|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|Pacific Theater of Operations: Part 1|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
ETO End of Summer 1941- Soviet Forces crumble under a Wehrmacht onslaught and the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in Norway wrestle control of the country from Nazi occupiers.
PTO Winter 1941– The Imperial Japanese Navy has attacked the American Naval base at Pearl Harbor and has launched a massive offensive in Asia.
Reports have been filtering in to High Command all week and now the battles in Europe’s first turn are resolved.
In Belorussia, the Russians, despite some stiff resistance on parts of the front, were no match for German armor and tactics. Oberleutnant Jason Krish reports: “TURN 4: Objective is under attack by German forces. Russians go first this turn. Both the Cossack Captain and PPSh - 41 SMG roll Snake Eyes on their attack rolls versus a disrupted/damaged Flamingo! The ensuing counterattack by the Flamingo, using his flamethrower to great success...burnt the Cossack Captain to a crisp. Even with an HQ unit the Russians could only manage to win initiative twice!!” Germany wins Belorussia with 8 points remaining and the Russians retreat 3 points. Reichsmarschall Herman Goring overrides strong army resistance and saves the German Luftwaffe (bomber 4 points and fighter 3 points) that was committed to the attack. Since planes can’t hold the ground this leaves just one lone infantry division (1 point) to secure Belorussia. German High Command has reassured the army that appropriate reinforcements will arrive before any Russian counter offensive. The Russians retreat an artillery division (2 points) into Moscow and don’t have enough points to reconstitute any other unit. Stalin sees these losses as acceptable.
The German Blitz also managed to secure the Ukraine with the help of Romanian allies. Russian field commanders initially reported: “Romanians didn’t hit anything the entire game. Romanian infantry shooting at range 1 on a Commissar in the open, the Commissar fiercely stood straight with bullets flying past him.” Other Russian commanders reported: “Katyusha Rocket Launcher evened the odds in an all out rocket attack destroying 3 out of 6 German troops as they made a charge over a hill toward the town and objective. Also, while Russians were outnumbered, they made a stand by entrenching a majority of units in the Russian town and managed to hold off the final German offensive for the objective.” These initial results caused German High Command to worry about the effectiveness of their allies. Major Match sent in these encouraging words: “To GER High Command: We are victorious on all fronts. The Brits have no idea how to fight and the Russians are weak and the war will be won on the Eastern Front in 6 months.”
The optimism of Major Match was felt at German High Command as initially it looked like the Germans would repel the invasion of Norway. ‘Kriegsbuch’ of the German 69th Infanterie Division reported: “On Point 107 and in the nearby woods furious hand to hand fighting ensued. The Tommies put up determined resistance, fighting to the last man. A soldier from IR159 charged into the last group of parachutists on the hill, killing them in close combat. The fighting to retake Point 107 was so fierce that by the end of the battle almost every member of both assault platoons had been killed or wounded. An English panzer made one last effort to re-take the hill but was damaged by Pak and mortar fire. Seeing the hopelessness of their situation, the Tommy panzer crews surrendered, leaving one intact and one damaged Valentine and a damaged Humber on the battlefield.” But in the end, the British commanders, with their backs to the sea, stiffened their troops’ resolve and in the late part of the battle succeeded in wrestling control of the country from the Germans. The British survived with most of their ground units intact while the defending Luftwaffe was able to retreat to Finland.
The Battle of the Atlantic took a nasty turn for the Royal Navy after losing both of their engagements in the Davis Strait and Celtic Sea. While the losses here are devastating to British income, the Kreigsmarine can little afford to trade ships. Despite the loss in the Davis Strait Captain Scott Tweedie reported: “The HMS Rodney withstood no less than 18 torpedoes to capture the remaining objective marker.” In the Celtic Sea, German High Command received this message from the Italian Navy:
To: Axis Naval Command
From: Capt. Mario of the Vittorio Veneto
Our fleet spotted the HMS Hood moving into the Celtic Sea zone with 2 cruisers in escort. Knowing the importance of this vital shipping lane to the war effort, I ordered our forces into attack formation and proceeded to engage the enemy. As we came into extended range, the Hood fired with her main guns. Whether it was inferior British technology or so close to tea time that the gunnery crew was otherwise preoccupied I cannot say but her shot fell well short of its intended target. Next, we opened up with the 15in. guns and exposed the "fatal flaw" of the Hood. Our gunnery crew was dead on target and when the shells struck her port side it must have hit the main magazine which in turn ignited her fuel tanks. The ensuing explosion was so large and devastating that she sank before most of the crew could abandon ship. After seeing the pride of the Regia Marina in action, the remaining cruisers turned tail and began a full retreat. A light cruiser managed to outrun us, but once again, with amazing precision, the gunnery crew landed a deadly shot onto an Exeter class heavy cruiser and sank her with one blow.
I am happy to report that this shipping lane is safe for our merchant ships and I would like to recommend Lt. Luigi and his gunnery crew for commendations for their actions in this engagement.
Hail Il Duce,
Capt. Mario of the Vittorio Veneto.
Pacific Theater of Operations
Turing to the PTO, we find that the Pacific is in flames and the war has turned global.
Battle No. 6 pits the Japanese Army against the Chinese in Yunnan Provence. The Japanese want to cut the Burma Road and stem the flow of supplies. If they are successful this will reduce Chinese production by one infantry division per turn. The Japanese are outnumbered by a strongly reinforced Chinese army but Chinese troops are generally weak. For this battle, field commanders are required to use 100% of their points in Chinese. If they don’t have enough Chinese they may substitute with the American M2 Mortar, M1 Garand Rifleman, Bar Gunner, Sniper and the Red Devil Captain. The Chinese machine guns will have their work cut out for them, but the Japanese have to be careful, it could be difficult to overcome so many Chinese troops.
Battle No. 7 is an all out grab for resources. The defending British Navy has been suppressed and the Japanese are amphibiously assaulting the island. Amphibious assault is inherently dangerous: win or die trying. The British, while under-manned, still have an advantage in the form of the Valentine II tank. Its 5/5 defense makes it the Tiger of the east, and the Brits have enough wild points for two. But the Valentine lacks a significant attack value against infantry. The battle for Java is far from a sure bet.
Battle No. 8: Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is a victory point city. The Japanese are trying to overwhelm the American defenders and push them off the island. A successful defense of the Philippines would be a devastating blow to Japanese strategy. As a Blitz type battle, the Japanese have the ability to win quickly while preventing the Americans from retreating any units but this could come at a high price. Read the Blitz rules carefully on the Battle Ticket. The attacker has the ability to deny a type of unit from the defender. This should be done before picking maps and obviously before building your forces.
Battle No. 9 is the siege of Hong Kong. Quick thinking by the Chinese allowed the British defenders to bolster their numbers and contest the city. Hong Kong is a victory point city and if the defenders can keep the city or retreat enough points to reconstitute any units they can contest the city again next turn. As a fixed defender they have a reasonable chance but they are hindered by multiple commands. Since the defenders are Chinese and British infantry supported by American aircraft the build restrictions are complex for this battle. Note that the defender must use 20 points in UK Soldier, 40 points in Chinese Soldier and 40 points in American Wild. For this ticket, American Wild can be any 1942 infantry, the M1 Stuart, M3 Lee and any 1942 half-track, aircraft or jeep.
Battle No. 10 is our only Fleet Action for the PTO this turn. The special first turn rule that makes all defending units (except Chinese) defend on a 1 makes most of the fleet battles for this turn ridiculously one-sided. In this engagement the Allies have an opportunity to try and save some units while the Japanese are trying to eradicate any remaining naval resistance in Southeast Asia. For this Fleet Action there are no objectives to capture. The Allies win only by exiting more points off the Japanese side of the map than the Japanese can destroy. By successfully retreating enough points, Allied High Command hopes to reconstitute at least some kind of fighting vessel.
There is a lot of other action in the PTO too. The Japanese are trying to capture Malaya, the Shan State, Sumatra, Borneo, Suiyan, Anhwe, New Britain and Guam. The Japanese Imperial Navy hopes that all of their fighters come back from the attack on Pearl Harbor successfully and that the attack deals a deadly blow to American power.
Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is quoted as saying, “I can run wild for six months … after that, I have no expectation of success.” How well the Japanese do this turn is up to you. Report your results to High Command at AAR@wizards.com. Your deadline for these battles is 10:00 am Pacific Standard Time on May 28th 2007. Good Luck and I hope to see you on the forums.
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign: