John Starman
United States
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------ 1942------
Background

The Axis forces of Germany, Italy, and minor partners (Romania, Hungary) have overrun much of mainland Europe. In Europe, they control Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria. In May, 1941 they invaded the USSR and have pushed to the gates of Moscow, Leningrad and now Stalingrad….though they have not taken any of these cities yet.

In the Mediterranean, Italy took over Malta as soon as they entered the war. Italy also conquered the island of Cyprus and, along with a German motorized and mountain corps, entered the Levant after Vichy France caved to their demands. They quickly overran Iraq and pushed into Palestine. In North Africa axis forces pushed up to El Alamein by fall ’41 and after a prolonged siege, they broke through and took Alexandria, but could not reinforce their forces quick enough to prevent the British holding out around Cairo and Suez. British forces, both land and naval, have been hard pressed throughout the war but have managed to hold on so far while suffering heavily from U-Boats and German Navy surface raiders.

In the Pacific, Japanese forces attacked the Western Powers in December, 1941. They sank much of the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor, including the carrier USS Enterprise(not salvageable). They quickly overran the Netherland East Indies, Malaya, Philippines, Guam, Siam, Burma and stand on the borders of India. They pushed into New Guinea, eventually taking Port Moresby. They hold the Solomon Islands (with airfield on Guadalcanal), the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. However, this has come at the cost of the carriers Zuikaku and Shokaku and damage to Kaga, Hiryu & Soryu. The US Navy has lost the Lexington, Yorktown and Enterprise. The Allies are holding out in Australia, the New Hebrides, Samoa, Midway, Hawaii, Alaska, & India. China is holding out so far as the Japanese have put most all of their effort into the Pacific. So far there have been two surface naval engagements (Java Sea area and Coral Sea area) which led to heavy Allied CA, CL and DD losses. Japanese torpedoes have been very effective in these engagements as the Japanese have only lost 1 CA, a few CL’s and DD’s. US submarines have been hampered by duds on their torpedoes….many hits, but also dud’s.

------ 1942------

October 1942
European Theater of Operations –


In the Eastern Mediterranean, there was heavy and fluid fighting in the Nile Delta and Alexandria. The Allies were able to get two convoys through in August/September which built up their armies and air power, along with increased US and British naval surface units. Thanks to Ultra intercepts, the Allies had the initiative this month and launched their (both British & US forces) offensive in Egypt first, overrunning much of the now-depleted axis forces, trapping a panzer division and 2 Italian Inf XX’s in Alexandria. US infantry XX’s have reached El Alamein. The past two months had seen heavy air unit attrition and the Axis were now low on fighter cover while the Allies air power had increased. This allowed the Allies to launch an air offensive on the Italian fleet now caught in Alexandria with limited air cover. US Navy and RN air units along with US B-24’s and RAF Mosquito’s badly damaged one BB, 2 CA’s, sank one CL and depleted a DD counter. Meanwhile another convoy reached Suez from Britain bringing new Spitfires and more British armor and infantry to reinforce the offensive. The Allies, for the first time in over a year, now outnumber the Axis forces in this part of the theater in land forces.
In the Levant – the British pushed into Palestine overrunning a German HQ unit and Italian Inf XX as they did so, forcing the German Mtn Korps to retreat towards Beirut to keep from being cutoff. The Italians did get another Inf XX into Beirut; however, keeping all units supplied continues to be a problem, as it has been since they invaded the Levant. Limited port facilities and air transports, means not all units are fully in supply each month.

The War at Sea
All through the summer the German Navy was sending into the North Atlantic surface raiders to raise havoc on Allied shipping. The RN and US Navy were not able to run them down. In August, the Germans got greedy and entered US waters looking to inflict more damage on US shipping. However, they ran into a US Fleet and the first CV fight in the Atlantic took place between the USS Wasp and the Graf Zeppelin. The Germans came off the worst with three BB’s and CA heavily damaged and the Graf Zeppelin sunk. The US lost the BB Texas, one CA sunk, one CA heavily damaged and two CL’s. The damaged Axis ships found shelter in Brest, France. September continued with the bad luck for the German surface navy, as their foray into US waters allowed the British to concentrate on the Tirpitz and the Admiral Scheer that were still in the North Atlantic. The Scheer was pounded into the ocean and the Tirpitz heavily damaged by RN air. This cost the US Navy the BB Arkansas. However, with ALL RN units searching the North Atlantic, this did allow for two damaged Axis ships – Scharnhorst and Gneisenau that were based in Brest, to sneak past the British Isles and reach Kiel, Germany. Coastal Command was severely reprimanded as they were caught flat-footed on the Western Approaches of Britain and their naval bombing was atrocious. The damaged Tirpitz was able to reach Brest, France as well. U-boats were active in all shipping lanes now and tonnage loss was heavy, especially in the US waters where escorts were still in short supply. The USS Massachusetts and USS Wasp moved to the Pacific via the Panama Canal.

October saw continued tonnage loss from U-boats; however, sinking’s were down dramatically from prior months, though the heaviest losses were once again in US waters. At the same time, U-boat losses were the severest so far in the war, as Allied escorts were finally plentiful in the North Atlantic, and US escorts and planes were starting to make life difficult for U-boat crews operating off of the US East coast. For the first time in many months there were no Axis surface raiders present in the Atlantic. The German Navy has NO active capital ships at present (all damaged). Once again, Coastal Command, and this time the RN, were caught flat-footed and the Axis surface units in Brest were able to sneak past the west side of Britain and reach Trondheim, Norway without further damage (the Axis had initiative in October and hence, first naval movement). With no German surface raiders to worry about, the Allies moved convoys to Gibraltar from the US and Britain – setting up possible invasion of North Africa? The Germans changed their enigma codes, meaning no Ultra intelligence for the Allies in the first three months of 1943.

To this point in the war, the Royal Navy has suffered heavy CA and CL losses. DD’s for fleet protection have been catastrophically low due to most of them escorting convoys. British transport fleet has been just barely adequate (thankfully a few captured French transports have helped) to keep Egypt reinforced. So far the British have lost the BB’s Valiant, Barham, Warspite, Resolution, Revenge, Royal Oak, Queen Elizabeth, Rodney and Nelson and BC’s Repulse and Renown. They have lost CV’s Ark Royal, Furious, Glorious, and Eagle. The Germans have lost BB’s Bismarck, Graf Spee, & Admiral Scheer, the CV Graf Zeppelin, the CA’s Blucher and Prinz Eugen and some DD’s. The Italians are down to the BB’s Roma & Littorio, 4 heavy CA’s, still numerous CL’s and DD’s. The US Navy has lost the BB’s Texas & Arkansas, the CA Augusta and 2 CL’s.

Russia
Weather conditions have turned into Mud and air support was impossible. Heavy fighting continued north of Moscow. The Russians counterattacked and drove the German 3rd Panzer Army back to Kalinin with heavy panzer losses. The Russians lost just as heavily, but were able to straighten out their lines. There was limited fighting around Moscow as well. The German siege of Leningrad continued with the Germans assaulting the city proper, but tenacious defense from the Red Army Guards units there beat back all assaults….this is tying down many German infantry XX’s. To the south of Moscow, near Tula, the German 2nd Panzer Army achieved a surprise breakthrough in the front and pushed east of Tula, but the muddy conditions limited penetration and the Red Army was able to patch up the hole and began pinching off the German spearhead. In southern Russia, the fighting on the approaches to Stalingrad increased as a Red Army counterattack pushed the German motorized forces back across the Don River with heavy panzer and motorized troop losses. Only one bridgehead is now held by the Germans across the Don River. The Blitzkrieg into the Caucasus continued as the Red Army forces are very weak in this sector. Maikop was taken and Krasnodar surrounded as German and Rumanian forces from the Crimea crossed the Kerch straight. However, German supply lines into the Caucasus are strained.

Partisans are now active in Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland and Russia. Partisans in Greece cut off rail to Athens forcing Axis to ship German reinforcements to Italy to ship to Africa. This has led to increased German XX’s needed to combat the Partisans and not go to the front in Russia.

Western Europe
Both sides have been quiet here with the Germans building coastal fortifications around Le Harve and Calais France and the Belgian coast…They are also reinforcing fighters in France to cover the attrition over the summer. Brest has been heavily bombed by B-17’s and A-20’s destroying some of the port capacity, however, they suffered heavy losses. Almost all of the FW-190’s are deployed to France to compete with the RAF. P-38’s & B-24’s have just arrived in England. RAF fighter force in Britain is very strong but RAF bomber strength is very low. Germans only have a few FW-200 Condors for bombers in France, all other bombers are either in Russia or the Med. Minor economic points lost in both Britain and Germany from night bombing by both countries…..bomber fleets in both countries for this are still small.

Pacific Theater of Operations 1942

There is tension in the Japanese army and navy high commands as they debate where to go with the war from here, now that many of their initial objectives have been conquered. In the end, they decide to concentrate more on China and India….sitting still in the Pacific, hoping to lure the American CV’s into a lop-sided fight.

Japanese submarines patrol off of the East Pacific Ocean causing minor economic loss to the US. Both sides deploy submarines on likely avenues of fleet activity….the US group around Truk and Palau hoping to interdict supply runs to New Guinea and the South Pacific. Japan sends subs to the Coral Sea and to spots to interdict supply runs from Hawaii. The US also sends sub forces to interdict Japanese convoy routes around the Philippines and Borneo.

The Japanese send one CV task force on run towards Hawaii hoping to force American CV’s to fight….they keep in range of land based bombers from Wake Island, the Marshalls and Gilbert Islands. The US Navy does sortie a 2 CV TF to be in position to respond to any moves by the Japanese TF….they stay out of range for now of Japanese CV and land based air formations. The Japanese send another CV TF south of the Gilbert Islands…ready to strike at American TF or the forces in the New Hebrides. The US responds by sending out a dummy TF east of the New Hebrides, hoping to confuse the Japanese.

While this maneuvering is going on, the Japanese spend most of their effort trying to combat the US subs and eliminate this thorn in their side on shipping supplies to their island outposts. They have some success from air patrols and sink two US sub chits, opening up a supply lane.

In the end, neither side is ready to commit to combat in the Pacific…the Japanese worried about the dummy TF and decided to retire.

On land, the offensive in China takes two more resource hexes from the Chinese, but the Chinese continue to form a line of defense. In India, Japanese forces led by Gen. Homma take Ledo and force the last of the British forces into India proper. They complete the Burma railroad helping out with supplies, but they continue to struggle with getting adequate supplies to the forward units just inside India. This ends up slowing down the overall Japanese offensive in India.

The rest of the month is spent running supplies and reinforcements by both sides and moving air assets around where needed the most. The Japanese begin to fortify their forward islands and finish the airfield on Guadalcanal which sees the elite Japanese Navy Tainan Air Group of Zero’s and Betty bombers arrive. This will put pressure on the Allies to keep the supply line open to Australia.
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Mark Ruggiero
United States
lodi
California
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sweet keep it coming
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Mark Riley
United Kingdom
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I assume you are playing APTO alongside AETO? Are you playing solo?

Keep the AAR going - there is not enough of a profile on this fascinating game system. I have both games but haven't got around to playing them yet.
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John Starman
United States
Elgin
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goatleaf wrote:
I assume you are playing APTO alongside AETO? Are you playing solo?

Keep the AAR going - there is not enough of a profile on this fascinating game system. I have both games but haven't got around to playing them yet.


Yes I am. I have FINALLY gotten around to playing this as a combined game. You are correct in your statement of 'this fascinating game system.'

Since I first played TSR's ETO and PTO back in the 90's, I have been hooked on this system. The advanced version takes it to another level....and, while rules 'heavy' and confusingly written(I still do a lot of looking up in the rulebook), I LOVE the synergy between the land, air and sea....I LOVE the chrome of specific airplanes, ships, etc....I LOVE how you can purchase each nation's armies however you see fit, while still keeping to historical unit levels of planes, ships and tanks, etc., as each nation's force pool is based on historical units and production.

To me, this game allows 'what-if's' that fit historical possibilities while maintaining the 'right' historical feel for game play....it does play out as history very well in my opinion. Putting the two games together takes it to another level as well....what units should I build?....where should I focus my offensives?....do I focus only on air...only on sea....only on land?, etc. One sees the many options and problems open to all of the nations that fought in this war. Great fun!

The naval system is the best I have found in a 'monster', strategic, operational game system. I just find the overall combination of all of the aspects of WWII to be well-done in this game system.

I am hardcore here though, as I incorporate other games into this system. For instance, the Russian campaign is fought using the game Dark Valley. I fight the campaign with this game and then extrapolate losses and territory taken into AETO terms....I then use this for economic point gains and losses into AETO, and vice versa....what unit builds I do in AETO is what shows up as reinforcements and/or replacements in Russia, for both countries. I don't use the replacement or reinforcement schedule from the Dark Valley game. Air combat here is handled in AETO terms yet. I fly both forces to where 'best needed'...fight the air combat using AETO....and extrapolate the outcome to fit Dark Valley rules. Same with weather....I figure out weather using AETO for the month and then use the Dark Valley air, movement and supply restrictions based on the weather result. I have not figured out what game I will use if the western allies invade western Europe, but I will play that campaign out the same way I use Dark Valley. I have just started to use Dark Sands for the land combat in North Africa, again in the same way I am using Dark Valley. I create my own non-game provided units if need be (I currently have one US infantry chit in Libya, so I created units of this US force to use in Dark Valley).

The game play is also excellent for creating air combat scenarios for Wing Leader. It doesn't take much imagination and one soon has Italian Maachi MC.200's dogfighting Spitfires or P-40's.....or Mig's taking on Messerschmidt's. Same for the Pacific. I am going to mark an American air fighter unit chit as 'me' and whatever battles it is in I may convert to Wing Leader.....call me anal, or call me 'you-do-not-have-enough-to-do!!

With a little thought, I bet one could take solo submarine games like The Hunters and Silent Victory and make them fit into the AETO/APTO fight. I am thinking of marking one US sub chit coming into service in 1943 as 'me' and I will fight a Silent Victory patrol wherever it gets sent in APTO....not sure how this would work, but I am intrigued by it.

I am planning of posting more AAR's. Thanks for reading and the interest! Good gaming!! John

 
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