TFH2: Aug II 40 (Germany)
Those Wellingtons are becoming a pain in my backside. They have not sunk a lot of shipping, but they are sinking enough shipping.
First I need to correct the record. I don’t know why Alan continues to say that there were only 4 hits on British factories (3 at Bristol and one at Coventry). There were 2 hits at the Coventry factory, so after repair, Bristol has 2 hits and Coventry currently has 1.
That said, this turn the first parts of the German army start arriving. Reinforcements can be placed on the naval display or on the map. The naval display is mostly because France is missing (for the most part) and transportation lines are not complete. This allows the German army to move around between ports if the FoF maps are not in use. The only issue that I have is that it takes a full movement phase to move from a port box to the port in question (Units in the Amsterdam port box, for example, would take the entire movement phase to move to the Amsterdam port hex proper).
Coastal artillery begins to arrive, and it is placed in the correct hex this time (between Calais and Boulognes. In addition, three infantry divisions are placed with it for at least some AA protection. Some are also stationed in Amsterdam to add a few more points of AA to protect the shipping.
One of the things that is nice, for me, is that Alan is reacting to what I am doing for once. The damage that I was doing to the Royal Navy last turn must have surprised him so much that he has bolstered his defenses around the fleet, he has also recalled a battleship from Gibraltar before I have even laid a single hit on any ship.
He gets the chance to react again.
It had never occurred to me before to use the airbases in Denmark, but I think it opens up a lot of possibilities. The British have so much fighter cover in southeastern England that air defenses on the east coast and in his rear areas is lacking.
Normally I fly air units in a straight line for convenience and take whatever patrol attacks come my way. This time, I made detailed instructions describing the path most of the air units fly.
I did this because I found some gaps in Britain’s patrol coverage.
The Luftwaffe sorties again deep into the British rear areas. Ju-88 bombers fly from Stavanger, Norway, and exploit a gap in patrol zones to reach Coventry without seeing a single RAF patrol. Ju-88s from Denmark fly deep to Coventry to bomb the factory, Northampton to bomb Wellingtons and Hampdens (no airbase AA), and Birmingham to bomb the Beaufort torpedo bomber. Heinkels from Bergen stage through Kristiansand, then fly extended range to SE London. They are joined by Ju-87s from Oostend and Me-109 escorts. SE London is also hit by Heinkels and Ju-87s, escorted by Me-109s. Dornier Do-17s, escorted by Me-110s attack the factory at Bristol, flying to avoid British patrols. Heinkels also assist in the attack on the Coventry factories.
Patrol attacks fail to do much. Only one Me-109 is forced to abandon its mission on the way to London. Further west, one Me-110C is forced to return.
A furious air battle occurs over the skies of London. The British shoot down an Me-109, a Ju-87B, aborting another, and shooting down an He-111. To the west over Bristol, a Blenhein night fighter shoots down a Do-17, and a Hurricane shoots down an Me-110C.
That’s five kills and an abort, and yet the British were crying about how the dice were being unfair to them.
How did the Luftwaffe do? A Spitfire was shot down, 2 are aborted over London, and two Hurricanes are aborted over Bristol.
So who were the dice unfair to again?
As it turns out, most of the targets hexes have no airbase antiaircraft. That’s right. Not only did the Luftwaffe exploit gaps in RAF coverage, they exploit the lack of airbase AA to hit the rear areas.
2 x He-111 @ extended range, 4 x He-111 @ normal range, 2 x Ju-88; two He-111s flying at normal range are returned due to AA fire. The remaining bombers deliver an additional 3 hits to the factory, bringing it to 4 hits total. When doing the online dice roller, I wrote that each bomber had 5 SPF each, instead of SBF. I guess we bombed Britain with suntan lotion!
The last game, the British were bragging that they had a torpedo bomber. There is no airbase AA in this hex, so 3 x Ju-88s destroy the Beaufort torpedo bomber on the ground.
The British no longer have a torpedo bomber.
Again, there is no airbase AA, so the bombers proceed unhindered. Four Ju-88s target a Wellington 1C, while 3 others target the Hampden bombers. The Wellington 1C is aborted while the Hampdens are unscathed.
Another two hits are placed on the factory, bringing it to 4 hits as well.
Three Heinkels combine bombing factors and along with a Ju-87B bomb the aborted Hurricane. Again there is no airbase AA. They all miss. The Hurricane has now used one of its nine lives. Maybe I should have combined all of the bombers together to hit it.
Three other Ju-87B dive bombers target the Wellington 1C, and score 3 hits, destroying it.
The only survivors of the air combat target the Wellington 1C stationed there, aborting it as well. There is no airbase AA.
1 x Spitfire shot down.
2 x Spitfire aborted
2 x Hurricanes aborted (three total)
1 x Wellington 1C destroyed on the ground
2 x Wellington 1C aborted
1 x Beaufort torpedo bomber destroyed on the ground.
3 hits to the factory at Coventry (4 total).
2 hits to the factory at Bristol (4 total).
The two bombers that were destroyed on the ground go to the remnants box. In the TFH replacement system, if there are 5 aircraft of any kind, one moves to the available box, and the other 4 are permanently eliminated. It will be interesting to see what the British do. There is now a Hurricane, 2 x Wellington 1Cs, a Beaufort torpedo bomber, a Blen 1F night fighter, and a Whitley bomber. One can be saved, and 4 permanently eliminated. Of course, replacing from the remnants box is discretionary, not mandatory like replacing from the EET or EFT boxes. The British can just let the remnants pile grow, but must be aware that once 10 units are in that box, 1 must be permanently eliminated.
All this at the cost of 2 fighters and 3 bombers. That hurts a bit, but losses are inevitable. The Luftwaffe has lost 250 aircraft to 200 for the RAF (counting the Blen-4s shot down last turn).
Overall, a pretty productive turn, I think. I wish I could have hit that Hurricane in London, though. Don’t let the British ‘poo-pooing’ machine convince you the loss of those bombers doesn’t hurt. When you have 6 heavy bombers, and 2 are destroyed, it hurts. Certainly, much of this will be repaired and back in action, but that does not mean that the attempts to kill them will cease.
While the Luftwaffe is hammering targets all over Britain, the Royal Navy, with the new arrival HMS Valiant, slips into the Channel and bombards the guns between Boulognes and Calais. The guns get 2 shots at the Valiant (missing both times) and the battleships place 3 hits on the 3-0-0 coastal artillery guns. From Alan, upon the conclusion of the bombardment:
“Drinks will be had in Edinburgh!”
Hopefully they will be drunk next turn when they return.
Oh, they’ll return. We’ll just have to make some adjustments to greet them when they come.
This is good, though. It actually gives us a chance to mess around with the naval system, and it highlights the difference between how coastal defenses are treated by this game in comparison to others. These defenses can be destroyed. In others, they can only be suppressed.
As can also be seen, this is the result of not making the Royal Navy a priority. I wanted to try something different, to try to put more pressure on the Royal Air Force. There i snot enough Luftwaffe to go around to put pressure on both. Certainly, more hexes can be attacked by sending one or two bombers per hex, but I feel this greatly increases the chances of misses, or at the very least, fewer hits. One or two bombers are not going to put 3 hits on a factory per turn.
The British also blow the port of Dover, inflicting 5 hits of damage to the port. Ports have no capacity in this game, as long as the units embarking have no heavy equipment. Units with heavy equipment (armored units, artillery, etc.) are limited to 12 REs per port. Each hit inflicted on the port reduces the number of REs of units with heavy equipment by 2 REs. Five points of damage means that Dover can only accept 2 REs of units with heavy equipment. A sixth point of damage shuts the port down to units with heavy equipment until the port is repaired.
New airfields are placed near Le Havre, Boulognes and Calais. The engineers move away one hex and throw up some temporary airfields so they can begin work on permanent airfields next turn.
I can’t remember if I brought this up before, but most of the German reinforcements appear in a “reinforcements” box on the naval display. They can also appear in port boxes on the naval display.
If they are in an off-map box, they can move freely between port boxes, no matter the distance. I think this is because only those portions of France included on the map are the northern coastal areas, and only a few transportation lines leading south are shown. Any units in a port box are still subject to hex stacking. While still under this restriction, they are not able to fire AA, embark for shipping, nor build airfields or forts. But it takes a full movement phase to move between the port holding box and the map. That makes absolutely no sense to me. If it is there to reduce map clutter, than normal activities should be allowed as well, and movement between the map and the box should be unhindered. Just my opinion
So concludes the German half of the August II 1940 turn. Some progress has been made reducing the Royal Air Force. They actually came out to fight this time, and won the air battle, but the Luftwaffe got some licks in as well.