Narvik PBEM: German Turn 4 (April 20 – 23, 1940)
The Trondheim Kessel
The British Army has committed 3 full Brigades to the defense of Trondheim. Thank you British Army! In their last turn the 24th Guards Bde ventured forth to create an escape route for Norwegian forces fleeing from Oslo. Now this Bde finds itself in a mini-pocket, within the Trondheim Kessel. It may be able to fight its way out, but it cannot make its way back to the port of Trondheim. Instead it will have to attack a German Bn in a mountain hex (-2 DRM). Unfortunately the Luftwaffe was unable to place any disruption hits on the British (in which case those units would not be able to enter an enemy occupied hex). German planes did manage to put 2 hits on the British supply base in Trondheim. One more hit and it is knocked out. Without a supply depot the British will not be able to attack (no attack supply), and another supply base cannot be placed in Trondheim. It should be noted that the French landed their mountain brigade at Narvik, where they are safe from any immediate harm.
German Infantry and Mountain troops finished off the Norwegian 2-3-5 Lt Armored Bn trying to get to Trondheim, leaving the King’s Guard Bn as the sole survivor from southern Norway that headed north.
There are 2 important and one minor target in the Trondheim Kessel – the port itself, the airbase and lastly, Mobilization Center 13.
To the north and east of Trondheim another 3-4 AA Bn is airlifted to the 3-cap frozen lake airfield east of Namsos. A 2-4 Inf Bn and a 2-1-4 Art Btry make it in to Namsos and the blocking position looks secure. Meanwhile another 2-1-4 Art Btry lands at Mo and advances ½ its movement allowance to capture the British 1-cap frozen lake airfield and Mobilization Center 14. To add insult to injury the Blen 1F night fighter (the best fighter the Allies have) failed its escape roll and ends up in the dead pile. Allied troops must start paying more attention to rear-area security or costly embarrassments will continue. The Germans were extremely lucky with landing dice this turn– every unit made it past the Royal Navy. This good luck will not hold, but we’ll take what we can get.
Not wanting the Allies to set up another base of operations at Mo, three squadrons of Ju88s bombed the port, landing 2 hits. Once a port sustains 3 hits it cannot host a supply base, and without a source of supply Anglo-French troops cannot attack. The road to Narvik is starting to look open.
In southwestern Norway German troops have been unable to bring the slippery Norwegians Infantry to battle. A Motorcycle Co was cornered in Evje but a No Effects result allows them to live for another turn. Unfortunately, they have a path out of the city and will no doubt make a hasty departure. Not to worry, sufficient troops are at hand and there is ample time to deal with the remaining Norwegian units. A 3-4 Arty Bn was sent to Stavanger to ensure it remains in German hands. The Norwegians have several options, but ultimately pose no real threat.
Now that the Kristiansand airbase is no longer suppressed several squadrons of Stukas and Me109Es arrive from Denmark. These will help make short work of Norwegian holdouts.
At Oslo 2 supply depots and three battalions of artillery arrive by naval transport. The 3rd Mtn XX is fully committed this turn when the 138th Mtn Rgt (9-5) and a Mtn arty Bn are airlifted to Oslo-West. The Division HQ arrives at Andalsnes via floatplanes where it is met by truck which move it toward the front during exploitation.
Germany can now stage 14 battalion equivalents per turn, the question is how much risk to assume in shipping them north of the Oslo area. If landed in Oslo they will consume an entire turn getting to within reach of Trondheim, on the other hand risk goes up exponentially the further north they are shipped and we cannot rely on favorable dice.