Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 5 (April 24 – April 27, 1940)
I installed a new light over my gaming table over the weekend. I had been using a pair of worklights down in this dark, dank corner of the dungeon, but they get hot and I would burn myself on them. I was starting to get some clearer pictures, but with the new light, I need to learn the angle at which I can take clear pictures without glare from the counters. It will be a work in progress.
Current Allied VP: +22
Supplies? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Supplies!
Southern Norway has pretty much been conquered by the Germans. Only Bergen continues to hold out, but I’m sure it will be on the menu shortly. There is still a single brigade fleeing towards Haugesund. I still can’t believe that my opponent bit on the weaker units fleeing east rather than the stronger brigade that posed the greater threat.
Mobilization center 7 fell without a single battalion from the 7th regiment mobilizing. I think this is the first game that a battalion from that regiment has not mobilized. Mobilization rolls at this point are pretty much a formality. There is no more help from the Norwegian army. Two out of three battalions (6 & 13th) mobilized and were captured. The third battalion (the 14th) had already reached full mobilization, so no more can appear.
British bombers from Bomber Command and Bergen attempt to shut down Sola Air Station by night, but are only able to achieve a single hit.
In Trondheim, my opponent is assuming two things.
1. That I sense danger. I don’t sense danger. I’m too dumb to sense danger. Have I reduced the pocket because I sense danger? No! I’m reducing the pocket because it is all part of the plan. I can show you in my notes where it says : Turn 5: Reduce Trondheim pocket. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
2. The Allies need to be supplied. We don’t need no stinking supplies! He actually solved a conundrum for my by destroying the supply base in Trondheim. I don’t have to worry about him capturing supplies now. Thank you, Germans!
The British 148th Infantry Brigade is picked up from Trondheim and moved to Mo, the next choke point on the road to Narvik. With them goes the 21st AA Battery from the Royal Navy. I should move the 21st on to Bodo to help protect the supply base, though.
The 24th Guards Infantry Brigade descends from the mountains to take up station in Trondheim, along with the Norwegian Group Dahl. There is a little shuffling that occurs, as the Torkildsen Battalion moves to the Trondheim airfield to defend it. The 3rd Armored Cavalry battalion is moved into Trondheim and attached to Group Dahl.
In Trondheim, there is now the 24th Guards brigade, Group Dahl (with the HMKG and 3rd Armored Cavalry battalions attached), five British infantry companies, two marine battalions, and two AA batteries. All are out of supply except for one of the marine battalions. However, they are unaffected until the German half of turn 7.
For turn 6, there are a total of 32 defense points in Trondheim, which, even with bombing, is a pretty hefty number to get good odds against.
Of course, on turn 7, this will be reduced to 20 points, which is still pretty hefty for the Allies. If I could somehow get hold of Namsos, I could get the Norwegians out intact, or at least the HMKG battalion.
I fully expect the airfield to fall this turn. The failure of the Germans to capture it on turn 5 was a welcome surprise, however, my opponent heralds the “capture” of MC 13 as some sort of prize. He can have it. There is nothing there of value anymore. All that was left was a 1-3 battalion, and he captured it this turn.
British torpedo bombers from HMS Glorious and HMS Ark Royal bomb the ice airfield where two He-111H squadrons are stationed. The Swordfish’s torpedoes skitter across the ice and succeed in blowing up a couple of snowbanks.
Of course, the explosions have no impact on the ice.
The price for this adventure was a Swordfish and a Skua (both shot down by AA) for a loss of 4 VP to the Allies, bring the current total to 18. The VP schedule is designed to discourage the Allied player from putting their units in danger (I guess this is the closest they could come to simulating the disharmony in the British ranks), but that’s no way to fight a war. While I don’t like losing assets (and I’m sure Alan doesn’t like it either), one cannot achieve their goals by leaving the planes on the decks of the carriers or units out of danger.
But consider this. The Swordfish was pivotal in crippling the Bismarck, which was moving. I guess that in 1940, it was just practice, because they couldn’t hit a stationary target on an ice airfield!
Alan is right, though. The CVs constantly, then disappearing the next turn, to return on a later turn (then disappearing again) is a pain in the backside. I may have to waste a turn to get most of the aircraft on land so I can use them while the carriers are gone.
In the arctic, to the casual observer, one may wonder why I didn’t attack the airfield defended by the 2-1-4 artillery that is two hexes away from Mo.
I wanted to. I tried. I moved there, but was told that I have to be in attack supply to attack. I don’t see why. It’s not like most of my attacks have been successful anyway. I was just trying to think outside the box.
The British are at the end of their tether at Mo, and can’t attack past this point, and my opponent wouldn’t let me do it anyway on account of this technicality. So we just sit in Mo and wave at them.
In the arctic, the Allies move around preparing defenses for the German onslaught. It occurred to me that the Norwegians have a limited sea lift capacity that I haven’t been using, so we put it into effect in the arctic instead of trying to move (slowly) by road.
The final choke points on the road to Narvik are Mo, the hex just east of Bodo (currently occupied by the Norwegian 2-3-4 II, and the mountains leading to the town proper.
At this point, the name of the game is delay, delay, delay.
I still feel like I’m getting crushed, but I am not out of this game by any stretch of the imagination. One third of the game has been completed, and I still hold Trondheim, Bergen and Narvik. I still have at least one French regiment and one Polish brigade due to arrive, along with……
Wait for it.
A TANK PLATOON!
That will send the Germans running for Hamburg for sure! You just wait and see!
Actually, I’m itching to get the pair of 3-6-4 AA battalions, but they don’t arrive until near the end of the game.
The Germans, on the other hand, as of turn 6 have received all of the reinforcements that they are going to get. They will have to make do with what they have from this point forward. Not that they have left is not formidable, but they have been cut off in favor of some invasion of France or something like that.
Allied Victory Point Total at the end of turn 5: +18 (German Decisive Victory)