"I find that 'pinpoint' accuracy during a bombing run increases proportionally with the amount of munitions used."
A very exciting political turn!
Since many powers are pretty low on bid points, bidding is cautious this turn. Only Germany does an aggressive bid of nine bid points for two options, and France and the Commonwealth bid four each to make sure that they get to act first. The other powers bid a single bid point to have at least a chance to act, apart from China who simply cannot be bothered. The British go first and play their owed IPO5 for the alignment of Norway back in the summer. The French had intended to gear up in order to have a high production during the winter months, but since Kanzler Lovets opted for a double action that can only mean that he intends to occupy the Czech rump as his second action. The French ally of Czechoslovakia will thus cease to exist, freeing up the German Wehrmacht for an offensive into France. Zut alors, les Germans are coming! Quick, quick, get an alliance with Spain; the German invasion will give us a free gear-up anyhow! The Commonwealth activates Sweden, making sure that German diplomats cannot use the massive negative Soviet influence to move them into the fascist ideology. Crowds are still chanting "Ner med bolsjevikerna! Ner med bolsjevikerna!" in the streets of Stockholm, but at least they are not wearing brown shirts. France does the exactly the same with Finland, and Germany is looking for somebody to kill as he has lost two strong potential allies in Northern Europe.
Germany follows with their owed declaration of war against the British, and then the German Heer indeed marches into Czechoslovakia. Bye-bye French ally, hello sweet increased political effectiveness! Lovets then activates Bulgaria to make sure that the country does not become a communist. The term "hate-drafting", meaning to activate a minor country just to ruin somebody else's political plans, has been used more than once this turn.
Russia follows and farms bid points, and then Japan does an original action and builds a synthetic oil plant. Always thinking ahead, those Japanese guys! It will take a year for it to complete, but it can fuel a significant chunk of the Imperial Japanese Navy once it is done. They then activate Argentina, and since they already have the Chilean resources at their disposal, Japan will soon be able to include the Argentinian factories in their production. The United States take a closer look at the public options. What was the cost of a civil war now again?
Italy farms bid points and then ends the political turn before the US can do the same. Of course they do. (Jerks.)
The military action starts weakly. It turns out that Japan is overstacked on troops in Bangkok and has to move a unit out during the first impulse. However, the weather there is rain and the increased movement cost means that the unit is flipped. Since every unit is critical to the planned Japanese offensive against the oil fields in the Netherlands East Indies, the attack is delayed until the next turn. A Soviet submarine heads out to sea from Vladivostok to strike at the unprotected Japanese convoy lines, but they fail to find anything. Japan has to sit down and breathe deeply for a few seconds. However, a Soviet bomber sweeps down on the IJA forces in Manchuria and manages to flip the Japanese HQ unit there. Poor weather prevents them from following up with a ground attack, however. The US Army relocates the Eisenhower HQ-A unit to Honolulu and gives Japan its best "Come at me, bro!" expression. Nothing at all happens in China, apart from the discovery that China did lose their Chiang HQ last turn and also cannot build any aircraft until the US plays a certain entry option. Their on-map air units are quickly moved to the Reserve pool, as this was judged to be the fairest option.
In Europe, the weather is rainy for the first few impulses. The British Admiralty has made a major mistake and pulled all its units back to port at the end of the previous turn, and the Kriegsmarine seizes the chance to hit their convoy lines. They achieve only mediocre results, however. A later attack, ironically launched after the Royal Navy has sent units to sea, meets with better success and the Commonwealth loses some convoy points in the North Sea. However, the hated German surface raiders are caught and obliterated in the Indian Ocean.
In Turkey, the weather is fine and Italian forces assault Scutari. The assault is successful, and Italy is now in control of both sides of the inlet to the Black Sea. Il Duce also lands a lone artillery unit on Rhodos, obviously with some cunning plan in mind.
After a few impulses, the clouds over Europe break up and all the fascists shout "at last!" with joyful voices. France braces for the worst ... and then the Heer executes a daring assault on Oslo! The Norwegian capital falls and takes the country with it, and the French troops are left all dressed up but with no one to shoot at. The French shore up the border with Belgium a little more, though. I mean, Germany has to attack some time. Right?
At the end of the turn the Soviets score a victory in the intelligence war, and the US play their "China builds aircraft" Entry option and then invest heavily in bid points. One could almost imagine that they are planning to hold an election next turn. Germany wastes no time in placing their surface raiders back on the production circle.
The Royal Navy does the ASW dance with Kriegsmarine wolfpacks off the coast of Scotland.
Oslo is conquered and Norway falls. The last enclave of British forces is soon kicked out of the country, as well.
The Netherlands East Indies are mobilised but there is precious little they can do as they wait for the soon-to-come Japanese onslaught.
A Siberian winter is enough to slow down both the Soviet and Japanese forces in the battle for Manchuria.
If the previous political turn was exciting, this one can only be described as "confused". The Commonwealth starts buy playing IPO1, New World Order, and move towards fascism in a poorly planned attempt to "shake things up a little". The other democrats are not too pleased, but the damage is limited as the Commonwealth only moves a single step and ends up in the Social Democratic faction. They then activate Turkey and make use of the fact that it is more difficult to move a country towards a major power it is at war with yet easier to move them away, to shake of the massive positive influence that Italy gained by declaring war on them right before the end of the civil war, and to place them right next to the democratic ideology instead. Now, if Italy goes to war with the Commonwealth, it will be quite easy for the latter to align Turkey with her own forces.
Next come the French, who really should hold an election but instead chooses to farm bid points in order to have more political maneuverability during the next year. Besides, the German annexation of Czechoslovakia has increased the French political effiency and it would be a shame not to use that.
The US follow, and they have their election which spares them a Republican government with lowered US entry effects and all. Germany breaks its own alliance with Poland and then brings Rumania firmly into the fascist ideology. Japan farms bid points (same reasoning as the French) and then it is time for the Soviets to do their thing. They elect to play "The Credit Card" and all the other powers suddenly have to cough up a considerable amount of money! China is pushed over its credit limit and cannot build any units this turn, but Japan is now no longer able to afford their planned declaration of war against the Commonwealth. Another delay in the Pacific. They then choose to activate Poland, placing that country very firmly on top of the Commonwealth. Germany can no longer "hate-draft" France by attacking and conquering Poland, which would cost France political influence and negative influence with every minor country in existence, since the Commonwealth can simply align Poland free-of-charge the impulse after the German declaration of war and thus cancel the French-Polish alliance. Germany is quite disappointed. (Note: this was very much in favour of the democrats. This could be due to the fact that the Soviet player was unable to attend this session and the USSR was instead played by one of the democratic players.)
Italy farms bid points and then ends the turn. However, China was the only political player left and they had not bid anything so nobody blames Italy this time. Japan and Italy are now very firmly at the top of the bid point pile for January 1941, with France following close behind.
During the military turn, the Allies lose the initiative despite calling a reroll of the dice. The Germans eliminate the last pocket of British resistance in Norway and Italy executes a landing in Mersin in southern Turkey, right near the border to Syria. The CW has now been out-foxed pretty badly by Italy and it is only sheer dumb luck (and some eavesdropping on tactical discussions) that allows the British-controlled Turkish forces to place a unit in Smyrna before the lone Italian artillery division could capture the city (and the last source of oil for the Turkish government) unopposed! With no production (no resources and only a single factory in Ankara) left, Turkey can now only attempt to hold on until the Commonwealth goes to war with the Italians (or the other way around). Until then, the Italians have a free road pretty much all the way to the Persian Gulf and the Soviet-controlled oil fields near the Caspian Sea.
The weather is so poor that very little happens during the military turn. After all, it is winter. The British take the chance to move as many Dutch units to sea as possible on the Asian map, preventing their loss during the soon-to-come Japanese invasion. They also burn all the Dutch oil (4 in total!) to flip every single CW unit in the world face-up, right in time for the New Year celebrations.
Germany is ready to storm in Poland, but the foul winter weather delays the invasion.
While the winter around the Mediterranean is quite mild, the rugged terrain of Turkey slows down the Italian advance.
Why walk through the mountains when you can cruise the sea? The Mediterranean is very much Italian territory, and they seize the opportunity to execute a landing to the rear of the Turkish forces.
All very good stuff.
I owe some reports on our last session but it was some time ago and I'll have difficulty remembering all the action.
Keep up the good work - your writing is much appreciated. Our next session will be months away yet, so your reports are the only source of DoDery about.
Very nicely written Adamukk. Looking forward to the next post.