Saturday, May 29, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 27

After surviving a taste of Russian winter, the Axis launched a massive offensive to break the Soviet defences ahead of summer campaigning season.

The Axis kicked off their Barbarossa ‘winter’ impulse with a Naval by Italy, Combined by Japan and Land from Germany – much to the relief of the CW, the GERM U- Boats stayed in port during the bad weather. Italy’s naval saw a Tpt embark a useful Italian ATK Gun from Libya and also sail SCS to both the E Med and Italian Coast to protect shipping and Convs. A search by the British sub patrolling the Italian Coast, hunting Italian convoys continued the trend of the poor performance by the RN as it breaks the surface rather than use its periscope and is promptly found and dispatched by two escorting BS, Italy rolled another 1 as the Sub failed to save its X. Japan’s Combined saw a Tpt sail to the Sea of Japan and embark the Tokyo MIL which lands, inverted in China to bolster the front line and stem the Chinese onslaught, Jap convoys sail out to the sea of Japan under the cover of the storm and are not found by patrolling US subs – they needed 1’s in the storm. There is little other activity by the Japanese as the weather precludes any land attacks, and movement . In Russia the GERM attempt’s a GS on the front line to draw up Russian Ftrs, but the Russian isn’t playing that game, and the GS goes through with a bonus inversion of a Russian Corps. The GERM front line consolidates and reinforcements are railed as Axis units advance occupying empty hexes in E Poland and Latvia – No attacks as the weather is atrocious, and with a guaranteed (well almost) fine weather the GERM Army prepares for the next phase (impulse) of their Barbarossa offensive.
Allied 3rd impulse, possible EOT roll on a 1 – the Russian gets excited with the unexpected snow in Artic. Russia takes a land and commits to attack the two inverted GERM MECH/ARM of Army Gp North with all the available white prints (5) that it can muster. The attack is at a +7 and rolling a 14, they destroy a 7.6 MECH (1 more on the dice would have seen both the MECH and ARM destroyed – so close) and blitz the other ARM back to Germany for a half invert. Russia elects to upgrade the 6 INF to a 9.4 GBA and advance a hex. The line is strengthened in the North as rivers are defended and AT Guns arrive from Leningrad. In the South, the Russians advance West to meet the GERMs and prepare for the fine weather assault of phase 2 of OP BARBAROSSA. The US takes a naval and the CW a combined as both Navies decide that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ and abort the S China Sea, leaving it to the Japanese – morale victory to the Japs. The next impulse is likely fine weather, and the Allies access that will be outmatched by the Japanese CV Air groups and Land based air. Being storm, several old battleships are left behind and a CA is sent to the top box to have a speculative search for the Jap fleets in the hope of a large split and a sink on a Jap CV. The CA’s search is a disaster for the crew of the Wichita as it finds the Japanese fleets but with no split it is sunk by 18.1 inch gun fire from the Musashi and Yamato, other Naval searches also fail to find with a predominance of 8’s and 9’s rolled. In the W Med the combined Allied air forces now have air parity – both are at 13.9 on the A2A table – no finds as both roll too high. The CW makes a DOW against Saudi Arabia as it occupies their oil fields – it is always about the oil. The SA 1.5 Cav (Camels) trot back to their Capital to await the British arrival.
Axis 4th Impulse – and as it happens, the last impulse of the turn. The weather roll is a 4, fine everywhere bar the N Monsoon which is rain. The GERM takes a land supported by the Italian air force and declare a Land Offensive with Rundstedt taking the lead and spends a further 5 O-points reinverting Rommel in the North. In total 18 O-Points are spent, leaving only 1 point left. Four Stukas and land bombers fly GS against the front line with average results, with a Russian Corps inverted in each stack - An Italian bomber is shot down by an elite 6 Factor Russian Ftr with its pilot going down in flames. Army Group North, led by Rommel launched a Counter Attack against the recently promoted 9 factor GBA at +8 Blitz rolled 8 (16), forcing a retreat. In the South, there are two attacks as Manstein’s +10 assaults the first hex of Russia and rolls a 11 (21) for 1S. From Rumania Rundstedt launches a bold, and potentially disastrous +5 Blitz to break the Dnieper River line – “trying to create something”, success! as he rolls an above average 13 for an 18 Blitz – the Axis have crossed the Dnieper River and potentially have pocketed their first Russian MECH stack. Average rolling, it could have been worse, could have been better for either side – importantly for GERM no awful low rolls of 3 or 4 which would have cost major units lost – he had his attack roll of 3 last week. The GERM player wipes a sweaty brow and breathe a sigh of relief. Japan takes a combined and sails convoys into the S China Sea to re-establish their convoy chain to the oil of NEI and resources from China. The Army of Manchuria steps back and readjusts its line, removing a dangerous salient and acknowledging that their offensive in the North is over. With their war going badly, it is a time for consolidation and force preservation as they start to focus on retaining their possessions rather empire expansion.
Another great roll for the Axis as they roll the EOT on a 3, it sets up for the GERM a potential ‘double impulse’,– nice roll as all the GERM HQ’s and their bombers were all inverted. If they win the next turns initiative, they have the opportunity to pocket 3 x Russia Corps including a MECH and MOT and Mech Div. If that happens, having successfully crossed the Dnieper they will link up the two Armies of the South – Romania and E Poland. The EOT roll also denied the Allies the opportunity to reset the Russian front line, attack Japanese convoys, conquer Portugal and launch further Chinese assaults against the already stretched Japanese line – a great, well timed roll.
Partisan roll 1 – no Chinese again – fifth failed Chinese Partisans in a row!, the Japanese army is winning the ‘hearts and minds’ as an occupying force, not so much the British in India and the Japanese puppet Govt in Manchuria as a partisan turns up in each.
A better session for the Axis after the bad (worst you can roll) weather. GERM use of his O-Points and average rolls has allowed him to break the Dnieper River defence and in his words “create something”. With a lucky roll at only +5, the GERM was able to cross the Dnieper and potentially pocket 3 Russian Corps including a handy Mech Corps and link up his two Army’s of the South (Rumania and the Army from E Poland). For the Japanese another ‘No Chinese Partisans’ roll has saved his resources and given him a breather, with the handy EOT roll of 3 the Japanese has finally been able to establish convoys and ship resources and oil back to Japan. Japan’s contesting the S China Sea has secured for a turn or two that valuable sea area. The Axis EOT roll meant that the Allied failed to conquer Portugal, wasting another turn for the Allies and makes the major port of Lisbon unusable for rebasing and redeploying.
The losses for this session have been more than expected for the Axis – 20 BPs, and the loss of 3 Italian acft (2 x Nav and 1 x Land) will be missed in the next few turns. The loss ratio was 20 BP for the Axis and 15 BPs for the Russian – not the outcome the GERM was hoping for, but if the Axis can win the JUL/AUG Initiative they will trap 3 Russian Corps and exploit their bridgehead across the Dnieper. In the North progress will be slow, although the GERM reinforcements of ARM/MECH/ACFT will be arriving from East Prussia.
From the Allies perspective, the EOT was annoying as they were not able to reset the Russian line and extricate their units from the potential trap that the GERM has orchestrated – it will now depend on the initiative roll – both sides will want it, so there will be a re-roll next turn no matter who wins the first roll. The Russian line is still intact and only two hexes are in GERM hands, importantly the Rumanian/Russian city of Chisinau remains in Russian hands and the bonus winterise attack that the Russian was able to effect, generated an INF GBA and cost the GERM a 7.6 MECH. In the North the terrain, rivers, AT Guns, Siberians and GBA’s will make progress there somewhat slow, as the GERMs have yet to clear E Poland or the Baltic States. Russian build is not affected and the Allies LLease can now start being shipped in earnest now they are at war. Most importantly for the Russian, the GERM has spent all its O-Points and there are no more coming for the JUL/AUG turn so defending will be significantly easier knowing there will be mass doubling of GERM attack factors. The US submarines were unable to have another chance to search for Jap Convs and the Chinese were keen to have another attack on the hard pressed Japanese front line – and kill more Japs. The Communist Mech Corps will arrive in the recently liberated Peking which will be concerning to the Japs. Singapore, Batavia and Manila are all double stacked and in supply. US Submarines operating out of Batavia continue to threaten Convs and the Japanese lines of communications, and the US is another turn closer to the arrival of the first two Essex class CVs (Bunker Hill and Yorktown II) – the clock is ticking.

The Russian Front J/A 1942

Army Group South - its a trap - J/A initiative is huge for the Russian

Army Group North - still fighting in E Poland and Latvia.

Saudi Arabian Oil falls into the hands of the CW (BP)

The Far East - the Japanese seize control of the South China Seas from the Allies.

Manchuria - the Japanese start their withdrawal.

China - looking grim for the Japanese - but at least there are no Partisans

Allies consolidate in Singapore and Batavia - MacArthur - watches on.

The West Coast of France - Axis Mech and Arm head inland away from GS allied air.

The Western Front - all quiet.

Portugal is invaded, but not conquered

Losses - axis losses mounting - the Russian losses from Op Barbarossa are sustainable.

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