Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Austrian Command Stands

It's taken me a while to finish these fabulous castings, I hope I have done them justice.

Now I have enough figures to do Marengo.

Army Commanders

Divisional Commanders

Don't Mention The War - Part 10

Let's start with May/June production, always one of my favourite parts of this massive game.

With an eye to the future Germany has built another Synthetic Oil plant
 as it knows it cannot trust the USSR to keep supplying oil.

The French are overjoyed that the British Bolshevist Collective have been booted from La France.

With the British gone, French business is really looking up.

Following an early Brexit, Britain now stands alone although at this stage still have the enslaved races of the Commonwealth at their disposal to die for them.

British Imperialists try to take Aquitaine (Guiana in the local Occitan language), but have to settle on establishing a French puppet regime in French Guiana and seizing some islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The French remembering everything the British had done to them.

After skillfully winning the initiative (that include an reroll by the allies and them wining ties) Germany declares war on the USSR, not.  Needing a modified garrison value of 119, they could only achieve 117.5  There are many things that could have changed this: had the last turn gone on there would have been 2 more points in the German's favour; if they had done better than pick two 1 chits that would have made all the difference; perhaps just one or two more units built an deployed east.  But it is what it is.  Peace reigns, or not.

Japan declares war on the USSR.  Some one has to do it I suppose.  You would think the US would be overjoyed, but they are not.  A chit to them, on top of the ones they picked up for being shocked at France repudiating its abhorrent socialist ways and throwing off the British shackles.  The US don't seem to know who their enemies are.

Germany gets busy creating the European Economic Community with a non-communist market, an expanding European Union which quickly grows to include Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria.  The US, having lost access to pasta when Italy entered the war, for some unfathomable reason greets this news with alarm.  Clearly they are being subverted by Bolsheviks!  Their response is to move their fleet to Pearl Harbour.  Is their plan to replace pasta with noodles?

Monday, May 30, 2022

Operation Suvarov - Take Three

For a previous AAR on this scenario see here.  That post provides background as well as links to the scenario details etc.

For this third play through, Simon was the Germans and I was the Soviets.

Beauty of Rommel is that you can have all sorts of kit on the table.

The 274th Rifle Division makes its first attacks.
In this sector the German 113th Infantry Division has the advantage of some good defensive terrain. 

On the other sector the 215th Rifle Division is facing fewer Germans,
although there are some minefields to contend with.

The 274th continue their attacks.
They are taking causalities with little to show for it.

However the 215th are making solid progress, having penetrated the German lines.

The 274th's assault on the hilly area has stalled,
 but a diversionary attack is made on the outskirts of the urban area
 where the Soviets hope for better success.
Their aim is to stretch the German line to breaking point.

Meanwhile the 215th, now supported by the 42nd Guards Tank Brigade
have been able to breakthrough, surrounding some Germans.

The Germans breakout of the trap.
The 215th have been denied their prey.

Things now switch back to the 274th Division which renews its attacks.

The fighting is relentless and casualties are mounting on both sides,
although actually eliminated units are few

The casualties on both sides mean the ability to inflict further pain is significantly reduced.

The 215th have been able to get in place to assist in the attacks on the urban area.

A last desperate attack by the 274th fails to dislodge the defenders. 

The fighting is in the balance, but time has run out.
The Soviets do not have the strength to carry on fighting
and the Germans still have some fresh troops they can shuffle into the cauldron.

The situation as seen from the German side.
We had one turn left to play, but the Soviets were spent.

Really glad I got to use my new German 50mm AT gun bases.  Excellent game, but time to move on to another scenario.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

A distant plain

Modern, as in post WW2, wargame subjects tend not to be my favourite and the more current they are the less so.  I think it is a childhood thing - I'm reliving my youth.  Anyway, Richard hosted this game which is based on the most recent Afghan war/occupation/intervention call it what you will, but not special military operation.

A distant plain is a four player game and we had Jeff as the Taliban, Simon as the Warlord, Richard as the Coalition and myself as the Government.

A distant plain is a challenging game.  It is quiet a different type of game, being a mix of diplomacy, card play and combat.  This complexity is not helped by some of the rules and card descriptions being a bit difficult to follow.  Good thing we had four brains at our disposal.  Also this was our first play.

Things can change quickly and here we see the Warlords have taken control of Kabul,
although only momentarily

The situation when we broke for lunch

The situation at end after about five to six hours play and we had to call it quits.
The Coalition would have won at this point if the game had formally ended.

What follows are some observations by the Coalition player. 

Four things that went against the Government:

1. The really long turn where Government resources ran down.

2. The Taliban card stopping the Coalition being able to assault which really shielded the Warlords.

3. The Manpads shielding both the Taliban and Warlords from airstrikes.

4. Night Letters restricting recruiting by the Government.

Everyone was very close at the end, even so.

The Government/Coalition were on a roll right up until the Coalition wasn't able to assault (the Taliban Talks card) or use air strikes effectively (Manpads). At that stage the obvious target was the Warlords who were able to exploit the lack of molestation to traffic and build up a war chest to use for extortion. Having the Warlords in that position is dire for the Government.

The Taliban could have been a lot more aggressive. It was only with the last few cards after the Warlords had cut the Government down, that the Taliban started a bit of an expansion, just building up presence, rather than going after the Coalition especially since they had a couple of abilities which could have hurt them.

Looking at it from a Government perspective, it would be handy to be in areas where there is COIN control and Warlord bases, because if they traffic Patronage goes up too;  just couldn't get there though. A few more turns could have turned the Warlord around.

The interplay between the coalition and government is very tricky. The Government want the Coalition to control an area, but not too well. The Government may not want to move Police into a province so as to avoid being able to improve support in the Propaganda phase which helps the Coalition, although if they don't move Police to a province and there is no Government base, they can't easily keep control of the place.

It was interesting how once the support was in place in the Warlord areas, this favours the Coalition as once COIN control is lost as the Warlord didn't seem to have an incentive to affect support.

One of the the great things about the game is variability. This is due to the cards, that each round can achieve a lot or nothing and also the other players and how they play.

The game is also suitable for solo play. 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Don't Mention The War - Part 9

A quick war is meant to be a fun war right?  

Finally in May/June 1941 we had some fine weather.  The last of the stockpiled munition (or Offensive Chits as they are known in game parlance) were spent on von Bock for the all important final assault on Paris, but wait, there is other news.  Italy declared war on France and the Commonwealth, and demonstrated its aerial efficiency in conducting long range suppression of rear area French forces.

After a brief bombardment, the Germans cleared the city and set about restoring it to its former glory. (A plus 13.5 assault with a 15.3 die roll produced a TOTT result - phew!)

Germans troops enjoying the sights of Paris.

Then it was all aboard the morning train, lunch time train and evening train to places east.  But not too many.  There were talks of French suicide attacks, but aside from encouragement to appelez-vous de ligne d'aide the Germans held the Seine River line and were just too strong, but still cautious as they carefully started to rotate troops out.  Things were going good when all of a sudden the turn ended (just like in 1940) on the first opportunity.  What was that about a quick war?

The Germans had prepared for a quick war,
but did not expect this to mean turns few impulses
(and don't mention the weather). 

With Paris liberated, a more German friendly Government can be installed, one that is surely going to be hostile to Britain.  The big question remains, is there enough time left to deal with the Communist menace?  Or put another way:

It all comes down to who gets initiative in July/August and what the garrison values are.

Counting the garrison values.
Recounting the garrison values.
Armour corps and armour HQs are two.
SS, mechanised and mountains corps are two.
All the rest are one, except for divisions
which are only a half.
Then there's the chits.

Don't Mention The War - Part 9 from Facebook


The Axis AKA Germany, having won the important reroll for the M/J initiative with a definitive 10 then rolled an 8 for the weather (everyone expected him to roll a 1) so FINE everywhere- much relief for the Axis. Italy makes a DOW against the CW and France which creates interest in the US Senate – they gain a chit, 7 needed 7 rolled – the US thanks Mussolini. Germany declares an O-Chit on Von Bock to lead the assault on Paris – Germany’s last 11 O-Points are now spent. German Arty pound the city, inverting a Corps and a Div – offsetting the 3 factories bonuses, doubling his corps Von Bock assaults the city on a +16.5 rolls a 15 for a TOTT and Paris falls in M/J 41. There is no interference from French units as the Italian Combined, GS bombers surprised the French and inverted the French ARM, HQ and AA. The Italian subs sailed into four sea areas finding the allied Convoys in the E Med, sinking 3 in the Central Atlantic claiming another 2 and damaging 3 others, Italy Italy rails a Corps to Calais. Japan, takes a land and attempts multiple GS rolling lots of 8’s, and 9’s – no inversions, the only attack against a partisan that is ruthlessly dealt with. EOT advanced by 1.
Allied 1st Impulse, the CW takes a Naval and sails out convoy escorts and the Home fleet into the W Med supported by long range Ftrs and a Nav, they search and find the 4 Italian convs laden with US products and sink them with ease. France takes a Land and moves its reinforcements to the front and the last remaining HQ reinverts a Corps and the AA adjacent to Paris – Counterattack on the cards? Russia rails an acft from Iran and starts to occupy defensive positions on the front line, contesting the garrison build up by the German. Some movement by the Chinese but they are in the hands of the Japanese attempts to roll low numbers on their GS. EOT advanced by 1.
Axis 2nd Impulse, weather a 3, rain in the Artic. Germany takes another Land as three more units are railed from France, including Rommel and ARM. Acft are rebased East and a handy 6 factor, 4 rng Ftr is sent to Italy to help them win the air war in the Med. In exchange Italy rails another unit to French Coast, Italy takes a no cost Comb and retreats Balbo and the Italians to Tobruk and rebases his acft, Nav’s and Fitr’s in Sicily. Japan takes a Combined and attempts to GS the Chinese line, again the 1’s and 2’s have deserted him, so no attacks as several units head to Manchuria and Korea. Japanese Amph and Tpts are now relocated into Canton, and practice embarkation drills with Marine and Inf. EOT advanced by 1.
Allied 2nd impulse – The RN operating unmolested in the W Med – thanks to its 6 CVs and escorting Ftrs, port strikes the Sicilian port of Trapani. The Italian defenders were a little surprised as its intercepting Ftr which is shot down by Fulmars from Ark Royal. Swordfish acft are cleared through damaging the Italian Frogman and the CA Gorizia. Both Gort and Wavell return to France, landing in the Bordeaux region, together with a hefty 8.6 IX ARM Corps – apparently, they have returned to secure the Bordeaux reds from the Germans, especially quantities of the 1940 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Their reinforced presence will also force the Germans to Garrison France a little more heavily – it will be more than a little distraction. France takes a Naval to escort shipping and attempt to find and sink the Italian Conv off the Coast of Italy. Italy reacts Navs – neither find. Russia rails a 2nd Ftr to the German border and with rain in the Artic makes few changes to its front line, for fear of inversions. Little movement by the Chinese or US. EOT advanced by 1.
Axis 3rd Impulse, weather roll is a 4, the skies clear, though a storm in N Monsoon focus the Japanese on land operations in the North. Japan takes a no cost Land to conserve oil and moves units into Manchuria as if to signal a clear intent to challenge the Russians at the border. Germany continues to rail 3 more units to Russia, including AA and AT guns. The 5 factor Inf enjoying the posting to Copenhagen has a rude awakening as it is sent to the Russian border. A second German 6 factor, 4 Rng Ftr is sent to Italy to help with air Ops against the British fleet. EOT advanced by 1.
Allied 3rd Impulse, no passes by the Allies The CW takes a land and the advances deep into Libya towards Benghazi, they advance into Badia. In France, the reinforced BEF, having secured their stash of reds, advance north to conduct a delaying advance by the Germans post Frances surrender that has been telegraphed to Churchill by the French Govt, the battle of France is finally over. France attempts a GS with its last remaining Ftr, cleared through it rolls no 1’s, and cancels any suicidal attacks against the Germans as they have set up large stacks behind rivers supported by Stukas and Arty – there will be no counter attacks by the French – their morale broken with the fall of their capital. Russia adjusts its line and prepares for invasion. EOT advances by 1, the M/J turn can now end on a 1 at the end of the next Axis impulse – the Russians dream.
Axis 4th Impulse, weather roll is a Italy takes a Naval and the Regina Marina sails both its fleets and a transport into the E Med on a mission to sink British warships, and recover HQ Balbo from Libya. The Italian fleet is surprised with a 7 – 2 split and the 3 British Battleships convert and select the loaded tpt with Balbo on board. Disaster for the Italian is averted as he saves the X rolling a very handy 9. The British take two damages on the Warspite and Malaya, and abort the sea area leaving Barham, 1 x CV and a CA the only naval assets in the E Med. Japan takes a Combined and lands more units in Manchuria – it seem clear now that when Germany makes DOW against Russia, so will Japan. Germany’s land and three more units from France arrive in Poland, several more acft are rebased, as both sides, Russian and German, count and recount garrison values.
... and there it is, the Japanese player invited to roll the EOT rolls a 1 to end the M/J, again at the first opportunity – it has been a curse on the Axis, only made worse by the atrocious weather – 20 years of playing WIF we have not seen the likes of this type of rolling. Worse the initiative drops by 1 into the +1 Allies box, NO REROLL for the Axis and the Allies win ties for the critical J/A turn. Partisan roll is a 7 – no partisans turn up anywhere. US senate declare that the Pacific fleet will relocate to Pearl Harbour casing great concern for the Japanese and their war plans. Session ends, photos show the position prior to the return to base (RTB), less the CW who has completed their RTB.
Next week production, Vichy declaration and reinforcements and IF, and it is a big IF, the Axis wins two rolls for the J/A initiative, Germany can break the pact (just), DOW against Russia and align Rumania – not ideal BUT if the Allies win (they can re-roll and they win ties) Russia has a big decision to either pull back or continue to contest the garrison build up. TWO huge rolls coming up that may decide the fate of this game.

The Western front

Paris falls and the French Army, morale broken remains impotent. 
The BEF prepare for a mobile defence.

The big picture the game, the Russian Front the next campaign

The Russian forward defence - very hi-risk but short turns have not allowed the Russian to withdraw

The GV, counting and recounting by both sides 
if Germany wins the initiative - they can DOW on Russia.

Loading torpedos - presents for Mussolini's Navy

The first port strike by the RN Swordfish from the Ark Royal

Advancing West

Bardia captured by the CW the advance along the coast has begun

The Italian Fleet prepared to challenge the RN for supremacy in the Med

Japan sends forces to to the North to support Germany's intended invasion of Russia

Minor Losses this turn

Friday, May 20, 2022

Don't Mention The War - Part 8

The second impulse of the January/February 1941 turn continued as forecast: snow.

As the war was supposed to have been over by Christmas, the German forces have not been fully supplied with winter camouflage.

A lick of white paint on the old coal scuttle 
and the dastardly Brits will never see us coming.

A blitz attack on the British Imperialists to the north of Paris saw them flee back across the Scene without casualty. (It was just a plus 6 attack and only an 11 on the die roll, but the result produced the desired/essential retreat).

The Germans helped the French pack up the Maginot line and sweep the streets of Strasbourg. (A plus 11.6 assault with a die roll of 9 just managed to take out the three defenders for one loss).

There was a third impulse!  Want to know what the weather was?  Snow!  Germans troops boarded trains and headed east (seems they just can't get enough snow).

The initiative for March and April was seized by the Allies who rejoiced in two more impulses of snow.  As a result nothing happened (noting that an attack on Paris, while feasible, would start with a minus 7 modifier).  

However the Reichsbahn was busy shunting stuff east.

Why east?  This was to stop further Soviet aggression against its neighbours.  A significant buildup had been spotted on the Finnish border as well as in the Far East on the border with Japan.

May June dawns bright and early.  The Allies win the initiative, but this time the Axis demand a reroll and seize the day!  What will the weather be?  Fine.  Fine!  FINE!! Finally (no pun intended).


The snow stopped supply of Swedish iron ore due to the warm water ports they would use having been mined by the British in 1939.  Boo hiss!  In even more poor form, the British had bombed a kindergarten in Dortmund, forcing the workers to stay home and care for their kinder.  This loss was offset by scrapping some outdated planes.

Things to note:
1. Another Armoured HQ is being built.
2. The build continues to cover all arms, but is now starting to double up with the increase to the Production Multiple.
3. In order to wean itself of Soviet oil, a Synthetic Oil Plant has been commissioned.
4. Regardless, the short turns have produced a significant oil surplus
5. Which has been able to offset the loss of Swedish resources and also make sure all factories are producing.

Don't Mention The War - Part 8 from Facebook

 1941 A NEW YEAR

J/F 1941 (Cont … and yes more snow for the embattled German outside the gates of Paris).
The Axis 2nd Impulse. Germany takes a Land and GS Paris in the snow and flies 3 Bombers escorted by 2 Ftrs to GS the BEF guarding the cities L Flank. The Royal Airforce responds having already flown a Ftr on CAP another arrives to intercept the bombers – other Luftwaffe ME109s also react. The Germans have the advantage on +2/-2 but the RAF roll a 5 for an AA, aborting the German’s front 6 factor ftr rather than a bomber. The hope is that they can get lucky and strip away the Ftrs and then attack or bounce the bombers – but not today. The German also rolls an abort and the RAF interceptors go home for ‘jam and scones’ before they take any losses. The BEF AA is caught napping, rolling a 1 on 3 dice against the German bombers who invert one of the BEF Corps. The Germans attacks on a +6 Blitz and roll an average 11 (17) as the BEF concedes ground under pressure and are retreated over the Seine River. The German’s advance, they now have three hexes on Paris – its doom is sealed. The German also assaulted the surrounded city of Strasburg rolling 9 on a +11 (20) for a 1/2S taking the city for the loss of a 3.1 GAR. A MOT Corps is railed to Poland. Japan also takes a Land and assaults the Chinese 4.1 in the Mountains of S China, rolling average they get a handy 18 for a -/1 destroying the defending Corps for no loss, and take another Mountain hex. Things are picking up for the Axis – they just need some fine weather to take Paris and install Vichy. As for Italy, they sailed a sub on a training exercise. EOT advances by 3.
Allied 2nd Impulse – weather roll is another 6 +1 (7) MORE Snow in the Artic/Temp and rain in the Med and N Monsoon, the Axis are not impressed. The CW and France take a Combined. Alexander having arrived in Gibraltar is promptly sent back to Egypt now that the defence of France and Paris is untenable. Units in Egypt conduct famil exercise in the desert as another Indian Corps arrives. The Allies fail to roll EOT, advances by 3.
Axis 3rd Impulse – The German takes a Land, with snow and the prospect of attacking Paris starting at -7 Germany decides to wait for fine weather – it is coming. The European railway system works overtime as German ARM and MECH units are sent to Poland; two bomber head East as do the Paras aboard their Junkers Tpt. It would appear that with the Metz region of NE France cleared of French and Paris just waiting for the fine weather for it to be captured, the German Army is reorientating to their next objective – Russia. The 1941 Russian Campaign is ’on’ albeit probably delayed by a month or two as Rumania cannot be aligned until Vichy has been declared and that require Paris to be in Axis hands. Japan takes a no cost land and repositions both land and air units, no attacks as most of the easy targets have now been destroyed and the Japanese are now facing a double and triple stacked front line. Italy no DOW -Rain in the Med, they decline, and take a no cost combined, sailing another sub, the Italian roll EOT.
Partisan roll is a 10, np Partisans, sensibly they are staying ‘in doors’. The US Senate remains in winter hibernation – no actions taken. Rebase, production (Germany are denied another 3 resources from Sweden due to the snow) and M/J reinforcements.
M/A 1941
Allies win the initiative as France rolls a 7 which Germany’s 5 doesn’t beat, there is no reroll as it is not contested by the Axis/German as bad weather remains likely.
Allied 1st Impulse – weather roll is a 3 +1 (4), yep there it is again, Snow in the Artic/Temp and rain in the Med and N Monsoon, the Axis are not pleased as this ‘white Christmas’ has gone on far to long! CW takes a Naval and sails its convoy escorts and the Home Fleet to the 4 box in the N Sea. A small escort fleet of a CV, two BS and two tpts pick up Wavell and a MOT Corps off the French Coast, as the well-executed evacuation of the BEF begins. A strategic bombing of Dortmund is successful, despite the winter snows – 9’s will do that. France takes a no cost Land and moves the 7 ARM out of Paris to be replaced with Infantry. The now vacated hex on the West Coast is occupied by French units who dig in on the Southern bank of the Seine River. Paris awaits the terror from above but takes comfort in the Snow and the -4 on any attack. Russia starts to reinforce the Polish/German border as the threat of invasion increases. Reinforcements in Minsk and Odessa move forward, and aircraft rebased. China moves several Divs to man the front line. EOT, advances by 3
Axis 1st Impulse. Germany takes a land and rails 3 units, including Guderian (the first HQ) to Poland. German units in France are reorganised as they prepare to assault Paris once the weather clears. Units in Poland move away from city staging areas closer to the Russian border. Italy no change, Japan with atrocious weather and no single units to attack declines any attack rebasing acft forward. Advances by 3.
Allied 2nd Impulse – weather roll is another 4 Snow in the Artic/Temp and rain in the Med and N Monsoon, the Axis are not impressed. EOT, advances by 3. The CW takes a combined aborting Wavell to Morocco and disembarking the corps still at sea. The two BEF MECH Corps sprint to Bordeaux leaving French units to cover their withdrawal. France takes a Naval to assist with convoy escort. Russia rails another unit to the Far East to deter Japanese intervention. EOT, advances by 3
Axis 2nd Impulse. Germany takes another land and rails 3 units, including Armour to Poland. Japan anther land, moving units North in anticipation of fine weather. Italy prepares for war moving NAV air to forward bases. Axis (Japan) roll EOT with a 1 - another 2 impulse, bad (snow) weather turn! Paris survives another turn, the Allies celebrate.
Partisan roll 2, agitation in French Dakar is dealt with by local security forces as a single Partisan turns up in China. USE – the US Senate finally arises from its winter recess and concedes that the war in China and Europe is a portent of things to come and signs multiple US arms contractors and Gears Up – four Essex Class CVs now have their keels laid as the CV Saratoga arrives on the West Coast port of San Francisco. The first US HQ GEN Clarke is activated. The USE has had some quite lucky picks with a number of 3’s and 4’s drawn with only a single 1. So despite not having many chits the US has had good quality chits drawn. Interestingly not a single loss - zip - in this turn, from either side.
Return to base, production which sees the entire Japanese CV air arm removed from their CVs for retraining and reallocation of their air groups. 12 CVPs are sent to the reserve as its 9 pilots go on an intensive retraining course as new acft arrive from the Japanese factories. Both Germany and Japan invest in oil facilities anticipating a long war. Reinforcements arrive with a 9.5 SS MECH, 8 INF and a handy 5.2 ARTY plus a Stuka arriving in Konigsberg as the build up for OP Barbarossa continues. The current German garrison (GV) is 51+ 20 chits being between 91 – 101 (with average of either 2 = 40, 2.5 50) against the current Russian GV of 52.5, so Germany needs 105 GV so Germany will be close to a DOW Russia BUT with Paris still in French hands, and no Vichy declared, Germany’s vital ally, Rumania can be aligned – frustrating Russian invasion plans. Looking like a J/A invasion, Russia may need to either heavily contest the GV or else fall back to more defensible rear areas.
The Allies win the initiative’s first ‘dice of’ with the French roll of 8 winning over the German’s 4. The Axis wanting the extra impulse demands a reroll and promptly rolls a definitive 10! The Axis gains the important initiative as they win ties, then the oh so important weather roll is an 8 – FINE everywhere - much relief for the Axis as they can now consider their options for next week’s session – DOWs, alignments and does the German expend its last O-Points to take Paris! The Axis is probably two turns behind ‘other’ games previous Axis schedule but have clearly set up for Op Barbarossa. They will be hoping for a long turn in J/A, followed by a long and fine S/O – we will hold our breath and watch with interest.
· EOT – End of Turn
· BP - Build Point
· TOTT – Top of the table a 23 or more
· LOC – Line of Communications
· NCC - No Cost Combined – no oil used
· USE - US Entry

Losses EOT J/F 41

Western Europe

France - M/J and Paris holds - thanks only to six impulses of snow in a row.

Egypt has more CW than any other country - UK, Ind, SA, Aus and Egyptian - no Canadians yet - too hot for them

The Russian Front

To the East the train lines are busy

... to the East

The Polish/German border the Russian is not set up - 
but Rumania is not yet aligned so there is time

Panzers East

The Far East

China under pressure with recent successes by the IJA

The first USHQ activated GEN Clarke

USE - nice set of chits only one 1!