Marita-Merkur: Nov II 40
Before the turn starts, Italian luck immediately starts to sour.
The skies open up, and rain begins to pelt everybody on the map.
In mid-November. Who woulda thunk it?
Italy: Nov II 40
The Italians receive quite a number of reinforcements, including a mountain division and some motorcycle troops, but they receive more reinforcements than the Albanian ports can handle, so some have to be left behind until next turn.
As the reinforcements race south to take up positions against the Greeks, the 131st Light Tank Division pushes south until it makes contact with the British who have taken up a blocking position. The Greek 39th Evzone regiment does little to slow the adventurous tanks down. They call in bomber support from Italy, and achieve a 4:1, but as luck would have it, even with +2 AECA (the Brits get a -1 DRM for rough terrain), all the Italians can do is drive the defenders away (Defender Retreat).
In the mountains of Greece, the 3rd Mountain division and support units attack the 39th Evzone Mountain Regiment, and destroy it without bomber support.
Since the control of the island of Corfu is worth 3 victory points per turn to the Italians, an attack is made from mainland Greece to the island, with the aid of a marine regiment, where the Greek 10th infantry regiment is stationed (1-2-6; supported). backed up by bombers, the Italians make a 5:1 attack, achieving a Defender Eliminated result. The marines and a Bersagliari (motorcycle) unit advance onto the island, capturing it for the Italians.
So far, so good for the Italians, but they still have the great mountain barrier to cross. The rest of the troops hold their attacks for the moment, awaiting reinforcements to make it to the front lines from their ports in Albania.
The 2nd Bersagliari regiment advances to the port of Kerkira to prevent any reinforcements from landing on the island. With the only means of reinforcing the island by the Greeks now captured, Corfu is now under the complete control of the Italians.
Had the 2nd light armored division been able to destroy the British, they would have continued down to the Gulf of Corinth to block the Greeks from using that road to move north. Instead, the tanks withdraw to secure the flank of the 5th mountain division, and to hold the supply line to the mountains open.
Greece: Nov II 40
Upon reflection, leaving the 39th Evzone Mountain Regiment all by itself in the mountains was a mistake. Not a major one, but the loss of that regiment stings just a bit.
The southern portion of the line needs to be shored up. Three divisions are dispatched to Patrai to block access to the Peloponnese peninsula. One division moves north and links up with the British, and pushes even further north, daring the Italian armor to attack again.
But the turn is a mixed bag for the Greeks. Marita-Merkur has an optional combat table for attacks 2:1 or less. this gets rid of results such as No Effect and replaces them with Exchanges. The Greek High Command feels that this is to be a war of attrition, and they can handle losses better than the Italians can. Prior to combat, they announce they will use the optional table.
Greek troops cross the Albanian border, and attack the eastern Italian flank, eliminating an Italian infantry division in the process, and score their first victory points of the game (8 VPs) .
Heartened by this victory, the Greeks attack the Italian 5th Mountain division (5-8) to take advantage of their +2 DRM in the mountains. Unfortunately, they quickly discover that the intelligence of their generals is faulty, and the Italians aren’t in the mountains, only in the foothills where they have a -1 DRM. Again, having committed to the attack and the optional table, the Greeks roll a 2, and get a bit lucky when you think about it. Half of their force is eliminated (Attacker Half Eliminated), and they are forced to give up two mountain hexes.
So much for that experiment.
It could have been worse. They could have rolled a 1, which would have eliminated the entire force, and a gaping hole would have appeared in the line. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and the Greeks are able to maintain the line.
With forces arriving from the south, the line should be able to stabilize and make it more difficult for the Italians to advance, while the eastern force pushes through southern Albania and rolls up the Italian line.
After the near fatal attack, the Greek High Command has decided that they have to pull as much as they can out of the Metaxas Line to help the situation. There is also another division stationed on Crete that will have to be sent to western Greece in order to create a major threat to that flank. The Italians would then have four divisions against one in that region.
The Italians are racking up the victory points by controlling Greek mountain hexes. They gain 35 this turn, bringing their total to 48, while the Greeks are stuck in idle for the moment, with 8 VPs. So much for worrying about having twice the number of VPs than the Italians. Of course, the game has only barely started. The Greeks are in Albania, and rolling west, intent on pushing the Italians to the coast.
The Italians receive 3 VPs for control of Corfu, and 2 VPs per non-mountain hex in Greece they control. Corfu is made up of three non-mountain hexes (6 VPs per turn), but I am not counting control of Corfu as 9 VPs per turn, only the original 3. I could be wrong about this, but that’s how I am scoring it.
I had forgotten that replacement points don’t exist in this game except in certain circumstances), and that makes it a little harder, as losses have to be absorbed rather than replaced. The use of the optional table should probably be limited to certain circumstances.
The VP situation got me thinking, what if the Italians control the mountains in NW Greece, and pile VP after VP on the Greeks? Does that really mean they won? I mean, they can control the mountains, but Greece would still be in the war, and if Barbarossa went off before the Italians finished this campaign, the British would have been pouring troops into the region, creating a major problem for Herr Hitler with the British threatening his oil fields. Hmmm.