Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TFH2: German Oct II 40


Autumn has arrived and the weather finally turns against the Germans. Poor weather and rough seas means no invasion this turn, and all bombing factors are halved.

The victory point differential remains close, only about 5 points. The question for the Germans at this point is do we go for an invasion if the weather clears, or do we force the game to a draw by keeping the victory points close?

Because of the weather, an all out night bombing campaign is launched against London, particularly Buckingham Palace and Whitehall. Nothing like a bombing raid to remind the King there’s a war on.

The London Blitz (click image to enlarge)

The London Blitz (click image to enlarge)

The night He-111 leads all available He-111s, Do-17s, and Ju-88s to the target. Night patrols desperately try to turn the night bomber back before it reaches London, but are unable to do so. However, newly minted Beaufighters jump the night bombers over the target hex and shoot up quite a few of them, forcing them to turn back to base for repairs, but not before they have led the force to their target.

The bombers unload, delivering over 20 strategic bombing factors on the city, sending the citizens fleeing in panic as Godzilla makes his way through the city. German bomber pilots are surprised to see what looks like the Bat-signal searchlight turned on. (Later in the comments, you’ll probably see the British proclaim that they hit Berlin first, but they hit little more than a school, and maybe a homeless guy or two).

I am using a photo from last turn that shows the arrival of German troops to their embarkation ports to show which hex of London was hit. That’s what the blue arrows mean.

Twenty SBF is not anywhere near what the Germans could deliver. Their bombing strengths are halved not just for the weather, but because they are bombing at night as well. The Germans could have delivered 80+ SBF if the weather was decent (for a total of 16 VPs). Victory points are awarded 2 points for every 10 SBF delivered on London, and the Germans score 4 VPs, bring them to within a victory point of the British.

Unless the British can score 16 VPs in the next 5 turns (and recent history suggests they won’t) while shutting the Germans out, they will not score a victory. Then again, neither will the Germans. In order to score a victory, one side or the other has to have at least twice the number of victory points as the other. That is unlikely to happen at this point (unless there is a failed invasion attempt).

It is the return to base that things start going wrong. The Ju-88s return to Germany, one crashing as it lands at Hamburg. The Do-17s lose two air units to crashes at Le Havre in France, and the He-111s lose 5 air units that crash at their bases in France and Belgium, including the night bomber. All told, 6 air units crash land returning to base. More damage than the RAF dealt out.

But we discovered a bug in the rules. The night bomber was aborted in air combat. It then crashed at Lille, which should abort it. Two aborts equals a kill in later rules, but not in this game. If an air units crashes, it is aborted, no matter what its status is coming in. Alan left it up to me to decide when we were discussing it, and I elected to follow self-interest and leave it on base, but in need of repairs.

This is an issue that definitely needs to be addressed.

Victory points are now Britain: 18, Germany: 17.

The last of the Kriegsmarine arrives next turn; the battlecruiser Gneisenau and light cruiser Leipzig, but time is running out, if it is not too late to launch an invasion already. It is now or never. If the weather breaks, we’re going. It may cost the Germans the game, but games are supposed to be fun. How much fun is it to have the Germans just stand on the beach and wave?

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4 thoughts on “TFH2: German Oct II 40

  1. Mark Owens on said:

    Alas, and the pattern from long ago repeats. I think it’s cool that the VPs are slanted in such a fashion that the historical decision to not invade gets made given the historical start point and forces. The risk involved in conducting the invasion under doubtful circumstances are ‘too great’. Thus it was in TFH that the German player usually would continue the air campaign….but switching to more lucrative targets to prevent the Brits from declaring ‘victory’.

    Thus it was that after a few games to test the historical waters, we switched to using the JULY start point (with the ‘seriously planning started at first mention’ foundation). We sometimes used the enhanced KM (Not the Heavy Norwegian losses).
    The extra two turns in JULY are ‘just enough’ to bring an invasion into a more reasonable position. Even so, even with the extra two turns, the invasion might or might not occur based on the play of the game. It’s still a somewhat dicey proposition.

    Note also that for the operational scale, we used the ‘multiple hits’ from a single bombing hit rule that I think is in the optionals though it may have been from a long ago newsletter (Bill Stone’s E.T.O. for example)…or from THE GRENADIER.

    If you guys aren’t tired of TFH yet, with all the cool design talk occurring, I’d like to urge to make another go with the earlier start as well. It could stand as an interesting contrast to the full-on Historical TFH scenario and possibly provide some additional interesting input for the design considerations.
    Thank you for sharing the AAR with the EUROPA list!

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    • I tried to get a July start, but Alan would have none of it. The expectation of being able to pull off a successful invasion in 6 – 8 weeks is ludicrous. The Allies spent 2+ years preparing to come back across the Channel, and the Germans are to do it in 2 months?

      I’ve said before that it usually takes me a couple of run throughs before I start to see clearly what must be done. I now have a clearer idea of what must be done to clear the path for a successful landing and what are distractions. I don’t know if we will do a third run (demands on my time have suddenly grown 5000 fold), but if we do I would like to do a July start to see what impact that has on the game, and I would like to use the updated AA charts. The single die format is driving me nuts. I would also like to implement modern naval rules (ala Second Front or Wavell’s War), including naval reaction checks. I don’t like the rules placing shipping at their destinations to just sit and wait. It would be more interesting to allow shipping to move, so that the RN isn’t sure where they are going. I would also like to see justification for doubling shipping requirements for an opposed landing.

      There are also optional rules for not allowing the British to blow ports before an invasion (favors the Germans), lighter naval losses (favors the Germans) and where artillery does not defend at full strength unless it is stacked with a number of REs equivalent to the size of the artillery unit. This last one later became a normal instead of an optional rule.

      The lighter naval losses rule is never going to happen in this game. Alan and I both agree that these events happened historically and should not be integrated into the game. This should be kept as an optional rule, in my opinion, to allow people to play as they like, but things like this should be left to a Storm Over Scandinavia/Fall of France/Their Finest Hour crossover to determine how many losses the Germans take.

      Things have slowed to a crawl in this game because of me and my lack of time. I am planning an invasion, just in case the weather breaks. If it does, I have to be ready to move. We’ll see how things work out, but it should be fun. Praying for a break in the weather.

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  2. alant14 on said:

    Yes, theoretically the LW could deliver 80 SBF to London IN A DAYLIGHT RAID. But then the RAF would get to use all those Spitfires and Hurricanes to patrol attack, maybe intercept. AA would also be more effective. So, in reality, the LW is never going to deliver 80 SBF on London in a single turn.

    As things stand a huge number of German bombers are inoperative and the LW will be at less than full strength next turn due to their inability to fly at night and the efforts of RAF night fighters.

    In order to survive, should any Germans make it ashore, they MUST take a port. Preferably a functioning port. Then they must deliver supply points (1 per division) by sea or air (requires 3 air transports per point), along with reinforcements. Only 1 supply point may be landed per hex across beaches. Division HQ, artillery and c/m units must be landed at ports (except for 4x 2-1-10 Amphib Pz Bn and 2x 1-8 Inf Gun Bn).

    Four of the six ports in sea zones 11, 12 and 13 have been blown, one has half damage and Engineers get to roll again in the German naval phase for the two ports not already having maximum damage. The port without damage is Great Yarmouth, outside of Me109 escort range and with 3 TBF of DAS sitting on top of 6 DF and 4 AA factors (7 AA vs airdrop). I don’t believe the Germans will try to land here and if they do will be lucky to manage a 1:1 attack. Also should mention the 3 steps of Coastal Artillery. The vaunted LW has not dropped 1 bomb on Coastal Artillery all game and it won’t have much airpower to spare for this if it wants to protect the invasion with naval patrols.

    One of the problems Germany faces by waiting this long is the Home Guard, which gains 1 intrinsic DF in every reference city on Nov I. That and all those 0-1-4 Static Bdes which now ensure there are no vacant hexes adjacent to any ports in sea zones 11, 12 and 13. Only 1 stack of Germans can attack any port in the likely invasion area.

    Fat Herman has his work cut out for him. GS, airdrop, naval patrol, maybe DAS over the invasion beaches, and those pesky Coastal Artillery counters, escorts for all the above plus interceptors against RAF naval patrols. There just isn’t enough Luftwaffe.

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