Torch PBEM – Axis Nov I 42 Turn (reset)
The Axis Arrive on the Scene
No longer having the Allies in Bizerte and on my porch at Tunis, the pressure is off for establishing Axis supply terminals. Reinforcements arrive at various ports and airbases in Sicily and Sardinia, preparing to fly into Tunisia to protect Field Marshal Rommel’s backside as he forces the British on a long westward trek through Libya.
Since we agreed that neither side are allowed to use naval transport to access Vichy controlled ports, the German 5th fallschirmjäger regiment and the Italian SM marine regiment load up on Ju-52 transports to fly to the airfield at Bizerte. they take a couple of escorts with them for protection. I am sending both regiments to Bizerte, because the Allies once again placed their Beaufighter 6 night fighter (with its 8 hex patrol range) in Bone, so I have to ensure that someone makes it to Bizerte. As expected, the Beaufighter strikes and returns the transports carrying the Italian marines back to Caligari, Sardinia. I put one counter in each hand and had my wife pick which one got returned so that it would be unbiased.
The German 11th glider-engineers were transported from Sicily to Tunis, well out of range of Allied fighters.
Bone is a standard port, and has become a priority target for the Axis. The Luftwaffe sent a large force to bomb the port out of existence, consisting of the following aircraft:
- 2 x He-111H strategic bombers
- 2 x Ju-88A strategic bombers
- 1 x Italian SM.84 torpedo bomber
- 1 x Ju-87D Stuka dive bomber to bomb the airfield at Bone.
This force was escorted by a Ju-88C night fighter, and a Focke-Wulf 190A fighter.
Allied fighters on patrol sent the FW-190s back to base, leaving the Ju-88C on its own. American Spitfires shot down the Ju-87Ds over their target (KIA), but came up empty against the Ju-88C escorts and the Italian SM.84 bombers.
The Ju-88Cs turned back the P-39D Aircobras, and the Italians messed up the British Beaufighters, aborting them and sending them limping back to Phillipville (and taking their huge patrol range with them). The Ju-87s came up empty against the Spitfires (barely missing them. I rolled a 5 for air combat, and would have rolled a return result if I had rolled a 4).
The mission is a huge success, as the Luftwaffe heavily damages the port, giving it 3 hits. The Allies cannot use the port at all on Nov II (having just captured it this turn, the capacity is only 2 REs, less the three hits). One more hit, and the port is inert, but I can add up to 3 more hits on the port to make it harder for the Allies to repair.
With the ports and airfields of Tunis and Bizerte secured, German aircraft land in order to create a fighter umbrella over the two ports.
In the meantime, German paratroopers attempt to disarm Vichy forces at Tunis and Bizerte.
All Vichy forces in Bizerte (a 1-6 supported infantry brigade) surrender their arms to the Germans, but in Tunis, the engineers chase all Vichy forces out of the city (including the supply step), but catch and destroy the LeO.451 bomber before it escapes. The two ports are now securely in German hands. They are immediately declared supply terminals, going into effect on the Allied Nov II 42 player turn.
Am I upset that I lost the Stukas? Not too much. I get an air replacement in a couple of turns, so I will get them back. When my friends and I used to play this game back in the day, we never used the patrol attacks rule, so I have little experience with how it affects air missions. I’ll figure it out quickly though, and adjust my tactics accordingly. I think I just need a larger fighter escort. Bone was just a bit out of range for the rest of my fighters. I could have sent them on an extended range escort mission, but I didn’t want the penalty associated with it, which would have made them fodder for the Allied fighters.
Since I have engineers in Tunis, I definitely need to fortify the city. The city already has no Armor Effects on Combat (AEC), but the additional -1 DRM would be nice.
In addition, the engineers need to get another airfield built to bring capacity up in Tunisia.
When all is said and done, the majority of defensive work will be around these two ports. They are Axis supply terminals, and if both are lost (Tripoli, another Axis supply terminal, will automatically be lost in January 43), all Axis forces in Tunisia will surrender, ending the game.
Now that we have retraced our steps and fixed the problem, I am excited to see how this game goes.
(I think I have the rotating issue with a pair of photos above fixed))