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.
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.
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.