Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 2 (April 12 – April 15, 1940)
The Allies had a fairly productive German turn.
The Orzel was very active, taking out an infantry battalion and a supply depot as they sailed to Norway (+3 VP).
The ring of Germans are trying to close in on the Trondheim area. He is attempting to reach the airfield, but he will won’t make it. I have reinforcements speeding to the area. His mountain artillery has taken position near the mouth of the valley leading to Trondheim while three battalions of infantry move in from the north.
Alan knows his position here is weak right now, so he is sending a few squadrons of bombers over the area, trying to blanket it with bombs and break down the cohesion of the units here. Unfortunately, the Allied air forces are severely lacking. What I wouldn’t give for a Spitfire or two.
After careful judgement, I decide to send Skuas to intercept some of the bombers (the Blenheim is barely out of range, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, except that I might still have a Skua alive), and manage to take a squadron of Ju-88As down, but paid for that squadron with two of its own. The Skua is supposed to be a fighter, but it isn’t good at that role, and it is even worse at the bomber role. I would almost prefer a Swordfish.
That was +1 for the bomber kill, but -4 for the air losses, for a net total of (-3) VP, which effectively cancels the +3 VP for anti-shipping successes.
But the Norwegians had more success in Oslo. Forces in the city took out an entire battalion before surrendering to the German hordes. Actually, more than I expected. +1 VP.
Southeastern Norway has been conquered for all intents and purposes, but not southwestern Norway, or the Bergen area. The 7th regiment mobilization center still holds out, as does the 8th regimental mobilization center. However, I need to consider whether the 8th MC is worth holding onto, because it is down to a single 1-3 infantry battalion. Not much, but a battalion that can be thrown into the path of the advancing German hordes to slow them down, if we can get out of this valley alive. The 3rd X HQ and the motorcycle company are effectively trapped in this valley, considering that they can’t head into the mountains like the other units can. I’m not sure if I agree with motorcycles being unable to enter the mountains or not. It seems to me they should be able to, but the argument was made that they may be able to, but their supply trucks (with their gasoline) can’t.
Bomber Command has decided to focus its attention on airfields. The aircraft, stationed in London, have to fly at extended range, and at night to prevent the Germans from intercepting them. This plays havoc with their bombing factors, but they fly over Kjevik (Kristiansand airfield) undetected and unload on the airfield, while another small group flies from Bergen to the same target, dropping their bombs, and, with the help of Bomber Command, succeed in shutting down the airfield, trapping three squadrons of He-111H bombers. Major success for the RAF, if only temporary (by this time next turn, one of the hits comes off and the airfield reopens).
The British land the 24th Guards and 148th infantry brigades in Trondheim to bolster the Norwegian defense of the area, and establish a supply base. Can Trondheim hold out, ultimately? Probably not, but I’m not attempting to hold out indefinitely. I need to delay him, make it so that he doesn’t have enough time to break into the fortress. He’s got 13 turns left (52 days) to get to the arctic and get near Narvik.
The HMKG battalion and the 2nd light armored battalion have to fight their way up the valley towards Trondheim. A brigade comes out of Trondheim and destroys a German 1-5 mountain artillery battery, while the HMKG battalion and tanks attack a German infantry battalion, but the Germans stalemate the Norwegians. The way to the north is open, if the Norwegians can fight through to it before the Germans close it off.
On post turn reflection, I should have strung those 0-4 HQ units into a longer tail. They wouldn’t be more than a mere speed bump to the Germans, but they would have forced him off the trains and onto the roads, slowing him down further. Norway sure has a lot of trains.
Just to the north, the Germans are attempting to close the ring around Trondheim in order to prevent the Allies from escaping to the north. However, the units to the north of Trondheim can’t effectively attack, due to a lack of attack supply.
Supply is perhaps the biggest hindrance to any German operation. Alan keeps shipping it, and the Orzel keeps sinking it. Which is good for me. So far, only about half of his supply has been making it to Norway. Right now, he has enough for a couple of turns of operations, but this causes me to not have much concern about the units to my north at the moment. I know that he intends on getting supply to the area, but until then, the southwest is where my attention is.
I apologize that these photos get a little blurrier the further away from the area that I am photographing is. I finally got it to start taking some decently clear pictures, and then this. =)
The 14th mountain infantry regiment begins to march south from its mobilization center near Mo. What its true purpose is, I won’t reveal here. There seems to be a mole reading my communications.
I need to blow open a gap in the German line to perhaps let the defenders of Trondheim escape, if they need to. My opponent is right, heavier troops are on the way to Trondheim. I harbor no illusions about holding Trondheim during the end of the game, but I need to delay in this area as long as I possibly can. But the bottle neck works both ways. It keeps him out, but it also keeps me hemmed in, with the potential for overstacks caused by combat, which can create all sorts of problems if I am not careful.
In the north, in Fortress Narvik, Harstad is the final port to get closed, then the Germans not only have to ship units to the arctic and perform an opposed landing in order to grab a port, which is difficult to do to begin with, but the French are landing in Narvik next turn.
Like Alan really didn’t know where the French were going to land. It is now time to start pouring Allied troops into Fortress Narvik and prepare for the coming German onslaught.