Axis Player Turn
Weather roll = 4, zone D Frost, zones C & E Mud. Seas: Atlantic storming, Med calm.
Germans feel short along their front and attempt ot activate the 362nd Inf XX early – they get the cadre and rebuild to XX at Pescara near the eastern edge of their line in Italy. The Allies fly 11 harassment hits to slow down German movement, Germans abate 1 point. German forces fully man the fortified line and place what they believe to be sufficient forces in their second line to avoid losing any ground during exploit. German troops are stretched thin everywhere, coastal defenders and occupation forces both had to give up some units for the front. Another Panzer XX is diverted from the West to South. The rail nets are a total mess, troops arriving from Germany can’t make it to the front.
Allied Player Turn
Axis occupation forces are 6 REs short in Italy – however the Alies will not make any additional attacks due to the Guru’s clarification of the occupation rule. Partisans score 1 rail hit in Italy. The Allies increase their mainland Italy rail cap by 4 (now 8). Axis mines are swept from the ports of Napoli and Salerno. Both sides call up their strategic air forces. US Port Construction Engineers get to work repairing Taranto while others are shipped into Napoli.
Four Allied TF sail into the westernmost hex of the German line, taking 1 hit from CD for their trouble (the first hit to any Allied naval unit). Herr Goering takes offense and sends his Luftwaffe after the Allied armada and a furious air combat takes place. A large group of 3 bombers with three escorts heads in from Firenze and manages to make contact (rolls a 6). No hits are scored and a He177 is shot down while a Ju88 torpedo bomber is aborted. The Allies fly more CAP just in time to see a group from Bologna fail their contact roll. A third group from La Spezia succeeds in making contact and eluding Allied fighters, dodges the heavy flak and plants a hit on a 16 point RN TF. A final group from Genova fails to make contact.
In a 6:1 (-1) attack supported by 54 points of NGS the Allies roll a 6 (DE) to cadre 15th PzGren and kill two LW Mot AA Regts. The allies roll another 6 in a 5:1 (-3) attack two hexes away at 26:2220 and get a DR. 1st Fallshirmjaeger XX in hex 2221 feels a little lonely. Meanwhile in the ETO the Bomber Command and 8th US Air Force are having a hard time finding rail yards that haven’t been destroyed. Several attacks are sent against the Ruhr for lack of targets in France and the Low Countries. LR Allied fighters escort packs of B-25’s and B-26’s to close down the only remaining rail link across the Rhine. Frost weather slows down rail repairs, but has no effect on bombing – isn’t it great. The Italian 3-pt TF in Britain sallies forth into the channel mine belt and immediately takes two hits. It finishes sweeping one hex and retreats back to an off-map port to be repaired. That’s a total of 4 hits to TF this turn, and luckily for the Allies those are the only hits so far in the game.
Ground losses: 1x 13-10 PzGren XX cadred, 2x 2-10 Mot AA killed. Air losses: 2 German units killed, 7 aborted; 4 US and 4 British units aborted.
Had the Germans pulled back to their final defensive line (Gustav Line) the Frost weather probably would’ve allowed the Allies to force their way into that line. The Germans will undoubtedly have trouble infiltrating the 9-8* Fallshirmjaeger XX back to the Gustav line, but it will be able to move adjacent to that line and can not be cut off. The Allies have managed to get most of their major units off Corsica/Sardinia and onto mainland Italy (most all the way to the front) or back to the ETO, but suffer from a shortage of both forward airfields and forward engineers. There are slightly over 100 rail hits in Axis controlled areas and nowhere is there a cleared line between France, Italy or Germany. Germany has started to expend Resource Points on building rail cap, but she may not have any rails to use by May 1944. Does GRD sell sheets of hit markers?