Oct I Allied turn

Malta Status now 4

Malta supply convoys arrive.
Now it is time for the Allies to make decisions. Should they push on to El Agheila and beyond?  Or should they use this opportunity to end the leaching of VP in the Levant and “liberate” the pesky Vichy French?

(Note; if not using Optional Rule 14A1e the Allies are required to devote 3REs of engineers, which is all or nearly all those available, to the Levant garrison where they’ll spend a year building a pointless railway between Haifa and Tripoli.  Loss of all 8th Army’s engineers is reason enough to leave the Levant alone, and the VP penalty for not fulfilling the engineer garrison requirement is 3 times greater than the penalty for not invading the Levant at all. Doh!
14A1e however makes this commitment to railway building optional (and no sane Allied player would ever build it).

In a game context, this inconsistency is a problem; or at least the level of obligatory engineering assets is.  What on earth was SO important about this railway 1000km from the front line that was worth risking the loss of the entire Desert war over? )

The decision is made to continue the pursuit for now, and leave the Levant to its own devices.
(Note; in reality advance warning of the Australian withdrawal in Feb, and the self inflicted crippling of the British Armoured Divisions shortly afterwards, was also a consideration. The British can’t spare 2 Inf XX to fulfill the Levant garrison requirement for the next year).

The Reinforcing engineers and Arm X arrive at Matruh, the rest at Alex.
The Arm XXs push forward, capturing ground to allow the Inf to admin move forwards behind them as far as Tobruch.  In Exploit the Arm XX advance a little further, to Gazala, having worked out that going further risks being killed in a ZOC lock by Axis motorised formations. 8th Army will advance together or not at all.

Oct I Axis turn

The Malta bomber force now totals 2 x Ju87 (1 It), 3 x Ju88, 1 x He111, and 2 x BR20M. They score 4 hits for a Ju88 aborted.
Malta status is now 8

All reinforcements and replacements arrive safely.
The airfields at Bengahzi are destroyed and the Axis armour forms a block just south of Msus. All the surviving Axis non motorised forces arrive safely at El Agheila.

Oct II Allied turn

A great day for the RN; AA gunners abort both SM79-2 torpedo bombers and the supplies arrive safely in Malta.
Malta status now 5

The existing line to Matruh finally repaired, construction of the extension to Tobruch starts at last.
8th Army arrives 30 miles NE of Msus, while 7th Arm XX takes Derna and Bengahzi via the coast road.

Oct II Axis turn

Quick fort construction begins at Agheila.
Only 1 code V bomber can be repaired per turn.
5Le cadre is rebuilt and converted into 21 Pz.
2 hits to Malta; status = 7
The Panzers screen the Agheila bottleneck; Rommel declares that the retreat is over.