The bad weather continues, but another Soviet city has fallen all the same, although the Axis did put a lot of effort into it using Offensive Chits. At least the Soviet air force did well shooting down two enemy bombers, although in unrelated combats the Soviets lost an equivalent number of aircraft.
The lost city is in the Ural's pocket (lower left hand corner).
The Axis are starting to move forces to defend Italy
as the Allies are continuing to advance east in North Africa.
One of the things that got me interested about the Carthaginians was the old SPI game The Punic Wars. I loved this game so much I hand copied it (as you will see later). I mentioned this to Simon and he said he had a copy. It has taken a few months, but we finally sat down to play. The first time in forty years!
We made a few mistakes to start with about what constituted a controlled/friendly province.
Attrition was horrific and I wasted my first few turns trying to maintain order in Corsica and Sardinia. Thankfully I realised the key was controlling access to Sicily which my fleet promptly did.
Then it was a case of an arms build up.
Then there were cross straits incursions until finally I struck out for Rome. It took a few goes, but eventually the Carthaginians were able to enter the city and win.
Sadly my hope of being able to use this game for a campaign was not really borne out.
Armed with my knowledge of the rules I tried the First Punic War scenario again.
First turn no revolt, Carthaginians massed their forces in Sicily (avoided attrition in bringing troops over from Carthage) and attacked the Roman Fleet at 3 to 1. It was wiped out which sealed off Sicily. The Carthaginians then bravely attacked the Roman army in Sicily and with another good roll reduced it by 75% driving it into Messina where it was safe for a while.
The Romans elected two Level 2 leaders! It did them no good as without a fleet they weren't going anywhere. In another bit of good luck they were able to start building ships.
However with the second turn, Syracuse entered an alliance with Carthage. Carthage continued to strengthen its garrisons in Corsica and Sardinia as well as build up in Sicily.
The Romans positioned their army north west of Croton in a blocking position.
Nothing was going to happen for a good while now.
The Carthaginians will move to occupy the Balearic islands. They then need only one or two provinces to win. However an army invading from Sicily is always going to be smaller than the blocking Roman army. Using their fleet to invade elsewhere would create numerous attrition rolls and the subsequent losses would probably cause the Syracusans to change sides!
For the Roman fleet to attack the Carthaginians, there would be an attrition roll first and so it is unlikely to prevail.
So I am thinking that the Romans would use their fleet to block any movement up the coast from Sicily (an attack from Corsica would take a long time to build up and risk being attrited by revolts). Eventually the Carthaginians could amass a reasonable force in Sicily and then risk an attack.
Rome could build a force of 12ASP and 12FSP. Carthage could build up to 20ASP and 10FSP. Eight Army Strength Points are needed to garrison the three islands and Carthage (anything less than 3 in each of Corsica and Sardinia risks being wiped out in a revolt). In attacking the Roman fleet, the Carthaginians would want to be able to protect the ferry hexside and so probably only have eight Fleet Strength Points to use. A 1 to 2 attack with the Fleet and assuming a superior leader has a one in three chance of success, but equally a one in three chance of defeat, all the time taking losses. No fun!
So the Carthaginians probably need to attack immediately before the Romans build up; conversely hope that the Romans don't get to build fleets straight away.
Off to a good start, the Carthaginians out scouted the Sassanids!
The Numidians immediately rout one unit of Sassanid light cavalry
with a few well aimed javelins.
The impetuous Gauls fail to make an impression!
They must have been too busy laughing that the skirmishers had decide to stand against them,
and failed to swing their swords as they should have.
The Gauls are actually repulsed!
Clearly the enemy skirmishers must have used some harsh taunts.
At least the Numidians are earning their pay.
The Gauls are given some Iron Discipline and told to charge again.
The Sassanid elephants are being attrited away.
The Gauls are in a bad way,
but the Sassanids are not looking so good.
The Numidians win the battle!
The Gauls are saved (but down to their last man).
The new Spanish have earned their red badge of courage.
Both the Gauls and Spanish suffered losses when throwing sixes for Cohesion Tests. This was at a time when the Sassanids were throwing low, but I can't complain as the better die rolls were nearly all with the Carthaginians.
As things ticked over to November/December 1942 it is fairly quiet on the Eastern Front.
Bad weather - good.
No partisans - disappointing.
Although the pockets are tieing down enemy troops who otherwise would be doing partisan duty.
The USSR seem to be doing more naval than usual...
All quiet in China as well.
In the Pacific the US did have a better turn against the Japanese.
Here is an excerpt of Mike's write up that he posts to the Facebook World In Flames Group regarding the US in the Pacific:
"they searched and found the CV Akagi and its escorting CA on an excellently rolled 3 – just what they needed, japan rolled an 8! Enjoying a 3 to 1 majority in the air they promptly shot down the Akagi’s FTR air group, but cleared through the Akagi’s Torp/bomber group, but then rolled a 6+ on all of their 4 dice AA roll which blew the attacking CV bomber to bits! Ironically the Japanese 4 dice AA counter roll saw him roll the expected 2, aborting only 2 points of attacking 6 NAV points. The Japanese were a bit luckier in their saves as both D’s were saved, and with no air groups left on the Akagi aborted the sea area. The search outside Pearl was also successful for the US damaging the Jap CA and shooting down another CV airgroup, with no air cover the Japanese vacate the sea area"
It is a slow process, so no risk of a breakthrough.
The defenders of Stalingrad are dwindling.
Reinforcements are heading to the Caucasus as the Soviets there are being pushed back.
February and the die roll for Allied progress is negative.
This means the Italians stay around and that the Turks get encouraged to enter the war.
Soviets pull back as the crisp winter weather is about to end
and some of their units will be out of supply.
Turkey eagerly enters the war.
Up until then I had been hopeful I could launch an offensive from the south. There was also one planed for around Orel where I had been collecting armour. However I think it is time to call it quits.
I also found out I had been overstacking Soviet units and this would have meant even worse outcomes in some previous battles.
A very interesting game system and the hidden nature of units really makes for a different kind of play. Armour is extremely powerful and I really needed to have built more forts. Also would have helped to have had a better understanding of the rules.
This game, along with playing World in Flames at the same time, is also a bit too much Soviet misery!