Torch – Mar I 43 Axis
It Ain’t Over Til Bizerte Falls
The Allied player turn was actually pretty productive for the Axis. Sure, a couple of Italian planes were shot down, but between air combat and anti-aircraft, three Allied planes were killed, along with 5 aborted. Oh, sure they will be replaced, but it is a huge morale booster, especially since Rommel’s troops were finally finished off.
It all comes down to Bizerte. Access to the city is limited to two hexes, making it a tough nut to crack. Currently, the Axis have 35 DF in the city. The Hermann Goering motorized heavy anti-aircraft regiment arrived from Europe to take the place of the 54th motorized heavy anti-aircraft regiment (which was shipped to Palermo to discourage B-17 raiders from visiting the city). This brings an additional DF, and 2 more points of heavy anti-aircraft.
Assuming the Allies assemble the American 2nd Armored Division, the best ground attack they can come up with (by my calculations) is 86 AF. That is a 2:1 combat ratio. In order to achieve 3:1, they have to muster enough ground support to get to 105 or better, in other words, 19 points. While not impossible, there are more than 17 points of AA in Bizerte, and a lot of his air forces are going to get chewed up.
A very small number will be able to get through.
Considering the fort, there is also a -1 DRM to the attack. His best outcome, and one that I’m sure he would take, is a half exchange. That would end the game, as would an exchange result. He has a 1 in 3 chance of either of those two, but he also has a 1 in three chance of a no effect (and the game goes on), and a 1 in 3 chance of a negative result for the attacker (attacker retreat, attacker half eliminated). I would prefer the last result.
If I were able to replace both the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions and slip them into Bizerte (and the Italian 1st infantry out), that would increase my defense to 45 DF, and he would not have a 2:1 outright on the ground. But I would prefer to have the armor in place just in case he decides to assault with tanks (which is unlikely). If this were a game where the results of this campaign carried over to Second Front, I would abandon Bizerte.
I made no attacks this turn precisely because of the exchange possibilities. An exchange is still a successful attack, but it would have crippled the Axis forces in Bizerte, so I chose to make him earn the victory. I had considered going out in a blaze of glory for awhile, but changed my mind after some pondering and contemplation.
In the meantime, Italian troops in Sousse continue to hold out and deny that Allies an airbase, despite being unsupplied.
That’s where we stand. It remains to be seen if I can get better troops into the city before the attack, but if he wants Bizerte, he will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.
Still no Axis surrender. +10 VPs, bringing the Axis total to 50.