WIFCON 2004, Lansing,
From left to right: Steve Balk (CW), Rich Gause (Ru/Fr), Paul Rae (Ge), Nicolas Seyvet (Ja), Ken Clark (It), Curtis Dieterich (USA/Chi)
J/A '41 Operation 'Barbapapa' Continues: I contemplate my next moves in late J/A '41 just after Zhukov has been eliminated in encircled Dnepropetrovsk. In the distance you can see China in possession of Foochow, where they are building subs...
M/A '42 Russia Bugging Out: Germany approaches the high water mark shortly after the fall of Moscow as Russian troops flee for the Asian map.
M/A '45 The Dnepr Line: Russian tank army encircled and flipped, about to be eliminated, after the fierce J/F Dnepr crossing battles. This would be Germany's last major success of the war.
J/A '45 Japan and Manchuria: The situation in the far east after the first impulse of J/A '45, last turn of the game.
J/A '45 China: The situation in China.
J/A '45 The Dnepr Line: The Russian position immediately following their first super combined in J/A. The Luftwaffe has been all but destroyed. Rommel will escape by the skin of his teeth.
J/A '45 Exploitation: Germany ruefully calculates the odds while the Russian Bear scowls for the camera as the eastern front collapses and the Western Allies smash their way to the Rhine.
END The Dead Pool: The contents of the dead pool at the end of the last turn. The M/J '45 dead looked just as bad, if not worse in land units.
END Pacific: Final positions in the Pacific. Port Arthur is pretty secure and Japan well garrisoned, and the brave Taihoku garrison holds on having just defeated another US assault.
END Europe: Final positions in Europe. As you can see given another impulse or two Russia would have had a good crack at Warsaw and Budapest, and the Russian Marine could have flipped into Helsinki. The Western Allies having achieved a complete breach of the Rhine and nothing really stands between them and the heartlands of Germany.
Germany: Paul Rae
Italy: Ken Clark
Japan: Nicolas Seyvet
USA: Curtis Dieterich
CW: Steve Balk
USSR: Rich Gause
NOTE: Since this was written by the German player, it is very Russo-German-centric. I have managed to get some of the important details down about the Pacific and Med campaigns, supplied by my teammates, but many details may be inaccurate. Ha, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!!! ;)
Germany sets up 70% vs Poland and declares war, quickly cleaning up the border forces and launching a successful attack on Lodz in the 1st impulse. France and Britain respond with DoWs of their own, although the western front remains peaceful, and Germany, steeled for a surprise attack on their industry, breathes a sigh of relief as no raids materialize. Substantial British forces enter the North Sea, carrying CW troops bound for the continent, while a large carrier fleet enters the Mediterranean. French subs enter the Baltic and sink some German convoys.
Germany calls a combined and the Kriegsmarine sorties to challenge the British forces in the North Sea. Under cover of darkness, the German cruisers and pocket battleships penetrate the British protective cordon and attack the transport fleet, sinking a transport loaded with the Royal Engineers and a motorized artillery brigade, and aborting the transport carrying Lord Gort, which flees into the port of Calais. As the melee continues, the Heinkel 115 floatplane engages the Gloster Gladiators of the fleet air arm, sending them down in flames. With several ships damaged by return fire, the Germans flee the sea zone.
In Poland, the Wehrmacht takes advantage of continued fair weather to close in on the flipped defenders of Warsaw, eliminating them. The Polish defenders of Danzig are cordoned off as the German government prevails upon the Poles to surrender.
Britian and France declare war on Italy in a clear act of wanton and naked aggression. Port strikes sink one Italian transport and damage the other, crippling Italian lift capability. An Italian cruiser carrying an infantry division in Cape St. Vincent is found and sunk by a British fleet. This perfidious act of war will have far-reaching consequences, as Germany pledges to build up it's Italian ally against the new southern threat. Secret Axis plan "Heinemachefrau" Mark I instantly goes in the garbage, and, Axis war-planners furiously work on Plan "Heinemachefrau" Mark II.
Germany declares war on Denmark and rapidly occupies it as security against further Allied sorties into the Baltic area, overrunning and capturing a Danish cruiser.
In the Far East, Japan presses forward in China as Russia steadily rails forces east. Sian falls early on.
The German army steadily masses on the Dutch and Belgian border as the Kriegsmarine sails far a-field, hunting for convoys in the North Atlantic with minimal success. Furious air battles in the Mediterranean decimate the British fleet air arm as the Italian Libyan army advances into Tunisia from Tripoli.
Russia declares war on Japan after massing a significant force on the Manchurian border. The Russian hordes advance easily at first but then bog down as the Japanese rush reinforcements into the theatre. An initial Russian assault on Harbin fails, allowing the Japanese to reinforce and stabilize their line.
Amidst January snowfall, German declares war on Holland and advances quickly to Amsterdam, taking that city by assault. A British force enters Rotterdam before the Germans can reach it and a standoff ensues, the Germans subjecting the British occupiers to constant air attack.
The Kriegsmarine and Italian submarine fleet raid extensively in the Atlantic, but the CW gives as good as he gets in most cases.
The CW declares war on Portugal in another act of naked aggression, breaking it's long standing treaty with them. Unable to act decisively in time to the overrun of mainland Portugal, Germany dispatches an SS infantry division and the cruiser Graf Spee to the Azores, where they will remain until the end of the war protecting the Portugeuse government in exile.
The Russians fail another assault vs Harbin, as both sides maneuver in the bad terrain. A Siberian corps sticks it's neck out a little too far and is encircled near the Korean border. Russian commitment to the far east expands. Seeing this, Axis planners scrub operation "Heinemachefrau" Mark II, and re-draft it as Plan "Heinemachefrau" Mark III.
With the coming of clear weather, Germany launches "Plan Zeitgeist", the invasion of Belgium. The crack 8th Division puts out into the North Sea loaded on several fast destroyers escorted by the Prinz Eugen, where they are promptly found and sunk to the bottom with no survivors by the British Home Fleet. Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, a swarm of German Ju-52 transport planes carrying the crack 1st Fallschrimjaeger Corps turn right instead of left at the Belgian border and dump their cargo of paratroopers over the Belgian coast near Antwerp. The partially waterlogged paratroopers nevertheless manage to carry the major port without opposition, although they find themselves isolated and wedged between the British garrison of Rotterdam and the British motorized forces rushing into Belgium. German armoured spearheads eliminate the Belgian border fort of Liege and advance to the Dyle.
Things look grim for our hero, as the British prepare a coordinated attack on the lone defenders of Antwerp, fortunately unaided by the badly disrupted bulk of the Belgian army to the west of the city. However, at the eleventh hour, just as British assault commences the Luftwaffe comes to the rescue, Stukas diving out of the sun to break up the attack and sending the Brits fleeing in disorder back to Brussels.
With the threat to Antwerp repulsed, the German High Command is quick to capitalize on the situation, the armoured spearheads drive across the Dyle eliminating two British corps in Brussels and capturing the city, turning possibly one of the worst planned operations by a modern army into a complete and brilliant success...
In the far east, the Russians are still unable to take Harbin and suffer a double embarrassment as the encircled Siberians are eliminated and a lone Japanese infantry division, supported by an ATR, makes a headlong dash to Ulan Bator which it occupies in late April, conquering Mongolia.
The German army advances into France, driving Lord Gort before them. The French line is broken as the turn continues, and a general withdrawal to the Seine is executed. Lille is abandoned to the Germans as the Maginot garrison holes up in Metz. In late June amidst rainstorms, the Gort HQ is finally destroyed at the gates of Paris, and an early end of turn sees the German army with two hexes on Paris which the French declare their intent to defend until the last man. The British evacuate Rotterdam.
In the Far East, the Japanese reinforce Ulan Bator with an air transported MTN corps, which threatens to cut the Trans-Siberian rail line, requiring the commitment of yet more Russian manpower to fend off this new threat. Russia finally takes Harbin, and begins urgent negotiations with Japan to end the war, vacating Vladivostok as a show of good faith. Japan stalls to await developments in the European theatre.
Operation "Heinemachefrau" Mark III is adjusted slightly to adapt to developing world events.
July opens up with a fresh German offensive in France, with German spearheads smashing their way across the Seine to the north and south of Paris, isolating and surrounding the French capital as the exploitation continues, German troops taking Vichy, Rouen, and Nantes before the final reduction of the Paris garrison in the middle of August. The French ask for an armistice and it is granted, German forces immediately begin transferring eastward.
Vichy France is formed with it's historical boundaries, the Italians claiming the rump territory and Germany annexing New Caledonia, pledging the resource to Japan. French Equatorial Africa and a few other peripheral French possessions declare for the Free French, and Gabon becomes the new French capital in exile. Germany still has not used any o-chits.
Germany begins a massive buildup on the Russian frontier, making it's intentions crystal clear. Russia continues tortuous negotiations with Japan, while the Japanese division that captured Ulan Bator charges south across the Gobi desert and into northern China threatening Lan Chow.
The Commonwealth begins the terror bombing of French cities, Germany responds by bombing Southampton, Hull, and Glasgow.
Italy launches a snap invasion of a lightly defended Malta, capturing the island, but still does not reinforce North Africa.
The strat bombing campaign continues with the CW successfully bombing targets inside of Germany. Germany scrambles to provide fighter cover with Italian help, but the CW continues to find chinks in the German air defence net. Most of the Luftwaffe relocates to the Russian border in preparation for plan "Barbapapa".
The Japanese division charges into Lan Chow, capturing the city, leaving the Chinese Communists without supply or reinforcement. In a desperate last ditch bid to save their communist allies, a Nationalist Chinese CAV attacks Lan Chow from the south at terrible odds, but an 18 is rolled and Lan Chow cleared of Japanese units. The grateful Communists then re-occupy the city.
Japan and Russia agree to peace and Japanese units occupy Vladivostok, Russia suffers a net loss of 1 factory and 1 resource when the peace is signed. Russia stakes their claim on the Baltic States but immediately pulls out of them.
Germany declares war on Russia as operation "Barbapapa" gets underway, otherwise known as Phase I of Plan "Heinemachefrau" Mark III. Rumania, Hungary and Finland all quickly rally around the Axis banner. Germany armies advance to the 1939 Russian border, liberating the Baltic countries from Soviet control and re-uniting Poland. The Russians concentrate the bulk of their armoured forces in the south in front of the Dnepr, choosing to simply hold strongpoints against the northern German threat.
CW strat bombing continues throughout 1941, doing 2-3 PP per turn, peaking at mid-summer with a 6 (!) PP raid. CW declares war on Vichy and lands in Morocco. Japan starts to move to contain the Chinese who have gotten out of hand during the Russo-Japanese war.
Germany rolls forward into Russian territory, still completely unopposed. Minsk falls without a fight and German forces approach Leningrad, passing Lake Preipus to the north. The main German force closes in on the Russian line in the Ukraine but poor weather precludes any attacks. Russia starts railing factories, and will indeed be able to move every single blue factory on the European map.
Commonwealth troops advance into Vichy Algeria. A British division sent to persuade the French garrison of Algiers to surrender is destroyed as the French open fire on the peace delegation.
The war begins in earnest as Stukas bomb the Russian line. The Red Army Air Force is powerless against the Luftwaffe, it's obsolete planes repeatedly shot down in flames until no Soviet fighters remain to contest the invaders. Vitebsk and Pskov fall without a fight and German army group north pushes towards Novgorod and Smolensk. Guderian is called south as the German spearheads bisect the Russian line as Rundstedt spends a land o-chit, dislocating the defence and blitzing stack after stack. Odessa is surrounded and left isolated. Zhukov find himself flipped and facing imminent destruction as the Russians fall back, and the Soviets make the hard decision to expend their o-chit to flip him back up. He withdraws to Dnepropetrovsk as the Russians attempt to form a line on the Dnepr. The turn ends early but the Germans are in good shape.
Commonwealth troops finally convince the Algerian garrison to surrender and advance on towards Tunisia. A few Italian divisions block the Kasserine Pass. Italy heavily contests the Western med with air power and subs but achieves mediocre results. Still the sheer quantity of Axis fighters prompts the CW to shift their build strategy to largely fighter production.
Masses of Russian reinforcements arrive, as 10-12 shattered corps return to the map, but the Russian Dnepr line is as leaky as a rusted colander, and the Germans penetrate the river line in several places, ground striking the defenders of Kiev and flipping Zhukov once more in Dnepropetrovsk. Both cities are surrounded and reduced before the end of August as Soviet losses mount, and the turn extends, Germany expending another o-chit to re-flip HQs and continue the pursuit. In the north, Leningrad is isolated and Novgorod falls without a fight as the Soviets fade back. Army Group South advances through the factory cities to the gates of Rostov as the Soviets continue their withdrawal. Sevastopol is isolated and a German division advances to Kerch.
The CW launch attacks on the Italian defenders of Tunisia, clearing them away with a combination of amphibious landing, shore bombardment, tactical strikes and paradrops which presage the techniques they would employ in the coming Italian campaign. The Italians make no effort to reinforce their beleaguered North African troops as the Regia Marina stays in port.
In the North and Center the Soviets make a stand at a line stretching from Gomel through Smolensk and into the marshy areas north of Vitebsk. Heavy forces cover the approaches to the Caucasus and the river line in front of Voronezh. As the weather remains fair, Army Group Center suffers the first German setback of the war as an assault on Smolensk ends in bloody failure. The Russians mount a lightning counter-attack and destroy some of the disrupted German troops east of that city, but a side-effect of this successful counter-attack is to leave the approaches to Moscow dangerously exposed. Army Group South wheels northward and blitzes it's way to the gates of Tula, capturing Bryansk. The Soviets shift forces north to react to the threat.
CW and Free French troops advance on Tripoli.
Japan declares war on the Commonwealth, and invades the NEI. Siam joins the Axis cause. As the turn continues, Japanese forces land in Ceylon and Rabaul and attack vigorously in China. The Chinese launch their first Sub from Foochow... the Chinese will go on to build 3 or 4 subs and start the Madame Chiang CV (but it is never finished).
The weather continues to be fair as Army Group North advances through the heavily wooded areas north of Vitebsk. Smolensk falls to a 2nd assault and Gomel is equally captured, unifying the German front east of the Pripets. Tula falls to a daring German assault, and a Russian counter-attack on that city fails with heavy loss. The germans advance to the gates of Kallinn from the west and outflank around the Russian Moscow defenders to the north with the assistance of Finnish ski divisions earlier transported accross the Baltic. Again the Soviets pull back, abandoning Kallinn. In the south Rostov falls to a sudden assault, threatening the Caucasus.
Lord Gort and a CW GAR land at Murmansk to protect the lend-lease route. Tripoli falls to the Allies. The US passes war appropriations.
Amidst the Russian snows, the heavily winterized troops of Army group North (now including Mannerheim, the Finnish MECH and MOT, the two Ski divisions, and every MTN corps and division in the German arsenal) grind away at the Moscow defenders, taking the city after bitter house-to-house fighting in late January. Yaroslavl falls and Vologda is occupied and the Russians withdraw to their final European defence line. Soviet forces take up blocking positions on the approaches to the Caucasus.
Japan declares war on the USA. Japanese troops occupy Pago Pago and Dutch Harbour. An amphibious force under Yamashita sails from Truk, the carrier fleet launches intensive air strikes on the Pearl Harbour defenders, as Japanese subs prowl the sea hunting for convoys... all for naught, however, as Japanese air only manages to flip one of three of the Pearl defenders and the subs come up empty as Pearl remains in supply. Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya, presses the attack anyway and the Japanese go in at a +4, only to fail miserably. The beaches of Oahu are littered with dead Japanese marines and Pearl stands firm.
US subs raid the South China Sea in force but are given a bloody nose as 3 are sunk and 3 are damaged by Japanese air power. Japan subsequently overruns Manilla conquering the Phillipines, ending the US sub threat for the time being.
Voronezh falls but bad weather impedes the German advance. The Soviets withdraw to the Volga and give up Gorki in the North. The Soviets burn 5 Caucasus oil wells as a preemptive measure against further German successes, keeping only the oil wells at Baku open.
Commonwealth troops land in Corsica and the Marine Engineer crosses into Sardinia, allowing Allied troops to flood onto the island without need for invasion. This is the last good news for the Commonwealth in Sardinia, however.
Japan consolidates it's gains and overruns Malaya, besieging Singapore.
The Soviets continue to withdraw onto the Asian map, but the weather is uniformly bad (4 impulses of rain or storm) and the Germans do not pursue, choosing to occupy defensive positions roughly from the Don river bend in the south to Gorki in the North. German troops briefly occupy Stalingrad as a symbolic gesture and then withdraw. Several units rail west and the defence of Italy becomes a priority. German forces mass threateningly at the Yugoslav border.
Commonwealth assaults on Axis troops in Cagliari and central Sardinia fail dramatically. The Italians reinforce Cagliari. With less pressure to take land actions, Germany concentrates more strat bombing England (with mild success in the coming turns) and sending out the remnants of the Kreigsmarine from French ports. The Bismarck sails repeatedly to Cape St. Vincent but does not impact Allied reinforcements flowing into the theatre. Germany and Italy delcare war on the USA as US troops appear in theatre, but do not manage to fins the American transports.
Japan attacks steadily in China, pushing the Chinese back on all fronts. Singapore is captured. From here on out, Japan will practically ignore the CW, making almost no attempts to cut the CW convoy lines from India and Australia.
Learning of increased lend-lease to Russia through the northern ports, still in Russian hands, and noting that a Russian factory is now operating in Murmansk, Rommel is dispatched with a task force to clean up the northern flank with the ultimate goal of reducing Leningrad. Rommels' forces attack lightly held Archangel, capturing the city and threatening Lord Gort.
The CW attacks Cagliari twice more, as US troops reinforce, but is again repulsed. The Italians again send reinforcements in. Axis air power in the Bay of Biscay manage to slow the redeployment of CW land units to the Med but accomplish little else.
Lord Gort embarks from Murmansk, leaving the GAR to it's fate. Murmansk is captured. Germany declares war on Yugoslavia, in accordance with Phase II of operation "Heinemachefrau" Mark IV, and quickly occupies the major cities of Zagreb and Belgrade, as Bulgaria joins the war on the Axis side and sends in security forces. Russian naval activity in the Baltic severely curtails Swedish iron ore deliveries and operation "Teletubbische", the reduction of Leningrad, becomes top priority.
The CW invades Malta with a strong force, taking the island back. Masses of Axis air power in the Italian Coast fail to find the huge Allied fleets.
Rommel and Mannerheim assemble their assault force around Leningrad (recently reinforced with a Soviet Ski Division) amidst winter snows. A clear spell in late December signals the go-ahead for operation "Teletubbische". A fleet of bombers pound the defenders as the assault commences, and in less than a week the city is taken. The Russian battleship Marat falls into German hands and the rest of the Baltic fleet scuttles or sails to neutral Sweden, to take no further part in the war.
Cagliari finally falls as the Allies destroy the convoy lines, rendering the city out of supply. Allied carrier and land based air in the Italian Coast tackles Axis air power, and fierce air battles rage.
Rommel rails south to the Ukraine to form the nucleus of a battlegroup assigned to take Odessa as a part of operation "Polkapunkttür". The conquerers of Leningrad slowly move eastwards to bolster Army Group North. France is reinforced with forces from Yugoslavia, and yet more German troops are sent into Italy, headed by Kesselring. German production kicks into high gear and the first of the Synthetic Oil plants come online. The Luftwaffe delivers as decisive defeat to British Bomber Command, shooting down 3 LND4s down in flames in one impulse. The Allied strat bombing effort is crushed, never to be resurrected, as the last remaining LND4 relocates to the Mediterranean to support CW operations there.
Throughout 1943, the Japanese push back the Chinese, taking Foochow near the end of the year and ending the Chinese naval menace. Armored forces (Hata and the wp ARM) reinforce Truk and Japan generally beefs up its Pacific garrisons. Japan claims Indochina but the attempt backfires as Yamashita occupies Hanoi all by himself, only to be destroyed by a low-odds Chinese attack.
Allied paratroopers take the port of Messina in Sicily by coup de main and the invasion of Italy is under way. Subsequent attacks expand the Allied bridgehead, and the Italian supreme commander issues orders for the German forces in Sicily to make a suicide attack against a group of Paratroopers on the coast. The German attack is reduced to a mere +1 by HQ and ground support, but still manages to destroy a PARA div in exchange for a German GAR.
Still the Axis air force are unable to decisively find the Allied fleets in the Italian Coast. The Italian Navy makes a literal death ride, losing most of their ships but affecting little.
The Allies quickly clean up the remaining Germans on Sicily, taking Palermo late in the turn. German troops reinforce the toe of the Italian boot and garrison Naples and Taranto, but the Allies smash their way onto the toe anyway and begin advancing.
In the east, operation "Polkapunkttür" is given the green light, and the Odessa garrison is crushed in Phase I. However, the Soviets are slowly re-entering the European map, and advance units coming out of the Caucasus under Zhukov take Krasnodar and make a daring blitz across the Kerch straits, eliminating the Rumanian corps guarding them. Von Leeb rails in to try to rescue the situation, only to be destroyed by the advancing Zhukov, who releives the Sevastopol garrison.
The Allied advance bogs down again as repeated assaults on a fresh German line south of Taranto fail with considerable loss.
Rommel cordons off the neck of the Crimea as the Russians there finish off the remnants of the Rumanian army which has been tasked with cordoning Sevastopol. Phase II of operation "Polkapunkttür" is scrapped.
The Soviets advance back onto the European map and out of the Caucasus in force, attacking and destroying a Germany army (2 corps and a division) in the Don bend area. The Germans close ranks as the Russians advance to meet their defensive line on a broad front.
A daring multiple landing in southern Italy on the Adriatic coast by the Allies sees disaster strike, as bad attack dice result in 2 of 4 invasions failing utterly, and a German armoured counterattack sweeping one of the two toeholds off the beach. The British MAR and funny tank division and all the remaining allied paratroops save one CW division are destroyed, while the Allies manage to cling to a single beachhead in the mountains northwest of Bari.
The US re-takes Dutch Harbour.
The winter is a bad one as full force blizzards sweep across Europe. The Germans stand fast at thier line and the Russians decline to attempt to dig them out. With Italy momentarily secure, several German ARM and MECH rail out of southern Italy and go into reserve in France.
Massive air strikes and shore bombardment herald the first major US combat operation in the Pacific. Kwajelein is captured by a combination of invading forces and marines attacking from adjacent islands.
Continued bad weather sees little activity in the east or west in Europe, but in the Pacific, the first major fleet engagement is fought of Truk. The Japanese carrier Zuikaku is sunk. Americans invade the Carolinas, taking Ponape.
Rainy spring weather sees an Allied landing in Bayonne. The Germans collapse Vichy and move their armoured reserve south to contain the threat, defending the line of the Garonne, von Leeb taking charge of the defence. A lone Vichy unit defects to the Allies, the wp MTN which is flipped in the central massif. Allied forces take a lightly held Bordeaux and reinforce their beachhead.
The Soviets start to flank the German line to the North, and the Germans begin a slow phased withdrawal while holding in the south, launching limited counter-attacks to keep the Soviets on their toes.
Another titanic naval battle in the Pacific as the two opposing carrier fleets clash off Truk once more. 2 Japanese and 3 US CVs are sunk (first use of kamikaze) along with several heavy cruisers. A US assault on Truk succeeds, destroying the armoured garrison and capturing the port.
In Russia, Soviet pressure rolls the German line back to the gates of Moscow. Yaroslavl is liberated. In the Med the Allies regroup and the Bordeaux bridgehead is reinforced by US armour and Eisenhower HQA.
The US keeps the pressure turned up in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese Fleet again on the approaches to the Bonin islands. Vast numbers of aircraft die in the aerial conflagration. US forces capture the Bonin Islands, left ungarrisoned by Japan.
The Allies launch a daring amphibious assault, heavily supported by aircraft, on Genoa. The invasion narrowly succeeds with a single British INF getting ashore to capture the Italian factory stack. The Italians marshal for a desperate counter-attack to retake the city, but the attack fails, the Italian needing a 10 or better on 2 dice and tragically rolling an 8. To compound this coup, the CW heavily reinforces Genoa while the French ATR re-roganizes the French MTN, who then races south to take possession of the south coast of France, allowing strong Allied reinforcements to debark. With the Garrone line unhinged, Leeb organizes a withdrawal into the central massif region and holds a strong line from the Swiss border to the Atlantic coast.
Italian units loyal to the Axis cause flee out of Italy proper in anticipation of the Italian government treacherously suing for peace, and the remaining Germans struggle to consolidate some sort of defence.
In Russia the Soviets work their way in ever increasing numbers around the northern flank. A Russian supercombined breaches the German line in front of Moscow but has litle success elsewhere, the Red Army air force suffering badly at the hands of the still strong Luftwaffe. Disastrous follow on attacks leave the Red Army spearhead in disarray and it is destroyed by a German counter-attack. The German line is thinning, however, and soon must bow to the inevitable, especially as Russians are starting to ooze through the thinly held line stretching from Kallinn to Archangel.
USA takes control of the China sea, parking a carrier fleet there, invading and capturing Shanghai, and invading Japan at Ominato. Japan then desperately tries to reinforce a naked Japan (only one AA gun defending the whole country), and with no new ground units coming in. Japan still has plenty of lift, though, since the USA didn't have time to sink them yet, what seems like streams of Japanese lift sail from China to Japan...the US fleet never finds them
With Italy conquered, only Albania remains and the Allies move quickly to eliminate this final Italian holdout. A direct invasion captures Tirana, eliminating the two Italian INF corps defenders, sealing Italy's fate. The Allies mop up in Italy capturing Taranto and Naples in quick succession and isolating Rome. British armour blitzes into the Po valley from the Genoa bridgehead.
With the threat to the northern flank to severe to ignore, The Germans commence full-scale withdrawal on the Russian front leaving behind rearguards in Moscow and Kallinn. The southern front withdraws to the factory line, abandoning Rostov. The Russians follow on, their more aggressive stacks subjected to powerful counterattacks in the south, and cleaning up road-blocks and liberating Moscow.
The Allies land in Rouen and on the Normandy coast. German reserves are moved up to pocket the two invasions and an o-chit is expended on Model to destroy the allied forces in Rouen. The Germans re-organize from the effects of Allied air-strikes as the the Patton HQ lands on the Normandy coast and the British marine div takes Le Havre and is reinforced by heavy armoured units.
Japanese garrison of the home islands slowly beefs up and the American beachhead at Ominato does not expand. A US Marine assault on Fukuoka fails with massive loss of life.
Russia declares war on Japan and advances, taking Harbin. The Japanese dangerously thin their line in China to reinforce Port Arthur and Vladivostock.
Italy is completely conquered at the end of October.
The German line in the north temporarily stabilizes along the line Leningrad-Vitebsk-Gomel as the Germans pull back from the factory cities to behind the Dnepr. Russian pressure causes Gomel to abandoned late in the turn and the Russians roll up to the Dnepr in snowy weather, but the Allies have run out their clock and can no longer attack as the Germans in France make good their withdrawal to the Loire river line.
A sortie by the Kriegsmarine into the North Sea finds and sinks two Allied transports laden with US mechanized corps. The Kriegsmarine suffers heavy damage however and only the Deutchland makes it back to port in serviceable condition.
The German armoured reserve counters the Normandy beach-head with a vigorus counter-attack that pushes Patton into the sea, leaving only the le Havre toe-hold for the allies, sealed off by a powerful German garrison in Rouen.
Vladivostock is carried by assault by Russia. The Americans withdraw from the home islands, and invade the Phillipines.
The Russians throw an o-chit supercombined and attack the Dnepr line in force. The Luftwaffe takes serious attrition and is unable to oppose a PARA assisted crossing north of Dnepropetrovsk, and a powerful armoured force drives deep behind the line. Fortunately two other attacks fail badly, the rest of the German line holds and the Germans counter with an o-chit of their own, blitzing away the paratroopers defending the bridgehead and isolating the Soviet armour. Russia throws another o-chit down in a desperate attempt to relieve the now surrounded forces but the attack fails, and the thin German line is quickly reinforced, and further attacks are repulsed.
Progressive Soviet attacks force Army Group North back towards Minsk, but the German line remains solid.
The Western Allies clean out northern Italy and southern France step by step, taking Milan and Marseilles and then later eliminating a German pocket south of Venice and taking Turin. The Allies then throw everything into southern France, leaving only a few corps to screen the German Alpine defences.
The US assault Taihoku on Formosa but the invasion fails. A total of 4 assaults will be made on Taihoku before the end of the game, all expensive failure, swallowing up 2 HQ-Is several INF corps and divs and the reconstituted US MAR force. Taihoku holds!
The Germans liquidate the Soviet pocket west of the Dnepr in fair weather and counter-attack with mediocre results in the North. The Russians reinforce their forces but an overly short turn prevents any further progress.
Germany reinforces the line of the Loire in France and the Allies follow up, but are unable to cross successfully in the face of German counter-attacks. Fresh landings in Brittany threaten to unhinge the new German line.
The US liberates the Phillipines. Japan no longer has a front in China and is merely defending several pockets.
The Luftwaffe suffers disastrously on all fronts as the overwhelming Allied and Soviet air power makes itself felt. Ground strikes flip much of the Dnepr line and a series of Russian attacks go in against the Dnepr defence, again failing badly but for one penetration across the river north of Dnepropetrovsk... this time the Germans are too weak to counterattack and and struggle to form a new defensive line, furiously re-orging and then using o-chits to re-flip HQs. Dnepropetrovsk is recaptured by the Red Army and the Dnepr is fully breached. Late in the turn the Russian marines walk into a vacated Odessa. The Germans refuse to give up Kiev, committing Rundstedt and Guderian to its continued defence... the Die in Place orders are issued, and die in place they will!
Army Group Center executes limited counter-attacks north of the Pripets and around Vitebsk in an attempt to relive the pressure on Army Group South, but nothing will distract the Russian bear from it's meal.
In France the German Loire line is hammered with air-strikes and outflanked to the North by additional allied units expanding the Brittany beach-head. An allied attack smashes through the center of the German line and threatens the Seine where the German reserve is building a new line. Isolated, the western chunk of the Loire line is devoured by the advancing allies. Brest and Nantes fall, and the Germans barely manage to throw up an intact defence as the Allies reach the river outside Paris.
The US captures Saigon just before a Japanese reinforcing force arrives. The Japanese transports are found and eliminated along with their cargos. The Japanese situation on the continent continues to deteriorate as Partisans and Communists cut of several Japanese stacks in Northern China.
Fortunately, the Allied advance is hampered by two rolls of 1 for weather during the turn, AND the Allies end the turn ends 1.
Unfortunately, the Allies gain initiative and get a double move. Russian units that took advantage of unseasonable snow weather in M/J to exploit through the Pripets north of Kiev ooze in to complement a Russian hammer blow offensive that punches through the center of Army Group South's line. 6 corps and 2 divisions are isolated in the Kiev pocket, and the Russians burst out of Odessa to hamper the German withdrawal, thankfully failing a daring assault on Chisinau. The Rumanians move into positions to delay the Russian approach to a lightly held Bucharest while the remnants of Army Group South (Rommel and 1 INF corps) flee westward to southern Poland. Army Group North withdraws around Leningrad, holding Novgorod and Pskov. Army Group Center executes a flying withdrawal towards East Prussia and Warsaw.
The Western Allies blast through the Seine line just north of Paris but an overextended thrust in brought up short by a German counter-attack. The reconstituted British marines land in Denmark and threaten northern Germany but some hurriedly railed garrisons block the threat. A Free French force takes heavy casualties taking Rotterdam but clings onto the toehold after being reinforces by a US infantry corps which was aborted form the North Sea by the He-115 float plane (still in service continually from 1939). Together these two units fend off a desperate counter-assault. The Luftwaffe engages in furious battles with a seemingly endless supply of Allied fighters. The US cavalry tries to sneak into Belgrade after running up from Albania, but is stymied by an air-lifted MTN corps.
Further Allied attacks force crossings of the Seine south of Paris, isolating the city. A German relieving counter-attack fails, but a counter-counter-attack by allied armour on the now flipped German line in Belgium also fails and the Germans are able to spend an o-chit to re-flip HQs (Manstein and Bock railing in from the crumbling East front to stem the Allied tide) and re-organize the front line. The German jets go in against the Allied air forces but it is a last gasp, and many are dispatched in disastrous air combats.
The Russians slowly reduce the Kiev pocket, overrunning Rundstedt south of the city and blowing away Guderian north of it, Before finally taking the city. Russian forces take Chisinau and Cernauti and exploit deep into Rumania where the encounter the Rumanian CAV and MECH running interference in front of Bucharest, destroying them in pitched battles. The remnants of Army Groups South and Center reach the Warsaw region, amounting to no more than 8 corps and 4 divisions.
The Western Allies take Lyon and drive on Metz capturing that city as the turn continued. The Germans pull back to Brussels and Antwerp and put heavy garrisons into Kiel and Amsterdam but cannot form a coherent line in the south. Taking the path of least resistance the Allies take Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and destroy the lone flipped Bock HQ in Saarbrucken. Many German planes are overrun. There are no German land units between the Allies and Munich or Berlin, except for the garrisons of those cities.
The Russians mount an attack on Bucharest and capture the city as armoured spearheads drive all the way to the outskirts of Budapest and the Upper Vistula, while pursuing Russians drive through Minsk and reach the Lower Vistula. A Russian attack on Novgorod fails badly as the Leningrad defenses remain strong. Having thoroughly destroyed the Wehrmacht, the Soviet and Allied armies are poised to mount the ultimate exploitation against the German homeland... and then they ended the turn, and the game, on a roll of 3.
The sheer quantity of German war material destroyed on the last two turns of the game is staggering. Germany went from being nearly built out, to losing probably 80% of its force in two turns. At the end of the game there were three main groupings of German units: 1) Model and Manstein with 6 strong corps and 3 divisions holding Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam 2) Mannerheim with 6 corps and 1 division holding Leningrad and Novgorod 3) Rommel and 8 corps and 4 divisions holding Warsaw and Lodz and ZOCing the Vistula and Bug rivers. Additionally Kiel was held by two corps, Munich, Berlin, Budapest, Belgrade, Prague and Vienna were each guarded by one corps plus assorted blocking forces. Lastly, Vitebsk remained in German hands with a strong garrison of 2 corps. As you can see given another two or three turns at most, Germany would have been completely conquered. Now it might have been possible to play more conservatively at the end, maybe make a better effort at saving Army Group South and protecting Bucharest better, but the ultimate outcome could not be in doubt.
Holding 14 objective hexes at the end secured German technical victory, but it's clear the 1000-year Reich would not survive more than another few months... equally Japan clung to Taihoku, Batavia, Singapore, Columbo, Port Arthur and Rabaul outside of the home islands, but all were in imminent danger. The Allies made a huge comeback in the last year of the game!!
Final Wifcon Score: Axis 26, Allies 8
Undoubtedly one of the most fun games I have ever played, worth every penny of getting to Wifcon and playing the 9 days.