Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik PBEM: The German Strategy


Now that I have a couple of games of Narvik under my belt, I’ve seen some things that work well, and others that don’t work quite so well. Europa Association member Alan Tibbetts has challenged me to a game, and I’ve been tasked with playing the side of the Germans in a play by email game of Narvik, so I need to develop not just an invasion strategy, but an overall strategy.

No plan ever survives contact with the enemy.

He will probably read this, but he won’t be able to stop me (muah-haha!).

Here are the forces I have available for the initial invasion. For those who don’t know military nomenclature, here is primer on military nomenclature, and how to read the counters:

If a ground unit has two numbers (i.e. a 9-4 artillery unit), the first number is the combat strength (attack and defense strength are equal), and the second number is the number of movement points available per turn. A unit is not required to expend movement points. Three numbers (i.e., a 3-4-5 light armor battalion) means attack strength, defense strength, movement.

If a symbol has a number to the left, that’s the divisional identification, and the number on the right is the brigade/regiment/battalion identification.

XX = Division

X = Brigade

III = Regiment

II = Battalion

I = Company or Battery

… = platoon (the British send a platoon of tanks during the mid-game)

Flag on the counter denotes divisional HQ

3rd Mountain Infantry XX

  • 1 x 1-4 XX HQ
  • 2 x 9-5 III
  • 1 x 9-4 mountain artillery III

69th Infantry XX

  • 1 x 1-4 XX HQ
  • 3 x 9-4 III
  • 1 x 14-4 artillery III

163rd Infantry XX

  • 1 x 1-3 XX HQ
  • 3 x 6-4 III
  • 1 x 9-4 artillery III

181st Infantry XX

  • 1 x 1-3 XX HQ
  • 2 x 6-4 III
  • 1 x 4-4 III
  • 1 x 9-4 artillery III

196th Infantry XX

  • 1 x 1-3 XX HQ
  • 3 x 6-4 III
  • 1 x 9-4 artillery III

214th Infantry  XX

  • 1 x 1-4 XX HQ
  • 3 x 9-4 III
  • 1 x 14-4 artillery III

Sundry units

  • 3 x 1-3 airborne I
  • 3 x 3-4 light AA II
  • 6 x 2-1-4 artillery I
  • 18 x Ju-52 transports (range 25 hexes)
  • 3 x Ju-52 transports (Luftwaffe; only transports that can carry out airborne drops) (range 25 hexes)
  • 1 x Ju-52 floatplane transport (Kriegsmarine) (range 25 hexes)
  • 3 x He-115 floatplane transports (Kriegsmarine) (range 40 hexes)
  • 4 x Ju-88A bombers (3 tactical, 5 strategic bombing strengths, range 40 hexes)
  • 6 x He-111H bombers (2 tactical, 5 strategic bombing strengths, range 22 hexes)
  • 3 x Me-110C fighter-bombers (3 tactical, 2 strategic bombing strengths, range 16 hexes)

I am going to try something different this time, after all, it’s just a game, right?

The Germans can ship 15 battalions, or five regiments in the invasion wave.

I was sent a link to an online dice roller program, and did a test run for Allied anti-shipping on the invasion turn (where the Germans are sunk only on a roll of 6, no matter where they land), for the cities of Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansand and Oslo, and got the results: 6, 6, 4, 6. If I get rolls like that when the game starts, the Germans are screwed. =D

I have chosen 5 landing sites:

Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, and Trondheim.

Why these 5? Each of these cities is near one or more airfields, which the Luftwaffe definitely needs. It provides a place for both bombing raids and transporting troops by air, while denying them to the Allies.

Why not Narvik?

My experience has shown that taking Narvik isn’t the issue, it’s holding it, so I am going to try moving up the spine to capture it.

How much defense is in each of these cities? This is the initial defense factors, assuming none of the Norwegians retreat.

Oslo: 5; HMKG II will not retreat, meaning at least 4 points of defense will be present; -2 die roll modifier for city

Kristiansand: 3

Stavanger: 3

Bergen: 4

Trondheim: 4

The Attack Plan:

German Invasion Plan of south Norway - part 1 (click image to enlarge)

German Invasion Plan of south Norway – part 1 [for this game, the Norwgian Gladiator is on the West Oslo airfield, not the north] (click image to enlarge)

Oslo

1 x 9-4 infantry III/69th XX to land at the city

1 x 1-3 airborne I to drop on West Oslo airfield, followed by 6 x Ju-52s carrying 2 x  3-4 II (69th infantry). One battalion moves to Oslo, while the other protects the airfield.

4 x Ju-88A bombers to bomb the HMKG II in an attempt to disrupt it. (12 tactical bombing factors at a range of 25 hexes)

With any luck, the HMKG will be forced to retreat so the trucks can be captured.

6 x Ju-52 at the airfield, return flight turn 2.

Kristiansand

1 x 6-4 regiment/163rd XX to land at the city

1 x airborne I to air drop on Kristiansand airfield

6 x Ju-52s to land at Kristiansand airfield carrying 2 x 2 -4 battalions (163rd); one battalion and the airborne company move into Kristiansand to support the attack.

3 x He-115s air drop supply on the airfield

6 x Ju-52 at airfield, return flight turn 2.

6 x He-111H bombers bomb units in Kristiansand (12 tactical bombing factors)

German invasion plan for southern Norway, part 2 (click image to enlarge)

German invasion plan for southern Norway, part 2 (click image to enlarge)

Stavanger

1 x 6-4 III/196th XX lands at Stavanger

1 x airborne I drops and captures Sola Air Station (airfield outside Stavanger)

6 x Ju-52s fly in 2 x 2-4 II to Sola Air Station (196th XX)

Airborne I & 1 x 2-4 II moves into Stavanger to support the attack, while the other battalion guards the airfield

6 x Ju-52 at Sola Air Station, return flight turn 2

3 x Me-110C flying at extended range bombs units in Stavanger (range of 27 hexes, 3 tactical bombing factors)

Bergen

1 x 9-4 infantry III/214th XX lands at Bergen and captures trucks.

German invasion of Trondheim (click image to enlarge)

German invasion of Trondheim (click image to enlarge)

Trondheim

1 x 9-4 mountain infantry III (138th mountain infantry III/3rd mountain XX) lands at Trondheim.

Now comes the follow up wave, which lands in the exploitation phase and cannot move during this turn. The Germans can ship 14 battalions.

Priority #1 is Trondheim, but it is too dangerous to ship anything there directly.

139th III and the 9-5 artillery III are to land at Fredrikstad, with the goal of riding the rails to Trondheim as quick as they can.

As an aside, the rules say that a unit can entrain at the cost of a single movement point, or, if they start the phase astride a rail line, they do not have to pay that cost.

Panoramic view of German invasion plan (click image to enlarge)

Panoramic view of German invasion plan (click image to enlarge)

When moving by rail, each hex costs 1/4 movement point; so a unit with a movement rate of 3 can move 12 hexes, movement rate of 4, 16 hexes, and a movement rate of 5, 20 hexes. I don’t see how a unit being able to move faster than another can make the trains run faster. *shrugs*

The battalions that were not transported by air to Kristiansand and Stavanger (from the 163rd and 196th divisions) will land at their respective ports.

1 x 9-4 infantry III (69th XX) will land at Larvik, while 1 x 9-4 infantry III (214th) will land at Horten and rail to Bergen as quickly as possible.

In addition to all of this, 7 battalions have to be staged for shipping to Norway.

This is fairly easy.

The 14-4 artillery III from the 69th XX, and three battalions from the 14-4 artillery III of the 214th XX, that is, 1 x 4-4 artillery II and 2 x 3-4 artillery II. Each regiment is 4 battalions in size. The final artillery battalion will be staged on turn 2.

That’s pretty much the German plan for now. The idea is to sweep south Norway clear of the Allies/Norwegians as quickly as possible, to leave as much time as possible for the drive to the arctic. I’ve been wanting to try this out for awhile. We’ll see how it works.

Alan is setting up on his end, and I will be posting as soon as we get started. While I don’t know definitively what his plan is, I think I have a general idea based on things he’s said previously. I’m sure he has a trick or two up his sleeve.

Anyway, Mr. Tibbetts needs some time to set up and refresh on the rules, so I don’t know when we will start. Hopefully he will send me some commentary to his thought process as he attempts to guide the Allies to victory. If he does, I will certainly pass it on and post it here.

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2 thoughts on “Narvik PBEM: The German Strategy

  1. Mike Phoenix on said:

    Excellent and most interesting. The detailed description of everything with great graphic follow up is terrific. Have to agree with you *shrug* the RR move rating make about zero sense. Can you afford an aside re: To dangerous to move troops to Trondhiem in the turn 1 exploitation move?

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    • Only combat/motorized units can move during the exploitation phase. The units landing in the follow up wave can land, but can’t move until the next turn. The rest of the 3rd mountain division is landing in the follow up wave, and are tasked to move to Trondheim as soon as Oslo is cleared.

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