Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 13 (May 26 –29, 1940)


Hanging by a Thread

First, let me say that I love Alan’s headline for his last post.

Current Allied VP: +34

Evacuation of British soldiers at Dunkirk (click image to enlarge)

Evacuation of British soldiers at Dunkirk (click image to enlarge)

It’s May 26, 1940. The Battle (and evacuation of) Dunkirk is underway. Alan’s correct. Norway is now a backwater front and no longer front page news. The British (not to mention the French) face disaster everywhere. The British in Belgium (and northern France) are trapped, the Belgians have surrendered, and the French have no one guarding their northern flank.

The Germans are stepping up the pressure in Norway, having finally decided that it was in their best interests to target the supply base at Tromso. The RAF valiantly tries to fight the bombers off, but apparently our ammunition requisition hasn’t gone through channels yet.

The destruction of that supply base is devastating. In my opinion, had Alan targeted it last turn (turn 12), he would have broken the back of the Allies, and Narvik may have been his. That’s just my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.

Allied supply status; turn 13 (click image to enlarge)

Allied supply status; turn 13 (click image to enlarge)

But by pulling a Goering and holding back (going after Alta, rather than Tromso first), he let the window to Narvik shut.  There is no reaching Narvik within the parameters of the game. That isn’t to say he can’t still win the game, but the road became very difficult.

Narvik and the surrounding area is still in full supply, but the units south are in trouble. The evacuation at Dunkirk has begun, and the evacuation from Norway will begin soon.  We will have to destroy the Hurricanes and the Gladiator, because they are not capable of landing on carriers. Of course, that won’t be done until turns 16 or 17, so I would have the VP penalty that goes with it.

The German Army has crept within range, and with the arrival of HMS Glorious, a joint raid is launched at the German 3rd Mountain Division. The goal is to disrupt some of the units absorbed by divisional headquarters since the HQ unit itself cannot be bombed. The British target the 138th and 139th regiments, and the I artillery battalion. The skies are surprising clear as the Germans decline to intercept, and the Swordfish drop their torpedoes.

(Side note: For some reason, the Allied OB shows the Glorious arriving, and being withdrawn on turn 13. This doesn’t make any sense, so I’m assuming it isn’t withdrawn until turn 14, returning again on turn 15 with the Ark Royal.)

Allied arctic movements, turn 13 (click image to enlarge)

Allied arctic movements, turn 13 (click image to enlarge)

While the 138th and the artillery battalion are missed, the 139th is caught completely off guard as the raid disrupts the entire regiment, preventing them from attacking during turn 14.

We may not have bullets, but apparently the Glorious has plenty of torpedoes.

The ground forces, however, give up more ground as they try to escape before their supplies run out. The British 24th Guards and 15th Infantry Brigades flee to Bodo to await transport (which may never come due to the Debacle in France). They are joined by five British infantry companies, an armor platoon, and a French AA battalion and a French armor company. The tanks can’t move through the mountains, so they have no choice but to head for the port. If they escape, there is no point in moving them further north, so those who survive will be headed back to Britain.

Yes, I said escape. Everything is in disarray for the Allies. The French mountain units pull back into the mountains, and the British 146th Brigade detaches units to cover for the escaping French, knowing they probably will not get out alive.

What this means is that the Germans will approach and attack on turn 14, destroying the British units (and sacking 8 VP from the Allies), then they have to attack the French mountain units on turn 15, probably destroying them as well (and a possible Allied penalty of -14 VP). This will leave me with a mere 12 VP, and the Germans a mere 32 miles (2 hexes) from their goal. The Germans timetable will be delayed by a single turn. Just enough for the Allies to win the game.

By a fingernail.

The axiom shown in the first two dry runs of this game show that the Allies are absolutely vulnerable through the supply net and the ports. Stacking a bunch of anti-aircraft in a port is no guarantee that the Germans won’t get them in the end. Why fight the Allies head to head when you can just attack their vulnerability?

You can bet that I’m going to be using this strategy in the second game.

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5 thoughts on “Narvik PBEM: Allied Turn 13 (May 26 –29, 1940)

  1. Alan Tibbetts on said:

    Here’s how I would have played it – the Alllies could have sacrificed their Norwegian friends one unit at a time instead of the whole Bde at once and delayed the Germans a couple of turns, then sacrificed a couple of Brit 0-1-4 Companies to finish the game. Germans would be no close to Narvik than they are going to get, perhaps further away.

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  2. Neil Edwin Roberts on said:

    1) Wouldn’t an Allied unit left on 1316 kept the Germans even further from Narvik?

    2) IIRC the Glorious arriving and leaving on turn 13 works out fine as it arrives at the start of the Allied turn and leaves at the end. So there’s still a player turn of use to get out of it.

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    • 1) Yes, but to me it’s 6 one way half a dozen another. I don’t get bonus points based on how far away I keep the Germans from Narvik.

      2) We found the rules covering this situation. It’s been withdrawn.

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  3. Neil Edwin Roberts on said:

    I would have defended 1316 to keep the Germans farther away, just in case something went wrong or they knew how to take advantage of a rule in a way I didnt see.

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    • All the units in the area are on their first turn out of supply, so I am trying to escape with a minimal loss of victory points. If there was a negative DRM associated with that hex, I may have thought about it. Instead, I chose to back off to prevent a breakthrough. I have enough depth that he is not going to reach Narvik by the end of the game through there. He is, however, trying to see if he can “pass through an enemy controlled hex” by doing an opposed landing at Narvik without attack supply.

      However, there was a way for him to win that he didn’t see until it was too late, and I never saw it until he pointed it out. I will cover that in my post game analysis.

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