Spring 1940 begins with, surprisingly, Poland still in the game.
The Axis have 211 BRPs, while the Allies have 261. The Allies will go first in Spring 1940.
Poland Building Units?
There was a question in Rokeater’s and my game about whether GB could build Polish units. The discussion on these forums was intriguing. Ultimately, we decided GB could not rebuild any Polish units. That seemed to be the consensus on these boards as well. There were arguments both in favor and against re-building lost Polish units. I feel that the arguments against were better. Rokeater and our referee, Patrick, agreed that Polish units cannot be rebuilt. That’s what we went with.
What I Considered Doing to Italy Until I Realized it would be an Illegal Move
When it was my next turn I was considering attempting to take out Italy, or at the very least putting great pressure on Italy.
The map looked like this at the end of Winter 1939.
Germany looked like this:
Italy looked like this:
I was planning on moving my 2-3 infantry from Marseille into Italy. Him, with 6 infantry power already in Italy would attack in a 1-1 battle against his Italian tank stacked with the Italian 2-3 infantry. It would be an 8:8 attack with defender counterattacking at 4:8. I’d have had an 83% chance of killing his guys either through an exchange of some sort or outright. For what I was considering doing it would not matter how they died, as long as they were off the board. Thus, any roll would do except a 5 (A). Additionally, I could have flown my French air down south, covered his 5-4 Italian and still been able to give Ground Support for the battles. I could have also attacked his 1-3 infantry with my tank that is isolated and with one of my 2-3 infantry that started the turn in Italy. My intent was to create a breakthrough hex on the 1-3 Italian infantry’s location.
Since I would have had an 83% chance of removing his tank and 2-3 infantry and I would have had 2:1 odds on his 1-3 Italian infantry that would have opened a hole to Rome. I was then going to exploit my two French tanks, the first ending on Florence, the other trying to take out the Replacement Counter NE of Rome. I had sufficient air power to get a 2:1 attack on the RC. Even if I rolled an EX I would have lost the French air. I wouldn’t have made it into Rome, but my tank sitting on the mountains would be tripled on defense and its ZOC would have blocked all supply from Rome. Thus, the Italians would have had to try to get supply from Durazzo in Albania or from Libya.
Italy would have looked like this after I exploited:
Note: The above picture is after hypothetical exploitation combat and after I SRd men. I would have sent French and British units into southern Germany to further make it difficult/impossible for Germany to attack the tank next to Rome on his turn. For example, since he has no units on ports in the Med, I was going to SR my guy from Gibraltar into southern Germany, as well as my other GB infantry from Brussels.
Note2: The above picture did not expand the stacks on Genoa or Milan. There would have been 8 French air between those two hexes.
Note3: The western German army is in supply, and the German partrooper is on the board in Kiel. But from Kiel it is too far away to land on Paris or one of my RCs in France. Thus, the paratrooper can only attack the front line, which means I think I could have defended France from dying (at least for another turn). So, he would have had to face some 1:1 battles in Italy in order to get at the tank next to Rome.
The whole map would have looked like this:
Note: With no units on ports in the Med except the German infantry on Venice there are little options for the axis. The unit on Venice is out of supply at the moment, but can get into supply if Italy moves a boat to Durazzo or Libya and designates it as supply. Sending supply into Venice though ends at Venice due to the ZOC of the adjacent tank. Thus, the only unit he could hope to get involved would be the one on Venice. The other Italian units are too far from ports to do anything via sea escort.
Next, I was going to send my French boats to Tunis and we’d get to have a naval battle on his turn when he moved his fleets to Libya and/or Albania. If I won the naval battles, then all his guys on mainland Italy would die because they’d be out of supply. If he won the naval battles then he’d have some of them back in supply, but if he won the naval battle that means he would have killed some French ships and probably some Italian ships too. When you’re the Allies that’s a good thing since Germany gets less fleets later when he beats France. Plus, even if he won the naval battles he’d still have to win land battles and there was no guarantee he’d do that.
With his units down in Africa far from ports, they wouldn’t be able to make it to attack my hypothetical French tank sitting NE of Rome. With the Italians unable to do much, we still have to figure out if the Germans can do anything to help Italy. Germany now has a bunch of guys. I was considering partially emptying France and SRing units onto the mountains in northern Italy as blockers. That, coupled with my isolated tank that attacked (now back in supply if I roll anything except a 5 (A)), and my first exploiting tank that ended on Florence *might* have been enough to prevent the Axis from getting at my French tank NE of Rome. If the Axis didn’t get at my tank NE of Rome then I would walk into an empty Rome on my next turn. I might hold Rome from a counterattack. I might not. Thing was, I was hoping to open a two front war against Germany. Make Italy and Germany spend money in the Med and Germany spend money in the West. I might win this game despite a heavy fleet disadvantage.
Furthermore, if he didn’t kill the tank NE of Rome he couldn’t build within its ZOC. Meaning, no units could be built on Rome. The question is, if I did all the above, would France live long enough to take Rome? That’s when I remembered, after much planning (it took me several days), the above strategy is not legal because my French tanks that exploited can’t exploit again this turn because they start this turn without a normal supply line.
Also, I thought there was a pretty good chance that Germany would just kill France and the rules say that when Paris is occupied that France has to pass in the Med. Meaning, I wouldn’t be able to occupy Rome if he got into Paris. Rokeater is a great player at this game. He probably would have found a hole in my defense somewhere and gotten into Paris. He wouldn’t have to spend any money in the Med if he can get into Paris.
So, even though the above did not happen, that was what I was initially considering. What is shown below is what actually happened.
What Actually Happened
Russia attritioned all fronts.
GB west attrition, med pass, east attrition.
France west attrition; med offensive; east attrition. (Costs 15 BRPs. France down to 87).
Poland west attrition; med pass; east attrition. Who ever sees Poland survive into Spring 1940? First time I’ve ever seen that.
Movement of fleets. GB moved both its fleets to Portsmouth. The Germans did not attempt to intercept.
The threat of Germany not manning the eastern front with the requisite 20 factors is over. He clearly will have 20+ factors, and as Paul pointed out in the comments to the Turn 4 thread, he could have flown an airwing to Poland (e.g. Danzig) to maintain the 20+ factors on his last turn. The Russian setup, therefore, needs to change. Russia starts to form the beginnings of two lines. There’s no realistic threat that Germany would declare war at this point. He’s already got a BRP deficit because he started with only 150 for 1940. He’s not going to open another war on another front.
Poland has one infantry left, so it retakes some of the Polish territory previously lost and then ends its turn on Warsaw. This will force Germany to take an offensive to take Poland now, or attrition and take it next turn. Moving the infantry onto Warsaw (assuming he will attrition) will also delay a turn that GB loses 20 BRPs for failing to retake Poland.
The BRP battle is important. As the allies, I know that later in 1940 sometime the Axis will get a double turn. Why? Because he will start to take Poland, Holland, Belgium, and Egypt (I’ll lose 25 BRPs from Suez/Alexandria eventually) and I won’t be able to retake them. I want to delay that as long as possible. As long as he is only getting 1 turn at a time I can have France survive as long as possible. The danger will be that when he gets a double turn, not only will France fall, but GB might as well. I know that I have to start now to get my British units in mainland Europe killed so I can rebuild those in GB later.
GB moves a 3-4 to the important beach hex of J25. GB also places an airbase on G25 (next to Rosyth). This is because of a stupid rule about SR. The SR rules say you can’t SR with a unit next to you. The stupid part of the rule is that air base counters count as a unit. Thus, even though the paratrooper could land on Rosyth in the future and take the port, the German could not SR units into Rosyth the same turn of a paratrooper drop due to having an airbase next door. I think it is a dumb rule, but that’s the way it works. So, an airbase goes on G25 and that RC will go somewhere else during SR.
GB also moves a 3-4 to Wilhelmshaven and France moves a 2-3 into eastern Netherlands. I want to attrition on the 11-20 column. If I get lucky on the attrition roll I will make him lose a space. There are lots of spaces that I could take to further put out of supply more of his men. I also want a buffer between his front lines and the Hague for when he goes.
In Germany, the British 4-5 tank moves west one hex. Since I still hold Wilhelmshaven, the ZOC of this British tank extends over hex L28. The French tank that started on Prague moved NW two hexes. The western German army is out of supply again. I’ve bought another turn as most of his army is out of supply or east of Berlin. Unfortunately, what I’m not doing is killing his men. I am stalling him, true, but he’s not losing very much. This could be a problem later.
I’ve taken an offensive in the Med with France. I can’t exploit like I originally contemplated, but I want to get rid of that 2-5 Italian tank. I intended to counterair his 5-4 Italian air with all my French air, but for some reason I miscounted the number of spaces. I flew some of my French air to Turin (oops) when it should have gone to Milan. Now I can only counterair with 5 against his 5.
It looks like this after Movement:
*Note: There’s a 5-4 French air on Genoa that you can’t see in the picture.
Whole Map (in case you want to see Russia or GB, etc):
The French counterair the Italians with 5 air in Trieste. The French rolled a 4. Italy rolled a 1. France won by 3. Italy lost 3 air and France 1.
France attacked hex U23. 8 French infantry vs. 2-3 and 2-5 Italians. 8 vs. 8. Rolled a 2 (CA), and then Italy rolled a 4 (A). So, one French infantry advances. Getting rid of the Italian tank was a success. Now my supply line is back.
France attacked the 1-3 Italian infantry on hex T24. 2-3 french infantry + 3-5 french tank that is isolated = 5 vs. 1-3 (doubled to 2). 5:2 Def CA 1:5 Rolled a 3 (CA 1-2). Italians rolled a 3 (CA). Rolled a 5 (D). A lot of rolls and ultimately the Italian infantry died without any losses to France. France is getting lucky, but these rolls are meaningless. I’m just wanting to inflict some damage and France has a few BRPs to spare. The 2-3 French infantry advances.
Hex U25. France is going to go kamikaze. I want to rebuild that tank in France, but I want a chance to take out some enemy infantry with him. Therefore the 3-5 French tank will attack across the river onto Venice and attack the 3-3 German infantry. It’s a 1:3 attack, but if I roll low both of us will die and I’ll save an SR when I rebuild the tank in france. I need the tank in france to defend France from Germany. I rolled a 1 (EX). Both units die. I’ve been really lucky this turn on the rolls.
Let’s see if the attrition roll holds up to be lucky. It would be nice to advance with the GB infantry in Germany to take Bremen, or advance with the GB 4-5 tank onto hex L29 which will put more guys out of supply. My luck does not hold up and the attrition roll results in no German losses.
GB builds a 4-5 tank and the 2-5 tank for 12 BRPs. GB down to 132 BRPs now (but she’s going to lose a lot more).
France builds the 3-5 tank that went kamikaze and a 2-3 infantry. France down to 79 BRPs. No double turn for the Axis.
Russia built nothing (she has nothing to build anyway).
I note that because of the successful French attacks in Italy there are now no units on ports for the Axis to use in an attempted attack on Gibraltar. Before I started this turn I considered the possibility that might happen. So, my 9 fleet moved from Gibraltar to Portsmouth in case I rolled perfectly in Italy. I can now safely SR a GB guy to france and I do not have to fear that he will attempt to take Gibraltar (at least not on this turn). My 9 fleet will continue on Portsmouth so long as he has no guys on ports in the Med. If he ends with guys on a port then I will have to move back to Gibraltar. I can’t afford to lose 25 BRPs for Gibraltar.
GB therefore sends a 4-5 tank to Brussels where it can exert a ZOC behind a line of infantry ahead of it. I also send a French RC up to the Netherlands and rearrange my French units to have a couple of lines between Paris and the Germans. GB also moves its air back to Caen. From here it is out of reach of the German air, but it can also reach Brussels or the beaches in GB. This is a good spot for the GB air.
Before I started this turn, and after I had figured out that I could not defeat Italy (or at least threaten it and thereby cost him a bunch of BRPs to liberate Italy), it meant that it is time now to start to retreat in Italy. I have put his German army out of supply this turn, but this is the last time that will happen. At the end of his turn he will be in a position to prevent me from doing what I’ve been doing so far. That’s part of why I took those risky rolls at 1:1 and 1:3 in Italy. If I lost, oh well, I could rebuild those in France. If I won (and I did) then I killed some of his guys and I would advance with only one of mine. The others I would SR back to France (which I did). It’s time for an orderly withdrawal from Italy.
With SR done, it looks like this:
The French infantry in Libya that was threatening Tripoli died from being out of supply.
Long-Term Strategy Considerations
Without the GB fleets the Allies simply cannot get units into France fast enough to stop Germany. France will fall. I have to decide how many GB units I will commit to France because those are going to eventually die, but they are worth it if they buy a turn or two of extra time. I’m guessing France will fall on either Fall or Winter of 1940. In Spring the Axis will get their army back into supply again. In Summer the Axis will advance near Paris. In Fall or Winter the Axis will take Paris. Time to plan for that eventuality.