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No Retreat! Italian Front: 1943-45» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Operation Diadem rss

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Loïc Boué
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After finally getting the hang of forts in CB and CA, I started the Operation Diadem once again (solitaire).

About CB:
- You always flip a Target marker.
- If a Target marker has no "Counterblow" side the Combat is "No Effect".
- If the battle was caused by a Counterblow marker (thus you cannot flip it), use any available regular Counterblow marker of the Phasing Player side. If none are available, treat the combat result as "No Effect".

About Forts:
- They are not included in CA and under CB.
- When not included, they provide no effect.

WARNING :
The tactical play in this session report is far from optimal.
Allies are blowing cards for combat effects and to improve units, to gain just one or two shifts during their combat phase. They could have used those cards for more CB. There is no need to improve every unit back to full strenght before two or three weeks.
Germans use tenacious defense too often and skip possibilities to lose the fort during an EX and then retreat with an intact unit.
See "Lessons Learnt" at the end.



Turn 11:

Deployment and Initial Hands:

Allies: Operation Diadem, Harold Alexander, Orders from the Fuhrer, Charles Keightley, Oliver Leese, Desert Air Force.

Germans: Forced labour, John Lucas, Angriff, SchwerPunkt, Republic of Salo.
A weak hand, but the Allies don’t know this.

+3 forts are set in Cassino and north of Ortona, weak +1/+0 around Cassino, +2 around Anzio. But Kesselring is lucky with the two KGs : 2 SP each.

Strategic Phase:

Alexander launches Operation Diadem: 4 weeks of major offensive in sunny and dry weather.

Kesselring declines to use Forced labor and keeps it for 2 discards later.

Alexander exchanges himself (whistle) and Orders from the Fuhrer, and receives Commando raids and Combat Engineers.
A very good card, but how to use it: blast the weak unit north of Ortona, try to punch a hole somewhere around Anzio or Cassino, or keep it for a later opportunity?

Allies get 5 Shock Markers thanks to sunny weather, leaving no Blitz to the Germans.

Skip to Allied Turn.

8th Army shuffles units around to get 4th Indian and 25th Tank in Ortona. British Commando moves closer to Cassino, replaced by 9th Brigade. US Commando joins 1st Armored and 3rd Inf.

Shock Target is used on 334th Inf (east of Gaeta), potential 4 units attack if no CB. Targets on 5th Geb (Poles and NewZealanders), 26th Pz and 60 PzGren (4 US units + Cdo) and on the 205th Inf north of Ortona. With 4 attacks ongoing, the Allies decide not to use the British in Anzio, saving a likely step loss and the possibility of using a shock marker in a CA.

Germans set a CB on 309th Lehr and 362 Inf to split the Anzio attack. The shock counterblow is set on 71 Inf to divert the French. Additional CB would only draw in allied units not already attacking, so Kesselring husbands his precious cards.

The initial Anzio attack looks like a lost cause now : 2 vs 1 with 4 left shifts (mountains + fort + tenacious defense). Allies decides to solve the CB first : 3/2 + a shock marker for 3/1. Germans play Lucas to prevent any possible advance on a lucky 6. Result an EX/CR, CR brings another CR. Result on 3/2 is again EX/CR ending this time with a CB. A disappointing result.
Allies decides not to commit the commando’s bonus or a shock marker on the initial attack. Inconclusive result, but a step loss because of the attack on a fort (not commando though). Anzio is still bottled up.

Next potential breakthrough is the French against Shock CB west of Cassino. A shock marker brings the final ratio to 3/1. A lucky 6 brings a red DS ! Who needs Juin ? Moroccans advance, destroying the +0 fort. Just below, the shock target attack would be initially 2/1 but with a final 3 shifts left (mountain, river, fort). The Allies decide to add pressure and commit a third shock marker. The fort is a mere +1, so the combat engineers would just be worth one shift, they are kept for another fight. Ratio is 3/2 and die roll is a 5, for a very welcome EX/CR. But unfortunately the German CA does not trigger a CA.
The engineers would have been wasted there (5 => D, would have been EX with the shock target loss).

Alexander decides a breakthrough in Ortona would draw German reserves away from Anzio and Cassino. Combat engineers and a shock marker are committed, against a tenacious defense. 4/1 and a 5 shatters the tenacious defenders and the +3 fort is destroyed in the advance.

Last but not least, the Poles/NZ attack east of Cassino. Initial odds are 3/1 with 4 left shifts. Committing the Desert Air Force and the last shock marker would give 3 right shifts. But that last marker could be used for good effect later. A 1/3 brings a CA (declined) and a step loss on the NZ.

Reserves are brought into Anzio (6th SA, reaching the supply limit, and 36th US). The remaining British armada is deployed in Ortona, to be sure the Germans will get a bit anxious there.

German Turn.

The situation around Anzio is under control. The allies will have to CB to avoid a 3/1 attack (tank shift). The 29th PzGren in Rome will rush to help around Cassino. They can reach the hex just north of the 2nd Moroccan that are now surrounded on 5 sides. It’s far too soon to panic and evacuate Cassino. The 15th PzGren could move to reinforce the 334th Inf, but they would likely be drawn in a CB and would be in a very exposed position, so they stay put. The KG close to Ortona moves away from a potential CB, the coastal road leads to nowhere anyway.

A target marker is put on the 2nd Moroccan. The Allies will have to react to this. With two discards, three CB are set on the 36th Inf in Anzio, on the two US Inf on the west coast and on the 78th Brit and 8th Indian south of Cassino. No more CB can be played.

Around Anzio, the 36 th Inf CB (1/2) brings CA and then a final CB on the German unit. The other CB (2/1) ends in yet another CB. Not a good outcome for the Germans.

Starting from the coast, the 334th Inf must attack the CB at 1/3. A 6 brings a CR. The last shock marker is committed against a tenacious defender (3/1). Die roll is a 4 for a very welcome “D” and the fort loses its last defenders. Alexander congratulates himself for having kept that Shock Marker. The 15th PzGren would have saved the day, but will instead attack the 2nd Moroccan alongside the 29th PzGren (1/1). Die roll is a 5 : EX/CR ! The reduced Moroccans are forced to CA (1/3) and get another CA (1/1 again). Both PzGren get yet another CR. The Moroccans get an inconclusive result and can breathe a sigh of relief. The Cassino units CB (2/1) yields a D: the Allies fall back, and the Germans decline to advance.

Time to bring in the German Reserves: 16th SS in Rome to avoid any surprise there. HG PZ and 90th PzGren in the mountains to block the road from Ortona. They are fast enough to react back toward Rome (94th Inf is somewhat sacrificed, but it will bleed the Allies too). PzRgt 4th reinforces the lone KG, as a precaution. The powerful 504/508 PzAbt reinforces the 26th Pz and 60th PzGren (under a dangerous CB).

The Gustav Line was breached west of Cassino and the adriatic flank was also opened around Ortona. But Anzio is still bottled up and few losses have been inflicted on the German units.


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Carl Paradis
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Just in case some people wonder: in the 1st turn for this Diadem replay the Allies Shock markers are worth two column shifts as per the Scenario's Special Rule #15:

15. Advanced Game Rules: “A. Allied Major Offensive Bonus” (page 2 of this Playbook) is used.

A. Allied Major Offensive Bonus
If the Allied player declares a Major Offensive with an “Operation”-titled Event card, his Shock! markers will be worth two CRT shifts to the right (instead of one shift) on the 1st weekly turn of the offensive (14.6.2) when used in Allied Air Cover hexes (2.13).
 
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Second Week

Weekly Preparation:

Allies use 3 reserves to draw 4 cards. Three are used to improve all damaged units. Tank reserve is kept, with Oliver Leese and Desert Air Force (quite appropriate). 5 Shock Markers are recovered.

Germans use 1 reserve to draw 2 cards. Kesselring decides to improve all the units around Anzio, but not to upgrade robust units yet. Allied Fubar is kept, alongside 3 potential discards. 305th Inf (reduced) and 71st Inf comes back as reserves, under a no combat. They might be used to reinforce other units later.

Allied Turn:

In the Anzio beachhead, British units switch flanks to bring pressure on the 715th Inf under CB.

Around Cassino, the French pushes forward to consolidate their gains, and the US infantry storms the vacated fort. The Allies decide to play it safe with a concentrated attack (shock target) on the 15th PzGren. Two lower odds attacks could have yield greater success or no success at all. All the strongest units congregate around Cassino and the “weak” 5th Geb (+0 fort), with the commandos joining the fray.
Cassino is not directly attacked, as it would be a US/British joint attack with too many left shifts to achieve anything.

On the Adriatic flank, the whole might of the 8th Army will fall on 94th Inf.
8th Army is a bit in an operational dead end now, but can’t make a wide outflank with two Germans highly mobile units on its flank. Its role will be to make sure those units stay there.

Germans options are now quite limited. A CB on Cassino will not divert anything and could offer an EX/CR to the Allies. 29th PzGren holds the door for a withdrawal: it would be foolish to risk it in a CB. Actually the Allies were tempted to attack it. The shock counterblow goes on the just rebuild 309th Lehr and 302nd Inf to split once again the big Anzonian push.

The Allies decides to start with the less promising/useful attacks, to flush out tricky cards (Solitaire player playing mind games with myself).

The “full might” of the 8th Army achieves a measly 3/1 (the fort is revealed to be a +0, but max odds are 6/1 with 3 left shifts). A shock target would double the chance of a good result, but the purpose is to help other fronts, not to take resources away from them. A disappointing D: the 94th Inf did its job well and is even more determined now (it becomes tenacious).

In Anzio, the 1rd Arm, 3rd Inf and Cdo go alone again. 3/2 down to 1/1 because of tenacious Tigers. A shock target is committed, hoping to get rid of that nuisance => EX. At least the Tigers are gone.
Next attack is also a 3/2 down to 1/1 because of shock counterblow. No shock marker committed => D (lucky).
Finally the big “marsh” counterblow with the commitment of the Desert Air Force and a shock marker for 6/1 => DS. At last some opening, but in the wrong direction for Rome….

The shock attack around Gaeta gets a shock marker for 4/1 => DR. The tenacious 15thPzGrn leaves a KG in its wake. US takes one step loss as well.

The Polish/NZ/Indians/Cdo attack north-east of Cassino comes last. Initial odds are 6/1, but mountain (reduced by Cdo) and fort lowers it to 4/1. Shock Marker for 5/1. Tank reserves are committed, but apparently can’t read a map (Allied Fubar) => DR.
The fort takes the step loss as the Germans are now on the brink of collapse and will evacuate. Cdos must take the step loss for attack on a fort and are destroyed (cursing the promised tanks probably).

No reserve units left. The Allies would probably like to pump units in Anzio, but the only available units are British and would be out of supply, as the port supplies the numerous US units.

German Turn:

The writings are on the wall at Cassino, time to pack. The main goal is to cover Rome till the end of the turn and collect 3 VP, and of course to take as few losses as possible.

The whole Gustav Line units move one hex to the north. The SS rushes from Rome to relieve the depleted 362nd Inf. The Anzio beachhead must be contained one more turn. The US Infantry in Anzio looks like a tempting target for a concentrated attack with a panzer shift, but an allied CB would turn it into two fruitless attacks instead. No combat.

Alexander uses his free counterblow on the Canadians to speed things up in 8th Army. No other CB. Time is running short but with reserves almost depleted, every card is precious. The CA there with the last shock marker annihilates the tenacious defenders with a red DD.
Nice in the long run, but still an operational dead end for now.

The recovered but still shaky 71st Inf comes out of reserve (“rebuild”) to reinforce the 5th Geb.

The Allied host has conquered the Gustav Line, but the Anzio beachhead is still well bottled, and not a single German unit has been surrounded so far. Two weeks left to reach Rome.


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Third Week :

Weekly preparation:


Allies use 3 reserves (2 left) to draw 4 cards. They get the useful Ultra Decrypt.

Germans use 1 reserve (none left) to draw 2 cards.
Alexander immediately uses Ultra Decrypt to peek above Kesselring’s shoulder. He grabs “Forced Labor” (worth 2 discards). Now he knows that the Germans might do some tactical withdrawal, so it wouldn’t make much sense to concentrate too much power on just one German unit.
Allies prefer to keep weakening the Germans till the breaking point, instead of trying bolder moves.

Allies pump all units back to full strength, and use a discard to make the newly recreated British commandos fit for combat (no rebuild marker): they could be the final straw to break the back of the Germans in the final week. For now, they are in reserve, doing push-ups and others fun exercises.

Germans identify 29th PzGren on the Liri road as the linchpin of their defense, and expand two discards to bring it back to full strength. He keeps only “Tactical withdrawal” and a useless “Angriff”.

Allied Turn:


With only 8th Army combat cards (Royal Artillery, Commonwealth troops and Leese), Alexander sees scant hope of a decisive US breakthrough out of the Anzio beachhead. It seems that the Allies will not reach Rome in time to satisfy his political masters (ie : before turn 12). The main goal will be to surround the retreating elite Germans troops, and break open the Liri road.

British forces in the beachhead continue their shift to the south (away from Rome…), while the French/US forces continue to push to the north, trying to get the full strength 29th PzGren in a deadly noose. The now empty Cassino is taken with the strongest units moving toward the flanks of the 1st FJ stack (Allies will try to avoid a Polish step loss this week if possible).
8th Army starts a flanking manoeuver around the HG Pz and 90th PzGren, but the difficult terrain makes it slow. It would be useless to keep battering weak infantry units in mountains forts, the plan is to threaten to cut their retreat, or better actually cutting it.

Shock Target could be used against 29th PzGren, but the prospect of a step loss (against a tactical withdrawal for instance) or of a failed CB (Shock Target = no CB possible) is not so good. Shock Target is used for yet another big US attack out of the Anzio beachhead. Four others attacks are launched, avoiding the fearsome 1st FJ stack.

Kesselring decides to order a counterattack (Shock CB on the 1st FJ stack), with the aim of playing a tactical withdrawal and getting his best units to safety.

Situation before the battles:




Assessing the odds of the various British attacks, it appears that Leese would be most useful with the Canadian attack, but the Germans could retreat and them come back (Leese precludes advance). It’s the same with the NZ attack, who will get the support of the Royal Artillery instead.

The attack out of the marsh starts at 1/1 with 3 left shifts. With hindsight that attack was a mistake to start with, they were already preventing a CB just by being there. It will be resolved last.

Canadians (Shock Marker) against Germans (Moutains): 2/1 shifted 1/1 => “lucky” 6 brings a D. Germans decides to fall back to the next mountain range. Alexander sighs…

NZ + 6th Armored (Shock Marker + Royal Artillery) against Germans (Mountains) : 3/2 => EX/CR . The 1/2 counterattack leads to a CB. Alexander sighs…

French + US (Shock Marker + Mountain Troops) against Germans (Mountains): 3/1 => EX/CR (KG and 3rd Algerian take a step loss). CA leads to automatic CA1 : 4/1. With the right shift, even a CB would be a good result, so no Shock Marker => CB turned into another CR turned into another CA1. The die rolls for a red DS. But it’s turned into a DR by Tactical Withdrawal. Alexander sighs …

The Shock Counterblow (16 vs 9 with 3 left shifts because of mixed nationalities + SC + Tenacious defender) leads to an inconclusive result.

The Shock Target attack gets a Shock Market and Commandos bonus : 3/1 => D (and one step loss for the Commandos). Alexander sighs…

The last attack from the marsh leads as expected just to a step loss. Alexander sighs…

Very disappointing results. Numbers would tell with more EX or even better EX/CR.

The commandos step out of reserve, ready for a fight.

German Turn:


All the former Cassino units move up north, but not very fast because of the difficult terrain. 114th Jaeger is surrounded (and can’t even do a useful attack anywhere). 29th PzGren moves south to block both sides of the Liri Road with ZOC, but get into contact with the French units. A dangerous move, but leaving this hex empty would jeopardize the whole line of defense around Anzio.

No target. Alexander uses his free CB on the French. 1/2 brings a CA. 3/2 with the last Shock Marker brings a D. 29th PzGren will keep a bad memories of the French colonials, but they did their job to block the Liri road. Keeping a Shock Marker for the German Turn is really a good idea.

Final supply sees the surrender of 114th Jaeger but no VP for the Allies (the unit is too weak). Alexander sighs and writes a report to Churchill about fighting the best soldiers in the world in the best defensive terrain in the world.

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4th week

Weekly preparation

Allies use the last 2 reserves and draw 3 cards (using Alexander special power to discard the first one that was not so good). Alexander get “Alexander”. He uses it to dismiss Leese, and get Carpet Bombing (good !)and Mark Clark. Other combat card is Commonwealth troops. Once again all units are pumped back to full strength except SA Tanks (to keep two discards for CB later).

Kesselring has no more reserves and draw one card : Fridolin von Senger, worth all the reserves in the world ! Angriff could be used to improve 60th PzGren, but they would lose the tenacious defense. The card is kept for a possible CB.

Allied turn:

Allies have almost no room for manoeuver around Anzio and the Liri road, and just push the strongest units forward. 8th Army high mobility (6) allows a surprisingly fast outflank of the retreating Germans.
4 Target used (Shock Target for the Anzio mandatory “big push”). The Apennines hexside limits the options of the 6th Armored stack.
All possible Germans CB would result in 1/1 combats so none are used.



Alexander carefully ponders where to carpet bomb now. Helping the French would ensure success but the fight is already at 4/1. Bombing robust units will save them from encirclement and brings up pesky KG anyway, not a good idea for a short term tactical gain. On the other hand, bombing the 60th PzGrn will completely remove a tenacious defender and a breakthrough at Anzio would be disastrous for the Germans. The bombers fly off toward the Anzio beachhead….

The shock target is resolved first, after carpet bombing. A shock marker is committed as well as the commando bonus, but Fridolin von Senger happens to be on the spot and reacts swiftly (actually the card was played at the start of the combat phase). 3/1 with no final shift => EX/CR. The mandatory CA brings an automatic CA1. The reduced 26th Pz still get the +1 of the fort and the +2 of von Senger, but no shift this time. Another shock marker brings it up to 5/1 => DS !!! Success at last? No… von Senger turns it into a mere DR. 26th Pz dies on the spot, leaving a KG in the fort. Whoever was in command in the beachhead will not go well in the history books.

French/US attack is 5/1 with one final left shift (Tenacious + hill vs Shock Marker) for 4/1 => DS, but turned again into a DR, leaving another KG on the spot.

Canadians/Indians attack is 3/2 (another Shock Marker) but on the German CRT (Commonwealth troops) => EX/CR. CA brings an automatic CA1 this time at 6/1 (KG was a 0). Alexander prays for anything but a DS or DR (would kill the KG) => die rolls is 5 for a DD. Only one Indian division advances because the Canadians must stay put to keep supply open. The 1st FJ and 44th Hud are not surrounded yet, but will have trouble breaking out now. Actually they won’t because they will escape to the reserve box at the start of next turn.

Last attack against those (almost)trapped units is 1/1 (Commando bonus used, but last Shock Marker is kept) => CB.

German Turn:
Not much to be done but retreat. With two cards in the Allied hand, all KGs in contact would be drawn into potentially disastrous CB. Rome is saved, but the German forces are in tatters. Besides, the 8th Army could turn north and roll all the way to the frontier now. A defense line must be established there. 362th Inf is moved as a speed bump.

Alexander last action is a double CB SW of Ostia. The last Shock Marker is used in the CA for another disappointing EX. The beachhead forces achieved no advance again.

Germans units move out of reserves to close the line up north.




Final assessment of Operation Diadem:


Kesselring saved Rome but lost swathes of his army in the process. 4 robust units and 6 regular units are destroyed, one unit surrendered.

Alexander plans were mostly “card-driven”. He received plenty of double discards but precious few combat cards, half of them for 8th Army, and was often thwarted by German cards. His main operational choice was to commit the Canadians on the Ortona-Rome road. Those units might have been more useful around Cassino. However, they brought the destruction of 2 units (one of them robust) and the surrender of one unit, and almost cut the escape of 1st FJ and 44th Hud.
More EX or EX/CR especially at Anzio would have helped a lot. There was no way to create more attrition (low odd attacks against forts would just bleed cards away).


Starting turn 12, Germans will get 3 events VP (Allies not in Rome) - that would trigger a Sudden Death in campaign game and a forced leader change - and then 1 more (Allies not in Livorno either). Allies will get 4 VP for Rome and its airport. They need 7 more VP to win the scenario, which doesn’t look good. They will have to surround some German units to win. Maybe having an intact army will tell.

To be continued...
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Carl Paradis
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The Allies can also win by controlling four cities on the Northern map, or by breaking the German line.

Keep up the great narrative! meeple
 
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Turn 12

I hope I did the strategic switch properly

D-Day : 1st LAH SS, 14th and 24th Pz are removed from the game (they never entered Italy).

Allies in Rome: they are not, and don’t even have ZOC on Rome => + 3 German event VP (they started at 2 VP). Total is 5 event VP + 13 map VP for a total of 18 VP.

Sudden death check: Germans has enough VP and control Rome, but Alexander was not replaced, so they don’t win but Alexander is replaced by Clark. He doesn’t have the discard ability, but a useful event effect on turn 13. This doesn’t cost VPs. However, the player without the strategic advantage lose 2 VPs. The Germans now have 20 VP.

High Tide is set at 28 VP (20 + 8). Immediate victory would have been at 30. That was close.

Strategic advantage is switched to allied side.
Event VP are reset to 0. Map VP stand at 12. Allies will need 20 to win, or 4 cities on North Map. Not as difficult as I thought (thanks to event VP reset).

(I stored the game away and started again from Vassal map. Some units might have switched in the process, like 68th and 93th German Inf, but should be the same values).

Strategic Phase:

Allies need an offensive next turn, and will surely get reserves from taking Rome. 4 cards drawn: 12th and 15th Air Force, Strategic Tension and Tank Reserves + Clark from last turn (appropriately).

Germans needs to rebuild some units and forts. 4 cards drawn : Gothic Line, 2 events worth 2 discards and Enemy Hesitation (+ Angriff from last turn). Smiling Albert is optimistic.

Clark uses Strategic Tension to force a random discard, removing one of the “worth 2” events. Good deal. Kesselring plays Gothic Line. 4 forts are build (3 around Bologna, one north of Livorno).

Organisation Phase:


Allies get 4 Shocks, Germans 1 Blitz.

Allies improve all except US Cdos, keeping Clark and 12th Air Force (with a plan in mind).

Germans rebuild 4 units: 98th Inf that can be used as a speed bump (too low to be worth a surrender VP), the good 94th and 334th Inf, and the always useful Tigers of Pz Abt 504/508. They also get 5 (weak) reinforcements.

Deployment Phase:

Allies have no units in reserve. The three British units around Anzio are brought back in reserve. Clark wants to avoid a mix-up of US and British units.

Germans move 7 units to the Gothic Line, keeping 98th Inf and Pz Abt in reserve. 1st JG and 44 Hud escape to reserve as well, thwarting Allies plan to get rid of those nuisances.



Allied Turn:

Clark plans to surround Rome by the East, to avoid the Ortona-Ancona Road, pushing instead on the Rome-Rimini road with the 8th Army. 12th Tactical Air will slow down the German withdrawal, setting them up for destruction next turn.

The forts and EZOC makes it look a bit less sweeping than expected though. The airport is taken and brings two reserves. The slower French forces take a step back for now, leaving faster units forward. 8th Army surrounds the 362th Inf, but it’s not worth forcing them to surrender, speeding ahead is more important.

With 4 Shock Markers, Clark orders a first attack on Rome to keep the attrition on the German forces. Shock Target goes on the 5th Geb. Kesselring declines to CB to avoid unwanted EX.



8th Army + tank shift = 6/1 => red DD. The hapless landsers can’t retreat and due to a red result surrender instead. Even better, Allies mechanized units get a third hex advance and surrounds the 5th Geb (speed bumps in hills are not so good).

The attack against 5th Geb get a Shock Marker (+ Shock Target) against Mountains and tenacious defense = 3/1 => D. 5th Geb dies on the spot, leaving a surrounded KG.

The last attack on Rome with a Shock Marker = 2/1 => EX. The slow moving KG is sacrified.

The British units in reserve reappear north of Ortona, to pressure the Germans there.


German Turn:


Clark unleashes the 12th Tactical Air Force, preventing German units from using the road bonus. Kesselring has no trouble to see into the Allies plan now. Faster units are ordered back as fast as possible. Slower units will sacrifice themselves to gain time, especially when they are not worth a surrender VP. The retreat north of Ortona is made in good order for now.

I ruled that 12th Tactical Air Force couldn’t possibly blow all the bridges in Rome, so only the ½ rate was removed.


The surrounded KG will die at the end of the turn, but Clark uses his free CB trying to get one more hex of advance. The single Blitz is used to lower 1/4 to 1/3 => CA. A Shock Marker leads to a DR and the expected hex is gained. The whole “speed bump” in the area was a bit of a tactical disaster for the Germans, but one turn was gained.

Kesselring orders the 98th Inf out of reserve to shore up the weak line north of Rome. The fearsome 1st FJ will block the Ortona-Ancona Road. They are joined by the Pz Abt to avoid any tank shift. They can’t reach the river line in time though (4 hexes from Ancona), leaving a weak spot on the coast. This is a risky move, but the Germans can’t afford to lose two more units there.



Meanwhile, the Gothic Line:



Not as impressive as the Gustav Line….

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Carl Paradis
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Torc wrote:



I ruled that 12th Tactical Air Force couldn’t possibly blow all the bridges in Rome, so only the ½ rate was removed.




Ok sure, but don't be "Target Fixated" by the Event Cards titles. The effect of the cards does not nesessarily represent ONLY the 12th Tactical Air Force. It could be various other effects that are taking place here. meeple

BUT for Rome, it is true that the city was not attacked much, still, IM not sure lots fo Germans units retreated through the Eternal City anyway, I woudl have to check that out.
 
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TURN 13

Dragoon: ten allied units withdrawn, but Clark manages to keep 4 of them (special ability). The French will be sorely missed to breach the Gothic Line, but at least Clark kept the rangers.

Allies in Livorno = alas no, 1 event VP loss.

Strategic Phase:

Clark spends 1 RP to draw 5 cards. He realizes he will have to allow some British units to share the glory of entering Rome to get more RP from his political masters. He gets Alphonse Juin (too late), Orders from the Fuhrer (good), Combat Engineers (good but later), Time on Target and a useless card.

Killroy forced a reshuffle, but no 12th Tactical Air Force come-back

Kesselring draws 4 cards and gets Pak Guns and Enemy Hesitation + two useless cards worth 3 discards. He knows the fall of Rome will convince the OKW to provide more resources soon.

Alphonse Juin leaves (Vive la France!), and advices to use the Desert Air Force.
Then Clark unleashes the “Lucky Number Offensive”, for a duration of three weeks. Will this be enough to reach the Gothic Line ?

Allies must keep the pressure or their number advantage will be wasted while Germans rebuild units and forts, escaping easily (3 units to reserve each turn). Clark hopes to draw Operation Olive to unleash hell on turn 15 (double shock markers).

Organization Phase:

Allies get 3 Shocks, Germans 1 Blitz.

Allies improve one unit. They receive 3 units.

Germans rebuilds 4 units to reserve (with “no combat” markers).

Deployment Phase:

Allies moves the commandos back to Reserve, as well as 4th Indian Inf. The newly received units replace those that left for Dragoon (British around Ortona and US south of Rome).

Germans moves the three strongest units north of Rome to reserve, leaving only a weak and worthless screen of infantry. No unit move out of reserves for now, waiting to see where the Allies will choose to go.

Allied Turn:

Clark shares the glory of entering Rome between Polish and US units (+4 RP, +2 for the Germans). The Canadians circle around the defenses to start down the road to Rimini and reach Terni. US forces can only encircle the 65th Inf (the Tévere will also prevent any double advance). British units follow in the wake of the Canadians. 8th Army can only headbutts into the German line north of Ancona.

The 85th Inf will not surrender because they are supplied in Rome (Living Rule, I forgot it so the target doesn’t show on the picture).
The lone KG is attacked (no need for a Shock Target here). Two attacks are launched by 8th Army on the weak flanks of the German Line. Germans relieve the pressure with a Shock Counterblow on the still impressive HG Pz (reduced) and 29th PzGrn.



There is no way to achieve good odds against the SC, so the concentrated attack along the coastal road will go on as scheduled. 56th London and 8th Indian takes the brunt of the CB. With the help of a Shock Marker they manage 1/2 => CA. Kesselring doesn’t want to invest the unique Blitz just right now. He stills order a CA at 1/1 => EX/CR. 8th Indian flips, 29th PzGren flips and becomes tenacious, making the CR a 1/3 (Clark also keeps his Shock Markers) => another CA, this time declined.
Tactical choices were not so good here. Using one Shock Marker for just one chance of getting an EX result was a dubious decision, as well as the choice to CA for just one chance of getting a D, instead offering the Allies an EX in return. This is not the Russian Front, finesse is required.

On the coastal road, Allies uses the second Shock Marker for 3/1 (KG is worth 1) => 6 for a red DS (Allies need to roll 6 from time to time to achieve something). The Tronto is crossed …or is it?
As usual, 8th Army hesitates ( “Enemy Hesitation” is played) but eventually goes for it (“Orders from the Fuhrer” negates that card). HG Pz and 29th PzGrn will have more difficulties to fall back now.

8th Army finishes with the attack on 305th Inf, using tenacious defense (they are too slow to escape the fast moving Allies anyway). A Shock Marker makes it 3/2 => EX/CR. 305th Inf is destroyed, but gloriously as their skillfull use of antitanks guns (“Pak Guns” played) not only reduces 46th British Inf but also destroys the 4th Armored Brigade for good. They will probably not come back without a “no combat” marker during this offensive. No advance is made. All considered it’s a good result for the Germans.

Around Rome, the KG is shattered but the Tévere limits the advance to one hex. 85th Inf is shattered with a red result and surrenders instead, one hex advance (1 US reserve because max is 4, and 1 German reserve).

German Turn:


The units facing the 8th Army are in jeopardy now: the Canadian will reach Rimini in just one move. As tempting as a backhand blow looks, the whole line must fall back as fast as possible. However, the 715th Inf has to be sacrified to cover the retreat.

North of Rome, the 92th and 98th Inf falls back as well to the closest defensive terrain they can find.

With no other choice, Kesselring orders the just rebuilt 5th Geb to block the Canadians. They deploy at the crossroad south of Perugia, ready to die for the Fuhrer.

Germans are running short of speed bumps and will probably lose two units worth VP. An alternate plan would be to get all units out of reserve, but 4 of them have been rebuilt (giving one shift to the Allies) and there is just too much ground to cover. Better to bring them on the Gothic Line next turn. Besides, 3 destroyed units are due to leave next turn, they must be rebuild to avoid the loss of 3 VP.



Germans made it as difficult as possible for the Allies to encircle them…
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Second Week

Weekly Preparation:


Allies spend 2 RP and draw 3 cards: Ultra Decrypts, Naval Outflank, Balkan Troubles.

Germans spend 3 RP and draw 4 cards: Forced Labor, Uneasy Alliance, Assault Badge Wearers, and Attrition War. The card is given to the Allies and Kesselring is momentarily “away from the front”. Obviously the Fuhrer is not very happy with the loss of Rome.
Moreover, the Germans lose 1 event VP due to the card effect.

The fall of Rome releases the Rommel units, but they are already gone. Apparently the Model units should have been released when the North Map was deployed (I guess turn 12), so the 76th Inf go to the reserve box.

Clark uses Ultra Decrypt: Germans draw “Occupied Territory” (given to the Allies), then draw Viktor Line. Occupied Territory releases the 148th Res (seems Kesselring was persuasive in Berlin). Ultra Decrypt snatches Forced Labor.

After all these shenanigans, Allies improve everything and Germans rebuild the 3 units that will leave next turn (to avoid 3 VP loss).

Allied Turn:

The allied host is blocked by units that can’t be surrounded. 5th/7th Armies are reorganized with the idea to create four task forces of 4 units. 8th Army piles as much strength as possible on the 715th.
One Shock Target is used to get as many 6/1 as possible.


From West to East:
16/2 with Shock Target and River = 6/1 => DS, one hex advance (river).
20/2 with Tank Shift and Hill = 6/1 => red DD, 2 or 3 hex advance (not enough to trap 5th Geb)
22/2 with Tank Shift + Rebuild – Tenacious Defense = 6/1 => red DS, 3 hex advance.
18/3 with Shock Marker in Mountains = 5/1. Desert Air Force is use to prevent a retreat => DR turned into a step loss instead.

German Turn:


715th Mot is as good as lost, while HG Pz and 29th PzGren escapes to safety. The Gothic Line could be reached in several spots. “Speed bumps” would be too costly, so units are brought out of reserve to reinforce the line.


One week was gained, but once again at a cost for the German landsers.
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Third and last week of Operation “Lucky Number”.

That's a name I made up, don't look up the history books.

Weekly Preparation:

Allies draw one card: Tank Reserves. 9th Armored is rebuilt to full strength.

Germans draw one card: Tactical Withdrawal. Two shattered units go to reserve (under a rebuilt marker).

Allied Turn:

8th Army surrounds the 715th Mot while everybody else rushes toward the Gothic Line.

Livorno, Firenze and Rimini are taken (Allies get their full RP stock, Germans 3 RP).

North of Livorno, 2 US Divisions are ordered a suicidal attack against the fort held by 4th FJ and 356th Inf. Fort is revealed to be mere +1. 8 vs 7, Shock Marker vs River + Fort = 1/2 => EX. Good show.

East of Firenze, 1st Armored reaches 76th Inf in the Moutains (3rd Inf is alas one hex behind). Shock Target + Shock Marker + Tank Reserve gives 2/1 => EX/CR. Germans commit their Blitz marker for 1/1 => CR. Last Shock Marker for 3/1 => DR, converted into a step loss. 76th Inf is destroyed and the bold 1st Armored already put a dent in the Gothic Line.

Reserves are not deployed since the offensive is now ended.

German Turn:

Nobody moves.

Clark uses his free CB north of Livorno. 6/7 but Time on Target Artillery is used for 2 shifts, for an automatic CA1 at 3/2 => CB. Another excellent result.

Reserves are not deployed since the offensive is now ended.

715th Mot surrender (+ 1 Allied VP).



Clark reaped the benefits of Alexander attrition strategy, and got some luck as well. Will this suffice to break the Gothic Line earlier than history ?
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Turn 14

VP stands at 16 (15 map + 1 event). Not there yet, the cost of not taking Rome in time was high.

Falaise removes 4 German units (they were rebuilt, so no VP loss). Allies will get TF 45 (2-6).

Strategic Phase:

Clark draws 4 cards: Operation Olive (great!), Mc Creery (another not so useful British card) and two cards worth two discards.

Kesselring draws 4 cards: Veteran NCOs, Heidrich, Low Ammo Stocks and No Retreat (with Tactical Withdrawal and Uneasy Alliance still in hand). Very good cards !

No card play.

Organization Phase:


3 Shocks and 1 Blitz.

Allies improves all units back to full strength with a two discards.

Germans are in a quandary with their cards, they decide to use two to rebuild the dangerously exposed 4th FJ. No Retreat and Veteran NCOs are used. Uneasy Alliance and Low Ammo Stock will be kept for next turn. Heidrich and Tactical Withdrawal will be used this turn.

Deployment Phase:


Allies brings out everything out of reserve, including the Commandos.
Germans are worried about the two breaches in the Gothic Line. 92th Inf is deployed to cover the flank of the 4th FJ. Two robust units are deployed on the front of the 8th Army, and 5th Geb to complete the line. The fast 26th Pz and 4 PzRgt are kept in reserve, ready to plug gaps.
The Gothic line is ready.


Allies put 3 faraway units in reserve.

Allied Turn:

In preparation for next turn, Allies units focuses on the weak hinges of the line. They also pile up as much tanks as possible because of Mc Creery. US/British switch to avoid bad shifts. The Polish will probably take the brunt of CB this time, but it’s not time to save steps now.

4 Targets are used, with Shock Target on the rebuild 5th Geb. Kesselring invests the Shock CB on 309th Lehr, and the CB on the 1st FJ stack, expecting to give the Allies a bloody nose. The Gothic Line erupts in fights.


Richard Mc Creery is used, it will bring 1 shift to both combats of the 8th Army. Richard Heidrich is used, changing one D or DR into a “-“.
The Battle of the Richards then…

The fate of 98th Inf is a foregone conclusion: 6/1 => red DD with a potential second combat.

Against the 4th FJ/356th Inf CB, a Shock Marker is used: 4/1 => DR. 356th Inf takes a step loss.

The “Shock Target” against 5th Geb is in jeopardy with the “Shock Counterblow”, as it must fight the two as one single battle now. The two “shocks” neutralize each other, but the attack must still contend with the terrain effect of the initial hex: 3 shifts left. The tenacious defense is not used, as the 5th Geb is too precious there.
Allies decline to use a Shock Marker: 1/2 => Inconclusive.
3rd US takes a step loss because of the Shock Target.

The Polish against 1st FJ (8/6) ends up in a CB.

The attack on 90th Pz achieves 6/1 (Mc Creery + shock marker vs terrain and tenacious defense)= > EX/CR, but Tactical Withdrawal changes it to DR, and Heidrich from DR to Inconclusive.
That was close, and no more trick in Kesselring bag now.

The last attack reveals a +3 fort. Clark decides to commit the combat engineers on this golden opportunity. Shock Marker and Creery vs River and Tenacious defense: 3/1 => EX/CR.
94th Inf is destroyed and leaves a 0 KG. The CR leads to an automatic CA1 (Blitz would not change the result). The counter-counter attack is 6/1 (Mc Creery + CA1 vs Tenacious Defense) => red DD!
Everybody retreats to Bologna and takes 1 step loss, leaving only a 2 KG. The fort is taken, but no further advance or second combat can be made. Several engineers will get the Victoria Cross.

Second combat is 1/2 => Inconclusive.

British units come out of reserve to reinforce the success of 8th Army. Mc Creery tank expertise was not wasted at all.

German Turn:

The exposed 90th PzGren is withdrawn to Bologna, and the 5th Geb shifts out of its lonely position, confident that 1st FJ will not need any help to hold the line.

Allies declare 3 counterblows (using one card discard for two).


The 1st FJ CB is 1/2 (fort is +0) => D, the whole allied line falls back (humiliating but no big deal).

4th FJ CB is 1/3 but the Blitz is used for 1/2 => Inconclusive.

Obviously tackling the paratroopers will not be easy, better to focus on other spots.

4th PzRgt reinforces Bologna and 26th Pz takes a flanking position behind the river east of Bologna.

That went quite well for the Allies, thanks to the engineers tackling a +3 fort. With that fort temporarily removed, the defenses in front of 8th Army revealed themselves to be very weak. The meager German reserves were used to staunch the opening, but will that suffice ?


TO BE CONTINUED WITH OPERATION OLIVE.

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Turn 15


With the VP at 16, the Allies need to get 4 VP to win. They could get 4 cities or a mixture of cities and surrounded Germans units. Another easier way to victory would be to control 4 cities/towns on the northern map. They already have Firenze and Livorno, they just need Bologna and Ferrara or Modena. Obviously this will be a 8th Army show.
The US will keep as much pressure as possible on the German units opposing them.
The Germans will have to oppose the push of the 8th Army and its many tank units, a tricky endeavor that will require skillful use of rivers. The strong units opposing the US will have to release reserves and fall back no further than La Spezia.

On to battle.


Strategic Phase:


Allies draw four cards: All-out Assault, Royal Artillery, Europe underbelly, Carpet Bombing, and had Operation Olive and Operation Grapeshot.

Germans draw four cards: Demolitions, Stug Assault Guns, Gothic Line and SHAEF conflicting plans, and had Low Ammo Stocks and Uneasy Alliance.

Clark launches Operation Olive, a 3 turns offensive. It’s removed from game (no more sunny skies).

(I contemplated an invasion on the empty Genoa, but it would have cost VP and I hadn’t thought about it before. Playing solitaire, I dismissed the plan. It probably gave the Germans an advantage).


Kesselring smiles as he plays “Uneasy Alliance”. Clark doesn’t want to lower the duration of Operation Olive and doesn’t want to risk using Europe Underbelly (too random effect). He discards a random card => Europe Underbelly (could have been worse). Besides US and 8th Army will not be able to attack together (it was the plan anyway).

Clark orders an All Out Assault: 1 column shift but all combat will cause one step loss to the Allies. Clark knows he can afford the losses with 8 RPs piled up.

Kesselring smiles as he plays “SHAEF Conflicting Plans”, and chooses to remove 2 US RPs. Obviously someone got the wrong message about “an 8th Army show”.

Clarks passes.

Kesselring smiles wider and plays Gothic Line, revealing a second line of defense in front of 8th Army. With Bologna deemed a lost cause, 2 forts with KG are put in front of Ferrara and Modena.

8th Army vs the “second” Gothic Line.



Clarks frown as his masterstroke is now thwarted by internal dissensions and Germans defensive ingenuity. He is still confident though.

Organization Phase:

3 Shock Markers (worth 2 shifts because Operation Olive was played on the Operation Olive turn) and 1 Blitz.

Allies improve two units with a discard (Operation Grapeshot).

Germans don’t need dangerously weak “rebuilt” units and can’t afford two discards on robust units. The troops will have to hold their own until next week (3 RPs in reserve).

Deployment Phase:


78th British comes back and goes in reserve.

Allied Movement Phase (first week):


Kesselring smiles gleefully and plays “low ammo stocks”, removing the three “double” Shock Markers. Clark fumes as it seems he ordered an all-out assault without adequate stocks. Such gross incompetence will lead to many deaths during the ill-fated Operation Olive (down from 3 shift to 1 shift, with one mandatory loss now).

With not much room to manoeuver, US units piles up on the exposed flank, even if it’s the strongest spot. Meanwhile, 8th Army pushes the strongest units toward Bologna, in a gigantic traffic jam.

Two attacks on the US front, on 4th FJ and the weak 148th Res. Three concentrated attacks on the 8th Army front, on Bologna and the two remaining forts of the Gothic Line. Grit will have to replace ammunitions.

With the densely packed allied units, any CB could lead to a potential disaster, so none is used.



Clark now ponders where to use his ace in the sleeve: carpet bombing. Obviously the most important attack will receive this support. Bologna is carpet bombed, sending the 14th PzRgt to smithereens. Kesselring holds on to Demolition for the defense of the Reno.

From West to East (AOA = All Out Assault):

21/7 + Shock Target + AOA vs Fort and River = 3/1 => D. 4th FJ and Commandos take a step loss (AOA + Shock Target + Fort = 3 reasons for a mandatory step loss).

10/2 + AOA vs Moutains and Rivers = 3/1 => DR, 148th retreats to fight another day, 34th US takes a step loss and moves forward.
US forces could have used an EX/CR in both fights.

21/8 + AOA vs Moutains + Fort + Tenacious defense = 1/2 => EX. 1st FJ and 21st Tank take a step loss. Best possible result for the Allies here.

In Bologna, 13/5 + AOA vs Tenacious Defense = 2/1 => DR, taken as a step loss by 90th PzGren, leaving a KG in its wake, 6th Armored take a step loss.

28/10 (fort is +3) + AOA vs Fort + River + Tenacious Defense. Royal Artillery is brought to bear for a final ratio of 3/2 => EX/CR. 29th PzGren takes the loss and leave a 1 KG, 6th S.African takes a step loss. The CR is 8/26, but STUG and Blitz are committed for a 1/2 => Inconclusive. That was close.

78th Inf get out of reserve to put even more pressure on the line.

German Turn:

The line held, barely, but the Allies are out of cards for big counterblows (just one from Clark). The KGs in Bologna are too exposed and withdraw to gain hopefully one more turn. 148th Res rushes toward Bologna as fast as Infantry can go. Nobody else move as 34th US cannot go further without losing its supply line. TF 45 looks like a tempting target, but an EX would be disastrous at this point in time, so no attack.

Clark orders a CB on the fort close to Valli di Comacchio: 1/2 => CB.
An excellent outcome, tenacity was rewarded here.

There is not a single Germans unit left in reserve which is a bit worrysome.

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Week Two:

Allies spend 5 RPs and draw 6 cards: 12th Tactical Air, Duckw Trucks and 4 cards worth 7 discards. Killroy was here and caused a reshuffle.

Germans spend 3 RPs and draw 4 cards (they had one left, Demolitions): Manpower Shortage (too late to be used), Heavy Mortar, No Retreat and the excellently timed “Ersatz Regiments”.

Clark gets back his three Shocks, and Germans get one Blitz.

Allies improve all but the Commandos, keeping 4 discards for CB.

Germans don’t want “rebuilt” units right now, and improves 5th Geb and 334th Inf (with Manpower Shortage and No Retreat). Improving the 26th Pz would yield only 1 additional strength point.

Allied Turn:


US continues the pressure, they don’t want to see more units rushing toward Bologna.

8th Army decides that Modena is closer to Germans reinforcement and veers toward Ferrara instead. Bologna is taken (2 RP to both). Commandos move toward the Moutains where they will be more useful.

Once again concentrated assaults are launched, with no German CB. Kesselring doesn’t want unforeseen CB or EX results now, just to gain one column shift in a fight where the worst result would still be a one in six EX/CR anyway.



Shock Target is resolved first, 15/5 + ST vs Tenacious Defense, Moutains and River = 1/1 => EX/CR. 44th Hud leave a measly 0 KG, 34th US once again take the step loss (to keep the super stack of 1st Armored + 3rd Infantry). CR leads to a mandatory CA1 at 6/1 => red DD and one hex advance. That was the worst possible outcome for Germans here.

The now surrounded fort is attacked at 20/6 with three left shifts = 1/1 => CA, one step loss for attack on a fort. TF 45 takes the hit.

1st FJ is attacked on all sides at 31/6, with 4 left shifts (Moutains, Fort and Tenacious). Commando bonus and one Shock are used = 3/1 => DR turned into a step loss. 1st FJ and Cdos kill each others, once again leaving worthless units surrounded.

The best units of 8th Army engage the 26th Pz at 22/7, with Shock against Fort and River = 2/1 => EX. The KG and 5th Cnd take it.

Last fight is the CB at 17/6 with Tenacious defense = 3/2 => D, PzAbt is destroyed.
(There was a mistake in the picture, 334th Inf was still at full strength).

Clark kept a Shock Marker for counterblows.

German Turn:

Two stacks (in forts) are now surrounded and out of supply. A dire situation.

Erzatz Regiments is played and 1st FJ is recreated in Mantova (Kesselring Special Ability was not used as the card specify “on their one-step side”. That card is already quite strong. ), 29th PzGrn in Genova and 90th PzGrn in Verona.

Clark is extremely pissed off, and orders 12th Tac Air to stop them from reaching the front lines. A decisive road interdiction from 12th Tac Air once again.

Kesselring winces as La Spezia is now as good as lost. One more unit in reserve would have saved the day, but like in ten little indians : and there were none.

5th Geb moves to re-establish supply to the other surrounded defenders. 90th PzGrn rushes to Ferrara but is short 1 MP to enter an EZOC, as a new defense line is thrown up before 8th Army.

Kesselring orders the surrounded 4th FJ to attack TF45, just in case they could do something useful. (Not shown on picture)

Clark invests 4 discards to CB on all units close to Ferrara. It's time to increase the pressure.



4th FJ vs TF45 = 3/2 with 3 shifts => CA, declined.

On to serious business around Ferrara.

182nd Turko takes the risk to attack at 2/8 => automatic CA1 at 5/1 => DD. 182nd retreats and takes a step loss. No advance as it would lead just nowhere except mosquitoes land.

The reinforced 334th Inf from its +3 fort take on 2 stacks to protect 26th Pz, at 7/18 => CA. Allies counterattack at once at 2/1 => EX/CR. KG and 5th Cdn take the hit. CR is now 6/16 => CR. Allies counterattack again at 2/1 => D. 334th Inf takes a hit and becomes even more resolved.
Falling back is not an option, this +3 fort is too valuable as a thorn in 8th Army side.

Last is the 26th Pz CB at 5/11. Kesselring uses his Blitz for 1/2 => CB. Not good, Heavy Mortars are used to shift it to “inconclusive” instead.

The line around Bologna held, ... barely, ... again.

4th FJ and 356 Inf surrenders (one VP for 4th FJ).

With hindsight, those units should have withdrawn one turn earlier. The plan was to fall back to La Spezia. Their flank units were confident in mountains and behind river, but a single EX/CR accelerated the fall of their position.
Ersatz regiments was supposed to be a joker card, but it failed.



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Week Three (last):


Nothing can stop the US 5th Army to reach La Spezia and secure victory.

I did not pay enough attention on this front where it would have made much more sense to withdraw step by step. Also I didn’t read “Erzatz Regiments” carefully and realized late that they would pop up in Cities only. However, playing solitaire makes it easier for the defenders, and I also let Genoa uncovered. It's only fair that some mistakes are made.

Let see if 8th Army could have won on its own, as it was supposed to be in the initial plan. I will not elaborate on the US advance (see last picture for end result).

Allies use 3 RP and draw 4 cards: New Conscript, Charles Keightley, Air Interdiction and Richard Mc Creery (very good with all the British tank units around).

Germans use 2 RP and draw 3 cards: OB Sudwest and Hitler Line (useless but worth 4 discards), and Clark wants action! (indeed…).

Allies improve back the Canadians with “New Conscripts” (two discards), and keep other cards for CB. Time is short now, and OB Sud units will come next turn.

Germans use 5 discards to pump up units around Ferrara. Last turn of an offensive should be a good time to rebuild units, as they will then be available next turn without a "rebuilt" marker, but the pressure around Ferrara is just too great.

3 Shocks and 1 Blitz.



Allied Turn:

Tanks are switched around to optimize Mc Creery, and Bologna is reinforced to avoid a surprise comeback from the nasty looking 1st FJ.

4 Targets are used (Shock Target is used by US to blow up the way to Genoa). No useful CB to be done as German stacks are too weak to risk it, and wouldn’t interfere with the battles in progress anyway.



Mc Creery is used and will affect 3 of the 4 fights.

19 Lutwaffe is attacked at 21/3, but Fort and Moutains lowers it to 3/1 => D. KG is destroyed and 4th Inf takes the mandatory loss. It seems this “+0” fort will hold on forever.

Before the next fights, Kesselring reveals another trick from his bag: “Demolitions”, but British Engineers have a trick of their own “Duckw Trucks”, negating completely the effect of Demolitions as no river shift will apply this turn.

Fort is revealed to be a lousy +0 but with 2 x 2 KGs : 13/4 with one shift from Mc Creery negating the fort shift = 3/1 => DR, removing a KG, 56th Lon take the mandatory hit. Nothing to write home about…

Next the attack on 26th Pz at 22/6 with Mc Creery and Shock against Fort = 4/1 => red DS ! (so no mandatory fort loss). That was close, but there was 3 good results possible: EX/CR, DS or DD.

Canadians advance, but can go no further than the fort, destroying it. Almost there.

The now surrounded 334th Inf is attacked at 14/6 with Mc Creery against Fort (Shocks are kept for the coming CBs) = 2/1 => EX. Not so bad as they have no escape now.



German Turn:

334th Inf is surrounded. They could only attack at less than 1/3 and Allies will not CA.

1st FJ rushes to Ferrara with 309th Lehr to avoid a tank shift. The KG sacrifices itself to take a CB and 90th PzGrn reestablish a new line of defense.

Clark uses 3 discards to initiate 4 CBs. Unfortunately the 334th Inf would take on any CB from the Canadians, proving themselves indeed a thorn in the side of 8th Army to the end. He decides to finish the 19th Lutwaffe if at all possible instead, and press on 278th Inf with the US.



The KG get a mandatory CA1 at 6/1 CA and dies gloriously with an EX/CR !

19th Lutwaffe in the same situation get a DD. Polish troops bring up a bit flag on top of the mountain.

278th Inf in the same situation (Tenacious would be overcome by a Shock Marker) get a DS.

334th Inf surrenders for 1 VP (now at 19 VP).



Finally 8th Army felt short of Ferrara and far away from Modena. Operation Olive was bedeviled with unforeseen circumstances (Germans cards) and was unable to make a quick breakthrough. Once again the Germans proved themselves masters of defense, just one step ahead of defeat. Erzatz Regiments was a killer there (I wonder if Robust Units should be allowed with this card). The +3 fort at Valli de Comacchio was also instrumental in the successful defense. It was a good decision to hold it till the end. No so for the fort on the road to La Spezia that was held one turn too long. If not for this tactical mishap, the Allies would be short 1 VP and 1 Town for the victory.

With Allied victory secured, I will play the last turn of the scenario to see if 8th Army would have made it on its front. After all it just need to surround one German unit or take one town. In one turn though and OB Sud units arrive now. Those units are not worth any VP, and the dangerously exposed 5th Geb will escape to reserve.
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Turn 16


OB Sud brings 2 RP and 5 lousy units (2 full strength, 3 depleted).
I wonder what Kesselring turn 16 ability “garrison units are put in reserve” was supposed to do.

Strategic Phase:


Allies draw four cards: All-out Assault and 3 unplayable cards worth 4 discards.

With 2 RP, Germans draw 6 cards: SHAEF conflicting plan and 5 unplayable cards worth 6 discards.

Clark orders a last “All-our assault!”. Perfect timing for the last turn of a scenario.

Kesselring smiles as SHAEF conflicting plans forces two random discards and one draw. The draw is another unplayable card, leaving Allies with 2 cards worth 3 discards.

Organization Phase:

Allies improve or rebuild nothing, they have quite enough manpower and plan to counterblow.

Germans improve 90th PzGren. They rebuild 29th PzGren.
They use 3 discards to remove “rebuilt markers” from the previously shattered 26th Pz, 278th Inf, as well as 29 PzGrn.

Deployment Phase:

Allies don’t do any move to reserve.

Germans carefully deploys their units from reserve to cover all roads and protect all units worth VP if surrounded.

5th Geb escapes encirclement to reserves.


Allied Movement:


The road to Genoa is closed. It would require 3 turns of combat.

The road to Parma is closed as well.

With no good option, a thin screen is set up on the flank, out of range of any tricky CB, and US divisions go for Genoa.

The road to Modena is opened for just one stack. It was reinforced heavily, but it’s too tempting not to try it. Shock Target will be used there as well.

An interesting alternative could be a pincer movement around 16th RF SS, but this would require to bust two strong stacks, not to mention a potential CB from 16th RF SS.


8th Army has no room for manoeuver, and piles up the strongest units against Ferrara.

If it was not the last turn, units would have been deployed to reserve, instead of waiting uselessly behind the front lines.

4 combats declared. No possible CB, the German units are stretched too thin to even have that possibility.



All-out assault is active (one shift, one mandatory step loss). No card left in German hands (keeping one for bluffing could be an option, but the Allies would have pushed hard anyway).

The KG before Genoa is 1. Final odds are 5/1 => DR. They die on the spot. 85th Inf takes the mandatory step loss.
Road closed indeed, and that was just a KG.

The assault on Modena gets a Shock Marker: 11/6 with 3 positive shifts = 4/1 => EX/CR. 26th Pz and 91th US take the hits. CR is 5/10. Blitz is not used; the 1/1 would be more bloody => CR.
Allies happily oblige with one more Shock Marker, all-out assault is still on = 4/1 => CB. However, the final shifts were positive, so we move to Blue CRT. Result is CR, but 45th US takes a hit.
The second CR is 1/2 => CA. Allies commit the last Shock Marker, this time 3/1 => D. 26th Pz takes a hit and leaves a KG. Commando are destroyed to keep the strongest units alive.
That was an all-out assault indeed, and Allies were not lucky.

The last fort is assaulted at 5/1 => DS. The Poles take the fort, one hex short of contact with Modena.

The attack on Ferrara goes last. 22/9 with all-out assault vs tenacious defender = 2/1 => DR. 1st FJ and NZ take the hits.

As expected, OB Sud units stopped the last spasm of Operation Olive. The Allies will have to engage in another attrition war before moving forward again.




German Turn:


German units move around to protect Modena and Ferrara from possible CB.
Obviously, a gamey tactic would be to take one step back from Modena and Ferrara.

The weakened US units before Modena make a tempting target, and are attacked (a first, in a face to face game, it would have a psychological impact).

Two CB are ordered.



162nd would be forced into a devastating CA1 for 6/1, threatening an encirclement of Ferrara. If it was not the last turn, it would be a very stupid move. Let’s forbid gamey moves

Instead 1st FJ and and 309th Lehr will fight at 7/20 with a Blitz = 1/2 => CR. 8th Army tries again to conquer Ferrara at 2/1 but Tenacious Defense is used = 3/2 => EX/CR. 1st FJ is replaced by a 2 KG.
The new CR is now 5/18 for a devastating CA1 at 4/1 => DR. The KG is white, 309th Lehr takes a hit.
That was real close again, Germans couldn’t stand such pounding in a campaign game.

The final German attack is 3/2 => D. US falls back to safety, cursing the defenders of Modena.

Finally, Modena and Ferrara held against all comers and no German units was surrounded.



Final Result:

With 19 VP but 4 Cities/Towns (Firenze, Livorno, Bologna, La Spezia), Allies win the scenario.

If it has been a Campaign Game, Allies would have easily conquered the rest of the map, bringing their VP total to 26 VP (6 more cities + “Allies in Ravenna” bonus). However High Tide is at 28 VP.
Not taking Rome in time was a severe setback for the prestige of Allied armies.

Germans could win 2 events VP on turn 21, if they manage to keep 2 robust units alive. They must also rebuild worth 7 discards of units currently destroyed/surrendered to avoid VP loss when they are withdrawn. And of course not get any good unit surrounded.
Germans have a 1 VP safety margin. They should secure an Operational Victory if they order a general retreat now. Two cards (No retreat and Italians auxiliaries) could change the VPs too.

From an historical point of view, despite French success, the failure to burst out of the Anzio beach-head and Alexander careful husbanding of forces prevented the capture of Rome before D-Day. However, Clark reaped the benefits and seized the Gothic Line 6 months earlier than history.

Tactical lessons learnt next.

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Lessons learnt after this game can be found here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/23250526#23250526
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