All right, I'm back from Lobster Trap (local game convention) and the war must go on! Sadly I didn't have a chance to play Waterloo 200 there, but I will get to that, hopefully over Thanksgiving. Now back to Blocks in Afrika!
March 1941 – Axis
Germany builds 5 Festung steps, one in each Festung, to protect them from British bombing raids. Spends 7 on factories (2 red @9, 2 red and 1 blue @8, 1 red and 1 white @5). Builds 2 sub steps (all wolf-packs now at 5-steps). Builds 3 HQ steps (all SHQ's now maxed). Spends 12RPP to upgrade 3 infantry to Panzer units in Army Group Center (Wehrmacht Reforms). Gives Romania and Hungary 2BPP each, gives Italy 3YPP. Sends 8YPP, 3RPP and 3Oil to Afrika. Saves 15YPP, 6RPP, 4WPP, 3BPP and 2 Oil, loses 3BPP. In Afrika, builds 3 fighter and 1 infantry step of Afrika Corps, depot has 9YPP, 3RPP, 1BPP and 5 Oil.
Italy builds 1 HQ step (Navy), 1SS steps (DaVinci now 5-step), 1 DD step. Sends 4YPP, 1RPP, 2 Oil to Afrika depot. In Afrika, builds 1 armor step.
Finland (12YPP), Romania (7YPP, 7BPP), Hungary (3YPP, 2BPP) and Bulgaria (3YPP) save all collected PP.
Strategic Rail Movement
FHQ activates for a sea transport, an SRM, fuels one fleet, . Deonitz activates to fuel 3 fleets and 1 sea transport. The Italian Navy HQ activates to fuel 3 fleets.
In the Atlantic, Germany has heard from spies that large shipments of war material have left port in New York headed for the United Kingdom. What they don't know is where the Allies are sending the goods, to the British Isles themselves or around Cape Horn to Afrika? On a random roll, Germany bets on the UK and is mistaken, the goods are headed to Afrika. Germany sends two sub fleets to the NA convoy box, leaving one sub fleet along with the DaVinci in the SA convoy box. Bulgarian forces finish off the last Greek garrison along the Mataxa wall, while German forces in Crete finish cleaning out the Greek garrison there, linking up with the Fallschirmjaeger troops that landed earlier. Two sea transports bring German Me109's back from the Afrikan desert, which was sapping their strength with its damned gritty sand. Now that the Afrika Corps is beginning to arrive, German interests in that theater are represented (Afrika depot can be held open). The Norwegian air HQ is transported back to Germany through the Baltic, as Germany prepares to face British aircraft in Europe who may start attacking the Atlantik Wall defenses.
March 1941 – Allies
Finally having secured promises of direct aid from the United States, the British hope to launch an offensive in Afrika while the Axis is still somewhat weak in that theater. They decide to ship American Lend-Lease there, and the Germans guess wrong. Unable to screen them well in the South Atlantic, and not wanting to face German subs
Combat US Coast Convoy Box is inconclusive, with no hits scored by either side.
In the North Atlanic the Kriegsmarine has a powerful fleet. German CA's score 1 hit, then nothing until the final wolf-pack rolls THREE sixes, sinking the Rodney and reducing the German CA to 1 step (subs get to choose). Two of the three PP's sunk are YPP.
In the South Atlantic, the Axis targets the Lend Lease convoys, and Axis subs once again shoot down some British biplanes with AA fire, and take no damage themselves. The German and Italian u-boats each score a hit, reducing the British carriers to 0-step floating hulls and sinking 1 RPP and 1 BPP. That is not a good sign for the reeling British.
The UK builds 2 Navy HQ steps, sends 9YPP, 2RPP and 4BPP to Afrika. Builds 3 armor steps from the Wilson force in Afrika and 1 bomber step there. Builds 2 DD steps in the Atlantic (1 in NA and 1 in CA convoy boxes). Saves 4YPP, 3BPP, 1 WPP and loses 4 BPP. In Afrika, saves 9YPP, 2RPP, 7BPP, loses 2BPP.
Russia saves all and has 112YPP, 51RPP, 42BPP and 24WPP.
Strategic Rail Movement
Both Navy HQ and Churchill activate to fuel 7 British fleets (I've been forgetting to fuel the British Indian Ocean fleet, proper adjustments have been made to HQ steps) and fuel a bomber in Afrika. Harris and Dowding activate to fuel 3 fighters and 2 bombers.
Feeling the pinch of German U-Boat activity, the British sail a 4-step DD and a 1-step BB out of the Mediterranean, leaving only the token force of a 1-step BB and 1-step CSS in that sea. This seems contradictory given their hopes of launching an offensive there soon, but the lack of any carriers with air wings in the Atlantic calls for desperate measures. They won't be able to stop Germany and Italy from resupplying in Afrika, but they will still be able to get their own losses re-fitted.
In Egypt, British forces begin slowly moving West, toward the border. Not quite ready to start a fight, they may be able to soon. [Strategy note – as Kenny has said, German Stukas in Crete are a fearsome weapon, and the UK's ability to move into Libya while they are present seems limited at best. Still, if the Germans send those bombers, the British Spitfires can react. If nothing else, a war of attrition in Afrika, supported by some limited bombing of the Altantic Wall, may help bleed the German efforts to conquer Russia.]
On the Continent, the British have known about German work on their vaunted Atlantic Wall. With no enemy air units known to be in the area, the British have a chance to do some damage. Two bombers and 2 5-step fighters fly out to strike the Channel Island and Calais forts.
In Afrika, Germany has no HQ yet so its fighters cannot react. Even at only 2 steps, the British send their Mosquitos on a sneak attack of the German Afrika Corps infantry, at only 1-step, that foolishly crept into range.
German AA shoot down 1 step of British fighters, and British bombers take out 1 step of the Calais Festung (now back to 1-step). The “Afrika Gambit” backfires on the British, as the lone German infantry step scores and AA hit and the remaining bomber step misses.