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Europa Games and Military History

Tag: SOS (page 1 of 2)

Allied Surprise Turn

Somewhere high above the Arctic Circle

German troops patrol in the cold northern regions, defending the northern Finnish front against their bitter enemies, the Soviet Red Army. For the troops of the Wehrmacht posted to this region, things have been quiet for several weeks, as the Red Army continues to suffer the mighty hammer blows thousands of miles to the south where German troops and the European Anti-Bolshevik Crusade has swept into the Caucasus oilfields. In some place called Stalingrad, the Red Army is being bled to death while far away in the burning desert sands of North Africa, the ever victorious forces of Erwin Rommel supported by the Italians have launched their final drive to Cairo and the Suez Canal, fighting bitterly to crush the British line outside Alamein. In the Pacific, the Japanese continue to destroy the Americans, from all reports winning massive victories in the Southern Pacific tropical island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons and destroying the last of the Australians in Papua New Guinea.

To the Germans, the end of the war is in sight. With the end of the war so close, the German soldiers outside Petsamo look forward to Garrison postings in warm New Guinea once Germany has reclaimed former colonies and her place in the sun, far away from the cold, cold Arctic Circle.

The musings of the German forces are shattered by the sound of primary mortar fire and the whine of incoming artillery. The Mountain Troops and Bicycle companies are caught by a surprise Russian attack. Bitter fighting breaks out as Red Army Guards threaten to overrun the dug in positions of the Germans, supported by ghost like ski troops who sweep into the lines during the short night hours to create havoc in the rear areas. Gradually a fighting withdrawal is made by the Germans, but they leave behind many of their Kameraden, while the battered Red Army units occupy the tortured broken ground and mourn in their own way the loss of so many fine sons of the Rodina.
(Russians attack entrenched Mtn XX and Bike battalion for EX result)

As German Mountain troops fall back , they are forced to scatter into cover at the sound of airplanes flying overhead. Peering upwards they are amazed to see the red and blue roundels of the RAF overhead, flying from Russian bases and heading past the front lines. Where could they be going? wonder the Germans. Petsamo airbase? Kirkenes?

15,000 feet above sea level in the Norwegian mountains

Pilots of the RAF and RAAF Hampden bombers scan the horizon searching for enemy fighters. Behind them, flying in loose formations, are Whirlwind fighters flying with drop tanks to squeeze every extra mile of range from their planes. For several days they have been stationed in Russia, preparing for their current mission – striking the Luftwaffe anti-shipping forces at Bardufoss Airbase. Crossing the final crest of mountains, the navigators call through the final course adjustments to their skippers. Surprise is total as on the field far below, the lined up Junkers and Heinkel planes are inviting targets. “Tally ho” is the call as the Whirlwind pilots peel off to strafe the airfield. As they do so, the black puffs of AA begin to sprout as if by magic in the air. The AA ground crews are not accurate, but do enough to scare the Whirlwinds who abort their attack runs. With insufficient fuel to line up for another attack run, they return to their Russian airfields. The Hampden bombers curse at the fleeing fighter pilots as they rain their small bombloads onto the airfields. Damage is minimal due to the 1/3 payloads that had to be carried for the mission range, and the Luftwaffe alerts units up and down the Norwegian coast that something is afoot…..
(Extended range air base raid by Hampdens and Whirlwinds, AA Rtn to Base the Whirlwind and the Hampden have only 1/3 strength point to bomb the airbase.)

In Narvik, the Kreigsmarine is ordered to increase pressure in the boilers and improve aerial observation deception measures.

Trondheim Airfield

Local Luftwaffe staff are concerned by increased local population movements in the immediate area. Young Norwegian men are taking advantage of the fine Autumn weather to go hiking in large numbers in the woods and hills around the airbase. Despite the presence of the 196th XX and 280 Fortress XX in Trondheim City, the airfield itself is relatively undefended. Concentrating on the local population, the air base commander is caught off guard by the sudden appearance overhead of RAF Beaufighter 6C’s and Sunderland bombers who release bombs and strafe the parked up Junker 88 bombers. Severe damage is inflicted on one wing, aborting it from immediate flight operations. Scattered and light AA from the base defences fails to have any impact on the RAF who, waggling their wings in victory, return to their island stronghold in the Orkneys.
(Airbase raid at Trondheim , Abort JU 88. In intial phase, Norway’s Guerrillas turn active side up around Namsos and Trondheim , scaring the bejesus out of the German player who then has a long arguement with the Allied player about when they could move – before or after naval movement. Looking at the master sequence it was decided to be after naval movement, thereby forcing the Allied TFs and Transports to face the intact CDs)

Early morning in Scotland

The Royal Navy casts off from its moorings at Scapa Flow and sets out north into the flat grey ocean. All over the north of the British Isles various heavy Task Forces leave their ports to link up and form powerful naval bastions. The job of these ships is to shield the transports and landing craft of the Allied ground forces of Operation Jupiter. Reports have already come in of the air field attacks and the news is not as good as some TF commanders had hoped for. The knowledge that the powerful LW air fleet in Stavanger had not been touched was of serious concern, and this had prompted the naval units to sail north to extend the range of most of the land based bombers. Overhead in the morning skies, air units of the US Navy and Fleet Air Arm flew air patrols, vigilant for the glint of incoming air units and for the white wake of a U-Boat periscope.

From Stavanger, LW crews hastily prepare their machines for combat. Reports from long range air patrols have sighted allied naval units steaming north. The crews, old hands at often boring Naval Patrols in the area, quickly reach their cruising altitude and begin systematic searching of the sea lanes. The torpedo carrying Ju 88 returns to base disgusted at its inability to locate the reported enemy, but their comrades in two Ju 88 anti shipping wings are stunned when, through a break in the clouds, they spot the massive allied armada.

A dogfight erupts as the fighter craft of the FAA attempts to intercept the German bombers. Seafire 2C’s are handled roughly by the German gunners and they are forced to land their craft back on the deck of the carriers they are protecting. Sea Hurricanes are likewise unable to affect the dogged LW crews as they press onwards towards the seemingly helpless allied ships. A wall of AA is thrown up around the TFs and the JU 88 pilots try every manoeuvre they know to try and position themselves for their bomb runs. With aircraft being torn apart by the steel umbrella, the LW calls off the remaining bombers, but both wings that tried to attack the TFs are only a remnant and will require considerable time before being combat capable again
(Ju 88s from Stavanger locate and attack Allied convoy. Carrier based planes fail to hit, AA fire stops them dead – both aborted.)

Off the coast of Trondheim – dawn

Coastal defence personnel scan the horizon through powerful Zeiss binoculars. Reports have been received warning of a large allied convoy heading north – possibly a massive resupply effort for the beleaguered Bolsheviks at Murmansk – but no chances are to be taken. At the mouth of the Trondheim Fjord the powerful gun batteries overlook the only passage through to Trondheim . In the misty dawn, as another clear day breaks, gun position personnel are shocked to see the sleek grey shapes of allied destroyers and battle cruisers heading towards them. The western coastal defences of Trondheim fjord are quickly overwhelmed by the massive allied fleet, silencing them from participating in future combats for the next few days until repair works can be conducted. At the eastern peninsular, the CD commander has more assets under his command and is confident that he can inflict serious losses on the Allies. Heavy fire is exchanged, with one US Navy capital ship wheeling out of the battleline throwing smoke and fire into the sky as its crew fights desperately to keep afloat. RN and remaining USN ships succeed in suppressing the CD and allowing safe passage for the follow on Transports carrying the vital ground troops. A sudden sortie by He 115C aircraft from Trondheim airfield takes one quick look at the AA defences around the TFs and scurries back to base.
(Allied TF enter fjord, AA sees off He115C and take on the CDs suffering one hit to a Hvy TF for the suppression of both CDs)

Trondheim – early morning

German infantry of the 196 XX and 280 Fort XX have now had ample warning to prepare beach defences. Machine guns and artillery are test fired, ranging accurately onto the beaches that are expected to receive allied infantry. Anxious unit commanders scan the sky looking for air support, assured by Regional command in Oslo that the finest and fastest of the LW fighters are coming to keep allied air power suppressed.

In the calm waters off Trondheim itself, the deadly warships of the combined allied fleet begin to swing their heavy guns onto the shoreline. Seeing the massive calibre and amount of allied gunfire support, the German infantry suddenly don’t feel as confident as they did…….
(Prepare for NGS by Allied TFs)

Otter Island – several hours earlier

In the pre-dawn period, silent figures quietly crawl ashore underneath the looming gun batteries facing out to sea. These guns defend the approaches to Namsos, defended by a regiment of the 69 XX. The silent figures are commandoes of Norforce. Earlier they had slipped over the edge of the light cruisers who had carried them into their assault craft. Their mission was to silence those guns to allow the 49 XX to assault the port of Namsos. As they form up beneath the guns, a nervous commando slips, his tommy gun falling noisily across the rocks. Alert German sentries sound the alarm, and flares light up the sky, illuminating the commandoes caught in the open. The subsequent fight is short and bloody, as Layforce is virtually wiped out, the dazed survivors rounded up by gleeful German soldiers. This glee is short lived as the Allied TFs open a massive bombardment on the CD, preventing it from firing onto the Landing Craft carrying the 49 XX to its date with destiny. The dour Englishmen’s landing craft cut through the water scattered with the floating bodies of the men of Norforce.
(Coastal raid fails F* rolled. TFs suppress CD anyway)

Mosjoen

CD units around Mosjoen have been fully alerted to the possibility of Allied landing in the area and are not surprised when they see ships of the US Navy come over the horizon. The guns are dug in deep and well camouflaged. USN bombardment is largely ineffective, but the Allied TF commander is confused. No answering shots were received from the German CD and it is impossible to judge the damage to the guns. A decision is made to send the Transports and Landing Craft onto Mosjoen. As these ships approach, the gun batteries open up, smashing into the Transports carrying the Timforce Commando Brigade. The unit is lost before it can reach the shore. The American infantry and engineers are thankful that they are spared the effects of the devastating bombardment.
(US TF fails to hit CD protecting Mosjoen which saves fire for the transports and sinks Timforce)

Trondheim

Commandoes from Layforce launch a surprise assault on the fortifications in the city. These troops had come ashore under the cover of smoke provided by light cruisers who carried them into position. The German defenders had presumed the cruiser antics were a feint and nothing more. Caught by surprise, half the guns are overwhelmed and blown up by Layforce who, occupying support positions, help to cover the landing craft assault of the Canadian 3rd Division and the Royal Marine Brigades. The 3rd Cdn has broken into three supported brigades, 3/3 lands to the east of Trondheim , aiming to secure the airfield. The landing is nearly a disaster and the Canadians land confused and intermingled on the shore. The disrupted troops of the 3/3 attempt to advance to the airfield, but are held up by LW support personnel, and intermingled confused fighting occurs, but the Luftwaffe continue possession of the airfield.
(Coastal raid on Trondheim fort succeeds, landing at airfield disrupted)

Back in Trondheim itself, the 2/3 Canadians also lands poorly, and contribute little to the attack as does the 103 Royal Marines. German defences appear too strong for those Marines, Commandoes and Canadians who attempt to push into the streets of the port, only to gradually through the morning find themselves cut off in small groups, unable to communicate or coordinate between the broken formations. The German Trondheim commander seems to think the allies will be surrendering by lunchtime, especially when he hears the rumble of aircraft engines overhead – the Luftwaffe have arrived! He runs outside his HQ, only to receive the full impact of a spread of bombs dropped by the Albacores of the FAA. US and British Carrier aircraft are thrown into the attack, just as the heavy naval guns of the combined fleet open up – tearing the city apart and demoralising the German defenders, who over the course of the next few hours, then days, abandon the city and port facilities to the Allies and begin construction of new defences behind the river east of the city.
(3:1 attack by allied landing forces, -1 die modifier for fort gets DR)

Namsos – main landings

The LCs lunge ashore at Namsos, disgorging the soldiers of the 49th and engineers of the 10th Brigade. The Engineers and the 1/49 and 2/49 are badly disrupted, with the 3/49 in little better condition. With naval gunfire support however, the 49XX is able to destroy the regiment of the 69XX defending the town, but only after heavy losses amongst soldiers of 3/49.
(2:1 results in an EX)

Mosjoen – main landings

US Troopers of the 1/34 XX and engineers storm ashore against the lone regiment of the 69XX. With heavy naval gunfire support, the Germans are easily destroyed and the first US ground combat in Europe since WW1 is deemed a success.
(8:1 results in DE roll)

Throughout Norway

Across the scratchy airways, the BBC international service begins its weekly Norwegian broadcast, beginning with a special section on messages from family members living in Britain to their kin in occupied Norway. The messages, secret mobilisation codes, activate a series of Guerillas around Trondheim and Namsos. These lightly armed highly mobile units quickly form around SOE agents dropped several weeks before for these missions. The Guerillas outside Trondheim overrun the Coastal Defence network, freeing up the straits for Allied naval units to move freely to Trondheim . At Trondheim Airfield, the Canadians, in danger of defeat from a handful of clerks and aircraft mechanics, are rescued by Norwegian Guerillas who swoop from behind, overrunning the He115C bombers and positional AA and occupying the airbase for the allies. At Otter Island, the survivors of Norforce are rescued when Guerillas capture the island.
(Norwegian Guerrillas go on a kill fest on the CDs at the entrances to the major fjords, occupying them in their active mode)

Following these actions, the majority of waterways are judged to be generally free of shore based defences, allowing the allies to pour ashore their floating reserves. The Canadian Artillery X and 3 Arty XX are landed at Trondheim, the 1 Cdn XX lands at Namsos, the 52 Mtn XX and 1st Cdn Engineers come ashore at the beaches on Trondheim airfield while the Norwegian Mtn Battalion, Cdn HvyAA, US Tank Battalion and 2/34XX land at Mosjoen. The USAAF A20C flies into Trondheim field while the carriers, transports and some heavy naval task forces return to Scotland.

HQ German Commander in Chief – Norway

An alert is sounded throughout Norway and garrison forces are placed into operational readiness. These, and other German units are railed or marched as quickly as possible towards the allied bridgeheads. Around Narvik, KM LCs are readied to receive German soldiers marching from Bardufoss in preparation to help destroy the small US bridgehead. The Germans have few strong units in the area, many are spread out to defend the various ports and towns that dot the long coastline and no reinforcements seem likely from the Fatherland.
(Garrison troops called out)

East of Trondheim

The troops of the 280 Fort XX are ordered to the rear of the main line. Reports from rear units indicate a heavy concentration of Norwegian Guerrilla forces to the north of the new defence line being formed. Over a period of several days, the lightly armed Guerrillas who had overrun the vital CDs were hunted down and destroyed by the Fortification troops turned Jaegers. This movement, although destroying the small threat of lightly armed units in their rear, left the 196 XX by itself. The Divisional commanded pleaded for the 280th to remain attached to them, but the ruthless German High Command dictated otherwise, leaving them to face the growing Allied threat, which they could easily see as more and more transports sailed up the fjord with men and machines for the coming fight.
(4:1, -1 results in DH)

Somewhere in the Baltic Sea…..

The Kreigsmarine Baltic Fleet sails through the Skaggerak in the dark of night. Four TFs led by the Scharnorst sail at top speed, the commander under instructions to intercept and destroy any and all Allied shipping in the North Sea. Expecting to liase with the Northern Fleet, the Germans are confident they can defeat the Allies in a stand up fight. As they begin to pass Stavanger, only recently upgraded to a coastal fort with super heavy guns and fortifications, a coded message is received via Rastenburg from Hitler. The fleet officers are amazed – they are ordered to shelter under the AA protection and fighter cover at Stavanger! Goering has convinced Hitler that the Luftwaffe can destroy the Allied Fleet with air power alone. Angry at this snub to them, they change course and head for port.
(German player chickens out at the last minute on plan to link the two German fleets up and runs into Stavanger instead which is upgraded to Port Fortification)

300 feet above Trondheim Fjord

With the hills and mountains towering above them, the low flying torpedo Ju 88 bombers jink left and right to avoid the flak that protects the Heavy TFs at their anchorage in Trondheim . For several minutes they have braved the worst that could be thrown at them by the British and American sailors, but as they begin their final approach and steady to release their lethal torpedos, they are easy targets for the Allies and the bombers are shot down in large numbers. The few torpedos that are released have no effect and the remnants of the LW force return home in shreds.

Above them, the anti-shipping bombers (Junkers and Heinkels) have flown from all over Norway to try and sink the Allied Fleet. Transferring through Hamar and Bodo, these bombers have converged on a Fleet with no fighter cover. After seeing their comrades in the torpedo run shot down in heavy numbers, the bomber crews swear revenge, and unleash a barrage of bombs on the ships far below. Two significant hits are made on the Royal Navy Heavy Task Forces, ships keeling over in the deep waters to sink swiftly with heavy loss of life. Despite this, the RN shrug off the losses which are minimal compared to the total strength available.
(Ju 88 (V) aborted by AA, 2 x Ju 88 (S) gets two hits on Hvy TFs. 6 VPs for the German player, yeeow!)

Whitehall

Bitter recriminations fly between the Admiralty and the Air Force over the lack of fighter cover in Trondheim . Several Admirals and Air Marshalls are sent to Ascension Island as punishment.

Petsamo

German forces in the area feel they have weathered the intial Russian attack, and ME 106s are sent to Bardufoss to help gain air superiority in Norway. Units are moved to ensure good strength across the line.

September II 1942

Orkney Islands

In the pre-dawn light, RAF ground crews prepare their charges for an attack on Stavanger. Agents in the port have broadcast that KM ships are present and a raid is determined as the best method of welcoming these newcomers to the fighting. With Beaufighters and Sunderlands escorted by P-51s, the RAF flys low and swiftly over the ocean. Outside of Stavanger they rise to attack height, faced by a wall of AA and the FW 190A2 fighters protecting the area. The FWs are too fast for the P-51s, and the Beaufighters are attacked. The British crews draw everything out of their heavy fighters, twisting in the air to avoid the superior German planes. The Germans fail to damage the incoming fighters and suffer enough casulties for them to concede the battle and return to their airfields for resupply. The Beaufighters are not so fortunate when they face the AA barrier and they are in turn forced to return to the Orkneys. The unwieldy Sunderlands, however, slip through the AA umbrella and coolly drop their payloads with great accuracy on the Scharnorst, hitting her amidships and reducing her fighting ability.
(P51 fails to hit the FW 190A2, which fails to hit the Bf 6C who in return fire sends the FW 190A2 back to base!! Port attack – 1 hit on the Scharnorst)

Namsos

Engineer units quickly construct a temporary airfield to allow air units to be stationed in the area. Soldiers swear blue murder when they are told they will remain in place to maintian it at operational readiness.
(No idea why this was done – it was never used through out the game. Kept a construction unit busy though)

Throughout Norway

Royal Marines and Commandos are pulled out of the front line and returned to Scotland, replaced by units transported across the North Sea. News of this event causes panic amongst the Germans who have to be wary of further landings in their rear.

Mosjoen

The US 34 XX forms at Mosjoen and pushes back the last surviving regiment of the 69 XX defending Moll Rana. Along side it, the Norwegian Mtn II overruns the the CD defending that sector of the coast.
(5:1, -2 results in DE)

Trondheim

The main battle erupts with the 15 Scottish XX, 2nd and 3rd Cdn XXs, massive artillery support and Naval Gunfire smashing the hapless 196 XX. The troops easily cross the river defence line – after crossing the North Sea, a piffling river is no obstacle the Allies. To the south of this battle, the 52 Mtn XX attcks into the mountains, their opponents the weak and poorly trained 702 Static XX. With air support from the Carrier groups who have returned to Trondhiem and USAAF air units at Trondhiem, the Germans are chased back over a dozen miles by the British mountaineers. This battle secures the bridgehead’s southern flank.
(9:1, -2 results in DE)

Somewhere in the North Sea

The German Northern Fleet slips undetected out of the Narvik Fjord, its mission to locate the Allied Carrier groups operating off the coast, believed to be somewhere off Trondhiem. For several days they search undetected, but fail to find their foes and return to Narvik frustrated
(Reaction movement by KM fails)

HQ German Commander in Chief – Norway

Orders are made up for returning to service some of the damaged Luftwaffe units to attempt to cut the Allied sea lines. Ju 88s are hurriedly repaired and crews reformed from the survivors of the previous two weeks.

Bodo

Troops of the 199 XX disembark at the port of Bodo from LCs from Narvik. Their role is to support the remnants of the 69 XX against the Americans futher to the south. The plan is to prepare defences in the mountains outside of Moll Rana, making it impossible for the Allies to advance further north and tie down troops while the mighty hammer blows of National Socialism destroy the Allied Bridgehead from the South. As the LCs return to Narvik, they receive reports from long range weather boats further out in the North sea of poor weather.

October I 1942

Norway is deluged by rain, churning the battlefields into muddy morasses. Troops are forced to painfully march through knee deep mud, made all the worse by the dropping temperatures. At sea, the rolling swells make many a soldier violently ill as they are carried across the North Sea.

Bergen

Some of these sea sick soldiers are the Commandos of Layforce, packed once again into damp, dark transports with their Royal Marine brethren. Despite the heaving dark seas, Allied High command has gambled on taking the Germans by surprise by forcing a landing in such bad conditions. The Kreigsmarine attempt to put to sea from Stavanger, but despite the relatively short distance, reduced visibility makes it impossible for the Germans to locate the Allied units who slip through to face the CDs defending the outer islands of Bergen. Again the rumble of heavy guns is heard as ships and CDs exchange fire. Again the CDs fail to inflict any significant damage while the Light cruiser units give gunfire support to the Commandos and RMs. Caught by surprise, the Bergen Fortress Brigade, obviously made up of 2nd rate personnel, is overwhelmed. Bergen is quickly invested by super fit commandos and marines running about with sharp knives scaring the Germans who flee in abject terror and disintegrate as a fighting force. The German Commander in Chief – Norway is extremely bitter. He is now faced with an open flank at Bergen and trying to justify to himself how a supported unit, relatively strong, could be defeated by an amphibious landing in such poor weather. The Battle of Bergen is celebrated widely throughout the British Press and the sea sick commandos and marines are justifiably proud of their achievements.
(CDs again suppressed by TF fire, DH result – actual odds not recorded)

Mosjoen Front

At Mosjoen, the American soldiers attack and destroy the last units of the 69 XX. The tired German troops surrender en masse to the overwhelming US numbers, but are confident they will be released once the 199 XX attacks the cocky Americans and overruns them. The Americans have an ace in their sleeve – a single tank battalion which speeds off through the foul muddy conditions to enter the mountains by itself. This relatively tiny unit milks every ounce of petrol from their machines to just halt on the northern side of the mountains. Effectively this has blocked any chance of the Germans gaining the high ground.
(4:1 -2 EX result. Tk Battalion exploits into mountains making any German attack on it to be at 2:1 -5 die roll. Ouch!)

South of Trondheim.

Within the deep canopy of forest south of Trondhiem and before the mountains rear up to the south, the survivors of the 196 XX desperately dig in to protect themselves from the Allies. Intermingled with the German infantry are the SS Police units of Norway, supported by the 109 Artillery Brigade and some Construction units. The SS Police have refused to dig deep. Arguements between Whermacht and SS have raged for several days on tactical positioning of units. The SS Police are unafraid of the Allies. The British are weak and the Canadians nothing more than a mongrel race of mixed French and English ancestry, mutated by years of early colonial interbreeding. How can these defeat the superior racial forces of the Fatherland? The answer is soon in coming as the combined might of two British and three Canadian divisions smash into the Germans with a mass of USAAF air support. The fighting is fierce and bloody, the 1st Canadian XX takes heavy losses, but not before the Germans are broken and destroyed. The surviving SS Policemen are hunted down by local Norwegian forces over several days in the dark forests. Few are ever heard of again.
(4:1 -2, EX result)

Oslo

Scrapping together wounded from rear hospitals and shaking out service units, cadres of the 69th and 196th divisions are formed and railed into the mountains to try and stem the bleeding that is occurring on this front. These weak units are joined by other forces pulled back from Forde, Alesund, Andalsnes and Kristiansund.

Narvik

In an effort to provide more troops for southern Norway, the 405 Static XX is ordered aboard LCs in the port for transportation south. The Northern Fleet, led by the Tirpitz, is assigned to escort the convoy on its journey south to link with the Baltic Fleet, still kicking its heels in Stavanger. Setting off into the rough seas, the convoy makes good distance without the Allies aware of its presence until a British Submarine spots them as they pass Bodo. The alarm is raised by the Admiralty. Carrier based aircraft attempt to locate the convoy as it approaches the Trondhiem area, but the pilots have a hard time staying airborne without the added worry of searching the seas. Two separate heavy Task Forces, USN and RN also fail to locate the Germans. It is late in the day when Cruiser Task Forces 1 and 3, about to return to base, spot off in the distance during a break in the rain the low silhouettes of the German destroyers and cruisers. The Royal Navy gives chase and C-3 engages the heavy ships based around the Tirpitz and Scheer while C-1 attempts to cut through to the LCs and their cargo. In the swirling weather, the Scheer shudders from a heavy blow to it from the accurate RN. In reply, a ship in C-3 is hit and sunk. The Tirpitz trains its guns on C-1 and catches a couple of the cruiser Task Force members and shells them into oblivion. As the terrible weather continues, the Royal Navy is unable to accurately target and cause any damage to the transports. The Germans attempt to open the gap in distance between them and disengage. The cruisers are unable to maintain contact and the battle is over. The 405 Static XX disembarks at Hegersund and allows the 191 XX to march towards Bergen to try and prevent the Allies expanding further, the pride of the Royal Navy is damaged and the 1st Sea Lord offers an apology in Parliament.

To add insult to injury, the sea conditions become calmer towards the middle of the month.
(Lots of reaction movement by Allies fail except for two lonely looking Cruiser TFs who valiently try to take on the most powerful units of the KM. 3 hits on the Allies, only one on the Germans)

October II 1942

Heavy Task Forces combine at Trondheim, determined to prevent the Kreigsmarine open passage of the sea again. Air cover has become scarce over the fleet but Allied Sea Captains rely upon their superior range and numbers to destroy the German Fleet at sea. With German units no longer positioned along the coast in the immediate fighting zones, the USN and RN are free to engage the enemy.

South of Trondheim

In continuing pouring rain, German soldiers of the 702 Static XX trudge wearily along mountain paths and roads, for the past couple of weeks they have been forced to retreat in the face of strong British attacks, especially the 52nd Mountain XX, who constantly outflank and out march the Germans. Reports from across the front indicate that the Germans units everywhere are trying desperately to mount some form of viable defence in the mountains of Norway. The Canadian and British advance is seemingly unstoppable with their superior artillery and air power. German soldiers can only scan the sky and wonder where the once vaunted Luftwaffe are.
(3:1 -2 DR result 52nd versus 702 Static)

Bergen

Royal Marines move as swiftly as they can to destroy the CDs defending Huftar Island and battery positions on Island 2816. Layforce Commandos march along the Bergen-Oslo rail line heading deeper into Norway, everywhere welcomed by the inhabitants of small Norwegian hamlets who come out to wave homemade Union Jacks. With no opposition, it seems an easy victory. Quickly following them is a US Task Force of brigade size, quickly landed at Bergen. This self supporting unit marches into the mountains to add strength to the commandos.

South of Bodo

Not so lucky are the American forces facing the 199 XX. An assault on the Germans is ordered by the US Corp commander, and the 29 and 34 XX, with artillery, tank and engineering support assault the German 199 XX. The confident Germans defend with all their resources. Mortar and machine gun fire takes a heavy toll on the young soldiers of the 34th, inflicting 50% casulties in some units. For several days the battle rages, but to the consternation of the Germans, the Americans show no sign of breaking off the fight. In the rear, the German Divisional commander tries to find more ammunition and supplies for his tired troops. Gradually communications are lost with his forward positions and the sound of battle edges closer to his dug out. Reports are recieved that American tank units are in some rear areas. Signals are sent to Oslo outlining the desperate situation, but no reply is received. In great sadness, the commander of the 199th faces the truth and orders his outnumbered and tired soldiers to lay down their arms. The superior strength and numbers of the Americans has won the day, but at a bitter cost to the men of the 34th. The US tanks are again thrust ahead of the main force following the battle on towards Bodo. The lead tank units halt and can see through their binoculars the airfield with the Luftwaffe bombers landing and taking off.
(EX result, odds not recorded, -1 modifier)

Oslo

Atop his podium outside the city hall, the Commander in Chief Norway takes the salute of the hastily formed 25th Panzer Division as it parades down Drammensvien towards Radhusgata Street. The sullen stares and jeers of the Oslo population are juxtaposed against the gaily coloured Swastikas that hang off every window and lightpole. A decision was made to risk the early call out of the unit while it was still in training. Although proudly titled a division, it is little more than a scratch built battlegroup based on nearly obsolecent tanks and young half trained youths. For the Germans though, this unit is their potential battle winner. The unit is mounted into the flatbed rail cars at Oslo station and sent up to the front.
(Not too sure if this was legitimate, calling up the 25 Pz Cadre from forming box. Rules didn’t say we could do this, but they didn’t say we couldn’t!)

Hardanger Jokulen Glacier

High in the mountains of the Keel of Norway, German soldiers from the 181 XX position themselves just south of the main transportation line running from Bergen. On their left is the majestic Glacier, worming its way through the mountains. With this securing their flank, the German commander is confident he has cut the US/British line of advance and halted them. Neither has sufficient strength to attack the other at this point in time and fighting is limited to small patrols battling for control of the various hair pin turns on the mountain roads and paths.

Mountains south of Trondheim

The German troops in this area continue to receive reinforcements, and the local commander attempts to position his units to maintain an even spread of strength across the front that widens every time the Allies advance.

Narvik

In the quiet port city, the arrival from the Eastern Front of the 236 XX cadre and the motorised ANS Battalion is greeted with relief by the local garrison. News of the disaster outside Bodo has been recieved and the panicked garrison had already made plans for a withdrawal into Sweden. The hard cases of the 236th and ANS are eager for a fight, especially against the new comer Americans. Using local garrison guides, they quickly set off by road for Bodo, but the mountains of Norway are not the steppes of Russia and the formation comander is angry at the lack of march speed and the daunting terrain he is confronted with.

Bodo

Under strict orders to fulfill Goering’s pledge to Hitler, the LW crews of He 116 H6s, H4s and BV138s take to the sky, the crew easily able to see the US tanks positioned to the south of the city. As they fly south, they fly over the marching US infantry, struggling to catch up with the tanks at Bodo. Mile after mile of trudging olive figures, their trucks buried up past the axle in sticky mud, their artillery bogged and useless and their engineers cursing and swearing as they try to help the advance. Although tempted to release their payloads onto the inviting targets, the bombers fly on to the greater prize to the south – the Allied fleet.

Off the Norwegian Coast

Sailors aboard the destroyer HMS Spotter are the first to see the waves of bombers flying overhead. Radio calls are made through to Trondheim field for air cover to be provided by the USAAF P-40Fs based ashore. The American pilots are swift in response and the He 116 H4s are chased from the skies back to Bodo. Fire Control officers aboard the capital ships of the fleet begin to coordinate the AA response. Again the courageous pilots try to hold their craft steady through the buffeting flak while their bomb aimers stare carefully through their bomb sites to the small toy like ships below. Bombs rain down on the squadrons below who zig zag furiously. This manouevering upsets the AA site layers and the AA has no effect. Two major ships are struck, a serious blow to the Allies. Luckily in the calm waters, most of the crews are rescued. Goering victoriously announces his Luftwaffe can do anything, for example supply by air an entire army trapped behind Russian lines if needed.
(Shore based interceptors RtB the Heinkel H4s but AA fails to stop the Germans getting two hits on the Allies – another 6 victory points)

November I 1942

In the Arctic circle, heavy snow falls, effectively closing down this front, not that any significant events had occurred here since October. Further south, the air is cold and crisp, with the muddy conditions becoming stable underfoot and allowing easy vehicle movement on the roads and tracks. At sea however, the conditions are attrocious, with wild North Sea storms lashing those ships unlucky enough to be caught at sea.

Bodo

At Bodo, the US commander sends his tanks north to block the straits crossing at 0914. Reports have been received from spotter aircraft of a large German battlegroup, some motorised units attached, are heading south at great speed, and the straits crossing is selected at the best place to hold them while Bodo is invested. Using Sunderland Flying Boats as tactical ground support, the American forces attack the 270 Fortress XX holding the port. This unit has long been prepared for this attack and numerous traps and minefields hamper the attacking American infantry who are forced to call off their attack, albeit with minor losses only. Planes continue to take off from Bodo Airfield causing anxious enquiries from Allied theatre command to the US Corp commander as to when he expects to take the city. “Soon” is the confident reply.
(2:1 -2, AS result)

Bergen

Royal Marines take Tysnes Island, rounding up the German Coastal Artillery troops who quickly surrender, convinced the war is lost.

Main battle front – south of Trondheim

An attack by British infantry and Norwegian Mountain troops against the 3rd Mtn XX and 69 Cadre fails to make any impression on the Germans. The British and Norwegians are exhausted after climbing numerous ridges and when their attack goes in it is poorly timed and results in the attack stopping almost immediately. Few casulties are suffered and the Corp commander is asked for an explanation from the Army C-in-C.
(2:1 -2 AS result)

South and east of this action, the Canadians and mountainers of the 52nd XX again attack the hapless 702 Static XX, forcing them back again despite the protection of mountain defences. This attack is critical for the Allies, as it effectively means the mountain barrier to the south has been breached. Standing atop the mountain ridge line looking south, the Canadian Corp commander can look down the long deep valley full of forest. To one side is the Glomma River. The German line has been cracked open and the British and Canadians can now leave the cold mountains and return to more hospitable altitudes.
(5:1 -2, DR result)

Oslo

Norway C-in-C orders units to fall back from the mountains to try and throw up a stabilised front along the Glomma River. The sub-units of the 214 Infantry XX reform into their parent body, relieving the 3rd Mountain XX facing the British 49th and 15th XXs. The 3rd heads south to try and build a defence line along the Glomma. The Mountain troops march furiously to get to their positions in time, driven by their NCOs and Officers who squeeze every ounce of energy from their men.

Proudly marching out of the city, the Norwegian collaborationist Hird Brigade march to join their German comrades at the front line. As they enter the thick forests along the Glomma, locals ask them if they had heard what happened to the SS police units only a few weeks before. Officers of the Hird try to recruit locals through night time torchlight rallies and veiled threats, but the locals remain unimpressed.

At the airbase outside the city, the Luftwaffe ground crews bring back into service two Ju 88 wings.

Bodo

The Luftwaffe commander announces to the garrison commander of Bodo that he is unable to maintain the integrity of his units under the increasingly heavy and accurate fire from the US artillery on the perimeter. His bomber wings must be flown out to Narvik to ensure they are not overrun and can continue to provide a threat against Allied sea power. The Garrison commander waves him away in disgust – he knows the Battle for Bodo will not be won in the air but in the trenches outside the city.

Huguersund

Todt engineering staff are photographed proudly in front of their latest work – the upgraded port fortifications, similar in design and strength to Stavanger’s and Kristiansand’s. Sullen conscripted Norwegian labourers and Yugoslav POWs are in the photo background.

November II 1942

Weather conditions throughout the theatre remain the same, at sea the conditions calm some what but remain rough and tumultuous.

Glomma Valley

The security troops of the Hird Brigade relax along the road side during a break in their march to the front. Pickets have been posted as early warning while the Brigade commander has headed north to liase with German units the Hird are expected to fight with in the next few days. Dozing troopers are startled suddenly by rapid gunfire coming from the east and west. Unknown to them, Norwegian Guerrillas have marched overnight to attack the Hird. Through the wooded terrain, the Guerrillas can be seen in a mixture of Norwegian, British and Civilian clothing. Lightly armed they they inflict a terrible toll on the Hird soldiers, but also suffer terrible losses themselves in a bitter fraternal conflict neither is willing to end. SOE operatives send a call through to London asking for Air Support to help the Norwegians. A personal directive from Downing Street sends Sunderland Flying Boats across the sea to deep into Norway, where their bombs make all the difference. The Hird are demoralised and surrender en masse to the Guerrillas, only half of whom remain following the terrible battle on the banks of the Glomma.
(4:1 -1 EX result)

North of here, the Canadian 2nd XX and Engineers push through the resistance of the 710 Static XX, 196 cadre and 1/72 Hvy AA II to drive down the Glomma. The German force is pocketed as the 3rd Canadian breaks up into brigade battlegroups and the 15th Scottish and massed Artillery and USAAF airpower slams into the Germans. AA fire from the Germans has no effect on the Allied air cover and the Germans are thoroughly destroyed. The Allied C-in-C is pleased, but the Canadian and Norwegian governments question the cost with the loss of the 1/3 Cdn X and the Norwegian Mountain Battalion.
(Odds not recorded but HX result)

Bodo

Allied frustration grows as the US troops again fail to take the city. Cases of frostbite are reported as becoming more frequent by unit Medical Officers and morale is low in the infantry. The Tank Battalion guarding the straits send frequent requests for assistance as the German battlegroup advances towards it. The tanks are confident they can hold, but the cost may be high.
(2:1 – 2, AS Result)

Oslo Airfield

LW crews prepare their newly repaired Ju 88s for take off. Justifiably proud of their efforts to return to service, the bombers are prepared to once again strike at the Allied fleet. A sudden phone call from the 181 XX at the front east of Bergen alerts them to the sighting of a large swarm of British fighters heading in their direction. Frantic shouts and orders to get the Ju 88s cleared from the runways and in some protection of to get them aloft to fly to another airfield arrive too late. P 51s scream in at tree top and, with guns blazing, tear up the airfield and one of the newly repaired Ju 88 wings. AA return fire is feeble and uncoordinated. The P 51s return to their base in Bergen for some cocoa.
(Airbase raid – abort Ju88)

Glomma Valley

The German 25th Panzer cadre occupies positions on the east bank of the Glomma River, its mission to block the Canadian thrust down the valley. It is joined by a Mountain XX to its north who occupies mountainous terrain. Both forces are relatively weak when compared to the remaining strength of the Allied Army. Further north, German troops are pulled back from the mountains to the south. The German commander has decided that it is better to lose all of Central Norway than to try and cling in the mountains too long and lose Oslo.

Oslo/Stavanger/Narvik Airfield

Local Luftwaffe commanders are rounded up at midnight by Gestapo and Military Field Police. The abject failure of the Luftwaffe to launch any air attacks on the Allied Fleet is condemned as criminal behaviour. Later investigations by internal investigators uncover a complete failure of the central Luftwaffe command to organise and coordinate the operations for this period. The potential damage to the Allied fleet can only be wondered at by the German C-in-C as he digs in deeper in Oslo.
(Completely forgot to use the LW here, at this stage I was on my fifth or six scotch, not that I believe it was responsible mind you!)

December I 1942

Only southern Norway remains free from heavy snow falls which deluge northern Scandanavia. At sea, the conditions remain unstable and rough.

Oslo Airfield

Incessant air raids continue from British P 51s on Oslo Airfield. Luftwaffe mechanics are unable to maintain unit readiness and another Ju 88 wing is damaged by the ferocious air campaign. Over Stavanger, the FW 190A2s circle awaiting expected Allied air attacks from the Orkneys, but the Beaufighter and Sunderland bomber pilots have decided that the threat of air attacks on the Kreigsmarine is more than enough to keep the Germans on tenterhooks and remain in their Nissan huts, drinking cocoa.
(Forgetting to move the remaining Ju88 to Stavanger pays dearly when another Airbase raid goes in and scores an abort)

Bodo

The US Commander brings the tank battalion back to Bodo to participate in the final offensive that should seize the city. With a superiority in strength three times that of the German defenders, the attack is started off by artillery bombardments and American soldiers advance under the cover of smoke. German troops have now spent a long time on their fire plans, and accurate defensive fire catches the Americans before they can bring their superior numbers to bear. The assault pauses and while front line company commanders struggle to bring sense and order to their men, a rumour starts at Corp HQ that the German 236 battlegroup and ANS Battalion have made an unexpected crossing of the strait protecting the US flank. This rumour, subsequently proved false, causes a panic to set in. A ripple effect occurs throughout the Corp formations and a hurried retreat is made. Vigorous local counter attacks by the Bodo Garrison keep the Americans unsettled and off balance until the truth is discovered. The Corp, Divisional and Regimental Commanders are sacked en masse.
(3:1 -2, AR result)

Glomma Valley

The 25th Panzer is assaulted by the main Allied Army. The panzers try to take their toll on the attacking Scots and Canadians, but the armour piercing rounds their tanks are supplied with makes little impression on the infantry. Tanks are hunted down one by one in the woods by parties of troops armed with PIAT launchers specially flown in from Britain. Heavy artillery fire breaks up what ever resistance the remaining Germans have and they fall back, a shattered shell that was the German-in-C last hope. The Canadians of the 2nd Division are eager to press southwards. Intelligence reports indicate only a weak OKW brigade occupies Oslo and feelings are strong that the city can be liberated within a week. Orders are received that no advance south of their present position is to occur – the reason is difficulties in geting the supply columns over the mountains, through the forests to the head of the advance. Long distances and poor weather are affecting the supply route. Disappointed, the lead allied units can only watch a build up of German units in front of them where only days previous there had been nothing.
(9:1 -4, DE result. This occurs right at the limit of the Allied supply line)

Oslo

The OKW Bergund Brigade is marched up the road towards the broken wooded terrain just south of the city of Hamar. There they link with the southern forces of the stretched out and weakened 69 cadre. This line is all that protects the German hold on Oslo, so the 613 infantry cadre and Kirsten fortress brigade is sent to Oslo to hold the city. These troops dig trenches on the outskirts of the city to the jeers of the locals. They are silenced when the Naval punitive battalion is marched into the area to aid the construction of defences. These desperate criminals threaten to do worse than any battle could do to the northern Oslo suburbs.

Bodo

The 236 cadre and ANS approach the outskirts of the city, greeted ironically as liberators by the 270 Fortress XX. The commander is gracious enough to allow the Luftwaffe to once again return to the airbase for anti-shipping patrols in the North Sea.

December II 1942

In Allied Army HQ, in Trondheim, the British C-in-C is briefing his new US subordinates on the expected future of the campaign. His Canadian and British Divisional Commanders have returned from the front to help sort out supply difficulties to ensure the final break through to Oslo can occur. While they speak, it is noticed that the air has become chilly. Stepping outside, they are confronted by falling snow, becoming thicker as they watch. Its going to be a white christmas in Norway.

Glomma Valley

Several Allied units are pulled back to remain in supply leaving an advance guard in position. This is done over the protest of the Norwegian government who asks to form a flying column of volunteers to try and wrest Oslo from the German occupier. The request is politely refused. The Germans remain in position and the 69th is rebuilt to full strength. With the worsening weather and the extended supply lines, the German commander knows he has held on long enough to defeat the Allied plan of capturing Oslo He relaxes in his HQ with a cigar and brandy, savouring the bitter sweet semi victory he has achieved when the door is kicked in and Gestapo agents drag him off to Rastenburg to explain in person to Hitler his account of the campaign before being flown into Stalingrad to take charge of the situation there.

German Victory Points- 34

Allied Victory Points – 30 + 26 for cities and ports captured = 56

Comments

The key to German victory is use the KM to take on the Allied TFs. Even if all German ships are sunk, as long as they get equal amounts of hits on the Allies, the German player will get twice the victory points to help make up for the loss of ports he will suffer. I didn’t use my German TFs aggressively enough and tried to rely on the LW making naval strikes. Pretty much a waste of time due to high AA cover, especially in Port.

For the Allied player, they have lots of LCs and Amphibious units and more (yes more!) task forces available for this campaign than are available in Second Front. The secret is to use them to over come the piffling CDs and set up for some good NGS to support to seize the ports. The Guerrillas are pretty powerful too. They caught me on the hop several times, especially in the initial set up and their use in overrunning the Trondheim Airbase and CDs in the area. I think the Russian front is a bit of a waste of time. No victory can be won here, although you could lose by being too reckless.

Overall a pretty mobile and fluid game. Short too, we were in the Pubs after a few hours making a nuisance of ourselves to the locals.

What went wrong – or the Axis commander lament

I have never thrown such rubbish dice in any game I have played before –
honest! Most of the time all I needed was to roll 4+ on a dice to get an EX
or HX result which would have hurt the Finns enough to allow a break in
their lines and allow me to use my superior numbers effectively. On average
my die rolls were 1 or 2 – not good when modifiers are -2 at least. Even in
Sweden and Denmark I was ineffective, especially the horrific AR result in
Feb II which destroyed nearly half of available German land units.

In retrospect I should have held off German intervention until April or May,
but I when saw snake eyes for Allied intervention followed by double sixes
totally freaked me out and I took the earliest oppurtunity to get across the
Baltic – just like any decent paranoid dictator would do in a similar
position. The Fort in 4717 never had a die roll higher than 3 against it
and the arrival (albeit spasmodically due to the Allies sending troops off
into Denmark) of British and French units in Finland meant I was never able
to effectively break through the Finnish lines.

As to Denmark I am still in shock. I can’t believe I could destroy a
handful of garish yellow counters – unsupplied and unsupported – the Govt
escaped me twice and the recapture of Aarhus and the sudden arrival of mud
(preventing the 14th Motorised MG II capturing Thyboron and thus giving the
Allies an open door) really put a kink in the Third Reichs plans. 4 Hour
War my foot!

These are my excuses – the only one I haven’t included is the possibility I
might be a crap player, but I prefer to blame the dice and the cardboard 8-)

Cheers – Bob

May I 40

M,C,C,C & C,C

Axis Player Turn

With clear crisp and sunny weather throughout most of the theatre, the
Soviets launch a massive offensive – not on the thrice accursed 4717, but on
4615. Despite the improved wether, the sun obviously dazzled the troops
eyes and caused the attack to go in half botched and the Soviets again flee
from battle (3:1 -2 = AR). This isn’t the worst of it when an attack
against the interfering French to the north is a veritable disaster and half
the attacking force are slaughtered (3;1 -3 = AH). Comrade Stalin is
blubbing mess cringing under his desk in the Kremlin.

At Aarhus the Germans assault and seize the city, pushing out the Danish
defenders (3:1 = DH). As a sop to Berlin the Danish Govt is captured.
[This I can say with all honestly was the high point of the entire game for
me] London is most embarrassed at leaving an Ally in such an exposed
position.

Allied Player Turn

In Denmark the allies go onto the offensive – Estyjerg on the west coast is
occupied by the Swedish 1st XX while the Allies attack and destroy the 196
XX (4:1 = DE). Only a handful of units protect the northern border and
Kiel. Hmmmm.

In Finland, just to rub it in, the French counterattck with Finns from the
north against the survivors who attacked them earlier. By blocking retreat
paths the Allies destroy the remaining Soviets who are forced to retreat
from the battle.

Molotov and Beria give Uncle Joe the tap on the shoulder and suggest its
time to talk peace with the Finns and their western Allies and the game ends
by mutual agreement.

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