Narvik PBEM2: German Turn 3 (April 16 – 19, 1940)
Slogging Through the Mud
After a few days of illness (I took a stick to the eye over the weekend), we are back at it.
The unfortunate news is that the last of the parachute companies was wiped out. The panzer company never arrived to reinforce them, being blocked off by a motorcycle company. The good news is that as the Norwegians turned to attack, they opened up their lines to the west, allowing German troops to race to Kristiansand and destinations beyond.
But all is not sunshine and roses within the Aryan Nation. An entire regiment was lost at sea. Not just any regiment, but one of my 9-4 infantry regiments, one of my strongest ones. That’s three battalions put to the bottom.
There are not enough breakdowns included in this game to ship everyone over as battalions. Add to that the stupid die roller is a POS. 3/4 of my rolls so far have come up a 1, a 5, or a 6, 25% of which have been 6’s alone. That’s great for combat and bombing, but sucks for anti-shipping rolls and air combat. Instead of having a 17% chance of being sunk, I have to contend with a 25% chance instead.
The Germans tried to hold the port of Narvik, but it was not to be. The Norwegians attacked at 1:1 odds, and my opponent says that I like to take bold and risky attacks! I attempted to hold the port while protecting my supply train at the same time. Since that did not work out, we have to consolidate and pull back into the mountains, taking care that we do not get trapped with out backs to the Swedish border. Not that we’ve ever respected anyone’s neutrality before, but we are under strict orders to not upset the Swedes at this time.
A little bit to the south, just east of Mo, there lies the remains of an Allied ice airfield. The Blen-1F night fighter was based here for a short period of time. Now it is just outside of Oslo, within easier reach of the Luftwaffe. The RAF may survive for the time being, but they are running for their lives, moving from airbase to airbase trying to escape.
The Allies also built an ice airfield near Trondheim to allow their fighters to escape the wrecked airfield the Luftwaffe left them on their last visit. I am proud to report that airfield doesn’t exist anymore, either. The Allies are left with the capability of making one more ice airfield, then that’s it. After that, their engineers are retired.
The Luftwaffe flew supplies to Trondheim. I wouldn’t call the city beleaguered, but the troops need to eat. Beer and strudel for everybody! Of course, I anticipated that the Allies would intercept with three fighters, so I sent ten transports carrying two supply depots, just to make sure at least one depot got through.
The OB says that the Germans get four floatplanes, 3 x He-115s and 1 x Ju-52 (with a range of 20 hexes), but the latest errata that we have available says that one of the He-115 counters is misprinted as a Ju-52. Because of this confusion, I agreed to let Alan use the Ju-52 as another He-115 even though I don’t think the errata applies in this case. I have chosen to use it as a Ju-52 floatplane. That floatplane was shot down along with another Ju-52 transport (aborting the second supply depot), but I do get one through to put the troops back into supply.
While this drop is going on, the Luftwaffe slips in and destroys the ice airfield that has just been placed to the southeast. Now the Allies have a problem. There is nowhere for the Norwegian Gladiator squadron to go, and it crashes somewhere in the mountains (-2 VP – hey, every bit helps), while the Blen-1F flies to the north Oslo airfield and the Skua skedaddles to Bergen, as if that’s going to save it.
The Royal Marines that landed at Haugesund are denied supply as the Luftwaffe destroys the port. I honestly expect them to run away when the Germans approach.
It should also be noted that the Allies have not landed any supply bases so far, meaning the British troops at Harstad, Namsos, Andalsnes and Haugesund are all on their first turn out of supply. Not that it means anything yet, but next turn they will have their defense strengths halved due to lack of supply. I’m sure the Allies will land bases before anything bad happens….
The south is where the Germans are having a decidedly more difficult time. The paratroopers, though lost, opened the door to the west by drawing troops off to the north.
Here’s where I made a mistake in the spreadsheet Alan and I exchange. I originally moved my troops from the Kristiansand airfield to attack the 3rd Brigade HQ across the Otra River. After I made that move, I remembered I had moved my dive bombers to Denmark, and they could reach Kristiansand. So I flew them in to disrupt the battalion holding the city, and changed my troop movement from the 3rd Brigade to an attack on Kristiansand. This was the only fully successful operation out of the 6 attacks that were made. The battalion was eliminated at 5:1 odds, but I forgot to change the spreadsheet to reflect the hex under attack had changed when I sent it to Alan. When Alan pointed it out to me (and he was willing to let me keep the results the way they were, taking out the battalion at Kristiansand), but to be fair, I kept to the spreadsheet since it was my screw up. That’s why the HQ is dead, and the battalion at Kristiansand is disrupted. Troops also raced from Oslofjord to hold the Kristiansand airfield while the 3rd Brigade was under attack.
I realize this leaves a gaping hole that the Norwegian I/8 Mt. battalion could exploit to reach Oslofjord and destroy a supply depot. I have lots of those, but my opponent has to ask himself, is it a trap?
On the west side of the Oslofjord, the push north continues, closing in on the western airfield (Fornebu), but again two battalions slip out of my grasp and retreat away.
On the east side, German troops continue to push on Oslo and the mobilization centers there. Three combats take place on the east side, the Germans losing an artillery battalion SE of Oslo in a half exchange, a no effect on hex to the right, and a defender retreat, forcing a disrupted battalion out of the forest on the Swedish border.
The Luftwaffe is doing a great job destroying everything in its path, but I am losing transports at the rate that Alan was losing bombers during the last game, maybe a faster rate. Combat, however, is becoming a drag. Maximum effort for little gain. I’m not disparaging Alan. He’s doing a great job holding me up in the south, and I try to ensure that most of my attacks are at maximum odds (of the 6, 4 were 6:1, one was 5:1, and one was 3:1 when the Luftwaffe failed to disrupt the Norwegian unit) For now, I need to concentrate on conquering SW Norway and hope that the troops can break out of the Oslo area soon. Of course, if my 9-4 regiments continue to get sunk on the trip to Norway, there won’t be a breakout soon.