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Doug Poskitt
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Axis BRPs total 221, compared to the Allied total of 79 BRPs. With a lead of 142 BRPs, the Axis move first in Summer 1941.

Axis Summer 1941

DoW

Germany declares war on the Soviet Union! Well, hot dog! Now the cards are starting to be shown on the table. At the time of the Axis declaration of war, I didn’t know whether I was surprised or not. As the Allied player, all those years ago, I was used to seeing a long black line of German units arrayed against the Red Army all the way from the Baltic to the Black Sea. While I realise that nothing should surprise me in this game, it does strike me as unusual to see the declaration of war with German forces strung out as they are; in Turkey, his forces are still positioned in the western half of the country.

Be that as it may, Germany spends 35 BRPs on her declaration of war against the USSR. That leaves her with 133 BRPs, with 97 still remaining to be spent this turn.

With the USSR now in the fight, her 147 BRPs are added to that of the British 79 BRPs, to give the Allies a total of 226 BRPs. The Axis total now stands at 186 BRPs, which sees the Allies with a lead of 40 BRPs.

Minor Ally Activation

With no Soviet foreign aid expenditure to Hungary last turn, the Axis have no negative DRM’s on any of their Minor Ally Activation die rolls, and thus Bulgaria (10 BRPs), Finland (10 BRPs), Hungary (10 BRPs) and Rumania (15 BRPs) activate. They are automatically at war with the enemies of the Axis, and thus they do not need to declare war on Britain and the Soviet Union.

Minor Ally Activation gives Germany 45 BRPs, which raises her overall BRP total to 178. The Axis now have 231 BRPs compared to the Allies 226, which gives them a lead of 5 BRPs.

Bulgaria
The Bulgarian 1-4 AF bases at Plovdiv. Two 1-3 Infantry Corps’ deploy at Sofia, while the remaining two 1-3 Infantry Corps’ are positioned at Z30. Given the geographical restrictions on Bulgarian forces, it would seem likely that they are destined for garrison duty in Yugoslavia, Greece and/or European Turkey.



Finland
While a Finnish 2-3 Infantry Corps and the lone 1-4 AF base at Helsinki, the rest of the 2-3 Infantry Corps’ line up opposite Leningrad/along the Finnish-Soviet border.



Hungary
The bulk of the Hungarian army takes up position in the north-east of the country, except for the mandatory 1-3 Infantry Corps in Budapest and the lone Hungarian 1-4 AF.



Rumania
The Rumanian forces line up along/near the border with Bessarabia except for one 1-3 Infantry Corps in Bucharest. The 1-4 AF bases at Cluj.

Options

Western : Germany = A; Italy = P; Vichy France = A; Bulgaria = A; Finland = A; Hungary = A; Rumania = A
Eastern : Germany = O (15); Italy = O (15); Vichy France = O (-); Bulgaria = O (-); Finland = O (-); Hungary = O (-); Rumania = O (-)
Med : Germany = O (15); Italy = O (15); Vichy France = O (-); Bulgaria = O (-); Finland = O (-); Hungary = O (-); Rumania = O (-)

Germany spends 30 BRPs on offensives on the Eastern and Mediterranean fronts, leaving 148 BRPs, 67 BRPs of which remain to be spent this turn. In her turn, Italy also spends 30 BRPs on offensives on the Eastern and Mediterranean fronts, leaving 23 BRPs, 7 BRPs of which remain to be spent this turn. (Given the state of the Italian treasury, I cannot see Italy being an active threat in both of the remaining game turns in 1941.)

Sitting at the table wondering just where a possible Sealion might take place I am very surprised to see the Axis announce an Attrition option for the Western front. This was a jolt that took several moments to sink in. The Axis had no intention of an invasion of Britain; the threat of a “Sealion” was a chimera, a diversion. Or was it that British reinforcements put my opponent off? After all the trouble and expense I went to in getting British forces back to Britain … all for nothing. I took the risk of BRP-bankruptcy for a diversion? He knew that I couldn’t leave Britain under-gunned with the naval/ground/airwings that were there prior to “Operation Antiquity”.

I smiled ruefully at this, remembering our games of World In Flames in the Middle-East. This guy is a nightmare to play against!

On the eastern side of the board, given the Axis option choices, they could be planning an invasion launched across the Black Sea at the beaches of southern Russia or an invasion in the Mediterranean.

At this point, I pass my opponent the rulebook and invite him to read section 35. If the Axis are planning to invade in Lebanon-Syria, then they will be disappointed. As matters stand on the eastern part of the board at present, the 16 naval and 5 air factors stationed at Port Said preclude any invasion of the Lebanese-Syrian or Palestinian beaches. In particular, I draw attention to rule 35.7, in which “German units in excess of their current supply capabilities as detailed in 35.1 and 35.5 may not be moved into Africa or the area east of Suez by any means.”

My opponent then refers me to the DQB “Rules Section 35.”

A right royal discussion ensued. In particular we debated 35.71, which states “If the Axis players have no units in the areas in question, they may enter it by seaborne invasion and/or paradrop.” This is to be read in conjunction with the extra text inserted at the end of 35.7 “… except as noted below.”

My opponent argued the case that the DQB updates to rules section 35 allowed an Axis seaborne invasion of the Lebanese-Syrian and/or Palestinian beaches, even though there were 21 naval/air factors stationed in Port Said. His argument continued along the lines that he could invade with an armour unit, and provided that he pre-designated a supply fleet, could then exploit with the second armour unit held in reserve aboard ship.

Furthermore, should such exploitation capture Beirut, then the Axis could SR in extra fleet factors – from Marseilles and Naples – to “offset” the Allied naval/air factors at Port Said, he concluded, pointing to 35.74.

My long-held understanding of the rules pertaining to section 35 now thrown into doubt, he then follows up with a reference to 35.2 in the DQB, in that “Ground units unsupplied under Rule 35 but supplied under rules 27.23 and/or 27.24 are not eliminated at the end of their turn and may be SR’d.”

Truth be told, I started to feel somewhat hot under the collar at this stage. I felt like the teacher becoming the taught. That in itself was no problem, but I was feeling angry – with myself – for not having read through the DQB Rules Section 35 properly; was I now going to pay for my laziness?

As I looked at the board and tried to assess the section 35 rules in the DQB as to the validity of his claims, my opponent leant back, smiled, and said quietly “No matter, in the context of what’s going down in this turn, this debate is purely academic. Time to stop looking at the board through Nelson’s eyes.”

We settled down to play, with my opponent sporting a smug grin while I felt distinctly unsettled. I know him of old … when he gets like this, he’s getting ready to administer a telling, if not fatal, blow. (I recall many a beating I took on the Russian front in World in Flames and he was just as smug then.)

Given that the USSR is now actively in the war and allied to Britain, the Allies BRP total is now 226, compared to the Axis BRP total of 171. The Allies are currently 55 BRPs in advance of the Axis. Given that Axis BRP expenditure is unlikely to stop here, just how much of a BRP lead might the Allies have by the end of this Axis Summer 1941 turn? I wondered at this point whether a turn “flip-flop” might be on the horizon. Whether that would turn out to be the case was unclear at this point … but is a possibility that should be kept in mind as the turn progressed.

Movement Phase

As the Movement Phase commences, my opponent announces that the three 9-factor fleets at Kiel/Hamburg change base to Bergen.

The 9-factor fleet that started the turn at Bergen moves into the Murmansk Convoy box. No movement of German U-Boats from the SW box to the Murmansk box is made. Interesting. Nothing much to do about the Murmansk Convoy question at the moment; any Allied decisions made about granting BRPs to the USSR can wait until the Allied Summer 1941 turn, when the Soviet casualties are assessed.

The Vichy French 9-factor fleet changes base to Istanbul. Oh dear! That gives the Axis invasion fleet there greater ability to withstand losses in any naval combat and still reach the target hex with their ground units intact.

Now the Allies have to decide whether to intercept the movement by the Kreigsmarine on the western front, and/or the Vichy French fleet in the Mediterranean.



With five 9-factor fleets based at Rosyth and Scapa Flow, the Royal Navy could well attempt an interception. (Assuming successful interceptions in both cases), using just the four fleets from Rosyth, the odds would be equal in terms of DRM’s, whereas if the fifth fleet at Scapa Flow entered the battle the Royal Navy would enjoy a DRM of +1. In my opinion that’s not enough to be decisive. Both sides would take casualties. With both sides fielding more than 18 factors each, losses would be multiplied by the number of 9-factor fleets employed; three for the German, four to five by the British.

In changing base to Bergen – following hot on the heels of the DoW on the USSR – it looks very much like a determined interdiction of the Murmansk Convoy route is the order of the day for the Axis. A successful interception, with subsequent Kreigsmarine losses, would have the benefit of reducing the number of 9-factor fleets prowling the Arctic Seas in the north.

On the other hand, interception could fail … that darn 16.67% chance again!

Should an interception be attempted? If it is, and regardless of losses, the Allies would lose the use of their fleets for other purposes. And it is the question of “other purposes” that the Allies need to consider.

With the German fleets basing in Bergen, Britain could – many may argue should – redeploy forces to the Middle-East (“Operation Yo-Yo”?) to help the hard pressed British forces in Egypt and the Levant. In the context of recent developments, the Axis are now showing their hand, and with the arrival of the Americans in a few turns, the Allied High Command concludes that: a) Britain is safe (surely to God he hasn’t got any more twists and feints up his sleeve?); b) the Middle-East may yet be held. While BRPs may well be lost on the Murmansk Convoy route this year and in 1942, if the Allies can maintain a position in the Middle-East, that will enable pressure to be brought to bear in the near future as Allied strength increases.

Thus, the Kreigsmarine are allowed to change base without interception.



Now, what of the base change by the Vichy French fleet? It’s a safe bet he hasn’t made his base change just to introduce the French naval crews to the delights of authentic Turkish kebabs. It’s logical to conclude that the combined Italo-Vichy fleet will sail somewhere this turn, whether it be an adventure across the Black Sea or the Levant/Palestine beaches in pursuit of undermining the British position in the Middle-East. (I’m a little confused re: the alterations to Rules Section 35 in the DQB and am still questioning whether his interpretation is legal or not.)

The Soviet fleets based at Batum could attempt to intercept the Vichy fleet as it enters the Istanbul port hex, (the target/destination hex of its base change). My opponent queried the legality of this, referring to rule 29.51 (…”defender may attempt to intercept with any of his fleets based on the same front.”). However, 29.52 in the DQB includes the following Q&A: “If the target hex is a two-front port, may the defender attempt interception in the target hex with fleets from both fronts? A. Yes.”

Moreover, while the Soviet fleets could not move through the straits hex (Istanbul-Z34), they may move into such a straits hex to carry out their interception, as they will not be passing through the straits hex, but rather carrying out the mission in the straits hex itself, and leaving through the same side as they entered.

However, if the Soviet fleets intercepted the French base change (with one or both 9-factor fleets), then there would be either none or a reduced force available for interception of a possible invasion fleet sailing to one of the Soviet beaches. Of course, if the target is a Mediterranean beach, and there is no interception, then the Soviet fleets will waste an opportunity to chip away at the Axis invasion fleet.

As regards the choice of intercepting the Vichy French fleet with Royal Navy units based in the Mediterranean (off the coast of Greece for example), the same dilemma applies.

For good or bad, the decision is taken to hold off on intercepting the Vichy French fleet; when the invasion force sails, then interception will take place with either the Soviet or British fleets. Either way, the Axis will outnumber the Allied fleets’ by 2:1 … so the chance of the Axis invasion force getting ashore is very good. These are dark days for the Allies.

On the western front, the Vichy French 2-3 Infantry Corps completes its movement orders and takes up position garrisoning the beach at R17. Another Vichy 2-3 Infantry Corps moves from the southern French beach at U19 to Vichy. The two 4-6 Panzer Corps’ – their diversionary task accomplished – move east to Poznan. The cards are well and truly tumbling on the table now … Axis intentions are directed eastwards.



On the Soviet-Finnish front, the Finns move into position, along with the German 3-3 Infantry Corps, in order to attack the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps at C46. (The Axis infantry units at C47 are only three hexes from Vologda and Leningrad.) The Finnish 2-3 Infantry Corps at Helsinki moves to C44 to form a double stack of infantry north-west of Leningrad.



On the eastern front with the Soviet Union, Axis ground units form a continuous line of double stacked infantry (except for one hex). Only two armoured units are available, and one is placed at S36. All in all, German, Rumanian and Hungarian units are poised to attack the length of the front. Facing them, in the main, are Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps, so the cost of battle casualties to the Red Army will not be high, at least in terms of BRPs.

Movement behind the main lines of attack sees the other 4-6 Panzer Corps move to T35 (presumably for exploitation purposes?). The remaining Hungarian units move up to the area around Lvov, while the second line of Rumanian forces deploy in northern Rumania.

The 5-4 airwing in Dresden stages to Warsaw, while the 5-4 airwing at Kolberg stages to Danzig. The 5-4 airwing at Leipzig breaks down into two 1-4’s and a 3-4, with one of the 1-4 AF’s staging to Konigsberg. The 3-4 and the 1-4 airwings stage from Leipzig to Krakow, where they are joined by the Hungarian 1-4 airwing from Budapest.



The last German airbase is placed at S34. The Rumanian 1-4 airwing at Cluj stages to it, as does the two German 2-4 airwings from Prague.

Last movement on this sector of the board sees the German 3-3 Airborne Corps drop atop the Soviet 2-3 Infantry Corps in S38. Does this give a clue as to the likely use of the invasion fleet? The Axis look to be aiming to seal off the northern entrance to the Crimea. An invasion at the eastern-most Kerch Strait beach hex would confirm the isolation of Sevastopol (if the Axis occupy Batum).



In Turkey, the German panzers in and around Ankara move due east to the Turkish-Soviet border. As the panzers move east, it is with horror that I begin to realise that a fundamental oversight in the anticipation of Axis capability to move into the Caucasus has been made. I remember thinking that, when deploying the Soviet infantry in the Allied Spring 1941 turn, only two panzer units could reach the border to attack Batum. What was I thinking? Two more panzer units are in position to exploit if a breakthrough hex is created in Batum … and the routes to Maikop, Rostov, and Astrakhan are wide open.

Shaking my head in despair, I glumly conclude that, whatever mistakes were made by the French High Command in 1939-40, they had nothing on this. The Soviets have left the back door open. And knowing my opponent, he won’t have any hesitation in inviting himself in!

In southern Turkey, a mass of Axis armour with limited infantry support descends on the British 4-5 Armoured Corps west of Aleppo. The British screen of armour ZOCs did its job here, as the Axis armour could not make it to north-eastern Lebanon-Syria, so as to be able to “attack” the vacant hexes there, and thereby exploiting east and south to Persia and Iraq. The German 3-3 Infantry Corps’ are starting to lag behind the German armour advance. Thus, in order to get a 2:1 attack on the British armour, there will be few, or no, armour units available for exploitation. (Of course, he may invade Lebanon-Syria from the sea and cut off the British defenders – though I’m still in a quandary about his interpretation of the DQB section 35 … but three Replacement units and a lightweight armoured corps is only worth 7 BRPs; hardly a game-breaker).

A 3-4 and a 1-4 airwing from Ankara stage to Kars. The Italian 5-4 airwing at Izmir stages to Constanta (Rumania). Breaking the 3-4 airwing at Z34 down into 2-4 and 1-4 partials, a German 2-4 airwing stages to the Italian airbase in FF34. The remaining 1-4 airwing at Ankara stages to Samsoun, to be joined by a 1-4 airwing from Z34 and a 3-4 airwing from Istanbul, whence the partials combine to form one 5-4 airwing.

Another oversight! His 5-4 airwing at Samsoun can counter-air the Soviet 5-4 airwing on the airbase west of Maikop. The four factors of air at Kars will thus be free to provide GS in an attack on Batum; this will enable a 2:1 attack, leaving three panzers to exploit into the wide-open spaces of the Caucasus. If the mistakes in the deployment of the Soviet forces ultimately proves fatal, I will kick myself.

(General Zhukov knows he should have commenced moving units into the Caucasus in Winter 1940; he also knows what happens to Red Army commanders who fail. Who knows? The Axis might save Stalin the trouble.)



In Egypt, the Italian ground forces swap hexes, and it can be noted that with all Italian airbases in play, the 5-4 airwing in Tobruk cannot provide GS to any potential Italian attack against the double stacks of British infantry units holding the Qattara Depression. If there is to be an Italian attack here – given the British 5-4 airwing at Port Said can fly DAS – it will most likely be at 1:2.

The Bulgarian infantry units move in all directions of the compass. One into Yugoslavia in the direction of the beach hex at W26. In Greece, the beach at Salonika is occupied, while another infantry unit moves down towards the beach at CC26. Finally, the beach hex in European Turkey at AA31 is occupied.



Combat Phase

The Axis fly multiple air missions the length of the Eastern Front and in the Caucasus and southern Turkey. For those that are interested, here they are:

Southern Turkey
2-4 airwing from FF34 to EE37 (GS);
The Caucasus
3-4 and 1-4 airwings from Kars to Batum (GS);
5-4 airwing from Samsoun to U42 (Counter-air);
Southern USSR
Italian 5-4 airwing from Constanta to S38 (GS);
Eastern Front
5-4 airwing from Danzig and 1-4 airwing from Konigsberg to I38 (GS);
Hungarian 1-4 airwing from Krakow to N37 (GS);
3-4 airwing and 1-4 airwing from Krakow to P37 (GS).



It is with bated breath that the Allies wait to see which way the Axis invasion fleet in Istanbul will sail … north into the Black Sea, or south towards the Mediterranean?

It doesn’t sail! No naval missions are announced. The Italo-Vichy fleets stay in port. Hellfire! What is going on here? Allied Intelligence? What intelligence?

As I juggle the effects of another surprise move (non-move) by the Axis, the Luftwaffe counter-airs the Soviet 5-4 airwing west of Maikop. The German rolls a ‘5’, the Soviet rolls a ‘2’; with the Soviet -1 nationality DRM, that equates to four Red Air Force factors lost, as opposed to two Luftwaffe factors.

Notwithstanding his habitual good fortune with the die rolls, the German – with all those partial AF’s in play on the board – still has a 3-4 partial left and so is able to make good his losses and stay legal. Streuth! If it just doesn’t keep going his way!

As for the Soviet opportunity to fly DAS, the situation is none too promising. Two 5-4 airwings (one north, one south) can fly DAS, but the Luftwaffe has an equal number of airwings in place to intercept any Soviet DAS the Red Air Force may fly. Given that on the eastern front the Axis cannot make any great territorial gains, it doesn’t seem worth it to engage in an air war of attrition. The Allies will follow tried and trusted doctrine and husband the Red Air Force. No DAS.

The matter of whether to fly DAS in Egypt is a little easier. For one thing, the Italian 5-4 airwing at Tobruk is out of interception range. The most likely target – if indeed the Italians do attack – is, in my opinion, hex MM27. The Italians can attack at 10:8 (1:1), whereas if he attacked LL28 he would face 5:12 (1:3) odds. Assuming MM27 is the likeliest target hex, then by flying DAS with the 5-4 airwing at Port Said, the odds would change to 10:13 (1:2).

With DAS applied, the Italian attacking force would be completely eliminated 83.33% of the time, with only a CA result (16.67%) being a good result for the pasta lovers. A CA result would force the British to CA at 9:10 (1:2) which would then see the demise of the entire British defending units, including the airwing flying DAS (83.33% chance).

If DAS is not applied, an Italian attack at 10:8 (1:1) would eliminate the British defenders 50% of the time, with a CA at 4:10 (1:3) odds being forced on the British 33.33% of the time. All in all, the Italians would get a positive result 83.33% of the time. Thus, the figures convince the RAF Middle East Command to order the 5-4 airwing at Port Said to fly DAS over the 3-4 and 1-3 Infantry Corps’ at MM27. That should be enough to deter an attack, especially considering the poor state of the Italian treasury.

As the ground combat begins, the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps in C46 is assaulted by three Finnish 2-3 Infantry and one German 3-3 Infantry Corps’ at 9:2 (4:1); the Axis rolls a ‘2’ (CA3) and in response the Soviets roll a ‘4’ (A). No contest here and the ground forces lost in combat join their comrades in the Red Air Force as the first Soviet casualties of the war. What follows from this, I suspect, as battle is joined the length of the front from north to south, will be absolute carnage. Perhaps I may be forgiven for saying that, from this point on, as far as this game is concerned, it gets serious.

In East Prussia, two German 3-3 Infantry Corps (J37) with 6 AF’s of GS attack the Soviet 2-3 and 1-3 Infantry Corps at I38 and J38 respectively. The odds are 12:6 (2:1); the Axis roll a ‘6’ (D). One German infantry unit apiece advances into the vacant hexes.

Next, the two German 3-3 Infantry Corps’ at K37 attack the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps at K38 at odds of 6:2 (3:1); the Axis roll another ‘6’ (D)! The victorious German units both advance into K38.

Operation Barbarossa rolls on, with the two German 3-3 Infantry Corps’ at L37 attacking the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps at L38, again at odds of 6:2 (3:1); utilizing a seemingly mesmeric power over the die, the Axis roll a ‘5’ (D). My opponent smiles with good cheer while I smile in resignation; we both agree that the Axis have enjoyed tremendous fortune on their rolls. Oh well … the Soviet infantry unit is eliminated, and the two German infantry units advance into the vacated hex.

The Hungarian forces in Poland then step up to take their turn. Hungarian 2-3 and 1-3 Infantry Corps’ at O36 with GS from 1 Hungarian AF attack the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps in the Pripet Marshes (N37) at 4:3 (1:1) odds; the Axis roll is a ‘4’ (EX). The Soviet infantry unit joins its dead compatriots in the black void of atheist afterlife, while the Hungarian 2-3 Infantry Corps and the 1-4 airwing become the first Axis casualties of Operation Barbarossa. The remaining Hungarian 1-3 Infantry unit occupies N37.

Switching focus to the north of the Hungarian attack, three German 3-3 Infantry Corps’ (M36, Brest-Litovsk) attack the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps in M37 (tripled for being in the Pripet Marshes) at 9:3 (3:1) odds; the Axis roll a ‘1’ (EX). The Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps is eliminated along with a 3-3 German Infantry Corps. The remaining two German units occupy the vacant hex.

The southern end of the Pripet Marshes is next on the Nazi agenda. Two German 3-3 Infantry Corps’ at P36, with 4 AF’s of GS, attack the two Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps at O37 (tripled in the marshes) and P37. The odds are 10:5 (2:1) and the Axis roll a ‘2’ (CA2); the Soviet roll in reply is a ‘3’ (CA). Once again the German rolls and gets a ‘3’ (CA2); the protracted struggle continues with the Soviet die roll of a ‘4’ (A) in reply. Finally the Soviets are swept aside and the German infantry occupies O37 and P37.

As the assault moves inexorably southwards, the Rumanians join in. A German 3-3 Infantry Corps and a Rumanian 1-3 Infantry Corps in Q36 attack a Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps (Q37) at 4:2 (2:1); a ‘6’ is rolled and the Soviets are duly dispatched, their empty hex occupied by both the attacking Axis units.

An identical attack to the above is launched one hex row to the south, with identical German and Rumanian infantry units (R36) attacking another Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps (R37) at 4:2 (2:1); the result is a ‘4’ (CA1). The Soviets roll a ‘1’ (EX) on the counter-attack; thus the Soviet and Rumanian 1-3 Infantry Corps are eliminated, leaving the German 3-3 Infantry Corps to advance into R37.

Odessa is targeted next, with the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps there being attacked by two Rumanian 2-3 Infantry Corps’ at U36 and two Rumanian 1-3 Infantry Corps’ at T36. The odds are 6:2 (3:1); incredibly the Axis roll yet another ‘6’ (D)! The Soviet 1-3 infantry unit goes the way of its predecessors in the front line and the two Rumanian 2-3 Infantry Corps advance into the port.

The Panzers roll forward and a 4-6 Panzer Corps in conjunction with a 3-3 Infantry Corps at S36 attack the Soviet 1-3 Infantry Corps at S37 at 7:2 (3:1); the Axis roll a ‘3’ (CA3) and the Soviets roll a ‘2’ (EX) in reply. The Soviet infantry unit is eliminated as is the German infantry unit. The 4-6 Panzer Corps advances into S37, creating a breakthrough hex.

In the final act of the ground combat phase on the eastern front, the German 3-3 Airborne Corps with support from the Italian 5-4 airwing attacks the Soviet 2-3 Infantry Corps at S38. The odds are 8:4 (2:1); the Axis roll is a ‘2’ (CA2) to which the Soviets roll a ‘4’ (A) in reply. The Soviet 2-3 Infantry Corps is eliminated.

As attention moves to the Mediterranean front, I reflect on the multitude of fortunate – some might say blessed – die rolls enjoyed by my opponent. This may well be providence on a grand scale for him, but to my eyes – and in my experience – this is not normal. Rather, this borders on the paranormal. Mulder and Scully, where are you when you’re needed? As far as the Allies are concerned, this is definitely becoming a case for The X-Files.

For the sake of keeping the whole picture in mind, the image below shows the situation on the eastern front at the end of the Axis ground combat phase there.



Ground combat also takes place in Turkey, with the start of “Operation Venus”. First, the Soviet port of Batum, home to two 9-factor fleets and defended by a Soviet 2-3 Infantry Corps is attacked by a 4-6 Panzer Corps (from Y43) supported by 4 AF’s from Kars. The odds are 8:4 (2:1) and the German rolls a ‘4’ (CA1). On the counter-attack the Soviet roll is a ‘2’ (CA). The Germans launch a second assault and roll a ‘6’ (D). The Soviet 2-3 Infantry Corps is eliminated, and the 4-6 Panzer unit advances into Batum to create a breakthrough hex.

The Soviet fleets are displaced to Sevastopol. As they sail across the Black Sea and take refuge in their new port, the Axis elect not to intercept them. A wise move in my opinion, as it was not worth losing Axis fleet factors in an engagement with a fleet that could well be deprived of a port at all in the near future; “Dead men sailing” I reckon.



In southern Turkey the Axis launch an assault against the British 4-5 Armoured Corps in EE37. This south-western edge of the British armour screen has held up the Axis advance into Lebanon-Syria and, as such, has already done its intended job. The Axis attack with a 4-6 Panzer Corps from DD38, an Italian 2-5 Armoured Corps from DD37, a 3-3 Infantry Corps from EE36, supported by 2 Luftwaffe AF’s from the Italian airbase at FF34. This is one of the lowest odds attacks the Axis have undertaken to date, being at 11:8 (1:1) odds; they roll a ‘1’ (EX). Well, not quite so lucky this time Adolf!

The British 4-5 armoured unit is eliminated. To meet their Exchange losses, the Axis lose a 4-6 Panzer Corps, an Italian 2-5 Armoured Corps and the 2 AF’s. 18 BRPs worth of losses and the exploitation options open to the Axis are minimal. A job well done I would say.



In the exploitation phase the 4-6 panzer unit at T35 (in Rumania) moves on to the breakthrough hex at S37 and exploits to T38. Here it cuts one of the Russian supply lines to the Crimea.

The horror of it all unfolding before my eyes, the three German panzer units move to the breakthrough hex at Batum, and then undertake exploitation movement via V44, T44, all the way to Rostov (R44). The trap is sprung! The Soviet infantry units in the Crimea/Kerch Straits and the airbase west of Maikop are cut off from supply.

Exploitation movement in the northern Levant sees the Italian 2-5 armoured unit move to EE39 and the German panzer unit move to EE40.

As we reach the exploitation combat phase, the Red Air Force decide not to fly DAS over the Soviet 3-5 Armoured Corps at S39. The exploiting German panzer unit would be attacking across river at odds of 4:9 (1:3). His demise would be certain and that would then open up a supply line to the units trapped in the Crimea and the Kerch Straits.

There is no exploitation combat either against S39 or in Lebanon-Syria against the British 2-5 Armoured Corps. The Axis do, however, partake of exploitation combat against the Soviet 2-3 Infantry Corps at W43 with the exploiting panzer unit in V44. The odds are 4:4 (1:1); the Axis roll a ‘2’ (CA), and the Soviets roll a ‘5’ (A) in reply. The Soviet infantry is removed, but there is no advance after combat. (If the Axis made that risky attack for the reasons I think they did – to clear an SR corridor – then the loss of the panzer unit would have been of relatively little consequence.)



Construction Phase

Germany builds: 3-4 airwing and 1-4 airwing at Konigsberg; 4-6 Panzer Corps at Q33; 3-3 Infantry Corps at Q33; 3-3 Infantry Corps at J37; 3-3 Infantry Corps at J37; Hungarian 1-4 airwing at Budapest.

Italy builds: 2-5 Armoured Corps at Taranto.

Germany spends 32 BRPs on construction of new units, leaving her with 116 BRPs, 35 of which remain to be spent this turn. Italy spends 4 BRPs on construction of new units, leaving her with 19 BRPs, 3 of which remain to be spent this turn.

The Axis BRP total is now 135, compared to the Allied BRP total of 226. That gives the Allies a lead of 91 BRPs. A double-turn “flip-flop” could very well be looming. (As to whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll leave discussion of that until the Allied Summer 1941 turn.)



Strategic Re-Deployment (SR) Phase

Germany SRs: 3-3 Infantry Corps from Q33 to Rostov; 3-3 Infantry Corps from Paris to S44; 4-6 Panzer Corps from Istanbul to S44; 4-6 Panzer Corps from Istanbul to U44; 5-4 airwing from Konigsberg to Batum; 5-4 airwing from Warsaw to Kishinev; 4-6 Panzer Corps from Q33 to W44; 4-6 Panzer Corps from Poznan to Y44; 4-6 Panzer Corps from Poznan to AA44.

Italy SRs: Airbase from Z34 to Rostov; Airbase from Y37 to T44; 2-5 Armoured Corps from Taranto to CC42; 5-4 airwing from Tobruk to T44 (via Athens, Istanbul); 2-3 Infantry Corps from Samsoun to T44.



Well, how to conclude the developments this turn? I must admit, I do not remember seeing a Third Reich game that looked like this by the Summer 1941 turn. Though not expensive in terms of BRPs, the Red Army lost a lot of units this turn, with the result that their eastern front defences are badly fragmented. There’s that pocket of Soviet units in the Crimea that are isolated, and that long rigid finger of Axis units stretching from Batum to Rostov way in rear of what’s left of the Red Army. A strange situation indeed!

It’s fair to say that there is much to consider as the Allied Summer 1941 turn beckons … not the least of which is that the Allies have a lead of 91 BRPs; the opportunity exists for the Allies to take a double move here – though I’m not sure at present whether I welcome that or not.

To sum up … the Allied High Command, stunned and shocked by the developments that have come to pass this Axis Summer 1941 turn, decides that it’s time for a beer!

I'll pass on commentary as to what options the Allies have in response to the current situation, as there is a lot to think about here.

One thing I will grant my opponent - he is daring. However, as the Axis turn comes to an end, my intuition tells me that he is also reckless; the BRP situation and that long penetrating column of Axis armour permits the Allies opportunities in their Summer 1941 turn.

So as to present an overview of the entire situation as of the opening of Case Black, below is an image of the entire board. Individual units are not clear, I know, but it does give a good overall view of the strategic situation.



Note:
In the discussion of the DQB Rules Section 35 above, I did not have my print out of the document given to me by Patrick Bauer (SewerStarFish). This is an excellent document for any player of Third Reich (4th Ed) and my thanks to him for his work on this. It presents the 4th Ed. rules with all the DQB entries alongside the actual rules sections themselves. Had I had it with me, I would have been able to see immediately the updated sections of Rule 35 and - just as valuable - the sections in Rule 35 that have been replaced.

Suffice to say, my opponent and I now have a printout each and that will be by our sides as we progress further into the war.

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Interesting. The armor in the southern thrust is quite vulnerable to an Allied double move, provided the Allies then force the Axis double move over Fall/Winter (thus giving the Axis only an attrition on the back half), but your opponent has wisely placed a lot of conventionally-supplied (thus, exploitable) armor and airpower in Turkey. While successfully isolating the panzers in Russia would be quite the coup for you, I don't think you can afford the costs (BRP-wise and in unit positioning) should the encirclement fail.
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lomn wrote:
Interesting. The armor in the southern thrust is quite vulnerable to an Allied double move, provided the Allies then force the Axis double move over Fall/Winter (thus giving the Axis only an attrition on the back half), but your opponent has wisely placed a lot of conventionally-supplied (thus, exploitable) armor and airpower in Turkey. While successfully isolating the panzers in Russia would be quite the coup for you, I don't think you can afford the costs (BRP-wise and in unit positioning) should the encirclement fail.


And when playing the Allied Summer 1941 turn, that was quite my dilemma. An attractive coup if successful, but potentially catastrophic if it failed.
 
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Once again, awesome - haven't even had time to read the entire AAR, but had to comment.

"Options

Western : Germany = A; Italy = P;
...."

How / why is Italy 'Pass' in the west? Wouldn't / shouldn't they be 'Attrition' along with the Germans?

"Sitting at the table wondering just where a possible Sealion might take place I am very surprised to see the Axis announce an Attrition option for the Western front. This was a jolt that took several moments to sink in. The Axis had no intention of an invasion of Britain; the threat of a “Sealion” was a chimera, a diversion. Or was it that British reinforcements put my opponent off? After all the trouble and expense I went to in getting British forces back to Britain … all for nothing. I took the risk of BRP-bankruptcy for a diversion? He knew that I couldn’t leave Britain under-gunned with the naval/ground/airwings that were there prior to “Operation Antiquity”."

I'm thinking you would have seen a Sealion, if not for the forces you managed to get back. So definitely not 'for nothing', IMHO.
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deadkenny wrote:
"Options

Western : Germany = A; Italy = P;
...."

How / why is Italy 'Pass' in the west? Wouldn't / shouldn't they be 'Attrition' along with the Germans?
I can't think of a rules reason why (12.23 is clear that neither combat nor movement into uncontrolled hexes is required for an Attrition option), but both sides have been taking pass options on fronts where they simply have no presence (Britain in the East being the other prime example).

Also, Doug, I agree with Kenny on Sealion. A low-risk stab at knocking out Britain certainly wouldn't have been a feint if you hadn't reinforced. The real question is whether you could have reinforced enough to deter the attack while spending less. I'm thinking, particularly, of the airwing that was deliberately lost so that it could be rebuilt. Of course, it's much easier to sit back and nitpick from here -- so please don't take this as some sort of "I could have done better" gloating; it's certainly not, and these session reports have been quite instructional.
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deadkenny wrote:
Western : Germany = A; Italy = P;

How / why is Italy 'Pass' in the west? Wouldn't / shouldn't they be 'Attrition' along with the Germans?


Well, it didn't seem to matter much at the time. Italy had no forces at all in the west, and as events transpired, didn't make the slightest effort to put units there. I suppose my opponent could have choosen an Attrition option, but as there was no Italian involvement there, I didn't think to question it.

deadkenny wrote:
I'm thinking you would have seen a Sealion, if not for the forces you managed to get back. So definitely not 'for nothing', IMHO.


You're probably right deadkenny. Looking at the actual posituioning of his air units in central Germany, and the SR'ing of his panzer units from Kiel/Hamburg, I am of the opinion that the Axis hedged their bets and once I managed to get sufficient forces back to Britain, they just went ahead with one of the other options open to them.

Certainly, if he had launched a "Sealion" he couldn't have conducted Case Black as he did.



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lomn wrote:
Also, Doug, I agree with Kenny on Sealion. A low-risk stab at knocking out Britain certainly wouldn't have been a feint if you hadn't reinforced. The real question is whether you could have reinforced enough to deter the attack while spending less. I'm thinking, particularly, of the airwing that was deliberately lost so that it could be rebuilt. Of course, it's much easier to sit back and nitpick from here -- so please don't take this as some sort of "I could have done better" gloating; it's certainly not, and these session reports have been quite instructional.


Certainly not Stephen. As fun as the actual game is to play (particularly with an opponent prone to fiendish ideas/feints and all), it is just as interesting to see others' comments on the game and how it is played.

Since I started this AAR series in Dec 09, I have learnt as much, if not more, from the likes of yourself, Patrick, deadkenny and the two Chris's than I can remember learning all those years ago.

No one is ever going to come close to playing this game without errors of judgement - there's so many variables to consider, as well as the difficulty in getting the rules down pat - so the more people that contribute ideas, alternatives and comments on these AARs the better.

As I said in a previous post months ago, the responses offered here on the Third Reich forum are exactly what I had hoped for when I began.

So please everyone ... keep all your comments and ideas coming!


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Well, let's see what we can make of good news for the Allies. Every Russian unit (in particular, the Moscow armor) has been released from its deployment limits. That is, ever so technically, a silver lining on a very dark cloud. The lack of German armor in the north also gives you a good chance to cheaply hold the Baltic States through 1941, which will give you a few extra BRPs to burn.

What I'm finding interesting, on further read-through, is the Vichy fleet action without follow-up. Your point about saving the Russian fleets to intercept an invasion was a good one, but in hindsight, what would those tanks have done? Germany successfully cleared or isolated every beach along the Black Sea without them. Attacking the beach at Batum could maybe possibly have improved the defenses against a Soviet counter-thrust. Invading the Straits would have mostly just returned another unit or two to the Soviet force pool a turn sooner. So it appears the panzers primarily served as a threat to pull your reinforcements south, and along the way as a means of protecting the Vichy base change. But why, then, did the Vichy fleets need to change base? What's left in the Black Sea for fleets to accomplish? It does, I suppose, improve the numerical odds if/when they enter combat with the British fleet, but there isn't any threat* of Axis seaborne invasion anywhere on the board at present.

*Officially, there are a handful of infantry units in port that fleets could change base to, but nothing that presents risk of an invasion with exploitation.
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lomn wrote:
What I'm finding interesting, on further read-through, is the Vichy fleet action without follow-up. Your point about saving the Russian fleets to intercept an invasion was a good one, but in hindsight, what would those tanks have done? Germany successfully cleared or isolated every beach along the Black Sea without them. Attacking the beach at Batum could maybe possibly have improved the defenses against a Soviet counter-thrust. Invading the Straits would have mostly just returned another unit or two to the Soviet force pool a turn sooner. So it appears the panzers primarily served as a threat to pull your reinforcements south, and along the way as a means of protecting the Vichy base change. But why, then, did the Vichy fleets need to change base? What's left in the Black Sea for fleets to accomplish? It does, I suppose, improve the numerical odds if/when they enter combat with the British fleet, but there isn't any threat* of Axis seaborne invasion anywhere on the board at present.

*Officially, there are a handful of infantry units in port that fleets could change base to, but nothing that presents risk of an invasion with exploitation.


Why did the Vichy fleets change base? There has been no explanation on that move from the enemy. After the war, when in control of Berlin, the Allied Intelligence services will certainly debrief the German command thoroughly.

As of now, I do have a theory. In my opinion, the Axis never had any intention of launching a seaborne invasion in the Black Sea, or anywhere else for that matter. I have noticed that the Italian fleet has been used to pose a "threat" of impending action for large parts of the game. Thus have Allied iniatives been curbed - certainly there have been times when I have considered "positive" action but have shied away from it due to fear of a naval-borne riposte - and I have acted for the most part in defense against such perceived "threats".

His comment about "...looking through Nelson's eyes." is significant here. Britain's main means of mobility is her fleets, and when the time comes - if it ever does - for offensive action, it's the fleets that hold the key to British manoeuverability. In this case, my guess is that the Vichy French base change was "bait"; hoping that I would intercept from Port Said whence he could have counter-intercepted with three fleets, given that there was a good chance that I wouldn't chance involving the fleets at Malta or Gibraltar (uncertain interception probabilities and the desirability of keeping 9-factor fleets intact).

It's in the Axis interest to look for ways to "chip away" at the British fleet. After all, if I read the rules correctly, incremental losses under 9 factors condemn such losses to remain unbuilt, as only 9-factors may be constructed.

It's my belief that such temptations as swooping on base changes such as that of the Vichy French - and then being stung by counter-interception by a superior force (numerically) must be avoided if the Allies are to retain maximum mobility on the board for 1942-45.

Well, that's my theory anyway.
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dougposkitt wrote:
It's in the Axis interest to look for ways to "chip away" at the British fleet. After all, if I read the rules correctly, incremental losses under 9 factors condemn such losses to remain unbuilt, as only 9-factors may be constructed.
Yes, although subsequent chipping isn't nearly as effective. You've already got a partial fleet in Egypt, so exchanging losses with it isn't as much a problem. At some point, it might even be to your advantage to accept some low-odds combat with it to reverse the 9-factor attrition, looking to knock out Axis 9-factor fleets while simultaneously losing an entire 9FF of your own, allowing its reconstruction. Egypt's strength being under 18FF means that the loss multiplier won't kick in, which will prevent you from taking so many losses in the first fight or two that you'd lose the underlying 9FF, and once you're down to only one or two spare factors, you can send them on a suicide interception to allow rebuilding. Remember also that partial fleets can be recombined, so you can ensure that you don't truly lose a second 9FF until the first is eligible for reconstruction.

In fact, that scenario would be the other useful application of 29.9 (denying opponent's losses). I wonder if your opponent would remember it?

Of course, the note about chip resistance applies the other way -- Vichy France and Italy both have partial factors to absorb attritional losses. The German navy is the one that's most vulnerable at this stage, but that's countered by being the navy with the least need for 9FFs.
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dougposkitt wrote:

Well, it didn't seem to matter much at the time. Italy had no forces at all in the west, and as events transpired, didn't make the slightest effort to put units there. I suppose my opponent could have choosen an Attrition option, but as there was no Italian involvement there, I didn't think to question it.


I guess it doesn't matter in that context. I guess I've just 'hardwired' in the combinations where either everyone is Attrition or some are Offensive and others Pass. Don't really see any advantage to choosing Pass over Attrition where the Attrition option is available.
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dougposkitt wrote:

Certainly not Stephen. As fun as the actual game is to play (particularly with an opponent prone to fiendish ideas/feints and all), it is just as interesting to see others' comments on the game and how it is played.

Since I started this AAR series in Dec 09, I have learnt as much, if not more, from the likes of yourself, Patrick, deadkenny and the two Chris's than I can remember learning all those years ago.

No one is ever going to come close to playing this game without errors of judgement - there's so many variables to consider, as well as the difficulty in getting the rules down pat - so the more people that contribute ideas, alternatives and comments on these AARs the better.

As I said in a previous post months ago, the responses offered here on the Third Reich forum are exactly what I had hoped for when I began.

So please everyone ... keep all your comments and ideas coming!


It will be interesting to see how things develop. Although the large German armoured thrust up from the south is hardly the 'norm', I actually kinda like the position the Soviets are in (of course the fantastic German luck, avoiding most of the expected attrition is a downer). IIRC the forces in the Crimea can be put back in supply by simply removing one German armour unit. With the paras pinned and no armour on the Baltic-Black sea front, a single line of infantry is sufficient there on defense. The only thing more threatening than the German armour in the Caucasus is the prospect of a double turn. I don't see that the Allies could make sufficient use of it, but a 'flip back' could be devestating. If it occurs, it might be necessary for the Allies to hold onto first until the US enters, which could really tie their hands (especially if the German continues his amazing combat results and avoids losses).
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The Soviets are in serious jeopardy.Unless your grand strategy is a ball around Moscow and defending the eastern shores of the Caspian; you must unhinge the Axis attack.

If you can manage a flip-flop and have a Russian offensive, I would do just that. That lone Hungarian sitting in Poland looks like the spot -- with the three armored you could attack, exploit through and past Warsaw, and next turn be enjoying some German beer in Berlin. Even if you have to attack farther (further?) north to utilize your scant Soviet infantry, it is so worth the risk.

If you choose to not go for the flip-flop, it still is a great idea to have exploiting armor in Warsaw. You will buy time for the Soviet left to reform. The German salient will almost certainly have a direct and Turkish supply route established next Axis turn. Any British move to cut off the Turkish side of the supply should buy at least a little time wasted on this endeavor. You would have to relieve the isolated Russians to achieve this.

Depending on your needs (and knowing your die rolling luck...), the embarrassing and humbling Siberian transfer may be needed.

I say go for the glory --- take Berlin!
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SewerStarFish wrote:
The Soviets are in serious jeopardy.Unless your grand strategy is a ball around Moscow and defending the eastern shores of the Caspian; you must unhinge the Axis attack.

If you can manage a flip-flop and have a Russian offensive, I would do just that. That lone Hungarian sitting in Poland looks like the spot -- with the three armored you could attack, exploit through and past Warsaw, and next turn be enjoying some German beer in Berlin. Even if you have to attack farther (further?) north to utilize your scant Soviet infantry, it is so worth the risk.

If you choose to not go for the flip-flop, it still is a great idea to have exploiting armor in Warsaw. You will buy time for the Soviet left to reform. The German salient will almost certainly have a direct and Turkish supply route established next Axis turn. Any British move to cut off the Turkish side of the supply should buy at least a little time wasted on this endeavor. You would have to relieve the isolated Russians to achieve this.

Depending on your needs (and knowing your die rolling luck...), the embarrassing and humbling Siberian transfer may be needed.

I say go for the glory --- take Berlin!


Do you know Patrick, I gave a lot of thought to doing just that. Like you I identified that lone Hungarian as the target for a sweep through the German lines ... heck, I had it all planned out. I even got as far as christening the plan "Operation Sabre".

However, even with a double move, there was a way the German could contrive a counter-attack at 1:1 odds. If "Sabre" worked, it was game over for Adolf. If it failed, the gig was up for Stalin (and of course for the western Allies too).

Was I brave enough? Well, I'll be posting the Allied Summer 1941 turn shortly.



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OMG, yes!

*mental note to self - if ever playing Patrick be verrrrry careful*

It is so there. In my own defense, the final 'overall positions' pic was a big too small for my poor strained eyesight, so I was relying primarily on the situational pics. Double turn, with Soviet armour exploiting to Warsaw turn 1, then rolling unopposed into Berlin turn two. Combine that with a supporting Brit amphib op, and the game could very well be over right there. It would probably be 'over' one way or the other, as failure would leave the Soviets wide open. However, only 4 unstacked infantry appear to be blocking an SR route right from mother Russia to Berlin!
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dougposkitt wrote:
SewerStarFish wrote:
The Soviets are in serious jeopardy.Unless your grand strategy is a ball around Moscow and defending the eastern shores of the Caspian; you must unhinge the Axis attack.

If you can manage a flip-flop and have a Russian offensive, I would do just that. That lone Hungarian sitting in Poland looks like the spot -- with the three armored you could attack, exploit through and past Warsaw, and next turn be enjoying some German beer in Berlin. Even if you have to attack farther (further?) north to utilize your scant Soviet infantry, it is so worth the risk.

If you choose to not go for the flip-flop, it still is a great idea to have exploiting armor in Warsaw. You will buy time for the Soviet left to reform. The German salient will almost certainly have a direct and Turkish supply route established next Axis turn. Any British move to cut off the Turkish side of the supply should buy at least a little time wasted on this endeavor. You would have to relieve the isolated Russians to achieve this.

Depending on your needs (and knowing your die rolling luck...), the embarrassing and humbling Siberian transfer may be needed.

I say go for the glory --- take Berlin!


Do you know Patrick, I gave a lot of thought to doing just that. Like you I identified that lone Hungarian as the target for a sweep through the German lines ... heck, I had it all planned out. I even got as far as christening the plan "Operation Sabre".

However, even with a double move, there was a way the German could contrive a counter-attack at 1:1 odds. If "Sabre" worked, it was game over for Adolf. If it failed, the gig was up for Stalin (and of course for the western Allies too).

Was I brave enough? Well, I'll be posting the Allied Summer 1941 turn shortly.



Unhinging the conquest of the USSR and having at least a 16% chance of conquering Germany in Fall of '41 --- you have the courage. And if you don't I offer a quote from Stalin : "In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance."
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dougposkitt wrote:
If it failed, the gig was up for Stalin (and of course for the western Allies too).


After the second turn of the flip-flop, you should have enough units to build a deep defense "L" and buy the Russians the fall '41. With the winter rules in effect for winter '41 your salient into the Fatherland could put you on the cusp of surviving the Spring '42 turn; where you should be able to get another flip-flop. You really might need the Siberians (can't remember the last time I used them).

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SewerStarFish wrote:
Unhinging the conquest of the USSR and having at least a 16% chance of conquering Germany in Fall of '41 --- you have the courage. And if you don't I offer a quote from Stalin : "In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance."


Let me offer an epigraph from Bismarck: "You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them."

Here's my reasoning ... should "Sabre" fail, then the defense (Axis conquest) of the USSR would not be unhinged. Taking a chance in conquering the enemies' capital is one thing, but at the cost of one's own survival in the war should it fail? That's quite another thing altogether.

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dougposkitt wrote:
SewerStarFish wrote:
Unhinging the conquest of the USSR and having at least a 16% chance of conquering Germany in Fall of '41 --- you have the courage. And if you don't I offer a quote from Stalin : "In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance."

Let me offer an epigraph from Bismarck: "You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them."
Here's my reasoning ... should "Sabre" fail, then the defense (Axis conquest) of the USSR would not be unhinged. Taking a chance in conquering the enemies' capital is one thing, but at the cost of one's own survival in the war should it fail? That's quite another thing altogether.


I presume that you've already played the Allied fall '41, but in defense of my plan:

Biggest risk -- Axis return flip-flop over Winter '41 and Spring '42.
Other risks -- 15 BRPs, three 3-5 armor and a 5-4 air, any British "aid" in Asia Minor.

Biggest asset -- conquest of Germany
Other assets -- Poland, two turns of SR and defense organization, diversion of Axis forces from southern Russia (hopefully not diverted through Moscow), Allied flip-flop over Spring-Summer '42.


The Axis position at the end of it's Fall '41 should be the doom of Russia unless you do something extraordinary. I can't wait to see the Soviet actions. If Russia survives, Murmansk is going to be critical. Yet Russia's survival may necessitate allowing the Finns to cut that, too

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dougposkitt wrote:
Let me offer an epigraph from Bismarck: "You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them."

Here's my reasoning ... should "Sabre" fail, then the defense (Axis conquest) of the USSR would not be unhinged. Taking a chance in conquering the enemies' capital is one thing, but at the cost of one's own survival in the war should it fail? That's quite another thing altogether.


I will say, probably the more interesting game results from more conservative play. I'm not sure exactly what Patrick had in mind, but with my concept I don't see much prospect for recovering the situation in Russia if it fails. Of course, I'm not sure where a German 1-1 to retake Berlin comes from either. Also, in part, my assumption is that you can exploit from a beach hex even with an adjacent enemy unit (amazing how that keeps coming up ). With an SR route open from the east, and the British sealing it off from the west, and the German paras unavailable, and no armour to be seen (at least with my poor eyesight ) It appears to me the Germans are in trouble. Even if they get a double move following the Allied double move, they would have to retake Berlin on their first move or they're conquered, right?
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deadkenny wrote:
I will say, probably the more interesting game results from more conservative play. I'm not sure exactly what Patrick had in mind, but with my concept I don't see much prospect for recovering the situation in Russia if it fails. Of course, I'm not sure where a German 1-1 to retake Berlin comes from either.


I'm writing up the Allied Summer 1941 turn now ... and I devote a lot of space to "Operation Sabre" - very much similar to Patrick's plan. I even developed variations of it to widen its scope and try to isolate the German forces in East Prussia.

Without going into great detail, and assuming for the moment no British ops in the west, for a start the German 3-3 Infantry at Bremen backed up by 9 AF's could counter-attack Berlin at 12:12 (1:1), with CA odds for the Soviet armour being 6:12 (1:2) ... there are other things to consider, but that gives a base chance of 50% of "Opertaion Sabre" failing ... and as I write up my notes from the turn, I am under no illusions that the failure of "Sabre" would be the end of the war.

Soviet airwings staging to captured cities in Poland to provide DAS for the Soviet armour in Berlin could swing the odds to 1:2 against the Germans though ... in which case Sabre would have only a 16.67% chance of failure.

You have to admit ... it is/was a temptation!


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SewerStarFish wrote:
The Axis position at the end of it's Fall '41 should be the doom of Russia unless you do something extraordinary.


Your comments here are spot on.
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dougposkitt wrote:
...Without going into great detail, and assuming for the moment no British ops in the west, for a start the German 3-3 Infantry at Bremen backed up by 9 AF's could counter-attack Berlin at 12:12 (1:1), with CA odds for the Soviet armour being 6:12 (1:2) ... there are other things to consider, but that gives a base chance of 50% of "Opertaion Sabre" failing ... and as I write up my notes from the turn, I am under no illusions that the failure of "Sabre" would be the end of the war....


That's the key. I'm assuming the Brits take out the 3-3, which leaves the Germans in a bad situation. Anyway, I agree it would likely effectively end the game one way or the other. Much more entertaining for the rest of us to draw it out.
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deadkenny wrote:
dougposkitt wrote:
...Without going into great detail, and assuming for the moment no British ops in the west, for a start the German 3-3 Infantry at Bremen backed up by 9 AF's could counter-attack Berlin at 12:12 (1:1), with CA odds for the Soviet armour being 6:12 (1:2) ... there are other things to consider, but that gives a base chance of 50% of "Opertaion Sabre" failing ... and as I write up my notes from the turn, I am under no illusions that the failure of "Sabre" would be the end of the war....


That's the key. I'm assuming the Brits take out the 3-3, which leaves the Germans in a bad situation. Anyway, I agree it would likely effectively end the game one way or the other. Much more entertaining for the rest of us to draw it out. ;)


And clearly that operation would take place in the Allied winter '41 turn to allow for the flip-flop. A clear case of "in for a penny ...".

As an aside, even if the Soviets fall, we always played until the Axis conquered Britain and achieved the decisive victory; or until Winter '44 when the Allied opportunity for tactical victory expired. Of course, there were times when it became apparent that the US presence in the UK made any further play pointless.

Here's rooting for Doug to save Russia and not keep Berlin, for now.
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SewerStarFish wrote:

And clearly that operation would take place in the Allied winter '41 turn to allow for the flip-flop. A clear case of "in for a penny ...".


Exactly. In the first of the two turns, the Soviets would have to take an offensive option, in the east and the Brits take Attrition everywhere and bring the armour home to set up the amphib on the following turn. The second of the two consecutive turns the Brits would take an Offensive in the west to take out the 3-3.
 
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