Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik PBEM Allied Turn 8 (May 6 – 9, 1940)

Those Who are About to Die, We Salute You

Hurricanes attack a Ju-88 (click image to enlarge)

Hurricanes attack a Do-217 (click image to enlarge)

Current Allied VP: +33 (still)

Trondheim has finally fallen, but once again the Germans were unable to destroy the Norwegians. Instead, they were only able to disrupt them, forcing a retreat. There was no escape from Trondheim, so the Norwegians surrendered instead. I guess being taken prisoner is preferable to being obliterated. They are marched off to Stalag Quisling or some such in southern Norway.

The Allies now control Norway from Mo north, what my opponent affectionately calls “Allied Occupied Norway”. Not a lot of territory, but he isn’t knocking on Narvik’s door just yet. Recent German air raids on the ports of Narvik and Harstad do a lot of damage, but leave the port supply base capability intact for the moment. The Germans did the same thing at Mo, so they should ask themselves how well that’s working for them.

Unfortunately, there is too little AA and too few planes to cover everything. Narvik is supposedly an important strategic objective for Mr. Churchill, but the troops we’ve received don’t seem to reflect that. The supply depot at Bodo is all important, and that is why it is being so heavily protected. My opponent can amuse himself blowing Narvik and Harstad up all he wants. Every turn spent doing that is a turn not spent bombing Mo, or trying to break through.

The reality is that if he is going to break Mo, he has to break the supply base at Bodo.

The heavy flak at Bodo is certainly no guarantee that he won’t ultimately get the base, but hopefully the Allies will exact a heavy toll for the destruction of the base.

However, there are a few developments that I have to adjust to. The first being putting more AA into those port hexes, but it may be too late for them. Like I said, AA is sorely lacking. As of this turn, there are exactly 4 batteries and one battalion of AA in country. Each battery is 2 points of AA, and only 4 can be stacked in a hex at any time (assuming there are no other ground troops in the hex). Two batteries are at Bodo, and the battalion is at Mo, while the other two batteries are at Narvik. Through the end of the game, there will be 4 more battalions of AA, plus an AA HQ unit. Hopefully it will not be a case of too little, too late.

I spread my resources as best as I can.

The AA at Bodo will remain unchanged for the moment. I also get a Hawker Hurricane this turn, and a Sea Gladiator to take up positions in the arctic to help bolster the air defense.  Finally! Some semblance of a real fighter! More, please! With another pair of squadrons, I may be able to do some real damage.

British troops in Norway standing near a French Hotchkiss Tank (click image to enlarge)

British troops in Norway standing near a French Hotchkiss Tank (click image to enlarge)

The build up at Mo continues. After I wrote my piece from the last turn, I realized that there is a vulnerability at Mo. I doubt my opponent would try it in an attempt to be forced to retreat, but the forest north of Mo have to be reinforced to prevent a “fight through to the other side” scenario. The French 5th and 27th Alpine Brigades are hurried south to bolster the British at Mo, and the French 3C Mountain Artillery Regiment leaves Mo to take a position behind Mo, while the British 3rd Infantry company moves to the hills overlooking Mo. Not a huge defense (they only have 1 defense factor), but since overrunning is not possible in this game, they are safe to hold the hills until either the Norwegian 6th Brigade or British 146th Brigade arrives to relieve them.

Allied Occupied Norway (click image to enlarge)

Allied Occupied Norway (click image to enlarge)

The 24th Guards Infantry Brigade makes it safely back from their expedition and reinforces Mo, which is also reinforced with an armor platoon (the 1st King’s Own Hussars) which, of course, does not include any tanks. That’s almost like having supplies dropped on you, only to turn out that it’s full of berets.

The Germans have also left a load of troops in their staging box. Nearly all German units are in Norway now, and leaving them in the staging box gives him the option of attempting an opposed landing in the arctic. He can land in Kirkenes as far as I’m concerned.

There are still two 6-4 infantry regiments and an artillery battalion biding time in the staging box. If he’s doing it to get me worried, it’s working. It is a threat that I have to react to.

The British 51st Artillery Battalion is landed at Alta to bolster the defense of that port, while the French 2nd Battalion/13th Foreign Legion is detached at Bodo and shipped to Tromso. Harstad is reinforced with the last battalion of the Norwegian Fightin’ Fifteenth Regiment (newly mobilized) and a French anti-tank battery. The 193rd AA Battery is shipped into Narvik to help with air defense.

The HMS Ark Royal has arrived one more time, bring the Hurricanes with it. The Hurricanes fly to Narvik, escorted by a squadron of Sea Gladiators as far as Bardufoss. This gives me three squadrons of Gladiators and a squadron of Hurricanes, which will help make the bombing of Narvik and Harstad more difficult.

Troops are spread out in and around Narvik to prevent air drops there. The mountain hexes don’t need to be defended, as fallschirmjaeger can’t jump into mountainous territory. The above photo shows the Poles spreading out into the mountains. It was taken before I realized I don’t have to defend those mountains. They have moved to Elvegaardsmoen instead, and remain attached to their brigade headquarters.

The Allies don’t attack this turn. This turn was all about bolstering defenses and getting new units into play. From this point forward, all I get is anti-aircraft, which I have been desperately needing for awhile.

This game has gone from me backpedaling and being back on my heels to being very interesting. I am very interested to see how Alan approaches breaking the Allies at Mo. If he does, things look grim, but not hopeless. He has to capture Narvik, not Mo.

But 7 turns seems to be an awfully long time to hold the Germans off. Seven turns, 28 days, and a scant 208 miles from Narvik.

It is going to take a couple of turns for the Germans to get organized to attack Mo. In the meantime, Bodo is a flak hell, and Fortress Narvik now has some fighter squadrons (I wish I still had the Blenheim 1F Night Fighter, though). I’m as ready as I am going to be for the final fight.

Are the Germans ready, or are they beginning to feel the pressure?

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6 thoughts on “Narvik PBEM Allied Turn 8 (May 6 – 9, 1940)

  1. Mike Phoenix on said:

    You mention the loss of the Brit Night Fighter…how would it be of help now? In future, will you tend to save it until this turns air reinforcements arrive?


    • The Blenheim night fighter was the “equivalent” of the Hurricane, meaning that it is rated a 4 attack/4 defense just like the Hurricane, though my personal bias is that the Hurricane is far superior to a converted bomber. If I still had it, I would have the Blen, a Hurricane and three Gladiators, making a formidable force to go up against the Me-110s (also rated 4/4). He only has 5 of those left, but not all can reach my airspace at the moment.

      What it means in practical terms is that I can match up with his bombers better than I could before. When he bombed Narvik and Harstad last turn, he did it under the nose of a pair of Gladiators, both rated 3/3.

      Facing a wave of 5 bombers (total 24 attack, 20 defense), I was looking at 1:4 odds on the attack versus 4:1 on the defense. Look at the CRT, and you can see what would have resulted. Therefore, I chose to let them go. With the addition of the Hurricane and an additional Gladiator, I can now face him at 1:2 odds on the attack, and 1:1 on the defense. Much more even. If I still had the Blen, the odds wouldn’t change, but losses would not have been as big a deal.

      Plus, the Blen has twice the range of the Gladiator.

      Unfortunately, I did not anticipate him landing at Mo just to go after a fighter, but he beat the odds of getting sunk in transit (a 2 in 3 chance of being sunk). Even so, I failed the escape roll, otherwise, it would be sitting safely at Bardufoss in the arctic right now.

      I should have taken the opportunity while I was still holding Trondheim and the airfield to pass all of my bombers through there and up north, but I didn’t. I’m still a little fuzzy on whether a transfer mission can be intercepted or not.


  2. Mike Phoenix on said:

    Thanks for the response. However good this game is to play, it’s worthless as an introductory effort to Europa. I guess it will always be some form of the N. African Campaign.


    • You are absolutely right. it is worthless as an introduction to Europa, if you play only the Narvik campaign. Storm over Scandinavia, the update to Narvik has some Europa scale scenarios in it.

      I agree that WITD, be it the Western Desert/Torch Near East combo or the update to these (War in the Desert) is the best intro, but there is also Marita-Merkur/Balkan Front as well. After this is over, I was thinking about breaking Marita Merkur out and giving it a go.

      Thanks for reading and interacting!


      • Mark Owens on said:

        My original introduction to EUROPA came with Marita-Merkur. I was interested in the campaign at the time ….and I’d once seen Drang Nach Osten (DNO) once spread out on a dorm room floor so I also had a passing interest in EUROPA as well. I fell in Love! The idea of the mobile formations, for example, rated for their firepower but also having a modifier based on the ability to maneuver in appropriate terrain was great. The engineering, air, and more,all appealed to me.
        The political rules in M-M, along with including Crete, was also very appealing.

        Maybe I should pull out my BF and the just-recently cut/clipped ‘update’ counters from MM!

        Mark Owens


        • I cut my teeth on Western Desert, and my friends (who I ultimately lost contact with) and I were very excited when Torch was released. Of course, i was always too cautious as the Americans and always got my head handed to me, but I didn’t care.

          We often attached Marita-Merkur to it since there were British units that were shipped there, and because adding the Balkan map helped hold the Egypt map together a little easier.but I always thought it was too easy for the Allies to win. The best way to defeat the Germans is to not invite them to your party to begin with. Once the Nazi invasion threat passed, the Italians would get crushed.

          The only GRD game that I ever opened to play was Second Front, and feel completely overwhelmed by that game for some reason.

          So, to dip my toes back into the Europa waters, I think I will probably break out Western Desert/Torch (not enough space for the Near East module) and get my feet wet again. I think that’s one of the reasons I would screw the Narvik rules up so much is because in many ways, they are so radically different from Europa.


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