|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|European Theater of Operations: Part 3|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
European Theater of Operations: Part 3 - Spring/Summer 1942
Germany makes an attack into the Caucasus, Belorussia receives reinforcements, the Baltic States prepare to receive the bulk of the Reich’s armored divisions, and Wehrmacht makes attacks into Norway and Palestine. The Allies try and take the offensive with Soviet forces trying to crack the lines in front of Leningrad and attack Vyborg, British units occupy an undefended Denmark, and the American Navy attacks the Kriegsmarine in an attempt to win the Battle of the Atlantic.
Momentum is almost non-existent on the eastern front this turn as both sides try to figure out where the attack is going to take place. Russian High Command was waiting to react to any new German threat while the Germans were waiting to see if the Russians were going to attack at all. Massed infantry, a standard Russian tactic, is always hard to attack (their defense is a 2) but massed infantry have a hard time attacking without artillery support (their attack is a 1 but supported by artillery it becomes a 2). Thus, Russian High Command finds themselves in a good defensive position but a poor offensive one. The Germans are waiting for their armored divisions to arrive before they can take the offensive again and are finally getting their lines strengthened. The British are also having a difficult time trying to spoil German plans. They lack any significant force in the Middle East and have once again turned toward Denmark for an easy raid on the mainland. American forces are finally moving in the ETO and have committed the entire Atlantic fleet to the war. Battles in the Celtic Sea Convoy route and the Central Atlantic are critical to the economy of both the US and the UK.
Battle No. 21 is in the Caucasus. At the beginning of the turn German High Command hadn’t decided on which target to take – Stalingrad, the Caucasus or both. The redeployment of a Russian armored division into Syria made the choice evident: the Caucasus. German High Command hopes to take the Caucasus and still have enough force to move on Turkestan and Stalingrad next turn. If the battle goes well for the Germans it could be a major blow to the Russian economy. The points are even but the Germans have a slight edge by having more Wild points and if they win here and in Syria they will have gained a significant advantage over the Allies. This is a critical battle for the Russians. Stalingrad must not be allowed to be surrounded and loss of the Caucasus would allow the Germans to turn the corner. Allowing the Germans to take the flank could be disaster not just for the Russians but for all the Allies. If German units take Iraq they could put pressure on the British in India.
Battle No. 22 is the first phase of Stalin’s plan to secure Scandinavia and Leningrad. Russian attacks into the Baltic States have previously failed. German armored divisions redeployed there before any significant Russian attack could be formulated. Therefore, tiny Vyborg was the next logical spot to attack before the Russians could launch a larger offensive on Finland. Finland and Vyborg give the Germans an opportunity to attack Karelia and possibly Archangel and Siberia while also tying up large amounts of Russian troops in Leningrad. Taking Vyborg, and eventually Finland, would significantly shorten Russian defensive lines – this is the primary objective of Stalin’s offensive.
Battle No. 23 is an error of judgment. The Germans initially thought that they could attack Norway in an even fight. Unfortunately for them, their calculations were wrong and they find they are attacking a larger force that is on the defensive. This is never a good idea. The German commander could have easily overwhelmed the British defenders by requesting air support. There were uncommitted Luftwaffe units close by, but again, it was a grievous strategic error. If the Germans lose in Norway a reassignment of the Wehrmacht division commander responsible for the attack can be assured. If they win, a medal will probably be awarded. So goes the fortunes of rank in High Command.
Battle No. 24 is the continuation of the long fight for control of the Convoy routes to England. Currently, the British are losing 13 IPCs per turn to lost convoy routes. The American Navy is tasked with taking these back. Nothing in the war can be accomplished by the Americans if they can’t control the sea routes to Europe. Unfortunately for the Americans, the Atlantic Fleet is still being built. They currently only have two destroyers and a couple of transports to commit to the cause. This convoy route is a good place to start. It is worth 5 IPCs and it’s close to the main east-west shipping lane. Any German units here can contest American transports moving units into Britain. It’s going to come down to the field commanders to determine the outcome.
Battle No. 25 is another example of the continued American commitment to Atlantic security. This seemed, to American High Command, an easy win. The American destroyer took back the US convoy route and then proceeded to attack the offending German submarine before it could retreat to friendlier waters. However, an additional German sub lurking off the coast of Morocco went unnoticed. The German subs represent two problems for the Americans: they have taken the convoy routes and they block the sea zones to North Africa. An invasion of North Africa is desperately needed by the Allies if they hope to have any success in reducing pressure on Russia. To attack North Africa the Americans have to win the Atlantic and to win the Atlantic they have to try and win this battle. Each delay helps the Germans. The Americans are outnumbered in this battle but it is probably the more important Fleet Action of the two.
Other things are also afoot in the Spring – Summer 1942 turn. The British are continuing their bombing of German industry and the Americans have redeployed their bomber to the UK to add to the mix next turn. The Russians have also decided to commit their bomber to the effort, thinking that their bomber could land in Norway. They might be greeted by unfriendly German ground crews if the British lose Norway this turn. Loss of the Russian bomber would be a bitter pill for Stalin and he would most likely think it a capitalist plot. In the Middle East, the British are trying to stay one step ahead of the Afrika Korps and have moved their meager defenses to Trans-Jordan. The Germans have deployed two more infantry divisions and redeployed the Italian battle group (the battleship) to the Atlantic. In two turns the Regina Marina should be on station to contest any American landings in North Africa.
Remember to report your results to AAR@wizards.com. The deadline for ETO 3 battles is June 25th 2007 at 10:00am Pacific Standard Time. Commanders – do your nation proud. Fight hard and win!
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign: