Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TFH2: Nov I 40: Endgame


The Germans have pushed the invasion back as far as they can push it. The last of the fleet has finally arrived in the form of the battlecruiser Gneisenau and the light cruiser Leipzig. Shipping and light naval forces have been shifted around in preparation to invade Britain.

Mines are placed in zones 10, 11, 12 & 13 (dummy counter, 4 points, 5 points, 5 points), as the Germans are prepared to roll the dice in a last ditch attempt to get across the Channel. The Germans have a 50/50 chance of getting good weather.

And the weather is…….

Poor. Rough seas.

The window has now all but closed on any chance of a German invasion. The Führer predictably loses interest and turns his focus to the east and the pursuit of lebensraum.

Because of these circumstances, the game is going to end in a draw. The Germans will certainly not allow the British to get a VP ratio of 2:1 or greater to claim a victory.

Of course, the British will claim this was a strategic victory, but there is no strategic victory defined in the rules. As a standalone campaign, there are no strategic victories. In reality, the Germans just lost the war.

The British sat back and did as little as possible, bombing some shipping and terror bombing a few cities with little effect, scoring all of 2 victory points for their efforts. They also sunk all of 7 shipping points.

That said, the onus is all on the German player, and it can be frustrating at times, but only if you let it be.

Too many times I let Alan get into my head. I stopped using the Me-110s on bombing missions because he once said that he was salivating at the prospect of patrol attacking them.

Patrol attacking them, which merely had a chance to send them back to base, and I balked. I should have let him patrol attack all he wanted. Mistake #1.

We have had some discussion about updating the rules to at least the Second Front standards. In that game, air units can either patrol attack or intercept, not both. The British, for the most part, played the game in this style, preferring patrol attacks to interception. Patrol attacks, however, don’t send air units to the kill box, and I should have realized that.

But I am sure people are wondering

Why Did You Wait So Long?

I fear the Royal Navy, as any rational person should.

It is intensely nerve wracking to even contemplate taking on four battleships (let alone the original 3) when the heaviest ship you have is a cruiser, and you have about 1/3 as many destroyers as the enemy.

The Kriegsmarine does not become any threat to the Royal Navy until this time, and even then, that threat is marginal. The biggest threat to those battleships is the Luftwaffe, and even then, the bombers suffer a -1 DRM penalty for bombing ships at sea, a penalty that dive bombers and fighter-bombers do not have.

For giggles, we had started to play the Nov I 40 turn as though the weather were clear. I sent 2 divisions (one being a 6-6 division) and an engineer regiment across in zone 12. He released the Royal Navy, and lost a sub to mines, but I made a mistake (#2).

After, the RN refused to enter the minefields of zone 13, where there were also 26 air units on naval patrol (an air unit being 40 – 50 aircraft). Yes, it was a deliberate kill zone, but the British didn’t want to scratch the paint on any of their ships and prove the superiority of the Royal Navy over the Kriegsmarine.

The mistake was that I should have announced that there were only 1 or 2 mine points in zone 13. That might have drawn him in, but probably not.

The thing is, these units were never going to get ashore in the Dover area. They weren’t supposed to. I mean, a reserve division making an amphibious landing? It was probably the reserve division that allowed him to see right through the ruse. That, and I wasn’t about to land paratroopers in that area that was so thick with enemy fighters.

This was just a feint to see if I could draw the RN into the kill zone, but it didn’t work.

What we now know is that, as shown during the game, bombing radar sites and factories is a waste of time. They are too easily repaired. So is bombing British ports and airfields. Bombing air units on the ground is helpful, but the two primary targets should be coastal artillery and naval units. Submarines and destroyers can be replaced, so the capital ships have to be the target. Of course, the task becomes much harder if the British put a lot of flak in the hex with the ships, in addition to the AA cruisers that have to be taken out before the battleships are attacked.

In the future, in order to cut down on counter clutter, all 0 movement AA counters should be considered to be intrinsic to the cities where they are supposed to be placed.

The naval system needs to be overhauled, just like a lot of things for a game of this age. I personally think the Second Front or the Wavell’s War rules would be sufficient with the TFH specific rules (radar sites, equipment points, factory hits, and maybe a couple others that are eluding me at the moment) plugged in.

I am going to move on to some other projects for a bit. I don’t know where the modernization project stands at the moment, but I’m sure there is some work being done on it.

If you don’t mind, I need to set up for the Battle of Stalingrad. I’m so excited.

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8 thoughts on “TFH2: Nov I 40: Endgame

  1. Stephen on said:

    It’s been fun following this, but I can’t help a lingering regret that you didn’t get to try out the invasion.

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    • I have regrets about it too, but like I said, I fear the Royal navy, and I am absolutely terrified facing it without so much as a battlecruiser available. I wish the Bismarck were ready to go!

      Like

  2. sfpurvis on said:

    Thanks for sharing this. It sounds like the game is almost too historical. From your commentary it is hard to see how you would get an invasion across. It would have been fun to see you try though.

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    • Against an opponent who has some semblance of a clue, getting the Germans across is extremely difficult (note that I did not say impossible). If we pass this way again (and we probably will at some point), there will definitely be an invasion, even if it gets sunk. =)

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  3. bs1747 on said:

    Requests:

    Please keep playing you two.
    Please choose games that allow you two to switch sides
    Please consider playing one of the last generation of Europa Games
    The desert war may be calling?

    Like

    • For now, I have a new dance partner for the Battle of Stalingrad. That should be fun.

      We could switch sides for any game, but I wanted to move on to a new project at this time (although Stalingrad wasn’t it, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.)

      War in the Desert 2, as it is referred two is one that Alan won’t play. I’ve never played it, and space is at a premium at my house. Or there may be a surprise coming up. =)

      A Winter War is on the radar, and I may be starting it soon.

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  4. alant14 on said:

    Thanks for the game Tony, you did the best with the cards you were dealt. As the British player I was most concerned about you switching to a terror bombing/victory point gaining air campaign.

    If you look at the Allied daylight strategic air war of 1942-43 you will find that they didn’t do tremendous damage to German industry, but they tore the guts out of the Luftwaffe. German fighters were compelled to intercept Allied bombers. After a long and costly attritional campaign the Luftwaffe fighter arm became a shell.

    Germany doesn’t have much time in which to inflict casualties on RAF Fighter Command and they can’t MAKE them engage in attritional warfare. What they can do is provide motivation for the Brits to engage in air combat (instead of patrol attacks). In order to do this they Germans MUST (if I’m playing the RAF) provide a valid reason to risk large numbers of fighters in air combat.

    Bombing radar, coastal artillery, airbases and such isn’t motivational. AA can and will protect the fleet from predation. I did learn not to leave it at sea. The one thing not tried was to bomb London during daylight hours. The RAF might ignore that once per game, in the hope of convincing the German player it was not going to draw up those precious Spitfires and Hurricanes, but it could not be ignored beyond that.

    The other way to entice (motivate) the RAF into air combat is to reduce the Me109 escort to a more reasonable number. When bombing a target like radar or coastal defense sending 4-6 bombers with 14+ Me109 escorts is demotivational. My fighters would’ve intercepted when the odds were in their favor, meaning at least as many Spitfires as Me109s. There were enough fighters to patrol attack small groups of 4-6 bombers when the dice were not totally against me, so there was no NEED to engage in risky air combat where the odds were heavily in favor of the Germans.

    Regarding radar sites – in the previous game the Brits drew 24 points of radar sites with one 0-strength site. That net was never going down unless the German Army overran the sites. In the second game they drew only 16 points with two 0-strength sites. At one point you had 5x bombers drop on a 0-strength site and they all missed. Patrol attacks drove off bombers from the other 0-strength site twice. One of the 2-strength sites was knocked out for a short while and I was getting concerned about having to use a lot of equipment points on my radar and how I could do that without tipping you off as to which sites were knocked out.

    About that invasion attempt in Nov I – it wasn’t the 6-6 Inf XX that convinced me you were not making a serious attempt, that was obvious when so many shipping points sat in port. By Nov I the port defenses were such that a landing was unlikely to succeed. Threatened ports were demolished, too many supported defense points, too much coastal artillery, and poor weather coming making any landing unsupportable in the long run.

    However, you could have gotten ashore! There was an unsupported 1-6 Inf X on a beach hex that a full stack of Germans could’ve taken. A stack of 2x 3-6 Inf XX, 3x 2-6 Inf III and 1x 2-6 Eng III halved for unsupported and quartered for making an “opposed landing” (amphibious assault) is 1.75 attack factors, verses 1/2 defense factor. A 3:1 even up with No Effect results re-rolled gets you ashore 100% of the time. But, you would’ve had to take out the 2-0-0 coastal artillery counter at Dover or risk it shooting up the invasion force. Some of the bombers on naval patrol could’ve been assigned that task.

    Of course this landing wouldn’t even be adjacent to a port. I was prepared to let that happen, only to push the Germans back into the sea in the British Nov I turn. It was my mistake not to at least upgrade that 1-6 Inf X to a supported 1-8* Inf X instead of upgrading a 3-6 Inf X in Scotland.

    My decision to enter or not enter your kill zone in Sea Zone 13 was based on this question: If the invasion can be defeated without trashing the RN why trash the RN to prove a point? With so many uncommitted shipping points the Germans might, given good weather, attempt a second invasion.

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    • Thank you for taking up the challenge, Alan, and not getting upset with me for making fun of your style of play. It is always a challenge when I play you, but I learn things from a different perspective.

      “I don’t think the coastal artillery is that big a threat” – Read Admiral Oskar Kummetz, moments before Blucher was hit and sunk .

      I had expended all of my mines, but I certainly did not want to throw all of my shipping out there, just in case.

      But, I don’t play in the style of trying to grab a piece of land and hold onto it. To me, that’s a cheap way to win. Legal, but cheap. If an invasion is to proceed, I would have to get a port as soon as possible, with the idea of sustaining an invasion.

      But as I have said before, the expectation is that the Germans can do in 2 months (max) what the Allies took 2+ years to do. It simply isn’t going to happen until the Royal Navy is put down like a rabid dog.

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