Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 11 (May 18 –21, 1940)

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and…. Oh, Wait.

Allied Victory Points: +33

Once again, my opponent embellishes the truth about the prowess of the German forces. He predictably makes comments about how the Allies once again throw the Norwegians under the bus.

The Allies did not, repeat DID NOT throw the Norwegians under the bus. Even now, they are moving to rejoin the Allies southeast of Bodo. Everyone involved in the operation knew the Germans would not be able to handle the Norwegians at Mo, just like they couldn’t handle them at the Trondheim airfield, or at Trondheim proper. He can brag until the cows come home about how many Norwegians he has killed or captured, but that still does not give him possession of Narvik, or possession of Norway for that matter.

Goebbels is working overtime to convince the world that an Allied victory in Norway is no victory at all.

A victory is a victory, and from Norway, we will liberate the Netherlands and Luxembourg,

Oh, and Poland. We can’t forget Poland!

Just as soon as we finish getting warm. After we’ve had tea.

Who are you going to believe, the Minister of Propaganda, or the Minister of Information? Just because Duff Cooper recently replaced Sir John Reith as Minister of Information doesn’t mean anything. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.

British bomb Hamburg, Germany (click image to enlarge)

British bombing Hamburg, Germany (click image to enlarge)

In other news, Antwerp falls to the Horde, but British Intelligence cracks the Enigma code. We can now read their transmissions.

Did I just say that out loud?

Bombing raids also begin over Hamburg and Bremen.  Bomber Command needs to be used for something, since there are no targets of value in Norway that can be reached.

Like I said, the Norwegians are hurrying along to catch up with the rest of the Allies, who have been forced to withdraw due to lack of supply.

Extent of Allied supply line (click image to enlarge)

Extent of Allied supply line (click image to enlarge)

Speaking of a lack of supply, during the latest supply shortage, someone apparently forgot to order bullets for our fighters! The result was costly, and a loss of four VP. One of the Gladiator squadrons will be replaced and will arrive in Norway as soon as possible.

Of course, this could be where the Allies could run into trouble. While the troops are moving as fast as they can, their movement rates are halved due to the lack of supply. The French 5th mountain regiment and Norwegians have no worries, but the British units are falling a hex short of where they need to be. The French 27th mountain regiment has moved to an out of supply hex to make sure there is some room for troops to move through without disruption effects.

Fortunately, I neglected to account for the road that runs from Bodo south. When that is taken into account, Bodo is in full supply, and the tether reaches a little further south.

But it isn’t as bad as it seems. The British still have 14.5 points in the hex that is out of supply, and the Germans struggled with an 8.5 point hex held by a single Norwegian brigade.

The march north continues, and it is really getting cold up here!

The Allied withdrawal (click image to enlarge)

The Allied withdrawal (click image to enlarge)

As the second turn out of supply takes its bite, three British brigades are slowed due to a lack of fuel. There movement point allowance has been reduced to 2 (from 4). Following the road through the mountains, they can only move 2 hexes. Hopefully the head start that the Norwegians gave us is enough to reach our lines again.

The complete Norway map (click image to enlarge)

The complete Norway map (click image to enlarge)

The French mountain troops are in supply, since their supply lines can be longer, and one of the British brigades makes it back to get supplies, but two brigades are still without supply, and will have to enter a 3rd turn out of supply before they can make it back. Once again, the Norwegians are providing the rearguard. The German Ministry of Propaganda will claim it is because the Allies are throwing them under the bus again, when the reality is that they can only move so fast.

And the Norwegians love to point and laugh at the Germans.

As far as I can see, there are two paths to victory for the Germans, neither of which is likely at this point. Each turn that passes closes the window just a little bit more.

The first path is the obvious “capture a hex adjacent to Narvik”, but I think this is the least likely scenario. During the German half of turn 12, they can approach, but can’t quite reach the Allies in strength near Bodo. Even if he reaches and attacks the Norwegians, there is still the mass of Allied troops to the north with which he has to contend, and they will all be back in supply.  A pair of brigades will make for the mountains to the north to act as a safety valve, while the rest block the road north. The Germans have to attack and achieve a breakthrough on turn 13.

Of course, assuming that the Allies aren’t destroyed, the path will still be blocked, and he will have to attack again on turn 14. With the safety valve blocking the mountains leading to Narvik, even if he does achieve a breakthrough, reaching Narvik is all but impossible at this point.

The other path is to destroy any combination of 17 battalions/air squadrons. This will bring me down to -1 VP, and even with the +100 VP award, that would give the Allies a +99 VP total, still a German marginal victory.

The second scenario is also strongly unlikely, as it assumes the Germans don’t have any issues like an exchange or a half exchange, which would change those VP totals.

While I am not declaring myself victorious just yet, the window of opportunity is closing for the Germans. There have been multiple times when I did not see what was coming, and was taken completely by surprise as I watched a victory turn to defeat in the last couple of turns of the game.

Will the game end with the Allies in a precarious position? We’ll never know, because that is outside the scope of the game, unless my opponent wants to go until he either captures Narvik (not an adjacent hex, but Narvik proper) or gives up and leaves the arctic to the Allies. That is the only way to find out (at 4 days per turn) how long the Allies can hold on to Narvik.

The most likely scenario is that we reset after the game is finished, and I get my shot as the Germans.

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7 thoughts on “Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 11 (May 18 –21, 1940)

  1. Alan Tibbetts on said:

    A note on supply lines: Per rule 12A supply lines are are “traced in a number of MPs at the non-motorized movement rate”, so the Mountain units do not receive supply at any further distance than non-mountain units.

    The movement chart lists 3 types of units – motorized, non-motorized and mountain.


  2. Mike Phoenix on said:

    Have to note the sharp upgrade of the graphics must be noticed–niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice….


  3. on said:

    The end game is in a wider sense a bit of strangeness. If you keep on playing beyond the game end, it starts to get pointless. Although the players don’t yet “know” this for certain, France is going to fall and the French units will withdraw. Britain is going to face the threat of invasion and so will probably also withdraw to better employ its assets to face the new threat across the Channel.

    So the poor old Norwegians are going under the bus come what may… Of course you can reward the players for their generalship in delaying what we now know to be inevitable.

    I am really enjoying the rerun through – it’s many year since I played the “original” Narvik. Makes me want to punch the “Narvik” counters on Storm over Scandinavia and give it another go. Plus I also have the Total War maps which go as far as Narvik (not much further though) and introduce even more intricate geography.


    • Absolutely. I had made the suggestion just to see how much longer it would be for the Germans to take Narvik. That isn’t likely to happen. I’m itching to get a shot as the Germans, not that I will do any better than Alan did.

      However, from my point of view, since there are no mandatory Allied withdrawals (except the carriers), they can stay there until the Germans force them to leave.

      In a bigger game of Grand Europa, these things must be taken into consideration, but I don’t agree that the French would automatically withdraw upon the surrender of France. Where are they going to go? France? I think it is more likely that they will continue to fight as Free French forces. They may withdraw to Britain, they may not.

      I don’t think the British would automatically withdraw just because Britain was under threat of invasion. British forces in Egypt at this time were left in Egypt, and they had more tanks and heavy equipment than Britain had on the home islands, I believe.

      The circumstances of the game and the circumstances of history are two completely different animals. The Allies don’t have to contend with the animosity between the commanders of the ground forces and the naval forces. That’s what hampered much of the Allied capabilities during the course of the campaign.

      Continuing past turn 15 isn’t likely to happen, though. We have too many other things going on.


      • Stephen on said:

        It’s all “what if” of course into June 1940, but as to the French fighting on unfortunately very few of those who had been to Norway opted to carry on when given the opportunity of repatriation after the Armistice. The Poles obviously did as it seems did most of the 13 DBLE, the Foreign legion, but most of the Chasseurs Alpins went home.


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