Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TFH: Sep II 1940 (Germany)


I found out that the Luftwaffe are not missing their targets. Those that “missed” are actually dropping leaflets that say “Sie werden assimiliert werden! Widerstand ist zwecklos!

Yeah, the British didn’t understand it, either.

So far bombing airfields isn’t working. Bombing air units isn’t working. The Luftwaffe isn’t working. The Luftwaffe’s mission, from its inception, was to support the troops on the battlefield. Bombing other targets is a challenge for them.

So we launch all of our bombers on a double strike, at Belfast and Edinburgh. The bombers (12 x He-111s and 5 x Do-17zs) are flying extended range, but we’ll see if we can do some damage. Between all of them, they have a total of 13 tactical bombing factors, so this mission is pushing the limits for them. The Ju-88s are flying to Belfast to try to finish the Irish Sea fleet off.

Meanwhile, the CD buildup at Calais continues. There are currently 11 strength points of primary guns to cover sea zone 12. Any ship entering zone 12 could be in for some major damage.

A lot of dive bombers are returned, and two are aborted due to AA fire. Out of all of the dive bombers sent to SE England, only two break through to finish their mission, and only 1 hits the target. The coastal guns that were built to cover sea zone 12 are reduced one level, from 2-0-0 to 1-0-0. That, and more leaflets. The single point of coastal artillery, however, can still hit and damage German ships.

German air raids, September II, 1940 (click image to enlarge)

German air raids, September II, 1940 (click image to enlarge)

The British were very effective this turn, both with their patrol attacks, interception and AA fire. Between the two raids on the Royal Navy, out of 28 total counters (Ju-88, He-111 and Do-17), 12 were returned and 7 were aborted. That’s 19 out of 28, or 68% of the bombers did not reach their targets (950 out of 1400 bombers sortied).

That said, the Luftwaffe were only able to place hits on the Rodney at Edinburgh and the Repulse at Belfast.

The rest dropped leaflets. Hitler trägt Unterwäsche der Frauen!

That had to be the work of British saboteurs.

In Europe, the Luftwaffe now has 9 bomber counters sitting in an aborted state, compared to 2 for the RAF; five Ju-88s, two He-111Hs, and two Ju-87Bs.

I have not been able to get a sniff of the Nelson since the first couple of raids. I think it was easier to hit when it was at sea.

As usual, the British keep to the belief that the Hurricane is an inferior fighter. Nevermind that it has the same chance as the Spitfire of getting shot down, they just sit at their airfields. Personally, it was my 2nd favorite plane of the war (after the P-51D, of course).

Engineers begin work on airfields at Boulognes and Dunkerque.

H-Hour is approaching. The cruisers Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper arrive in Wilhelmshaven, the first of the more modern warships the Kriegsmarine has. The question is, if the Germans truly wanted the invasion to launch in mid-September of 1940, why wait so long to beef up the battle fleet?

It usually takes me one or two runs through a game before I start to feel comfortable with what needs to be done to achieve success. Narvik took a couple of misfires, then a couple of games against an actual opponent (with yet another misfire) before I started getting it down. A playthrough of Torch showed that I still remembered the bulk of the Europa rules. The Damned Die Hard, well, I’m not sure how much I improved with that one.

But if you read through all the Narvik entries for the different games (I think I may have removed the older misfire games), I have reached a point where I feel comfortable with what needs to be done (even though the Germans have yet to win a single game), and more competent with it overall. I think I could easily switch over to the Storm over Scandinavia version of Narvik and do well there, too.

Am I doing the best job as the Germans? Probably not at this point, but I am doing it as I see the priorities need to be, but I am also kind of feeling around to see how things work. I have not played this game in nearly 30 years (and I am amazed that I have retained as much of a grasp of it as I have). I believe the Royal Navy poses the larger threat overall. It needs to be whittled down to size.

That is not to say that the RAF poses no threat whatsoever. Bomber Command is a major threat to shipping, but the Luftwaffe can deal with bombers.

The question I keep asking myself is which is the greater threat, capital ships or destroyers? Do subs pose a threat to the Rodney? The Nelson? If so, then destroyers are the bigger threat.

I realize that some of my missions have been wasted. I’m not talking about those missions where all of bomber force was driven off. I’m talking about missions like trying to find and bomb subs (although the Me-110Cs and Ju-87s seemed to be pretty effective at that). Trying, at this point to hit bombers on the ground. Those seem to be a waste of missions.

The invasion window is sliding shut quickly. Summer is over, and fall is beginning. The weather may begin to worsen from this point forward.

If you didn’t understand the German above, Google Translate will take care of that (as much as a computer program can take translate it accurately).

Now it is Alan’s turn to rebut me in the comments.

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9 thoughts on “TFH: Sep II 1940 (Germany)

  1. 29delta on said:

    Hi, guys. I just can’t get over how little gaming there is in this game. Am I correct is believing that for the second straight move the German hasn’t scored a single VP? I just don’t feel any German pressure on the Brits at all. Does this game grant higher bombing loads for short range strikes? If yes, why not develop a plan that maximizes that capability? Keep everything within fighter umbrella at the same time? Take out radar sites? The near to France airfields? Something systematic. The German plan now just seems so scattered in it’s effects.

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    • alant14 on said:

      The only points Germany has scored so far are 4 on Aug II for sinking 4x subs and now in Sep II Brit player-turn for -1 GA (EET scour). Extended (double) range missions are at 1/3 bomb load, there is no advantage to shorter (half?) range missions. Tony has settled on bombing my fleet at long range and bombing coastal artillery at short range, but he has experimented with several ideas. For my part, I have been obliging the bombing of my fleet as the lesser of two evils.

      Bombing the radar net doesn’t get you VPs and it is nearly impossible to take down. The British player knows how much damage each station can take, but the German does not. Further, the German doesn’t know when he has done enough damage to each station, only when the net goes down. Sure, Tony did destroy one of the radar stations (0 strength) but it was at the far western end and out of effective fighter range. If he wants to attack the remaining radar stations they all have good fighter cover and 4 AA factors. Taking down the radar net only affects patrol attacks, not interception. Radar can be repaired by expending equipment points.

      Bombing airfields is useless, British Engineers will repair them just as fast, plus the Brits aren’t using most of the airfields closest to France. Presumably the Germans will want use of those airfields immediately after the invasion. Bombing air units at their bases is another tactic. He did hit a couple of my bombers on the ground, but only once each, making them inoperative. They made their air repair rolls the next turn and he has not tried since.

      The biggest issue facing Tony is that the RAF will be all over him if he doesn’t send a ton of escorts. He can at best escort 2 target hexes within range of the bulk of RAF fighters stationed in and around London. I can get 12-14 fighters (including 3 night fighters) to just about any hex he might target within range of his Calais area Me109s. That means 9-11 patrol attacks, which could remove some of his escorts, but more often I’ve patrol attacked his bombers. he is what I would call “risk adverse”, only wanting to engage in air combat when I will have to put several Hurricanes (5F5) against Me109Es (7F5). So far he has not made it worth my while.

      The traditional way of getting the RAF to engage is to fly heavily escorted terror bombing missions against London. This is about the only thing Tony has not done. While bombing London gets Germany some quick VPs, it does nothing to prepare the way for invasion.

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      • Calling me risk averse is rich, coming from General Montgomery over there. Can’t use airborne troops because something bad might happen. Can’t fly interception because, well, I’m afraid my Hurricanes just aren’t up to par. I do take risks, just not every turn, and not all of them work out.

        In addition, you are beginning to sound like a certain reichsmarschall who boasted the Luftwaffe would conquer Britain all on their own.

        I think it is interesting that you are willing to watch the whole country burn, b ut not London! Except maybe the East End!

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        • alant14 on said:

          You wouldn’t! Bomb the dodgy parts, I won’t care.

          Hey, those Hurricanes are flying patrol attacks every turn, and doing a fine job of it. When the number of bombers increase to the point that I can’t patrol away half of them things might change.

          The chances of a K in Air Combat on the +2 column (Me109 vs Hurr) is double that of the +0 column (Hurr vs Me109).

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    • You are right on two counts. There is very little pressure being put on Britain through bombing. Can’t realistically put pressure on Fighter Command if they just sit in their tents and drink tea while the rest of the country burns.

      The second is that some of the bombing plans are a little scattered. I haven’t touched this game in nearly 30 years, and I am trying to remember what worked and what didn’t. So, yes, the bombing campaign is a bit scattered. Future playings (if I get that far, I am becoming convinced that these rules are just too archaic) should be a bit more focused.

      Alan provides the usual list of excuses as to why the German player should not even try. Airfields get repaired, radar sites are repaired, and the German player doesn’t know how effective he is being. It takes a long time to hit ships.

      Therefore, one should not even try. The British should just be declared the winner from the outset, and the game not even played.

      Of course, that doesn’t even take into account that for me supposedly being the risk averse one, the British won’t even commit their Spitfires to battle for fear they might get shot down.

      I have said multiple times that I am not playing for VPs. I am playing to try to prove a point. Alan’s the only one keeping score.

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      • alant14 on said:

        Rest of the country burns? Lately the Luftwaffe has bombed grass runways, beaches and battleships. There’s hardly a whiff of smoke. Bremen on the other hand is burning brightly every night

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  2. Would counter-bombing German airfields in France instead of terror bombing be more effective?

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    • alant14 on said:

      There are way to many Me109 and Me110 fighters sitting in France and Belgium to risk sending RAF fighters and bombers on air unit bombing missions. Frankly it would be suicide. Bomber Command is ready to throw everything at the invasion barges when they make their move, until then they can score some points making nocturnal strategic bombing raids on shipping and German cities.

      When the invasion Tony threatens actually comes he will not have enough fighters to both escort naval patrols and defend against my naval patrols. He also has to escort GS/DAS over the invasion beach(es). RAF Fighter Command has the luxury provided by game mechanics to decide whether to intercept his bombers (patrol attack his fighters) or escort their own naval patrol bombers (patrol attack his bombers) or do the same with his GS/DAS. I’m sure he will use some clever and tempting diversion, perhaps with paratroopers, but the numbers are what the numbers are.

      Germany can attain very localized air superiority within range of the mass of RAF fighters in and south of London, limited to 1 or 2 hexes per German player-turn by using 12+ fighters per hex. That could be the naval patrol hex of the Sea Zone the invasion take place in plus one invasion hex. Any more than that and the RAF will jump all over the LW and potentially cripple the invasion before the RN shows up.

      This is why the RAF must conserve strength. Also note: there is no 1 bombing factor column on the TFH bombing table. Hence few RAF bombers with 2 or more TDF have been flying missions in Europe.

      At least this is my plan.

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  3. alant14 on said:

    Tony will get 1 VP per hit scored on British surface ships, but only at the end of the game. If he manages to sink one he will immediately get 2 VP per hit box sunk.

    Tony, I think the ships you are getting now are coming out of repairs sustained prior to August (game start).

    At this point I need to bring up a rule and explain why I have not been shelling Calais every German player-turn to destroy those guns. Rule 35A3 Sea Zone 12 says “All ships in sea zone 12 are considered to be in primary range of coastal artillery counters occupying hexes 4533/11A (Dover) or 4733/11A (the hex just west of Calais). The Germans have not placed any coastal artillery counters in 4733/11A. Shelling coastal artillery in Calais would probably result in more hits on my BB and BC, and achieves nothing beneficial, so I have not done so. Had the artillery been placed in 4733/11A I would have at least tried to snuff it out as it was placed.

    The way TFH game mechanics work the phasing player must fly naval patrol BEFORE any non-phasing player ships move. The non-phasing player gets to fly naval patrol missions AFTER the ships move. Tony only flew naval patrol missions to Sea Zones where the RN had ships at sea at the start of the turn. This leaves the British with an opportunity to sail from far away ports into Sea Zone 12 and conduct shore bombardment against German coastal artillery during the German player-turn. I suspect that had the RN done this once the Luftwaffe would start flying naval patrol missions in Sea Zone 12 every turn, diverting bombers away from other targets. This naval patrol and escort thereof would most likely have greatly diminished Tony’s air campaign against my coastal artillery and lessened the numbers attacking ships in port.

    As explained above German coastal artillery is not without a counter tactic. The cost in bombers and escorts to defend them from shore bombardment may not be worth the benefit of having them in position.

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