The Soviet winter offensive is about to begin.
N/D 43 – Winter Comes – Snow for Stalin
Axis 1st Impulse, with the continuing bad weather (storm and rain) and little threat from the Russian, the GERM takes a land to readjust his front line ‘just in case’ the weather becomes clear or snow in the next Allied impulse - 50% chance. In the E Med the GERM and Italian fly Ftrs into the 2 box to provide air cover to protect the supply to Egypt, now a strategic objective. The Italian takes a Naval and sails its only Tpt and escorts it heavily with BS and CA’s into the 2 Box under the cover of the Axis air – supply to Egypt is now as secure as it can be. Italian subs search in the North Atlantic and Cape Verde Basin but fail to find the Allied convs, conversely neither do the Allied Escorts find the searching subs. With the loss of the GERM 9.5 Arm battlegroup in Algeria the Axis sees little reason to continue risking Convs to supply the remnants of the much-vaunted Africa Corps now surrounded in the City of Oran, rather they shift their focus to the E Med and the defence of W Europe. Long range Ftrs and Navs are rebased to the French Coast to react to Allied Naval activity in the North Sea. Germany attempts a GS with the 6 RR Gustav Arty but it fails to invert any of the units in Russian front line. One of the attacking Stukas is driven away but the Luftwaffe manage to shoot down one of the new Russian 7 Yak 9 Ftr on the ‘evens’ table. GERM rail additional units to the Russian front, noting the Russian build up and the poor weather means there will be no invasion in France in N/D. Some land moves in Norway sees an adjustment in the Oslo defensive line, whilst the Milan Mil unit remain in the Woods North of Kristiansand to hold up the Allies.
In the Far-East Japan takes a Combined and sails a CA into the Sea of Japan 4 box to add an extra layer of protection in searches in the Sea of Japan. Unluckily, the US rolls a 1 and with a 9 from Japan gives the US an 8:1 split and a shot at the single Tpt in the 2-box supplying the Japanese land forces in China. Using its surprise points to convert from air and select target the Tpt is saved with a handy roll from the Japanese (9 Rolled), the US sub is aborted but Japanese supply to China is cut. With no supply there are no land moves by Japan, and only a couple of Acft rebases.
Allied 2nd Impulse, the weather roll is a 5, rain in the Artic and Temp – the Allies groan, again no clear or snow weather. The CW takes a combined and ships two ARM into Trondheim. Multiple GS in against the Axis line in the E Med all fail. The US ships another two allied Divs into Norway which prompts a GERM Sub search which is joined by 4 x Ftrs and 3 x Axis Navs, the dice favour the Allies with a handy find and split that sees the Axis loose a valuable 8 Factor Italian Ftr on the +3/-3 A2A table – with the lead Italian Ftr eliminated the Axis abort back to the sea – no further finds, the Allies land their Divs. In the Baltic, the 3 ex-Finnish Convs, now manned by GERM crews GS are found and sunk by the Allies – Norway is now OOS. In Norway and Algeria Ground strikes see mixed results as only 1 unit in Norway is inverted. Luckily, thanks to excellent strafing by Mosquito Acft of the RAF the last defending Corps in Oran is inverted, giving the Allies a +5 plus odds on the OOS GERM units defending the City. The US again Strategically bomb Milan from the UK, but a defending Italian Ftr intercepts the bombing run resulting in only 1 factory damaged.
Russia, with Storm and rain elect to take an air and fly multiple GS with little success, several attacks are driven off by the GERM AA guns excellent shooting, with another GERM Ftr shot down. Importantly the Russian is now able to redeploy lots of its short range acft closer to the front, including newly arrived, factory fresh Sturmervicks and 6/7 factor fighter Acft. There are now complaints from the Russian that he does not have enough airfields close to the front as now there is almost one acft per hex on the front line – the GERM was not amused. China does little as the weather is not supportive of an attack and the Nationalist offensive has stalled as they are all inverted. France took a no cost land and moved its units in N Africa.
The US takes a Combined and sails into the S China Sea to support an attack against the isolated 2 factor Japanese Div in Borneo. In the W Med the US advances units in Algeria and assault Oran at +19, tops the table and the city is liberated as the GERM defenders are sent into the ‘bag’. However, in the Far-East the combined assault by the US and CW forces against the single Japanese Div guarding the Oil fields of Borneo roll a potentially disastrous 1.1 – ‘snake eyes’! However, the nuances of the Assault table and a bit ‘of luck’ saves the day as the +16 odds with 2 rolled for a modified 18 results in a -/1 – no loss for the Allies inverting all the attackers – Lady Luck was smiling on the Allies. The defending Japanese DIv is lost, and the first of Borneo’s Japanese oil is retaken.
Axis 2nd impulse – GERM takes a Land, Italy takes a no cost Combined and sends out a conv to the E Med, the US Acft and a CA in the 4 box fail to find the conv. The Gustav RR Gun fires again and again misses all its targets in the rain – wet ammunition or faulty fuses. GERM send more units to the Russian Front and reinverts these and the inverted Arty and AA guns with its HQs. There is some reorganisation of the frontline. The Japanese take a Combined with its Subs searching multiple sea areas, 1 search is successful in the Bismarck Sea with 1 US Conv found and Damaged. Japan’s 2nd Naval is to sail a Conv into the sea to help supply its land forces. Little action on land as the weather prohibits any attacks and limits movement without inversions.
Allied 3rd Impulse and the weather roll is an 8 – the US and CW were again disappointed as there will be no clear weather in N/D 43, Stalin however is elated as the first snows start to fall in both the Artic and the Temperate – it may be a long and cold winter. Inspired by last year’s winter offensive, he declares a Land Offensive led by Konev – (13 O-Points spent) keeping Zhukov in reserve to either lead the assaults or re-invert units if the attacks falters. Recognising that this may be his last impulse, the US declares a Naval and Land spending 11 O-Points. This will allow a move for all the Naval units that have yet to sail before the turn and the year ends. There are multiple Tpts, Amphs as well as many single ships including reinforcements from the US, both West and East Coast. The US sends CA’s to patrol and search for Italian Convs in the E, and W Med and the Italian Coast, but in the rain they fail their searches. In the Far East, a US sub also goes back into the Sea of Japan with more success as she finds the lone conv – another Japanese Conv sunk. Importantly though, mainland Japan China remains in supply as there are 2 x Tpts in the 2 box, both heavily guarded by Japanese naval and air-forces. The US attempted GS in Malaya and Truk but with only 1’s and 2’s needed; they have no success. Russia attempts 3 GS against the German line with only 1 Corps and 1 Div inverted but is successful in the shooting down an Italian 6 Ftr. With naval moves and searches complete the CW having taken a land, advances all its units in Norway to attack the hapless Milan Militia. In N Africa the CW, together with the US land forces advance to Algiers the next roadblock as they head East to Libya and the prize that is Benghazi – Mussolini starts to get nervous that perhaps he has backed the wrong side this time, and orders more Sicilian red wines before the last convoy is sunk. Next Session final land moves for the Allies, declared land attacks – two from the Russian with 8 units double (O-Chit) , acft rebases and a EOT roll greater than 3 for the turn to continue.
Russian Front - Winter is coming - to see if the Russian can blow a hole in the line with its O-Points
Army Group North - the quiet sector
Gustav has failed to Ground Strike any of the Russian Front line - fair weather Cannon
The Far East
The Japanese in an orderly withdrawal - struggling to maintain supply and keep the Chinese at arms length - the weather is helping.
Norway - the North Sea - the supply line to Allied forces Norway
Norway - the Milan Mil is about to meet its maker.
The W Med - with Oran now in Allied hands - the race to Libya begins in earnest.
The advance and final battle for Oran Dec 1943.
The US occupy Oran - a post card home
Algiers - next on the batters hit list
No successful GS by the Allies the line remains intact.
Losses - predominantly Axis at this stage.