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No Retreat 4! Italian Front: 1943-45» Forums » Strategy

Subject: defending against Avalanche rss

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Tim K
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It seems to me that a central map invasion at the start of the Mainland Campaign game is much more viable than it should be. I attribute this to the low casualty rate for unsupported landings, whose procedure is far less punishing than opposed air drops. Surely unsupported landings should be much riskier - there's no air cover, for crying out loud.

Another small factor inhibiting effective defense is that due to the sunny weather the Allies "steal" a shock/blitz marker from the Axis in turn 3; i.e., the turn track indicates 3 Allied shocks and 2 Axis blitzes, but the Allies gain another shock because the weather is sunny. A simple rule change that would help the Axis defense would be that if the Allies take a blitz away from the Axis during the Org Phase but invade where there is no Air Cover they must return it.

What are other's experience defending the whole peninsula against Avalanche?
 
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Philip Jelley
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I learned to defend Rome, and the beaches nearby. An Allied landing there can win the game pdq if not property defended, but if there are half a dozen German divisions there it will fail.
 
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Randy C
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but an invasion further north of Rome, with a 1 hex invasion on the east side, puts all 6 of those division OOS.

plus at least 3 divisions must be on the south map, leaving only 5 to defend the central map.
 
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Carl Paradis
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htjester wrote:
It seems to me that a central map invasion at the start of the Mainland Campaign game is much more viable than it should be.


Really? Like invade around Rome on Turn 1?

Ok first the Italian units will probably stay much longer in the game, their surrender will take more time to be in force.

The Germans will also get the first invasion mainland reinforcements (rule 13.6.9) so Four Infantry Divisions from the "North" group and two Reserve Markers.

Plus if you cross the Central map centerfold (near Rome), you get some powerful "Rommel" units: two Panzer and one Panzergrenadier divisions (rules 7.3D and 21.12)

You don't have much large Ports in that area, this will be an issue if you don't break out fast of the Beachhead.

You do have to roll on the unsupported landings table (13.6.6): a bit lame but still you can have some nasty surprises. I mean the Allies had total Naval control of the sea, and some Air cover could reach Rome even without Sicily.

Operating outside Air cover has many limitations (2.15): No Aircraft event cards, no Shock markers, German Blitz markers can be used in the defense...

Of course if you invade Corsica/Sardinia first this is a much better proposition, but then the German player is aware of what you are trying to do...

IMHO this is punishment enough. For the records in my original game dosing you could not invade the Roma area, but I decided to add it in because of player requests.

In a campaign game I much welcome the allies to try their hand at invading Rome right off the bat: chances are you'll get a mega-Anzio fiasco. Heh heh heh... devil
 
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Carl Paradis
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Calxx55 wrote:
but an invasion further north of Rome, with a 1 hex invasion on the east side, puts all 6 of those division OOS.


Mhhhh... Not really.

Check the Living Rules:

http://www.gmtgames.com/noretreat4/NRIF_Rules2.pdf

Rule 12.2.E (Supply Sources)

E. Friendly City. For the Fascist Italian units only
(12.2.2), and for German units during the Final Supply
Phase (17.0) of a Major Offensive’s Weekly Turns,
except for the last Supply Phase of the turn.


This means that German units will be able to “survive”
if near a City for a few weeks, but will then be eliminated
at the end of the Turn if it cannot trace supply
to another source.


So with all the German units freed (North + Rommel), and that one lone unit out of Air support (if it lands, but you can add commandoes for sure), it'll be hard to block all the supply routes for the turn's duration: this is four weekly turns...

And the German divisions in the South can come charging fast using the road double movement rate.
 
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Carl Paradis
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Calxx55 wrote:
but an invasion further north of Rome, with a 1 hex invasion on the east side, puts all 6 of those division OOS.

plus at least 3 divisions must be on the south map, leaving only 5 to defend the central map.


You are forgetting all the Italian divisions. These are not super good, but around Rome they can be a significant force, and will stay around a while as, besides Rome, there are not many objectives to capture.

And if you invade North of Rome you free the Four German "North" Infantry Divisons, plus the three "Rommel" Panzer/Panzergrenadier units... Ouch. devil

PLUS you do not have many good Ports in that area, this will be a problem when you land more Allied units.
 
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Tim K
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licinius wrote:

You are forgetting all the Italian divisions. These are not super good, but around Rome they can be a significant force, and will stay around a while as, besides Rome, there are not many objectives to capture.


Remember, my original question was about the Mainland Campaign game. The armistice marker starts on the Allied side in the Armistizio! box. During the turn 3 Deployment Phase the Allies place four landings markers in landing zones, an armistice is declared immediately, and all Italian units are removed.

licinius wrote:

And if you invade North of Rome you free the Four German "North" Infantry Divisons, plus the three "Rommel" Panzer/Panzergrenadier units... Ouch. devil


Randy and I didn't play it out when we incorrectly determined all the Germans were OOS. We were aware of the North reinforcements. We didn't consider the Rommel reinforcements. He wasn't that close to Rome.

Still, these released garrisons are prohibited from being deployed from reserves at the end of the first week of Avalanche. Thus, after being deployed at the end of the second week, they can only impact matters on the ground for the last two weeks of the offensive.

licinius wrote:

PLUS you do not have many good Ports in that area, this will be a problem when you land more Allied units.


If I am correct, Carl, you are referring to the port supply capacity. That is an advanced rule we have not tried yet. My understanding is that in the standard rules active ports provide unlimited supply for one Allied army.
 
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Tim K
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licinius wrote:
Rule 12.2.E (Supply Sources)

E. Friendly City. For the Fascist Italian units only
(12.2.2), and for German units during the Final Supply
Phase (17.0) of a Major Offensive’s Weekly Turns,
except for the last Supply Phase of the turn.


This means that German units will be able to “survive”
if near a City for a few weeks, but will then be eliminated
at the end of the Turn if it cannot trace supply
to another source.



Thanks for this reminder, Carl. This was a meaningful error Randy and I made the other day that definitely makes a big difference in the Axis ability to defend a central map Avalanche invasion.
 
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Randy C
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So the Germans can survive near a city until the end of the major offensive.

But they will be marked oos, and can only move 3 mp.

The Germans will have to defend in the North, and if the Allies invade on both sides, the Germans will have to wipe out the weaker of the two invasion sites.

the weaker site will have 2 units, 2 rangers, or so.

High risk, high reward.
 
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Tim K
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Randy, I solo'd it over the weekend. It played out much as I thought it should. Allies had a hard time isolating the Germans, and were left with relatively weak beachheads. It's a gamble for the Allies, and more so if the optional supply rules are used.
 
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Carl Paradis
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One rule I kinda regret not having added is to give the German Player one Event VP for each Allied Beachhead marker destroyed. I'll think that one over in the upcoming months... whistle
 
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Rafał Wojda
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Just now I used the same 3rd turn Avalanche plan you all discussed. Major invasion on the Rome area and one landing marker near Rimmini supported by two commandoes.

The Germans were still defending in Messina which meant that north map could not be deployed together with Rommel units.
And now to the worst part. After initial landing in the first week 8 German units were set out of supply, and ... when drawing cards for the second week, the Allies draw Catch 22... normally this would cause Allied Player a huge pain, but in that case the turn ended and all German divisions surrendered. Germans didn't had a chance to even try reacting around Rimini. This was a disaster and Germans had to quit at this point losing all those elite units, 8VP and any chance of holding Rome.

In my opinion something has to be done about such scenarios.
1. First of all German supply - how about giving German units possibility of tracing at least limited supply from Airports. For example allowing them to use Airport as a supply source at the cost of card discard each week. This would greatly increase importance of Airports and also give Germans a chance of holding to the south, and on Sicily if this map was bypassed by Allied invasion directly onto Mainland. In the scenario you were discussing the Germans could have used airport next to Foggia to rescue all those units.
I'm not an expert in this matter but doesn't it sound realistic? It's not only about sending all supply using air bridge through single airport, but we have to consider that with strong presence of Axis air in the area most of the supply might be shipped through Adriatic.
Also if you consider it too strong it might work only in Final Supply (just like Cities - but Cities do not save Germans in the Turn's Final Supply Check while airflieds could).
EDIT2: Also please consider that those airports on the map are not the only ones present in the area. So such rule might be expanded also for Cities. The Germans discard the cards to represent "smuggling" of the supplies so that they can survive Final Turn Supply Phase also in Port Cities like Neapoli, Bari or Messina. This might work as long as Germans have initiative (turns 1-11).

2. The Catch 22 should be disastrous for Allies, but it worked against Axis in my scenario. In such case I propose that Axis should have possibility of taking initiative at the cost of one card discard/reserve point. They will take next weekly turn first and will be able to continue offensive as many weeks as it is legal. This might also help with point 3 I describe below.

3. With Advanced Supply Rules the Allies can decide to pay only for a single week of offensive. This way I can land in critical areas, cut off the German units and just quit the Turn before they can properly react - which makes them die. This is terribly gamey tactic, but devastating one. It a turn allows for 3 Turn Offensive than Germans should be able to react by taking initiative as I described in point 2 above to prevent this.

4. Unsupported landings appear too easy. I have to admit that in my game Allies were just lucky and 7 units landed in great shape. But what troubles me most is that units which fail the test go to the Shattered box instead of Eliminated ones. Shattered units just regenerate for free at full strength, ready for the next week. In fact I consider 1 Balkenkreuz effect of loosing one step to be more harsh than 2 Balkenkreuz Shattering. Please consider changing 2 Balkenkreuz result to losing single step and than Shattering. Or even sending the units to Destroyed box instead of Shattered ones.

EDIT: 5. We might also consider how realistic would it be for the Allies to attack East-Northern coast around Rimini right in 1943 without control of any Airports in Mainland Italy. I know that allies already had huge superiority at sea, but supporting an invasion so deep into Adriatic sounds suicidal. So invading at Blue coastline might require control of the Bari or Brindisi ports and at least one Airport in Mainland.
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Carl Paradis
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Hello Rafal,

Your example is pretty far-feteched (the Messina Defence thing). In this case I think you can safely assume that you still get the Rommel units even if the South map is in play and you do not deploy the North map.
So landing in Rimini will get the Germans all the Rommel units plus all the North units: this will crush any invasion there pretty quickly! So yes, an invasion there is pretty suicidal.

Historically the Germans would have withdrawn from there a lot sooner anyway (Hitler ordered the withdrawal from Sicily so that the German units would not get bottled down there). Rationale: Get out of Sicily! Quick! As Hitler did.

As for the Germans being out of supply after the first turn, this is not the case. Have you downloaded the last "Living Rules" for the game?

http://www.gmtgames.com/noretreat4/NRIF_Rules2.pdf

http://www.gmtgames.com/noretreat4/NRIF_Playbook.pdf

In there the Germans have "better" supply rules, rule 12.2 Supply sources, German units are able to trace supply to a Friendly City, like the Italian Units.

The invasion units going in the "Shattered" box assumes the landings were aborted. No way the Germans could have sunk the whole fleet (and destroyed the unit), their air force and navy was pretty small in Italy and incapable of such feats.

BTW one change I am looking at doing is to make the replacement of eliminated Commando units much more difficult: When eliminated it takes a year (6 turns) before they can be purchased again.


Edit: It is true that historically the only time a "Spoiler" invasion was made was at Taranto, with the British paratroop unit, and this was not really an Invasion but almost a Commando raid with the units landing in the Port directly from transports, with the Italian defenders not intervening. The German Commander of Italy certainly took seriously the possibility of an Invasion very far north and defended accordingly.

If the "secondary invasion" option makes you uneasy, use this modified 13.6.3 landing rule (And I just might make it into the rulebook), 3rd Bullet:

"Each LZ must be on the same Coastline; unless it consists of only one Landings marker plus a Paratroop or Commando unit, and is not made in an Enemy ZOC"

But I will post soon a new "living rules" version with some sensible tweaks about final supply Mainly this:

Rule 17.1 Resupply/Surrender:

"All units with a No Supply marker (only) trace supply again, first all of the Allied player’s units and then the German player’s. Any unit that still cannot trace a valid supply line (12.1)of unlimited length is eliminated and placed in the Surrendered Units Box. Each unit that can now trace a regular supply path remains on the map; remove its “No Supply” marker".


This means the 4-hex supply line radius is bypassed for 17.1, the non-supplied unit will stay on the map, with an "No Supply" marker. i.e. You have to completely surround it to eliminate it.

13.6.6 unsupported landings:

Each unit (not Landings marker) moving to a LZ hex during an Invasion—or to a Beachhead or Landings marker during the Reserve Phase with No Air Cover (2.15)— must draw two cards and check the Unsupported Landing Table—using the German "Balkenkreuz" icon ( ) and British “roundel” icon ( ) appearing on the Allied Event portion of the cards for the result. Each drawn British “roundel” icon ( ) cancels one drawn German Balkenkreuz icon, unless this is a one-LZ invasion.

Thus the smaller one-LZ invasion is easier to foil as it it getting less Allied naval support, plus no more free pass for the commandoes.
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Tim K
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Carl, I think he's saying the German units ended up out of supply, and thus eliminated, because the Catch-22 event ended the offensive before the Germans had a chance to restore their supply.
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Carl Paradis
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htjester wrote:
Carl, I think he's saying the German units ended up out of supply, and thus eliminated, because the Catch-22 event ended the offensive before the Germans had a chance to restore their supply.


Right.

This rule will make this weird happenstance go away, and is more realistic too, I'll add it to the new "living rules" soon:

Rule 17.1 Resupply/Surrender:

"All units with a No Supply marker (only) trace supply again, first all of the Allied player’s units and then the German player’s. Any unit that still cannot trace a valid supply line (12.1)of unlimited length is eliminated and placed in the Surrendered Units Box. Each unit that can now trace a regular supply path remains on the map; remove its “No Supply” marker".
 
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Rafał Wojda
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Thanks for the usual quick response

However I'm concerned about this solution:
Quote:
Rule 17.1 Resupply/Surrender:

"All units with a No Supply marker (only) trace supply again, first all of the Allied player’s units and then the German player’s. Any unit that still cannot trace a valid supply line (12.1)of unlimited length is eliminated and placed in the Surrendered Units Box. Each unit that can now trace a regular supply path remains on the map; remove its “No Supply” marker".


It does solve the problem of dangerously easy cutting of entire pennisula by capturing 30 km of terrain on both sides of it. But when I continued my game using this rule sometimes led to a strange snake-like supply lines leading far behind enemy lines, and it encouraged suicide missions leading to strange supply situations. I'm not saying that's bad solution but it changes quite a lot and might need some discussion and testing. Maybe it's just a matter of changing the habits.

Perhaps this might be modiefied this way: this 'emergency supply route' needs to be at least 2 or 3 hex wide?

On the other hand what is your opinion on making Ports and Airports a limited supply source as long as Axis forces hold airport on the given map.

 
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Carl Paradis
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Menszu wrote:

On the other hand what is your opinion on making Ports and Airports a limited supply source as long as Axis forces hold airport on the given map.


I think not!

The Luftwaffe airlift capacity was completely gutted following the disaster at Stalingrad, and the Allies had what could be described as Total Air and Naval superiority in Italy; no way the Germans could have pulled such a "Supply Stunt"!

 
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Carl Paradis
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Menszu wrote:

It does solve the problem of dangerously easy cutting of entire pennisula by capturing 30 km of terrain on both sides of it. But when I continued my game using this rule sometimes led to a strange snake-like supply lines leading far behind enemy lines, and it encouraged suicide missions leading to strange supply situations. I'm not saying that's bad solution but it changes quite a lot and might need some discussion and testing. Maybe it's just a matter of changing the habits.


Right. There are no perfect rules. Yet players DO know how things work, so it's just a matter of playing with this in mind. It'll probably lead to more conservative defensive play and that's not a bad result at all (i.e: Retreating a bit when the Front line situation became a bit dicey, like happened historically).
 
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Rafał Wojda
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licinius wrote:

Right. There are no perfect rules. Yet players DO know how things work, so it's just a matter of playing with this in mind. It'll probably lead to more conservative defensive play and that's not a bad result at all (i.e: Retreating a bit when the Front line situation became a bit dicey, like happened historically).


Good point. It has to be mentioned that I introduced the rule in the middle of the ongoing invasion, so the chaos was already in place and front line needed 5 turns with two Major Operations to stabilize. Having those rules in mind right from the start should probably disencourage me from such invasion and creating such a mess in the first place.

On the side note my heart bleeds seeing Rome as a main battleground for 5 months. The city is probably in ruins by now arrrh
 
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Carl Paradis
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Menszu wrote:
[q="licinius"]
On the side note my heart bleeds seeing Rome as a main battleground for 5 months. The city is probably in ruins by now arrrh


Yeah.

Historically the Germans and Allied left it alone for Political reasons. I did not give the City a defensive bonus so to discourage a protracted defence but perhaps an Optional rule could be useful here... Let me think about it a bit.
 
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Rafał Wojda
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licinius wrote:

Historically the Germans and Allied left it alone for Political reasons. I did not give the City a defensive bonus so to discourage a protracted defense but perhaps an Optional rule could be useful here... Let me think about it a bit.


There was another topic about lack of city defense bonus, and I completely understand your design decision. However I - playing the Germans - was determined to keep Rome for three reasons - there was a big chance for knockout in 8th Turn Sudden death since Allies already had to dismiss Montgomery after turn 4. Secondly, I had like 6 divisions cut off in the southern part of the map. Although new rules allowed them to survive I still had to ensure they can break through to reach safety - 5 units made this thanks to my determination.
And third part - there was a real chance of smashing Allied landing zone entirely once Luftwaffe raid destroyed their Supply Port at Anzio.

So in my case fighting for Rome was justified for strategic reasons and it was somehow strange to see the city fight without defense bonuses.

Perhaps City defense bonus might be applied in case of major invasions (more than 2-3 Landing Zones near the Rome area) around Rome before turn 12.
Second option might be that Germans can decide to cede one event VP per city to apply bonus (maybe even -2 defense shift). 1VP is ceded per city so all three Rome hexes become fortified for single point. This VP loss represents political responsibility for potentially ruining the city.

In my current game Rome after 5 months of intense fighting is probably a complete ruin, and Germans still hold two hexes of it after recapturing Vatican (northern part) so this struggle might be far from over.
 
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Carl Paradis
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Menszu wrote:

So in my case fighting for Rome was justified for strategic reasons and it was somehow strange to see the city fight without defense bonuses.


Well, see it as both sides trying to do a low-intensity fight and "sparing" most of the city from compete destruction.

After the disaster at Stalingrad, the Germans were not too keen about spending an inordinate amount of resources in a fight for a large city outside Germany; there are precious few example of this historically. Plus there was a real incentive to spare the city serious hurt to keep the Italians still under German rule relatively happy; and the German Tactical/Weapon superiority would definitely suffer in a huge cityfight, this would become an attrition war, plus historically the city was still full on its inhabitants. So the Germans decided (sensibly) to leave it be. They did the Same with Paris and Brussels BTW.

Anyway, in this specific case I don't have a "magical" solution that will satisfy all players, unless perhaps in some "no combat" rule that would probably cause more problems than it will solve, if you have a better idea please do tell. Again, historically I doubt that any serious fight for the town would have happened, heck even Hitler did not order it to be held!
 
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