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Subject: Game report #10 : France thrashed, China cuffed rss

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Simon Nicholls
United Kingdom
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Previously : Rhineland reoccupied, Ethiopia conquered, Japan invades China, Anschluss, Russian purges, Spanish Civil War starts and stalemates, CW and France establish new Entente Cordiale, Persia conquered, Germany and Italy sign a second pact, Czechoslovakia sacrificed, Bessarabia seized, Finland attacked, USA wakes up.

May/June 1939

Unsurprisingly Germany now has the cash, so declares war on Belgium. The excitement is intense, so much so that the rest of politics is a bit of a damp squib (yep – we forgot to write down what everyone else did).

The Fascists are last, so the other two factions mark time. And in goes Germany into Belgium, using the minor no-ZOC rule to take out Belgium and Liege in one go. So far so good. Enraged, the CW and France declare war and the Brits land an ARM and MECH into Antwerp. Ground strikes neutralize von Leeb and the French suicide fleet sails into the Baltic and eliminates the German convoys. All looking good for the Allies, but oh no! Although the French have built forts along the Belgium border, they have left the Ardennes border only weakly garrisoned, relying on a river defence. The canny German commander spots this and piles into the gap, led by an ENG Div. A roll of 14 together with the odds and blitz pluses smashes the defenders and the breakthrough cuts off Metz and the Maginot line. Now that’s properly embarrassing (see previous report).

The IJA positions for an attack on Kunming but have not yet brought up enough troops. However an attack on the mountains near Chungking fails (2 MIL for 1 DIV) which helps the Chinese cause a little.

The French are in disarray. The British ship in Gort to help, and pull back out of Belgium to the channel ports. The French form a revised front covering the approaches to Paris but are short on troops (it’s difficult to find enough boys in 1939 when you also still have to guard against a possible Italian attack).

In the largely ignored Finnish side show, Russia continue to grind away at the Finns, rolling poorly again but at least killing another Finn MIL for the loss of two Soviet INF. Theoretically attrition favours the larger army that can actually produce units, but there is a limit to that argument (a limit that our Soviet friend will test to destruction).

The IJA continue to defy the odds and assault Kunming on a net +4 against the two defenders. A roll of 15 takes the factory and the Chinese stored oil. Not much you can do about that.

The next phase of the Wehrmacht offensive hammers the newly formed French line and kills another 2 defenders, shattering off another, and are now outside Paris after just two impulses. In parallel, the Germans respond to the blatant favoritism of the Danes in letting the French fleet through by declaring war.

Another turn of hell for the Democrats, but then the turn ends on a 1 with the Germans poised to complete the destruction. Ranting heard from inside the Reichstag. In further bad news for the German people the bold Atlantis is found off the west coast of Africa and send to the repair pool. Despite the turn ending early, both Denmark and Belgium are incompletely conquered and France is looking down the barrel having dodged the bullet for the moment.

Jul/Aug 1939

France holds an election which is strange in the circumstances but forced by an earlier option (once at war, Democrats can generally give up the democracy thing but not if they owe an election due to option play). Others play their owed declarations of war while the non-involved garner bid points.

The Fascists win initiative but the desperate Democrats demand a reroll and win the rematch. And then both choose combined moves. The communists aren’t consulted and will be last.

The RAF and Armee de l’Air do their bit getting a ground strike through at the Germans lurking menacingly outside of Paris and shoot down a Bf109E1. But the French aren’t as good at the dirty work of bombing and miss all their targets by a mile. British troops flood across the channel (2 more INF) and start stocking up on that nasty cheap lager in the small bottles.

The Japanese contemplate Chungking and launch a massive air assault, flipping both defenders. Only two hexes on the city and both across a river, the best base odds are 1:1. The corps commanders are astonished when the order to attack arrives but they close their eyes and storm in (dr 16 on +4). Chungking falls and the Chang HQ is killed in the attack. The Chinese line is now out of supply and the end of the Chinese war beckons (at least as far as the Nationalists are concerned).

The Germans shuffle troops forward in France looking for opportunities and finding none they keep their powder dry after flying the Stukas and fighter cover forward.

Yes, it looks a little grim but Winston bring some much needed sense to proceedings. “Smash the Boche wherever you can find him” he reminds the Allies and his field commanders rise to the challenge, dispatching another of those pesky Hitlerite infantry corps lurking in Belgium to oblivion. “Hooray” say the free peoples of the world.

Pah say the German high command and order a blitz north of Paris, medium odds but another high die roll results in a breakthrough and 3 hexes on Paris. The Allies regroup and Blitz the Germans in Belgium hoping to draw attention away from Paris but the Germans don’t buy it and burn 9 offensive points on a mega assault on the French capital which results in …… nothing (the rubbish die rolling continues). Emboldened by German incompetence the Allies attack in Belgium again hoping to cut supply to the German spearhead and roll snake eyes to outdo their opponents. The Germans step back up and surround the remnants of the BEF destroying Gort & an ARM then confidently assault Paris but (yes you know where this is going) roll 3 and flip. More CW troops arrive in N France but everyone is exhausted, the turn ends and our boys retire to the bar (The White Lion, Disley) to console each other.

Late night play focuses on the continuing destruction of the CW troops in Belgium and another attack on Paris – again repulsed by virtue of a poor roll. And then the turn ends – against all the odds, France survives another turn.

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