J/F 1945 (Cont) – A NEW YEAR AND THE RUSSIAN JUGGERNAUT WREAKS HAVOK
Breaking News – Mussolini has finally turned up with a few of his entourage and has declared that Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is the new Italian Capital. The territories of Ethiopia and Eretria celebrate in muffled tones as they had hoped to be forgotten in the conflux that is WWII, Mussolini’s arrival has probably put paid to that.
Allies’ 1st Impulse, knowing it will be a short turn, the US take a Super Combined – and as they have spare O-Points to burn, and many more being built, the CW take a Naval/Land and the Russian an Air/Land with China a Land and France, a Naval. France’s naval sees it transporting valuable US reinforcements to Europe and providing escorts to the valuable convoy links. The CW Naval move, likewise, focuses on shifting the weapons of war by shuttling transports and their valuable cargoes to and from the US. They also escort the Allied convs that are now delivering 15 US BPs to the UK from the factories of the East Coast of America. In the North Sea the Home fleet sails and escorts 6 Amphs/Tpts in the 3 and 4 boxes as they pick up DIVS and Corps off the coasts. In a similar manner, in the Med, Amphs/Tpts off the coast of Italy embark multiple Divs and Corps to land in Northern Italy so that they can follow up the retreating Axis forces. The last of the CW units from Egypt arrive to support the Italian Campaign. US TF17 sailed to support and escort the TPTs arriving in the Med and TF 11 sailed to the North Sea. Massed Allied naval forces, CVs, BS and CAs and loaded Tpts and Amphs all loaded with INF and MECH are now out at sea in both the North Sea and off the Coast of Italy. With snow in the temperate 8 Strategic Bombers take off to bomb the Axis factories – despite none being intercepted and also having a +1 (for not being intercepted) only one of the bombing runs succeeds (Munich) as the bombers all roll consistent 2’s or 3’s. It would appear that the snow has done an excellent job of camouflaging the targets.
The subsequent GS phase is similarly uneventful with only a few Axis units inverted, thanks again to the excellent AA gunnery in the West and poor GS rolling by the Allies in the East. Although yet again the Luftwaffe was roughly dealt with by the Russian air-force as three more German Ftrs were shot down. Importantly the German black print 7.3 defending Bucharest is inverted, guaranteeing the capture of the Rumanian Capital on a +22 Assault. The Russian press on with a +10.5 Assault against Belgrade and another against Cracow, taking both cities and eliminating their defenders. In the North the Russian Army advances and assault Lodz capturing the city and its red factory. Another Axis Infantry is eliminated, again for no loss or inversions – Stalin’s forces are on a roll – as high odds attacks and winterised bonuses help the attacks. Having taken an Air/Land the Russian air-force is rebased forward occupying forward airbases to support the next offensive.
In the West, the US forces attack the 6.3 SS anchoring the SW line in the mountains on a gutsy +4 assault, hoping not to roll the squiggly 14 (3/1 loss). Fortune favours the rash and they roll a 1/1 exchange losing their 6.4 Mtn Corps but importantly eliminating the 6.3 SS, the line is now turned. In a similar manner the CW launch a +10 Blitz attack against the coastal defenders at Calais. This attack is supported by Marines debarking in Dover and attacking across the channel, plus shore bombardment and aircraft. Rolling TOTT they destroy the two Axis MIL defenders (only 7 Points) and turn the NW line, flanking the city of Lille – finally there is movement on the Western Front. With storm in Italy there is little movement and there are no attacks by the US and CW forces. Massed Allied acft are rebased and reinverted by Allied HQs hoping for finer weather in the next impulse.
In the Far East, the Chinese attempt a strategic bombing of Japan, but their US built Liberator is shot down by the remnants of the once proud Japanese air-force. China launches an attack against the Siam 2.2 MIL defending Bangkok and take the capital at a cost of a Nationalist 1.1 – attack weakness – is always going to give you a lower odds attack. With the fall of Bangkok, another Axis minor capitulates and the impulse advances by another 3.
Axis 2nd impulse and the important weather roll favours the Russian again, it would appear that when you are down nothing goes well, as another double snow turn arrives with a 5 rolled, the Russian front has just become untenable. With rain in the Med the W Allies will not be left out of the action. German units are railed to the Russian front in a desperate attempt to stave off the inevitable, single units are now holding the front-line against the Russian horde, from Austria in the South to Germany in the North – there are more vacant hexes than units! The Western Front is slightly better, as at least the line is double stacked and short – and despite the Allied air superiority the German AA gunners have been doing sterling work driving off the majority ground attack acft – with few inverts the Western Allies are less inclined to assault the line. The German HQ Manstein reinverts 3 units, including the two Heavy AA guns and the FW190 - 10 factor ftr to assist against the next Allied assaults in the West.
Allies’ 2nd Impulse the CW, US and Russian take Land actions with the Chinese an Air and the French a Combined. The recently arrived US Super Fortresses bomb Berlin again and find their target with 3 factories production halted. Other bombers strike German factories and with much better results shut down 5 more German factory production. The US and CW forces in Italy assault the defending 3 factor (6 in the mountains) SS MIL in the rain, eliminating it for a ½ invert, clearing central Northern Italy, the US DIV on the Island of Quarnero advances into Pola capturing the resource and welcoming 2 x debarking Marine Corps to secure the port and threaten the major port city of Trieste. A successful GS in central Italy inverts an OOS black print 5 INF which is eliminated in the rain. With snow in France again and little success on the GS due to again superb AA five from the defending AA batteries, both Western Allies decline to attack. CW forces push North to outflank Lille, hoping to isolate its defenders However, the US forces cross into Germany as they advance against empty hexes towards Stuttgart and Munich – threatening the German heartland and its beer halls. The W Allies are conserving their forces for the fine weather and are happy tie down valuable German defenders whilst the Russian pursues their quarry in the snow. French partisans occupy Metz and set up bunting, trestle tables and red wine, as they sense that the Allies will be arriving soon.
On the Russian front, the rout continues, as successful GS sees the odd OOS German defender inverted and become another casualty as the ‘dead German pile’ gets bigger. The Russian Juggernaut trundles West. A +18-blitz attack against the last remaining Hungarian army unit, the 5.5 Mech that ‘got away’ last turn sees it eliminated with no inversions, a +29 attack against another cut off German Corps sees further advances westwards. The HQ Kesselring, caught by itself as its flanking units evaporate is eliminated on a +17 attack. The carnage continued as two +11 attacks, the first against an 8 factor in a mountain hex and the second against Zagreb see two 19’s rolled for massive TOTT rolls – no inversions, no losses! Yugoslavia will now fall in the conquest phase, as will Hungary – two more Axis allies will surrender. The Allies fail to end the turn, and the impulse marker advances by 3 – it can now end on a 5 if Italy and Japan both pass - and there is no reason for them not too.
Axis 3rd Impulse – weather roll a 7 +1 (, snow in the Temp bodes well for the Allies much to their delight. The Axis badly needed a storm or Blizzard. Germany demands their minor Allies pass and they do, Italy and Japan pass – Germany takes a land. Units are railed from Italy and Germany to bolster Vienna and the Russian Southern front which has become extremely vulnerable, if not indefensible. On the Western Front Lille is vacated to straighten the line leaving behind the inverted AA gunners and the last German units cross the border into Belgium and Germany in good order. In Northern Germany MIL attempt to block landing sites adjacent to Kiel as CW MAR arrive. Axis attempt to roll EOT needing 6 or less – hand on heart, but they roll an 8! The turn goes on as the impulse marker advances by 2. The Russian is wringing his hands with anticipation and savouring more dead German units with the onset of snow.
Allied 3rd Impulse - The Allies take land actions to keep the pressure on. The Russian front has mostly culminated as most of the acft have flown, attacks against lone units continue with an assault against Vienna’s defenders topping the table. Units in the South advance into the Austrian mountains with the aim of exploiting the lack of defenders. On the Western Front CW and US forces advance into Belgium and eliminate the inverted AA gun left behind in Lille, taking the city. US forces in the Southwest, led by Patton exploit towards Munich, the Brennen Pass and Stuttgart – the US forces have established a significant bridgehead in Germany. In Italy the combined US and CW forces cross the Po River as they para drop the empty hex with the intent of cutting off supply to the mostly inverted German units in Italy as they ZOC the mountain highway to the Brennen Pass, they are successful in their coupe du main breaching the river and cutting supply. Trieste is occupied forcing the remaining Italian ships to rebase – they are not found by the massed fleets off the Italian coast – not sure how that is possible? The Canadian HQ Crerar launches an attack from Denmark against Kiel as all the defenders were inverted in a lucky GS. The Assault at +6.5 which was speculative but worth the risk, even in snow – no reward for the Canadians as they roll very average for a 1.1 loss to each side, Kiel survives.
Allies roll EOT and Germany sighs, although he notes that the German units in Italy are now OOS and with no path to a German primary source will not reinvert at the end of this turn. Partisan roll – no partisans turn up despite several rolls, mainly against the Allies, which included India again. During the conquest phase, Siam capitulates as their last unit is removed off the board. Hungary and Yugoslavia likewise join the Soviet Bloc. Rebase and production, and M/A reinforcements. Germany spends its captured BPs from the collapse of Italy and again retrains a number of its pilots. The late war is often catastrophic for the Axis, and this game is no different. In three impulses the Germ has lost 22 Corps, 4 Divs and 8 Ftrs – and the only land units returning to the front line will be the turns-built MIL as there have been no units Blitzed back to the spiral and there are no reinforcements arriving for M/A 45.
Italy about to be 'liberated' of German units
Seoul the next on the Soviet hit list
The Russians are coming
Western Allies have liberated France and entered SW German
CW forces arrive in Italian E Africa and Eritrea
Enormous losses for the Axis in a winter turn - three snow impulses in a row will do that together with some hefty rolls.