But what about those folks playing the Axis and supply for them?
“A few tips. Use the SM 81 as a transport. It can ship 2t per turn into the airbase near Benghazi, very useful. Make use of the rail line. It may not seem much, but you will be surprised at just how much it helps your trucks if they are starting their journey from the rail head as opposed to Benghazi or even Tripoli. Try to get as much supply out of Tripoli each month as possible to avoid the “dump rot”
That small rail line from Benghazi to Barce is often overlooked. It is only a 3T cap, but it matters. The SM 81 can be used to fly in 2T from Sicily to Benina (A48.18). Then next turn it can be railed to Barce.
Or, you can rail 3T every turn from Benghazi to Barce. Either way, getting a few seemingly insignificant (they’re not!) tokens to Barce each turn shortens the shuttle for Axis trucks from the normal Tobruk-to-Benghazi run. ” This is a great idea, for shuttling units for “free”.
The Early Axis Game:
“Some view it as a fool’s errand for the Italians to attempt to press the British in the opening months of the campaign game. There are several reasons for this.” Put simply, the Italians stink and the Commonwealth is excellent in ARs” [Action Ratings].
“At start, the Italians have one AR 4 unit, the non-rebuildable Camel Jockey. And very few AR 3’s. What mobile units they have are awful. The light tanks are AR 1’s or 0’s! They have a couple of AR 3 tank units, but they are weak and one of them, gets withdrawn a month into the campaign. They cannot hope to compete with the Commonwealth in mobility. They should act accordingly.
They start with a large number of 12-factor infantry units. However, only a few are AR 3’s. Most are down at least one step. (And the “modern” series rules change the attack value from the game as-designed. Now, down even a single step and your attack strength is halved.) You should use your few PAX to rebuild the AR 3 infantry divisions that are down. The Italians biggest strength is artillery.
A whole lot of tubes. But supply is tight. You’ll find over the course of the game that you can’t fire them anywhere near as often as you’d like.
Lastly, trace supply.
Until March of ’41 the Italians can only use the primary roads to trace off. The CW can use the regular roads as well. This is a huge disadvantage for the Italians. Take a look at the map and see the limits of the Italian reach. Take an HQ at 5 MP +1 hex from the primary road, then throwing his 8 MP + 1 hex out. Of course, only a limited number of HQ to do that with, so direct draw to a primary road is often the true range for Italian units in the early going. Contrast that with the CW ability to use regular roads. In particular the Trigh el Abd (Road of Slaves) slices across the map from northeast to southwest. It can be used by, say, the British 7th Armor to zoom to the backdoor of Benghazi. Beware! ”
As I read this it really feels like the Axis are bereft of hope until Rommel arrives. There must be some hope!
“Now, what are the Axis strengths? Well, in the early campaign time is your biggest friend. At the beginning most of the Commonwealth forces are restricted to Mersa or worse. The 4th Indian is a fine division, but it can’t leave Mersa until December 5. Most of the other divisions are “green.”
So their 4 AR is a 3 until they are fully trained, which takes months. Also, be certain to look at the withdrawal chart for the Commonwealth. Odds are that in November through January they’re going to lose some precious units to Greece or the Sudan.
On January 19 they lose the excellent two 4-5-8 armor battalions of 7th Armor.” Ouch! So the force rotations is one thing I am going to need to watch very carefully. This is a medium sized game as far as density but a lot of swap in swap out!
“From February 26 through April 8 of ’41 the CW has NO Headquarters on the map!
Double ouch! Then, likely sometime in February, the Greek Campaign will begin. This will require the withdrawal of units from 2nd New Zealand, 2nd Armor and 6th Australian.
Perhaps even 7th Australian if CW luck is poor at ending the Greek Campaign. And then, in mid-February, Rommel and the Afrika Korps begin to arrive.
“Timing” is on the Italians side.
Even with the Germans “green” for 8 months, the importance of Rommel can’t be overstated. His Leader rating of “2” means that units he is stacked with can likely move 5 out of 6 times. Not dead certain, but excellent. Stack him with a fueled KG of “mixed” Italians and Germans and you’ll wring every single drop of fuel out of an expenditure of 1 SP. This is a way to get around the DAK restriction of no fueling of HQs for an SP.
Also, the arrival of the DAK HQ in February is very helpful. It is 14-0, the best in the game.
So using the roads, primary roads or tracks that is at least 28 hexes, plus 1, that it can throw. You should experiment on the map with just how far that is. For example, using the coast road, that gets you from Benghazi to beyond Derna.
Or, from Antelat (A33.14), almost all the way to the important crossroads at El Mechili (B50.28). Huge flexibility. ”
Here is a final telling point, about the AR poor Italians. The ability to keep major units alive is really good for the Germans to use them as Combat Factor buffers! Their presence with a smaller unit with a higher AR could be influential.
‘Stack a good-AR German with a 12 strength Italian division and you have something. ‘
The Air War:
“Beginning in February of ’41 the Axis rule the air for a good long time.
They receive a Bf 110, a Ju 88 and a Ju87d as “regular” reinforcements. And on February 1st they can detach some or all of the Fliegerkorps for use in Africa.
Some have a preference to detach the allocation of 4 planes that then gives a “0” modifier on the Malta table. Using the Luftwaffe in conjunction with the Italian air gives the Axis a big boost.
It can be done with little supply cost, compared especially to what it would take to fire artillery of equal strength. ” This is more good advice, and I hope to finally master the use of air in this game. It has a value here that is core to some portion of the game but is not so overwhelming as to take hours to allocate Sweeps!
“Also, don’t overlook the advantages to using Crete once the Greek Campaign ends.
Two other things. Shipping is very important to Axis success. You need to maximize every token. Benghazi is key for “cheap” coastal shipping.
Lastly, supply. The Axis will never be supply-rich. You need to recognize that and work around it.
Organize your shipping from Sicily of units and supply so that on the last turn of the month you have no supply in Tripoli, only units. And organize your shuttle of Axis trucks from Tobruk to Benghazi or Barce so that you build up depots near where you’ll need them.
Good organization does make a difference.”
Phew ok, lots to absorb here. I reviewed many of the locations mentioned. Part of me wants to ensure that I play ‘correctly’ and well. But I do not want to simply play a game where I follow every step of the way like a demo script. Over the next few days we will get some early play logged and posted to be discussed, and torn to bits.
As I read back over these three posts I think they are a nice compilation of thoughts and ideas from others that provide all of us with some insights into beginning larger gaming projects such as these. Thanks again CSW posters.