Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Torch: Axis Dec II 42


Close up look at the defense of Bizerte; bombers are flying defensive air support, and the status marker "2" represents 2/3 of a supply step flown into the port. The final 1/3 is in Cagliari, Sardinia. (click image to enlarge)

Close up look at the defense of Bizerte; bombers are flying defensive air support, and the status marker “2” represents 2/3 of a supply step flown into the port. The final 1/3 is in Cagliari, Sardinia. (click image to enlarge)

Hey, Stoopid!

Having stuck my neck out last turn, the Allies more than willingly chopped it off. The 10th Panzer division is in tatters, with only a single regiment remaining, at this time. They will be replaced, but I hadn’t really wanted to spend armor RPs this early in the game.

I was giving the replacement system some thought this weekend. The replacement schedule follows what happened during the war, as it actually happened. If the 7th Panzer regiment was actually sunk in transit, as it was in this game, would the Germans have waited until the latter half of January 1943 to send replacements, or would they have assembled replacements to rush to the theater as fast as they could?

I don’t think they would have waited.

Here’s how many replacements the Axis are allocated for the duration of the game:

  • German Air: 5
  • German Infantry: 9
  • German Armor: 7
  • Italian Air: 3.5
  • Italian Infantry: 3.5
  • Italian Armor: 2.5

Losing the 7th Panzer regiment on Nov II and having to wait until Jan II 43 for replacements put the Axis player, in my opinion, at a major disadvantage. I realize that war is raging in the Soviet Union. I also realize that the Axis lost this campaign and were driven out of Africa. I’m looking at it from a gaming perspective. The OB is static, not dynamic. It is a representation of what happened during the actual campaign. I also know that this game has been supplanted by War in the Desert 2.

Close up look at the defense of Tunis; the two bombers are flying defensive air cover (click image to enlarge)

Close up look at the defense of Tunis; the two bombers are flying defensive air cover (click image to enlarge)

But in a game, different things can happen, so here is what I suggest. Replacements become dynamic.

By this I mean that the Axis player is given all their replacement points up front, as listed above. However, this is all the Axis get. They can be used whenever needed, but once they are gone, they are gone. I also suggest this for the Allied side as well, to retain balance and to be fair. In this way, if the 7th Panzer is sunk in transit, it can be replaced more quickly.

The downside is that the Axis player may be receiving replacement points that would have been scheduled towards the end of the game, after it has ended and they could not receive them.

Another option is that on the turn that the 7th Panzer regiment and the turn that the panzergrenadier regiment arrive, if one or both get sunk in transit, the Axis player has the option of receiving replacement points from January early. However, once spent, they are no longer available on their scheduled turn. If the units get sunk a second time, that’s some pretty bad luck.

I digress, however. Enough ranting.

Last turn, I did not listen to my gut. I hung several units out to dry, and they were killed. The plan was not for them to move to Beja. They were supposed to consolidate under air cover a few miles outside Bizerte, but I didn’t do that, and got crushed for it. I had thought I could slow the Allies down by creating ZOC coverage on some of the roads. The best laid plans of mice and men….

What happened? During the exploitation phase, I had intended them to withdraw to fighter cover, then I saw Beja on the river, and thought that might be a better defensive position. Of course, without air cover, it was plain stupid.

As the Allies creep forward, and the Americans have an armored brigade running around near the Libyan border, there could be an opportunity. I mean, I think snails could have traversed from Algiers to Tunis by now.

Close up look at Sousse, as units prepare to repair the port.  (click image to enlarge)

Close up look at Sousse, as units prepare to repair the port. (click image to enlarge)

I considered for a long period of time to send units south to attack the Americans and smack them around. It’s not that I couldn’t get units to the area. I could, but in doing so, both Tunis and Bizerte would be left very weak and vulnerable. Without those two supply terminals, the game is lost. Of course, there is a 5 in 6 chance of the rains coming and slowing the Allies down, but that also means there is a 1 in 6 chance of no rain, and if there is no rain, the Allied road to Tunis and Bizerte is wide open.

After careful deliberation, it is determined that defending Tunis and Bizerte are the highest priority. The only priority. The Americans are running about, doing everything they can in Rommel’s rear areas to do as much damage as they can before he arrives, including damaging airfields and taking control of portions of the coast road. I’m surprised they didn’t take the time to destroy the Mareth Line while they were there. That’s something I’ve seen in pretty much every game of Torch that I remember playing, so that move is nothing new to me.

I’m sure, however, that given enough time, they will attempt to move in close enough to Tunis and Bizerte to cut the supply line to Rommel.

The Tigers guarding the road to Bizerte are withdrawn to Bizerte itself, along with the 54th motorized AA regiment.  The 55th motorized AA regiment, which was destroyed last turn, is replaced with infantry replacement points and shipped to Tunis. I find the replacement of a “motorized” AA unit with just infantry replacements kind of silly. It seems to me that not only do the men need to be replaced, but the guns need to be replaced as well, and should possibly cost 1/2 an armor replacement point. Just a random thought.

Engineers from Tunis are sent south to Sousse to repair the port facilities there. An Italian artillery regiment is landed at Sfax, a bit to the south, and moved north to Sousse to provide defense.

Tunisia is getting busy as Allied forces move in (click image to enlarge)

Tunisia is getting busy as Allied forces move in (click image to enlarge)

At this point, all the Axis can do is defend, and wait until January for Rommel to arrive. Of course, even when he does arrive, his force is in tatters, but still strong enough to chase the Americans off.

A couple of divisions, some artillery, and it is possible that the Axis could fight back. It is especially critical to hit the Americans before they can start forming divisions.

Of course, I still have the +2 DRM when I attack the Americans (for disorganization) in my pocket. Field Marshal Rommel arrives at the edge of the map in Libya next turn, but the Axis are down to three cities on the coast: Sousse, Tunis and Bizerte.

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2 thoughts on “Torch: Axis Dec II 42

  1. alant14 on said:

    The Mareth Line will be destroyed (actually it already has been, but the Jan I 43 turn is still being played out).

    Rommel, that has been? His worn out Pz III equiped divisions will be breakfast for General Frendendall (the Lion of Tunisia).

    Like

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