Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 1 (April 9 – 11, 1940)

The latest German additions to Davy Jones' Locker. Note the 9-4 regiment (click image to enlarge)

The latest German additions to Davy Jones’ Locker. Note the 9-4 regiment to the right of the pile (click image to enlarge)

Before I start, I want to say that I am jealous of Alan’s camera. Mine sucks.

The Germans have decided to no longer wait for the British to make a move, and have taken matters into their own hands. We had promised them that the British would not be able to mine our waters, and that they would get their precious iron ore, but after the British foolishly boarded one of their ships to rescue prisoners, they decided that we needed to be punished.

However, the above picture is just to remind him that the Royal Navy is out there. Watching him.

Polish submarine ORP Orzeł in Rosyth in e...

Polish submarine ORP Orzeł in Rosyth in early 1940. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So is the Polish submarine Orzel.

Following the end of the German turn, the Allies have accumulated 14 VPs. What Alan isn’t saying is that the Allied naval forces were pretty active, and sunk a lot of his units. Half of his follow up wave was sent to the ocean floor.

The initial German invasion was chock full of surprises. Not taking Narvik was not a surprise, but not taking Trondheim or Bergen were. Bergen is out of the way, but still pretty vital, considering the airfield that is in the same hex, and the Allies will take advantage of this airfield. And Trondheim. What can I say about Trondheim? From the past few games that I’ve started (and stopped), Trondheim, in my opinion, is perhaps the most vital of all the ports, because it is the choke point that slows down all advances to the north.

Since the Germans have chosen to forego a landing at Narvik, task #1 for the Allies is to create Fortress Narvik. Narvik, Harstad, Tromso and Alta have to be secured against invasion. It shouldn’t take much, provided that the Royal Navy is pretty strong in this area, so not much will get through. Any opposed landing would be tantamount to suicide.

Allied turn 1 -south (click image to enlarge)

Allied turn 1 -south (click image to enlarge)

The 1st battalion of the 3rd infantry regiment, stationed in Kristiansand, was dazed and confused, and near panic after being bombed, shot at, and watching German transports approach the harbor backed out of the city, but their officers got them back under control and marched them to Evje in order to protect the 8th Regiment mobilization center. They are joined there by the 2nd motorcycle gang.

Alan’s right, I could have raced east with the Hell’s Angels and recaptured the artillery stores and kept the artillery out of their hands. I thought about it and debated it in my head, and decided that the defenses of the mobilization center was more important. There are times in this game where a single combat factor can make all the difference.

(For the record, this photo shows a single bomb hit on the rail line to Bergen, while Alan’s shows 2 hits. It should be a single hit)

However, by not making the run for the mobilization center conceded the artillery to the Germans. Reflecting on it, post turn, I should have rescued the artillery just to keep it out of German hands.

The entirety of the Norwegian turn is to gather troops up and defend what important points can be defended. Troops are recalled to Trondheim, while Norwegian troops await the arrival of the Royal Air Force. Less than 100 air units arrive at Bergen, but are almost intercepted as Me-110C fighters on patrol approach the city. The sight of the mighty Skua fighter bombers makes them think twice about attacking the inbound aircraft.

Either that, or they were laughing so hard their goggles were filling with tears and they couldn’t see.

A Royal Air Force Armstrong Whitworth Whitley ...

A Royal Air Force Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber in flight, circa 1940. Has there ever been an uglier bomber? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Norwegians are disappointed that the RAF only saw fit to send a bunch of biplanes and a converted bomber.

Oh, they sent some Whitleys and Wellingtons as well.

But Skuas? That must have been a bean counter move.

“Well, we really can’t afford to waste the fuel for Hurricanes or Spitfires in Norway, especially since they will probably be shot down anyway. But we have these spiffy Skua fighter bombers, and this plane here that used to be a bomber!”

The Norwegians are beginning to suspect that they are going to get screwed, not just by the Germans, but by their “allies” as well.

It was a little risky flying those planes into Bergen, but I can’t leave them at Hatston Field where they are completely impotent. I had to bring them to Norway, where they are only mostly impotent. But I do have the advantage of flying at night.

All troops in the Trondheim area gather in Trondheim. It is apparent that the Germans are trying to deny ports to the Allies, while trying to isolate Trondheim. My opponents view is that Trondheim is difficult to defend. My take is that Trondheim is probably the second strongest place for the Allies to defend.

It’s on the sea, it’s in a forest, and near the mountains. It controls the transportation net that leads north, and there is an airfield nearby.

Allied turn 1 - Trondheim region

Allied turn 1 – Trondheim region

My opponent says that Trondheim is within fighter and bomber range of Oslo, and he is correct, it is.

He also grandiosely states that any Allied supply base established there won’t last for long. That may be true, but after my experience in my last solitaire game, and having someone point out to me how to use the CLAs, I think that mission is very a high risk mission.

But let him come. If he wants to come and watch the “Flames over Trondheim” fireworks show, he is more than welcome to come.

Granted, I won’t get every single plane that he flies over, but I do have the chance to whittle down the Luftwaffe a bit.

I’m not sure if I am going to land the British at Bergen, Trondheim, or both.

Or neither. I may just land them in the frozen north and try to hold out there. Even now, the Norwegians are moving to reinforce the ports and keep the nasty Germans out.

Fortress Narvik (click image to enlarge)

Fortress Narvik (click image to enlarge)

But I just can’t flee from the south. I have to hold them up as much as I can down there, which means Trondheim must hold out as long as possible.

The Germans landed at Namsos and at Andalsnes, effectively bracketing the Norwegians at Trondheim. The regiment to the north poses no major threat yet, as they lack supplies. The troops to the south, at Andalsnes, are a ways away, and very scattered. Trondheim is a mountainous, wildly forested area, and I can use the terrain to my advantage. I imagine he will make some sort of attempt to skirt around me through the mountains.

The fight will occur at Trondheim. It holds the best terrain for defense. My troops will do their best to hold the area as long as possible.

In the south, not many troops were left behind in Oslo. They are meant to be a speed bump, not a vigorous defense of the city. It would be nice if they can take some Germans with them, but they were left to slow the advance for a turn or two.

The British have sent 6 squadrons of aircraft to Bergen, but, as stated before, the RAF is overmatched by the Luftwaffe. Interception in most cases is out of the question.

It’s also interesting to note that the Germans have not landed any mountain troops, beyond artillery. It makes me nervous what he is planning to do with them.


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4 thoughts on “Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 1 (April 9 – 11, 1940)

  1. Stephen on said:

    If you want a REALLY ugly bomber, try the Potez 540


  2. Mike Phoenix on said:

    So, can you discuss just how effective the CLA’s are in the AAA role? How do they match up on the combat results table when you have 1 or 2 or more in a hex?


  3. Obviously, the more AA you can stuff into a hex, the more effective it is, but there is a caveat. Since the rules for this game are nowhere near the standardized Europa rules (which has probably been contributing to a lot of the rule screw ups), the air to air combat and antiaircraft fire are completely different from the standard rules.

    How effective AA fire is is actually, in part, influenced by the number of bombers flying overhead. The more bombers there are, the less effective AA is. That seems to be counter intuitive to me, as it seems to me that AA should be more effective if there are swarms of bombers overhead. Alas, it isn’t.

    Let’s take Trondheim as an example. I have 27 points of AA in the hex, 25 from the CLAs and 2 from land batteries. If the German player were to fly a single Ju-88 overhead, (with a defense factor of 4), it would get shot down. Now, if my opponent were to send 5 squadrons of Ju-88s overhead, (each with a defense factor of 4, for a total of 20 defense factors), that would drop the odds to 1:1, and there would only be a 50% chance of anything being shot down.

    The whole point is to discourage my opponent from targeting my supply bases, but I honestly don’t think that will stop him.

    If this were standard Europa, however, his bombing wave, no matter what the size is, would get chewed up.


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