Doug Poskitt
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Allied Summer 1940

Options
Western : Britain = P; France = O (15); USSR = P
Eastern : Britain = P; France = P; USSR = A
Med : Britain = A; France = P; USSR = P

France spends 15 BRPs on an offensive option, leaving 52 BRPs, 34 of which may be spent this turn.

Movement Phase
Paris, being occupied by Axis units, is unable to act as a source of supply for French units in European France. In order that a counter-attack on Paris is possible, supply must be provided by British fleets based in Scapa Flow. They will carry supply from London to France via Cherbourg. As the French need supply provided to at least ten ground units, two fleets must be designated as supply fleets. Eighteen factors can provide supply to all French units in France (less the two units in the Maginot line) except for one of the airbase counters in Q19. (The two British airbase counters are left unsupplied, and thus they will be placed on London during the SR phase, at no SR cost.)



The French adjust the deployment of their forces so that 23 ground factors are adjacent to the German mega-stack on the bridgehead in Paris. With 10 AF’s of GS flown in support of the impending counter-attack, the French will get a 1:2. Chances of success are slim, as only a CA will have any possibility of a result that may lead to the re-occupation of the capital. French survival hinges on a 1 in 6 chance that gives a second die roll, which may or may not prove favourable. Being realistic, the chances are not good.

The RAF evacuates France, flying a 5-4 airwing to Glasgow and a 3-4 airwing to Belfast. Whilst the British High Command reorganises the deployment of forces in Britain, along with rebuilding the BEF, there is no chance that these airwings can be counter-aired by the Luftwaffe.



Britain’s last remaining airbase is constructed in north Wales (hex H23). The good point about placing an airbase here is that it can cover all the southern beaches, whilst at the same time remaining out of counter-air range.

The bad point is that now Britain has all three airbases in use on the board, so any that are needed in the Mediterranean will need to be SR’d there. Whitehall can reasonably expect the two airbases in north-western France to appear in London at the end of the turn.



In Egypt, the 3-4 Infantry Corps in LL28 moves forward to LL27. Its place in LL28 is taken by the 3-4 Infantry Corps stationed in Port Said. I make this move not only to strengthen the front line position against the Italians for the present, but also because if the Axis are going to do what I think they are going to do – that is, take out Yugoslavia in Fall 1940 and Greece in Fall/Winter 1940, preparatory to Operation Barbarossa – then once I am sure that Britain will not be a target, I intend to transfer airwings to Egypt and take the offensive against Benito’s legions.

I will be patient for just a turn or so longer, in order to be certain of his overall intentions … then it’s time to start hitting back, in preparation for establishing my position in North Africa in pursuit of my longer-term plans. (No wasteful side-shows in support of the Balkan states for this British Government!)

Combat Phase
The two French 5-4 airwings fly GS over Paris for the coming battle. Combined with the 23 ground factors, that gives France a total of 33 factors for the assault. The German flies 10 AF’s of lent Italian air from Bonn as DAS for the battle. The stage is set; the French will launch a desperate counter-attack on their beleaguered capital at odds of 33:56 (1:2) with CA odds at 33:33 (1:1). Only a CA result and a favourable second die roll can hope to wrest Paris from the invader and so keep France in the fight.



Believe me, there is palpable tension in the air as I take this die roll.

I roll a 3 - “CA”! Hope springs eternal - literally. (Both of us were tight-lipped at this point.) The German counter-attack is a 2 - “CA”!! What odds two “3’s” in a row? The French roll again – they roll a 5 - “A”!!!

Paris falls! La France est morte!

Oh man, that was close. The French were within reach of a result. In the end, an old cliché rings true – “so near and yet so far”.

I sit back and shrug my shoulders. It’s not the end of the world; after all, France held out till Summer 1940 and that was the least I had looked for the French to achieve way back when we started the game. There is, of course, the added bonus that a whole swathe of French ground and air units bite the dust, which means they won’t be counted in the calculations for the Vichy French forces.

My opponent lets out a sigh of relief and says nothing.

French casualties were enormous: 2 x 5-4 airwings; 3 x 3-5 Armoured Corps; 7 x 2-3 Infantry Corps. (A whopping 62 BRPs worth!).

In European France, 6 x 2-3 Infantry Corps, 3 x Replacement units; and 2 x airbases’ remain. Three French 9-factor fleets are in North Africa. Finally, one 2-3 Infantry Corps is in Lebanon-Syria.

Attrition combat in the Mediterranean on the 1-10 column sees the British roll for a 1C. The Italian Replacement unit in Rome is eliminated.

Vichy France
Three 2-3 Infantry Corps, two Replacement units and an airbase survive the Vichy halving process and move to Vichy France as shown in the image below.

Three French 9-factor fleets (one at Oran, two at Tunis) undergo the Vichy halving process, with a 9-factor, 4-factor and a 1-factor fleet moving to Marseilles.

Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia becomes Free French, while Lebanon-Syria becomes Vichy French.



As the dust starts to settle on the demise of the French, several thoughts come to mind.

Firstly, while I am comfortable with France falling in Summer 1940, it is undeniable that if the French can continue fighting after this date, the scales of the game may be said to tip in the Allies favour. Certainly, the German BRP-total would stand to be reduced by continued fighting in France, which may well limit their options between the time when France falls and (if that is the major strategy thread that is being followed) the start of Operation Barbarossa.

Given the disparity between the qualities of the Franco-German forces, it does require a strong British commitment to France to prolong the conflict there. In this game, while I did send the entire RAF across the channel, I only sent two BEF 3-4 Infantry units. When the time came for me to choose between an offensive or attrition option, the lack of extra British ground forces (particularly armour) lessened the offensive punch the Allies could muster. In this respect, the Italian armour being kept on board ship at Taranto caused me to focus unduly on Axis possibilities in the Middle-East, and so divert forces there which could conceivably have been sent to France. If this was my opponent’s intent, then he succeeded.

As events have unfolded in respect of the establishment of Vichy France, the whole of French north-west Africa has gone over to the Free French. As they are worth 5 BRPs apiece, providing they remain Free French, Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia will net Britain 15 BRPs per year, (enough to pay for an offensive); however, given the demands that Britain will most likely face from now until 1942, Axis occupation of one or more of these Free French territories is likely (most probably with spare Italian units).

Lastly, there is the position of Lebanon-Syria, which, unfortunately, has gone over to Vichy France. As it stands, the Axis forces can enter Lebanon-Syria without the need for an invasion, though they will still suffer from supply limitations. Though it may not be possible immediately, I would feel safer if British forces were garrisoning the Levant, and to that end as soon as sufficient forces can be spared, an invasion of Lebanon-Syria will be planned. (This will give a +2 DRM for the German Vichy Activation die roll, though this will be offset by the -1 DRM for all colonies being Free French and/or under Allied control). The longer it is left, the more opportunity for the Axis to SR French units into Lebanon-Syria from mainland Vichy France.

Man, as the timeline advances, this game doesn’t get any simpler!

Construction Phase
Britain builds: 1 x 5-4 airwing; 2 x 3-4 Infantry Corps; 1 x 1-3 Infantry Corps, costing 22 BRPs. Britain has 84 BRPs left, 35 of which remain to be spent this turn.

The 5-4 airwing is placed in Rosyth, again with a view to avoiding counter-air by the Luftwaffe in Fall 1940. The two 3-4 infantry units are placed on the eastern and south-eastern beaches, at J25 and L23. The 1-3 Infantry Corps is placed on board ship at Scapa Flow.



Strategic Re-deployment (SR) Phase
Britain SRs: 3-4 Infantry Corps from J25 to Port Said (using Sea Escort from Scapa Flow and Gibraltar); 3-4 Infantry Corps from L23 to J25; Replacement unit from E26 to Plymouth; 3-4 Infantry Corps from London to L21; 1-3 Infantry Corps from Scapa Flow to London.

With two fleets in Britain having been used to supply the French forces for their counter-attack on Paris, and the remaining fleet sea escorting the infantry to Egypt, the only real SR possibilities that exist for Britain are in Britain itself.

With the two airbases in France not due to be SR’d back to Britain (London) until the end of the SR phase, there is no good reason to SR any airwings from Northern Ireland and Scotland to the northern English cities such as Liverpool and Manchester & Sheffield due to their being imperilled by Luftwaffe counter-air attacks in Fall 1940.



At first glance, I was going to leave the Allied defences as they are in the image above, until I realised that my rusty 3R brain needs even more of a shake than it has already received to date.

The cogs of my reasoning grating through their inactivity these past 20 years, I chose the infantry unit in J25 for re-deployment to Egypt as I reasoned that should the German try an invasion with the minimal naval forces he has, J25 is the nearest hex (interception-wise) from Scapa Flow (9 hexes in fact). So, if I was going to leave one beach hex relatively weak – it would be J25.

Given the present British deployment in Britain, I considered the following (and in this I assume that the German follows his incredible streak of luck and survived the Royal Navy’s attempt at interception):
1) The 9-factor fleet carries the 3-3 Infantry Corps from Kiel & Hamburg to J25 (Seaborne invasion), supported by 9 AF’s of GS from Wilhelmshaven and The Hague.
2) The Replacement unit at J25 can only receive 3 AF’s of GS from Rosyth or Glasgow.
3) Thus, the German could make a 2:1 attack against J25.
4) In conjunction with the above, the 3-3 Airborne Corps drops in Great Yarmouth, with 7 AF’s of GS (more than enough German and/or Italian airwings in place to achieve this).
5) No RAF units are in position to provide DAS, so the airborne attacks at 10:2 (5:1).
6) The German would use his fleet in Bergen to provide supply to the bridgehead in J25 and the airborne in Great Yarmouth.

The German would then have 13 AF’s left to provide DAS for the infantry unit in J25 and the airborne unit in Great Yarmouth. This could turn out to be an inconvenience for the British, (e.g. having to launch an offensive to rid the east coast of the invader).

The present deployment is attractive to the German because he has good chances of occupying both J25 and Great Yarmouth (ground attack odds only). Should he do so, the prize could be a lodgement in Britain, with a chance to reinforce in the next turn and thus present the British with an even bigger problem, or at worst seeing the British blow their remaining BRP reserve on an inconvenient counter-attack (bearing in mind that Britain may, - nay should - reserve 18 BRPs to meet possible SW deprivations courtesy of Admiral Donitz.)

The solution? Deprive the Germans of J25. That makes dropping the airborne in Great Yarmouth distinctly unattractive. I accomplished this by SR’ing the 3-4 Infantry Corps from L23 to J25. Granted, this might seem a waste of an SR (which it is, as I could have SR’d the unit in L23 to Port Said and kept the unit in J25 in place), but I am rusty and it is better to acknowledge a mistake before it’s too late to rectify it.

Now, the German should think twice about invading J25 in conjunction with an airborne drop on Great Yarmouth. His invasion of J25 would be met with 12 AF’s of DAS. The odds would be 12:24 (1:2) with CA odds of 16:12 (1:1). That gives a 50% chance of outright failure of the invasion. While the British would still stand to lose significant BRP losses in an EX (28 BRPs), the German would risk having the airborne stranded in Great Yarmouth (which surely would dent his wider strategic plans on the continent). In my opinion – given his deployment in the Balkans – that should be enough to prevent him getting cute.



What about the three south coast beaches? Does this leave a situation (defended as they are by one Replacement unit apiece) that the German could exploit with his present forces? He could try an invasion of L21 along with an airdrop on Plymouth. If the invasion is successful then the same problems appear in the south and south-west of Britain as they do on the east coast. Potential costs/losses would be similar, but fortunately, the solution is the same. The airborne cannot reach Rosyth this turn, so the Replacement unit there is SR’d to Plymouth. In order to make L21 unattractive to a German seaborne assault, the 3-4 Infantry Corps from London is SR’d to L21. While not enjoying as much DAS cover as J25, the defence of L21 is still strong enough to ensure a seaborne invasion will be at 12:17 (1:2) with CA odds of 9:12 (1:2). Not a sure thing, I know, but still unattractive odds with the airborne dropping next door in Plymouth. The latter would be stranded and would in all likelihood disappear in the following turn, possibly for good.

As Scapa Flow is not in danger this turn, the 1-3 Infantry Corps there is SR’d to London, giving 24 factors for defence (nineteen ground and five air), just to make sure the odds against a German airborne attack are 12:24 (1:2) with CA at 14:12 (1:1).

Finally, with the Axis forces focusing on the Balkans, British deployment in Egypt continues.



The turn ends with the two unsupplied British airbase counters in north-west France being relocated to London.

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Patrick Bauer
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OH BOY! you got the "3". You could have soured your new Third Reich friend on the game permanently if he'd rolled the "5". Joy and solitaire gaming would have followed. Even the CA exchange would have been worth it. C'est la vie.

Lebanon-Syria going Vichy is so annoying. Your wise placement of the Palestinian unit will do until German armor is set waiting like the Italian armor is. Sea Transport of the DAK and the Italian armor could cost Suez. Take the Levant.

I don't think I like your use of the last RAF airbase. It seems a very conserative defence of Britain and an overly cautious deployment of air. It's one of those little things that may come back and haunt you. Plus I was hoping for a historical UK intervention in Greece by airwing in Crete.

Again, outstanding replay, analysis and fun.
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Doug Poskitt
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SewerStarFish wrote:
Take the Levant.

I intend to.

Plus I was hoping for a historical UK intervention in Greece by airwing in Crete.

The Axis cannot take Greece in one turn. The RAF can intervene in Greece, but not before the Allied Fall 1940 turn. While the 2-4 airwing in Malta can stage directly to Crete, as you pointed out Patrick, my use of the airbase in north Wales means I can't SR an airbase to Crete until the Allied Fall 1940 turn, by which it may be too late. He could invade Crete with his armour in Fall 1940 and exploit so as to make intervention in Crete impossible.

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Jeff Richards
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Awesome report! I especially liked the way you stretched out the drama on the attack on Paris, I was biting my nails when I saw you rolled the 3!

I agree with Patrick, it's generally not worth it to the Germans to spend an offensive just to counterair the Brits. I would have just dumped the air units in Manchester/Sheffield and Liverpool and saved the airbase. An airbase in hand gives a lot of flexibility.

Ugh on the Vichy Lebanon. The Germans luck continues. Now his conservative play in the med looks much smarter, almost like he knew this was coming! This certainly changes things significantly in the med...

My predicition is the Italian units in port sail in the Fall.

Looking forward to more!
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E Butler
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Did the French end up killing anything the whole game?????? If I recall, the only German losses were a few air points, but I think that was to UK air. That has to be about the best streak of German luck I've ever seen!

\I suppose that the good news was that England didn't really get to bloodied in that campaign and it did take some time off the clock but... man, that was awful.
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Doug Poskitt
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moonglum01 wrote:
Did the French end up killing anything the whole game?????? If I recall, the only German losses were a few air points, but I think that was to UK air. That has to be about the best streak of German luck I've ever seen!

Well, yes they did, In the Axis Summer 1940 turn the German lost a 4-6 panzer unit and 4 AF's in an EX when attacking Paris,

However, I hold my hands up and freely admit there was some room for improvement in my defense of France. A whole ocean's worth some might say. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I should have been more aggressive with the French. But to have done that I would have had to commit more British ground forces to the campaign than just the two BEF units. In their defense - prior to being lined up against the wall and being offered blindfolds - the French High Command could only follow orders from their supreme commander. Unfortunately for the French that was me. Playing again in a campaign game for the first time in 20-odd years - the rust shows without doubt - I will venture to say I will play a different game the next time I control the Allies in 3R.


\I suppose that the good news was that England didn't really get to bloodied in that campaign and it did take some time off the clock but... man, that was awful.

Yup. Bloody awful. But, looking on the bright side, the Allies are still in the game and the French did actually survive until Summer 1940. I'm not going to dwell on Allied ineptitude on the western front to date (as of Summer 1940); rather I'm looking forward to the rest of the game, and in a spirit of optimism, I am aiming to give him a tougher game when he invades Russia.

On the subject of lucky die rolls, once he starts knocking on Ivan's door, each combat phase is likely to have a higher number of die rolls, and the way I look at it is sooner or later he's gonna get his share of bad rolls.

Some lucky die rolls and Allied rustiness have got him this far, but there is another factor that will start to come into play now. In the course of teaching the game, the opening year (Fall 1939-Summer 1940) was where most of our practise play took place, and where most of our discussions and examples lay. Plus, the majority of literaure I handed over dealt with play in this period ... as we near 1941, he is more on his own. In this respect. he's now wading in much less familiar water.
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E Butler
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I wasn't implying poor play at all, a bit more conservative than I would have played but you held out for about the right amount of time. I was just amazed at the sheer volume of German luck so far.... Fifth Column? Broken Allied codes??
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Doug Poskitt
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moonglum01 wrote:
I wasn't implying poor play at all, a bit more conservative than I would have played but you held out for about the right amount of time.

I didn't read your post as in any way implying poor play ... but as I write up Fall 1940 and deal with what is in the offing for Winter 1940, I look back at my defence of France and rue not commiting more British units to the fray. Since Spring 1940, two armour units have been sitting in London doing nothing, except guard against the possibility of an Axis airborne attack on the capital which never materialised (though of course it could have been done). Too much attention was paid by the Allies to the Italian forces stationed on board ship in Italy. As of the end of Summer 1940, they were still there ... doing nothing (though again, of course, they could have done something). The net consequence of this was that the added punch needed in France never got sent there.

I was just amazed at the sheer volume of German luck so far.... Fifth Column? Broken Allied codes?? Weighted dice? (I do wonder...)
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