|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|European Theater of Operations: Part 4|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
European Theater of Operations: Part 4 -- Fall/Winter 1942
Germany launches its biggest attack since the start of the war in the East. Assaults on Leningrad, Stalingrad, Karelia, and Russia will determine the fate of the Soviet Union. In France a combined US and UK army slashes at Hitler's fortress Europe. In the Middle East, Germany consolidates its power as England tries to fight for a route to India.
Last turn, it was a lack of momentum that defined the Battle Tickets and Fleet Actions, but now it's all about movement and initiative and control of victory point cities. As we've said in previous articles, to do an action, country commanders roll a die, and whoever wins the die roll gets to take an action -- either attack, non-combat move, or reinforce. Then each country gets to take an action in order of the first die roll before a new die roll, and another action is taken by each country. In this turn, for example, the Americans were able to get the initiative and move first, followed by the UK, Russia, and Germany. Once the Americans won the roll, they knew exactly where to hit first.
Battle No. 31 is for Western France and, more importantly, the victory point city* of Paris. By winning initiative the Americans were able to slip past the Kriegsmarine and hit the French beaches with two infantry divisions, an artillery division, an armored division and with support of a bomber and fighter squadron. German High Command knew that stripping the armored divisions and infantry support from the western front might one day prove problematic but they were hoping to replace the forces before an attack could be made. Germany reinforced France with three infantry divisions from the Netherlands but this gave the Americans the opportunity to call for British assistance and the English landed two more artillery divisions in support. The Germans are in a tough situation in this battle. They are outnumbered and are lacking armored support. This is a victory point city and if the Germans can retreat enough points to reconstitute a unit back onto the board they might be able to retake the province next turn. Either way this attack puts pressure on the Germans to defend in two directions. There are a couple of command restrictions for this battle. Players are required to use 36 points of their Wild points in British units and they are required to take at least 34 points in French units.
Battle No. 32 is for Denmark. The Germans attacked Denmark on their first move. By attacking here, it is assured that the British units in Denmark can't board their transports and help the American attack on France. This is a fairly even fight with the Germans having a slight edge. The British need to win or they will be forced into the sea. If the Germans win, all remaining UK forces will be captured. Denmark might be a sideshow to France, but it's an important beachhead that is tying up a lot of German forces.
Battle No. 33 is a part of the German plan to take the Russian industrial complex in Archangel. The Key to Archangel is Karelia. By attacking here, the Germans have drawn units out of Russia. Reducing the number of units defending Russia caused the Soviets to redeploye units from Leningrad, thus reducing Leningrad and aiding the German attack into that city. The battle for Karelia, therefore, is very important to German strategy. If the Germans win Karelia and Russia, they will cut off Leningrad from reinforcement. If this happens, German High Command thinks they can subdue the city by early next year.
Battle No. 34 is for Leningrad. Leningrad is a victory point city. In theory, all the Russians need to do is fight a determined rearguard action and then retreat enough points to fight another day. It would be difficult for the Germans to win a sustained conflict here. To win in Leningrad (which should be the goal of every Russian commander), the Soviets need to make the German armor come in close and then open up with any available antitank gun, Molotov cocktail, sticky bomb, or anything else that can KO a tank. The situation in Russia is desperate, andno where more than in Leningrad.
Battle No. 35 is at Stalingrad. The Germans have turned the corner. Stalingrad must be taken before any attempt can be made against Moscow. The Russians are fighting a Fixed Defense. The Russian commander needs to entrench his troops as best he can and, when the situation becomes dire, retreat them as quickly as possible. Stalingrad is also a victory point city, so if the Russians can hold their losses down -- or by a force of will win the battle -- they might be able to bleed the Germans into a retreat. German supply lines so deep into the USSR are severely overstretched, so the Germans can't afford to get into a protracted battle for Stalingrad. German commanders' orders are to take Stalingrad with as much haste as possible and not to let any Russians retreat to fight another day.
There aren't any fleet actions for the ETO this turn. The Kriegsmarine is just about at the end of its rope. It's done a great job keeping the convoy routes tied up but just can't compete with the Americans economically, and the British fleet was bigger to begin with. Turn 2 submarines that are still alive are hoping to win against the destroyers and hold out until the Italian battleship arrives.
In other action, the Germans have just one more battle to fight with a desperate British force in the Middle East. If the Germans win that engagement, then the road to India is open. That would necessitate high-level conferences between German and Japanese High Command. But maybe Germany should concentrate on winning in France, Denmark, Karelia, Leningrad, and Stalingrad first.
Remember to report your ETO 4 results to AAR@wizards.com. The deadline for all ETO 4 battles is Monday, Jul 16 07 at 10:00am Pacific Standard Time. Your country has never needed your skill and courage more than now -- do them proud!
* A note on victory point cities. If you've been playing the campaign game since the beginning and have been playing the PTO battles, you know that victory point cities/territories can be fought over for multiple turns. In fact, the Japanese are still trying to take Hong Kong. Last week, a battle ticket was issued for Hong Kong Part 3. Here's how this works -- It is assumed that for the initial attack, the forces are fighting on the victory city's outskirts. If the defender is defeated but has enough points to reconstitute at least one infantry unit back onto the strategic board (2 points per defending infantry), then it is assumed that they retreated into the city and the battle continues the following turn. The defender and the attacker would then have one opportunity to reinforce their units on the next turn, and the battle would continue. All subsequent continuations are considered to be a point-matched battle. Point matching means that both sides use an equal number (100 vs. 100, 200 vs. 200, etc.) to determine the outcome of the continuation. If the attacker is defeated, they are pushed out of the territory and there is no continuation of the battle. This way, victory point cities can be contested for multiple turns whereas provinces are fought over for only one turn and always with a clear winner and loser.
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign:
Battle Ticket and Fleet Action art this week has been used with permission of the History Department of the United States Military Academy. You can view the Academy map collection atwww.dean.usma.edu/history/web03/atlases/index.htm.