Possibly three weeks worth of play in this post, so it really should be 47, 48 and 49. Lots happening, but will it be enough? Here is Mike's post liberated from Facebook. It might help to recall that Mike is the Commonwealth player and I am the Soviet player.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
World in Flames via FB - 47 and more
APOLOGIES UPFRONT LONG POST AS A FEW WEEKS OF GAME REPORTING
J/F 1944 – EOT Lady Luck smiles on the U-Boat Commanders – Snake Eyes Rolled
Axis 4th Impulse and the weather Roll is a 4, Snow arrives in both the Artic and the Temp. GERM guessing that the turn will end and that the Russian has already culminated – Military term ‘run out of steam’ declares a Comb and sends its 4 U-Boats into the Faeroes Gap to attack the 18 Allied convs. The Conv are well enough escorted with multiple CAs in the 3 and 4 box, acft in the zero box (3+ shift) and it is snow -1 on the search roll. YEP the GERM rolls a 1! CW rolls a 5 so the escorts fail to find – a common trend for the CW. The moderate split still sees the escorting HMAS Terror sunk and 6 Convs aborted as the GERM convert to a surface. Second round YEP the GERM rolls another 1! CW rolls a 7 again the escorts fail to find and fail to protect their charges. A larger split 1 – 7 split and 6 Convs are sunk and the rest are aborted. If the die rolls had been reversed the GERM U-Boat arm would have ceased to exist. Worse for the CW player the Axis roll EOT and the UK is cut off from 18 points of resources, oil and BPs – a huge win for the Axis at the start of 1944! Italy takes a no cost Comb and Japan a paid Comb as it goes out hunting the two Iowa Class BS off the Coast of Japan – so typically for these two combatants – neither find as they roll 7’s and 8’s. Several land units are moved, and aircraft are rebased to threaten the US land forces in Korea. The EOT roll was another great tease for the Russian as this was the first and only double sector snow impulse in the Artic and Temp in the winter of 43/44 and he didn’t get a chance to play in the snow. The reality is that in the whole of the winter (SEP/OCT 43 – JAN/FEB 44) the Russian has only had a single snow impulse. The Partisan roll sees two Parts turn up in China – there is now more Partisans in S China than Japanese land units. The only advantage with this Axis EOT roll is that the initiative moves +1 to the Allies, as the Axis started and ended this turn.
M/A 1944 – Sunny Days
Rebase, production and reinforcements M/A 44. The Allies win the initiative and with no reroll challenge from the Axis, the Allies elect to take the initiative hoping for a ‘snow roll’ (whatever that looks like) for the Russian Player - +1 on the roll and a 7 is rolled for 8 – no snow, with rain in the Artic, but FINE elsewhere. Stalin mutters again as the rain/mud has been his nemesis this game – and rolling 5’s in the attack. The US and CW, stunned by the clear weather are caught more than a little under prepared for the invasion of France but with a bonus M/A fine impulse declare Operation Overlord with the US declaring a Super Comb (Naval. Air and Land) spending 16 O-Points, a first for the game. With so much to do and execute and with the US player needing to leave early – a tactical pause was declared, and the session finished early.
M/A 1944 – Sunny Days and Blizzard – Summer and winter in the same turn!
The US having declared a Super Combined, the CW takes a Comb and Russia and China a Land and France a Naval. The turns first offensive action is a port strike against 2 x Italian subs in the minor port of St Nazaire by British air. An excited CW roll of 2 is quickly dispelled as the Italian rolls a 1, no intercept combat and the Italian is given another ‘Get out of Jail free’ card, as a D and A against the two subs is laughed off with the Italian rolling two 10’s! The CW was spitting chips – a 1 on the surprise roll and 2 x 10s on the saves – really, the other way around and there would be two sunk Italian Subs. In the ETO Naval air is sent out to the North Sea, Bay of Biscay, E and W Med to cover naval moves. French Naval units provide naval escort and their Tpt delivers another US Mot to Europe protected by the Bern CV. Two invasion fleets sail into the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay as the Brest Peninsula in Brittany becomes the invasion site – no reaction by the Axis as they do not have the airpower to contest the land based Ftrs or CV air groups protecting the landings. Marines and INF are embarked, and Paras readied in the UK. A lone US Strategic bomber bombs Munich but the rest of the US allied air effort is focussed on GS, targeting Axis land and air units in France. Fourteen GS are flown without any interceptions by Axis Ftrs AND THERE IT IS – Lady Luck hands the Allies another smack as only a single, yes 1 unit is inverted out of the 12 air missions. Similarly in Russia only one successful GS, 28 dice rolled by the Allies and only 2 inversions – not a good day in the air or on the ground for the Allies.
Invasions declared the Allies invade three hexes adjacent to Brest from the North Sea, and the ports of St Nazaire and Lorient, cutting off Brest. The Italian inverted sub in St Nazaire is overrun but again escapes to open water on a 5, again luck on the Axis side as the CW long-range Bomber with a Red ASW factor fails to find either Italian sub fleeing to Germany – they are indeed blessed Subs. The three landings are uncontested and are all +19 and +20 assaults – pseudo-Normandy/Op Overlord has been executed with three hexes of Brittany now in Allied hands. The Allies rebase lots of Ftrs and red factor bombers to the newly captured ports and coast of England to deter any Axis counter attacks
In the PTO – the US fleet sails into the China Sea with loaded transports and a Marine and subs and acft into the Sea of Japan. The Japanese convoy in the Sea of Japan is found and sunk as is the escorting CA, the IJN Kinugasa – first blood to the US. The Chinese Partisans in a synchronised effort depart Shanghai allowing the US Marine Div to occupy this key city, MacArthur then disembarks and claims the city for the US. Worse for the Japanese, the Shanghai Worker, with its home city now in Allied hands, melts away returning as civilians back home leaving the Japanese line a Corps short. The Chinese launch an attack and destroy the Japanese ATK Div and capture the city of Wuhan. In the North the Russian’s only inversion of an OOS Japanese Corps sees its destruction at +32 and the Russians break the line in the North. Worse, the US invade Port Arthur and roll ‘top of the table’ and the city is captured – all the Japanese land forces in China are now OOS with the US Fleet in the China Sea. Japanese losses are high and this now a fatal blow to the empire. The invading US Amphs, tpts and BS are sent to the zero box by the Japanese – just in case the bad weather arrives.
Axis Response – first impulse.
Japan takes a combined and sails its Advance fleet into the China Sea in a desperate attempt to save the day and their land Army in China – this an all BS fleet – no air cover – was led by the Yamato and Masashi and 9 BS/CAs, in a one way mission to search for, find and sink the Amphs, tpts and BS in the zero box, and if they get a split – sink what they can of the US Pacific fleet. Typically for these two combatants they both roll 10’s - snap – no one wants to play it seems. In the Sea of Japan, the Japanese are more successful as the Strike fleet consisting of the bulk of the Japanese CVs and two Tpts (to maintain supply) they find the US patrolling acft in the 3 box and destroy the 7 factor Lightning for no cost, the US NAV aborts back to Korea. The Japanese move land units where they can, to try to extricate units from the front and pray for bad weather.
In Europe, both Germany and Italy both take land actions as they rush reinforcements by rail and road to contain the invasion in Britany. To lead the defence of France, Rommel is transferred from the Russian front to Paris – he and his wife are well pleased. The Axis form a double stacked defensive line across the Brittany peninsular and contain the invasion. The Axis step back a hex forming their defensive line on the City of Nantes in S Brittany and the NE forests, so they have some protection from allied air and arm (GS halved and no Arm bonuses) Massed land based acft are redeployed from the Med – but the Axis are desperately short of bombers and are going to be reliant on fighter bombers in the battle for France. Italian and German 8 factor Ftrs arrive from the Med to bolster the defence and establish some sense of parity. There are no counter attacks as the Axis is thin on the ground, and any failure would be disastrous, with uncertain weather and the initiative with the Allies.
…and then Lady Luck makes another appearance on the stage to help the Axis, with a weather roll f 1 – Blizzard – Blizzard – snow - well so much for developing and exploiting the invasion – a huge boon for the Axis in France as it will shut down any further attacks and allow them to respond to the invasion. Again, another short - bad weather turn for the Axis – and no snow for the Russians, Stalin was not a happy chappie! Only plus is the +2 on the next weather roll increasing the probability of fine weather, but in WIF – nothing is certain.
Allied 2nd impulse
The US and Russia take Comb actions, and the CW a land. China and France take no cost lands. Russia sails its subs and searches for the elusive GERM Baltic Conv but fails to find. The US naval see transports in the ETO pick up British units from Norway and disembark them in France. The Allies advance one hex along the peninsula, occupying the vacated hexes of Brittany. A combined attack by the Allies clears the 3 MIL from Brest and sends the U-Boat fleet scurrying home to Germany/Kiel. In the PTO The Pacific fleet is reinforced and it searches for the Japanese Advance fleet – neither battle fleets find in the Storm – some land advances in the Med, but no attacks in Egypt as all three British GS against the Axis line fail. EOT marker advances by 3!
Axis 2nd Impulse
GERM takes a land to further reinforce the Brittany peninsular, units arrive from Berlin, Italy and the lowlands. Japan takes a Comb and sails a Conv into the China Sea, hoping it remains unfound in the poor weather so that supply to S China can be re-established at the end of the turn, it is not found. Poor weather limits much land movement. No EOT roll as all Axis partners took actions, advances by +3, Allies can end the turn on a 1 or 2.
Allies 3rd Impulse
The all-important weather roll – Stalin rolls a 9 with a +2 (11) it’s a fine everywhere – not what the Axis needed or wanted – another Blizzard and rain combo would have been perfect. Stalin AKA our Russian player looked relieved having thrown the ‘1’ last week he has redeemed himself with the 9 (11). The CW recognising that the EOT is probable must take a Naval despite the good weather as his convoy lines are a shambles and if they are not re-constituted, he will take another huge hit on production/builds. The US take a land to do the heavy lifting in the ETO. France takes an air so he can move his two acft. Russia declares a land offensive, led by Zhukov and plans the first Soviet offensive of 1944. China takes a land and looks to hurt the Japanese land forces since many are OOS and vulnerable and spring has come early.
CW Naval and the conv lines are re-established and escorted, two transports sail into the Bay of Biscay and pickup 2 x US Marines. GS are flown into mainland France with again little success on the ground, however both Allied and Axis air forces take losses in the air. The US land forces in France contemplate an attack against the Axis front line but the British land units are in the way and the low odds (+6) attack is not considered worth the risk despite the fine weather. The US Marines invade the port of Bayonne and US Paras drop into S France cutting of the Spanish resource and rail movement into Toulon. In the Med Sardinia ‘s Capital Caligari is taken, but not after a single Italian Ftr defeats three US/British Ftrs and abort two Land Bombers but the Axis lose 2 x Navs which the CW Navy is delighted about.
On the Russian front the O-Chit sees 9 units doubled as Zhukov leads an attack in the South against one of the GERMs biggest stacks – 25pts – top of the table roll Blitz as two units are eliminated, and a GBA upgrade sees the 12-5 arrive – swapped for an 8-6 black print. The Rumanian attack was average with a simple retreat as the Russian Army advances another hex, in the North a 3 hex Blitz attack is another top of the table as two Axis Allied Corps evaporate under Russian Armoured pressure. The Air war in Russia also sees multiple acft from both sides shot down, exchanges the Russian can live with.
In the Pacific, the British trigger a search for the US Navy to destroy the Japanese Advance fleet – with no air cover it will get smashed by the US CV air groups, again the Allies fail to find in fine weather even with a +1 for the Japanese conv and +1 for the CV bonus – both the Conv and Japanese BS fleet escapes detection. On land the Chinese launch their early summer offensive, supported by Russia in the north – Three attacks are launched, all successful as the Japanese Army suffers massive losses and becomes isolated – it is the end of any semblance of defence for the Japanese in China – this war is effectively over. The Russians attack two Manchurian Corps and again roll top of the table, destroying two Corps for no loss, and advance another hex deep into Manchuria.
EOT roll - a 1! Stalin back to his old tricks and the turn ends, with the initiative marker moving +1 to the Axis – it is in the 0 box and both sides can demand a re-roll. Importantly for the Russian he has the opportunity to have two impulses in a row and splitting the GERM line – but he will need to win the initiative roll twice as the Axis, like the Allies will demand a re-roll if they lose it. This will be one of the most critical ‘go first – must win’ turns for both sides. Partisan rolls are soft with only China getting 3 more Partisans – which now out number Japanese land units – this campaign in China for the Japanese is now over, as the Chinese will conduct mopping up operations – the two fine weather rolls in M/A sealed the Japanese fate combined with some high rolls from the Chinese. Rebase, production and in the conquest phase Japan surrenders Manchuria to the USSR so that he can bring his troops home defend Japan.
Despite the short turn (3 impulses) and the Blizzard impulse the two bonus fine weather turns have resulted in an excellent Allied turn. The Japanese Army is routed in China, Manchuria surrenders to the Russians. The Allies have landed in France and S France near the Spanish border and there is little that the Axis can do but pull back to the mountains in central France as they do not have sufficient units to form a line. If the Allies win the initiative, the situation in S France will become untenable and the Russian has opportunities to attack and break the German Eastern Front Line before it reforms or retires. A very important initiative roll coming up next week.
* ETO and PTO European Theatre of Operations and Pacific Theatre of Operations
Op Overlord is launched in the bonus fine weather
Aircraft Carrier HMS Great Britain
British Reinforcements arrive in Britany from Norway
France - the liberation begins
The Allies land on the Brittany Coast
France - Paras and Marines land uncontested in S France
The German 3.1 MIL Brest Garrison surrenders
W Med - Sardinia is captured
No Change E Med - more acft arrive
The US Land in France
The Russian Fronts - cracks starting to appear as the fine weather arrives
Army Group North - if the Russian wins the M/J Init - the 3 factor Czech Inf can be overrun
Army Group South
Bleak news for Japan but at least their fleets are intact and the US is now focussing on ETO
The Land War in China is over - now the defence of the home island begins in earnest
Huge losses for Japan and in the air for both the Axis and the Allies
Huge Reinforcements for the Germans - just in time - will it be enough and now which front !
GERM Reserves are about to arrive in France