bremen-or-not-bremen-question-turn-16-1941-summer

Initial Thoughts
The Germans have made more progress into Great Britain and have units NW and west of London. The German airborne also dropped directly east of London. One of the stacks of British units (a 4-5 tank and 3-4 infantry) are out of supply two hexes west of London. It’s time to attack and try to get them back into supply.

Additionally, there are still Italian air that have not flown this turn and they can fly DAS. The question will be where. If GB does not attack now then London will fall for sure next turn and there won’t be any way to take back London on my turn. I must attack now and hope for the best.

Additionally, a very difficult question is the Italian air. Since I don’t know where they will fly I have to have multiple options available. That guy on Gibraltar needs to come join the fight. There reaches a time when protecting Gibraltar is not as important as trying to protect your capital. That time has come. Losing Gibraltar is better than losing GB. If I can buy even an extra turn, then it would be worth it since, if I lose London, the guy on Gibraltar dies anyway. So, I’m going to bring him into the fight. I don’t know if the Germans/Italians will try to stop me with their fleets.

The opening in Romania is still there. Whether that opening will be there next turn or not, though, depends on what Paul does on his turn. I’m going to try to get Russia into position by the end of this turn in order to exploit that opening if it is still there on my next turn.

Start
DoW: none.

Option Selections:
GB: west offensive (15 BRPs) down to 44; attrition in med and east
Russia: pass west. Attrition in med and east

voluntary destruction of units. none

Movement
Movement of fleets: Yes. GB moves her 9 and 6 factor fleets from Portsmouth to Gibraltar. The Italian navy and air stay home and do not attempt to intercept the British fleet movement to Gibraltar.

The Russians continue trying to rearrange their 2nd line of defense far back from the first line. I setup the Russian tanks in position so that I will have a chance to attack Romania next turn if possible and exploit.

The entire board looks like this after movement:

GB looks like this:

*Note: The stack on London has a 3-4 infantry, a 2-5 tank, and a 4-5 tank. The Germans directly west of London are two 4-6 tanks. NW of London are two 3-3 German infantry.

Missions
All the fleets on Gibraltar will sea transport the infantry from Gibraltar to Portsmouth. The Axis fleets do not attempt to stop the British fleets. I’ve noticed that Paul is avoiding getting into a sea battle with GB. I can understand that. Seeing the inevitable defeat of GB on the horizon it would be nice for the Axis if they can defeat GB and not get into a sea battle. If GB falls then the British fleets disappear. Better to have them disappear without losing any axis fleets if possible. Maybe that’s why he is not trying to intercept me even though he has superior odds if there was a fleet battle.

The Axis fly 5 DAS on the airborne. So, he is going to defend it heavily. He will be 3 (doubled to 6) + 5 DAS for 11 defense on that hex.

Permanent Death or Not Permanent Death of the Airborne…that is the Question
I guess now is as good a time as any to discuss the German airborne situation. As you will recall, on the German player’s last turn he designated an 8 factor fleet to supply units through Rosyth. There were actually 9 German ground units in GB, but one of those was a tank that had exploited and so it will be in supply on the German player’s turn even without receiving supply from the fleet on Kiel. Thus, the 8 factor fleet was able to supply the remaining 8 ground units north of London through Rosyth. The other 3 German fleets on Kiel (all 9 factors) were used for strategic redeployment.

The airborne drop rules say:

Rule 31.4 wrote:
31.4 A dropped airborne unit which is eliminated before the end of the following game turn is removed from the game permanently and may not be reconstructed, unless, in that Combat phase it was: [either: (1)] able to trace a normal supply line to a source other than the hex on which it was dropped; or [2] adjacent to or stacked with a friendly ground unit (other than another recently dropped airborne unit or partisan). An airborne unit which met the latter condition would not be permanently removed even if the friendly ground unit was eliminated in the same Combat phase or was itself unsupplied.DQB In the second player turn, an airborne unit drops on a hostile port where it could be supplied by sea. In the first player turn of the following game turn, it is attacked and eliminated. Is elimination permanent, because the owner has not yet had an opportunity to designate a supply fleet for the current game turn?

A. No, provided a supply fleet is designated during its owner’s player turn.

In addition to the rule quoted above is the rule stating that if GB wants to build a unit in Ulster it takes 1 fleet factor to be designated for supply to Ulster. There is also a DQB on rule 14.4 that I think further makes clear that my interpretation is correct. Anyway, moving on.

In this case, if I kill the airborne on my turn (this turn) then it will have been eliminated before the end of the following game turn in which it was dropped. Okay, so the pre-requisite for permanent death would be met. Let’s discuss the possible exceptions that save the airborne from permanent death. There are two. In our situation, the second exception will not save the airborne from permanent death because it does not apply. The airborne (on Harwich) clearly is not adjacent to a friendly unit. What about the first exception to permanent death?

My interpretation (our referee’s interpretation too) of the DQB rule is that a hostile port can be made friendly for an airborne drop, but that requires using 1 fleet factor for that port. The DQB also supports this interpretation.

In our facts, since the German 8 factor fleet on Kiel that was designated for supply used all 8 of its factors through Rosyth giving supply to 8 units there was no fleet factor designated to make Harwich safe. That’s my interpretation, and the majority of people on these boards agree. For a discussion of it, see this thread.https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/804515/supply-fleet-des…

Paul (and at least one other person on these boards) see it differently. Under his interpretation, if a fleet supplies any unit on a front, then not just that unit, but also all ports on the front are supplied and made safe for an air drop. In fact, under his interpretation a 1 factor fleet could make every port on a front safe for an airborne drop AND that same 1 factor fleet could also supply an infinite number of hexes. For example, under his interpretation a 1 factor fleet could make safe every port in the Med front and also make it possible to SR units to Sardinia, Crete, Corsica, etc. all with just a 1 factor fleet. I have a different reading of the rules.

I never considered any interpretation besides mine as being correct. We never discussed it before-hand. Only after he dropped, but before I went, did I ask the referee about it. From my perspective Paul finally made a mistake that could potentially cost him his airborne the rest of the game, but only if I could kill the airborne on my turn. Now that he dropped I couldn’t exactly ask Paul about it before I went. I was hoping his Italian air would fly DAS somewhere else. If we discussed it before I went then he would for sure fly all his air on the airborne to try to protect it.

There’s no guarantee I’m going to kill the airborne, but if I do, I’m thinking it is dead permanently. Let’s see if I kill it. He’s flown 5 DAS there, so he has 11 power on defense.

Let me also say that my entire attacking strategy depends on knowing the answer to whether the airborne risks permanent death. I mean, if it doesn’t risk permanent death, then wisdom says I should ignore the airborne and try to save London. But, if it risks permanent death, maybe I should sacrifice GB this turn (GB will die eventually anyway) but take a chance at killing the airborne now. I chose my strategy based on my understanding of the rule (and our referee’s confirmation) was correct.

Combat
Hex K22. I attack with: 3-4 (J22) + 4-5 (J22) + 1-3 (K21) + 1-3 (L21) + 3-4 (L22) + 4-5 (London) = 16 vs. 8 tanks (doubled to 16). 1:1. I Rolled a 3 (CA), 5 (A). Okay, so I got the best possible result here. The counterattack caused the German tanks to attack (now they have 8 power against my 16). At 1:2 odds the Germans kill themselves and I lost nothing. That was my first major victory over some German tanks. I advance with the 1-3 from hex L21 and the 4-5 on London. That removes the isolation at the end of this turn for my guys west of London and also that important stack of the 4-5 tank and 3-4 infantry on J22.

Hex K24 (the airborne hex). 3-4 (London) 2-5 (London) + 3-4 (J24) + 3-4 (J25) = 11 vs. 3 (doubled to 6) + 5 DAS = 11. 1:1. I rolled a 6 (D). I rolled the best possible roll and killed all the defenders without losing anything. That was a huge win this turn. The 2-5 from London advanced to Harwich. I’ve got a 3-4 still on London.

GB looks like this after combat

*Note: On Great Yarmouth there are 4 air. On Calais there are 10 German air. On Dieppe there are 5 German air. Two hexes NE of London (hex I25) there is a 2-3 lent Italian infantry and a 3-3 German infantry.

Back to the airborne’s death. It ultimately came down to Paul explaining his understanding of the supply rules. I understood that we both had no idea that there was another interpretation. At some point our referee, Patrick, pointed out that Doug had a post about this very topic like 6 years ago. So, Paul maybe did know there was a different interpretation, but that was 6 years ago. I don’t expect Paul to remember something so insignificant from 6 years ago. Patrick found the topic and sent us a link. I posted the link above.

Apparently Paul back then was advocating for his view, while everyone else agreed it was different. Since that time, Kostas has joined Paul’s view of the supply rules. I see it the other way. Anyway, this isn’t a rules’ debate; it is a session report. At the same time we had a difficult situation to deal with. I felt the fair thing to do was to keep the rolls, but allow Paul to rebuild the airborne unit, even though it should be dead permanently. Paul never would have risked the airborne’s permanent death that way. I hope my reaction also shows that I am a reasonable person and I try to be fair. Since our referee agreed with my interpretation I could have insisted the airborne be dead permanently, but I did not.

Construction and SR
Russia sends 7 BRPs of foreign aid to Hungary and is down to 132 BRPs now.

GB constructs a tank, an infantry, and 1 air for 14 BRPs. GB now has 30 BRPs and can at least attack two times if need be. The air goes on Great Yarmouth. The tank and infantry go on London. Normally, I would show the map after construction, but literally the only thing that changed was I put 2 units on London and 1 more air on Great Yarmouth, so just look at the picture above and imagine it with the changes I just explained.

I now have 10 power on London which will be doubled to 20. I’m hoping for at least a big exchange or maybe even a 4, 6 combo roll for the Germans. If that happens, the German conquest effort will be set back at least 1 more turn.

It’s now time to rearrange the Russian tanks and see on Paul’s turn if he notices that my tanks are within striking range of Romania’s 1-3 infantry on the front line. I’m hoping his attention is on GB and he won’t notice.

GB sends the 6 fleet to the USA box in order to be designated for supply in case he takes London. This is so that I can send in supply to Great Harwich and have at least one unit able to advance into London on my turn if he takes London. GB also sends one of the 9 fleets from Gibraltar to Portsmouth as well as moves the 1-3 infantry from Plymouth to Portsmouth.

My thinking here was that on my next turn I’m very likely going to have to attack again. If I got lucky and won on London, then I might not need that 1-3 on Portsmouth. If the 1-3 on Portsmouth is excess then I could use it to invade an empty Scapa Flow with the 9 fleet on Portsmouth. Since the Germans are trying to avoid getting involved in a sea battle, maybe I could take it without a fight. If I take back Scapa Flow next turn, that would not cut off the German supply line since he has the port of Rosyth, but it would mean that I’d start advancing south out of Scapa Flow and/or I could sea transport a tank the turn after that and have that tank walk 5 spaces south from Scapa Flow and attack Rosyth. I know that’s such a long shot, but I wanted to have that possibility should it arise.

The whole map looks like this after SR:

*Note, there are 10 power on London. There are 10 German air on Calais and 5 German air on Dieppe.

Final Thoughts
This turn couldn’t have gone better for the allies. I won all the battles and lost nothing. In Russia, I have my tanks spaced every other space and it looks like they’re just forming the 2nd line of defense. They are doing that, but I can now get them on (or next to) hex T36 (the city of Kishinev) on my next turn. That will allow me to defeat Romania next turn if Paul ends with Romania in the same position it is in now.

GB is still looking like it will be defeated in the Fall 1941 turn (if I can’t retake London on my turn). However, if Germany rolls a 4-6 combo or a big exchange (and has to lose 20 units on the attack on London) then I still have a chance to hold out at least until Winter 1941.

If GB was going to have any chance of surviving until the USA entry (and possibly rescued by the USA) then what I needed was Germany to roll a couple of big exchanges (or a 4-6) early on in the attacks in GB (like last turn or the turn before that). Even though the rolls favored me on my turn, I only removed 3 German units from GB. That’s not good enough to survive. It would take a miracle for GB to survive now.

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