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(Side note: For some reason, the Allied OB shows the Glorious arriving, and being withdrawn on turn 13. This doesn’t make any sense, so I’m assuming it isn’t withdrawn until turn 14, returning again on turn 15 with the Ark Royal.)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