Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 3 (April 16 – 19, 1940)


The Allies Strike Back and Fall Flat on Their Faces

Wreckage of a Heinkel He-111H (click image to enlarge)

Wreckage of a Heinkel He-111H (click image to enlarge)

It’s been a long back and forth between the Axis and the Allies. Victory points gained by the Allies are quickly offset by losses.  An Me-110C and an He-111H are shot down near Trondheim, but the victories are cancelled out by the loss of a British CLA.

Yeah, I’m surprised the Blen-1F night fighter did a number on the Me-110Cs without any losses.

While the AA in Trondheim was not as effective as I had hoped, I still shot down a squadron of He-111Hs.

That leaves his strategic bomber force at four He-111Hs and nine Ju-88As.

Operations in the lower arctic (click image to enlarge)

Operations in the lower arctic (click image to enlarge)

I’ve said countless times that the Allies cannot go toe to toe with the Germans, so I have to pick my spots to attack. I have to pick my spot for the fight, and I’ve picked Trondheim.

After a couple of turns of gathering up my forces in a single area, the Norwegians have turned to fight. Trondheim is a pocket that the Germans are trying to reduce. The Allies, on the other hand, are trying to expand said pocket. The Germans, fearful of a pair of 2-4 mountain infantry battalions, hastily built an airfield on a frozen lake and rapidly flew troops into the area, so there are now two zones of Germans, those south of Trondheim, and those north of Trondheim, in the Namsos region. But the real threat is the supply that was flown in. There is now attack supply in the region.

Alan has been bombing my units, including my artillery and the HMKG battalion in order to prevent them from assisting in any attacks. While I may not be able to use them, or some of my tanks, I do have units I can use.

Allied movement and attacks, turn 3 (click image to enlarge)

Allied movement and attacks, turn 3 (click image to enlarge)

To cover Trondheim, the British 146th Infantry Brigade has landed in the city, and both naval interdiction counters have been recalled to Trondheim to lend AA support.

The HMS Furious, which had arrived on turn 2 to lend support has been withdrawn, leaving a pair of Swordfish torpedo bombers behind at Hatston Field.

Since the Germans have no ships in this game, I’m really not sure what to do with these torpedo bombers. I can’t put them on anti-shipping patrol, much as I might like to, but can I use them as normal tactical bombers? If not, their presence seems kind of useless.

There were two combats in the Trondheim region. One is down the valley a little ways as the Allies attempt to open a corridor to allow the Norwegian tanks to escape to the Trondheim region. The other is to the east of 13th regiment mobilization center, as the Allies attempt to push out of the pocket created by the Germans. The second attack is not as good of odds as the attack in the western valley, but still decent odds.

Unfortunately, neither attack went as planned. The German battalion blocking my tanks in the valley fought the British to a standstill, ending the combat with a “No Effect”. The tanks remain trapped in the valley with nowhere to go.

The attack to the north of Trondheim went a little better, with the British and Norwegians forcing the Germans to retreat. The silver lining to the cloud is that the other two battalions have been cut off from their attack supply for the moment. After a bit of discussion over “tanks” (will address more later), it was decided to remove the “armored cavalry” battalion from the equation (which is probably the correct move) and change the odds to 3:1. This results in a Half Exchange (HX), eliminating the German battalion, but killing the Norwegian II/13 mountain infantry battalion in the process. The Allies score +1 victory point. The Allies now have a total of +22 VPs.

Norwegian operations in southern Norway (click image to enlarge)

Norwegian operations in southern Norway (click image to enlarge)

In the south, the Norwegians are abandoning the defense of the 8th regimental mobilization center, as the entire regiment has now been mobilized. Since the Germans were attempting to encircle them, the order was given to abandon Evje and escape to the mountains, which is much more defensible terrain. The 2nd motorcycle company was ordered to stay behind and play the role of a speedbump, since they can’t go into the mountains. Two groups split off, one heading east and the other west.

The I/8 mountain infantry battalion holds its ground at the 7th regiment mobilization center, awaiting the 7th regiment to get their butts into gear and assemble.

The British bomb Kjevik airfield (outside Kristiansand) at night again, in two waves. The wave from Bomber Command is pretty weak, considering the distance involved. Unfortunately, the bomber runs were not able to repeat their earlier success, and the airbase remains open.

Allied movement in the upper arctic, turn 3 (click image to enlarge)

Allied movement in the upper arctic, turn 3 (click image to enlarge)

In Fortress Narvik, the French 5th Mountain Infantry Regiment has made landfall at the port of Narvik itself, and has established a supply base. A battalion of Royal Marines has also landed at Harstad and will defend that port. A little bit of a shuffle is going on to get the I/12 mountain infantry battalion out of its garrison at the port of Alta and moved somewhere it can be of more use.

Overall, at this stage of the game, I think I am in pretty good shape. I have +21 victory points, not enough for an Allied victory, but a start. Trondheim looks to be in good shape for now, but the Germans are coming. Bergen is still holding out.

Unfortunately, last turns successes were balanced out by lesser success and abject failure this turn. The armored cavalry down the valley will most certainly be attacked this turn. Maybe. We’ll see.

I have considered landing British troops at Bergen, but I don’t have the AA capability to defend a supply base there. It is all committed to Trondheim.

The recent combats have spawned a discussion between Alan and myself over the terms “tanks” and “armored cavalry”.

As with many things in the rulebook, this is somewhat ambiguous. The rules say that there are no limits to the number of tank units that may stack in a hex. In all other games, the term “armored cavalry and “light tanks” used the same symbology, therefore, to me, they were effectively the same thing.

When one says “armored cavalry”, I picture  men on horses wearing armor, be it the rider or the horse. Or both.

The Norwegians had light tanks, or did they have a single tank?

Or did they have none? According to a couple of sources, their “armor” and combat/motorized status came from the fact that a battalion had a truck or two to move their heavier equipment around.

The Storm Over Scandinavia update has eliminated the “armored cavalry” and replaced them with regular cavalry units, which may be closer to the reality.

Being one who doesn’t have the TO&E for every unit in the world memorized (and really not interested in it), all I know is what I take from the game. I’m more interested in the campaigns themselves, not whether Norway had a single tank or none. For good, bad or indifferent, I would assume that a unit with a light armor symbol on it means it has tanks, and can stack freely.

I’m in it for the gameplay, not the discussions over what’s better, the 88 with a low muzzle velocity or a 76 with a high muzzle velocity.

Unfortunately, some of the rules leave a lot to be desired, but we will work through it like we always do.

However, this is starting to make me want to break out Storm Over Scandinavia and check out the differences.

A quick note about the German turn 2 post. I misidentified the He-111H as a JU-88A (since corrected), and was quickly chastised by Alan about it. I should have known better. I was comparing his picture to photos I was finding on the web, I concluded, incorrectly, that the plane going down was a Ju-88. I completely missed the clipped tail in the picture. However, while I may not know the caliber of a British 12 pounder, this is something I should have known. If I had access to my combat aircraft book instead of the internet, I wouldn’t have made that mistake.

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