Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TFH: Aug II, 1940 (August 16 – 31): Germany


Now that we have the “we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air” speech out of the way, we can move on to more important things.

The intention last turn was not to cause so much damage that we would have a lot of things to rebuild it once we got there, but to test and see how the Royal Air Force would react. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of Ju-87s in the process.

Of the four air units that were aborted during the last mission, two have been repaired are back in action. Meanwhile, two new Ju-87s are moved from the available pool to front line action.

I’ve found there are three things that frighten my opponent. The first is night bombers, the second is long range dive bombers, and the third is the Kriegsmarine on the move.

The Germans receive the first of their invasion forces, including amphibious tanks and 12 divisions. In order to keep my intentions as vague as I can, these units are spread out in ports along the coast, from Amsterdam to Le Havre. Shipping is still in Wilhelmshaven for the moment. (Editor’s Note: I discovered that my set is missing a few pieces, one paratrooper regiment and an infantry division among them. I cannot find a unit in Fall of France to substitute, so I am using a pair of battalion counters from that game to represent this regiment. They equal 1 RE, come to a total strength of 2-5, just like the missing counter. They will be treated as a single unit, moving and attacking as one. Hopefully this will prevent any confusion. My opponent has already noted that he already knew I was a few counters short of a full countersheet.)

Certainly, the British got a couple of shipping points through bombing.  Hooray for them! We weren’t using them anyway. So, there!

But the English pig-dogs revealed their barbaric nature by firebombing the Ruhr. Taking the war to the civilian population. That’s low. The German armed forces have not stooped to their level of barbarity. We will take the high road on this one.

Speaking of the bombings of Wilhelmshaven and the Ruhr, Berlin obviously believes that we have no use for antiaircraft guns. We put in an order for some, but we received coastal artillery instead. These guns are placed at Calais and Boulognes-sur-mer to cover sea zone 12. The guns at Calais can cover the entire sea zone, so

And in answer to something else that came up during the week: The Kriegsmarine does, in fact, have Blücher. We just can’t get to it right now. It is kind of, errr, occupied with other matters at the moment.

This turn is a good turn for flying! Not such a good day to be a sailor.

What’s With All the Naval Bombing?

British naval dispositions around the Isles (click image to enlarge)

British naval dispositions around the Isles (click image to enlarge)

The British were very surprised at the attacks on the navy this turn, and sent a cable asking what was up with all the naval attacks, and if I had announced the invasion and they had missed it.

No invasion. It is interesting that the enemy would think I would wait until the invasion turn to try to eliminate the RN as a threat. It does show me, however, that even I can do the unexpected.

The thing that kept me from attacking the Royal Navy in the Irish Sea last turn was the mistaken belief that they had overwhelming anti-aircraft. That has been shown to be false, so 550 Ju-88s are launched to the Irish Sea to attack the BB Nelson, the BC Repulse and the CLA Coventry.

Luftwaffe takes to the skies (click image to enlarge)

Luftwaffe takes to the skies (click image to enlarge)

The English Channel skies are filled with Ju-87s, Me-110Cs, and some Ju-88s that have flown all the way from Stavanger, Norway to join the party. We are hunting submarines. Admittedly, finding subs and then hitting them from the air is no easy task, but the British have entirely too many submarines prowling the Channel.

The greatest barrier, in my opinion, to a landing in England is not the RAF, but the threat of the Royal Navy. The submarines have to be reduced in strength, and the capital ships, if not sunk, then crippled.

All this in a very short period of time. Six weeks is not a lot of time to accomplish all that needs accomplished. A lot of damage needs to be done to the British capital ships, submarines, coastal artillery, radar (to make the British spend precious equipment points)

The Ju-88s follow a specific course so they can only be patrol attacked once. One interceptor can catch them in the Irish Sea.

Besides hunting naval vessels in Zones 6, 11, 12 & 13, bombing missions are sent to the radar site outside Exeter as well as Brighton proper. I don’t like those new naval guns they just installed.

Both sides had a pretty tough time this turn. Most patrol attacks failed, and in most cases, the British chose not to intercept. All stay at their bases. except for a group of Hurricanes that shot down the He-111 night bombers they were after (EET), and a group of Blenheim-1 night fighters, which also missed the He-111s, and were aborted for their troubles. The British really do not like those night bombers.

The sub hunt goes pretty well. They couldn’t hide from the Me-110s. The Tribal-1 flotilla was sunk in Zone 13, as was the Severn-1 flotilla in Zone 11. Four VPs for the Germans, and 4 subs sunk. That’s 1/3 of the British sub fleet.

On land, about half of the bomber forces are turned back due to flak, but one group still hits the newly installed coastal artillery guns at Portsmouth. There are no radar hits.

In the Irish Sea, the Nelson is hit twice and the Repulse once. Not a single bomber was harmed during the course of these bombings.

Summary of action: 4 x submarines sunk, 2 hits to BB Nelson, and one hit to BC Repulse. The British also suffer a Blen-1F being aborted in an attack on He-111s. The Luftwaffe had one He-111H night bomber shot down.

The thing that makes a German landing in Britain extremely difficult (probably at least a 9 on a 10 scale) is the lack of a navy. The Germans currently have 2 obsolete battleships allocated (probably as much firepower as a British cruiser), about 7(!) destroyers and a few torpedo boats. Subs are available as soon as the Germans declare an invasion. Add to that, High Command has refused to send us any positional AA guns. Of course ports are going to be attacked!

The Kriegsmarine makes a venture out of port to test the reaction of the Royal Navy on the wast side of the island. Of course the entire squadron freaks and rushes out of port. Predictable, but the KM has no chance against them while they are at full strength like this.

A Whit bomber flies overhead and sinks destroyer Z20 Karl Galster and a Beitzen destroyer. The bomber is no longer available for the next British turn. This came as a surprise to me. Not that the mission was flown, but that Alan was lucky enough to hit two destroyers.

In the end, having performed their mission, the small Kriegsmarine returns to Wilhelmshaven.

Shipping and the destroyers/torpedo boats take advantage of the chaos and rebase westward to Amsterdam. This affords them better AA protection.

Bombers are mostly useless for bombing ships and submarines at sea. While there was some damage dealt out to the fleet in the Irish Sea, I feel there should have been more. A lot of bombers failed to attack their targets simply due to AA. None were damaged, but not being able to attack the target is a win for the British.

Dive bombers and fighter/bombers are better suited to this task. All the submarines that were sunk were done in by dive bombers and fighter/bombers. The effectiveness of these machines should be shown if the Royal Navy enters the Channel in an invasion attempt. They won’t have to search for the subs, and don’t have the negative DRMs that the bombers do.

The other thing is that the British are proving to be cowards. They prefer to rely on AA and let the bombs fall unless one of their airbases is under attack. They will go after formations they perceive as weaker, as in, there are no Messerschmitts in the air. If there are a lot of escorts present, they refuse to fly out to meet them.

(For the record, I’m not criticizing Alan’s style of play. I’m trying to write as one of Goebbel’s stooges)

Even though the damage to the Royal Navy was lower than expected, the ships at sea flee back to port to hide.

It may prove that being in port may be more dangerous than being at sea.

With so much to do, it also seems to me that there are too many things that need to be bombed and not enough time for bombing. This is something I’ve always had issues with. I think there should be either least 2 bombing phases per turn, or two weeks per turn is too long.

I don’t believe that there should be enough time to attack everything you want to (you should never have enough time or resources to attack everything you want to), but look at what has happened so far this game. I’ve managed to damage a couple of coastal artillery sites, destroy a radar site, damage another, attack an airbase (attempted to bomb another), along with another radar site, sink 4 subs, spent a lot of time hunting others, and damaged some ships in the Irish Sea. That’s just in a month. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me I should have been able to attack more targets. Maybe its just because I group bombers together too much. Maybe it is just me and my mindset on how to do things.

I have not made nearly the progress I thought I would have by this point. I’m not going to be doing any terror bombing, unlike the British, because I have bigger fish to fry. I’m not playing for victory points, I’m conducting an experiment.

The invasion go/no go window is drawing to a close. August has ended. September is the last real chance the Germans have to launch an invasion. The question is, can it get done?

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5 thoughts on “TFH: Aug II, 1940 (August 16 – 31): Germany

  1. alant14 on said:

    It’s not that there isn’t enough time, there just isn’t enough Luftwaffe and what there is isn’t the right tool for the several jobs that need to get done.

    If there is not enough Luftwaffe now, how the hell are they going to pull off supporting an invasion?

    A couple of Me110 fighters could be protecting the fleet from being bombed at Wilhelmshafen or in sea zone 14 in broad daylight, but instead they are flying bombing missions . . against British subs. We all have our priorities.

    Sortieing the home fleet prevented you from getting your “heavy” units into Amsterdam, did it not?

    11x Ju88 make 3x bombing runs against the RN in the Irish Sea. That is 33 attacks with a 1/6 chance of hitting the target. With the AA getting a 1/3 chance of returning each attack 3 hits is about right statistically. How I got 2 hits on DDs in 3 attacks is beyond me, maybe my dice averaging out after getting only 1 patrol attack success in 13 attempts.

    Yes, the barges moved to Amsterdam where there are 8 points of AA instead of 4, along with some daytime fighter cover. As we will see, the RAF can night bomb that shipping and do so with a lot more air units and a lot more firepower now that it is closer to Bomber Command bases. AA rolls against NB on a night mission with a +2 DRM. We’ll have to see how that turns out.

    I need to thank Tony for bearing with my mistakes in plotting movement, both RAF and Luftwaffe. Mistakes that wouldn’t have happened in a face-to-face game, for sure.

    September, yes, more Home Guard intrinsic defense. More equipment points. More chance of bad weather. More RAF!

    The Luftwaffe needs to find a way to draw Fighter Command into attritional warfare. Good luck with that! Two turns down and it hasn’t happened yet.

    Victory point total stands at Britain 8, Germany 4. That’s before the mass bombing of the invasion barges in the British half of August II 40.

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    • Well, the whole point of this exercise was to show exactly how difficult the entire operation was. It is easy to sit back and say “if the Germans had landed”, blah, blah, blah. But it is hard to cripple the Royal Air Force, let alone the Royal Navy

      I still believe that two week turns are too long, especially considering (as I have said before) that if each turn is 14 days, the players lose a full turn every 6 months.

      It is also easy to sit back and point out what the other side has done wrong, or not done at all.

      You have flown exactly one daylight bombing mission, so please don’t act like it is something you have been doing over and over. Here’s the truth. If I put Me-110Cs into Germany, Holland, Belgium or wherever, you would just switch to night bombing (as well you should). The Me-110s are not going to dissuade nor stop your bombers. Only AA can do that.

      It’s easy to criticize, Alan. The plan against the subs was to clear the Channel. This was just a beginning to try to help out the few destroyers that I have.

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    • Oh, and yes I would love to have a few torpedo bombers handy. Maybe I could sweet talk the Japanese into lending me a few……

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  2. Stephen on said:

    How come ME 110s and Stukas don’t have to search for subs? Do they have some sort of sonar on board?

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    • They do, and they did. They just happened to be more successful at it this turn, and they don’t suffer the -1 DRM that regular bombers suffer when trying to bomb ships of any sort.

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