Christopher Askwith, Don Walker, Bill Duncan
Paul Rae, Steve Balk
WIFCON 2008, Lansing,
M/A '40 Fall of Brussels: Belgium falls in short order, though France will prove a tougher nut to crack.
M/A '40 Conquest of Portugal: Japanese troops establish Lisbon as a major base for the IJN Expeditionary Fleet.
M/J '40 Seabitchslap: With the Kriegsmarine dominating the North Sea, the lead elements of the Wehrmacht gain their toeholds in Britain. First Sea Lord Askwith contemplates the mounting crisis.
J/A '40 Barbarians Kick in the Gate: German Feldgrau spreads like a cancer with some Italian support. Japanese Expeditionary troops hold Belfast. France on the other hand maintains a solid line of defence.
N/D '40 Objective: Gibraltar: With Britain under control and France agreeing to an armistice, specialist units arrive in Portugal to train for Operation Felix.
N/D '40 Capitulation of Britain and France: Great Britain surrenders and the staunch defence of France results in a Level 4 Vichy.
J/A '43 Return of the French: A considerable French army supported by CW and US units closes a ring around Axis units guarding the approaches to Tangiers
J/A '44 Irish Eyes: Barely surviving German counterattack, the ill-fated Allied beachhead in Ireland grimly hangs on.
Middle East & Africa
N/D '39 Shackling the Oil Sheikhs: Saudi Arabia falls, 1st victim of the Japanese Expeditionary Force.
J/F '40 Walk Like an Egyptian: IJN Expeditionary units enter the Med through the Italian controlled Suez canal as Italian spearheads advance through the Sinai
M/A '40 Portugeuse Colonies: Japanese troops mop up Portugal's African possessions in the wake of the fall of Lisbon.
N/D '40 Marching to Pretoria: Japanese troops rampage through CW possessions in Africa and invade South Africa.
J/F '42 USA on the Offensive: US units land in Southwest Africa and enter South Africa
M/J '42 Slow Progress: Reinforcements arrive with additional carriers to drive off the Japanese air and naval units which have threatened supply and slowed the American advance. South Africa remains the main point of effort for the US throughout 1942.
N/D '41 Russia enters the war...: ... against Italy. The Red Army uses this newfound freedom of movement to run for their defence lines under the looming threat of German attack.
M/J '42 Barbarossa Under Way: The Hand of Germany munches speed bumps. The (middle) Finger of Russia looks on.
N/D '43 The War Bogs Down: German units try to bludgeon their way across the Caucases against stiff Soviet resistance.
N/D '43 High Water Mark: In Asia, German spearheads make their closest ever approach to Baku.
M/A '44 Trench Warfare: Little changes on the Ural front.
S/O '44 The Final Offensive: Turkey is aligned, assisting in the collapse of the Caucases defence line and the push on Tbilisi.
M/A '45 Caucases Stalemate: With Tbilisi retaken by the Soviets, the battle lines stagnate til the end of the war.
M/A '45 Ural Stalemate: Little has changed in years as the two war machines stare at each other from their trenches.
S/O '40 Chinese Front: Relegated to a tertiary theatre by the Japanese, the Chinese front stagnates, with just some oozing in the Communist north.
M/J '40 Securing the Oil: Japan launches an ad hoc operation to secure it's oil supply after the early declaration of war by the Commonwealth.
N/D '41 Communist Ooze: Apart from Partisans and the relentless northward ooze of the Communist forces, status quo on the eve of Total War.
J/F '42 Total War!: Yamamoto misses his grab at the brass ring as Japan declares war on America.
N/D '43 Ichi-Go: Japanese units freed up by peace with Russia start to retake ground lost in Canton Bill's summer offensive which took Canton and Changsha.
M/A '44 China Stalemate: The battle lines in China stagnate almost where they started.
J/A '44 Green Machine: American Troops breach the inner perimeter as they advance unstoppably onto Java.
Germany: Steve Balk
Japan/Italy: Paul Rae
USA: Don Walker
CW: Christopher Askwith
USSR: Bill Duncan
NOTE: This game report was concocted by the Ja/It player, and as such is probably biased to the Axis. Also the catalogue of pictures is not comprehensive, and there are alas none after early '45 as both my camera and camera-phone were out of juice.
Opening moves! Germany attacks Poland, taking it with no losses. Denmark falls also, CW recovers all the ships. The Italian fast TRS moves out into the Atlantic and rebases to Germany. Subsequently Italy declares war on France but achieves little on the surprise impulse. Djibouti is occupied. A Japanese expeditionary force rebases to Italian Somaliland at the end of the turn, consisting of Yamamoto, the 2 MAR corps, the ENG div and an INF div, escorted by the fast BBs and CVs and a number of CAs.
The Commonwealth sends a number of unescorted TRS into the Med to collect Wavell from Egypt amongst other things. Italy immediately declares war and sends the fleet out to sink these transports, but due to good saves CW manages to get away with two damaged TRS and Wavell and a corps spiralled. Italian units advance deep into Egypt against little opposition.
Japan declares war on Saudi Arabia, invading on top of the CAV, destroying it and advancing to Riyadh, conquering the country in short order. An oil pipeline is quickly set up to exploit the Saudi oil.
The Italian Fleet sallies forth to challenge CW control of the Eastern Med, catching the Med fleet flat-footed. In furious gun battles, the CV Courageous and BB Renown are sunk, and the CV Glorious and BB Repulse damaged, in exchange for the CA Duca d'Aosta sunk and CA Pola damaged. The CW are forced to flee the sea zone as Italian forces advance deep into Egypt from Libya. By the end of the turn, Alexandria, Cairo and Suez are in Italian hands, the remaining CW troops fleeing to Jerusalem.
The Japanese Expeditionary Fleet rebases to Alexandria, while the TRS, AMPH and CA carrying Yamamoto HQ-I, the Imperial MAR and ENG div base to Tripoli. The SNLF MAR, MAR div and INF div concentrate in Mogadishu in preparation for phase II of Operation Pocky.
Germany declares war on Yugoslavia but makes little progress in bad weather.
The Axis gain initiative and the Japanese invasion fleet sallies forth into the Cape St. Vincent sea zone, it's intentions unclear. Their force is inadvisably spread over 3 boxes, and although 2 boxes are protected against surprise by Italian SUBs, the loaded TRS and AMPH hang out uncovered in the 2-box. The CW and France take the momentous decison of declaring war on the Empire of Japan, sailing the bulk of their heavy units to the CSV in the hopes of surprising them. However the combined CW/French fleet does not find the Japanese force and on the following impulse Japan executes phase II of operation Pocky, declaring war on Portugal. Yamamoto, the Imperial MAR, and the ENG div storm Lisbon by amphibious assault, taking the city with no losses. Simultaneously, Japanese units invade Mozambique and southern Angola. Italian divisions take Malta, which is defended by a lone light AA unit.
In good weather Germany declares war on Belgium, swiftly taking Brussels and advancing to the French border. Yugoslavia proves to be annoying as Germany gets jammed up around Zagreb failed attacks and flips slow the campaign to a crawl. Rumania enters the war to attack Yugo from the east.
The CW and Japanese carrier fleets find each other in CSV and a bloody air battle ensues. The state of the art carrier aircraft of the IJN get the worst of it fighting the Gladiators and Swordfish of the Royal Navy, losing 4 effectively irreplaceable CVP down in flames, the CW losing 3. Following the air battle, the combined French and CW navies find the Japanese expeditionary force. The Japanese cruisers make a heroic sacrifice to cover the withdrawl of the heavy units, Allied gunnery sinking the Maya, Ashigara, and Myoko, and damaging the Chikumi and Chokai in exchange for a couple of French heavy cruisers. The Japanese fleet retires into the comparative safety of Lisbon.
The 4 empty Japanese carriers depart Lisbon and head south for Japanese bases in East Africa, but tragedy befalls the CV Ryujo as the CA Hawkins finds it of the West African coast and sinks it with all hands. The Japanese force in Lisbon reduced to 4 fast BB, a single CA and a single operational CV, and barely maintaining tenuous supply via the Panama canal, sorties to the Bay of Biscay with the Imperial MAR and ENG div embarked. These units land successfully in Northern Ireland just south of Belfast. Inan effort to protect their convoy lines and transports, the Royal Navy responds to this aggression by committing heavily to the Bay of Biscay. Italian NAVs basing in Portugal now react to join the fight, and a long battle rages. British battleships catch the Japanese fleet, sinking the CV Hiryu and damaging the BBs Kongo and Heiei, but the remaining battleships turn the tables, damaging the Queens and sinking 3 CW CAs, damaging 2 others. An Italian NAV2 flying in the 1 box does the most damage, sinking 9 CPs and aborting 5, as well as damaging another CA. This guts the convoy line to the UK, crippling CW production at a critical time. In the meantime the Italian fleet continues its dominance of the Eastern Med, sinking Dutch and Yugoslavian cruisers. Italian troops take Jerusalem and surround the remaining British forces in Jaffa.
The Hero of The Battle of Biscay
With the Royal Navy fully occupied, Germany does a supercombined, the Kriegsmarine sailing into the North Sea to protect the loaded troop transports enaging in Operation Seabitchslap. Paratroops and amphibious forces take Harwich, while von Bock is slated to invade near Edinburgh. Near disaster overtakes this operation, however, which sees the MAR corps alone clinging to the beachhead as von Bocks HQ-I and INF div perish on the rocky beaches. A German offensive crosses the French border west of Metz. German troops reinforce the beachheads as troops are diverted away from the French front to fully exploit the landings. Rundstedt launches an o-chit offensive which kills several CW corps in the BEF but otherwise German progress in France is sluggish.
Japanese troops occupy the Borneo oil fields as they scrabble for additional forces to invade Java and Sumatra. In Africa, Japanese troops occupy Durban in South Africa, Luanda in Angola, and the capital of Mozambique, and advance into Rhodesia. The Imperial MAR and ENG div take Belfast in a risky attack with no losses, killing a CW INF.
German troops overrun a large portion of the British fleet in Liverpool, those ships fleeing to Canada. The last Japanese BBs in the Atlantic are damaged by Swordfish in the Bay of Biscay, but an increasing number of Axis NAV and subs clear out the sea zone, sinking 2 CPs. CW battleships enter the North Sea to extract one surviving corps of the BEF. The Kriegsmarine and Royal Navy fail to find each other, however, and German reinforcements pouring into Great Britian are not impeded. The German army pushes to within 2 hexes of Paris in near-trench warfare conditions.
German troops inexorably take ground in England, taking all the Midlands, killing several CW stragglers in Scotalnd and pressing the few surviving corps into the south.
Japanese troops take Leopoldville and Lusaka in Africa. A scratch Japanese amphibious force invades Sumatra and a divison takes Palembang from the land, securing Japan's oil supplies, while the bulk of the forces cross to Jaava to threaten Batavia. CW cruisers operating from India harrass Japanese Saudi oil convoys.
Paris is declared an open city as the French government seeks to negotiate terms with Germany. The Axis breathes a sigh of relief as the general staff had predicted France would hold well into 1941. German troops push to the outskirts of Paris. In an effort to maintain supply for the Japanese in Lisbon, the CAs Graf Spee and Deutchland are sunk in the Cape St. Vincent by British BBs, which also damage the CA Kumano, the last Japanese surface combatant in the Atlantic. German troops hold all of the UK save for London an Southhampton which hold out with strong garrisons.
Batavia falls to a combined Land and Amphibious attacks supported by BBs of the combined fleet. Japanese troops take Francistown, Brazzaville, and Noumea. Japanese CV planes sink the CA Canberra.
Vichy France is declared. Germany has few chits and France with it's copious chits easily demands a level 1 Vichy (so many chits they could seemingly threaten a re-occupation of the Saarland... who won this war anyway?). Germany saves his chits for concessions buying Morocco and giving it to Spain to secure their production (a move that will prove a little redundant). Italy purchases the French TRS. Algeria, Syria, and Indochina stay loyal to Vichy while most of the other colonies go free, Senegal becomes the new French home country. Free France manages to claim a considerable force, 2 HQ-I, ARM, GAR and INF corps and the ENG div.
The Japanese Government is outraged as the US announces an embargo of strategic materials against Japan. The American dogs will pay!
Steve oblivious as Bill tries to set his head on fire with his eyes
German port strikes damages the newly repaired Queens in London. A major German assault on Southampton is repelled with heavy losses on both sides.
Yamamoto leaves Lisbon by TRS and sails for Africa, avoiding a group of ships hunting for him and dodging through a gauntlet of CAs to arrive safely in Francistown. Japanese troops from Java arrive in Mozambique and press towards Pretoria. Japan reinforces Rabaul in preparation for further operations in the South Pacific.
Great Britain, after an agonizing debate, surrenders at the end of the turn to preserve their 1941 force pool additions, but sacrificing the additional US entry chits. Canada beocmes the new home country. Many ships in the construction and Repair pools are captured, with Italy gaining the Indomitable and Formidable in the construction pool while Japan acquires the Iron Duke and Mauritius in the construction pool and the Glorious, Sussex, Suffolk, London and a TRS in the Repair pool.
Yamamoto arrives in Mozambique to take command of operations there. His ad hoc collection of Japanese units launches an assault on Pretoria, taking the city with the loss of a MIL and an INF div.
Against the backdrop of success in South Africa, operation Kangaroo-Go is launched with the objective of conquering Australia. The budget is shoe-string, and the ill-fated operation meets with immediate difficulties as the initial landing north of Brisbane is a near fiasco. The notional defenders inflict terrible losses on the assaulting Japanese corps, with only a flipped MTN div surviving to consolidate the beachhead. Fortunately there are no Australian units about to repel the attack.
With the British Isles secured, the buildup to take Gibraltar starts, with aircraft flooding into southern Portugal. German invasion units take up residence in Lisbon while the Italians make their own preparations inside the Med.
Italian and German air dominates the Cape St. Vincent sea zone, beating off half-hearted CW attempts to maintain supply to Gibraltar. Poor weather precludes an assault this turn but the ground is well prepared.
The Japanese MTN div marches into Brisbane unopposed and is subsequently reinforced by additional MIL and INF div.
Subsidiary operation Kiwi-Go is launched to eliminate New Zealand as an allied base, and unlike Kangaroo-Go, meets with immediate success, as Japanese troops land adjacent to Wellington, entering it unopposed on the following impulse.
A coordinated air & sea assault by German Marines and Paratroops on the flipped, out of supply defenders of Gibraltar is a resounding success, and the Med is sealed. The last pocket of Allied resistance in the Med, two CW corps beseiged in Jaffa for over a year, are finally liquidated by the Italians.
This turn sees an ominous turn for the future of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as unit after German unit began moving east to the Rumanian and Polish frontiers.
Statesman Steve gazes with approval over his dominions
Operation Kangaroo-Go continues as forces from Brisbane and Wellington move to invade southern Australia around Portland, however this multi-corps attack is a dreadful and costly failure, low rolling resulting in the loss of 2x MIL, 2x INF div, and a MTN div. With additional Australian units strating to make an appearance the objective of dominating Australia seems to be slipping out of reach.
An Italian invasion fleet enters the Red Sea and lands troops at Aden, taking the vital port.
The Kriegsmarine sets off to raid the CW convoys in the Cape Verde Basin but meets with disaster as CW cruisers ambush and sink the CV Graf Zeppelin at the cost of the Polish DD.
Japan abandons its plans to conquer Australia, marking the first major Axis reverse of the war. Japanese units from South Africa land in Madagascar and advance on Diego Suarez through difficult terrain.
Italy launches a raid into India, landing south of Karachi with light losses (1 INF div), but the CW Indian garrison is quick to respond, bottling up the beachhead. This is merely a demonstration however, no serious attempt to take India is ever planned.
Congress votes 267-168 to approve a declaration of war against the European Axis powers of German and Italy (50% chance!). On this news, the USSR declares war on Italy immediately, going to full mobilization. With this freedom of movement they rapidly take up a defensive posture against the growing threat of German invasion. Stalin is heard to remark "Bring it on!"
Italian units are evacuated from India and instead take the Maldives and the Seychelles. Japan scrambles to finish it's war preparations against the United States as the writing is visibly on the wall now.
Japan declares war on the United States, executing a supercombined. Landings in the Phillipines at Legaspi are conducted simultaneously to amphibious operations which take Guam, Suva, Guadacanal. However, the centerpiece operation, the invasion of Pearl Harbour, quickly goes awry as the Japanese cruiser fleet fails to cut the port out of supply, and although swarms of carrier aircraft flip all three defending units, Yamamoto's invasion fails miserably (the attack was a +7), losing the HQ-I, MAR and MAR div, killing only the defending ENG.
Despite this setback, Japan consolidates its position on all other fronts, as Yamashita is sent to the Phillipines where he successfully takes Manilla and Diego Suarez in Madagascar is entered unopposed. Italian amphibious operations in the Inidian ocean continue with the capture of the Andaman islands.
The US wastes little time in hunting down the spread out Japanese cruiser fleet, sinking the Mikuma and the Tone. On the other side of the world, US transports land in Southwest Africa at a minor port sadly overlooked by Japan. A Japanese Nell NAV3 squadron flies into Cape Basin to interdict US naval movement and meets with unexpected success, evading the carrier air patrols of the supporting US fleet and pressing home attacks which result in the destruction of the CV Lexington and the BB New York. Scratch one flattop!
The Allies gain intiative and manage to evacuate their TRS which were docked in minor ports in Southwest Africa under threat of port strike. The ever-persistent Nell squadron engages US pickets in Cape Basin, damaging a CA, and, later in the turn after being reinforced by a sub, damaging two CW CAs. The Japanese navy gains some small measure of revenge in the Pacific, carrier air sinking the BB Tenessee in the Marshalls.
Italy land in Ceylon with considerable losses, losing the MAR corps, but the MTN div stays ashore on the rocky terrain. Unfortunately the CW manages to sneak the Dutch TRS loaded with an Indian TERR past the Italian fleet and into Columbo. Italian naval air subsequently damanges the Portuguese DD in the Bay of Bengal.
The Wehrmacht has taken full advantage of the relative peace in Europe to make it's war preparations against the Russians. A formidable force is arrayed on the border of East Poland, soon to be unleashed...
Allies secure initiative and the Russians make some last minute adjustments to their dispositions. In an effort to put some extra pressure on the Japanese, the Chinese Communists launch an attack north of Sian killing a Japanese MOT but losing a GAR and an INF div in return and flipping out. The thin red line holds...
Germany declares war on the USSR and Europe is once again plunged into flames. Hungary, Finland and Bulgaria are aligned, as the Germans siezes the last Russian railcars worth of stuff. Since the surrender of the UK in N/D 1940, the Russians had contined to ship 6 resources per turn to Germany in exchange for 2 BP; this netted the Germans 4 BP/turn in 1941 and 6 BP/turn in 1942. The fruits of Stalin's slave labour is now coming home. Italian air is unxpoectedly weak, despite the master plan, as Italian designers have forgotten to add the most recent weapons designs to their production runs.
The Wehrmacht rolls forward, killing speed bumps, quickly advancing to the Dnepr line in the south and Vitebsk in the north. A German and Rumanian assault on Odessa is repulsed with heavy losses amongst the Rumanians, although 1 defending Russian corps is killed. Kiev falls in a lightning attack. German units thrust across the Dnepr south of Dnepropetrovsk, but this initial bridgehead helpd by an ARM and a MECH is flipped by defending artillery and crushed by a local counterattack organized by Zhukov. The first Guard Banner Armies appear, much to the Wehrmacht's consternation. The Allies start mimi-passing in an effort to end the turn early but to no avail (this merely slows the US counteroffensive against the Japanese), the turn continues as the Wehrmacht gathers itself in the south and takes Vitebsk by assault in the north at the cost if an INF div. Good progress is made through the Baltics. By turn end, German troops are on the outskirts of Leningrad, having taken Novgorod, but suffer another reverse outside Smolensk as an armoured attack is stopped by the Russians with the loss of a German MECH div.
South African TERR under the control of Japan retake Pretoria from a local uprising as US troops advance into South Africa, but are slowed by the need to minipass to save Russia. Yamashita takes Midway in a demonstration of amphibious armour operations, the blitz ashore against a weak US GAR spearheaded by the Ki-SNLF MECH div. Italy continues with minor operations in the Indian Ocean, taking Diego Garcia.
Clash of the Titans!
Gaining crucial initiative once more, Stalin does his best Sir Robin impression as the Soviets abandon the Dnepr line and flee eastwards, the northern front withdrawing towards Moscow. The Wehrmacht follows closely, killing rearguards. Smolensk falls. Finnish units take Murmansk. Manstein launches an o-chit offensive that takes Kharkov and Stalino, though a Russian counterattack acheives a limited success, killing an INF and a MOT and generating the 12-5 GBA ARM. Kalinin falls near the end of the turn but an attack on the defensive cordon around Moscow is repulsed.
In the Pacific, the US subs run wild in the South China sea, sinking several vital convoy points. The Japanese fast CVs and BBs, reconstituted somewhat from the Atlantic Operations, sail for South Africa to threaten the US landings there. The US fleet in the meantime dominates the Cape Basin sea zone, sinking the lone Japanese picket, the CA Haguro. Several Brazilian and US units are landed and press into South Africa. Capetown is surrounded by the end of the turn. The Japanese CVLs stage a port strike on Pearl Harbour, damaging the BB Pennsylvania.
Initiative swings in the Axis favour, resulting in a double move. Japanese high command judges Cape Town to be untenable and extract their troops, leaving the South African TERR to defend the city, which the Americans take late in the turn. Yamashita turns up in Ceylon, replacing the Italian forces in Trincomalee and preparing an operation to take Columbo. Three brand new Essex class carriers arrive in the Pacific Fleet, the first US carriers to enter the Pacific since the start of the war. They are the harbingers of overwheming US naval superiority.
In Russia, the Wehrmacht takes full advanatge of the double move, taking Tula and driving through huge gaps in the Russian defensive line. The Soviets pull back to the Don river and retreat through the forests east of Moscow as the Germans assault and take that city. Germany allows the Soviets no respite, and drive forward in continued good weather, flipping several Russian units at the Don defence line, which are quickly abandoned as the Red Army continues it's eastward flight. Rostov is encircled, and Odessa finally fall after a long siege. The Allies finally manage to end the turn with a minipass.
Allies regain initiative but the weather is unseasonably mild. Soviet units flee ever eastwards, forming a defensive line in the Causcases in the south and the Volga on the Asian map. Rostov falls and the Wehrmacht sets foot on the Asian map, determined not to relent. Allied naval air damages the Bismarck in Lisbon harbour.
Yamashita takes Columbo by assault as divisions land in Bahrain. Italian marines take the Bushehr oil fields in Persia, crossing the Persian Gulf in assault boats from Kuwait. US units press north from Capetown to Pretoria, defended again by South African TERR.
The Americans take Pretoria with little difficulty and move into Mozambique. The reconquest of South Africa has taken a year, but US do not rest on their laurels just yet, as Marines land at Majumba in Madagascar, and troops enter Mozambique, liberating that country. More troops move north into the dark continent, bent on liberation.
In Russia the weather goes bad, with continual blizzards hampering any movement or operations. The sole exception is Leningrad, where the snow-loving Finns organize an assault on the city. Assisted by an o-chit played on Kesselring, the city falls. The Soviets solidify their line in the Caucases.
As CW and French units land in Morroco, major battles erupt in the Cape St. Vincent sea zone. Hitler is feeling confident enough to give Doenitz his head and the ships sail as the Italian, German and Spanish navies challenge the British. The newly minted carrier arm of the Regia Marina suffers it's baptism by fire, commonwealth bombers finding and sinking the CV Aquila and a CA, however this is just the opening move as Axis aircraft find and sink the CV Ark Royal and damage the BBs Nelson, Resolution and Ramilles. Shortly therafter the surface fleets come to grips and the Axis navies sink the CV Eagle and damage the BB Revenge at the cost of one Italian and one Spanish CA. More air battles result in the loss of a German Condor and an Italian CVP.
Australian troops take back Brisbane from the Tokyo MIL, suffering the loss of a MIL and a TERR. In Africa US troops liberate Beuchanaland.
The Eastern front remains somewhat stalemated in poor weather, both sides preparing for the coming summer offensives.
The Allied team members contemplate their position
Germany launches several attacks on the Russian line on the Asian map but progress as slow, the war seemingly having transformed into trench warfare. An o-chit heralds a major offensive in the Caucases but disastrous rolling sees the two main attacks fail with the loss of the PARA corps. A second o-chit on Rundtedt takes Kazan and makes some progress in Asia. Soviet forces freed up by the drastic shortening of the front on the Asian map push south into Iraq, killing the Iraqi CAV and taking Bagdhad, while an ARM div races towards undefended Riyadh. Bushehr is retaken by the Soviets. Russian units build up on the Manchurian border.
In Morocco, the Allies advance on Tangiers, forcing the Axis defenders back. In Africa US units liberate Rhodesia.
China drops an o-chit on Stillwell, making a +1 attack on Canton which succeeds with a roll of 19. Henceforth Bill Duncan shall be known as "Canton Bill". Changsha also falls to the Chinese offensive on a +7 assault. This crisis causes Japan to scramble, relegating the Marines to garrison duty in Hong Kong instead of planning firther offensive operations. The situation in the south of China is just barely restored but the Japanese line has become dangerously thin. Japanese divisions secure North Borneo.
Free French armour drives across Morocco south of Er Rif, taking Melila on the Mediteranean. Tangiers is isolated. These movements prompt more battles in the Cape St. Vincent sea zone, naval air clashes damaging the Italian CV San Indomitable, but the BB Malaya is sunk and the BB Warspite damaged in return.
US amphibiously takes the Seychelles and the Farqhuar Island group, encircling Diego Suarez. Strong fleet elements and land based air dominate the sea zones.
Kuibyshev falls as the Soviets are pressed back to the Ural river. Manstein uses an o-chit to blast his way to the outskirts of Baku and blow out one hex along the Black Sea coast. German reserves accumulate behind the front, greatly lessening the possibility of Soviet offensive success. Yet more German units take up station in Spain to defend against Western Allied landings that never come.
The Russians have plenty of fight in them though, and declare war on the overstretched Japanese, advancing unmolested on Harbin. The Chinese keep up the pressure, taking the hex south of Nanking. The Imperial army on the continent is strained to breaking point. Yamamoto heads up an amphibious operation to try and ease the situation, launching an all out attack on Vladivostok. Disastrous rolling condemns the attack to failure and Yamamoto once again finds himself washing up on some godforsaken beach. Oh how the hero of Lisbon has fallen! One Russian defender is killed, leaving just a single flipped defender to defend the city. Further attacks could be launched but the Allies end the turn on a 1. Facing total defeat if the Russians are allowed to continue their advance, Japan surrenders Manchuria to Russia and the war ends.
Germany chips away at the Soviet line. Several attacks bounce in the Caucases as the stalemate of trench warfare enters it's 6th month. Germany taunts Canton Bill's lack of manhood for failing to counterattack
Japanese troops from Manchuria stabilize the situation in China, preventing any further Chinese successes.
Combined US & CW forces assault Diego Suarez taking the port after fierce fighting that costs them an INF and INF div. Battle of attrition continues in the Cape St. Vincent sea zone, and an Allied attempt to reduce the Tangiers pocket by attacking the SS MTN unit south of the city results in failure.
A Yamashita-led Japanese offensive takes the hex north of Canton, driving the Chinese back. Japan beefs up the garrison on several key islands in the face of a US buildup in Hawaii.
Further German attacks on the Caucases line manage to take one mountain hex near the Black Sea coast and take another hex across the Volga on the Asian map.
As predicted, the US strikes, taking Enwietok with 2 INF corps and a div. US TF-11 sallies forth to the Bay of Bengal, sinking the Japanese picket CA Aoba and a sub. US marines follup, landing in Trincomalee.
Japan launches an air, land, and sea attack on Canton, retaking the city with no losses. Yamashita's star continues to rise.
Russia successfully counterattacks in the snow south of Baku, reducing the threat to that city and generating another GBA. For three years now, except for a few units in Morocco the war in Europe has been waged exclusively by and against Russia.
Miserable weather worldwide leads to a slackening of operations, though German units take the swamp hex north of Battum on the Black Sea coast. Allies attack Tangiers and fail as the Axis slowly extract the more valuable units from the pocket.
Two groups of BBs move into the Faeroes Gap and the Bay of Biscay, signalling some sort of operation in the offing there. Italian NAVs sink the BB Hood and damage the BB Maryland in the Faeroes Gap, German NAVs sink the BBs Pennsylvania, Ramilles and Resolution in the Bay of Biscay and forcing the rest to retreat. In the Mediteranean the Schwimmpanzer division puts in an appearance, blitzing ashore at Melila along with the Italian MAR and INF D'Aosta corps. German surface raiders ambush an Allied troop convoy, damaging two US AMPHs, but the Blucher is sunk by CW cruisers. The Allies declare war on Ireland, landing on the north coast.
German units blitz out of the Caucases mountains and reach the Turkish border.
The Chinese launch fresh assaults north of Sian and north of Canton but make no progress. US units take Christmas Island of the south coast of Java.
Axis initiative allows a hastily organized counterattack in Ireland, but only one corps is killed on the beachhead. Further US units invade to expand the beachhead but bad rolling flips them and kills the Marine ARM div. Loaded Italian TRS try to dash past Allied NAVs in the Cape. St. Vincent box but only half of them make it, the TRS carrying HQ-I Badoglio damaged in the attempt. German reinforcements and re-organized troops drive 2 US MOT corps and a div into the sea after some of them are flipped by Piaggios flying from the Midlands. More Allied units land in Ireland as subsequent German attacks fail with losse son both sides. Axis NAVs find the invasion fleet and manage to sink a US TRS and two CW CAs. Yet more Allied corps are fed into the Irish meatgrinder, as the Germans reorganize and try again, unsuccessfully, to throw them into the sea. Now the US attempts to Blitz out of their beachhead against flipped German units, but the attack fails badly, HQ-A Bradley dying as a result.
In Morocco, despite aborted PARAs and low odds, the Allied forces launch a successful assault of Tangiers. Melila, however, reinforced with an AT gun, proves to be a tougher nut to crack.
Turkey aligns to Germany and the now outflanked Russian line in the Caucases starts to be reduced. Subsequent offensives cut through the Russian defences and take Germany to the gates of Tblisi.
A Japanese raid occupies Lae, overrunning two US FTR2 which flee to Australia. British and American troops ooze onto Java as the Japanese reinforce Batavia and Surabaya. US subs are active in the South China Sea, damaging the CV Hosho and killing a couple of convoys. Italian CAs disrupt Allied lend-lease convoys to Russia through the Arabian sea but these are quickly re-established.
Germany conducts a supercombined to try and deal with the situation Ireland, launching a major attack which fails, flipping out and losing a MAR div. Then, miraculously, the Allied fleets withdraw form the Faeroes gap, abandoning the beachhead to it's fate. The remaining Allied units consist of 3 HQ-I (Crear, Hodges, and Nimitz), a MIL, an INF div, and several flipped aircraft. The Germans re-org and kill Crear and the Montreal MIL, cutting the beachhead in two.
A small US task force sails into the Arabian sea, sinking the Italian CA Zara and shooting down a FTR2 at the cost of a CVP0. Another CV group finds the Italian TRS in the Indian Ocean and sinks it along with its cargo of an INF and CAV div. In the East Indian Ocean the Japanese CA Furutaka is sunk and the CA Kako damaged by the CV Hornet and it's attendant BB and CA.
A local Soviet counteroffensive around Baku induces the Germans to retreat somewhat to straighten their line, while further west the Germans clear another hex on Tblisi.
Ignoring for the moment the gathering American threat in Indonesia, Japan assembles 18 CV and CVL and a mass of BB and CA to support an amphibious attack on Enwietok, destroying the US forces that landed there almost a year before. Fast battleships from TF-58 find the picket CA Nachi in a storm in the Marshalls and sink it. Allied forces take Columbo, securing Ceylon.
German and Italian forces mop up the remaining resistance in Ireland, destroying HQ-I Hodges & Nimitz and an INF div, overrunning several flipped aircraft. Let this be a lesson that aggression against helpless minors will not be tolerated!
The end is in sight! Axis naval aircraft continue to interdict the Cape St. Vincent zone, sinking the CA Sheffield. Allied naval air counters by interdicting the Western Med from bases in Morocco, shooting down an Italian FTR2, damaging the CA Trento, and aborting several troop transports. Hitler threatens Mussolini with bodily harm should he fail to keep supply open to Gibraltar. Mussolini replies, "it ain't nothin' but a thing, man!"
American troops land in Saudi Arabia in force, killing an Italian MOT div in Medina. More Americans occupy Italina Somaliland and liberate Djibouti. Italy reinforces Egypt heavily and send additional troops to Palestine to ward off Soviet raids from across the desert.
A two-and-half year stop-start advance by CW units through Burma and into Thailand culminates with an attack on Bangkok, which fails, costing the CW a TERR.
The cherubic Bill Duncan
VE Day! Well not quite, the Allies still have a few miles to go. A German O-chit and PARA assault takes Tblisi, which is then almost immediately liberated by Zhukov, counterattacking from the east. This is a vignette of the state of the eastern front.
A major US PARA operation to take Melila fails disastrously, losing two corps and a div, though one Italian INF corps is destroyed.
In the Far East, an American Supercombined takes both Batavia and Surabaya. Overwhelming US air dominates the South China Sea as the USA declares war on Vichy, taking Saigon in Indochina easily. The Japanese Navy cowers well away from this display of American power.
But the Axis are not done with offensive operations! A German commando operation lands the Brandenburgers div in Iceland and the SS INF div in the Azores, destroying 4 US aircraft that could not rebase. The Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau, supporting the Azores operation, engage a force of 5 empty CW carriers in the Atlantic. The CV Hermes is sunk, but the Gneisenau is damaged and the Scharnhorst chased away. A Further French Assault on Melila fails with one INF corp lost.
The Japanese conduct their own offensive; with the bulk of American forces engaged for to the south, the Japanese Fleet sails north to Dutch Harbour, Yamamoto breaking his losing streak by blitzing ashore and destroying the defending GAR, supported by the guns of the Yamato and Mushashi, firing in anger for the first time in the war. A small group of US carriers from Pearl find and sink the Japanese CA Suffolk-sama in the sea of Ohkotsk in an effort to cut the attackers of Ducth Harbour out of supply. US Marines invade the Phillipines at Legaspi and move on Manilla.
Axis full pass and manage to end the turn.
VJ Day! Well not quite, though surely the Japanese Empire is being pressured hard now. The US chooses not to assault Manilla in the rain, however this proves to be a mistake as Japan reinforces the city right under the American's nose. Defended by two white print units and supply guaranteed by the full IJN and Air Force presence in the China Sea, Manilla resists a last ditch US attack in the rain, MacArthur and the CBs washing up on shore. In New Zealand, HQ-I Blamey gets a lift form US transports and throws an O-chit to retake Wellington with the Australian Army. A final assault on Bangkok fails with one TERR lost.
In Europe, a final asault on Melila takes the minor port, but no credible threat can be brought against Gibraltar. On the Eastern Front, with no victory hexes with realistic reach, Germans and Russians stare at each other across no-man's land from trenches that are, in places, seeing their 3rd anniversary.
Game Over! The History of world is rewritten, Pax Germanica reigns in Europe, the Greater East Asia Co-Properity Sphere is badly dented but still recognizable. Given another year of operations Japan surely would have gone down to defeat, but Germany and Italy were in it for the long haul. A very interesting game against very enjoyable opponents.
The Third Reich stands from the Rock of Gibraltar to the islands of the Azores and Iceland past the Asian Volga and through heart of the Caucauses. Italy holds North Africa and the Suez; Germany's ally Vichy France holds the balance of Northern Africa and the coast. Stalin agrees to a truce, accepting a reduced heartland in Asia and covering the Caucases oil wells and the Middle East oil wells. Long range Axis planes gather in the West and new naval units are laid down. The final showdown, America in Flames, is coming.
Final Wifcon Score: Allies ??, Axis ??
A Decisive Victory for the Axis with Steve Balk carrying off (probably?) the overall WifCon championship trophy and Christopher Askwith winning the sportsmanship award for hanging on gamely to the bitter end, despite the Royal Navy being reduced to 6 operational crusiers and some empty carriers!