Sunday, August 22, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 38

The Soviet Summer offensive starts with a massive air blitz.  Attacks are then launched in the Lithuania, Rumania and Finland.

Rebase, production and reinforcement J/A the all-important initiative roll both the Russian and GERM face off and both roll 10’s – a WOW moment – two 10s for an initiative roll. However, the Axis winning ties, a cost to the Allies of going first last turn, seek to go first. The Allies demand a reroll, sending the initiative into the +1 Axis box and win the initiative. Weather is a 9 – fine everywhere with Storm in the N Monsoon.
Allies go first, the US declare a super combined and spend 16 O-points, Russia a handy Air/land spending 11 O-points, with the CW taking a Comb, FFrance a Naval and China a paid (oil) land. Naval air missions see the US and CW fly FTRs and NAVs in the 2 Box in the W Med – hoping to find the Italian Tpt now in the zero box, US fly into the 3 box in the sea of China to cover the Pacific fleet that sailed into the same box, again issuing the challenge to the Japanese imperial fleet. US acft also fly into the E Med and N Sea to provide aircover to future naval movements. The US navy sails multiple CAs on escort duty and the Massachusetts and CA Pittsburgh arrive in Midway to bolster the US SCS in the Pacific. The CW naval moves (2) send reinforcements to Norway and 3 BS SCS into the W Med – much to the excitement of the GERM player. The 1 factor port strike from the CV Ranger’s air group finds the Italian SUB in the port of Suez and drop a few bombs, aborting her plans to sail against British convs off India. Searches in multiple sea areas are mostly fails, with the exception of the Baltic where the Russian finds and damages the GERM Tpt supplying Norway and her escort Scharnhorst escapes with a few paint scratches as she survives 2 x D results, saving the first and aborting back to Kiel – Norway is back OOS and as an Allied bonus, a GERM Nav air is eliminated and 7 Ftr aborted. The searches in the W Med, E Med and Italian Coast all fail, and the ‘lucky’ Italian Tpt survives again safe in the zero box. The Axis response in the W Med, as it has in previous turns, flying most of the Axis air in to the 1 box as a NAV ‘wall of death’ – que dramatic music ‘dun, dun, dun’. The US fail to find the lone Japanese CA on patrol in the China Sea much to its relief, but the sub in the Sea of Japan finds her quarry and sinks the conv putting all of China OOS. The FFrench navy sail out on escort duties and their tpt delivers the US Brady HQ to N Africa. The US Stra bombers fly from bases in the UK and succeed in shutting down Axis production in Paris and Brussels.
Land actions – In the Pacific the US fly all its CV planes off its CVs in an attempted to GS and invert Japanese units on the coast whilst they are OOS. Needing 1’s and 2’s they all fail. In N Africa better success as US Arty and acft invert several DAK Corps, and the whole of the important 9 ARM stack. Without having found the lone Italian Tpt in the 0 box – 3 or less to find!, the DAK remains in supply. The US launches a single attack against the Berlin MIL guarding the vital port of Oran with 2 Paras and 4 x Corps – In typical fashion the single, still in supply, GERM FTR flys CAP from Algiers during the Para phase and promptly rolls two successive 16’s at -2 on the A2A table aborting both paras (AA) – the escorting British Spits take some revenge shooting the FTR down as its pilot bails out and is picked up by Italian fishermen and returned to Germany. The US committed to the attack roll badly with a 5! on 2D10 +6 for a result of 1/- and lose an INF Corps and all flipped – not a great start on the first impulse of a long turn that with average dice should have seen the city taken and the DAK put permanently OOS. Other US and CW units land in Norway bolstering the British Norwegian Expeditionary Force (BNEF) and in the Pacific. two US Divs – with nowhere else to land - invade China taking a Mountain hex. The Chinese manoeuvre their land forces and in an unexpected ‘get on with it attack’ in storm, the Nationalist rolled a 19 taking Hanoi.
Russia’s first attempt at a multiple Air/Land action is mixed. During the GS phase many of the targeted hexes of his Acft fail their GS and all his Arty miss. However, in what has been a trend in these recent turns is that the first air combat that the Russian gets involved in, he always shoots down a GERM acft – this continued as another GERM Ftr was shot down. The multiple GS did draw up Axis Ftrs which stretches a thin and diminishing asset on the Russian front. Russian launches three attacks Finland, Latvia and Rumania. The attack in Kaunas, the capital of Latvia an almost certain fait de compli was saved as the Russian rolled 2.2.2 for 5 on a +14 for an 19 -*1/2 the Russian losses a Div and a MIL and the GERM two INF Corps but the important 2.5 ENG survives, defending the city. In the south better luck as the blitz table attack of 21 saw a unit blitzed and a CAV destroyed as Russian unts cross the Dnieper River securing Chisinau’s Northern flank and creating a bulge in the line. In Finland, Russia’s attack rolled well enough for 1/B which saw the Finish sent to the spiral and the Russian Army at the gates of Helsinki which is only defended by Mannheim and a lone Div – only an atrocious roll or GERM reinforcements will save the Finns as this campaign will be wrapped up next impulse. Acft are rebased both by the Russian and US with Russia using up three of his HQs to reinvert Acft and land units to press on as the summer sun continues to shine.
A long session as it always is when the US takes a super combined, so much to do, made longer with Russia’s Air/Land combo. Next session the Axis recover from the initial blows and will evaluate their opportunities – will the Japanese fleet have a last attempt to inflict casualties on the Pacific fleet – that is if they can find each other – or will they play cat and mouse in the Pacific conserving their naval and air assets for the defence of the homeland? The Russian Front continues to be stretched both in land and in the air – there are plenty of land reinforcements to fill the line, but they have to come from GERM and E Prussia. The bulge in Army group souths line will almost certainly force their withdrawal as the Russian is inching, hex by hex into Rumania and E Poland. The defensive river line based on the Dnieper River is now untenable as the Russian has both air and ARM/MECH superiority. What will be concerning for the GERM is the loss of five Acft for no Allied in a single impulse – that loss ratio is simply not sustainable, although they won’t have to build pilots for a while as they all survived combat the GERM now has 8 PILs. The only joy for the Axis was the aborting of the US Paras in their first drop by some excellent rolling by the GERM Luftwaffe – always worth flying followed by a poor roll by the US (5) leaving Oran in the hands of the Berlin Mil – medals all round boys. Another was the stoic defence of Kaunas by the GERM ENG and another poor roll by the Russian, another 5. These land attack low rolls seem to be popping up for all players at the moment. Russia has rolled three of them this summer, The US now has one against Oran, China has rolled two of them in their failed attempts to take Hanoi, they have been rolled by the CW in Norway against OOS inverted GERMs, the GERM rolled it last week against Chisinau failing to take the city in possibly the most critical defensive attack that should have been a GERM success – Lady luck is favouring anyone - pain for all!

Russian Front

Finland and the Northern Front - Finland will fall next impulse unless reinforced.

Southern Front another hex of Rumania taken - Russia has air superiority

Norway is reinforced with Allied ARM and Mech

The Western Front - all quiet

W Med - the Axis still dominate the air war here - none shall pass

DAK saved for another turn as the US rolls 5 on their attack v a single German Mil guarding the supplies at Oran

W Med - sensing movement here - just need to find that conv any roll 4 or less will do!

China the US and in China and threaten Korea with its Marine

The invitation to join in battle is issued to the Imperial Japanese Fleet by the Admiral US Pacific fleet

All the way USA

Heavy losses in the air for the Axis - but all the pilots safely bailed.

6mm Romans versus 6mm Macedonians

At the Club's August Games Day Mark Woods organized a multiplayer game of Basic Impetus using his fabulous 6mm collection.  I went Roman with John while Mark and Des faced us as the Macedonian commanders.  How would pilum go against pike?

The dense formation of the pike blocks on the left,
is at risk of double envelopment by the long line of Romans on the right.

The Romans advance!

The Roman right starts to work around the Macedonian left.

While the Roman left does the same to the Macedonian right.

The Roman right looks like it has got the Macedonians snookered

The Roman left wing is charged by the Macedonians, 
but holds position after delivering a few well aimed pilums.
But the Roman attack on the right evaporated in a  bit of mutually assured destruction
(A D6 will do that to you)
The envelopment of the Macedonian right is also in trouble or rather seriously delayed,
due to the steadfastness of some Macedonian skirmishers.

The Roman right wing is now heavily engaged.
It tries to turn an adverse outcome into a victory by using Betrayal to force a reroll.
The Macedonians pass their Cohesion Test again on the second roll.
The Betrayal card now goes to them.

The big and bloody picture.
Any where a red dot appears means a unit has taken casualties.
Blanks spaces mean units have routed

The dice Gods have a good laugh,
proving the Macedonians are no more able to pull off a Betrayal than the Romans.

A combat with few dice can still produce a hit,
and a hit forces a cohesion test 
and if the unit is already disordered with only one strength point left,
any hit will rout the unit.

Game over.
The Macedonians were still kicking butt,
but their morale collapsed
and they fled the table, eh field

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Europe in Turmoil

Fascinating game based on the pre First World War European situation.  More a game of politics than war.  It also helps that I am currently reading The Sleepwalkers.

The board is keeping track of control,
the play is all in the cards
and occasionally a six sided dice

Monday, August 16, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 37

Summer offensive is under way.  Axis evacuating North Africa.  US and Japanese fleets all at sea and don't seem able to find anyone.

Second Session M/J 43
Axis 2nd Impulse and GERM takes a land and under the cover of snow retreat out of Latvia to defend the E Prussian border and condense their stretched line. Rumours spread of ‘the Russians are coming’ as E Prussian civilians start to flee West to relatives in Germany. A single 3 Mil from Magdeburg is tasked as the rear guard to cover the withdrawal of Army Group North’s, most northern flank. With no Russian Ftrs upright, a GERM Stuka GS the fwd hex of the Russian line and successfully inverts the dreaded Katusha rocket Div and a Corps. In the South units are shuffled to reinforce the line and adjust the front around the Russians advancing units. Italy takes a Naval and embarks the Von Bock HQ from N Africa, relieved he debarks in S France as the CW fail to find his transport rolling a 10! The Italians, abort their second transport and reinvert it with an Italian HQ. In the E Med the CW search for the Italian surface ships and fail to find rolling an 8. Japan’s Comb sees SCS sail to the Sea of Japan to provide a second supply line to its land forces in China.
Allied 3rd Impulse and the weather roll is 7 +2 (9) fine everywhere – the Allies breathe a sigh of relief having avoided another 1 roll, which would have seen rain in the Artic – half expected it was. The CW take a combined with the other Allies taking land actions now that the sun is shining, and it is fine everywhere. The CW acft operating under comd of the US Pacific fleet search for the Japanese fleet but again fail to find their quarry, the US GS the Japanese land units in Borneo and Malaya but fail – no attacks here without the inversions. The CW drops off two US more units into Norway to bolster the Paras. Searches in the Baltic, North Sea and W Med all fail as roll as the CW roll 9, 8 and 6’s – but in a surprise to almost everyone – in the E Med the CW finally roll a 2 with a 8 split, battle ships v battleships the Royal Navy Med fleet select the two modern Italian BS as their target – but the Italians damage control is superb and they save the X and 2 x D’s! Minor elation for the find is momentary as the next roll is a reverse with another 2 – 8 split against the CW and the Axis air reap revenge as all the Axis NAV air is cleared through, and the lowest of 3 AA dice is a 1! and the CV Indomitable fails it save and is sunk! The Allies without their CV have to abort the E Med. The CW search rolls this session have been 8, 10, 10, 9, 2, 8 ,6, 8 – with even that single 2 roll resulting in a subsequent 8 – 2 split against the CW and the loss of a British CV for a single damaged Italian BS – WAR IS HELL.

The US land forces, supported by British HQs (for supply) advance in N Africa and attack the rear guard of the Algerian Mil guarding the mountain passes to Oran. A successful attack and the pocket of GERM units is tightened. In Egypt the CW land forces finally attack the axis line, selecting an Egyptian Mil, eliminating it as they take a single desert Mtn hex closer to the Suez – they can almost see the canal.

Germany is bombed, Essen’s two factories production is reduced by the Wellington’s of the RAAF, the US Bombers got lost on the way to their target but the Russian long-range bomber, operating from E Poland targeting the Austrian oil successfully shut its production down. On the land and not to be left out of the action, the entire Russian Army descends on the solitary 3 Magdeburg Mil destroying any evidence of its existence with a 20:1 attack. Elsewhere the only other attack is in Manchuria as a Manchurian Mil is exchanged for a Russian Mil and Gar Div, another Manchurian hex is taken. Chinese Nationalist assault the 4pts defending Hanoi (2Mil and 2Ter) for the third successive turn and roll a 7 on a +8 – one loss to the defender – Hanoi holds for another turn. With no EOT roll the impulse marker is advanced by 2, Axis can end on a 1 or a 2.
Axis 3rd Impulse. GERM takes a land and decides to launch a well-executed attack on Chisinau, inverted and surrounded the assault is supported by air assets but in a reminder that Lady Luck is a fickle, the attack roll is a 5 (similar to Russia’s recent attack rolls) 2/1 all inverted, and the city remains in Russian hands. The occupation of Chisinau by the Russian has been a serious thorn in the side of the GERM defence of Rumania as it is on the wrong side of the river and allows the Russian to launch attacks without the need for an Eng, worse Russian reinforcements continually turn up, so unless taken, Russian losses are easily replaced. More reinforcements arrive on the Eastern Front and the recently extracted HQ Von Leeb from N Africa arrives in Keil by train, probably destined for Norway. The Russian line is adjusted and GERM units in Algeria head for the coast and in Egypt, a GERM Inf blocks the CW advance. Japan takes a land to readjust its lines against the Russian and Chinese and rebase several aircraft.
The Italians take a naval and sail into the W Med to pick up the 2nd HQ, Von Bock, the CW searches again and again fails and another GERM HQ is deftly removed from under the noses of the massed Allied air forces in the W Med. The Italians search for the CW Tpt supplying the Allied Expeditionary force In Norway and in a well-trodden path for this turn, they find, rolling a 2 complimented by another high roll from the CW. The split sees the Tpt sunk as the CW fails the 5 roll, a common trend for the CW at the moment and ironically the Allied Norwegian campaign is now OOS. The GERM suggests that all they need is a good EOT roll. The Axis EOT wish is granted as they roll ‘1’ ! The turn ends – much muttering from the Allies as they see a very valuable ‘clear’ weather turn in 1943 disappear having only had two clear weather impulses. Partisans are rolled and turn up in the unoccupied Oslo, Norway (Germ rolled a 1!) and more angst for the Japanese as two more arrive, one occupying the factory city of Shanghai – no production from here this turn.
Summary M/J 43 – a good turn for the Axis. The EOT roll of 1 has seen a host of benefits for the Axis. N Africa/Egypt and Norway are back in supply, and ironically, it is the Allies that are now OOS in Norway - so the Allies will need to leave their fleet out (dropped down a box) to ensure their OOS land units in Norway are not GS, inverted and attacked. The GERM Tpt in the Baltic was not found nor sunk, neither were the Italian Tpts in the W Med. The GERM’s were able to deftly extricated his two ‘pocketed’ HQs from N Africa right under the noses of massed CW/US air forces - just simply sailed straight passed. The Axis air forces in multiple sea areas were not found or suffered any attrition by our Allied air forces. The Russian lost 2 x Eng – reducing their fine and winter attacks - increases the Axis survival rate and capacity to defend along the river lines.
The naval searching was significantly in the Axis favour with multiple 2 – 8/9 splits in their favour with the CW losing 2 X CVs and a Tpt for the loss of a single Italian CA. The CW did not manage a single save! And in contrast the Italian saved his 2 x BS X and also 2 x D's in the only find by the CW - he would have lost both if I the CW had been rolling …and a bonus for the Japanese fleet, it was not found – it survives to fight another turn.
The M/J turn certainly wasn’t all one way, the EOT meant that neither the Japanese nor the GERM could sail EOT convs to bolster their production. GERM failed to get its Swedish and Norwegian Iron Ore and combined with 2 factories being attacked will mean a BP reduction of 8 Bps’ and worse for Japan as the Japanese production has been reduced by the lack of Conv’s and a second Partisan roll, as Shanghai is occupied being reduced to only 5BPs if they don’t spend homeland oil.
GERM lost 39 BPs which is probably the first time in the game that they have lost more than their build - a portent of things to come and consequences of fighting on five fronts. Finland will fall if not reinforced - releasing more Russian units and in the Far East Russia has woken from its slumber and with spare units arriving in Manchuria will inflict more pain on the Japanese.
If Japan and GERM wants to keep their land forces in supply, they will have to leave their Tpts out at sea - dropping them down a box, presenting further opportunities for the Allies if they win the initiative.
J/A potentially the last and only clear weather turn for 43 is next. As always, the initiative roll is important and both sides are likely to ask for a reroll if lost – the game is there for the Allies to loose against a defiant GERM, bad weather and short turns.

The Western Front

The North Sea - Allied Norwegian Exped Army now OOS

The Axis still dominate the W Med but allied forces are masters of N Africa

The Axis DAK in serious trouble - but at least in supply

E Med - still controlled by the Italians and Axis Air

A German Raider patiently waiting

The Russian Front

The Russian Army advances to E Prussia

Army Group South - under pressure - but safe

The Russian's are coming

The Japanese have partisans to deal with - the least of their trouble with the Pacific fleet sitting off the coast of the China Sea

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

From Salerno to Rome - Conclusion

With still three months/turns to go, but now with a knowledge/better understanding of the Victory Conditions, this session came to a sudden, but not unexpected conclusion.

The New Zealanders have broken through on the east coast.
The French, with help from the Poles and Canadians have pierced the centre
and the US inflicted casualties on the west coast.

German losses are getting close to giving the Allies victory,
so it was time for them to pull back to avoid any more casualties
while attempting to repair the lines.

All focus is now on Anzio as if the Germans can take the Supply Depot hex
they will have won.

Hex duly taken after repeated bombardments.

All rather sudden and brutal.  I think VPs for losses would have been better as a cumulative total score.  This avoids the reduction of losses when units are removed or replaced.  It also gets over the point in time issue.

The supply depot only came into play with a major invasion and I'm not sure Anzio was worth the trouble.

However a most interesting and challenging simulation of this campaign.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Back to the races

Chariot races that is, featuring my new special 3D white chariot with tasteful black and red trim.  It was a bitter disappointment!

There were two races.  I only recorded the first.  In the second we had one death, one badly injured rider who nevertheless regained his chariot and another badly injured rider who retired (took his chariot and went home - me!).

And they're off!
Dave lifts the barrier and my chariot (white horses) is in Lane IV
Jeff is in Lane V and Mark (Indian) in Lane III
Out front we have Dave (red blankets) in Lane II
and Russell (green blankets) in Lane III

Round the bend and Russell is out front.

But Jeff is catching up.
At least I'm coming third, but I'm also coming last!

Russell improves his lead

The pack is tight as we round the second bend.

Could it be that the Indian heavy chariot isn't cut out for this kind of work?

Dave pointing at my chariot
I don't think in a good way...
Russell is still in the lead,
but things remain close as we start the second lap.

Things can change quickly,
Dave and Mark are now in the lead.
Jeff is hanging back to pick up the extra dice for "lucky last"

Dave is out front,
but it is still anyone's race at this stage.

My chariot can't even pick up lucky last!

Rounding the bend and I'm going out wide

Dave adjusts the lap counter - we are now on the final lap 

At this stage it looks like Russell is the clear winner.
I'm coming last
Not fair!

The other chariots are left in Russell's dust.

But wait, there is still some excitement left.

Dave has stolen the lead and just look at those Indians go!

Almost a photo finish,
but there was a call to the stewards.
Dave's win was declared void when the rules governing the use of the lucky last dice
 were found not to apply to the wining streak.
(I should point out that Dave writes the rules, often during the race!)

But hey, I've just seen I came second.  Not too bad for my new chariot.  

It was Mark's first race and he was using one of his Indian chariots (that had fought my Arabs last week).  Good win!