A full day's session and not much happened, which given it was summer 1942 was probably a good thing for the Allies and particularly the Soviets.
AUSGAME 2020 1942 J/A – OPERATION BARBAROSSA 42 STALLED
The full day session started with lots of promise for both sides but ended up being a somewhat frustrating day of gaming as neither side achieved any significant gains.
There were only two more Axis and Allied impulses for J/A 42 much to the chagrin of the GERM who watched as Japan, ignoring his pleas of a long turn so that he could take advantage of the last of the guaranteed clear weather turns and the destruction of the Russian Ftr cover, but no, Japan rolled a 1 to end the turn.
The notable events for this turn, and there only a few, were:
• Japan contested the South China Sea and sent out her fleets and convs – no finds by the US who rolled 10.s and 9’s – no search attempts by Japan, who was very content to have her convs remain at sea ‘unfound’ and successfully ship oil and resources back to Japan.
• Only one attack by Army Gp N rolling an 18 on a +9 Blitz attack – destroying the newly promoted 9 INF GBA, but only one attack on a clear weather turn was a bonus for the Russian.
• Only one attack by Army Gp S rolling an 11 on a marginal +3 Blitz attack, for a 1/1 – both Russia and GERM lose a Div.
• On the Axis 4th impulse, a run of good luck in the air for the GERM as he shoots down 3 x Russian Ftrs in a row for no loss. The EOT losses were a little more balanced with 5 x Russian Ftrs V 2 x Axis Ftrs and 1 Italian Land lost.
• Russian AA units were very effective again, driving away multiple GS again! and reducing 6 and 5 point Stuka’s to 2’s and 3’s – distracted by the dense AA the Stukas failed again to invert much of the Russian front line, limiting GERM attack opportunities – 9 GS and only 1 Russian Corps inverted – GERM not happy.
• CW HQ (Gort) and CW Marine arrive in Riga, to supply Western Allied acft – the first US 6 factor long range Ftr arrives in Riga and threaten Helsinki. GERM Happiness level moved -1.
• The first Baltic attack by Soviet Subs sees a damaged sub for 3 damaged convs – call that a draw.
• Hi-light for the CW as he rolled a 1 in the Norwegian sea to avoid being found by the Italian Z511 NAV (what an acft 19 Rng and a 4 A2A rating and 5 Nav factors – WOW) that had flown from Norway to hunt the CW convs supplying the Norwegian CW Garrison in Trondheim.
• The one Chinese land attack for the turn sees success again as a +6 with a 19 rolled – Japan losses 2 more units.
• Partisan EOT roll of 6 again sees no Partisans in China, nor elsewhere no partisan activity J/A.
EOT rebasing, production, and reinforcements. The US declares 2 x BPs to the CW shipped to the UK and 3 x BPs to France; mostly in the form of factory parts and machinery so they can start building a factory in their capital Brazzaville – Mid Congo.
1942 S/O Bad Weather Arrives Early
Yet another important roll for the GERM and Russian – the initiative! The Allies with a +1 (no re-roll for the Axis but winning ties) is won by the Russian roll, and with no hesitation Russia takes the initiative. The weather roll is a 9, very bad weather, Storm in the Artic and N Monsoon, with rain in the Temp, a +1 on the next weather roll and advancing by 2, it is looking like another short turn. Storm in the Artic means no Gs on the Russian front line – more breathing room for the Russian.
Allied 1st impulse and a land for Russia as reinforcements, both air and land are rushed to the front, Russia declines a combined to search for the unescorted Baltic convs – a missed opportunity to have a ‘free’ shot at GERM production in favour of land moves. The CW and US take their first impulse obligatory Naval actions – these first impulse naval moves for these ‘big naval’ powers take time as they need sail out additional convs and escort them, as well as transport units from the US. The combined Allied W Airforce in Morocco and Gibraltar launches into the W Med to hunt for the lone Italian CA – AGAIN, for the first time the Axis decline to contest, as the combined Allied A2A challenges the Axis value. Content to remain in their airbases in Sicily the CW searches and against fails to find – some sort of record, in failed searches here. The CW player complains again about the Allied lack of ‘return of investment’ in the W Med venture and is promptly castigated by the GERM, reminding him that the allies are ‘doing well’ – point taken, but still frustrating. The Royal Navy not expecting to challenge the Regina Marina in the E Med retire to Convoy and Tpt/Amph escort duty as reinforcements from the USA and UK arrive off the shores of Morocco. The US reinforce the Pacific as the brand new BS New Jersey and the first two Essex Class CVs, Yorktown II and Bunker Hill arrive in Pearl with a Tpt and its cargo of 7 long range Ftr. A BS squadron sails into the South China Sea under the cover of Storm and gets lost as it promptly rolls a 10 on its search – nothing to see here.
Axis 1st impulse and GERM takes a Comb and sails a BS squadron led by the Bismarck to escort its valuable Swedish iron ore resources, from Russian naval interference. And adjusts his font line and rebases acft. Italy takes a naval and transports another GERM Corps to Libya and sends escorts into the Med high boxes, a British Sub finds the Italian Conv in the W Med and sinks it. Japan takes a naval, aborts excess Convs from the S China Se and heavily escorts the China Sea, and ships an additional Mil into China.
Allied 2nd Impulse and the weather worsens with a 10 rolled +1, for an 11, Snow in the Arctic Storm in the Temp and N Monsoon. The loss of the initiative and two bad weather rolls in a row puts paid to the hopes of the GERM renewing the 42 land offensive and making any further gains in Russia – 1942 OP Barbarossa has failed. Stalin takes a break down at his winter Dachau in the Black Sea, content that Mother Russia is now safe.
With the early onset of snow in the Arctic the Russians declare their first winter offensive led by Gen Yeremenko and spends 11 O-Points and launch an attack against the GERM double stacked Arm that had advanced in J/A – at a +12 blitz the dice gods were kind to the GERM delivering a very poor roll of 5 (17) for the Russians – R and half invert. To add salt to the wound another Russian 6 factor Ftr and its pilot was shot down on a 19 by the GERM Stuka! The GERM had played a ‘get out of jail free’ card and breathed a sigh of relief. The CW and US took combines, The US continued to search for the convs in both the China and S China Seas and continued their trend of rolling high – no finds, worse the Japanese escorts on the China Sea found the two US subs sinking both – Japanese morale improved as celebratory Saki was shared in the messes. The US has some grounds for complaint to the dice gods, his last 6 searches looking for Japanese were 10/10/9/8 7 and 6, at least they are reducing. The S/O turn could end this impulse if the Axis roll 2 or less 1943 beckons.
The full day session started with lots of promise but ended up a frustrating day for both the Allies and Axis, as neither achieved any significant success. The Allies were frustrated with the US inability to find the Japanese naval assets and the less said about the Allied efforts in the W Med the better. The only highlight for the GERMs was his superior rolling on the A2A table where he destroyed 6 Russian Ftrs , 5 in one turn (J/A) for the loss of a single FTR and an Italian Bomber. The destruction of half of Russian air-forces Ftrs although one sided is not calamitous as the bad weather has arrived and stalled the offensive land operation by the GERM. In simple terms GERM was not able to exploit his success in the air as by the time the clear weather returns to Europe the Russian air force will have been replaced and with better acft. The loss of the initiative in both J/A and S/O compounded by the severe weather in S/O has meant that OP Barbarossa has failed, and Russia is safe. The Atlantic wall is being reinforced and will take a major effort to breach as the majority of hexes are now garrisoned with Corps.
As we transition into 1943, the initiative is, as it was historically shifting slowly into the hands of the Allies who are now on a time line, albeit fairly generous to reduce the Axis empire before the end of 1945. They cannot be complacent or hesitant, which will force a degree of risk taking, and with risk opportunities are created for both sides. The game is tracking to an Allied victory, but it may well be hard fought; short turns, unlucky attack rolls and bad weather – the nemesis of the Axis 39 – 42 campaigns in France and Russia could result in a marginal Axis/GERM victory if they can hang onto 9 victory cities by the end of S/O 45. The GERM player is experienced and an excellent defensive player, so it is not game over – but an Allied Victory can be lost to complacency, bad luck and the Allied players. It is now up to Allied and Axis players to create and take opportunities, to implement their plans and frustrate their opponents.
J/A EOT Losses, mostly Soviet but enough Axis losses to make it costly.
The Atlantic wall is garrisoned - DDay 43 is going to be very tough to get ashore and stay ashore - note GERM MECH and ARM in reserve.
The Russian Front - S/O 1942 OP BARBAROSSA has stalled.
Army Group North - Stalled in bad weather but the 1st Russian winter offensive was shrugged off after a very poor 5 from the Russian +12 attack.
Army Group South - Stalled, no advance no retreat.
Russian Front in detail
China - no change - bad weather will do that.
South China Sea - Storm and it is the battle Wagons looking for Convs
New Arrivals - the first of the Essex class arrive escorted by the New Jersey - bad news for the Japanese.
The Far East and the Japanese are limiting their losses by taking small risks.
Truk still Japanese?
Saudi Arabia - Mountbatten (HQ) ready to sail to distant lands to co-ordinate land operations.
First impulse losses S/O 1942 - early days BUT the turn could end this Axis roll!