Europa Games and Military History

Month: August 2000

July 42

special report by Soviet commander TVD South and South-West

Jul II 42… The Don Front commander surveys the scene and notices that the mixed bag of Axis allies have not yet reached the river. This gives him the opportunity to cross in force with 7+ Tank Corps plus support units. Large air battles erupt over 3 axis hexes, resulting in roughly equally losses, although somewhat to the favor of the Axis (I think something like 1 or 2 kills each, 2 or 3 aborts each, but the Axis did come out ahead by one or two plane losses.) Regardless, the Axis DAS gets through and the southernmost Don Front attack results in a DR (5 or 6:1, +3, but a one is rolled).

The Rumanian troops back up into two hexes, preventing any overruns or breakout opportunities. The northern and middle attacks both get possitive results (DE’s both I believe) and something like 11 pts of Rum & 1 Ital die. All are rebuilt the next turn, but the Rums go into garrison. Unwilling to give up the ground gained, but unable to properly exploit, the Don Front commander forms a hedgehog wedge, with the base against the Don river, the northern line 4 hexes long running east-west, and the southern line 3 hexes long running NW-SE. The hexes each have 12 or 13 pts in the north, 9 pts to the south, plus additional pts in the two pointy nds of the hedgehog.

Aug I 42

3 Armored divs rebuilt (1 completely, 2 from cadres)… Sov cap is flown over the two front hexes of the hedgehog. Don Front gets what it wants, and attracts the attention of the mobile forces of AGS. At the southern base of the hedgehog, and infantry and an armor Corps form up facing a 9 pt Army. To the north, two large armored corps with infantry support face off against a 12 pt
Army. If attacks are completely successful, all but one of the 7 hexes forming the hedgehog will be cut off. Don Front CC laughs off the threat confident that at most DR’s will result… Axis cap is flown over the two flanking hexes, plus over 2 more hexes along the northern Don River that were essentially given up to the axis (6 or 7pts each in forts, but surrounded on 4 sides.)

After figuring out the likely odds, the Don Front commander decides to commit his remaining air force in an attempt to shift the odds back in his favor. In the southern hex, only two fighters remain for escort. The four Axis fighters ignore them, successfully bypassing and shooting down 4 of 5 DAS (one 3 Tac air IL-2 (4?) gets through. Losses are Russian 2 K and 2 A, Axis, 1 A. In the north, 5 unescorted bombers attempt to get through the 5 Axis fighters on cap. Once again, 4 plow into the earth, flaming. One however makes it through (2 tac air). Results Russ: 2K, 2A Axis: 1 Italian K. Following these air battles, free from Sov interrferrence, much Axis GS is brought in… In the south, the 2 pts of flak is unable to drive off the one soviet DAS, Sov flak pushes one off, for little effect. Attack goes in at 8:1, -1 for a DH (the one plane was critical, as the odds would have been 9:1 and a DE would have resulted, leaving behind an
overrunnable stack… even so, there was a 50-50 of the DE.) One Sov armored corp is cadred, and two art III retreat. The northern attack also goes in at 8:1 -1, with an unsuccesfull attempt at a commando raid… 7pts of flack fail to drive off the bomber but it doesn’t matter… A DE is rolled. Only the cadre of the Sov corp remains.

Northward, an attack against the infantry 92 Army is launched with air support, 3:1 +2 for a DH. Against the two semi-surrounded hexes a 7:1 -1 gives a DE against 7 pts, and a 6:1 -1 results in a nasty exchange (only a 1 in 6 of that, argh). A single German inf div is cadred for the loss of 6 sov pts.

An attack against the 91 Army, 19 pts strong in a fort is called off for insufficient air. (4:1 -1 couldn’t be improved upon, and I wanted to limit losses this turn).

Lastly, a surprising attack against the 1st Guards Tank Army is launched… it had been left in the front line in a fort, so there was no AECD. With a mere 3 pts of air support, (1 pt over the
requirement for 5:1), there was a lousy 3% chance for a 6:1… and a 02 was rolled! Still, with a decent shot at an DE, the 6:1 -1 attack results in a DH. One Corps is wiped out, a motorized div is cadred, and an Art III and inf brigade are destroyed.

All told, this turn 95 pts of Soviets were killed, vs 4 pts of Germans. (No losses in AGN or AGC that I’m aware of… AGN’s one attack resulted in an AS, which necessitated the cancelling of a second attack…. AGC pushed back on a number of hexes, all for no losses as well… WWI on the Eastern front.)

In the mech mov’t phase, on the north side of the hedgehog the armored cadre is overrun as is a pile of russian artillery backing up the pointy part of the hedgehog. Unfortunately, the cadre and artillery in the south (5pts) are strong enough to withstand an overrun, so the axis distribute troops for defense. The five hexes in the hedgehog will have supply (drat… foiled again.)

Jan 1941

I Jan 1941

Significant forces arrive via Aquaba to support the Palestinian Guard, which is bolstering its line on the Egyptian border. With a bit of supply an armored force breaks into Palestine and isolates much of the PG’s line (4:1; +3AECA: DE). The pesky armor west of the Nile is finally eliminated as the supply situation is gently being curtailed (11:1; -3 AECD: DE).

II Jan 1941

The line falls back to stay in supply and communications with Haifa. The first Allied counterattack of the campaign pushes back a Libyan Division with arty support (2:1; +3 AECA, -1 ATEC: DR).
The Italians break the center of the PG’s line, this time surrounding the most powerful contingent of the PG’s line, a heavily armored force carrying supply on the Mediterranean coast (4:1; +3 AECA, -1 ATEC: DE). The Italians surrounding the British are unsupported to the north and northeast.

Year Analysis, 1940

Yearly analysis: 1940

Our rule modifications have significantly changed the game, definitely adding more flow as well as an advantage for the attacker. Although some might think the change in the supply rules were the biggest change, I tend to disagree. Tobruk and Alexandria were opened as soon as possible as supply terminals and began generating supply immediately. This, coupled with naval transport coming from Sicily and a high Malta rating would have helped the supply situation of any Italian forces. Also, the Axis commander used SMPs and his Engineer and parachute brigades to enhance the movement of supply east. It seems to the British that supplies arrive just in time for every offensive, and luck is certainly favoring the Axis. The rule allowing roads to be built anywhere certainly made a huge difference as the Italians could attack quickly and effectively instead of waiting around for Operation Compass to roll over them, although I don’t see how it is “unfair” other than in the way the campaign historically panned out. A road from Oasis de Giarabub to Siwa Oasis would have been quicker than one through Halfaya, and might have been more helpful.

The main reasons this game has departed from the historical is twofold. First, a vicious Italian attack into Egypt rather than allowing the debacle at Sidi Barrani allowed a huge advantage, which in my opinion was possible if difficult to logistically manage. The second reason was tactical brilliance, and when I say this I mean incredible dice rolls. I swear, these dice must have been weighted in favor of the Axis. The wonderful first attack on the center of the WDF’s line in late September and the abysmally failed attempt to free the captured forces early next October gave the Italians not only the upper hand in momentum, but perhaps the entire war. Had this campaign panned out historically as ours had the Germans my have been able to attack the USSR through the Caucuses much more easily due to the element of surprise in June of ’41, as well have secured the middle east oil fields and perhaps even the support of Turkey and some French. Of course, whether the 10th Army succeeds in making this possible is yet to be seen

December 1940

I Dec 1940

Little remains to stop the 10th Army now. Troops are aligned opposite of Ismalia, but the southern third of the Nile remains undefended due to a lack of forces.
The pocketed armor force still can’t be eliminated due to severe lack of supply. It is tying down most of the Italian infantry reserves, and with Libyans and Egyptians still securing the south crossing the Nile is a risky proposition. Not one to sit by while a risk could be taken, the Italian commander again commits his armor to swinging behind the WDF’s line by crossing the Nile at its undefended point to the south, making their supply situation untenable. Mussolini concedes to the Italian commander’s request for more aid and allows units of the 5th Army to be placed under 10th Army’s command. A division books it east to join up with forces in Egypt. Thanks to an Egyptian infantry brigade all Nile cities are Axis, with Port Safage to fall by Christmas.

II Dec 1940

The WDF (as of Christmas the Palestinian Guard, or PG) falls back to just west of Palestine due to a Libyan motor brigade threatening supply. With some supply in Haifa, now a supply terminal, and reinforcements beginning to arrive the Palestinian Guard may be able to initiate effective counterattacks early next year.
Unsupplied motor forces push a contingent of the PG into Palestine (4:1; +3 AECA: DR), although the Italian CinC expected better. The armored force just west of the Nile is still proving to be a thorn in the Italian’s side. 10th Army receives a second division from the 5th in Tripolitania.

November 1940

I Nov 1940

CinC Middle East evacuates his staff from Alexandria to Haifa, leaving a small, unsupported garrison cornered in Alexandria as the remainder of the WDF, an armored brigade with artillery support, retreats towards Cairo. The Middle East is attempting to form a cohesive line on the Suez Canal since hostile Egyptians are already east of the Nile. Egyptian units who haven’t joined the Axis are eliminated by the British, along with an Axis Egyptian Light Armored Brigade which is overrun.
The last supply available for most likely some time allows the Italians to take Alexandria (9:1; -1: DR), although the British manage to destroy the vast majority of supply in the city before surrendering. An Egyptian brigade moves south along the Nile at full tilt to take the cities there for the Axis as the 2nd Libyan Motorized Brigade moves south of the Quattara Depression. Infantry columns close in around the armored force remaining west of the Nile.

II Nov 1940

The small armored force west of the Nile can do little to break free thanks to Italian ZOCs everywhere. The Suez defense is strengthened, although Italians, Libyans, and Egyptians are only 16 miles away and the line only covers about the northern two-thirds of the canal.
Thanks mainly to supply captured in Cairo by Egyptians, the 10th Army sends an armored task force to take Ismalia (5:1; +3 AECA, -1 ATEC: DH). The armored force just west of the Nile is finally surrounded up against the Delta. Supplies and troops are struggling to reach the front so Alexandria is opened as a supply terminal to be fully effective by December. The Italian Commander, pleased beyond belief of his army’s success, moves his headquarters into Alexandria as well.

October 1940

I Oct 1940

In an attempt to extract the surrounded portion of the WDF, both those inside and out of the Italian noose attack the same point, an unsupported Italian armored force. The Italian tankettes and Libyan truck-borne infantry manage to not only hold off the outside force but also convince the surrounded forces to surrender! (3:1; -2 AECD: AR) The 10th Army remains almost unscathed while the WDF is reeling and most likely will be unable to stop the Italians at El Alamein. The British’s mere presence in North Africa is now at risk. Parliament asks Australia who’s side they’re on, but is quickly rebuffed, reminded of a similar but much more costly encirclement earlier this spring.
10th Army stays on the WDF’s heels, forcing back units based around the 4th Indian Divisional Headquarters before proudly marching into El Alamein proper (3:1; +3 AECA: DR). The Sicilian Air Force bombs Malta into complete submission (up 3 to 15). In what is perhaps the first good news to befall the British all campaign, Royal Navy destroyers engage a fleet of undefended Italian supply ships and sink or force the crew to scuttle each one.

II Oct 1940

Little can now be done to stop the Italian onslaught. The line east of El Alamein doesn’t even reach all the way to the Quattara. The CinC Middle East concedes to his commanders that the Axis may very well reach the vital Suez Canal by Christmas. Preparations are made for a general retreat into Palestine, signaled by Haifa being established as an Allied supply terminal.
In a reenactment of the Battle of El Alamein (last turn) the same forces continue their duel to the end of the month. The Italians manage to again pull off a resounding success, opening the Nile for their occupation (3:1; +3 AECA: DE). The 10th Army surrounds the remaining armored force east of El Alamein but can’t quite close a gap to the southeast. Libyans and some armor surround Alexandria via Damaphur. Some Egyptians join the Axis cause, including some in Cairo that take the capital for the Axis, destroy the British supply terminal, and capture some valuable supply. The Sicilian Air Force (all Axis bombers) fly to Albania and southeast Italy for the upcoming invasion of Greece.

September 1940

I Sept 1940

On the early morning of September 9th, 1940 the Italian 10th Army based out of Cyrenecia, Libya advances into Egypt on a wide front. Infantry and artillery columns march full speed along the coast while armored columns advance further south. A Libyan motor brigade takes Siwa Oasis before sweeping north to join up with the Italian motor pool and some artillery just south of Mersa Matruh. Italian infantry stops just short of Matruh but is unable to attack before the WDF reacts. Construction begins on a road from Oasis de Giarabub to Siwa Oasis. A massive Italian bombing force based in Sicily commences its campaign on Malta, reducing its effectiveness (by 3 to 9). The Italian merchant marine begins shipping AS to Tobruk, flooding the port with supplies. Tobruk is also opened as a supply terminal and is predicted to be effective before the end of the month. The Italian commander, pleased at his situation and forecasting victory, moves his permanent headquarters to Tobruk as well, which has now become the lynchpin in the Italian supply effort, although supplies stockpiled at Tripoli begin movement east as well.

II Sept 1940

CinC Middle East orders his units in Matruh to hold their ground, seeing the Italian supply lines are dependent on the road junction their. As reports come in from the field, however, the massive show of force by the Italians has pushed back the WDF already. The CinC therefore commands his motor pool in reserve at El Alamein to move up and support a solid defensive line from the Med to the Quattara Depression about 50 miles wide. Fighters based in Matruh fly to Alexandria.
Despite some supply troubles, the Italians stay close on the WDF’s heels. As soon as the WDF turns to fight the Italians attack in a display of both overwhelming force as well as tactical brilliance (6:1; +1 AECA: DE), breaking the center of the British line entirely. An incredible display of artillery only assists British logisticians in destroying supplies needed by the Italian troops. In a stunning display of bravado, the Italian commander allows his motor pool to continue southeast to the Quattara, cutting off almost half of the remaining WDF but also being in the tenuous position of no support. Supply continues flooding Tobruk and is sent east as quickly as possible, aided by the newly completed Oasis de Giarabub-Siwa Oasis road. Fighters jump forward to Matruh airfield to provide cover for the advancing 10th Army. The Sicilian Air Force again does significant damage to Malta (up 3 to 12).

May and June 1942

In the early summer of ’42, the Germans took a few hexes near Leningrad using the Eastern special forces unit to launch one daring surprise attack about one month after it had failed. The Finns launched a few local attacks on the “seven hex” line killing a couple of Russian divisions and artillery units as the Russians gathered to finally push to Helsinki.

In the center, again, a few hexes were taken and some losses caused but nothing dramatic.

Behind the lines, one turn saw a dramatic attempt by Nazi Sky Gangsters to sieze unoccupied Soviet
replacement cities. This lead to hours of haggling about the rules of war, the Geneva Convention
etc…until the Germans finally attempted to land on Baku, rolled a one (the only bad roll) and it was promptly forgotten.

As for losses, in June I the Russians lost 80 factors and the Germans 24. In June II, the Russians lost 70 and the Germans 7.

Generalstab Update, 3.8.2000

More stuff pouring into the Generalstab, I sincerely am looking someon to help prepare the material! Another full-fledged Second-Front-report kiwi style by Phil Mason has arrived, as well as additional chapters from the ongoing “Fight against Fascism” by Robert Williams. In preperation due to demand: The first Europa-Howto, written by Phil Mason and Derek Cassidy.