Doug Poskitt
Portugal
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Allies: Pat
Axis: Doug

Axis Winter 1939

(SWITZERLAND)
"The Governments of Norway, The Netherlands and Belgium were today presented with a request from Germany that they open their borders, order their armed forces to stand down and let the Whermacht occupy their territories "for an indeterminate period of time" so as to avoid useless bloodshed, whilst the armed forces of the Reich took "precautionary measures" to safeguard the German borders and flanks in the light of the disturbing degree of "aggressive mobilisation and deployment" by the powers of France and Britain."

Reuters
Winter 39


(BRUSSELS)
By order of Leopold III, King of the Belgians, a proclamation of neutrality was met with rousing cheers of the populace, "We are not a highway". The Dutch and Norwegians also issued communiques maintaining their neutrality.


(BERLIN)
To: The Kings of Norway and Belgium, the Queen of The Netherlands
From: Herr Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister

"The German Government gives notice that the armed forces of the Reich have been ordered to cross your borders and take under the protection of Germany the welfare of your subjects. This is done to save them the sufferings of warfare which the governments of France and Britain are looking to bring upon your nations."

Wilhelmstrasse
Winter 39


The Houses of Oldenberg, Orange-Nassau and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha will defend their territory and neutrality with force. Do not enter our lands. Do not make new enemies.

(SWITZERLAND)
"In a breathtaking new development, Germany has declared war on Norway, The Netherlands and Belgium today. German Government pronouncements expressed regret at the "technicalities" that forced their declaration of war on these states, emphasising that it was both for their protection and for the protection of the Reich as they seek to protect the Fatherland against anticipated French and British aggression."

Reuters
Winter 39


REFEREE
"By the way, I'm curious why you passed on the chance to force a double move on the Allies in your game with Patrick by deciding against spending on counter-intel?"

Dear Ref,

I thought about that, but decided against it for several reasons.

1) I spent quite some time gaming about possible Allied attempts to take out Italy over Fall-Winter 39 and concluded my defense of Italy was sound enough to present an Allied invasion as a risky move. Thus, if a double move were forced on the Allies, they might draw the proper conclusion and leave Italy alone. If forced into a double move, I couldn't be sure the Allies would just build and stand pat. (sic). They could decide, given a double move, to a) go after Norway or b) take out the Italians in north Africa. I want Norway as a base for interdicting the Murmansk Convoys, but more importantly, given the Wafdist variant, I did not want to have Pat decide that, as he was forced into a double move, any gambit was better than nothing, and get mischievous in Libya. Hopefully, my having the Italians maintain an innocuous stance in north Africa will cause him to ignore the area until Yugoslavia is taken out and I'm ready to start the southern prong of "Operation Eastern Promise".

2) "Eastern Promise" requires the Italians to be able to DoW and take an offensive in the same turn. To do that, I need to finish 1939 with 25 Italian BRPs in the bank. With Germany commited to full builds only Italy will be able to mix it in the Intel war in 1939. Given that 15 BRPs are required for an offensive against Yugoslavia next turn, that only leaves 32 BRPs, 25 of which must be husbanded. There may or may not be casualties re: "Operation Belva" but at best Italy will have only 5 BRPs for Intel in 1939. So, one turn requires a risk of the Allies taking an unopposed Intel roll ... I thought I'd get that risk out of the way right off the bat.

3) I do have a few little surprises planned as part of "Eastern Promise" and for that I need no unecessary casualties to be suffered by Germany or Italy.


DoW
Germany declares war on Norway, The Netherlands and Belgium. The Minor neutrals are set up as follows:



Pat sets up the forces of Norway, Holland and Belgium pretty much as expected. “Tasty morsels to be sure!” thought the wolf as he licked his lips.

Options
Germany: West (Off); Med (Attr); East (Attr)
Italy: West (Attr); Med (Off); East (Attr)

The goals for this turn are quite clear. The conquest of Norway, The Netherlands and Belgium for Germany, followed by the conquest of Yugoslavia by Italy. The only real danger was excessive casualties; hopefully to be avoided.

It was at about this time period in the war that whispers were heard concerning an Axis plan by the name of “Eastern Promise”, though Axis Intelligence were fairly sure it hadn't reached as far as Allied ears.

Movement Phase
The minor neutral nations surely trembled as the Whermacht and their Italian sidekicks made their preparational moves for the coming winter battles. German units moved to their jump off points for actions against Scandinavia and the Low Countries. Copenhagen was occupied without incident. The Kriegsmarine sent part of it's fleet east, through the Baltic Sea, to Konigsberg. The Italians proceeded to surround the Yugoslav forces holed up in and around Belgrade.







Preparations are made in Libya to accommodate a more forward stance and the arrival of reinforcements from the troops freed by the end of the campaign in Yugoslavia.

Combat Phase

Naval & Air Missions

1) 9-factor fleet at Konigsberg sails to the Norwegian beach at D35, carrying the 7th Infantry Corps. This seaborne invasion will succeed, and in the event of the airborne drop on Oslo going disastrously wrong, will prevent the latter's permanent elimination, providing of course one remembers to conduct the seaborne invasion first.

2) A 5-4 air-wing flies GS over Oslo, so as to assist the 3-3 airborne in a 2:1 parachute attack on the Norwegian capital.



3) A 3-4 air-wing operates over The Hague, providing 2 factors to support the two infantry corps in a 2:1 attack, the remaining factor counter-airing the Dutch Fokkers. This is legit, though partials will have to be available should losses be taken, or Germany stands to lose the whole 3-4.

4) The Belgian air force is counter-aired, while 2 air factors apiece provide ground support for the attacks that flank either side of Brussels.



5) Italy flies 2 air factors to counter-air the Yugoslav air force, while 5 air factors fly GS for the 2:1 attack on Belgrade.



All is set, and as the bombs are about to fall on the hapless minors, the British and French must look on helplessly. As an active, budding “hegemonic” … that's just how I like it!

Counter-air Combat

The Luftwaffe surprises the Dutch and Belgian air while the latter's planes were still on the ground, and destroy them for no loss. No less was expected of the technically superior German air force. However, a sour snarl appeared across Il Duce's face when he heard that his Reggae Reggia Aeronautica were out-flown and out-fought by the Yugoslav air force; nevertheless, while the Italians lost an air factor, the Yugoslav pilots would not get to fly again.

Ground Combat

Out of the clear blue sky over Oslo, General Student and his elite paratroops descend on the Norwegian defenders. Moments later, the German 7th Infantry Corps wades ashore at D35, establishing a BH for further operations (if required).



Using naval, air, infantry and airborne units, this can perhaps be seen as a “safe” combined-arms attack on the Norwegian capital.

First to fall are the Belgian infantry defending Antwerp. Blown away in a 4:1 attack, they disintegrate as two German 3-3 Infantry Corps occupy the objective port.

The Belgian defenders at N25 put up a better fight. Prior to being eliminated, they dispose of a German 3-3 Infantry unit (in a 3:1 attack no less!). Still, the 4-6 Armour advances into N25, creating a breakthrough, and establishing a BH.

The Dutch are nominally stronger than the Belgian forces that have already seen action. Maybe they were trained by the French, as they offer scant resistance and give up the fight with indecent haste, ceding The Hague to the German 15th Infantry Corps.

Up in the far north, the Norwegian defenders were obviously awe-stricken at the sight of Student's finest as they vertically enveloped them … they too gave up the ghost without a shot seemingly being fired.

All in all, the only loss to the Whermacht was a solitary 3-3 Infantry unit. The Fuhrer was very pleased, surrounding himself with an aura of invincibility as befitted a soon-to-be conqueror of the western world. (The carpets in the New Chancellery would be safe tonight).



Much to Il Duce's immense satisfaction, and despite a long, hard, drawn-out battle, Belgrade was occupied in a 2:1 attack, with no loss to the Italians.

It may well be Winter 1939, but, so far, this season was definitely “Springtime for the Axis”.



Exploitation Combat

In the west, the four 4-6 Arm units adjacent to the point of attack on N25 move to the breakthrough hex, whereby two of then move into M26. With two factors of GS, that sets up an 18:6 (3:1) exploitation attack on Brussels. (In the image below, I have left one of the armour stacks unpopped, but there are two attacking armour units in N25).



It was becoming a trend for the minor neutrals to not put up much of a fight, and the attack on Brussels saw the Belgian defenders melt away like chocolate soldiers in the sun as German panzers occupied the capital.

At the end of the combat phase, the European mapboard presented a pleasing enough sight to Axis eyes. Poland (20), Denmark (10), Norway (10), The Netherlands (10), Belgium (15) and Yugoslavia (20) had all been liberated from the yoke of Allied influence and would be “conditioned” thereafter for their role in the new order of Europe as divined by the “Holy Duo” of The Fuhrer and Il Duce.



Construction Phase

For reasons discussed above, Italy does not build, nor does she embark on any Intelligence operations.

On the other hand, Germany spends to the limit, constructing 6 air factors, an armoured unit, an infantry unit and a replacement.



SR Phase

Italy starts to beef up her presence in eastern Libya; the initial moves that presage the unfolding of the grand strategic plan “Eastern Promise”. A spare SR is utilized to move a Replacement unit into Z24, ensuring that any mad British scheme designed to cause Italy irritation (or worse) by landing in AA23 can not exploit further than the Z row, thus allowing Axis SR's into Rome if required.



Germany's SR's see the 9-factor fleet at Konigsberg move to Bergen, thereby safeguarding the peaceful existence of the Norwegians who had been brought into the protection of the Reich. In the west, Germany forms a double line against any belated attempt by the western allies to wake up from their apparent slumber and actually confront their enemies.



Note the unpopped stacks – two 4-6 armoured units at Brussels and three 4-6 armoured units at N25 (on a BH) – thus forming an attrition proof line against any allied attempts to move into Belgium. In order to avoid being counter-aired by the allied air force, no German air-wings are in position to fly DAS over Antwerp, Brussels or N25. As the Fuhrer himself admitted, this was the risky part of a Winter 1939 conquest of Belgium that sought to preserve the Luftwaffe for operations in 1940.

Basking in another season of almost casualty-free campaigning and a set of victories even more stunning than that of the conquest of Poland the Fuhrer spoke out. “In war all sides must take risks.” The Fuhrer declared. “The side that emerges victorious will be that which takes the better risks … and you can be sure it will be the Third Reich!

Confident words indeed from the Fuhrer; will they be justified? Only time would tell.

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Aaron Converse
United States
New York
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I'm really enjoying the reports...thanks!

BUT...please, it is the Wehrmacht, not the Whermacht!
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Greg Sager
United States
San Diego
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philosoph0123 wrote:
I'm really enjoying the reports...thanks!

BUT...please, it is the Wehrmacht, not the Whermacht!


Would that I could write such a brilliant report while suffering intermittent dyslexia.
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Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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Somebody said anything about the Weremacht?
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Michael Taylor
United States
Aurora
Indiana
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This game always had some interesting moments in it. Always something unexpected.

However, I last touched it probably 20 years ago. As intriguing as the idea seems, there is no way that I will ever open that rulebook again in my lifetime.

Kudos to you guys for playing this legend of a game!

Mike
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Bernd Caspers
Germany
Mönchengladbach
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Looking forward to "Eastern Promise".
 
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Bernd Caspers
Germany
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haslo wrote:
Somebody said anything about the Weremacht?


Wer macht denn sowas?
 
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bestia immonda
Italy
Bologna
Bologna
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It is REGIA MARINA or REGIA AREONAUTICA, even if "Reggae" makes more sense as we italians are crappy soldiers!
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Doug Poskitt
Portugal
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nicktaruffi wrote:
It is REGIA MARINA or REGIA AREONAUTICA, even if "Reggae" makes more sense as we italians are crappy soldiers!


Like the Fuhrer, Il Duce takes the stance that it's his armed force and he'll call them what he wants to.

The Italians do indeed have their moments "in the spotlight" in the turns to come.



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