Narvik PBEM2: German Turn 4 (April 20 – 23, 1940)
The campaign is now two weeks old, and the Germans have little to show for it. Our paratroopers have been destroyed, and frankly, I haven’t played all that well (with the exception of the Luftwaffe bombers). Even so, the Wehrmacht is closing in on Oslo. If protecting Oslo is the Allies highest priority right now, then the Allies aren’t doing a very good job, as we are on the outskirts of the city.
Help is on the way, as five battalions and two supply depots slip through to the Oslofjord untouched, including one of the 14-4 artillery regiments, which quickly assembles from loose battalions to a regiment and moves on Oslo. The city will fall soon, and to the east, the Germans are about to break through, opening the door to the north.
Of course, that’s assuming I get better dice rolls during combat. I’m getting spectacular results for bombing raids, but combat is so-so.
Let’s start in the arctic, near Narvik. The 3rd Mt. Division is backing up again with their captured supply depot, to a position that blocks the mountain narrows, but also prevents the Allies from trying an end around and getting behind the division. They are no longer in one of the “adjacent” hexes to Narvik, but still have the option open to grab one of need be. Eight Ju-88 bombers fly an extended range mission from Germany to blast the port of Narvik, but miss completely and lose a squadron in the process.
At Trondheim, the Germans sit tight now that supplies have arrived. The Royal Air Force has been scattered, so it is possible to get supplies and reinforcements into the port without too much difficulty. The Allies are content to contain the Germans within the city, as they do not have the strength to try to force them out.
The fight is to the south. The Germans, thanks to the sacrifice of the 4k/1 parachute company has broken out to the west. With the abandonment of Kristiansand by the Norwegians, the port city falls, and a battalion from the 137th regiment of the 2nd Mt. Division is flown in to hold the port, while two other battalions from the 137th III is flown into the airfield next door. The push is on for Stavanger and Evje, and the two mobilization centers in the area. While the Norwegians may have the southeast stymied for the moment, the arrival of elements of the 2nd Mountain division to southwestern Norway allows for a quick subjugation of the area, and the mountain troops can quickly move through the mountains and bypass the defensive lines around Oslo.
Alan is right, however. There is a shortage of airbases in Norway for German aircraft, It’s not for lack of trying, though! The troops that abandoned Kristiansand to move out of range of the Stukas coming from Denmark didn’t move quite far enough, and they are bombed yet again by the Stukas based out of Denmark. The Stukas at the on map Danish airfield can reach as far as Haugesund, while the off map Stukas can reach Stavanger. After facing attack, they are disrupted again due to combat and chased into the mountains. Just south of Evje, and MC8, the mountain artillery battery holding the approaches to Evje is eliminated, but taking out a German artillery battery before surrendering.
The first or second game of this that I played solitaire, this same battery also got a half exchange result, taking out an entire infantry regiment in the process. I learned from that experience, and brought troops that could be lost with me. The Germans are now on the doorstep of Evje.
The Germans recapture Fornebu Airfield just west of Oslo for the second time, but this time, it is more secure, being held by the 159th infantry regiment and a company of panzers (who were supposed to be there two turns ago). Oslo is now surrounded on three of the five hexsides it touches, and attacking those hexes will seal the city off., hastening its fall within the next couple of turns.
Although we did not get the results that we desired this last turn (the Luftwaffe completely whiffing on the port of Narvik, and combat results of two half exchanges, resulting in the loss of a pair of artillery batteries, two Defender Disrupted and a No Effect), the Norwegians are being steadily pushed back and away from Oslo. The German exploitation ability has been held in check, but the next turn, the motorized brigade arrives and should rectify this. Mobilization Center 6 is now under German control, and MC2 is being contested.
The going is slow, for now, but the board will begin to open up to the Germans as the west is conquered. By that time, given how the Norwegians are being steadily pushed back, the road to Bergen will open up, and the long fight up the valleys to Trondheim and Andalsnes will be well under way. Fortunately, the 2nd Mountain division will be on teh ground, and crossing teh mountains like there were hidden roads built on them.