Narvik PBEM Allied Turn 6 (April 28 – May 1, 1940)
The Germans Have Me Right Where I Want Them
Current Allied Victory Points: +25
Everything always seems so simple in my brain. Maybe that’s my brain trying to tell me I’m simple.
Okay, if I move here, towards this port, I may have a chance to get these troops out of here alive. Of course, I expected the Germans to give chase and lock me in, just as I blocked them from Haugesund.
After I bar the door to Haugesund, and the Germans block all escape routes, he flies floatplanes into Haugesund, despite the interdiction counter sitting in the hex (not an adjacent hex, the port hex proper), bringing a battalion to reinforce the lonely 1-4 artillery battalion that is holding the port to prevent the Allies from performing a landing there.
Unfortunately, the rules say that ships (and interdiction counters) can only fire AA against bombing missions against ships, ports, and supply bases, and that interdiction counters do not impede floatplanes from landing and using the port as an airbase. Meaning that I can’t fire AA at them even as they are coming in for a landing.
I can just imagine this conversations going on aboard the RN ships.
“Captain, we have air transports coming in on our starboard side, shall we fire at them?”
“Hold your fire. There’s no way we could hit them anyway.”
“Sir, they just landed in the port and are unloading! Shall we fire on them?”
“Hold your fire. We can’t get a good angle on them.”
The entire idea of ships not being able to fire anti-aircraft at transports coming in for a landing in a hex occupied by an interdiction counter, or unable to prevent the transports from unloading without taking damage is ludicrous to me, but it is one of those loopholes that gives yet another advantage to the Germans, when they already have overwhelming firepower on land.
At least, I’m feeling overwhelmed.
So, now the port has been reinforced, and my troops are trapped. I turned left when I should have turned right. It was all worked out so easily in my head. Once again, the poor Norwegian army gets screwed.
I’m not complaining about my opponent. He didn’t write the rules. The flip side is that I get to use them against him when we swap sides. =D
Trondheim is still holding out, as is Bergen. The Germans bombed my supply base in Bodo, but took a beating from the anti-air defenses, losing two more He-111s. I told Alan he is running out of Heinkels to hide behind. I will get his Ju-88s, and their little dog, too.
Through a little over a third of the game, he has lost a third of his strategic bomber force, bringing him down to two He-111 and eight Ju-88s.
The airfield finally fell, as I expected it to. The pocket is shrinking, but I have delayed him here through turn 6. That’s not too shabby. He has 9 turns left in which to reach and capture a hex adjacent to Narvik, and he still has to take Bergen.
But Trondheim is the crown jewel. He still has to force his way through that gap, otherwise his tanks are going nowhere. He can get infantry over the mountains, but his infantry is impotent without his HQ units. No motorized units, no tanks, and supply has to be flown in or shipped to Namsos, at major risk for being sunk.
I said back on turn 3 that I have to pick my moments to fight, and I have picked Trondheim. I will hold here as long as I can.
My opponent thinks I sense danger, when I smell victory. He thinks I am trying to escape when I am buying time.
The name of the game is delay, delay, delay.
I intend to hold for now, but may have to abandon the Norwegians to their fate soon. I had hoped to recapture Namsos so I could at least get the HMKG battalion to safety, but it looks like that is not going to happen.
But how can I hang onto it when the supply base has been destroyed?
I said last turn that I don’t need no stinking supplies. That’s what I have the Royal Navy for.
There’s more than one way to supply a port in this game, and it does not involve supply bases, supply depots or air transports.
But it does involve the Royal Navy and their sea lift capacity that the Germans can do nothing to stop.
That and the fact that the Norwegians are never out of supply.
So, the 24th Guards Brigade has evacuated, and headed for Mo, the next natural chokepoint, and area where I am building my defenses.
Meanwhile, the French 27th Mountain Infantry Regiment has been shipped to Trondheim in its place.
This is where it gets a bit confusing. Here is the supply situation in Trondheim:
The Germans destroyed the supply base on their half of turn 5.
Several of the units have been in Trondheim the entire time. Since the base was destroyed on the German half of turn 5, the Allied half of turn 5 was their first turn out of supply. This applies to the following units:
- 5 x 0-1-4 infantry I
- 1 x 1-2-2 marine II
- 266th AA (1-2-4)
- 168th AA (1-4)
Now that we are on the Allied half of turn 6, the above units are now on their second turn being out of supply, meaning their defense/combat strengths are halved, giving them a grand total of 5 defense points and 2 points of AA.
On the Allied half of turn 5, another marine battalion (1-2-2) was landed in Trondheim. As of the German half of turn 6, it started its first full turn of having no supply. During turn 7, they will also be on their second turn out of supply, leaving them with a single defense point). Trondheim defense: 6 points.
There are also two Norwegian units in Group Dahl, the 3rd armored cavalry and the HMKG battalions. Both have 4 defense points each, and are never out of supply. Trondheim defense: 14 points.
Now, the French 27th Mountain Infantry Regiment has arrived, replacing the British 24th Guards Infantry Brigade. The French bring 10 points of defense with them. They are now also out of supply, but their first official turn out of supply will be the German half of turn 7. By turn 8, they will have their defense ratings halved, but they won’t be there long enough for that to happen. Total Trondheim defense: 24 points.
This is not taking into consideration disruption through bombing. Some units will end up being disrupted, I’m sure, but I am also sure that not all of them will.
It would be easy enough if he never attacked, but he has to. Trondheim must fall to the Germans. If I could, I would continue to rotate units in and out of Trondheim until the end of the game, but sooner or later he will build up enough strength to attack. I wish he would attack at 2:1. I would accept an exchange in that battle, because it may cripple him enough to prevent him from advancing north.
But I think my opponent is wiser than that. He has nothing to gain from attacking at 2:1 (see CRT, 2:1 column with a -1 DRM. The range of effects for him range from a half exchange (I win) to an attacker half eliminated, and even an exchange. I win in every case except for one, and even then, I win, but I don’t get any of his in exchange.
Of course, there is always the possibility that I have pushed my luck too far here and get wiped out for nothing.
There is nothing he can do, besides taking the port to prevent fresh units from rotating in, because unlike the Germans, the worst that can happen is that their defense strength is halved. German units out of supply long enough have their defense strength reduced to zero. However, if he disrupts enough units through bombing, the entire plan gets tossed on the salvage heap of “well, THAT didn’t work!”
The buildup at Mo northward continues. Units are moving south and taking up defensive positions in the hills and mountains. More AA has been added to the supply base at Bodo, but it doesn’t even matter. Even if he destroys the supply base at Bodo, I still get a secret weapon on turn 7, which will replace the supply base.
The supply base gets destroyed at Bodo. The British landing craft takes its place.
The British LC acts like a supply base as long as it is within 10 hexes of a real supply base. It cannot be captured, bombed, nor sunk.
I also get tanks, artillery (something the Allies have been sorely lacking) more AA, and antitank weapons. I just wish they would send more airplanes and leave the carriers for longer than four days at a time.
I already made mention of the woes in the south. Bomber Command has given up trying to be effective in the south, and the remaining bomber squadron in Bergen has fled back to Britain. The 4th Brigade is holding out valiantly in Bergen. I have a feeling my opponent is going to attempt an opposed landing there. It may be a sign of desperation.
The 3rd Brigade, in the meantime had to reverse course. There was only one place in the mountains that may have provided any escape. The mountain artillery is disrupted and can’t attack, so the I/3 infantry and the II/8 mountain infantry battalions attack the Germans that are using our stolen trucks in the mountain pass. The odds are poor (2:1), and the result is an AR (attacker retreat) which allows us to “retreat” right on through the mountain hex. Will they escape? I doubt it, but it makes it harder for them to die without taking some of the Germans with them.
Overall, after running to and fro trying to escape, I have bought enough time to set up defenses in the north to try to prevent the capture of the Narvik area. Trondheim, as I found in my previous two games, can be a major thorn in the side of the Germans. When planning an invasion, everything must emanate from this most important of cities. Forget that Narvik or an adjacent hex is worth 100 VP. The longer Trondheim holds out, the harder it is for the Germans to achieve their goals, and that is the whole point of the Allied campaign, to prevent the Germans from achieving their goals.
Of course, the game is just now nearing halftime. Anything can happen in the second half.