Marita-Merkur: Feb II 1941
It continues to rain on the Balkans, but it seems to be raining on the Italians more than the Greeks. They receive no reinforcements this turn.
As of mid-February, the Italians have no offensive capabilities. None. All of their mountain troops have been destroyed, along with their tank division and several other motorized units. The only force the Italians have left is their air forces. I have looked at all the options, and the best that the Italians can get, even in the best of circumstances is a 1:1, and that includes bringing in the air force for ground support. The last turn, the Greeks stuffed the most vulnerable points with as much as they could muster, making it difficult, if not impossible for the Italians to attack.
Probably my greatest weakness in these games is my inability to use my air assets wisely, or at all at times. This turn, they were not used at all, and I probably should have used them to at least try to tear up some roads and cut supply lines, but outside of ground support and defensive air support, I usually only think of it after the turn is complete.
In the meantime, their comrades in North Africa are being thrown back across the whole of Cyrenacia in Libya. The British returned to give guarantees that they would land if the Germans intervene, as if there is anything they could do.
All that the Italians do for this turn is try to stabilize the front line, and continue work on getting fortifications completed.
I didn’t realize the photo to the right was so fuzzy, otherwise i would have made sure I took a clearer one.
While the Italians seem to get continually weaker, the Greeks seem to be getting stronger. They have finally started a sustained push to drive the Italians back into Albania.
This turn, three Greek infantry regiments are to be upgraded into a division. All three units are in close proximity to each other, but they are in the mountains. The rules say that no more than two non-divisional units may be stacked in a single mountain hex at the end of the movement phase, otherwise any unit that is overstacked is eliminated.
But the rules also say that any unit upgrades are to be done at the end of the movement phase; so it becomes a chicken and egg conundrum. Which do you implement first?
I chose to interpret the rules fairly liberally in this case, because after the upgrade, the overstack dilemma is resolved. I’ll probably hear from some about how I interpreted it wrong, but that’s okay. I don’t run from decisions that I have made, and if it is wrong, I will learn from it for the next time.
The Greek Mxd bombers are still sitting at their airfields, awaiting parts so they can be repaired.
To the east, the Greeks gear up another attack into Albania, again targeting mountain troops, albeit a battalion this time. Greek cavalry and infantry combine for a 3:1 attack (+2 DRM for mountains) and roll a half exchange. The Italians lose an infantry division and the mountain battalion for a total of 4 combat factors, while the Greeks lose a cavalry regiment (2 combat factors). Another Albanian hex is captured, and a new hole has been torn in the Italian front.
Flush in the success of severely damaging the Italian armored forces, the Greeks decide to attack the last remaining mountain hex in Greek territory that still belongs to the Italians. In order to ensure the likelihood of forcing the Italians out, they choose to use the optional table for this attack. This is because the Greeks can only muster an attack of 1:1 odds., but they do have the +2 DRM for the mountains. The Greeks roll a 5, modified to a 7, for a Defender Half Eliminated result. The Italians lose one infantry division, and one construction regiment who were busy working on the fort. The fort is completely destroyed as only a single infantry division makes it back to Albania. The Greeks score +2 VP for the destruction of an infantry division.
But it is more than just the victory points. A look at the (much clearer) photo to the right shows the hex in Albania where the fort is still under construction, to be completed next turn. It is a completely exposed salient, and the fort under construction is now surrounded on three sides. A very precarious position for the Italians.
End of Turn VP Tally
At the end of the last turn, the Italians continued to enjoy their lead with 150 VPs to 48 for the Greeks.
The Italians score 5 VPs this turn:
- +3 VP for control of Corfu
- +2 VP for control of a non-mountain hex in Greece
The Italian total now stands at 155 VPs.
The Greeks score 12 victory points this turn.
- +8 VP for control of four hexes in Albania
- +4 VP for the elimination of two Italian divisions
The Greek total stands at 60. Closing the gap, but maybe not fast enough.