To Bremen or Not to Bremen…that is the question: Turn 1 – 1939 Fall Axis

This is a guest post series that will likely be one of the longest running series of guest posts we have done, Christopher BGG ID: (OU_Sooner) does a super job. But let me get out of the way, read on – Chris begins;

First let me say that rokeater (Paul) is an awesome player.

I hope you’ll find this session report interesting. The outcome of the war hinges on whether or not the allies should risk a bold plan to invade Bremen in Fall 1939. Obviously, this opportunity is not available in every game. The German might end his turn with a 9 factor fleet and some air on Bremen. If he does, then this is not even a possibility. But if he does not…well you’ve got some really tough decisions to make on turn 1 that will decide the outcome of the game.

Here’s the initial setup.

I noticed I forgot to expand the counters on Breslau. There is a 3-3 German infantry there and the 5-4 air is on top of the infantry.

French setup
I don’t know what I was thinking with France. I saw the Italian tank on the border between France and Italy and I remember thinking, “okay I’ve got to make sure I fill the gap (or for you Brits –mind the gap–) so Italy won’t just attrition me and encircle my army down in southern France immediately.” I got distracted and for some reason when I came back I left the gap open down south. Oops. I know better than to setup like that. I even authored a popular post on these forums about how to setup France. See https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1487364/defending-franc… I apparently wasn’t thinking when I setup France this time.

Start
Italy declared war on France. No surprise there due to my setup. Axis attrition in the west, attrition in the med, and offensive in the east.

Moves & Combat
Rokeater does his usual attack on Poland that minimizes his risk of losses and sets up Poland for defeat on the 1939 Axis Winter turn. He wins the 5:1 attacks in Poland and has tanks on both sides of Warsaw. All the Polish men will be out of supply except the air and the guys on the capital. They will die on the Allied turn and then normally Rokeater will attrition Poland in Winter 1939 and then sea transport a tank from Kiel to Germany and move it 6 spaces onto the empty Warsaw. That’s what he does and it works brilliantly.

Paul is too good a player to not figure out if he can safely declare war with Italy and defend it from being defeated. He obviously realizes he can defend Italy and he’s started that already during his movement phase by putting air power that was not needed in Poland down in Italy. With the French isolated, even if France kills that Italian tank and frees the infantry in the Alps, that would be turn 1 of an allied two turn potential move. Italy can properly defend itself from a northern invasion even though Italy can only spend 2 BRPs this turn on builds.

The Italians, fresh off their declaration of war, take some real estate in Egypt. They also send some guys north into Tunisia presumably in order to launch an assault on the sparsely defended French colony in Winter. Or the axis might just attrition in Winter.

At the end of movement it looks like this:

 

 

Germany won both 5:1 battles in Poland without taking any losses.
Axis rolled a 1 on attrition in the west so France lost the replacement counters.

At the end of combat it looks like this:

 

You may have noticed that when Germany advanced east of Warsaw that he left an infantry unit on the wrong side of the partition line. It must be a mistake. It was. Things were not looking good in France for the Allies. However, there was hope for the allies. Germany’s violation of the Soviet-Nazi partition of Poland allowed Russia to declare war (she did) and Russian tanks occupied Berlin in Winter 1939 with the entire German army out of supply (except that part in Italy). The allies won. So we reset, assumed Rokeater advanced with the correct infantry unit, and continued on.

I want to point out something else about the hexes, because this becomes vitally important in a later turn. It was one thing that made the difference between Germany dying and surviving. Do you see that control marker on Danzig in the Polish port? Okay, Germany did not actually connect Konigsberg directly to Berlin. The rules say that once Konigsberg establishes a normal land supply line that Konigsberg (Durazzo does the same for Italy) loses its supply source status. This was important later. Even on the reset where Germany did not violate the partition of Poland I would have beaten Rokeater in Winter 1939 if he had taken even one more hex in Poland and ended Konigsberg’s supply status. I’ll show why in a later session report.

As expected, Paul’s defense of Italy is adequate. Italy builds a 2-3 infantry. Germany builds a mix of 9 infantry, 4 tanks, 1 paratrooper, and 7 RCs. Germany ends with 75 BRPs, Italy with 38. For a total of 113. The BRP total is important later.

Axis looks like this after construction and SR:

Note: In order to see the unit stacks I moved the fleets on Kiel and the one 4-6 tank there east one hex for the picture. They are actually on Kiel.

Next, the Allies will have to decide if they can salvage what looks to be a blunder due to the messed up setup in southern France.

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