Friday, October 15, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 43

The Soviet winter offensive is about to begin.

N/D 43 – Winter Comes – Snow for Stalin
Axis 1st Impulse, with the continuing bad weather (storm and rain) and little threat from the Russian, the GERM takes a land to readjust his front line ‘just in case’ the weather becomes clear or snow in the next Allied impulse - 50% chance. In the E Med the GERM and Italian fly Ftrs into the 2 box to provide air cover to protect the supply to Egypt, now a strategic objective. The Italian takes a Naval and sails its only Tpt and escorts it heavily with BS and CA’s into the 2 Box under the cover of the Axis air – supply to Egypt is now as secure as it can be. Italian subs search in the North Atlantic and Cape Verde Basin but fail to find the Allied convs, conversely neither do the Allied Escorts find the searching subs. With the loss of the GERM 9.5 Arm battlegroup in Algeria the Axis sees little reason to continue risking Convs to supply the remnants of the much-vaunted Africa Corps now surrounded in the City of Oran, rather they shift their focus to the E Med and the defence of W Europe. Long range Ftrs and Navs are rebased to the French Coast to react to Allied Naval activity in the North Sea. Germany attempts a GS with the 6 RR Gustav Arty but it fails to invert any of the units in Russian front line. One of the attacking Stukas is driven away but the Luftwaffe manage to shoot down one of the new Russian 7 Yak 9 Ftr on the ‘evens’ table. GERM rail additional units to the Russian front, noting the Russian build up and the poor weather means there will be no invasion in France in N/D. Some land moves in Norway sees an adjustment in the Oslo defensive line, whilst the Milan Mil unit remain in the Woods North of Kristiansand to hold up the Allies.
In the Far-East Japan takes a Combined and sails a CA into the Sea of Japan 4 box to add an extra layer of protection in searches in the Sea of Japan. Unluckily, the US rolls a 1 and with a 9 from Japan gives the US an 8:1 split and a shot at the single Tpt in the 2-box supplying the Japanese land forces in China. Using its surprise points to convert from air and select target the Tpt is saved with a handy roll from the Japanese (9 Rolled), the US sub is aborted but Japanese supply to China is cut. With no supply there are no land moves by Japan, and only a couple of Acft rebases.
Allied 2nd Impulse, the weather roll is a 5, rain in the Artic and Temp – the Allies groan, again no clear or snow weather. The CW takes a combined and ships two ARM into Trondheim. Multiple GS in against the Axis line in the E Med all fail. The US ships another two allied Divs into Norway which prompts a GERM Sub search which is joined by 4 x Ftrs and 3 x Axis Navs, the dice favour the Allies with a handy find and split that sees the Axis loose a valuable 8 Factor Italian Ftr on the +3/-3 A2A table – with the lead Italian Ftr eliminated the Axis abort back to the sea – no further finds, the Allies land their Divs. In the Baltic, the 3 ex-Finnish Convs, now manned by GERM crews GS are found and sunk by the Allies – Norway is now OOS. In Norway and Algeria Ground strikes see mixed results as only 1 unit in Norway is inverted. Luckily, thanks to excellent strafing by Mosquito Acft of the RAF the last defending Corps in Oran is inverted, giving the Allies a +5 plus odds on the OOS GERM units defending the City. The US again Strategically bomb Milan from the UK, but a defending Italian Ftr intercepts the bombing run resulting in only 1 factory damaged.
Russia, with Storm and rain elect to take an air and fly multiple GS with little success, several attacks are driven off by the GERM AA guns excellent shooting, with another GERM Ftr shot down. Importantly the Russian is now able to redeploy lots of its short range acft closer to the front, including newly arrived, factory fresh Sturmervicks and 6/7 factor fighter Acft. There are now complaints from the Russian that he does not have enough airfields close to the front as now there is almost one acft per hex on the front line – the GERM was not amused. China does little as the weather is not supportive of an attack and the Nationalist offensive has stalled as they are all inverted. France took a no cost land and moved its units in N Africa.
The US takes a Combined and sails into the S China Sea to support an attack against the isolated 2 factor Japanese Div in Borneo. In the W Med the US advances units in Algeria and assault Oran at +19, tops the table and the city is liberated as the GERM defenders are sent into the ‘bag’. However, in the Far-East the combined assault by the US and CW forces against the single Japanese Div guarding the Oil fields of Borneo roll a potentially disastrous 1.1 – ‘snake eyes’! However, the nuances of the Assault table and a bit ‘of luck’ saves the day as the +16 odds with 2 rolled for a modified 18 results in a -/1 – no loss for the Allies inverting all the attackers – Lady Luck was smiling on the Allies. The defending Japanese DIv is lost, and the first of Borneo’s Japanese oil is retaken.
Axis 2nd impulse – GERM takes a Land, Italy takes a no cost Combined and sends out a conv to the E Med, the US Acft and a CA in the 4 box fail to find the conv. The Gustav RR Gun fires again and again misses all its targets in the rain – wet ammunition or faulty fuses. GERM send more units to the Russian Front and reinverts these and the inverted Arty and AA guns with its HQs. There is some reorganisation of the frontline. The Japanese take a Combined with its Subs searching multiple sea areas, 1 search is successful in the Bismarck Sea with 1 US Conv found and Damaged. Japan’s 2nd Naval is to sail a Conv into the sea to help supply its land forces. Little action on land as the weather prohibits any attacks and limits movement without inversions.
Allied 3rd Impulse and the weather roll is an 8 – the US and CW were again disappointed as there will be no clear weather in N/D 43, Stalin however is elated as the first snows start to fall in both the Artic and the Temperate – it may be a long and cold winter. Inspired by last year’s winter offensive, he declares a Land Offensive led by Konev – (13 O-Points spent) keeping Zhukov in reserve to either lead the assaults or re-invert units if the attacks falters. Recognising that this may be his last impulse, the US declares a Naval and Land spending 11 O-Points. This will allow a move for all the Naval units that have yet to sail before the turn and the year ends. There are multiple Tpts, Amphs as well as many single ships including reinforcements from the US, both West and East Coast. The US sends CA’s to patrol and search for Italian Convs in the E, and W Med and the Italian Coast, but in the rain they fail their searches. In the Far East, a US sub also goes back into the Sea of Japan with more success as she finds the lone conv – another Japanese Conv sunk. Importantly though, mainland Japan China remains in supply as there are 2 x Tpts in the 2 box, both heavily guarded by Japanese naval and air-forces. The US attempted GS in Malaya and Truk but with only 1’s and 2’s needed; they have no success. Russia attempts 3 GS against the German line with only 1 Corps and 1 Div inverted but is successful in the shooting down an Italian 6 Ftr. With naval moves and searches complete the CW having taken a land, advances all its units in Norway to attack the hapless Milan Militia. In N Africa the CW, together with the US land forces advance to Algiers the next roadblock as they head East to Libya and the prize that is Benghazi – Mussolini starts to get nervous that perhaps he has backed the wrong side this time, and orders more Sicilian red wines before the last convoy is sunk. Next Session final land moves for the Allies, declared land attacks – two from the Russian with 8 units double (O-Chit) , acft rebases and a EOT roll greater than 3 for the turn to continue.

Russian Front - Winter is coming - to see if the Russian can blow a hole in the line with its O-Points

Army Group North - the quiet sector

Gustav has failed to Ground Strike any of the Russian Front line - fair weather Cannon

The Far East

Pacific

The Japanese in an orderly withdrawal - struggling to maintain supply and keep the Chinese at arms length - the weather is helping.

Norway - the North Sea - the supply line to Allied forces Norway

Norway - the Milan Mil is about to meet its maker.

The W Med - with Oran now in Allied hands - the race to Libya begins in earnest.

The advance and final battle for Oran Dec 1943.

The US occupy Oran - a post card home

Algiers - next on the batters hit list

No successful GS by the Allies the line remains intact.

Losses - predominantly Axis at this stage.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Early Khalifs versus Maurikian Byzantines Again

For this game Des took command of my Byzantines in his first Impetus game in 15mm (he had played once before in a multiplayer 6mm game, this time he was on his own).

The Arabs went down in a screaming heap.  

Deployment

Both sides advance.
The nomads guarding the Arab left flank have been shot away.


All forces are now engaged.
The Arab right flank cavalry is having problems.

The whole Arab army is now having problems.

Game over.
Only two Arab units remain standing.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Guns of August - 1914

Yesterday Richard and I started this classic Avalon Hill game circa 1981.  I had not played it before and went the Triple Entente while Richard who hadn't played the game for some thirty years went the Central Powers.  Our first session completed the first year.

Pre set up

The end of 1914.

Seems to be pretty historical so far.


Final Units of Arab Foot

These two units are the last of the foot figures acquired as part of my purchase last year, or was it the year before?  Whatever, they are done now.  Only have about forty cavalry/camelry figures to go and then all the purchased figures are done.  I have bought some extra figures, but that is a project for another day.

For the record the units re[resent one unit of short bow A archers (T) and one unit of short bow B skirmishers (S) for use with Impetus.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Some more units for my Arab Conquest armies

Can't believe it was April when I last added to this collection.  I am now down to the final figures of the purchase, although there is still a bit of cavalry to repair and rebase.  Here are two more units of archers and one of slingers all based for Impetus as T and S troops respectively.



The Ancient & Medieval Wargaming group on Facebook helped me identify the figures as Mike's Models.  A bit of further investigation and I would suggest the slingers are AP71 Berber slinger and the archers AP67 Arab archer.  One wag in the group suggested that the archers are wearing "the new strip for Newcastle United and will in time be Sunderlands away strip".  

In doing a final edit on this post I find that my use of the term "wag" which I meant as young chap or gossip (and think I heard it in Life of Brian, but by Pontius Pilate who had problems with his r's so maybe it was "rag").  I now find it means "wives and girlfriends" which I suppose links back to the football comment.  Learning all the time (which is a quote from Benny Hill). 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 42

 S/O 43 EOT THE AXIS GET THE TRIFECTA - THE INITIATIVE, BAD WEATHER AND EOT!

As predicted last week the Axis did get the Trifecta - initiative, bad weather and the very short, 2 impulse for the Allied turn in S/O. So, the Axis elected to move rather than increase the odds of ending the turn deciding to push their luck and were amply rewarded with the Italian rolling a 3 to end the turn. Much groaning and eye rolling as the three Allied players saw the only clear weather impulse for S/O lost to lady luck! On the plus side the initiative moved up +1 for the Allied – importantly, no axis re-rolls.

Partisan roll saw another two turn up in China. Rebasing (which took a long time as the CW player had to reduce nearly all Allied conv boxes to a minimum as there were few allied escorts and several of the sea areas had been successfully hit by roving U-Boats and not restocked. If the Axis were to win the N/D initiative and take a Naval or Comb it could have been complete devastation of the Allied conv lanes as there were few escorts. Build and reinforcements with a handy German fortification being built in Rumania guarding the capital Bucharest and for a first in any of our games the Communist Yak 9M Ftr was placed.

N/D 43
Initiative roll – last chance of clear for 1943 for the Allies who are increasingly falling behind their timeline, GERM rolls a moderate 4, with Russia a 3, with the +1 modifier to 4, winning ties, the Allies take the initiative. Weather roll is a disappointing 5 for the Allies as yet again another clear weather opportunity is lost – not even snow for the Russian – just rain(mud) and Storm – not a good start for the Allies last turn for 43. The Axis are pleased as always with the bad weather and with a +2 on the impulse track, they are again looking at the prospect of another short turn. It seems that 1943 is not a year for the Allies, but at least they won the initiative and get to go first.
Allies’ 1st impulse, the CW takes a Naval to re-establish its convoy lanes back up to full shipment and escort the with 2 x CA’s in the 4 box – now they can hunt some U-Boats if they come out to play – which they most certainly will in this bad weather. The US takes a combined as this allows for 8 air missions as well as three Naval movement and a land attack or two. France takes a naval to assist with convoy protection and they have a handy transport that is doing the ‘shuttle run’ back and forth from the USA. Russia elects to take a Combined and sails its small fleet into the Baltic to search for the Axis Baltic convoys. The US fleet from Kristiansand sails into the Baltic now supported by Russian and British air, they search the Baltic but fail to find the unescorted convoys. Naval searches in the E and W Med prove more successful with the CW finally rolling a 1 in the W Med – typical though, this is the first time that the massed Axis air elected not flyout and so the only casualty was the lone Italian Conv but now Axis N Africa is OOS. In the E Med the Italian Conv is also found, but on a soft split it is only damaged – the Allies noting the Axis air did not fly in the W Med elect to abort the sea area to avoid a potential massed response during the Axis turn. On land, the Allied air-force successfully GS the GERM ARM stack in Algeria, and now, out of supply but in the mountains, it is still a hefty 14 points, the US manage a solid +14 attack and roll top of the table, finally eliminating the 9.5 3rd Panzer Corps which has been fighting in N Africa from the Suez to Algeria since France fell. A huge effort went in to eliminating this Corps which had successfully conquered Egypt (with a little Italian help) and then held up the combined Allied forces in N Africa for over a year!
China takes a paid land and launches two attacks, a Nationalist attack in the South against an inverted Japanese HQ – rolling average the Japanese having elected to take a Blitz attack, chose well as they are only retreated into the mountains for the loss of a Chinese 5.1 GAR – but importantly for the Japanese, all the Nationalist units are inverted – end of the Southern push for this turn. In the North, two fanatical Partisans goaded by the Allied players attack a single Japanese Div and roll an exchange. The Chinese step across the straits and liberate Hong Kong. Another long impulse as there was a lot to move for the CW in a naval, both Conv, escorts and transports. Axis 1st Impulse next session. Amusingly for all the German player nearly had a fit when the Japanese casually suggested that ‘he was preparing for the clear weather’ – is this a premonition for next impulse, the Allies hope so.

Summary

Well, the less said about the S/O turn from the Allies POV the better, bad weather (Storm/Rain) no land attacks by the Allies, no finds at sea and minimal losses to the Axis – units or hexes – an excellent turn for the Axis. The N/D 43 turn initiative win was helpful but again offset by the bad weather roll of 5 – no clear or snow for the Russian which is now the main game in town.
Interestingly, the Axis will be well pleased, their play aided by a lot of luck with bad weather, lack of ‘finds’ at sea and EOT rolls have seen them achieve significant 1943 milestones/KPIs; no Allied invasion of France, Italy/Sardinia or Homeland Japan. Rumania and the Suez are still in Axis hands as is Norway, Manchuria and the Borneo oil fields – it has been an excellent year for the Axis and proves that nothing is guaranteed in WIF and there is gaming value in ‘playing on’. Victory for both sides now rest in 1944 and although a win by the Allies is likely and still on the cards it is not guaranteed. If the Axis are blessed with the similar events in 44 as they have been in 43 – short, bad weather turns and manageable Axis losses, the unexpected might just occur – game on.

Western Europe - its raining again - nothing new

Germans defend the approaches to Oslo - Norway still in Axis hands and winter is coming

Western Med - the Allied air-forces finally control the W Med as the Axis did not want to come and play. They were right not to as the CW finally rolled a glorious 1.

The 9.5 Arm III Corms is finally eliminated and Oran is now surrounded and OOS

E Med OOS but that will change

The Russian Front - very disappointing (for the Allies) weather roll storm
and rain Stalin not a happy man

Army Group North STORM

Army Group South MUD

The Far East

The Partisan counter attack with success on the coast - it is getting grim for Japan
Comment on Facebook post by Robert Guerrero
Honestly, without a factory or the ability to get the resources out of China, and with no objective hexes in hand, there is no reason to have any of the Japanese army in China at this point

Not pretty for Japan as her enemies start to surround her

First impulse losses


Monday, October 4, 2021

The Battle for Germany

Today Richard and I played new production of a classic SPI game.

Set up

The end.

The fascinating thing about this game is one player is the Soviet/West Front Germans and the other the Western Allies and the Eastern Front Germans.

That's a Canadian unit in Berlin.  Worth 10 VP it clinched the game for the Western Allies played by Richard.  The scores were 17 to 26.  But as berlin is worth 10, it was really quiet close.

Looking forward to playing it again.