOCs.

17/2602 at 6:1 -2 results in a third DR by Commonwealth forces, retreating 15th PzGren XX and a flak Bn.

17/1904 sees US/French make a 5:1 +3 rolling a 1 for DH cadre a 5-7-6 Inf XX.

17/1203 at 5:1 -1 is an EX. 21 Pz XX, US 83 and 90 Inf XX are cadred.

17/1003 with the aid of 17 GS US makes a 4:1 and a HX vs 14 DF. Two German Inf XX cadred, US Engr and Arty X eliminated. The minor port of Le Treport is taken intact.

17/1104 at 4:1 -1 is a DR, retreating 9th Pz XX and a flak Rgt. One A-20C is aborted, some other air units returned. Germans are ejected from the last hex of MR3.

17/1403 at 4:1 +3 a 1 is rolled for another DR. Nazi dice! A 4-6-6- retreats to safety, no US advance.

17/2202 Two SS PzGren X defend a woods hex. Flak aborts two US GS air units to hold odds at 7:1 -2. A 5 is rolled for a DE.

Theater losses 42 German DF, 16 US DF.

Allies overrun the 10 F PzGren cadre and end with an almost straight North-South line from Le Treport to the Swiss border, US to the north, Commonwealth in the south. Most hexes are held by 20-25 DF, each with some ATEC, many with full ATEC if taking into account the arrival of Allied Infantry AT weapons on Sep I 44. When German Strat Air is returned 5 ARPs are paid and 6 non-Strat Air fighters are withdrawn to cover losses.

Player-turn losses: Germany 69 DF, all unisolated; US 16 DF, British 4 DF.

Comments

Germans are suffering from several turns of cumulative attrition, and the front will get longer now that the Allies have reached the bend in the Channel Coast at Le Treport. Infantry RPs are running low, and the Luftwaffe is about to withdraw large numbers of aircraft from the Tactical Order of Battle. The Luftwaffe strategic air call-up had only minor effects on the ground war, However, bad weather is only a few turns away, and the Allies are still forcing only a slow advance. The French capital will be moved to Paris, making a third Allied contingent. The very manageable Commonwealth losses come at a cost in flexibility. The long wait behind the upper Rhone is over, and we may see the Germans picking out their favorite Canadian, Polish and French targets.

 

Sep 43 II

Axis Player Turn

Calm seas and clear weather, again

The Axis use every available night capable bomber and attack unit to strat-bomb the port at Yeu, managing to KO the port again. One Do217 was lost to a NF and a couple of air units were returned or aborted by the heavy flak (US 3-10 Mot Hvy AA III and 2 points of AA from the airfield). The Allies will be U-1, but have enough supply for their engineers. Scorched earth continues in Italy with a slow retreat to the 34XX hex row.

On Corsica the Axis elect to defend on a 2 hex front – 27/1003 and 27/1103. Engineers clear more rail in Italy and along the French Med coast, but movement between Italy and France still must go by strat rail via Germany. The ants shipped to France last turn move into place near Yeu and around Bordeaux. It is too risky to remove any forces from the Channel coast to cover Normandy, Brittany or the Biscay. Since there is no LC ferry at Yeu the large stack in 17/1721 is reduced to a single 12-10 PzGren division. Small Axis air forces stand by to resist any Allied invasion along the Biscay coast, but the bulk remain in Italy and Southern France. An invasion of France is still considered unlikely due mostly to the paltry Allied air forces in the theater.

Allied Player Turn.

Allied engineers clear 3 hits from Yeu, and a US 0-1-8 Construction Regiment is shipped in. The Allies call up both MTO and the RAF ETO strat air forces. Germany calls up her strat air and places most in France. A lack of bases in the Biscay means that several fighters are stationed in Paris and central France. Most of last turn’s heavy Allied air losses are repaired in the ETO. The Allies take advantage of their 12-cap airbase on Belle to stage fighters there and then conduct a series of airbase attacks. After a couple of lucky Allied air-to-air rolls the Luftwaffe stops contesting the fighter sweeps (one lucky A-36 shot down a Fw-190A2and lived to tell about it). The Allies then went after bombers and attack units, in the process worsening the Axis basing situation. Allied bombers in England studiously avoided the heavy concentration of fighters in Paris to cut rail links between Germany and France. Strat air forces took care of Paris and several other rail depots.

In the MTO allied aircraft took out two anti-ship units stationed at Marseille, but did minimal damage to the rail links between Italy and France. Allied ground forces took two hexes in Corsica, eliminating the 5-8 SS Pz Gren X and reducing the 12-10 PzGren XX. On the mainland they took both coastal hexes of the 34XX hex row but avoided attacking large stacks of German c/m in bad terrain. Another US TF and LC moved from the MTO to ETO, setting up for possible ferry operations at Yeu on Oct I. With the reinforcements to the ETO there are now 3 division equivalents of airborne, 16 LC, 4 TF and 42 air units in England or the Biscay islands. Seven more REs of Italians died, bringing the total to 41. The Axis should have no real trouble holding the count below 50 REs until Oct II, meaning a surrender roll is likely Nov I 43. 2 German air units are in the eliminated box; 7 German, 2 Italian and 3 US air units are in the aborted boxes. The Allies have not taken any ground or naval losses.

Commentary

Victory point count: The first count results in a +8 for controlling Sicily and Corsica. The slow but steady Allied strategy and the Axis accountant gambit both seem to be functioning. Knowing the victory point table rewards a cautious Allied player is some compensation for not getting to try what I know to be workable operations that would speed up progress, but the coast of France sure looks inviting. Having banked 3 months worth of NRPs and Infantry replacements may make some risk taking more likely, but time runs short n the weather calendar.

 

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