Anytime that Italy declares war on the first turn she cannot, alone, defend herself properly (except if she has Variant #9 and even then she has to be careful). This alwaysmeans that if Italy doesn’t want to die from an allied double turn that the German player will have to commit serious resources to Italy on the Fall 1939 turn in order to defend Italy.
In this case, Rokeater defended Italy properly. Here is why: with Marseille having fallen to Italian hands already, the allies cannot sea transport into Marseille. The allies can’t get into Italy through northern Italy on the Fall 1939 turn. Further, if the allies kill the Italian tank in Fall and then build in SE France, the allies will not make it into Rome on the Winter turn even with exploitation. They’d almost make it that far, but not quite. The Axis would then get a double turn and kill off the threat and, most likely, take out France in a swift move while the French are overextended.
What about if the allies try to go through the beach hexes in Italy? Well, the beach hex in NE Italy is defended heavily with ground and air. The allies will lose there. The allies can get ashore near Naples, but if they want to get into Rome then during exploitation they must attack a 3-3 infantry that would be doubled. Further, the allies can’t get air power in, and the Italian air is in range. So, the allies will not win the exploitation battle against the 3-3. Without that the allies will not make it into Rome.
While Rokeater’s maneuver in Poland works wonders without serious risk of loss, it has a drawback. In order for it to work properly, Germany must be able to get enough factors in Poland to guarantee that Poland loses 2 units from axis attrition in Winter so that Germany can, that same turn, sea transport the tank from Kiel to northern Germany and then move it during combat movement into the unoccupied Polish capital. Basically, doing Rokeater’s move in Poland requires Germany to have more units in the East than a traditional defeat Poland in one turn gambit. The drawback: more units required in the east means possibly an inadequate defense in the west.
Holes in Germany’s western defense
The extra units required in Poland coupled with Germany having to help defend Italy meant there HAD to be holes in western Germany. There are. The question was, how to best exploit it, and would it be worth the risks.
The question of how to exploit Germany in the west is why I named this session report “To Bremen or Not to Bremen…That is the Question”. I ultimately decided to try the audacious plan of attacking Bremen with my entire GB fleet. But to do that, I had to first get everything in order.
Just as Italy can get over-extended and be defeated to an allied double turn, so can France. France does not have enough units to defend herself properly. In my opinion, if France goes on some sort of offensive she is going to be having units outside of France, which means France will fall very quickly unless the allies can guarantee that getting extended will not mean France dies. If you are the allies you also have to be very careful not to let the axis have a double turn or else France will fall. If the allies want any chance of winning, then France has to survive as long as possible. So don’t get overextended with French units or France will fall quickly in this game.
Option 1: Attrition the Italian tank
I could attrition the Italian tank with that French tank. The axis will not choose to lose the Italian tank (the axis would lose some RCs). The allies might, but might not roll well. Meaning, who knows if the axis will be forced to retreat a hex or not. If the allies roll badly, then the Italian tank stays put which means the units in SE France are still isolated and they die. Further, if the Italian tank is not forced to move, then those French spaces are out of supply. You can’t build in an out of supply hex. In other words, attritioning runs the risk of not making the Italian tank move. If it stays put, France dies quickly. What if the allies roll good on the attrition roll and the Italian tank has to move? Can’t it just move east and still keep the guys in the alps out of supply? Possibly. The French can prevent the Italian tank from retreating into the hex due east by moving the French tank next to the Italian tank so that *if* the French roll good and the Italian has to retreat from a hex the allies can force the Italian to retreat out of the French ZOC and not due east. That would re-open supply to the Alps. But that’s a terrible risk and all depends on the roll of a dice. Too risky in my opinion.
Option 2: Kill the Italian tank
In my opinion, the safest/most conservative option would be to kill that Italian tank. But I’m not liking the BRP costs to defeat one unit. An offensive option would require spending 15 French BRPs and is pretty straight forward. However, if France spends 15 for an offensive option, then GB has to either join (spending another 15 BRPs) or pass. I usually like to be able to move my GB units in the west. My setup blunder has forced me into possibly not moving my GB units in Fall 1939 on the western front or spending 15 BRPs with both France and GB. That’s 30 BRPs because I setup wrong.
I see that Option 2 is the safer route. I’ve chosen that option. The next question is now what? I have to make sure that whatever I do that Germany can’t kill France right away.
Since I am going to do an offensive in the west should I try to exploit Germany in the west too? Germany is weakest up north because he is not defending across the river there. But, to get there I would have to declare war on Belgium and/or Holland. I also considered that if I declare war on Holland or Belgium then Germany won’t have to spend those BRPs to declare war. Am I just digging my hole even deeper?
With the Axis ending their turn with 113 BRPs, the allies have quite a bit of BRP room to work with. We don’t want to throw away BRPs though. Additionally, even though Great Britain only has two tanks to start the game with, she can build two more. I could potentially attack with one GB Tank in Winter and exploit with the other three GB tanks forming one chain of tanks. Also, the French tank is still alive on the Maginot line. France can build two more tanks. So, France can potentially attack with one tank and exploit with two of its own tanks. This opens up some possibilities of having two exploitation chains into Germany. This is especially tempting because the axis, in securing Italy, did not have enough units left to block off the pass through Italy and into Germany. Italy has left wide open the northern front.
In retrospect, it would have been safer for Germany to have built less tanks and more infantry. She could have filled holes that would have eliminated any chance for me to do what you’ll see on Turn 3 – 1939 Winter Allies.
It took me about a week to figure out all the different ways this could go. I had to figure out not only where everything would end on this turn, but also on my next turn. I decided to go for the double turn. This is where the BRP calculations are crucial. I had to make sure that I got the double turn. I had several other requirements. I had to be able to build both British tanks on the force pool and both French tanks as well.
What I decided to do was attack the Italian tank, but also declare war on Belgium. I needed to take out Belgium in Fall 1939 so I could get to Bremen in Winter. If I built my GB tanks and built the French tanks in Fall 1939 then I could strategically redeploy my units and prepare for a grand attack on Germany in Winter 1939. I would go first in Winter 1939. I could take out Holland and attack Bremen with all my British fleets. He left Berlin open. If I took Bremen then I could end with a tank on Berlin. But, what about getting over-extended? I realized attacking Bremen would be pointless if the German Western army was still in supply. If the Western army was still in supply then Germany would just take advantage of me being over-extended and out of position. Germany would take out France and I wouldn’t be laughing when the panzers rolled through Paris.
Assuming I took Bremen, Could I Hold Berlin?
The short answer is no. If I won the Bremen battle I could potentially get 2 tanks onto Berlin. But he had so much infantry and air in range of Berlin that he could get at least 2:1 odds on Berlin and so he’d have a 97% chance of re-taking Berlin. That 3% chance is if he rolled the 4 (CA 1:1) and then rolled a 6 (D – killing the German army on the GB counterattack). In that scenario the British would have held Berlin.
Since I determined that even with two tanks on Berlin I would not be able to hold it no matter what I did, I thought about what other mayhem could I cause with my tanks. What if I left just one tank on Berlin and simultaneously tried to cut off his army’s supply? Would I be able to do this or not? I realized I could. I’ll show you how I did this. I also realized that there was a good possibility that I could go first in Spring 1940!!! Meaning, I would get a double turn, but he wouldn’t. That could be critical to really messing with the German plans.
I had to watch my BRPs, but I also had to build my tanks, etc. for the Winter turn.
DoW and Options
Since Poland survived, it gets a mini-turn. But, Poland has to stick with the options that Russia chooses. Russia is going to declare war on the Baltic States and attrition. So Poland is going to attrition too. This means that the Polish army that is out of supply is going to die. Normally, I would have Poland go on kamikaze missions. If I roll 1s or 2s I take out some Germans. In this case, Poland does nothing.
France declares war on Belgium. Belgium puts the 2-3 infantry on Brussels and a 1-3 infantry on all the other hexes. The air goes on Brussels. For some reason I mistakenly gave him an extra 1-3 infantry which I put on Brussels. It didn’t end up affecting anything though. Paul pointed out my mistake. I didn’t even realize it.
GB passes in the west, attritions in the med, and passes in the East.
France offensive in the west, attritions in the med, and passes in the Esat.
Russia attritions the east and passes elsewhere.
Russia declares war on East Europe.
Polish air move to Warsaw. Russia does normal takeover of the Baltic States.
French fleets moves from Calais to Cherbourg. I need the fleet out of the way so British units can sea transport in. Plus, I know Rokeater isn’t going to attack the French fleet anyway because that would just reduce his future fleet when he gets Vichy.
French air moves to Paris, breaking down in preparation of GS and CA missions.
France moves infantry to attack Brussels. France moves infantry and tank to attack the Italian tank. These first attacks are going to be at good odds for France. I should easily win these.
GB retreats from the Libyan border in order to strategically redeploy tanks into France in preparation for next turn’s attack.
After movement it looks like this:
*Note: I moved the stack on Kiel one hex to the right so you can see it in the picture.
Polish attrition on east rolled a 6, so no losses for the Germans.
France does not want to lose any air and I’m only actually doing 2 attacks. So I pour a bunch of leftover air into the counterair mission on Brussels in order to increase my odds of destroying his one unit and taking zero for French losses. The battles all go as planned.
CA on Brussels. 5 France vs. 1 Belgium. France gets +4 for factor advantage, but -1 for nationality. Belgium gets -2 for nationalityBelgium air destroyed without French losses.
On the Italian tank it was 12:4 counting 1 air for ground support. France won without losses.
I thought I had 12:6 against Brussels (counting 4 air for GS), but Paul pointed out that I had too many 1-3 infantry in Belgium. It was actually 12:4. Either way, France beat Belgium without any losses.
After battles it looks like this:
*Note: I moved the stack on Kiel one hex to the right so you can see it in the picture.
France builds: 2×3-5 tanks (12 BRPs) down to 48 BRPs
GB builds: 1 fleet (27) + 2 tanks (16) + five air (15) + one 1-3 infantry on portsmouth = 59 BRPs (down to 66 BRPs).
Russia builds: three tanks (18) + five air (15) + one 2-3 infantry (2) = 35 BRPs (down to 45 BRPs).
All the Polish guys were out of supply except those on the capital. They all died. That’s the beauty of Rokeater’s Polish conquest maneuver.
France: re-arranged my army near the Italian border for part 2 of my attack into Germany.
Britain: sea escorted the two tanks and a 3-4 infantry I built into France, brought my tanks from Egypt and Gibraltar into France via s/e. Also brought up the air from Gibraltar and Malta. I’m now poised to attack into Germany on the next turn and I’ll go first.
It looks like this after SR:
The whole map looks like this:
Note: I move the stack on Kiel one hex to the right for the picture so you can see it.
Allies end with 114. Axis end with 113. Allies will go first on Turn 3 – 1939 Winter.
Edit added: A couple of corrections to the above report. I forgot to show that France SR’d a unit in Tunisia to the border of Libya. Since I was getting a double turn I intended to head towards Tripoli. I also SR’d one of my French infantry from down south in France up towards Paris. I don’t believe that was shown in the previous pictures.