Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rise and Decline of the Third Reich: The 2014 Zappa Bunker Campaign – AAR #1



Having completed our first campaign of the Avalon Hill classic, Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, this past November, our three-member band decided that we had had such a good time, we had to do it again! Therefore, we’ve begun our second campaign game of Third Reich. This time, the commanders are as follows:
1. Jeremy Selby, Germany and Italy
2. Rick Selby, UK and USA
3. Leo Zappa, USSR and France
As before, we are playing the full multi-player campaign game using the edition 4.5 ruleset as found here on BGG. The game begins in the Fall of 1939, and in our first session, we completed the first four turns of the game. What follows is a brief recounting of the events which transpired as Europe was once again plunged into total war!

Pre-War Situation Map:


Fall 1939
Germany went on the offensive in Poland, and executed a solid attack employing an armored breakthrough and exploitation assault which resulted in the fall of Warsaw. The German war industry raised 13 infantry corps and one panzer corps. The German government also granted 15 BRPs to Finland to help maintain their loyalty to the Reich. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, the German military had been careful to dispatch garrisons to Finland, Bulgaria, and Rumania. On the western front, the Wehrmacht conducted ineffectual attritional attacks against French border troops.

Italy remained neutral during the fall of 1939, although they made an unsuccessful spying effort. The Italian government also expanded its military, raising four infantry corps, four replacement corps, and an armored corps.

The British dutifully transferred their expeditionary force to northern France, taking up positions along the Belgian border. The War Ministry oversaw the raising of an infantry corps and three replacement corps, whilst the Admiralty commissioned two new fleets. France conducted attritional warfare on the western front, with no discernible results. The French government raised additional forces in the form of four infantry corps, two armored corps, and three replacement corps.

The Russians, ever the opportunists, declared war on Eastern Europe and occupied the Baltic States, eastern Poland, and Bessarabia. Soviet industry was busy as well, raising 13 rifle armies and two mechanized corps. Stalin also directed the shipment of 5 BRPs to Bulgaria in an attempt to influence that nation.

BRPs as of the end of Fall, 1939:
Axis: Germany 88, Italy 54, AXIS 142
Allies: UK 63, France 62, ALLIES 125
Russia: 62
The Axis retained the initiative heading into winter.

Situation Map, End of Fall, 1939


Winter 1939
Germany continued its assault on Europe with declarations of war against both Denmark and the Netherlands. The Nazi offensives against both small nations were successful, although the Netherlands did manage to inflict some losses on the Wehrmacht in an ‘exchange’ result. The Gestapo made both an intelligence gathering effort (to no avail), and a counterintelligence sweep. The Armaments Ministry oversaw the creation of two infantry corps, five replacement corps, and a new Luftwaffe air fleet.

Italy broke its peace with a declaration of war against Yugoslavia. The Italian armed forces utilized attritional attacks to whittle away the Yugoslavian army both at the Italian/Yugoslav border and from the Italian possession of Albania. The Italian armaments industry raised two more replacement corps and the Regia Marina accepted a new fleet.

Great Britain did not conduct any military operations during this time. However, the Foreign Ministry arranged for the transfer of 12 BRPs to Rumania, whilst the Royal Navy accepted a new fleet, the RAF a new air fleet, and the Army an armored corps. France ordered another attritional campaign along the border with Germany, again with no apparent effect. French agents also conducted both intelligence gathering operations and counterintelligence activities, also with no effect.

Russia moved units into its newly won territories in Eastern Europe but did little else. The Soviet factories stayed busy, building a mechanized corps and a new air fleet.

BRPs as of the end of Winter, 1939:
Axis: Germany 17, Italy 25, AXIS 42
Allies: UK 1, France 52, ALLIES 53
Russia: 24
It was now time for the 1940 Year Start Sequence (YSS)!

Situation Map, End of Winter 1939


1940 YSS (note: no BRP base growth occurs in the 1940 YSS)
Germany: new BRP total: 180 (after 18 BRP spent on Strategic War (SW) builds)
Italy: new BRP total 80
AXIS Total: 260

Great Britain: new BRP total: 113 (after 12 BRP spent for SW builds)
France: new BRP total 100
ALLIES Total: 223
AXIS retain the initiative moving to the Spring of 1940.

Russia: new BRP total: 122

Spring 1940
Germany continued its push into Western Europe with declarations of war against both Belgium and Luxembourg. Despite suffering an exchange result in its final assault against Brussels, the Wehrmacht conquered both small nations rather handily, setting the stage for the invasion of France itself. German industry was very busy at this time, producing five new panzer corps, a new air fleet, and a new fleet for the Kriegsmarine.

Italy pushed its war of attrition against Yugoslavia, with the Yugoslav army slowing falling back towards Belgrade. The Italian intelligence service conducted another fruitless spying effort.

The BEF conducted a surprisingly strong offensive in the West, retaking Brussels and liberating Belgium for the moment, although at cost, with losses sustained as a result of an ‘exchange’ battle. French units were not involved in this offensive, but the French Foreign Service did conduct a counterintelligence operation, and a small (1-4) air wing was rebuilt.

Russia did nothing from a military standpoint, but the Foreign Service did complete the transfer of 5 BRPs each to Hungary and Bulgaria.

BRPs as of the end of Spring, 1940:
Axis: Germany 98, Italy 75, AXIS 173
Allies: UK 72, France 77, ALLIES 149
Russia: 112
The Axis retained the initiative heading into summer.

Situation Map, End of Spring 1940


Summer 1940
Herr Hitler was incensed by the British counteroffensive in Belgium and ordered the Wehrmacht to restore the order of things on the Front, which it did, driving its panzers to Brussels on an exploitation attack and once again capturing the Belgian capital, though the battle resulted in an exchange and further losses and men and materiel. German industry worked overtime to make good the losses, reconstituting three panzer corps and two Luftwaffe air fleets, as well as two infantry corps.

The Italian army continued its slow grind in the Balkans, as the Yugoslavian army continued to resist. Italian spies were once more unsuccessful in their efforts. The Italian army raised a new replacement corps.

The British and French armies on the Western Front cooperated on an attritional campaign against the Germans, inflicting the loss of three units and claiming one region over the border with Germany, including the city of Frankfurt. British industry aided in the raising of an infantry corps, an armored corps, a full air fleet, and a smaller (1-4) air wing. The French armaments ministry delivered the 3rd Tank Corps to the army, and French agents thwarted another clumsy Italian spy effort.

Whilst all of the activity was percolating in the West, things were stone cold silent in the East, as Soviet Russia bided its time, keeping an eye on the developments in France with keen interest.

BRPs as of the end of Summer, 1940:
Axis: Germany 23, Italy 69, AXIS 92
Allies: UK 43, France 66, ALLIES 109
Russia: 112
The Allies were now going to seize the initiative and with it, they hoped to exploit an opportunity to further spoil Herr Hitler’s plans in the West!

Situation Map, End of Summer 1940


____________________________________________________
Analysis of Fall 1939 - Summer 1940

This campaign has started in a way not so different from our last. In both cases, the Germans initially were on track, taking down Poland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium by Spring 1940. However, as with our first campaign, the Germans have now fallen "behind schedule" by not knocking out France by the end of the summer of 1940. In this campaign, my observation is that to date, the German player has over-deployed in the East (where by rule the Russians can not declare war on Germany until the Fall of 1941), and this has deprived him of the necessary air and armor superiority to finish off France. The Allies now have the opportunity with the "flip-flop" in the Fall of 1940 to further push back the German army and disrupt its efforts to take Paris. While I am not ready to say that France can hold out until the Americans arrive (which rarely happens in this game), I certainly do not feel that France is in imminent danger of falling in the near term.

The Italian play has also been slow and conservative, but given the weakness of the Italian economy, it's somewhat understandable that the Italian commander has sought to conquer Yugoslavia on the cheap. The slow pace in Yugoslavia had opened the possibility for Allied intervention, but the British have made an all-out effort in France, and do not have sufficient forces available in the Med for any meaningful intervention (plus, such intervention would require a British DOW against Italy, something that to date the Allies have not seen as a worthwhile investment).

Russia has had little to do to this point. The German player had been careful to garrison its future minor allies, and other than to take its cut of Eastern Europe, Russia has been essentially hemmed in. I did give momentary consideration for a Turkish invasion, but I've given that idea up as unprofitable. I'd rather prepare for the coming German onslaught.

This first session saw us complete four turns and one YSS in around five hours, which is a pretty good pace, all things considered. The next session will likely take place in late January or early February.

14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, Germany is way over-garrisoned in the east. Neither armor nor air need to be there through 1940. Similarly, the minor allies are tying up a large part of Germany's infantry. Bulgaria needs no garrison at all (Russia lacks the requisite land border to DoW). Finland's garrison is illegal (25.6; Finland may have no more than 5 German combat factors prior to activation). I think that's the chief reason that Germany is falling behind schedule.

Also, I'm skeptical of the wisdom of Germany dumping foreign aid into anybody on the first turn. Germany has the spending power to match anything Russia or Britain does in isolation, so reacting to their moves is generally preferred. Spending first has value only as a deterrent; my take is that it's better to make the Allies spend their own resources first.

Finland is a particularly iffy target for this -- Russia can't donate to them, and so Germany is assured of being able to outspend the Allies, and the double-SR penalty for British transfers can be crippling. If Germany is going to play the deterrence game, I suggest Hungary; it's the largest minor ally that Britain and Russia can combine BRPs on.

Notably missing is the German airborne; there are several interesting possibilities in the Spring '40 situation if it were available (alternately: several Allied deployments would have had to be adjusted if it were available).
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lomn wrote:
Yeah, Germany is way over-garrisoned in the east. Neither armor nor air need to be there through 1940. Similarly, the minor allies are tying up a large part of Germany's infantry. Bulgaria needs no garrison at all (Russia lacks the requisite land border to DoW). Finland's garrison is illegal (25.6; Finland may have no more than 5 German combat factors prior to activation). I think that's the chief reason that Germany is falling behind schedule.

Also, I'm skeptical of the wisdom of Germany dumping foreign aid into anybody on the first turn. Germany has the spending power to match anything Russia or Britain does in isolation, so reacting to their moves is generally preferred. Spending first has value only as a deterrent; my take is that it's better to make the Allies spend their own resources first.

Finland is a particularly iffy target for this -- Russia can't donate to them, and so Germany is assured of being able to outspend the Allies, and the double-SR penalty for British transfers can be crippling. If Germany is going to play the deterrence game, I suggest Hungary; it's the largest minor ally that Britain and Russia can combine BRPs on.

Notably missing is the German airborne; there are several interesting possibilities in the Spring '40 situation if it were available (alternately: several Allied deployments would have had to be adjusted if it were available).


Yeah, I have to agree on all points. Rick and I have both told Jeremy that he needs to deploy more forces in France and less in the East, where he does not face any imminent threat. As for the Finland garrison gaffe, I think Rick and I will simply let Jeremy voluntarily destroy two of the three 3-3 infantry corps located there (I don't think he can SR them out because there's no port in Finland). I really don't think Third Reich is that difficult of a game, but keeping track of the plethora of exceptions to the rules can be a challenge. If over-garrisoning Finland is the only thing we screw up in terms of the rules, it will be a minor miracle!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Bauer
United States
Reading
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Waste Water too
badge
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not to pooh-pooh the standard wisdom about Finland, because it's generally correct but...

If Germany's aim is to take France and start an immediate war with Russia then the extra units in Finland pin more Russians in the north to protect Leningrad. It's not all bad, if it was intended.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SewerStarFish wrote:
Not to pooh-pooh the standard wisdom about Finland, because it's generally correct but...

If Germany's aim is to take France and start an immediate war with Russia then the extra units in Finland pin more Russians in the north to protect Leningrad. It's not all bad, if it was intended.
Yes, I tried to avoid commenting on whether the Finland deployment was a good or bad idea based on this point; I think a strong northern flank like that could be useful (though the tradeoff against the necessarily weak southern flank, due to the overall 20 factor limit, would be interesting). 3R just doesn't allow you to try it due to the Finland-specific limit. I suppose that's a function of Finland historically being more anti-Russia than pro-Germany.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lomn wrote:
SewerStarFish wrote:
Not to pooh-pooh the standard wisdom about Finland, because it's generally correct but...

If Germany's aim is to take France and start an immediate war with Russia then the extra units in Finland pin more Russians in the north to protect Leningrad. It's not all bad, if it was intended.
Yes, I tried to avoid commenting on whether the Finland deployment was a good or bad idea based on this point; I think a strong northern flank like that could be useful (though the tradeoff against the necessarily weak southern flank, due to the overall 20 factor limit, would be interesting). 3R just doesn't allow you to try it due to the Finland-specific limit. I suppose that's a function of Finland historically being more anti-Russia than pro-Germany.


Yeah, I think the point is mostly moot, since regardless of any other consideration, the 9-factor deployment is illegal (thank you for pointing that out!). Looking at the situation, it would seem that the only way to get more German factors to Finland after it is activated would be to fly in air units (or the airmobile unit). For German land units to get there would seem to require that the Germans open a corridor through Eastern Europe and Russia on to Leningrad. Short of that, keeping a 3-3 infantry, the 3-3 airmobile corps, and an air fleet in Finland in addition to the Finnish units would certainly make the Russian player keep a closer eye on Leningrad than he might do otherwise.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Bauer
United States
Reading
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Waste Water too
badge
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
desertfox2004 wrote:
lomn wrote:
SewerStarFish wrote:
Not to pooh-pooh the standard wisdom about Finland, because it's generally correct but...

If Germany's aim is to take France and start an immediate war with Russia then the extra units in Finland pin more Russians in the north to protect Leningrad. It's not all bad, if it was intended.
Yes, I tried to avoid commenting on whether the Finland deployment was a good or bad idea based on this point; I think a strong northern flank like that could be useful (though the tradeoff against the necessarily weak southern flank, due to the overall 20 factor limit, would be interesting). 3R just doesn't allow you to try it due to the Finland-specific limit. I suppose that's a function of Finland historically being more anti-Russia than pro-Germany.


Yeah, I think the point is mostly moot, since regardless of any other consideration, the 9-factor deployment is illegal (thank you for pointing that out!). Looking at the situation, it would seem that the only way to get more German factors to Finland after it is activated would be to fly in air units (or the airmobile unit). For German land units to get there would seem to require that the Germans open a corridor through Eastern Europe and Russia on to Leningrad. Short of that, keeping a 3-3 infantry, the 3-3 airmobile corps, and an air fleet in Finland in addition to the Finnish units would certainly make the Russian player keep a closer eye on Leningrad than he might do otherwise.


The only reason to place so many units initially in Finland is if the Axis have variant #5 and intend to use it because the only way to recover those units would be to voluntarily destroy them.

Still I agree, far too many Infantry units in Finland. It limits what the Axis can place in the other minors for the initial phase of Barbarossa. Remember prior war only 20 factors of Axis units may be in the minor neutrals.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doug Poskitt
Portugal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The photo at the top of the AAR shows 3 x 3-3 Inf units in Finland. Isn't that illegal? I thought it was a five factor limit.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dougposkitt wrote:
The photo at the top of the AAR shows 3 x 3-3 Inf units in Finland. Isn't that illegal? I thought it was a five factor limit.


Yeah, Doug, if you read the subsequent posts, that mistake is pointed out quite sufficiently! Frankly, it's a mistake that if anything has hurt the German player more than anyone else, as he has under-supported his drive on Paris and needs to pull more of his units from the East to the West ASAP. However, this error will be easily corrected in our next session, now scheduled for January 25th, as we will direct the German leader to voluntarily destroy two of those 3-3 corps in order to get his deployment 'legal' once more.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You might consider letting him treat them as free new construction builds, to lessen the penalty of the correction.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doug Poskitt
Portugal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lomn wrote:
You might consider letting him treat them as free new construction builds, to lessen the penalty of the correction.


"Never, I say never, show any mercy towards the Hun!"
Winston
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lomn wrote:
You might consider letting him treat them as free new construction builds, to lessen the penalty of the correction.


Yeah, considering that in this case the Fuehrer is 12 years old perhaps that is the better course of action! One wouldn't want to discourage an aspiring Fuehrer after all (er, perhaps that's not quite right!)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.