S/O 43 EOT THE AXIS GET THE TRIFECTA - THE INITIATIVE, BAD WEATHER AND EOT!
As predicted last week the Axis did get the Trifecta - initiative, bad weather and the very short, 2 impulse for the Allied turn in S/O. So, the Axis elected to move rather than increase the odds of ending the turn deciding to push their luck and were amply rewarded with the Italian rolling a 3 to end the turn. Much groaning and eye rolling as the three Allied players saw the only clear weather impulse for S/O lost to lady luck! On the plus side the initiative moved up +1 for the Allied – importantly, no axis re-rolls.
Partisan roll saw another two turn up in China. Rebasing (which took a long time as the CW player had to reduce nearly all Allied conv boxes to a minimum as there were few allied escorts and several of the sea areas had been successfully hit by roving U-Boats and not restocked. If the Axis were to win the N/D initiative and take a Naval or Comb it could have been complete devastation of the Allied conv lanes as there were few escorts. Build and reinforcements with a handy German fortification being built in Rumania guarding the capital Bucharest and for a first in any of our games the Communist Yak 9M Ftr was placed.
Initiative roll – last chance of clear for 1943 for the Allies who are increasingly falling behind their timeline, GERM rolls a moderate 4, with Russia a 3, with the +1 modifier to 4, winning ties, the Allies take the initiative. Weather roll is a disappointing 5 for the Allies as yet again another clear weather opportunity is lost – not even snow for the Russian – just rain(mud) and Storm – not a good start for the Allies last turn for 43. The Axis are pleased as always with the bad weather and with a +2 on the impulse track, they are again looking at the prospect of another short turn. It seems that 1943 is not a year for the Allies, but at least they won the initiative and get to go first.
Allies’ 1st impulse, the CW takes a Naval to re-establish its convoy lanes back up to full shipment and escort the with 2 x CA’s in the 4 box – now they can hunt some U-Boats if they come out to play – which they most certainly will in this bad weather. The US takes a combined as this allows for 8 air missions as well as three Naval movement and a land attack or two. France takes a naval to assist with convoy protection and they have a handy transport that is doing the ‘shuttle run’ back and forth from the USA. Russia elects to take a Combined and sails its small fleet into the Baltic to search for the Axis Baltic convoys. The US fleet from Kristiansand sails into the Baltic now supported by Russian and British air, they search the Baltic but fail to find the unescorted convoys. Naval searches in the E and W Med prove more successful with the CW finally rolling a 1 in the W Med – typical though, this is the first time that the massed Axis air elected not flyout and so the only casualty was the lone Italian Conv but now Axis N Africa is OOS. In the E Med the Italian Conv is also found, but on a soft split it is only damaged – the Allies noting the Axis air did not fly in the W Med elect to abort the sea area to avoid a potential massed response during the Axis turn. On land, the Allied air-force successfully GS the GERM ARM stack in Algeria, and now, out of supply but in the mountains, it is still a hefty 14 points, the US manage a solid +14 attack and roll top of the table, finally eliminating the 9.5 3rd Panzer Corps which has been fighting in N Africa from the Suez to Algeria since France fell. A huge effort went in to eliminating this Corps which had successfully conquered Egypt (with a little Italian help) and then held up the combined Allied forces in N Africa for over a year!
China takes a paid land and launches two attacks, a Nationalist attack in the South against an inverted Japanese HQ – rolling average the Japanese having elected to take a Blitz attack, chose well as they are only retreated into the mountains for the loss of a Chinese 5.1 GAR – but importantly for the Japanese, all the Nationalist units are inverted – end of the Southern push for this turn. In the North, two fanatical Partisans goaded by the Allied players attack a single Japanese Div and roll an exchange. The Chinese step across the straits and liberate Hong Kong. Another long impulse as there was a lot to move for the CW in a naval, both Conv, escorts and transports. Axis 1st Impulse next session. Amusingly for all the German player nearly had a fit when the Japanese casually suggested that ‘he was preparing for the clear weather’ – is this a premonition for next impulse, the Allies hope so.
Well, the less said about the S/O turn from the Allies POV the better, bad weather (Storm/Rain) no land attacks by the Allies, no finds at sea and minimal losses to the Axis – units or hexes – an excellent turn for the Axis. The N/D 43 turn initiative win was helpful but again offset by the bad weather roll of 5 – no clear or snow for the Russian which is now the main game in town.
Interestingly, the Axis will be well pleased, their play aided by a lot of luck with bad weather, lack of ‘finds’ at sea and EOT rolls have seen them achieve significant 1943 milestones/KPIs; no Allied invasion of France, Italy/Sardinia or Homeland Japan. Rumania and the Suez are still in Axis hands as is Norway, Manchuria and the Borneo oil fields – it has been an excellent year for the Axis and proves that nothing is guaranteed in WIF and there is gaming value in ‘playing on’. Victory for both sides now rest in 1944 and although a win by the Allies is likely and still on the cards it is not guaranteed. If the Axis are blessed with the similar events in 44 as they have been in 43 – short, bad weather turns and manageable Axis losses, the unexpected might just occur – game on.
Western Europe - its raining again - nothing new
Germans defend the approaches to Oslo - Norway still in Axis hands and winter is coming
Western Med - the Allied air-forces finally control the W Med as the Axis did not want to come and play. They were right not to as the CW finally rolled a glorious 1.
The 9.5 Arm III Corms is finally eliminated and Oran is now surrounded and OOS
E Med OOS but that will change
The Russian Front - very disappointing (for the Allies) weather roll storm
and rain Stalin not a happy man
Army Group North STORM
Army Group South MUD
The Far East
The Partisan counter attack with success on the coast - it is getting grim for Japan
Comment on Facebook post by Robert Guerrero
Honestly, without a factory or the ability to get the resources out of China, and with no objective hexes in hand, there is no reason to have any of the Japanese army in China at this point
Not pretty for Japan as her enemies start to surround her
First impulse losses