Narvik PBEM2: Allied Turn 2 (April 12 – 15, 1940)
Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
After playing through one game of Narvik I’m getting the feel of it. The rules are still as full of holes as Swiss cheese, and getting answers to rules questions is like nailing jello to a tree. My opponent over-reached on turn 1 and had some poor luck on turn 2, fortunately for me. Apparently lady luck is smiling on Norway, the mobilization rolls resulted in SEVEN battalions being mobilized. This was enough to create a front, and then some, protecting Oslo, the nearby mobilization center and airfields.
The Nazis have landed at our airbase west of Oslo, but with only a company, so we rush to take it back. A recently mobilized artillery battalion and the motorcycle company make a 4:1 attack against the surrounded Germans (same odds to destroy them as a 6:1) and we roll a HX. +4 VP for the Paras and another +1 VP for the Me110 on the runway, for the cost of a Norwegian biker gang. That’s the last German Para, which makes my life a little simpler. Note: we, or at least I, am hoping for a definitive answer on whether the 3x Para companies return on turn 12 per the OB or have been eliminated for good.
Two if by sea! Royal Marines land at Haugesund to prevent an easy capture. An AA unit (2 AA) lands in Andalsnes to help an interdiction counter (8 AA) defend the port from Luftwaffe bombers. At Namsos the 148th Bde comes ashore, a short train ride from Trondheim. Four CLAs (20 AA) provide flak for Namsos. In the far north the 24th Guards Bde lands at Harstad, but overland this is two turns from Narvik due to the ferry (+2 MP). Another CLA guards HMS Furious which lurks just out of reach of the Luftwaffe further to the northeast, but Narvik is just within range of her Swordfish.
The Germans followed our plan at Narvik, dividing their force to protect the supply depot coming in from Sweden. This leaves 7 defense factors in Narvik consisting of the 3rd Mtn XX HQ and a 6-5 Mtn Rgt. Norwegian troops stage a brave 1:1 attack on Narvik and the RAF bombs the other Mtn Rgt. If our plan works the Germans will not be able to bring any attack supply or reinforcements (the “captured” supply depot from Sweden can only provide general supply). At 1:1 there is a 1 in 6 chance of an AH and a 2 in 6 chance the attackers will be thrown back without casualties. In such a case the Germans still cannot attack due to their lack of supplies but could use their He115s to fly in a depot – subject to interception by three allied fighters. Given my past history this attack will result in an AH (Attacker Half Eliminated), but I play the odds anyway. First the air phase – bombs away, and it’s a hit, the second German Mtn Rgt is disrupted (it may not attack and therefore cannot enter the Narvik hex if Norwegians remain in the hex). The combat dice roll . . . and it is a 4 = No Effect. Attacking and defending units stay in place and the Germans must either leave Narvik or attack 8 DF of Norwegians with 7 AF – if they can manage to fly in the supplies. Oh, and the floatplanes would have to stay in Narvik. I’m all but certain the Germans will beat a hasty retreat into the mountains. My opponent seems to like making bold and risky attacks, but even he would have to look twice at this one.
In central Norway the Germans are in a pickle (technical term). They hold Trondheim with 12 DF and no supplies. There is no chance for them to ship in a supply depot or reinforcements due to the interdiction marker, but they can airdrop and/or air transport (using floatplanes) supplies and up to a battalion of reinforcements. Allied air forces have three fighters which can intercept and the Germans have no fighters within escort range. My best guess is that they will attempt to bring in 2 supply depots using 6x Ju52 on extended range (half capacity) and 3x He115 floatplanes. That will in all probability get 1 depot to the beleaguered occupiers and save their wiener schnitzel, er, bacon. (German units that are U-2 have ZERO defense.) The Norwegians and Allies don’t pose an immediate threat to Trondheim . . if the supplies get through.
We do face a problem with our airbase at Trondheim, the last time the Luftwaffe visited they left it a mess (6 hits which come off 1 hit per game turn and the airbase cannot be used with more than 1 hit on it). So, the Norwegians reach into their bag of magic tricks and pull out a 1-cap frozen lake airfield and place it at the airbase hex, allowing the Blen 1F night fighter to skedaddle up to a second 1-cap airfield placed east of Mo and still within range of Trondheim. The Norwegian Gladiator is left at the frozen lake (the most expendable Allied fighter) where it can intercept the likely supply airlift. If we can manage to shoot down a few more Ju-52s or even better, one of the He115s, his already depleted transport fleet will be at around half strength (lost 8 Ju52 on turn 1).
One last note, the Norwegians utilized their naval capacity to ship a truck counter from Andalsnes to Alesund. If the Germans want that truck badly enough they are welcome to it, but that will require a unit landing at Alesund (50% chance of being sunk), then both the truck and the unit will have to roll for naval interception again to leave the island (well, technically not to leave, but to land somewhere useful) and all that takes up space in the staging box, which means the Germans would be landing fewer units on mainland Norway for two turns. With Lufthansa canceling so many flights due to shortages of planes and pilots I doubt the Germans will take a day trip to Alesund.