Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Narvik: More Changes


Rule Changes & Clarifications

Norwegian soldiers on the Narvik front (click image to enlarge) [source: https://commons.wikimedia.org]

The Swedish Supply Depot

I found the GDW Narvik rulebook that I (*cough* *cough*) misplaced. In the older version of Narvik, the German supply depot that appears in Sweden receives 4 MP and can move independently. In the new game, it receives an extra movement point.

The Victory Point Schedule

There are a couple of changes to the VP schedule, but I’m not sure all of them were intentional.

The VP schedule has little change between the GDW & the GR/D version of the game. The Allies are awarded VPs for German units destroyed or sunk, but there are also stiffer penalties for losing non-Norwegian Allied units. As with the previous game, the Norwegians are nothing more than Allied cannon fodder. It is the Norwegians that will bear the brunt of the defensive campaign.

Haugesund

The Allies also receive VPs for control of any of the following ports: Namsos, Trondheim, Andalsnes, Bergen, Stavanger, or Kristiansand. This is a change from the prior game, which awarded VPs for control of any port south of the ‘A’ (arctic) weather line (sans Kristiansund {not to be mistaken with Kristiansand further south} and Alesund) at the end of the game.

Haugesund & environs (click image to enlarge)

In the GDW game, the port of Haugesund was a thorn in the side of the Germans. The port, located between Stavanger and Bergen is an out of the way place reachable only by road or by naval sea lift. The port now has minimal value. While Haugesund is no longer a target for the Allies to hold, it does allow some movement around on the coast, skirting island to island to just north of Bergen. However, the Allies are still limited by their supply tethers.

The Germans no longer have to plan to take it early to prevent the Allies from landing there and building a defensive position. A defensive position in the mountains overlooking Haugesund should suffice, but only if Norwegian units are in the port. The port is relatively unimportant to Allied units because of their supply tether.

The thing that concerns me, though, is that the schedule suggests that the Allies are awarded these points if they control one of these ports at any time during the game, instead of at the end of it. I have found no errata to the contrary included with the game (dated 1999), in the Europa magazine, or online, so I must assume this is supposed to be correct. Unless the Germans take every one of these ports at the beginning of the game, it nearly hands victory to the Allies from the very beginning.

I’m sure the VP schedule is supposed to say at the end of the game, but it doesn’t. We’ll see how this plays out.

The Danish Airfields

If you were to look at the Order of Battle before you looked at the rulebook, it would appear that the Danish airfields are available from the beginning of the game, rather than on turn 2 as in the GDW game. The Order of Battle goes as far as directly contradicting the rulebook, listing the Danish Aalborg airfield under initial forces, and stating that Aalborg can have a maximum of 12 air units. In addition, the Copenhagen airfields have been added, giving the Germans an additional 18 in airfield capacity, also stated as available in the Initial Forces section.

Rule 13.B, however, states that these airfields cannot be used on the first turn, unless it is aircraft landing during the air return step. I think the OB should have a note to refer to Rule 13B. This is very sloppy editing, in my opinion.

Errata

The SoS Narvik rules do not have any errata associated with them, but errors exist in the game.

He-59B  (Click image to enlarge) [source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:He-59B.jpg]

The German Order of Battle identifies an HE-59B as a 1B2 bomber with no bombing strength. There is no He-59B in the countermix. The counter is printed as an He-59 transport. No other He-59s of any type appear in the OB after the initial forces. The question now is, which is correct, the OB or the counter?

According to my research, the He-59B-1 (&2 & 3) was a reconnaissance/torpedo bomber. This craft is not a transport in any way, shape or form, so it must be assumed that the counter is in error. How or why this was never caught is a mystery.

The Air War

The number of air units available to the Germans has nearly doubled between the two revisions. The GDW game had 38 air units (25 transports), compared to GR/D which has 67 air units (34 transports)

Europa fans know that the Luftwaffe began to be revised  shortly after the release of Their Finest Hour (if I am not mistake). Specifically, the range of the Ju-88A was reduced from 40 hexes to 26. As Europa switched between GDW and GR/D, more revisions to all air forces began. For SoS, the Ju-52 transport was reduced from 25 hexes to 20 hexes, as an example..

The revisions also created a new kind of bomber: the anti-shipping bomber. For this game, there are 14 of these kind of bombers available. This makes the Norwegian Sea much more dangerous for the British carriers.

The British also gain an airfield in the southern Shetland Islands (Sumburgh) as a staging base between Hatston Field in the Orkneys (off-map) and Norway.

Speaking of airbases, Narvik had two airbases outside of Oslo printed on the map. The one across the fjord to the southwest is Fornebu Air Station. The one to the north is Gardermoen Air Station, now the Oslo Airport. When SoS came around, these two airbases were moved clockwise 1 hex to new positions. I believe that Gardermoen is a little out of place. According to Google Maps, Gardermoen is about 23 or so miles from Oslo, and maybe a little more north than shown in the SoS maps. But the actual location may be very close to the hex border and it just looks slightly out of place, but I believe it should be located in the hex with the 2-3-4 infantry battalion, shown in the photo below.

Should Gardermoen be here, rather than one hex south? (click image to enlarge)

The Oslo Air Stations (click image to enlarge)

Distance to Gardermoen – North is the top of the picture (click image to enlarge)

Other Changes

In the GDW game, there is a Norwegian 1-8 motorcycle battalion starting a bit south of Evje ( in SoS) which is now Mobilization Center 7 on  the new maps, but is now gone.

The regiments of the 214th XX were reduced between games from 9-4 regiments to 6-4 ratings.

Issues that I have with Narvik

Just like the GDW game, paratrooper air drops can only occur in clear, rough, woods or wooded rough hexes. Dombås, where a German air drop occurred historically, is a forest hex in the GDW game, and a mountain hex in the SoS version. Dombås is a bit south of Andalsnes, located at the rail junction that leads to Trondheim in the northeast and Hamar to the south. The landing was successful, even if the airborne troops ultimately surrendered to Norwegian forces. The designers went out of their way to allow for German transports to land at enemy airfields and capture them, at some risk to both the transports and the troops being carried, because it did happen. However, this airdrop actually happened, and there is no rule allowing such an airdrop.

To the north, in far away Narvik, the Germans also performed airdrops in the mountains to reinforce Narvik. Not only this, but the drops were performed not by airborne troops, but by mountain troops with quick parachute training! Granted, these drops were a small number of men (usually around 50 or so per drop), but they were still performed.

But within the confines of the game, this is not allowed.

HMS Glorious (click image to enlarge)

The other issue that I have is the HMS Glorious. The Glorious was sunk near the end of the campaign, during the evacuation of Norway. While several German bombers have been redesignated as anti-shipping forces, the Glorious and the escort destroyers, HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta, were not sunk by anti-shipping air forces, but by the German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst. 

Here is where I have the problem. German naval assets for this game are abstracted. No counters are used to represent any ship in the area. The destroyers that the Germans lost at Narvik are not represented, just the troops that survived the battles. If it assumed that the destroyers are trapped and destroyed by an interdiction marker (representing the Royal Navy battleships HMS Warspite & HMS Valiant and support vessels), then why not assume the Glorious was sunk as well?

Overall, I think that many of these changes favor the Germans. We’ll see how that works out in practice.

Up next and coming soon, The Germans beat the Allies to the punch, and invades Norway!

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4 thoughts on “Narvik: More Changes

  1. Stephen on said:

    You can fly mountain battalions up to Narvik in long-range seaplane transports, using the “return leg” method. How a bunch of transport planes can survive bobbing around in the Fjord when a Royal Navy intervention force has just wiped out a bunch of rather better protected KM destroyers, though, is beyond me. But the rules don’t seem to prohibit it.

    Like

  2. alant14 on said:

    Can’t wait to see how this goes. My SoS is still shrink wrapped.

    Like

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