Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Torch PBEM: Nov I 42 Turn

Hope We Got This Right

One of the things I didn’t remember about Torch is how difficult it is to understand the rules covering the first couple of turns.  Specifically rules 27C – Special Operations, Allied Invasion of French North Africa; and 28 – Special Rules section C – Vichy Territory.  I hope we got them right.

When the special invasion turn ended the Allies had gained a +4 DRM to the “overall Vichy reaction to the invasion” and in the initial phase of the immediately following regular Nov I turn 2 dice are rolled for a 9 +4 DRM = 13 and the Vichy are Non-Belligerent for the rest of the game turn.  During the Allied initial phases of following turns if there are more Allied REs in a colony than Axis REs, the Vichy in that colony join the Allies.  If the Axis have more REs then Vichy forces in that colony remain non-belligerent, but are easily disarmed by Axis units.


The Allies move quickly through Algeria (Click image to enlarge)

As a special condition on this non-belligerent status: “Allied and Axis units may ignore Vichy ZOCs and enter hexes containing Vichy forces, which are ignored for stacking purposes. A player gains control of Vichy territory per rule 3.G” i.e. a unit enters the hex or exerts an uncontested ZOC, except only units gain control of cities and airbases. Furthermore: “Territory not controlled by either side may be entered by any side’s units freely. For example, Axis units may land by naval transport at uncontrolled Vichy ports or by air transport at uncontrolled Vichy airbases.”

We had a lengthy discussion about whether air units could land at and operate from an uncontrolled airbase/city and eventually decided they could not.  Likewise, supply steps arriving as reinforcements could not land at an uncontrolled port.  These can only land at the Allied controlled ports of Gibraltar, Port Lyautey, Casablanca or Mostaganem. One lands at Casablanca and another at Mostaganem. The arriving 2-5 British Para Bde can land at any port in Algeria or Morocco and it does so at the uncontrolled port of Alger, using 2 MP.

Remember, at this point in the game there are no Axis forces outside of Sicily and Sardinia, though the Axis does control all hexes in Libya.

Now we look at rule 27C4, which says “the Allied floating reserve may make an amphibious landing in any French North African colony already containing Allied forces [Morocco or Algeria, but not Tunisia], or it may land (per the naval transport rules) at any Allied controlled port in French North Africa.”

That is very specific language and it doesn’t say the floating reserve can land at uncontrolled ports, so we must assume that is not an option.  The 1-8 Cdo Bn in the Floating Reserve will land amphibiously at the Algerian port of Bone.  It ill not be able to move from that hex and it survives a roll on the 9 column of the naval table.

This leaves us with ½ RE of Western Mediterranean Shipping which the 756th Tank Bn uses to move from Port Lyautey on Morocco’s Atlantic coast to the uncontrolled port of Bone in eastern Algeria.  This uses 2 MP and it survives a roll on the naval table.  The Tank Bn uses its remaining 8 MP to move to Bizerte in Tunisia.  Actually this naval transport happens BEFORE the floating reserve lands in this hex amphibiously, because at that point the port, or at least the hex, would be Allied controlled. This is where we both hope we got the rules right.  Allied control of Bizerte during the Nov I 42 turn is very ahisorical and could greatly upset game balance.


The race to Bizerte (Click image to enlarge)

In the air phase the three US C-47 transports execute the following missions:

II/507 Para Bn (1-5) at 24:4917 (Tiaret) is air transported to the uncontrolled city of  Tebessa (25:2817) on the Algerian/Tunisian border.

1st Para Bde (2-5) (Br) is transported to Soul Ahras (25:2713).

540th Cbt Engr Rgt (3-8)  is transported to the uncontrolled port of Philippeville (25:2311).

2x Spit 5 land at Bizerte, with another at Souk Ahras.  The Bftr 6 NF transfers from Gibraltar to Bone and a P-39D lands at Philippeville.

The US B-17E stages and performs a 2-point harassment mission at Tunis which should prevent any Axis units from attacking Bizerte.  Just in case, a Blen 5 stages from Gibraltar and flies an extended range DAS mission over Bizerte.  A swarm of other RAF and USAAF air units land at airfields in Algeria.  2x P38s and 1x B-26B are at Gibraltar; 2x Spit 5 remain off-map as delayed reinforcements along with 2 steps of supply.

In the Nov II turn Allied reinforcements and on-map units will be able to land at Bizerte and any uncontrolled (Vichy) ports in Tunisia, subject to naval table rolls – unless we missed something.  This could be a very short game.

If any experienced Torch players see something we missed or misinterpreted please speak up.


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11 thoughts on “Torch PBEM: Nov I 42 Turn

  1. mtrphx on said:

    Man, even if it is all cardboard, LOVE seeing USA Olive Drab hitting the beaches. Think I’ll cue up a youtube of the theme from “Patton” and read this thing now.


  2. Stephen on said:

    Doesn’t a c/m unit cost double for shipping? If so you would need 1 point of shipping capacity to ship that amd bn. I may be wrong – more recent Europa games have certainly doubled shipping costs for c/m and cav units.


    • I had always thought that was the case. I have not played any of the GRD games, but my recollection is that C/M units cost double to ship.

      However, the unit that was shipped was a battalion, which is 1/2 RE in size. Doubling that would take up the 1 RE of shipping available.

      The example given in the rules uses Tobruk, a 4 RE standard port. The example says “The Allied player ships one tank brigade (1 RE), one step of supply (2 REs) to Tobruk and ships one infantry brigade (1 RE) from Tobruk. The Allied player has used the entire port capacity of Tobruk this turn.”

      So, apparently in this game, C/M units do not count double for shipping.



  3. alant14 on said:

    C/M and cavalry count double for rail capacity (rule 7A4) but I do not find anything that says this is the case for naval shipping and the example given for port capacity makes it clear c/m is not doubled for that. The Commando Bn in the floating reserve took up 1/2 RE of the avalable 1 RE of shipping capacity and the tank Bn took up the other 1/2 RE.


  4. It’s a fine distinction, but in most rules, c/m and cavalry units take twice the shipping, but normal amounts of port capacity.


  5. alant14 on said:

    I’ve looked several times and do not find ANYTHING that indicates c/m and/or cavalry is doubled for naval shipping capacity. The rules don’t spend much ink on naval shipping, the Allies get 10 RE and the Axis 3 RE.


    • I found in The Europa News #5 Rules Court (and I sent an email to you about it last night) that they suggest doubling the MP penalty for shipping c/m units from 2 mp to 4 mp. This is not an official change, but a suggestion. This would have kept you out of Bizerte on Nov I, and may have changed a lot of your strategy. But, like I say, it is what it is. We keep moving forward.


  6. Neil Edwin Roberts on said:

    Pretty clear to me that ports captured in the invasion can’t be used that turn. Otherwise the rule about their cap on nov II 42 doesn’t make sense (what’s their cap on Nov I? Full doesnt make sense. Same as Nov II sound odd since rule doesn’t even mention Nov I cap.)

    We play that rule 26.A means a player can’t use ports he didn’t control AT THE START OF HIS P-TURN. Yeah, the rule says start of initial phase but everything works right if it’s start of p-turn.


    • alant14 on said:

      Neil, that was not (and is not) obvious to us. If the designer didn’t want ports captured in the invasion turn used on the Nov I regular turn he should’ve said so. A lot of ink was spent limiting port capacity, one more sentance would not have broken the bank.

      If ports captured on Nov I regular turn can be used at 1/2 capacity on the Nov II turn why wouldn’t ports captured in the invasion turn be used at 1/2 capactity in the Nov I turn?

      Could the Tank Bn land at Gibraltar so that it could be used as I chose? (There might be more than one way to skin that cat.)

      Here’s another oddity concerning port capacity. The rules say both sides can land at uncontrolled (Vichy non-belligerent) ports, but doesn’t say anything about the port capacity of an uncontrolled port.


  7. mtrphx on said:

    I swear this blog is the finest argument in support of Living Rules and the death of “Rules as written, once upon a time and far, far away” that I can imagine.


  8. alant14 on said:

    Not sure why I missed this. The Allies are allowed a 1-RE floating reserve, which in the Nov I regular turn “may make an amphibious landing at any port in any French North African colony already containing Allied forces, or it may land (per the naval transport rules) at any Allied controlled port in French North Africa.”

    I did not add the words in parentheses. If this reserve can land at an Allied controlled port using naval transport rules it stand to reason this Allied controlled port has . . wait for it . . PORT CAPACITY!


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