Another impulse of Barbarossa sees set backs for the Axis. The Allies invade Portugal and the Chinese retake Peking. Then the weather turns bad.
AUSGAME 2020 1942 M/J (CONT) – OPERATION BARBAROSSA 42 STALLS
Slow session last night - 1 impulse each side – due in part to some big decisions made - should I go or should I stay – Japanese Fleet Admiral. In typical Code of Bushido ethos, he decided to contest the S China Sea – with a long deliberations, numbers counted, A2A ratings manipulated and worse case scenarios considered – Japan sallied his three fleets and all his LB air into the 2 box to challenge the combined US/CW fleet. Risk on both sides, as any ‘big split’ would be calamitous for either side. As it was, the rolls were anti-climatical as the US and Jap rolled a 7 and 8 – no one found despite there being 10 acft , 15 CVs and 35 SCS in the S China Sea - I didn’t think that sea area was that big enough sea area not to have a find! Naval ‘non-action’ completed, Japan adjusted its front line as it desperately filled the hole made by the Commies last attack and reinforced as best he could against a likely Commie attack against the old capital of Peking.
Italy took an Air to support GERM land Ops, allowing naval searches, GS and rebasing of Ftrs to counter the Russian rebases and long-range bombers. In the W Med the Axis air wall continues to press its advantage and searched for the Combined Allied air force while it still has an advantage. They succeed again rolling a 1 and the CW lends a helping hand with a 9, giving the Axis 10 surprise points, 5 shifts. A bit of luck for the Allies as they get an abort (6 US Ftr) from an average die roll from the GERM on the +6 table and manage in return to abort a GERM Nav on the -6 table. With 10 surprise points against them, after the mandatory one round of combat they abort back to the W Med with neither side finding a second time. In the Bay of Biscay, with the opportunity to X, D or A loaded Allied Amphs the GERM elects to contest the sea area and fly two Ftrs and react 3 x Navs. In a surprise for Allies the CW roll a 1 and the GERM an 8 to gain a solid split, rather than just abort the combat the CW decides with 4 shifts in his favour it’s a chance to attrition the Axis air force at the risk of being found again. Luck for the CW on the +4 table as they shoot down an Italian Nav with the Italian pilots successfully bailing out and being rescued by S-Boats operating out of Brest. With a large split against them the Axis air abort back to the sea area, and elect to search again, the GERM making up for his previous roll, rolls a 1 but in an astounding piece of luck. not seen for years. the CW rolls a second 1 in a row – a probable first in this game and a roll that favours the Allies as it brings into play his 7 factor in the 1 box. They are again successful in the air, shooting down a GERM escorting 6 Ftr for no loss – the Axis recognising that this is a loosing battle, abort to the French coast for Cognac and French hospitality. The Allied invasion force breathe a sigh of relief as it could have easily gone against them as any average dice by the Allies in the air combat would have seen NAV air cleared through and loaded Amph and Tpts X, D or aborted, jeopardising the invasion of Portugal. A relieved CW and US player wipe a sweaty brow.
With no luck at sea the GERM turned to the war against Russia and the second impulse of Op Barbarossa 42. This was not going to be a good impulse. The Axis launched multiple GS with Stukas and Italian LB air, but the Russian air force contested the air shooting down one of the bombers and its pilot for no loss. But one for the record books was the Russian AA rolls, these were most impressive rolling 3 lots of lowest 1 of 6 dice and on two rolls against Stukas, rolling not less than 4 on every dice! Only one Stuka got through rolling 1’s for no effect – the Russian front line remained intact and upright – with few opportunities the GERM elected not to attack in the South. In the North three land attacks were declared, two automatics as Russian Gar/Cav units are overwhelmed – but in a reversal of the fortunes of war, a +12 blitz attack failed badly as the GERM stumbled, and rolled a 3 for a 1/1 but full invert, losing a 4.1 SS Gar. With only a single HQ in the North (Rommel) only 2 units were reinverted, importantly for the Russian, the two Army Group North Vanguard Arm and MECH Corps remained inverted.
In Norway the two ARTY Divs, a 3 and 4 factor, GS the CW defenders of Navik and again little success as they only invert a single Div, in the stack of five CW units – so no attack here. In the South the GERM HQ reinverted two Stukas, so that they can GS again next impulse as the Russian AA gunners have hopefully run out of ammunition or luck or both. The GERM destroyed a 3 Russian land units, for the loss of 1 GER Mil and an Italian Bomber and its pilot, and gained only marginal hexes of E Poland and the Baltic States. Not the heady start desired by the Axis, as many primary and secondary objectives still remain in Russian hands.
Allied impulse and the Allies DOW on Portugal as the Portuguese Govt wanted to remain neutral and not allow allied acft to rebase there – so war, of a sort it is, as the Allies invade the two adjacent hexes of Lisbon and take the port of Porto. The land units are ‘well pleased’ to be off the Amphs and tpt – it is dangerous out at sea with Axis Acft and U-Boats operating from France. The invading units are forced by the Axis to drop to the 0 box presenting an excellent high value target of opportunity for the GERM U-Boats if the weather deteriorates and the search die rolls are kind. Russia’s land sees his units drive forward to double and triple stack the front line key hexes against the invading Hun and its minor allies. Making a tough job harder, they rebase three Ftrs forward to protect their defenders from the impending second round of Stuka attacks. The first LLease Hurricane arrives in Russia, courtesy of the CW and their pilots exchange greetings, a quick lesson on how to fly these acft and a vodka or two. With both the CW and USA taking Combined actions, there is little naval acty, other than the Iowa arriving in the Pacific Theatre and several Tpts collect cargoes off the coast of the US. The CW abort the Conv from the S China Sea to remove the +1 search for the Japanese from this, and future naval actions.
China buoyed by previous success launches +11.5, led by Mao and attack the ancient capital of Peking and roll an average 10, which is enough to retake the city – another hole in the line for the Japanese to fill, as the advancing Chinese are now only one hex from the coast and cutting the Japanese land armies in two.
Axis 3rd Impulse and the vindictive Weather Gods turn on the Axis as they roll a 1, the worse weather possible with Snow in the artic and storm just about everywhere else. Storm in the S China Sea functionally renders Japans air advantage mute. Japan in the one box cannot afford to search as it would be a gun fight, and attrition of SCS, especially exchanges work significantly in the Allies favour. Japan now cannot press its air advantage as both carrier and land air Ops are shut down by the Storm. They are unlikely to search and with the Chinese continued successes on the mainland they will need a combined or land to rectify their crumbling front line which is now stretched to breaking point, the loss of Peking is significant.
A great Allied session and conversely a nightmare session for the Axis. Germ advances have been minimal and any advances in the next impulse will be marginal - measured in single hexes as the snow and storm weather will significantly affect the ability to successfully GS and the -4 is prohibitive for an Army with few winterised units. Worse, the EOT roll with a 1 can commence with the next allied roll, thanks again to the weather +2 advance – not what the Axis wanted. The impressive AA rolling by the Russian AA gunners stopped any attacks or advance in the South, even the city of Chisinau still remains firmly in Russian hands. In the East Japan seems helpless to stop the Chinese advances on land and if they do not find and win the battle of the S China Sea they will have little to show for the expenditure of their valuable oil. Japan may have to sign a pact with Russia to relieve the pressure and release a few valuable land units - the diplomats are talking.
From the Allied point of view the war is definitely turning in their favour as US reinforcements, especially Acft and HQs arrive in Europe. They are able to contest the W Med air dominance, and still have acft spare to LLease to Russia and protect their Naval assets. The important clear weather J/A turn will determine where the 1942 front lines will be drawn.
Portugal is invaded to aid the Allied rebasing of short range fighters and Navs
- the extra resource is welcome as well.
The W Med air war continues unabated.
Second Impulse of Op Barbarossa - Hitler is not pleased
- primary and secondary objectives have not been met and he is seeking an answers.
Army Group North - led by Rommel has stumbled with a unlucky die roll of 3,
as Russian units advance to seal off the advance.
Army Group South - still has yet to cross the Dnieper or take Chisinau
The collection of Axis allies, most of whom cannot cooperate with each other,
is not helping the Army commanders.
Excellent AA work by Russian AA gunners have driven of the Stukas.
S China Sea - Japanese fleets (x 3) on the hunt for the combined Allied fleets o no success yet.
China - the Japanese line now stretched to breaking point as Peking is captured/liberated by the Communist led by Mao.
Situation no change
The Far East - Japanese and Russian diplomats have now opened an exchange of letters
- perhaps a pact is in the offing
Losses at the end of the second impulse - with Storm and Snow rolled (1) this wont change significantly.