|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|Pacific Theater of Operations: Part 2|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
ETO End of Fall -Winter 1941 – The Wehrmacht halts the Russian counter offensive in the East and deals a crushing defeat on the British in the Mediterranean but the battle for the Danish Sea is a mortal blow for the Kriegsmarine.
PTO Spring - Summer 1942 – The Americans awake from their slumber and lumber forward and the Imperial Navy looks to defeat the British and finish the conquest of Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The war in Europe is turning against the Allies. Four out of the five tickets for ETO 2 went in favor of the Germans. Despite the well laid plans of the Russian generals they lost both of their offensives. The battle for Belorussia was particularly brutal. Germany was defending with 21 points of units: 5 infantry, 2 artillery, 1 armor and 1 fighter. The Russians attacked with 21 points too: 6 infantry, 3 artillery and 2 armor. The Germans won that battle keeping 9 points in the territory: 2 artillery and 1 fighter (unfortunately for the Germans there isn’t a defending unit worth 1 point so they really only get to keep 8 points of units in the territory). The Russians were able to retreat 7 points which became 7 infantry (attacking infantry are worth 1 point) that are now stationed in Leningrad. The Germans are fighting a war of attrition in the East and even though they are winning the battles they are having a hard time keeping up with the staggering number of losses. The Russians seem to be less affected. An attack on Leningrad now seems impossible for the Spring of 1942. Moscow is also well protected. That leads the German High Command to gaze on the resource rich Caucasus, worth 4 IPCs, and the victory point city of Stalingrad.
This report from the field details some of the action in Belorussia:
“After Action Report from the ‘Krieges Tagebuch’ Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland: On the right flank as the Russians were massing to cross the Don, the Nebelwerfers fired a devastating salvo, wiping out half a company of troops in a deluge of high explosive rockets. Despite their losses the Russians pressed the attack across the Don, prodded on by Soviet commissars shooting their own men who were too slow to move forward. Supported by mortar fire, the enemy attacked the thin line of Grossdeutschland infantry occupying the woods on the Don’s southern bank. A furious exchange of fire caused heavy casualties to both sides, with one small party of Russians breaking through to capture a bunker guarding an intact bridge over the river. Despite their losses, the hard-pressed Grossdeutschland grenadiers managed to re-establish their line in the woods. A fusillade of fire eliminated the Russians occupying the bridge, and the Kampfgruppe’s panzers and StuG’s began to shell the Bolshevik infantry still trying to cross the Don. With their last Commissar fallen, Russian dead and wounded piled high on both river banks, and under fire from two sides, the remaining Soviet infantry threw down their arms and surrendered.”
Battles No. 13 & 14 in the Mediterainian were a complete disaster for the British. They lost both the attack into Libya and the naval engagement in the Eastern Med. The result was that German forces were able to take an undefended Egypt and cut off any hope of retreat for the defeated troops from Libya. The Germans were able to capture the entire British force, eliminating British resistance in Africa. The landing in Syria was also successful. Now all that stands in the way of Germany is a small force in Palestine.
The Kriegsmarine sallied forth from its base in Kiel to meet the British in the Danish Sea in the last engagement (Battle No. 15) and all were sent to the bottom. The British battle group was reduced in its effectiveness but the German Navy in the North Sea now ceases to exist.
The British are fighting a scrappy war with Germany. Despite having lost all of their convoy routes, they still control Norway and were able to make an attack, although unsuccessful, on Denmark. Continued strategic bombing of Germany by England has now done 10 IPCs worth of damage in the last two turns while a German bombing run on Leningrad met with disaster as the units there were shot down by antiaircraft fire. The American High Command has promised to take back the British convoy routes and to put new pressure on Germany. Next week the war in Europe will be Spring – Summer 1942. New equipment will be available and new challenges assured.
Pacific Theater of Operations - Part 2
It is already Spring – Summer 1942 in the Pacific and this week the Japanese are trying to take advantage of their superior naval force before America can fully mobilize.
Battle No. 16 is the first of three big naval engagements for the PTO this turn. The same strike force that hit Pearl Harbor was able to get the initiative on the American carrier group off the coast of Samoa, preventing it from moving. This is an important battle for the Americans. They need to check the Japanese Navy somewhere and American High Command believes that Japan has overextended itself in this battle. The Japanese need to win a quick victory and then get their carriers out of range of the growing US fleet at Pearl.
Battle No. 17 is the Japanese Navy’s belated reaction to the landings at Papua of almost all the Australian and New Zealand Army. The Japanese were tardy in getting into the Sea Zone thus unable to prevent the landing but they might be able to sink the transports, an escort carrier and its support task force. The Japanese have a slight edge in this battle and they need to do well. The British are worried. For one, a loss here could strand the Anzacs (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) on Papua and for two, leave Australia and New Zealand bereft of vigorous defense force. Regardless of the outcome it does seem certain that the Anzacs will be able to take back New Guinea and Dutch New Guinea in future turns.
Battle No. 18 is our last Fleet Action for the week. Here again the British were able to get a jump on the Japanese and assault the island of Sumatra with superior forces. The Japanese Navy was too late to prevent the landing but could bag a bigger prize if they can manage to destroy the British carrier group and battleship. The Japanese are committing two battleships to the conflict; a decisive victory here by the English would almost assure a return of the resource rich islands to the Allies. That would be an economic catastrophe for Japan. If they have any hope of continuing the war they need to maintain control of all of Indonesia.
Battle No. 19 is all about control. Control of Hong Kong is what neither side has and what both sides need. The siege of the city moves into its second part as the struggling defenders try and hold off the Japanese until Chinese reinforcements can make it into the city next turn. It’s going to be a tough battle for the British but they weren’t expected to make it this long. The Japanese have a slight advantage in this battle – they know that the British have most of their points in Soldier and the UK Vehicle points are enough for one Stuart tank but not enough for a more heavily armored Valentine II. Salvage equipment is available for the Japanese in the form of a 40MM Bofors.
Battle No. 20 is part two of the Philippines. The Japanese have pushed the Americans onto the Bataan peninsula but were unable to finish the job last turn. The American situation is desperate. They need to win or retreat enough units to reconstitute at least two points (1 defending infantry = 2 points). The closest help is in Papua and if the naval engagement goes poorly for the British it is doubtful they would send a fighter to support the Americans next turn. The Japanese need to finish up quickly. They can’t afford to get into a protracted conflict in the Philippines. Japanese High Command is putting immense pressure on local commanders to finish off the American forces. Two captured M3 Stuart tanks are available to the attacker for this battle. The Americans are hanging on by a thread. Can they delay the Japanese for one more turn?
In other action the Japanese are pressing on the Chinese in the north, hoping to attack Szechwan in the Fall. British forces are looking to retake the Shan State in what could be a bloody battle. UK units moving out of India are full of bravado as they feel they should be able to take Siam and French Indo-China next turn. A strategic bombing run by the Japanese hopes to reduce Indian output and stem the flow of materials. Finally, the Japanese Navy has seven transports heading toward the home island for loading of fresh army units.
There are three big Fleet Actions this turn. Their outcome might very well determine the balance of power in the Pacific. Remember to report your results to AAR@wizards.com. Your deadline for these battles is 10:00am Pacific Standard Time, on June 18, 2007. You have your orders. The fate of your nation depends on you. High Command eagerly awaits your reports!
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign: