What a difference some clear weather makes.
N/D 1944 – ALLIES REJOICE AS THE WEATHER GODS FINALLY SMILE ON THEM!
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)
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
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