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Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe» Forums » Sessions

Subject: CSW Expo 2012 - AAR campaign game rss

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Salvatore Vasta
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Here is a report of the game played at CSW Expo 2012. The scenario is Main Event 1939-194?, using the historical West First option. It starts in Sep-39 with the Axis and West at war over Poland and was played through May 1942 over several days.
Ed Brog played the Axis faction for the whole time, but had significant assistance in May-42 by Dave (don’t remember last name). Mark Simonitch played the Western faction through Aug-40, followed by Ken Keller through May-41. Sal Vasta played the Soviet faction through May-41. In May-41 Ken and Sal switched factions. Controlling the less involved Allied faction allowed me to field questions from passersby asking about the game.

Sep-39
Warsaw did not fall, but with most of Poland under German control and four Polish armies eliminated, Poland was conquered.

Poland start of Sep-39


Dec-39
German forces continue to move to the French border. An Axis Political Failure puts a Pro-Western marker in Denmark. Meanwhile, Lithuania is ceded to the USSR.

Jan-40
Hitler is furious at Denmark’s rebuff and orders its invasion despite poor campaigning weather. Despite being outnumbered and against tanks and planes, the Danes conduct a fighting withdrawal and survive the month. Axis die rolls were fairly poor this turn and it would continue to plague them for much of the game.
Politically Hitler does better talking with Mussolini as Italy gets a Pro-Axis marker. Stalin continues to exert his own muscle as Estonia is ceded.

Denmark end of Axis operations Jan-40


Feb-40
Denmark falls when Copenhagen is occupied. With its fall, Yugoslavia gets a Pro-Axis marker.

Mar-40
No shooting, but politics abound as Yugoslavia joins the Axis when a Pro-Axis marker is pulled from the Diplomacy Cup and a Political Success by the Soviets put a Pro-Soviet marker in Turkey.

Apr-40
The Axis declares war on Belgium and Holland, both of which are conquered. Their collapse convinces Mussolini to join the Axis and puts a Pro-Axis marker in Romania. The Italian 8th army advances into Egypt, halting at El Alamein.
UK Fighter Command rebases to France to support the BEF which has been placed at the southern end of the Allied line (excluding the Maginot Line). A large Allied assault on a German vanguard army fails.

May-40
In Strategic Warfare, Germany’s Factories Lost marker goes to two. With no DRM on either side, strategic warfare can go either way .
German forces push through into France taking Lille and Sedan, but the front stabilizes along the border. A large Allied assault on a German vanguard army fails.

Jun-40
German forces continue to push back the French line, but do not cause significant casualties. They take Calais, but are stopped in front of Paris. Another Allied assault on a German army fails to yield appreciable results.
In the East, Romania caves to USSR pressure and cedes Bessarabia to it.

France end of Jun-40


Jul-40
An exhausted Luftflotte is exchanged with a fresh Luftflotte in Poland and a Germany Surprise Attack marker is placed in France. The combination breaks the Allied line eliminating French armies and letting German forces take Le Havre and Paris. The French government remains in power, but is on the verge of collapse.
In the Diplomacy segment, an Axis Political Success removes the Pro-Soviet marker in Turkey.

France end of Jul-40


Aug-40
German success continues as Cherbourg and Dijon fall. This proves too much for the French government which sues for peace. The BEF suddenly finds itself devoid of flank protection and is isolated before it can find a path back to a port. Beset on several sides the BEF holds out against repeated attacks from the 2nd Panzer. However, it is eventually overwhelmed by the Norway army which was sent to France after plans to invade Norway were scrapped based on the tenacity displayed by the Danes earlier in the year. France’s collapse causes Romania to join the Axis.
In the south, the German 2nd army is shipped to Benghazi. Meanwhile in Egypt, the WDF pushes the Italian 8th army out of El Alamein.

Sep-40
Strategic Warfare swings in favor of the Axis as the UK’s Factories Lost count rises to two, while Germany’s drops to one.
German forces move to occupy the rest of France (excluding Vichy) and the German 2nd army moves toward Alexandria. In addition, Yugoslavian forces start to move to France and over the next several months to Poland to take up defensive positions.
Force H, now based out of Malta, causes significant damage to the Italian navy, but Axis supply to Africa makes it through.

Africa end Sep-40


Oct-40
Strategic Warfare DRM now favors the Axis as it now has a port on the North Atlantic. The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to three.
German forces start to move to the Russian border. Little changes in Africa on the ground while Force H continues to come out on top in Med naval battles. Axis supply continues to make it through.

Nov-40
The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to four.
The Axis declares war on Bulgaria, which is easily conquered by a single German army. As a result, a Pro-Axis marker is put in Turkey.

Dec-40
The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to five. The Axis have a DRM advantage, but good rolling is also helping in achieving the steady rise in lost UK factories.
German armies continue to move along the Russian border. The Italian air strikes at Force H in Malta, but stops after Italian air suffer a few sorties. Similarly, with a few sorties on its own, Force H did not intercept Axis supply. The air/naval campaign in the Mediterranean would continue somewhat like this for most of 1940/1941. The Axis and Western players both felt it was better to maintain their air/naval assets at near full capacity to maximize operational options and production. It was around this time the players decided the “bean counters” were in charge of air/naval assets on both sides. Any error in the required paperwork, which needed to be filled out in triplicate, prevented operations from continuing.
The reconstituted BEF arrives in Egypt, but neither side takes any action against the other on the ground. Both sides were content to keep the other at bay.

Jan-41
The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to six. However, all was not bad for the Allies as Lithuania was ceded by the USSR and a Western Political Success removed the Pro-Axis marker from Turkey.

Feb-41
For the first time in the game, the Axis committed a Wolf Packs marker to directly affect the Western Strategic Combat result. The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to seven. U-boat losses were very light as the Wolf Packs marker returned in one turn. Apparently the British learned the wrong lesson from the submarine campaign in WW1.

Mar-41
Wolf Packs are committed again and the UK’s Factories Lost count rises to eight. This time the UK anti-submarine efforts fare a little better with the marker returning in two turns.
The Axis declares war on Hungary to open another transport line to the Russian border. Hungary is conquered and a Pro-Axis marker is put in Greece. This conquest would later haunt the Axis in strategic warfare versus the Soviet faction. Hungary was the seventh Allied country conquered in the game and that bumped the Soviet DRM up by another +1, for a total of +3 due to conquered Allied countries.

Apr-41
The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to nine (the highest it can go), but Lend-Lease to the UK begins to arrive to help compensate.
German forces are nearly all in place on the Russian border for what is very likely to be a 1941 invasion. Invading the USSR can happen in other years in USE. In Africa, the stand off continues.
In the Diplomacy Segment, an Axis Political Success activates Finland, while a Soviet Political Failure puts a Pro-Axis marker in Turkey. (Serving roast pork to the Turkish ambassador was probably a bad idea.)

May-41
The Policy Evaluation marker comes off the Turn Track and is rolled for. Stalin decides since Hitler would not violate the Pact neither would he and the marker is placed on the next turn. This marker is placed on the Turn Track a year after the Low Countries/France is invaded. It gives the Axis a year to feel secure on the other front before the policy protecting it might end.

Jun-41
Stalin is in stunned disbelief as war is declared by the Axis and German forces invade Russia. The Russian air force was suppressed, but Russian ground forces on the border were not so easily overcome and put a strong defense at times. Several panzer armies did not advance as far as planned after dealing with Russian tanks and so some Russian armies managed to hold the line at certain points on the border. Interestingly, the Axis faction did not use its Surprise Attack marker this turn. However, despite the strong defense, six Russian armies were destroyed.

USSR end of Axis operations Jun-41


In the Med, Churchill had enough of the bean counters, changed command, and demanded action. Sal now took over the Western faction, switching with Ken, who took over the Soviet faction. Force H was stretched to the limit, but it dealt a severe blow to the Italian navy and full supply to Italian ground units was severed. The BEF and WDF with RAF support then launched themselves against the low supply Italian 8th army, which put up an unexpected tough fight, but was eventually eliminated.

Africa end of Western operations Jun-41


Russia forces in the north remain in place while a new defensive line is formed on the Dnepr. Attacks in Finland fail.

USSR end of Soviet operations Jun-41


Jul-41
The ULTRA marker is committed by the West to improve the UK’s Factories Lost count, which is still at nine. It ultimately didn’t matter as the UK Factories Lost marker remained at nine and German Intelligence set back ULTRA’s efforts six months (the die result for the marker’s return).
Versus the Soviets, the Axis do not do as well as Germany’s Factories Lost count rises to two due to the Soviet DRM advantage from the Axis having conquered seven Allied countries and not invading Norway (which would have given the Axis a positive DRM ).
Germans attack across the line in Russia, including the first use of an Airdrop in the war. Fears of high casualties among paratroopers prove to be very real and Hitler orders that such operations will no longer be attempted. Ed suffered from poor die rolls through most of the game and this was a perfect example. His first use of an Airdrop marker and his return roll was a six, thereby removing the marker for the rest of the game. When done, four Russian armies are destroyed and three of its factories are in Axis hands.
British forces approach Tobruk, held by the Italian 1st army and flanked by the German 2nd army.
Russian forces regroup and also make a small advance in Finland.

Aug-41
The UK’s Factories Lost count remains at nine. Germany’s Factories Lost count rises to three.
Axis forces destroy another four Russian armies and advance in several directions, moving through Latvia, Kiev, and crossing the Dnepr. The Romanian 3rd army finds itself on the front line, while the German 7th army exceeds its supply line to threaten Sevastopol.
In the Med, Force H continues intensive operations to keep the Italian navy at bay. On the ground, the WDF with air support pushes back the German 2nd army which still maintains contact with Tobruk.
Stalin orders a retreat from southern Finland, but an offensive in the south. The Romanian 3rd army is eliminated. Unfortunately, the Sevastopol defenders also received an attack order in the hope it could hurt the low supply German 7th army. Their attack failed and they found themselves caught in the open.

USSR end of Soviet operations Aug-41


Sep-41
The UK’s Factories Lost falls for the first in since April to eight. Germany’s Factories Lost count stays at three.
Pouncing on the grave error of leaving the Sevastopol fortifications, the Russian 7th army is wiped out in the open and Sevastopol falls. In addition, another three Russian armies are destroyed in other attacks. The Italian 10th army then misinterprets a report as to which army was destroyed and occupies the same location previously held by the Romanian 3rd army.
In the Med, Italian air gets the better of an exhausted Force H. British forces remain still to give an also exhausted RAF time to recover and to remain within supply line limits.
Russian forces make limited attacks and succeed in a small advance in Finland and destroying the Italian 10th army which did not expect to see Russian forces.

Finland end of Soviet operations Sep-41


Oct-41
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to seven. Germany’s Factories Lost count drops to one.
With the weather turning bad, the Axis put its Surprise Attack marker in southern Russia and take Kharkov. However, it achieves little else beyond that. The Russians reform their line and an attack against the Yugoslavian 1st army fails. In the Med, it seems the bean counters are back in charge as nothing of significance happens.

Nov-41
The UK’s Factories Lost count rises to eight. Germany’s Factories Lost count rise to two.
The Axis do not fair well in the bad weather, making no gains. Russian forces, however, do much better by trapping the German 1st army in Kharkov and eliminating it to retake Kharkov. No change in Africa.

USSR end of Soviet operations Nov-41


Dec-41
Russian Winter arrives. In Russia, weather for Axis is severe, while it is only bad for Soviets. Also, the USA enters the war.
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to seven. Germany’s Factories Lost count stays at two.
The Axis reform its front line in Russia in anticipation of Russian attacks. In Africa, Force H is unable to interdict Axis supply, but the WDF is able to push back the German 2nd army.
Russia launches its winter counteroffensive with four large assaults with air, tanks, and partisans support at several spots on the front line. The result are two German armies being disrupted and two more being forced to retreat.

Jan-42
Russian Winter continues for its last turn.
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to six. USA entry evened out the Strategic Warfare DRM between the Axis and West. Germany’s Factories Lost count drops to one. The Soviets lose their first Strategic Combat so the USSR’s Factories Lost count rises to two.
German and Russian air fight for supremacy with no clear winner. The German 6th Luftflotte is sent to Russia.
In Africa, the German 2nd army shifts reopens a supply line Tobruk by taking up a position directly west of it.
The Russians change tactics and launch more numerous, but weaker assaults along the full length of the front line. Spreading the attacks, however, achieved little causing the retreat of two German armies.

USSR middle of Soviet operations Jan-42


Feb-42
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to five. Germany’s Factories Lost count rise to two. The USSR’s Factories Lost count drops to one.
German ground forces counterattack in Russia, but make no gains. Similarly, Russian attacks across the line fail.
The UK 10th army is moved forward from Egypt and takes a position in the line just east of Tobruk, but no other action is taken.

Mar-42
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to four. Germany’s Factories Lost count stays at two. The USSR’s Factories Lost stays at one.
German and Russian forces battle each other with limited success. The Russian 1st army is eliminated, but the German front line it pushed back a little in the south. In Africa, no action occurs as both sides continue to recover.

Apr-42
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to three. Germany’s Factories Lost count rises to four as it lost both Strategic Combats to the Allies. The USSR’s Factories Lost stays at one.
Both the Axis and Russian forces take a break from the action due to bad weather. Russian armies in the north reform to create two lines of defense, the second several hexes back from the first. Ken, the Soviet player, took this position in order to provide more defense in depth. However, given USE’s mechanics and combat DRM, the position left armies in the first line very susceptible to being isolated and rolled up – which is what would happen. In hindsight, either the second line needed to be closer to the first (to have its EZOCs in the way, or the first line needed to have more units than the second line).
With Stalin pressuring for a second front and Churchill again demanding action, the British forces in the Med launched a major offensive. First, Force H (slightly weakened by attacks from Italian air) severely hurt the Italian navy and interdicted the supply line trace of the Italian 1st army defending Tobruk, putting them at low supply. A hurt Italian convoy then attempted to run supply again from Benghazi, but was mauled by the UK Med Fleet operating out of Alexandria.
The UK Surprise Attack marker was placed near Tobruk and the WDF with tanks and air support, drove the German 2nd army away from Tobruk and reduced it. However, the 2nd army survived and was able to receive replacements later in the turn. The drive put the WDF beyond its supply line unless Tobruk could be captured.
The BEF and 10th armies then launched a major assault against the low supply Italian army isolated in Tobruk. Despite a preponderance of DRM in its favor, the attack failed miserably and the Italians held Tobruk with no loss. With no supply line opened, the WDF dropped to low supply.

Africa end of Western operations Apr-42 (before its supply check)


May-42
The UK’s Factories Lost count drops to two. Germany’s Factories Lost count stays at four. The USSR’s Factories Lost stays at one.
German forces attacked the first of the thinned out Russian lines. After initially putting up a decent fight, the Russian defense crumbled as a breach allowed the Germans to roll up the line eliminating one army after another. When the dust settled, six regular Russian infantry armies and one Shock army were eliminated. In response, the Russians could do little but reform what was their second line into a thin first line of defense for the upcoming summer campaign period.
Axis success was not limited to Russia. In the Med, Italian air was able to suppress a weak Force H. And despite suffering losses by from the UK Med Fleet, an Italian convoy made it to Tripoli, which allowed for supply to get to the German 2nd army. In a reversal of the previous month’s action, the German 2nd army with tanks support counterattacked the low supply WDF. The German attack drove back the WDF and reduced it. However, the German army was unable to overcome the UK’s advantage in tanks, air, and Free Forces; so it could not to link up with the Italian 1st army in Tobruk. The Italian army then dropped to no supply.
In response, the stunned British move the BEF forward to block the German 2nd army and moved the WDF back into a reserve position to recover.

USSR end of Axis operations May-42


Africa end of Axis operations May-42


End of AAR. With the convention coming to a close, the game was ended.
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Very Stout
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Thank you Sal for a wonderful time at the Expo.

I explain my die rolls as a result of Danish officers escaping the net and acting as advisers to the rest of the world.
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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This looks cool...
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Michael McCalpin
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I was very impressed with the low counter density and the clever combat resolution mechanisms. I was also impressed that the designer recognized and commented on my Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated t-shirt...
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Leo Zappa
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I need another strategic level ETO game like I need a hole in the head. Having said that, I must admit that this looks awfully interesting and it's now on my radar screen. Good session report!
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Salvatore Vasta
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mmccalpin wrote:
I was very impressed with the low counter density and the clever combat resolution mechanisms. I was also impressed that the designer recognized and commented on my Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated t-shirt...


The low counter density design goal has worked out very well. If I had a major concern with it, however, it would be that it can be unforgiving to new players (especially on the East Front). However, many games can be unforgiving the initial times played, so I'm hoping gamers will enjoy USE enough to warrant repeated plays and getting used to it.

As for Doofenshmirtz, I win wargames as often as he conquers the TRI-STATE AREA so I feel I have a comrade-in-defeat.

Sal
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Salvatore Vasta
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I need another strategic level ETO game like I need a hole in the head. Having said that, I must admit that this looks awfully interesting and it's now on my radar screen. Good session report!


Thanks.

And I hear you. I have similar holes for every wargame I own (too many unplayed). But I look at it like this way. Another WW2 wargame is like buying a new history book on WW2. We all know how the war is going to end, but it's the author's take on the events that interests us.

Sal
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Paul Pfeiffer
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Maybe we need some more holes in the head
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Paul Pfeiffer
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I love this. I wish it went on through out a whole game. I would have liked to see how it turned out.
 
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