Saturday, January 29, 2022

Reds! Completion

Richard and I finished this interesting game last week.  The Whites will eventually be overwhelmed, but the game is well balanced in terms of Victory conditions.

A momentary embarrassment when the Whites snuck a train down to Moscow 
and evicted the Red garrison with the help of their airforce 
(that must have been at the very limits of its range).

I my memory serves me well, at this point the Whites would have won 
if we had been playing the short scenario.

But the campaign went on until the East was Red!
It was a close thing for the Reds to capture all the cities.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

World in Flames - FB 52

What a difference some clear weather makes.

Allied 2nd impulse and with the 3 rolled, it is fine weather except for rain in the Artic, but most of the Russian Front is now in the Temp, it is another very bad roll for the Axis. They badly needed a weather roll that would have seen the Allies stuck in a storm or a blizzard, which would have saved the day for the Axis. With blue skies and a crispness in the air the major Allies take land actions to take advantage of the beautiful weather. The US spends 9 O-Points to declare a Land Offensive for Clarke in Italy with his hope to capture the city of Taranto. The CW does the same spending 11 O-Points, appointing GEN Crera to lead the assault on the fortified port city of Kiel, in the hope of opening up another front in Germany and capturing this vital port before the winter descends. Russia spends 4 O-Points to reactivate General Yeremenko – apparently his ‘chat’ with Stalin was brief but successful – another ‘life’ for one of Stalin’s favourites. China and France take combined actions.
The US declare their +15 attack against Taranto led by Clark and with a good roll, supported by hefty shore bombardment from both Allied Navies they take the city with a TOTT roll – sending a shiver through the Axis hierarchy. In France, using massed ARM they also Blitz another large German stack, gaining another hex of France. The US also attack another hex in France, rolling another TOTT, taking the forest hex East of Paris. The Canadian led assault against Kiel failed with a 19 result, which failed to dislodge the last defender at a cost to the CW forces of another Inf Div – much relief from the OKW, if Kiel had fallen there was nothing in central Germany to react. The CW launch a ground Aslt against Rouen, taking the city with a handy TOTT roll – no losses no inversions. However, the assault against the rear guard outside Belgrade is average with an exchange of a Div for the defending Yugoslav Corps – Belgrade is safe.
On the Russian Front, Russian units attack successfully multiple hexes of axis units, mostly single and Axis Allied Minor units with no loss advancing West. Rumania’s capital is now isolated, and the Ploesti Oil Fields are captured intact. On the Central front two German stacks are attacked with no losses and in the North, another hex on the approaches to Warsaw changes hands.
Axis 2nd Impulse, Germany and Italy take Land Actions. Germany rails MIL and GAR units to Northern Italy to ensure that there is no ‘Populous’ uprising and maintain control of vital war factories. In France the German Army straightens its line against the Western Allies now that Rouen has fallen. MIL re-enter Kiel to replace losses and in the East a few minor repositioning of their land forces sees an attempt at a delaying defence. They need bad weather badly! Their Minor Allies move to cut off the supply to the advancing British forces outside Belgrade, with a Yugoslav Div retaking their ungarrisoned city of Skopje. The EOT advances 2 – the Allies can now end the turn.
Allies 3rd impulse and the weather finally worsens with a weather a 6 +1 (7) rolled, up by 2, but this is still not good news at is snow/snow in the Artic and Temp – the Russian are not displeased. The US and CW again declare land actions – unprepared for winter there are few attacks, but they are delighted with the snow for comrade Stalin. Little action in the West as only a single low odds attack occurs, rolling 20!, yep 2 x 10’s on a +4.5 the US take another hex of France killing two Corps and a remain upright (when you are on a roll, you are on a roll!). In Italy a single attack, destroys an Italian INF on the peninsular (Rain). Russia launches its winter assault against Warsaw, this time General Yeremenko, not wanting a second ‘chat’ with Stalin takes the city on a +8 rolling 13 for a 21 (1S). Two other attacks against the Axis depleted line, targeting several OOS units – good rolls by the Russian sees more Axis minor units eliminated (Rumanian ARM/MECH) at no cost, including several ‘road blocks’. Worse for the Hungarian’s, Soviet forces advance against no opposition to the outskirts of Budapest – threatening the capital. The Allies fail to end the turn, and it advances by 2.
In the Far East the Chinese air-force has a better day ‘in the office’ as its Nav bomber searches and finds the Japanese fleet on a 2 as does the IJN fleet – its on! With both fleets carriers depleted a second round ensues with a soft advantage to the US that takes down the Japanese AA, again an average roll clears through two bombers that sink the Yamato and abort the damaged Masashi – recognising that this is not the time to fight the IJN bows out and returns to port, with the safe knowledge that all the US CVPs that are at sea are all inverted and there will be no Port Attacks. 
Axis 3rd Impulse, Italy seeing that the Homeland Garrison is lost, declares a combined and the Regina Marina sails its fleet in one last sortie of the war. With crews of unmarried men, and only enough oil to sortie once. Its mission is to hunt for the Allied shipping in the zero box off the Italian Coast is a failure as they are found with a 4/10 split against them as the Allied CVPs hammer the once proud Navy. The Caio Duilio BS and Trieste CA are sunk, the rest of the fleet is damaged, with only the BS Littorio and the C Di Cavour surviving the rain of bombs and torpedoes.
Germany, desperate to fill ever increasing holes in the line, takes a Land and withdraws to Budapest with the Hung 5.5 MECH occupying defensive positions to the South to provide a flank guard. Army Group South has ceased to exist with its remnants trapped in Bucharest and its last SS 8 MTN unit defiantly remaining to block mountain passes. Army Group Centre, now a shadow of itself with many single units occupying defensive positions behind rivers and in the mountains – to call it a line is being generous. In the North, the line is stable and set behind the Vistula River awaiting the next Russian assault. On the Western Front, the line is stable as it straightens against the Western Allies pressure, offering no three hex attacks. However, and importantly the occupied low countries are now stripped bare of units, even low-grade MIL and GAR are railed to France and Italy to secure vital resources and factories. In Italy with the Garrison broken there is increasing talk of surrender by the Italian State politicians as Mussolini and his entourage have not been seen for several days. The Axis attempt an EOT roll on a 3 and roll 5 – no easing of the pain, as the Allies get another impulse!
Allies 4th impulse and UNBELIEVABLE! Another fine weather impulse as another 2 is rolled, with a +1 (3) it is fine weather and only rain in the Artic. The Axis are rightly aggrieved – three fine weather turns in N/D – where is the bad weather they cry. In contrast the Allies great their newfound luck with smiles and whoops of joy. Next week’s session will be another mauling for Axis and now with the Italian Garrison limit well in the favour of the Allies, Italy will surrender in N/D 44 a year and 2moths later than historical. There are enough German units to secure Rome and the North of Italy, but with Albania in Allied hands the New Italian capital will be an obscure E African Country on the wrong side of the Suez. The N/D three fine weather impulses has removed any chance of an Axis Victory and the Allies are very conscious of the gift that the weather gods have presented them and the valiant and defiant defence that the Axis have presented. The weather, and subsequent short turns have had a huge impact on this game. Next week’s session will see the capture of Budapest, complete isolation of Bucharest and Belgrade and with Stalin’s juggernaut now about to enter the heart of Germany through Vienna and the Czech Republic there is simply not enough Axis units to stop the collapse of central Germany – the end is nigh!
· TOTT – Top of the table roll (odds + dice roll = +23 or more)

Western Front

France - still an Allied fine weather impulse to go

GEN Crerar failed to take Keil - only just

Italy - surrender conditions now met - Italy will surrender N/D 1944

Russian Front

Army Group North stable - Army Group Centre in trouble

Army Group South - ceased to exist

Japan - not much of their empire.

Huge Axis Losses - unsustainable - and worse the Allies have another clear impulse to go

Saturday, January 22, 2022

World in Flames - FB 51

Fine weather an offensive makes, but a crappy roll causes a bitter disappointment.

In stark contrast to S/O, relief for the Allies and a disappointment for the Axis, they lose the initiative despite the GERM winning the first roll. Stalin wasn’t having none of that and demanded a re-roll which he won much to his surprise! The initiative back to Allies +1, and then the miracle of the dice as Stalin rolls a 2 for the weather – fine everywhere, the irony not lost on anyone with fine weather turning up on the first ‘winter’ turn. Any fine weather is bad news for the GERM and worse when they don’t have the initiative, at least they had the last impulse in S/O so the Axis line is not as vulnerable if the Allies had ended the last turn.
Allies 1st Impulse – with fine weather and an accumulation of O-Points (not spent in S/O due to the bad weather) the Allies go ballistic spending 77 O-points – CW and the US take ‘Super Combine’ – Naval, Air and Land. The CW also declare an air offensive directed by Montgomery (11 pts) the US declare Nimitz (13 pts) to lead a land offensive to take Paris. Russia takes an Air/Land and declares a land offensive by Yeremenko (11 pts) to lead the assault against Warsaw. The combined CW and US fleets sail into the Italian Coast embarking Marines, DIVs and Mech units with plans to invade Italy, in the North Sea TF17 and the Home Fleet and TF11 sail into the N Sea and embark Marines, INF and Mot units with plans for an invasion of Germany, Holland or Belgium. In the PTO the Pacific Fleet (much reduced having despatched units to the Med) sails into the Japanese Sea and TF58 sails into the China Sea – challenging the IJN to ‘come and fight’ or be port struck. Allied convs are escorted and Tpts arrive from the US loaded with US acft and equipment – an early Christmas gift for the Allies. The session finished after the Allies Naval phase – see photos. Next week massed air as the CW, US and Russia have taken Air actions so the Strat bombing and GS phase will be severe for GERM as their factories will be targeted as well as their front-line units and HQs, with a focus on the units defending Paris and Warsaw which will receive special attention in the unseasonably fine weather.
As predicted the Allies launched multiple 1000 bomber raids over Europe, GERM elected not to intercept in order to conserve their Ftr force for the land battles that are about to come. Sirens wail as 12 Axis controlled cities are targeted – mixed results but Berlin is bombed for the first time and roll a 10! – someone must have left the lights on, affecting the cities three factories other cities lost include Stuttgart (1), Dortmund (1), Hamburg (2), and importantly the oil in W Germany, Austria and Ploesti are also hit. Even the Chinese launch a successful Strat raid on Seoul reducing the Japanese production from their last ally. During the subsequent GS phase over 20 Allied acft fly to GS the Axis line – GERM/Italian interceptors fly and the conflagration that was this air phase saw 7 Axis acft destroyed for the cost of 5 Allied acft – again the majority of GERM pilots survive, but with few Acft in the reserve pool and a reduced production these pilots may well be given a rifle and sent to the front for the winter. The GS were again a mixture of success and failed rolls, more success on the Western Front than on the Eastern Front – importantly for the Axis, Paris was successfully defended by both the Luftwaffe and the AA Divs as no units in Paris were inverted. This is a concern for the Western Allies who have committed an O-Chit to take the city. Several GERM HQs were inverted which will significantly affect the Axis reinversions of both air and land units.
In the West the US and CW launch an attack against Paris supported by 3 x ENG and massed Acft, with a 16.3 assault they roll an 11 for a TOTT result and take the city - Paris is liberated! Another US 13.7 Blitz attack North of Lyon sees a below average roll of 8 for */1B destroying 1 GERM unit and sending the rest back to Berlin. In Italy the Allies assault the GERM Mil in the Mountains and destroy it with no loss despite intervention by the Italian Air-force which cost them 2 x Ftrs and another NAV bomber destroyed. The US invade the Eastern coast of Italy, successfully landing on an uncontested hex supported by Paras and US shore bombardment. A US MAR Div lands on the Island of Querela adjacent to Pola and the Yugoslav Coast. In Yugoslavia the British advance along the Yugoslav coast capturing the ports of Dubrovnik and assault a lone 2.4 Cav unit and advance along the NW Highway on to Belgrade. In Bulgaria another lone defender is blitzed to oblivion as British MECH advance to the Rumania border interdicting the vital EW rail line to the Rumanian Capital Bucharest. Russian attacks in the South retreat the Rumanian ARM/MECH stack to their Eastern coast and on the Hungarian border the GERM 8.1 GAR on +12.1 Blitz and the GERM Para and Hungarian Cav defending in the Mountains assaulted on a +13 were all destroyed with two TOTT rolls. An opportunity para drop onto an inverted FW190 airbase in Hungary goes badly on a +8 as the GERM contests the drop with bombers and Ftrs – the result is a landing destroying the FW and its pilot, but the Paras are inverted and being black print and OOS will not survive the GERM CATK next impulse – the Russian shrugs. BUT and in a big BUT, Yeremenko’s +10.1 O-Chit assault against Warsaw is diabolical dealt with by the dice Gods as the Russian rolls the worst possible dice in WIF - snake eyes with a 10 on the fractional odds dice – there is simply no worse dice roll! The city is held and the Russian losses its ENG as Yeremenko is relieved of command and sent to Moscow for a ‘please explain’ session with Stalin which will not go well for the good General and his family – ah Russia 1944. This is the one single highlight for the Axis this turn. However, the good news for the Russian, especially on their Southern Front is that their Westerly advances sees both Romanian rail lines to the West cut – Rumanian is now isolated, and any GERM units are now OOS, Hungary will now be threatened as the Russian has access to the open plains of their country and there is little to stop them advancing to Budapest.
In the Pacific little action as the focus on the war in Europe, The US conducts some GS to entice the Japanese Acft to fly, and the Chinese attack the last Japanese unit in China eliminating it with a TOTT roll. The US land a British Inf on the Korean peninsular rendering the garrison value of adjacent Japanese units to zero – Russia will now be able to break their recent pact and DOW against Japan next impulse with their sole aim of capturing Seoul (forgive the pun). Reinversions and rebases – the CW and US reinvert multiple Acft on the Western Front as do the Russian in the East, more importantly for the Russian, having taken an Air/Land they rebase their Acft forward hoping for fine or snow.
Axis 1st Impulse. The GERM and Italian take a Land the Japanese a combined. In France the GERM steps back one hex to straighten its line against the Western Allies – this is reinforced with a meagre number of reinforcements from Germany. Manstein reinverts several land units and a 10 and 9 factor FW to at least contest 1 hex in the West. GERM and Italian units contain the US MAR/PARA landings on the West coast of Italy as well as the threat to Pola. With few units in Yugoslavia, Belgrade demands the return of its units in Europe but there is little sympathy from Berlin. In the East with Warsaw saved for the moment and the Northern front stabilised he attempts to shore up the Southern front in E Poland. As predicted the inverted Russian Para is destroyed by Hung MECH and GERM INF securing the approaches to Budapest and its precious resource.
In the Far East Japan takes a combined and sails its subs into the China Sea and Solomons with soft finds in both the Convs are all damaged. In the Sea of Japan In the Sea of Japan accepts the US challenge and sailed out the Strike Fleet to engage the US Pacific Fleet – in a surprise to both nations, that generally roll high and avoid combat, both find on 2’s – the subsequent air combat sees losses on both sides and with only single acft getting through, several CVs are damaged and there escorting Cas aborted. Surprising everyone a 2nd time they find each other again but with even less acft, and a shift to the US, the air combat sees further losses and again only a few damaged ships and aborts, including the Japanese Tpt carrying a 7 Inf back to Japan from Korea. Japan decides it is time to attempt to evict the US from Osaka. Uzemu leads the +5.7 Assault but rolls average with a 2/1 result – the US keeps their little piece of Japan.
Allies 2nd impulse next week – and oh happy days a 3 is rolled for rain in the Artic, but fine everywhere else – the Allies are jubilant at being gifted a second fine in the winter turn as doom and gloom descends over the Axis camp. Game photos as at the start of the Allied 2nd Impulse, our next session. Oh how fickle are the weather dice Gods – firstly no clear weather in S/O and then two fine weather impulses in N/D, funny game this WIF it is.
* ETO and PTO European Theatre of Operations and Pacific Theatre of Operations

The Russian Front - and it is another weather impulse in N/D 44

Southern Front - Axis minors in a lot of trouble and left to their own defence

Northern Front Warsaw failed the Vistula river defence remains intact.

... and there it is the double one with a fractional 10 - it doesn't get any worse than that - wait , yes it does - the Assault on Warsaw after expending an O'Chit

Italy - US and CWLTH forces advance up the 'boot' - Taranto their target

The Western Front - relentless pressure and the fine weather forcing the German retreat - still in good order.

US forces liberate Paris

The US has arrived

...and the GERMs have left

Japan - last gasp of an empire in defeat

Japan's CATK failed to retake Osaka

Chinese Nationalist advance South - Siam shivers

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Arab Conquest versus 100 Years War English

This was a practice game, John, running the English is still learning the rules and while I tried restraint, as much as one can running Arabs, the dice were in my favour, particularly the Initiative rolls.

Rather a lot of terrain on the board.
I'm just responsible for the little wood in the lower right corner. 

While the English shift to their left,
the nomads line up hoping to go through the gap before it closes.
The joys of playing at the table edge.

The Arabs are moving forward,
while the English recover their order.

Shooting has commenced
and then one unit of nomads makes a dash round the English left flank.

The initial clash has been inconclusive...

But the subsequent round was devastating.

It is looking bleak for the English.

Very bleak indeed.

Reds! For real this time

After our practise session last week, Richard and I settled down to play this game with a little more appreciation of how the system works and how the game unfolds.

The game is playing well.  Random events and the vagaries of D6 combat keep things different, but the Reds continue to consolidate and time is running out for the Whites.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Operation Suvarov - Take Two

Having only recently played this scenario (see AAR here) Simon and I swapped sides and gave it another go on our club's Saturday Games Day for this month.  It is a challenging game requiring lots of grit, especially in face of vagaries of a D6 combat system.

The only trouble I have with Rommel games is being able to take photos that do justice and tell a story.
Here we have the two Soviet Rifle Divisions about to start their attack towards the main urban area.
Okay, one house does not a city make, but use your imagination :-) 

Attacks go in on the right of the German position.
Pioneers start to clear a minefield.
Turns out Pioneers do not clear minefields.

This hill was the killing ground.
It first wrecked the 215th Rifle Division
and then the 45th Guards Tank Brigade.
The black smoke represents "tipped" units,
a Rommel term meaning used or spent.

A red pen was used to mark Soviet casualties.
Easy to see in the above image that they are starting to mount.

The fighting has been non stop,
but the Soviets are starting to run out of men.
The Germans have skillfully pulled back to save their manpower.

At the end of the day, the Germans still hold that hill!

In the centre the German withdrawal allowed the Soviets to take the urban area.

It is only on the left (the German right) where there was a modicum of success.

The Gods of War.

While tough for the Soviets, it is no picnic for the Germans.  Certainly worth playing again (especially now we know the minefields can't be cleared).

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Carthaginians versus Middle Republic Rome

An historical match up from the Punic Wars.  Simon's new Romans take on my seasoned Carthaginians.

Romans won the scouting and all the subsequent initiative rolls.
This was going to prove to be a tough game for my army.

We advance

We get ready to charge

The Gauls fighting for the Romans got a very bloody nose taking on some Libyan javelin-men.
Elsewhere the Carthaginians came off second best, not the best place to be in a two sided fight.

Respective left wings crumble along with part of the centre.
The Carthaginians have their Spanish foot and Numidian light cavalry still fresh
 and ready to engage the enemy.

In what was expected to be a victory for the Spanish,
the dice Gods decided otherwise.
This left the Gauls who had turned around ready to take the Roman centre in the rear a bit exposed.

If the Carthaginians can get the initiative they can still win.

But no.
The Carthaginians have consistently thrown low,
passing Cohesion tests with ease, but slowly dying all the same.

The End!