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Subject: Game report #14 : Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Sweden (and the USA) rss

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Simon Nicholls
United Kingdom
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Previously : Rhineland reoccupied, Ethiopia conquered, Japan invades China and defeats the Nationalists, Anschluss, Russian purges, Spanish Civil War stalemates, CW and France establish new Entente Cordiale, Persia conquered, Germany and Italy sign a second pact, Czechoslovakia sacrificed, Bessarabia seized, Finland attacked, Germany conquers Belgium and Denmark and forces Vichy France. Italy declares war on the CW and the Free French.

Jul / Aug 1940

Politics : Germany plays its owed war declaration option – ah yes, this will be the somewhat under-reported declaration of war against Yugoslavia that was identified in the last report. The CW becomes a free trader. Russia gets bids points. The US allies with Brazil. China guarantees the Netherlands (yeah, we know). Japan coups Portugal and starts a civil war (what is it with the Iberian peninsula?).

The democrats find themselves with the initiative for what feels like the first time ever (although I believe they did go first sometime in the 1930s). The CW prepare the Eastern Med for the arrival of the next Italian Fleet (I assume this means flying planes and getting their boats out. In the West the Cape Verde Basin welcomes another potential marine installation for brightly coloured fish to swim around in future 1960s Technicolor nature films in the shape of another luckless convoy point. Happily this manages to avoid the first round of Italian Sub attention without incident.

The Germans finally obliterate the remaining Yugoslavian army in Belgrade (yes – I know this is the first mention of them, let’s just gloss over that point) and now have time to plan the rest of their summer excursions. The Japanese whittle away again at the Communists in the mountains but don’t role the normal mandatory 17 on a +9 and end up losing a unit and being half flipped. The immediate demise of the Chinese may be slightly less immediate (and events outside China might start to impinge on Japanese activities).

The Finnish farmers finally tire of the pot shoot that the Russians have been offering and Stalin’s hordes push on towards the outskirts of Helsinki. Andy must have rolled better than 4. Only Mannerheim now stand between Timoschenko and the glorious hero’s welcome in Moscow (or will it be the fast train to the salt mines of Irkutsk?) Watch this space!

The Eastern Med sees a renewed period of aggression and the Italians lose another CP, a couple of cruisers get damaged and retreat to review the position.

In the Western Med the CW fleets again sally forth into the 2/3 boxes and rely on a good search roll to eliminate another Italian Nav and CP. The Regia Aeronautica has not performed well to date.

The Italians complete a root and branch review of their strategic options and airforce issues and decide that the secret is having more boys and rolling better than their opponent. With this in mind, they flood the Eastern Med sea area with land based air and given the numbers it may well see the end of this area of play for the CW. Meanwhile in the North Atlantic the CW ASWs are back on station despite the lack of actual convoys to protect.

Russia storms into Helsinki with a roll of 15 and the Finnish distraction is over, the vodka flows, medals all round and a big parade in Moscow. Two years and around about 15 corps was probably a slightly bigger commitment than Stalin was planning – but at least it will have got all the bad combat rolls out of the way, right?

Having finally seen off Yugoslavia (I'm not sure why “finally” was used here – was someone being ironic?) Germany shuffles forward and declares war on Bulgaria. The ground strikes successfully flip both defenders in Sofia and brute force does the rest – but only just, as Andy again rolls low (4) on a +16. Still, good enough is good enough.

September / October 1940

In real life there appears to be a coup going on in Turkey. Greg looks sheepish but let us assume he wasn’t behind this one and that it doesn’t turn into a civil war. That jolly chap (eh?) President Erdogan tells everyone he is still running Turkey albeit via Facetime so we press onward to our own politics. Japan allies with Siam. Russia becomes a free trader (uh huh). Germany pays its owed DoW option for Bulgaria. The CW aligns Sweden (check it out, Mr Hitler). The Americans, French and Chinese look on in amazement.

Back to our usual military initiative arrangement – the Fascists are first and German subs sink 3 and abort 3 CW convoys in the Faeroes but in central Europe German troops mill around seemingly without direction (or a viable target), so where next for the Wehrmacht?

The CW sail the Swedish navy out into the Baltic on patrol and looking for trouble, then send out convoy escorts and transports and there is the usual skirmish or two in the Med. The USA tries to declare on Germany but misses – if the Fascists are bothered by this, it doesn’t show.

Germany takes a naval action much to the amazement of the watching world and sail into the Baltic to take on the Swedish navy. However, it’s cold & wet so there is not much enthusiasm on either side and everyone claims to not spot any boats. Elsewhere the German raider Komet comes out of hiding in Rio and chases the lone French transport currently carrying De Gaulle across the South Atlantic. By using 6 intelligence points (this is another aspect of the game where the rules have changed and the Democrats don’t seem to have mastered them) the Komet finds him with 10 surprise points. Simon displays his usual sang froid in the face of the possibility of losing the whole of the Free French military (yep - definite irony there) but on this occasion the transport survives the damage roll and aborts to South Africa. Reading this now, I’m not sure if the raider could actually have been in Rio, given that Brazil allied to the US in the turn before, but I can’t find the relevant rule.

Anyway, the USA now attempts to declare war on Japan again and after a recount they succeed! For the sake of future Hollywood generations American historians mark this as the point WW2 started. Unsurprisingly the USN’s surprise attack on the IJN causes absolutely no damage at all (all search rolls miles off). But hey.
On the other hand, the Swedish fishing fleet engages the German navy in the Baltic. One of the trawlers pays the ultimate sacrifice but the Adm Scheer is sunk and Emden damaged before the Germans realise that they are being attacked. The Swedes hang around for another go but get caught out and a couple of ships are sunk before the rest retire to port well satisfied with their outing.

With nothing to now restrain them, Japan DOWs the CW and successfully invades Singapore, Rabaul, Hong Kong, India (a hex south of Calcutta) and Guam. The Japanese surprise impulse kills the Shropshire and the Australia and damage the Canberra in a brief combat off the coast of Australia. In response the RN sink the Nagara and later in the turn, the Kuma also meets the bottom of the ocean in service of the Emperor.

Storms all over the globe quieten things down somewhat and there's nothing to report in Europe. Russia passes but the turn continues with much better weather. Germany repositions in Europe, Japan occupies Calcutta but everyone is watching the oil as moving all those boys around sure uses it up quick. The only country without an oil concern is the US – but of course they don’t have any troops.

So, the US is in the war seven turns earlier than historically. However they have no troops and can’t ramp up production as they need to still succeed with the “It’s War” rolls for the European Fascists (a high PM level makes it more difficult) so the Arsenal of Democracy may not have much of an impact for a while.

Sorry there are no pictures.

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