A Soviet offensive in the winter's mud saw two hexes captured, representing important river bridgeheads in Lithuania and Manchuria. Unfortunately Zhukov's offensive in the Ukraine squibbed.
J/F 1944 – Four Seasons in One Turn
Allied 2nd Impulse, the CW declared a Naval and Land spending 10 O-Points, it replenishes convs and sails its naval units to cover convoys and reinforces the N Sea. In the North Sea, British transports and Amphs arrive and load up with US and CW Marines threatening to invade the Axis Coast. In the Med, the ABDC fleet sails from Gibraltar and marries up with the Med fleet to challenge Axis superiority in the E Med 2 box. In the Pacific, the CW transports units from Australia to Singapore to assist with the clearing of the Malaysian peninsular. In the Red Sea reinforcements arrive and are disembarked into the city of Aswan as the CW build-up to retake Egypt gathers momentum – the first 8 factor long range Ftr also arrives from Aust. The USA spend 10 O-Points taking a Land and an Air to support invasion opportunities, conduct massed strategic bombing and GS against Axis targets in both the ETO and PTO* Russia takes a land – and declares a land offensive using Yeremenko in the North, spending 11 O-points – Allied O-point spent 31 points!
As predicted the US acft launch a Port attack against Kiel from its TF11 operating in the Baltic and with both players search rolls being 8 there are no shifts. However, the GERM AA is super-hot (again) as it rolls an effective AA roll of 5, destroying one of the attacking US CV planes and its pilot, the attacking acft sink 3 Convs, damage an old Finnish Gun Boat and abort the Bismarck – not the result the US was after – but port strikes are always at the whim of the dice gods. Naval searches off the Italian coast go badly for the US as the US Corsair that is sent to sink the Italian Conv is surprised by patrolling FW’s (rolled a 8 v 2) and is promptly shot down. Further US searches in the Sea of Japan fail, however in the E Med a lucky 1 – 7 split in favour of the CW finds the Italian supply convoys and rather than fight an air, and with BS superiority the CW converts to surface and sinks the CA Zara, damage the Italian supply Tpt and abort the rest of the Italian shipping, with no ships in the sea area, Italy aborts its acft from the E Med – Egypt is now OOS – swings and roundabouts.
The combined air forces of the US and CW fly 6 x Strategic bombing missions, and all fail despite the clear weather and all bar one being uncontested by Axis Ftrs, GERM industry gets a ‘get out of jail’ for free card. In a similar manner the multiple GS are marginal with many high rolls, and the only success being the Danish port of Frederikshavn. The Allies lament as ALL and I mean ALL the Strat Bombing rolls were low numbers, not one above a 4 and the majority of the GS rolls were high with many 7, 8, and 9’s – if these rolls had been reversed – GERM Industry would have been significantly affected and many axis units would have been inverted. With few GERM units inverted the CW abandons the invasion and disembarks their Marines back to the UK – call it a rehearsal for Operation Overlord.
During the land phase the British launch their assault against the defenders of Oslo as Von Leeb provides emergency supply to the defenders. The Oslo +11 attack with a 9 rolled (20) succeeds at the cost of a British attacking 7.1 GAR. The city is liberated as the Norwegians welcome the CW forces after 4 years of relative benign occupation. In N Africa, the US and CW assault the 2 factor Algerian Territorial at 11:1 taking the city of Algiers as another French Territory is liberated as Mussolini’s African Empire crumbles – onto Libya! A Mountain unit is flown into Sardinia as Bradly is disembarked to coordinate the assault on Cagliari.
In the Pacific a GS roll of 1 sees the Japanese defender in Borneo inverted and eliminated as the US attack with +11 and rolled 14 (24) capturing the last oil field – Borneo is now clear of Japanese forces. China Nationalists in the South launch a +4 assault and roll a -/- resulted with them all inverted. The Communists in the North decline an attack as they jostle for better positions now that Peking is back in their hands. Russia attacks the Manchurian defenders using the recently arrived MECH Div and roll ordinary dice to lose the Mech Div, retreating the defenders – but importantly have now crossed the river line into the Manchurian plains. On the Russian front, GS are minimal although another GERM Ftr is destroyed, the GERM AA again being very effective not rolling less than a 5! The two declared attacks are poor to average rolls, with a Zhukov low odds attack rolling a 5 for a 1/- all invert in the South inflicting a loss on the Russian attackers. In the North with only a 13 rolled the defenders are blitzed back to Berlin for another loss to the Russian but importantly they cross the Vilna River. Although the attacks were disappointing – with no land losses inflicted on the GERM. The Russian air-force claimed victory as they shot down three GERM bombers, including a valuable Condor NAV bomber the GERM now has only four bombers on the Russian front coming into the campaigning season of 44 and with no bombers in reserve (none in the pool or on the spiral) they will have to rely heavily on its land force to defeat the 44 Russian assaults. Allies roll but do not end the turn, 1 needed, advances 2.
Axis 3rd Impulse Weather roll is a 10! Blizzard in the Artic and Temp. GERM takes a Land, Italy a combined and Japan takes a Naval, a first for over year as she sends out 4 x submarines and dynamic moves its Strike Fleet – including sister ships Yamato and Musashi to the coastal port off the China Sea. They are hoping for a bad weather (Storm/Blitz) to conduct a search and destroy mission against the USA naval assets in the S China Sea in the next impulse. The ancient ship Asama, a 1896 veteran sails into the zero box to provide reconnaissance and remove presence of the enemy ships – the US ships fail to find her. The searches by the Japanese Navy are nearly all successful with finds in the Sea of Japan sinking the CA Chicago, and the CA Salt Lake City in the Marianas as she fails 2 x Ds. In the S China Sea subs find and sink 3 Allied Convs – all for no loss to the Japanese. Both Italy and GERM take a combined actions, GERM sails a supply conv to Baltic which the Allies fail to find -Norway back in supply. German and Italian land units are reshuffled and acft are rebased. The Axis roll an 8 and do not roll EOT as the Allies gain a bonus impulse, albeit in atrocious weather.
Allied 3rd Impulse. With Blizzard everywhere and few opportunities the CW takes a Comb, the US a Naval and Russia a land. The CW sails a conv into the N Sea so that it can maintain supply to Norway. They fly a long range Beaufighter into the Italian Coast looking for the Italian Conv supplying Sardinia – declaring their British submarines ‘in’ as the Beaufighter has no Nav factors the GERM again roll well with and surprise the British Ftr and Subs, another handy 2- 8 split sees. The Beaufighter is momentary elated as it is cleared through to bounce and attack the Italian 1 point Nav on the +6/-6 table. Elation is short lived as the NAV rolls a 3 and shoots the Beaufighter down on the -6 table and the return fire at +6 clears the NAV through to damage and abort the submarines – the Italian Coast remains firmly in Axis hands. Searches for conv in the Baltic fail to find. With the last of the GERM Norwegian defenders all inverted and despite the Blizzard, the CW launces a follow up attack – rolling average they destroy the defenders for the cost of their Mtn Corps – Norway is now liberated. In the Pacific, convs are replaced in the S China Sea and two fast battle ships, the sisters Iowa and New Jersey sail to support the CAs Astoria in the off the Japanese Coast to try and engage the 3 x Japanese CA’s – no finds. In the S China Sea the Asama is found and sunk – the only Japanese combat loss at sea. The Allies do not roll EOT, advances by 2 and the turn continues.
Axis 4th Impulse – the Long Winter – the weather Roll is a 4 and ironically for the Russian the Snow arrives in both the Artic and the Temp – Stalin rolls his eyes. End of session – with next week finishing the J/F turn which has seen all four seasons in one month and losses mounting on both sides.
* ETO and PTO European Theatre of Operations and Pacific Theatre of Operations
Norwegians celebrate the liberation of Oslo and their country
US land in Sardinia - another step closer to invading Italy
North Africa - almost cleared of Italians
E Med - in Allies hands - Egypt OOS
Egypt the CW build up continues
Army Group North - the river line crossed
Army Group South - little progress
Something wrong with our acft - shot down on the -6 table
The Frontline contracts under pressure
1896 fighting through two world wars - sunk j/f 44
Heavy loses for both sides, US CA's take a hammering