Is the Soviet summer offensive running out of steam?
J/A 1943 – THE ALLIES TAKE THE INITIATIVE
Axis First Impulse - GERM surprises all at the table with a Naval/Land spending 9 O-Points so that he can sail out convoys and SCS to secure his supply to his Norwegian land forces. Italian and Japan take combines. The Finnish Navy sail from their ports in Finland as the news on the peninsular is ominous with recent Russian advances – the Finish Naval assets will be valuable to the GERM when Finland falls. GERM sends HQ Von Liebe to Norway to organise the defence with him landing by Amph at Kristiansand. GERM U-Boats search in 3 sea areas with only success in the N Atlantic but with multiple finds, they sink 3 US Conv and Damage 3 and abort 9 other allied convs – good rolling by the boat commanders. The Royal Navy escorts ever consistent roll 3 x 5’s and fail to find a single sub. GERM readjust their front line in Russia with reinforcements arriving from Prussia sent straight into the front line. The GS by German and Italian Acft are somewhat costly with the Axis losing several planes for no loss to the Russian, but all the pilots survive, In Russia the 80 cm Railway Gun ‘Schwerer Gustav’ fires and inverts the entire Russian front-line stack – 6’s will do that. With the arrival of Von Liebe in Norway the GERM forces there advance to take up forward positions in the mountains, confident that their supply situation has been secured. A lone bomber and its escorting Ftr fly to GS the CW ARM stack in Norway and are intercepted by US CV air groups from the Hornet – a quick 6 and 16 by the GERM sees both 5 CVP Ftrs eliminated and the GS bomber successfully inverting the ARM. GERM reinverts the 80cm Gustav, and several hefty ARM/MECH corps that have recently railed to the front. Japan elects to take a combined, principally to escort transports in the Sea of Japan to protect its supply lines to its China Exped Army and drop off reinforcements into China.
Allied 2nd Impulse, and the US and the CW take a Comb with Russia and China taking each a Land. Success in the W Med for the Allies as the Italian transport in the zero box is found and sunk by the CW Royal Navy. The US coordinate an attack, led by Eisenhower against the inverted and OOS DAK and roll top of the table destroying the 88 AA Div and an INF Corps for no Loss. Less successfully, their attempt to reinforce their Divs in China fail badly as their Tpt carrying a 7.3 INF Corps is intercepted by the Japanese in the China Sea. In a moment of ‘Bushido’, the Japanese fly acft into the 2 Box and promptly get a 2-10 split in their favour, damaging the tpt and sending the US 7.3 Inf back home, worse for the US they lose a CVP Ftr in the fight. Interestingly the Japanese elect to remain in the 2 box rather than returning back to their homeland. The CW launch an invasion and Blitz attack against Kristiansand which is guarded by the 7 Norwegian MECH SS unit, despite air and shore bombardment an average roll by the combined Allies sees the Norwegian MECH eliminated but at a cost to the British of their 9.6 MECH – not what the Allies wanted – all inverted, Kristiansand is captured but only now held by an inverted US Para. The inverted GERM Amph escapes an overrun and then escapes being found by the Allied navies in the North Sea. Fearing a counterattack by the GERM to retake this important port and access to the Baltic, the US rebases three aircraft to Norway to deter evil intentions.
Russia’s Land sees the final act in Finland as they capture Helsinki +11 aslt roll 18 (29), the Northern Army Front Launches a second attack against Kaunas, taking the city and liberating Latvia. In the South another attack inflicts losses on minor GERM units as the Russians gain another hex. Zhukov reinverts 5 units that were GS and resets the line. An Attack in Manchuria and a solid roll destroys a Manchurian defender as the Russian advances into swamps creating a hole that will need to filled.
Axis 2nd Impulse GERM Land, Comb Japan and Italy. Italy sends out a Conv to supply the inverted and OOS GERM DAK, needing 5’s the Allies fail to find. The Germans land sees them step back the Army Group North to straighten their line since Kaunas has fallen another GS by the 80 CM Railgun and 5 factor Arty invert some Russian units, hampering the Russians future attacks. A sacrificial 3.3 Romanian INF is left as a rear guard in the South. Japan’s combined sees reinforcements land in China and a coordinated attack eliminates one of the troublesome Partisan on the coast. The line is re-stablished in Manchuria.
Allied 3rd Impulse and the weather roll is 6, N Monsoon Storm again and fine everywhere else. The CW needing to move its fleet and replace 15 convoys in the N Atlantic takes a Naval, Russia and China take Land actions and the US a Combined. A Port attack from the British CVs in the North Sea against Kiel targeting the aborted Amph and Scharnhorst sees the CV air groups get surprised with a 10 – 2 split against them and the GERM AA aborting the Acft back to their CVs the GERM Amphs 'lucky ship' status remains. The CW navy sails out and restocks the vital N Atlantic Convs, and escorts its sea lanes. Other Naval moves see the US Marine in Portugal attempt to slip through the Bay of Biscay – but the patrolling U Boats stop the Marine and its CW Amph, rather than attempt the dangerous ‘fight through’ option, they seek high box protection under the prepositioned 8 Ftr and the CV Courageous The Axis subsequent search sees the Luftwaffe react Ftrs and a Nav to hunt the loaded Amph, but luck was with the British as they shoot down both the Ftr and the Nav for no loss. The subs recognising that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ return to the sanctuary of the deep water. CW and US searches fail to find the convs in the W Med and the Baltic – Axis N Africa and Norway remain in supply. US GS very successful in Norway both GERM Arty are inverted as well as Von Liebe!
The Russian takes a land and with their few remaining acft GS the GERM line hoping to invert a couple of stacks, with no results they are content with destroying a stack in the Pripyat Marshes (1/2 half invert) which included the Italian Mtn Corps, an expensive loss with winter coming. Three units, GBA’s and Marines are railed South from Finland to bolster the slowly advancing front and to replace losses. The US takes a combined, sailing 2 x CVL’s into the China Sea and search for the Japanese CA Mikuma and its FTR – FINALLY a search roll goes in favour of the US (it has been years says he) with them rolling a 2, after he picks himself of the floor the Japanese rolls a 7 for a comfortable split which sees a Japanese Long Range Ftr shot down and the CA Mikuma sunk. The US marines’ crosses into Korea and two more US Divs reinforce the now inverted Div to deter Japanese attacks. In Europe the US elects to land their Marine rather than risk another search.
Axis 3rd impulse and GERM takes another land. Germ conducts an orderly withdrawal and straightens its line in the North, a lucky GS by Axis sees the important Russian Katyusha Div inverted and several other targeted hexes GS as their bombers are cleared through – a bonus for the GERM Luftwaffe which has struggled in JUL/AUG, with them shooting down a 7 factor Russian Ftr for another cleared through bomber, on the -2 table, and a successful GS inverting the front line Russian MECH Corps. The GERM leaves a sacrificial 3.3 Hungarian Inf as a rear guard in the Pripyat Marshes to delay the Russian advance. In Norway, under increasing Allied pressure the Axis step back towards the Norwegian Capital, abandoning any thoughts of counter-attacking. Italy takes a no cost land to realign its land forces and strat moves one of their few MECH Corps to Poland. Japan takes a land and responds to the US incursion into Korea railing a HQ and moving additional forces. The Hong Kong Garrison withdraws across the straights returning to Canton as they commence the Japanese Army heads North under Chinese pressure.
Next session will see the Allied 4th impulse with another 1 rolled for weather - clear everywhere! The EOT rolls start to kick in with a possible 1 from the Allied and possible pass options from Italy and Japan which could help GERM forces who are under pressure on all fronts. Searching for the Italian Convs in the W Med and Baltic will continue in an effort to put these two fronts OOS. Russian offensive action has almost culminated as their acft have flown their HQs are inverted and their Arty are mostly face down. The critical Russian front is stabilising as Axis heavy units have arrived as well as additional FTRs from Central Germany and the Med to replace recent losses. Russia will likely take a combined in their hunt for the valuable GERM convoys and their cargoes of Swedish steel.
The Russian Front - still holding the Russian horde -
but winter is coming and in the New year a new batch of GBA's
Army Group South slow but orderly retreat -
a rear-guard 3.3 Hungarian is doomed for the dead pool
80cm Railgun Gustav - a great GS for the GERMANs BOOOOM BOOOOOM
Army Gp North the German line is now stronger with recent reinforcements
but the Pripet Marshes are now cleared
The Far East - Japan has lost control of the China Sea Hong Kong abandoned
The US land in Korea
Russian Pressure in Manchuria
CA Mikuma is sunk by US CVP
The Pacific a US lake
The Western Front - France being stripped of defenders - bound for the Russian Front
Strategic bombers are now impacting on GERM production - three factories bombed.
FM von Leeb arrives in Norway
The important port of Kristiansand is taken by the Allies
Kristiansand defences are overrun by the Allies
Western Med - Axis N Africa back in supply
Some progress by the US with one GERM stack eliminated
US Generals view the N African battlefields with mixed success.
E Med - back in old hands - but for how long
Losses mounting for the GERM fighting on five fronts over 60 BPs for the first time in the game.
GERM Pilots won't need to be built for awhile 9 in the pool
A rare sight a Japanese CA sent to the bottom of the S China Sea