Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 9 (May 10 –13, 1940)
Turning the Screws
Allied VP: +34
I come home and prepare to plot Alan’s moves on my map, and prepare to take my turn, and I find the picture to the right.
Alan had been bombing the crap out of Harstad, so I took this picture and sent it to him, asking him why he had to be so messy with his bombing.
For whatever reason, and she had never done this before, my dog got up on the table to look out a window. Fortunately, she only impacted the one area (that I can tell). I hope I’m not missing any pieces now. We’ll find out in a few turns.
May 10, 1940. The German juggernaut is unleashed on the West. The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Britain, and even tiny Luxembourg are subjected to the fury of the German armed forces. After months of “sitzkrieg”, the Allies are still ill prepared for what’s coming. Luxembourg doesn’t last a day, surrendering on the 10th.
Far to the north, the Allied hold on northern Norway is tenuous at best. The troops are adequate for stalling the Wehrmacht for a time, but may eventually succumb to Axis forces driving north.
Anti-aircraft is in short supply. The Germans have destroyed the port of Narvik, and blasted Harstad into oblivion (he planted 3 hits on the port when he only needed 1, he must have really hated Harstad). The major weakness of the Allied armies, as shown in previous games, is the supply net. They have to have fixed bases at ports, while the Germans don’t.
It almost always comes down to logistics, doesn’t it?
If he destroys the base at Bodo (which he says he is going after next turn), and gets the ports of Tromso and Alta, the Allies have no choice but to withdraw, There is no victory then, only the potential loss of massive victory points.However, Tromso and Alta will be much harder to take out than Narvik and Harstad.
Mo has been reinforced, and the supply base at Bodo is as well protected as I can make it. Unfortunately, it is out of the range of decent RAF fighter cover, but Tromso and Alta are under the umbrella.
I may have to ultimately abandon Mo and back up, but there are still places that I can choke the Germans off at. The wild card is the landing craft. It doesn’t require a port to function, and is mobile.
He may destroy the base at Bodo, but his forces are still pretty disorganized. This next turn may finally see some semblance of an attack organization, but that leaves him with 5 turns in which to reach Narvik. There will be no landings at Narvik, I guarantee you that.
All ports have been reinforced, and have AA moving into them as it becomes available. Some may wonder why I keep 40 points at Bodo instead of spreading it out. My strategy is simple. By keeping 40 points at Bodo, I am guaranteed a 2:1 ratio when he does attack. I believe that this is my best chance to do a lot of damage to what remains of his air forces, and keep the base open and functioning. For the record, he has eight Ju-88 squadrons left, along with a single He-111H squadron, and five Me-110 squadrons. Not all of his 110s are able to reach the area. Since he has to approach in waves of five squadrons at a time, the best defense he can get is 20, giving me a 2:1 advantage. I have a chance at knocking down two aircraft per wave.
However, the British AA was knocking down planes at a pretty effective clip (I will note that per Arthur Goodwin and David Stokes, I should have two more of his bombers in my bag, and two more victory points), but that has slowed down quite a bit. Knowing my luck, I’ll miss everything.
However, losing Bodo is not the end of the world. Devastating, but it isn’t over until someone gets knocked out.
Do I anticipate losing the game? It’s going to be very close.
All non-Norwegian Allied troops begin their first turn out of supply, due to the destruction of the port of Narvik. That’s why stacks are covered with black U-1 counters. The British 51st artillery battalion in Alta is relieved of its supply issues with the arrival of a British supply base (I still have 4 spares: 1 British, 2 French and a Polish base, but only one port).
Alan once told me that I was winning, but I always disagreed with that assessment. I always felt like I was losing, but then I got my feet under me. For all of the fun i was having about him bombing Harstad instead of Bodo, I wasn’t ignorant to what he was setting out to do. Before he had even set about doing it, it was the one thing I feared he would do. Even though he has kept insisting that I was winning, i told him that seven turns and 208 miles (13 hexes) was an awful long time to hold him at bay. It is never wise to declare victory when only half the game has been played.
Right now, the game could go either way. It could come down to the wire, and if it does, and I lose, I will hold my head up high for taking it to the wire, especially since I had only played this game a couple of times in the 30 years prior, then put it aside.
But if I hold him off and win, I will take a deep breath, knowing I held on by my fingernails, then set the game back up for round two.
I get to try my hand at the German side, then i think i will put this aside, because I’m sure all the readers of this blog will be completely burned out on the Norway campaign by then. I don’t know what I am going to be playing next, or even if it will just be me or some other unanticipated challenger out there.
Of course, I’m always open to suggestions. If I have it, i’ll play it, and I am open to challenges.