After a devastating allied double turn Rome has fallen and Italy is in the verge of being knocked-out of the game! The big question is the following: Will Germany try a reconquest with very limited chances of success, or instead, give Italy up and try to do its best in this game without it? Most players I know would go for the low-chance Rome recapture attempt, having already decided that if it does not work out they are going to surrender. But to me this decision is a lot harder if the German decides to continue the game, because actually Germany can fight quite well on its own, and can even win the game without Italy! Plus abandoning Italy under these circumstances is more realistic historically: Would really Hitler have surrendered to the allies, because Italy was conquered? No, of course not! It did not happen in 1943, and it would not have happened, even if the Allies had captured Rome in 1939! He also would not have sacrificed the German forces in a desperate attempt to capture Rome and save Mussolini, and yes he would have continued the war till the end unlike many 3R players taking the risk he needed to tenaciously fight the allies and even win the game! So what did the Axis decide in this game?The action:
Three declarations of war are announced against Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium
New BRP levels are Germany 45(45), Italy 38(37).
After this announcement, the possibility that the Germans may have decided to abandon Italy, appears more likely.
The setups for the minors are shown below:
The only real choice is in the Belgian setup. In this case a setup that covers all Belgian hexes appear to be a no-brainer, as it is the one demanding more air and armor from the Germans (which is desperately needed for any Italy reconquest attempt). The 1 Belgian AF is placed in Antwerp not Brussels, as this way it will impose to the Germans an additional need for partial counter breakdown.Option Selections:
Germany will take an offensive option in the West, while passing in the Med And East. Italy will take an offensive in the Med, while passing in the West and East.
New BRP levels are Germany: 30(30), Italy: 23(22).
Obviously, Germany has given up on Italy, and its forces in the Med will “freeze” while the Italians commit desperate kamikaze style suicide attacks!Movement of fleets:
The Regia Marina announced the following fleet movements:
1) 9FF from Taranto to Tobruk (as shown)
2) 9FF from Taranto to Tripoli (as shown)
Movement of fleets is shown below:
Obviously the Italians are trying to resupply as many units in the mainland as possible. They will not do the smart trick that was suggested in prior post of using the Durazzo “inverted” fleets for protection.
As the Germans are passing in the Med the supply run is now appears to be more important than any sea transport or other mission of the remaining 9FF in Trieste, so the allies decide to “switch” and intercept both supply runs with the British, while saving the French fleet for the combat phase. So they announce an interception at Tobruk hex with 9FF from Malta and 7FF from Alexandria, and an interception on EE20 hex by 27FF from Aijaccio, Gibraltar and Livorno.
I am now questioning the wisdom of allied actions, as the only substantial difference the supply run makes is some more freedom in the Italian movement of the 3-3 at V24, and the temporary survival of either the 4-6 armor at AA23, or the 3-3 at Genoa, which cannot move, but at least they will stay supplied. But here is a rules question: Won’t the German units die anyways afterwards, as the surviving fleet factors are changing ports, when Italy is conquered, even though they were supplied? Perhaps a question for you here, which appears to be very complicated. But anyways, why risk the precious UK fleets to intercept a supply run of dubious value, while disposable French fleet factors were available. Perhaps an allied blunder here!
All interceptions are successful.
Here is the situation in the Med just before the naval battles:
Italians lose both naval combats rolling a modified -6 in Tobruk and a -4 in EE20.
They will lose 10FF total leaving 8FF in Taranto. The UK will lose 3FF from the Alexandria fleet and 2FF from the Ajaccio fleet leaving 4FF in Alexandria and 7FF in Ajaccio.
Here is the situation post naval combat:
The Axis will designate 9FF as a supply fleet from Trieste, which cannot supply anything now, but in the future it could presumably (according to the Axis camp) save isolated German units from elimination. The allies question the legality of this, as at the time the fleets are changing hands from Italian to German hands, it is reasonable to assume that anything they were assigned to do before is “null and void”. The allies will indeed prevail in this argument.Movement phase:
In the West the Germans will move forces inside Danish, Dutch and Belgian territory. Care will be exercised after moving the airforce west to maintain the East Front Garrison:
In the Med Italians will invade Egypt in a glorious attempt to commit suicide before surrendering.
Here is the full board post movement:Mission announcementsNaval:
1) 9FF Seaborne Invasion to Copenhagen carrying a 3-3 from Konigsberg
2) Kiel 9FF SB against CopenhagenAir:
1) CA to Copenhagen with 2AF from Wilhelmshaven
2) 3AF (2for GS 1 for CA) on Hague
3) 1AF CA on Antwerp from Essen
4) 1AF GS on Brussels from Essen
5) 2AF GS on Frankfurt
No interceptions or DAS are possible.
Here is the situation before combat rolls in the West:
And the full board just before combat:
I should also note here a couple of questionable moves from the Axis:
The decimated Italian airforce factors are “lent”! Therefore they could have been moved under a pass option conditions from Med to the Western front and could have been used there, with no problem, even if Italy is taking a pass option in the West! Furthermore they could have been used to satisfy DoW requirements for Netherlands or Belgium! Bonn has space to accommodate them! Of course the Italians due to spending limit restrictions they could not DoW Netherlands AND Belgium and also take an offensive option, but at least the use of the Lent Italians against one of them would have saved the Germans 10 BRPs, plus some losses!
The 17FF in Taranto and Trieste could have been used to Sea Transport the 2X1-3 from Tobruk and attack somewhere (such as in Spezia). The 8FF in Taranto are not inverted, and the 9FF supply route from Trieste seems useless, anyway (see discussion above). Yes, may be the Italians did not want to force losses on French fleets, but they had a chance of taking down that armor, which will be useful for the British to have in Italy, perhaps more that the 1-3s in North Africa.
The battle begins:
In Copenhagen the Germans win with no losses
In Hague the Germans will eliminate the Dutch AF losing 1AF
In Antwerp the Belgian AF will be eliminated with no losses
Here is the situation in the Western front after CA rolls and CA losses
Ground combat rolls:
1) In the 3-1 in Copenhagen the brave Danes will extract an EX. Germans will lose the infantry from Konigsberg and advance with the other
2) In the 2-1 in Hague the Germans roll a D and will advance with 1X3-3. Holland conquered!
3) In the 2-1 Brussels the Germans will roll a D as well and advance with all units
4) The Germans will attack across river at N25 to place a bridgehead at 2-1 odds. They will roll a CA-EX losing one 3-3 and will advance with the other.
Belgium is conquered and a breakthrough hex will be created in Brussels
5) The Germans will attack in Frankfurt at 2-1odds, bit they will roll the dreaded 4-6(A)
This unlucky roll opens a giant “hole” on German defenses. It is indeed quite an unfortunate roll, but a 4-6 in Brussels would have been worse.
6) At S26 the Germans will attack at 3-1 odds rolling a D, and opening a land supply route to some of their units. Will advance with one 3-3.
Here is the situation post Combat in the West
Note that supply to AA23 and Genoa is not restored as at the supply determination phase post movement there was not a ZOC-free path. Even if we accept that supply is restored the fleets will be “reassigned” after the Fall of Italy so they cannot remain in supply duty.These units will be eliminated.
7) The Italians will have some good luck in their suicide missions:
The 1-3 at W23 will roll an EX eliminating all units. The I26 1-2 attack in Libya will also roll an EX, as well as the the LL26 1-2 attack in Egypt! The other Italian attack at NN25 will roll an AExploitation:
There will be no exploitation movement, but a single exploitation attack on M24 using the exploiting 4-6 and 8AF from Essen.
Situation in the West just before exploitation roll:
It will Rolls a D and Germans will advance with the exploiting armor.
Here is the situation post exploitation Combat
Italy will be conquered. Its units will be removed and hex control will be established
All hexes will be considered British, unless they have a French or German marker. Libyan hexes and Albanian hexes are considered uncontrolled. Same with Egyptian hexes that will maintain Italian markers
Germans choose the Venice hex as a supply route to their units. They will gain 8 fleet factors from the fleet remnant roll and place them there (as a 4+2+1+1 breakdown).
Here is the situation just before unit construction (full board):Unit Construction:
First there will be some partial air counter rearrangements at Wilhelmshaven and Essen
Germany will build 5AF(15), 1X4-6(8), 1X3-3(3) 4 replacements(4) for a total of 30BRP. 0 left
2 replacements will be placed in East Prussia, 1 in Q31, and the other in N27, closing the hole generated by the A result. The 3-3 and 4-6 will be placed in Bonn and Stuttgart respectively to also close the gap. The new 5-4 airwing will be placed in Leipzig.
Here is the partial board post construction:SR phase:
1) 9FF from Konigsberg to Bremen
2) Airbase Counter from East Prussia to Cologne/Essen
3) 5-4(Leipzig) to Cologne
4) Replacement from Q31 to Sofia
5) 3-3 from Copenhagen to Venice
6) 4-6 from T25 to N28
7) 3-3(11th) from Holland to Cologne
8) 3-3 Hague to T25
9) AB unit to Hague
Here is the partial board post SR:
And at the end of turn full board after removal of unsupplied units and reinversions:Summary:
Yes Italy fell, and the allies are in very strong position. Germany rolls this turn were not the best either and included a painful 4-6 combo on a 2-1 attack. But if you are thinking about stopping following this series because Italy fell and Germany has lost the game already….Think again!!…Actually one of the reasons I am posting this, is to show skillful Axis play without Italy on board, so that people stop quitting when Italy falls and keep playing to win! Germany CAN very much win without Italy in this game, and if you think the game is over, you are up for big surprises…Stay tuned!IMPORTANT ERRATA:
The 4 French AF are indeed in Turin, but were accidentally moved on the map one hex West. All the maps in episodes 10 and 11 have this error. I will correct this position in the next episode.