AXIS SUFFER FIRST SIGNIFICANT LOSSES OF TERRITORY AND UNITS IN 44.
Axis 4th Impulse – Weather roll 6 – fine weather everywhere, except rain in the N Monsoon, Italy in a surprise move, takes a Comb and sails what is left of the Regia Marina into the massed CW Fleets off the coast of Italy, they escort a single Tpt. The Italian Admiral’s orders from Mussolini arrived in a manila envelope marked top secret a covering note to return victorious or don’t return at all. Luck however was not with the Italian fleet, as it is found twice by the massed British CV force of the Med Fleet and with every ship promptly sunk or damaged, and a bonus for the CW, the last Italian NAV, 19 Rng 5 factor Z511 was destroyed. The Italian AA was particularly heavy shooting down one of the British CVP. The high-risk play was to put the Italian MTN unit in Albania back in supply and use the Italian SB and the Italian MTN, HQ and an Arty to counter attack the two inverted Allied units in Tirana in an attempt to recapture the Albanian capital. With the sea phase a failure, the Italian land units head to the nearest Yugoslav railway line to head home by train and help defend the homeland. German units in W Europe vacate Belgium and withdraw behind the Maas River in Holland and Germany. On the Eastern Front they manage to adjust the line and blocking the Russian’s advance, they are hoping for an EOT Roll. Japan, takes a Comb and launches multiple search attempts with its Submarines, little success and at some cost as the B2 is sunk. Land units head toward the Sino-Russian border by rail and road. Multiple acft are redeployed.
Axis failed to roll EOT on a 1, advances by 1.
Allied 4th Impulse – US take a Comb, CW, France and Russia take Land actions. The US combined sees loaded AMPH and TPTs sail into the China Sea and invade Port Arthur which is only defended by the 1.6 Mech DIV – in a hotly contested battle the Japanese managed to shoot down a US CV and slip a bomber to aid the defender, changing the defence from 3 to a 5. The US Marines supported by SB and naval air roll average but take Port Arthur losing a Mar DIV and ½ invert – possibly the defining move of the Pacific war as it threatens to cut off the entire Japanese Army in China. Excellent decision by the US player to take the risk and take the vital port city of Port Arthur rather than a softer option in China. This is definitely a ‘fox in the hen house’ event as the Japanese must react aggressively to contain and eliminate this incursion. Russia, rails back to Ukraine the HQ Koniev from the Russia-Sino border, this is noted by Japan. In Russia, a single blitz attack against 2 x German INF on the frontline in AGS sees a TOTT roll destroying the two INF and punching a hole in the German line, there are no reserves in the rear as the Russian GBA’s exploit and penetrate another hex deep behind the line. One MECH DIV is upgraded to GBA status. Russia flips Zhukov to reinvert all its Arty in the South and a TAC bomber, so that if the turn goes on it has some ability to invert stacks. The CW advance against Taranto and has three hexes, and with only 1 inverted Corps has a +9 assault - it declines hoping for another impulse to improve the odds, units in Greece follow up the retreating Italians. Allies fail to roll EOT.
Axis 5th Impulse – Weather roll 3, bad weather again with Rain in the Arctic and Storm in the N Monsoon. Germany and Japan take Comb action, with Italy a no-cost Land. Germany sails 3 x Conv and escorts out to the Baltic in an EOT attempt to slip through the patrolling CW CA’s – no find. With limited land moves the German adjusts the frontline of AGS, in an attempt to contain the Russian success, bombers are sent to support AGS. Japan sails a lone Conv into the China Sea – it also escapes detection, and the Japanese Army in China is back in supply. Land units are sent towards Port Arthur from both Manchuria and China and acft are rebased to prepare to contest any US exploitation. The Italian NC Land sees units move onto rail lines in Yugoslavia, and the first veteran of the abortive Greek campaign arrive home. Other Italian units shuffle to block CW movement. The Axis fail to roll EOT – 3 needed.
Allies 5th Impulse – bonus impulse for the Allies, which is very welcomed, US, Russia and China take Land actions, the CW a Comb. The BIG EVENT was that Japan, having pulled just a mere three units from Manchuria the Russia-Sino pact was able to be broken – the Japanese was short by only .5! The closest of margins, after three recounts Russia broke the pact and DOW against Japan – in the rain/mud and advanced 3 units into empty hexes and flipped due to mud and lack of supply! CW searched for the lone Japanese Conv in the China Sea and failed to find, 5 needed, 6 rolled - Japanese land and air units in China remain ‘in supply’. Similarly, the CW searched in the Baltic fail to find the 3 x German Convoys, 5 needed, 6 rolled. However, CW Strategic bombing is extremely successful, with a 10 rolled +1 (+11) for non-interception (all the Luftwaffe has flown) against Essen, destroying a factory and shutting down the others factories production. Against Milan another uncontested bombing run sees Milan lose both its factories production – there will be no Italian BPs this turn. Further GS by the CW sees unprecedented success with ‘snake eyes’ rolled against Taranto, inverting the defenders and in N Europe the two German stacks in Holland are both fully inverted – giving the US multiple options. The Land actions sees the CW declare an assault against Taranto, with the bonus inversions from the ‘snake eye’ they roll TOT, taking the city, its factory and overrunning the Italian Ftr at the city’s airfield – Italy now in deep trouble as Morale breaks and Mussolini and his mistress are reported fleeing Rome for sanctuary in Northern Italy. In Europe the US elects to assault the city of Leige rather than the adjacent clear hex with two inverted INF and rolled very badly losing 2 units including the 14 ARMD ENG - an extremely valuable and expensive unit.
On the Eastern Front – disaster at AGS Manstein HQ! In rain/mud the Russians spend 6 O-points and reinverts Koniev HQ so that it can move forward and maintain supply for the GBA’s assaulting AGS. Manstein is put OOS as the Russian advance and cut off two stacks of inverted units on AGS front-line. Two attacks are declared, one automatic at over 10:1 with a +2, and the second a TOTT roll, two German stacks including the AGS Manstein HQ and 3 other Corps are eliminated, OOS, and a huge hole is formed in the AGS line. The nearest HQ Von Lieb (5 factor) is alone and adjacent to, two GBA Armies as his HQ staff starts to pack and burn codes and maps.
In the Pacific three more units land in Manchuria reinforcing Port Arthur and other units head inland against no resistance to cut off the entire Japanese Army in China. To a huge sigh of relief for the Axis the Allies roll a 4 to end the turn, huge sighs from the Axis. This was not a good impulse for the Axis, the only, and I mean only, saving grace was that the Allies ended the turn AKA misery, importantly meaning that the initiative marker remains in the zero box and the Axis can still contest J/A initiative roll, arguable the most important roll for this year (44). The second bonus is that a shipment of valuable iron ore arrives in German (3 x Resources – 5 BPs) and the lone Japanese convoy, unfound in the China Sea managers to supply the entire Japanese army in China and allows the inverted units to be reinverted.
Partisans turn up in Finland and Ukraine – the silly rules of WIF allow any Partisan to be magically relocated from the entire world to ‘pop’ up in a different country AND on the opposite side – this rule needs reworking. Rebase and production.
Next session next week – reinforcement, and arguable the most important roll for 1944 – the roll for the initiative of J/A, no plusses, Allies win ties and a +1 on the weather roll.
Belgium and France - some progress by the US
The Italians in full retreat - the CW in pursuit
11 different nationalities in this photo
Taranto captured and Italy in trouble.
One GS in Libya and it is all over.
The Eastern Front AGN safe and defending well -
but a collapse in AGS will force a significant move in the German line
AGS - Russian GBAs led by Koniev punch a hole and exploit
The salient created by a successful attack and exploitation -
Von Lieb is by itself under the Ftr and will be eliminated if the Russian goes first.
AGN - safe but under threat - few reserves.
The Far East - and yes the US has landed and taken Port Arthur
Manchuria under threat from the South and North as the Russian has broken the pact and DOW
Japanese Army in China is only supplied by Sea - a lone Japanese Conv
China - looking very dangerous if they cannot maintain supply.
Heavy Casualties for the Axis and the Russian AF