To Bremen or Not to Bremen…that is the Question: Turn 20 – 1941 Winter Allies

Guest Post: Christopher BGG ID: (OU_Sooner)

Initial Thoughts
Sometimes I feel like this game is more about who makes the most mistakes, and less about the die rolls. On the other hand, I’ve certainly seen games where a 4, 6 combo roll on a 2:1 attack completely changes the game. But, I’ve seen plenty of games too where someone clearly has the other player beat, but that someone makes a silly mistake and ends up losing the game. For examples of this, just see the Vicommte v. Rokeater session reports. If Vicommte hadn’t made a simple math calculation error then Germany wouldn’t have gotten a double turn and Vicommte never would have lost the game like he did. The game I’m talking about, and the math error in particular, are here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1544098/vicomte-vs-roke…. The math error is explained in the 6th post down in that post. In fact, Vicommte was winning that game, but the game turned on a silly math error and that kinda takes the fun away from things.

This game, on the other hand, hasn’t had that type of silly error. Sure, there have been some errors on both sides (probably more on my side) but nothing silly that ruins the game.

This turn is no different. As you’ll see below, I made a strategy error and I gave Yugoslavia to Germany for free. It cost me 10 BRPs and he got it for free.

I made this error because I spent a couple hours thinking of every possible Yugoslavian setup that I could think of and I didn’t see a way for Yugoslavia to setup and stop me from exploiting into Hungary and defeating the Hungarians. That would have cost the Axis vital units in the fight against Russia and, if it had worked, would have been worth it even though Germany would retake it right away. But, Paul is better at this game than I am and he setup in a way that thwarted my plan.

Also, as you saw the final German position last turn, I’ve got practically nothing to stop the Germans in Russia. I certainly have nothing to go on the offensive with. I’ve got to build up my defense in Russia immediately.

Start
DoW: Russia declares war on Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavian setup that stops me from killing Hungary.

I can explain why this stops me from killing Hungary. The rules about exploitation allow you to attack an empty hex and exploit, but not if the empty hex is adjacent to a unit. If I tried to loop around his forces (in the direction of hex W27) I can’t do that because my tanks don’t have enough movement points to go that far.

What if I tried to attack the infantry on Sarajevo at hex W28? I could do that, and that would be the breakthrough hex. But, my tanks only have 5 movement and that’s not enough to loop past the infantry next to Zagreb and into Budapest. I’d end one hex short.

I remember emailing Paul after I saw his setup and saying something to the effect of “you just saved Hungary from defeat” (or something similar). I was disappointed that I didn’t see that setup ahead of time. It seems so obvious now, but I just didn’t see it when I was planning my move.

Thus, I can’t get to Hungary. So, I’ve made a mistake that has cost me 10 BRPs for the DoW on Yugoslavia and is going to give him Yugoslavia later. I was going to take an offensive option anyway in order to take out Bulgaria, so I was spending the 15 on the offensive option in the med anyway.

Option Selections:
Russia takes an offensive on the med and west for 30 BRPs and attritions on the east.

I make another mistake for taking an offensive in the west.

Voluntary destruction of units: none

Movement
Russia moved a 9 fleet from Parnu to Leningrad. Germany did not attempt interception.

Supply fleets: none

My 1-3 German infantry at M37 moved to L37. I did that because there is nothing but air there and an Italian air base. That forced his air to be displaced, but it also forced his airbase back to Rome, which will cost him now to SR back. I basically am sacrificing 1 BRP worth of man in order to get his air base away from the front lines and in order to make him expend 1 SR later to send it back. My infantry was probably going to die anyway, so I figured I’d at least cost him something. He had two choices for retreat, either go to Warsaw, or go to Brest Litovsk. He chose to go to Brest Litovsk.

Meanwhile, I move forward with my units in Romania and the tanks too. I drop an airbase down on V31 so that I can counterair the Bulgarians, and Yugoslavians. Meanwhile, in Persia I move forward in order to try to liberate some of my units that are out of supply.

Persia looks like this:

Poland/Russia looks like this:

Yugoslavia looks like this:

The entire board looks like this after movement:

Missions
1-4 from V31 will counterair the bulgarians.
1-4 from V31 will counterair the hungarians.
3-4 from V31 will counterair the Yugoslavs

naval missions
both 9 factor fleets from Leningrad will embark the 2-3 there and go to Parnu where they will be joined by the 9 fleet there carrying the 2-3 from parnu. All 3 fleets will go together to land on the beach on Norway.

Germany did not attempt to intercept the Russian fleets. The axis flew no DAS.

Normal Combat
Russia’s attrition on the eastern front was on the 1-10 column and I rolled a 4 (no result).

counterair on Budapest. Russia rolled a 3, Bulgaria a 4 (before modifications). After modifications we got a tie and both sides lost 1 air.

countair on Sofia. Russia rolled a 6 and the Bulgarians a 2 (before modifications) resulting in 1 lost Bulgarian and zero Russians.

counterair of Yugoslav air. Russia rolled a 6, Yugoslavia a 4 (before modifications), resulting in the loss of both Yugoslavian air force perishing and 1 Russian

In Persia I needed to remove that Italian tank to get my guys back into supply.
Hex DD45: 2-5 Italian tank vs. all the Russians around it. 12 vs. 4. 3:1 odds. Rolled a 3 (CA) then a 6 (A). Italian tank dies and my guys are back in supply. 2-3 from DD44 and a 2-3 from CC45 advance after combat.

Belgrade battle. 3-3 + 3-5 + 2-3 = 8 vs. 2-3 (doubled to 4). 2:1. Rolled a 1 (EX). I lost both infantry and one tank takes Belgrade. Yugoslavia conquered.

Sofia battle. 3-5 x 3 + 3-3 = 12 vs. 2 (tripled to 6). 2:1. Rolled a 4 (CA 1-1), 5 (A). Bulgarians die with no Russian losses. One tank advances. Bulgaria conquered.

Since this is the last half of a winter turn, Germany will still get those 10 BRPs for Bulgaria, but if it does not recapture Sofia on the Spring turn, then Germany will lose 10 BRPs in Spring.

Hex T31. 3-3 U31 + 1-3 T32 = 4 vs. 1-3 (doubled to 2). 2:1. Rolled a 4 (CA 1-1), 2 (CA), 6(D). After several exchanges of mortar fire where neither side seems to get a score, eventually the Russian forces recalibrate their weapons and score a hit. The Hungarian infantry dies. The 3-3 advanced after combat.

Since the naval mission to intervene in Norway was unopposed the Russian forces automatically land. Russia has intervened in Norway and will get 10 BRPs at YSS for Norway.

Yugoslavia looks like this after combat:

Persia looks like this after combat:

Construction and SR
Russia constructs the 3-3 infantry and the 2-3 infantry it lost, plus all seven of the remaining 1-3 infantry on its scenario card. Russia also builds 2 air on Odessa to bring that unit up to 5.

I know that I don’t have any way to stop the Germans when they go first in Spring 1942. But, I want to dissuade them from attacking an empty hex around Moscow and then exploiting with all the German tanks into a stack of doom and taking out Moscow. So, the picture below might seem crazy, but I was trying to prevent Germany from getting Moscow.

Also, I know that the German infantry can only go 3 hexes at a time. I also know that I can build partisans behind his lines. If he is not careful he could end up having me build a couple of partisans and cutting off some of his units.

I also know that I have alternate sources of supply even if he does take Moscow. My tanks are in the Balkans and if he ignores them, then I could take out Hungary, and/or try to cut off his whole army by going through Warsaw and ending at Konigsberg. In other words, if Germany sent everything east he’d be in real danger of a lot of bad things happening. So, I expect what he will do is move forward with his infantry, but he’ll be forced to send all his panzers (or most of them) south to try to deal the Russian tanks that have been running free in the Balkans.

I SR a few units to Persia. Importantly, I took one tank out of the Balkans and sent it to Persia. I now have two tanks in Persia and I could potentially exploit. We’ll have to see how Italy finishes its turn. Maybe I’ll not be able to do anything, but the threat is there in case I need to use it next turn.

In Norway I have one Russian unit on the capital and the other move to D34. I was thinking I could block him from getting to Oslo right away. I was hoping I could make him take two offensive options to defeat Norway. That was my thinking anyway. Sometimes I make dumb mistakes. I forgot about sea transport and he has a tank on Copenhagen and one by Berlin. Those could move to Kiel and he could take out Norway in one turn. I wasn’t thinking straight.

The whole map looks like this after SR:

Final Thoughts
It was definitely a mistake to declare war on Yugoslavia. That cost me 10 BRPs. It was also a mistake to intervene in Norway. I thought I could force him to spend 30 BRPs in order to get 10 at the next YSS. I was wrong on both counts. Because I was wrong about Norway and Yugoslavia, I also spent 15 BRPs on an offensive in the west that was a total waste. Additionally, even though I’ll get those BRPs for Yugoslavia he will eventually either kill me through combat or attrition and take Yugoslavia without having to spend BRPs for a DoW himself. Also, I lost 5 BRPs worth of infantry on the attack to take Yugoslvia. A bunch of these small mistakes add up. It also doesn’t help that I roll big exchanges more than I should.

Germany has a lot of options on what to do, but she can’t ignore the Russian army in the Balkans. If I were Germany in the above situation the opportunity to take a lot of ground would be too tempting. I’d probably have my tanks march on Leningrad and/or Moscow and then SR infantry to catch up. I think Paul has enough units to still neutralize the Russian army in the Balkans.

Finally, even though the USA will declare war next turn, it won’t be able to do anything except try to invade on the Summer 42 turn and even then with only 4 units. So Germany has next turn with no threat from the west. Let’s see what happens next.

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