Italy dies for Danzig
1939 Fall. Political chit is Why Die for Danzig? Everyone starts at peace. The Molotov Ribbentrop pact hasn’t been signed yet.Jon offered James and I separate deals but we both declined. I offered James a deal that we would all declare on Italy and Germany on turn 1. South Africa leaves the commonwealth. Hungary accepts Slovakia from Germany. The Pact of steel between Germany and Italy was openly declared.
Set up. French army mainly on the Rhine with all 10 TAC. Garrisons and 2nd rate infantry face Italy. 2/3rds of the Fleet in the med. Italy, strong infantry facing the French. Fleet and TAC concentrated at Messina. Aircraft carrier paid for. Germany split 6 panzers and 13 TAC along the Rhine, 6 panzers and 17 TAC against the Poles. Russia strung along the Polish and Romanian border. Britain discretionary units all in the UK. In Egypt I clustered on top of my fleet to speed strategic redeployment.
Declarations of war. Russia on Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany and Italy joined by Britain and France. Diplomatic fallout makes all the minors hostile to Russia. Hungary and Spain join the axis whilst Poland joins the allies. This cost each of the allies 30BRP and saved each axis 45. Russia can’t get US aid for a year but the Molotov Ribbentrop pact is dead before it can be signed. Germany toyed with declaring on Luxembourg but thought better of it in the end.
Sea zones. Italy controlled the central med, Britain the eastern med, North Atlantic and North Sea. Britain and Italy contested the western med. I was quite lucky because his air losses were heavier than mine though he outnumbered me to start with, he also lost almost a complete surface fleet. Allied subs raided in the Baltic, Italians in the North Atlantic, French fleets in the western med. The French used this to transfer to Tunis as safely as possible.
Strategic redeployment. US sent funds to UK & France. Hungary to Germany. Spain to Italy and Poland to France. The French brought the colonial corps (strong infantry) home and sent weak infantry to Algiers. I had intended to line the Spanish front but forgot all about them. The Italians sent infantry to Tobruk. Britain moved 2 armoured corps, GHQ and 5 TAC to the south of France.
Offensives. France passed on the chance to attack across the Rhine but swapped weak infantry for strong in Strasbourg and doubled up panzers in the most exposed hex of the Maginot line. I thought I would only be weakening my troops and he would be attacking soon. Sure enough the Germans came boldly across the river to be met with concentrated tank fire and heavy air support. 3 panzers were flipped for 1 French tank and he called off the attack. Spain forgot to attack France though the border was mostly unguarded. France and Germany repaired battle losses. The Western Desert Force built up to full strength in Lyons.
A Russian tank corps swept through the Baltic states, eliminating the Lithuanian corps without loss. The screen around Warsaw was ripped apart and the panzers drove on to the centre of the city. The Poles hoped to retaliate towards Konigsberg and Bratislava. Unfortunately Bratislava was retaken by the Hungarians and Konigsberg’s garrison stood firm. Poland surrendered.
Winter 1939. Severe cold stops exploitation in the east. The political chit was Mussolini is always right, forcing him to declare on Greece. Yugoslavia would have been easier for him to conquer.
Production. The French repaired a British carrier in Marseilles. Spain and Hungary passed up the chance to build.
Diplomacy. Romania declared on Russia. As her patron France joined in and so did Britain. I’m not sure that we got the rules right, maybe Russia not France should have paid for this declaration.
Sea zones. The Italians, Spanish and British contested the western med. Losses amongst my carriers were heavier than before but numbers were slightly on my side and his TAC suffered. Britain controlled the eastern med, North Atlantic, North Sea and eastern Atlantic, France had the western approaches and Italy held the central med. The British and French fleets raided in the med whilst their subs raided the Norwegian Sea and Italians did the same in the western approaches.
Strategic redeployment. The US gave more aid to Britain and France. Hungary and Spain helped the axis. Britain sent another 4 corps and 5 TAC to the south of France. Russia railed up 2 garrisons to Riga.
Offensives. Russia moved cautiously into eastern Poland. The Germans attacked his tank corps with plentiful air support but he gave as good as he got leaving 2 panzers and an infantry reduced. The panzers ended up frozen in deep snow. He could only afford to repair 1 panzer after all the battle losses.
Hitler withdrew his armoured corps from the west. They couldn’t have SRd because they were in contact. Those 6 panzers spent the whole season driving east along the autobahns towards southern Poland. Infantry smoothly replaced them. He strafed the airfields in Sedan and Metz destroying 6 of the French on the ground. I could have gone up to meet him but then I wouldn’t be able to support my attack. French armour duly attacked into the Black forest. It was heavy going but 1 of his infantry was reduced then destroyed by the end of exploitation.
Italy drew her offensives first but passed with them. Britain assaulted along the Cote d’azur destroying a weak infantry but I couldn’t gain any territory from the Italians. Stalin called me a wuss but I’d honestly given it my best shot.
French cavalry circumvented the Spanish line moving through Barcelona. Infantry followed in it’s wake. The Spaniards cut up my infantry but without armour they couldn’t cut my supply line and I was still in their rear.
British infantry landed at the base of Jutland and carrier planes torpedoed his fleet at anchor in Wilhelmshaven. There was nothing he could do this season as all his offensive chits had gone. Another sailed for Casablanca to threaten Tangiers.
Spring 1940. Heavy rain and mud stops exploitation in Russia. The political chit was Yugoslav coup. British influence in Yugoslavia rises to 8 whilst German influence falls to 3.
Production. France rebuilt her TAC and Britain her carriers. The Spanish forgot to build though they had armour and infantry in the force pool and Madrid was wide open. Germany built u-boats and infantry.
Diplomacy. Finland declared on Russia and Yugoslavia on Italy.
Sea zones. British TAC drove the Italians from the western med. The Germans and the Russians contested the Baltic. TAC losses were negligible but the soviet fleet took a beating. Italy held the central med, Britain the eastern med, eastern Atlantic and North Atlantic and France had the western approaches. 30 subs raided the North Atlantic. The allies raided the Baltic with subs and the med with surface ships.
Strategic redeployment. US aid flowed as regular as ever to the western allies. France drew from Romania, Italy from Spain and Germany from Hungary.
Offensives. France went first. She crossed the upper Rhine in force driving the lone defender before her. I turned north and tried to take Stuttgart rather than pushing further from the safety of the Maginot line. France got the next chit as well. Infantry advanced into the German Alps through the gap created by her armour. The lack of German armour made manoeuvring much easier. The Germans extended their line and recalled 2 panzers but couldn’t entirely seal the breakthrough.
4 panzers diverted from southern Poland to Yugoslavia. After a long approach march they eventually reached Belgrade by exploitation but had to attack across the Danube and failed to even dent the defence. The Yugoslavs and Romanians combined to almost encircle them.
Russia attacked a couple of infantry units, causing hits but being careful not to advance into exposed positions. The Germans attacked back, again targeting his tank corps. Both sides can take this sort of punishment all day long. The lack of exploitation has kept the eastern front pretty much static for 6 months.
The Italians went first, reinforced their front line and brought armour closer up. Britain moved onto the Alps causing 3 French corps to disband. I’m getting almost as ruthless as Jon. The coast road was cleared in regular combat and the rest of the frontline fell in exploitation. He has no way to get 16 points of allied armour out of Italy. An infantry landed at the beach in Sardinia. Carrier planes bombed the fleet in Messina. Italy surrendered though he is eligible to form the Republic of Salo.
French horsemen broke free from their pursuers and rode into Madrid. Friendly infantry marched up to help. Half the Spaniards cleared a rout to my cavalry’s camp with an Italian attrition offensive. The other half hoped to destroy them and advance afterwards to recover their capital using their own attrition offensive. My friend James gave this plan to Franco. He was getting a bit uppity because the promised economic aid never materialised. Thankfully the cavalry survived and retreated back into Madrid. Spain capitulated.
British infantry drove to Copenhagen and returned to the Jutland beach-head. Motorisation has a few uses.
The axis admitted defeat. France would have got more benefits from declaring on Russia on turn 1. Having 6 panzers countermarching in winter and spring was poor planning. 15 TAC on the Rhine was too much as he was defending. Better to start 8 panzers on the Russian front with 10 TAC. 2 panzers and 5 TAC in Italy and the same again on the Rhine. Make sure Italy has enough German infantry to modify surrender rolls. He was unfortunate with the weather. The build up of UK TAC in the med was unnecessary. British armour provided most of the punch and the landing was just harassment. The landing in Denmark was a good move. It has opened up the Baltic to amphibious assault and drawn infantry from other zones.
Thanks to Jon (Germany & Italy) and especially my stalwart ally James (USSR).