Sunday, December 04, 2011

AE:TK - Fall of France, West Turn 3

A bit of mixed success for the Axis in their initial invasion, but they've taken Calais and are knocking on the door in Paris. The French forces have been divided, although the "useful" ones are all near Paris. The French must try to hold out through two more Axis turns, but it's not all about Paris and there's no guarantee they can hold out.

First up is the Option Card Phase, and the Allies are forced to play 16, the Dyle Plan. Anyone who has studied this period in history knows this was a Bad Play, but the card may have it's appeal. During the Option Card segment, the British get a 1-1-2 infantry and a second air force in the Delay Box, where they'll be lucky to see them at all in this scenario, although they'd be much more important in a campaign game. The card grants no replacements, but the Minor Country Production and French War Economy allow them to get two French Steps, which are placed in Paris.

During the Initial Admin Phase, there are no Political Events, so time to place support units. All that's left for both sides is the CV Fleet for the Brits and the AF unit for the Germans. The CV Fleet is placed in the all-sea hex just NW of Le Havre, in order to get a CV Strike in place that will help defend Paris next turn. Now the Axis must either contest it or have it flip to it's CVStrike side. Since the CV Fleet has been placed within three hexes of both Calais and Antwerp (both German Naval Bases) the Axis AF contests the CV Fleet and it goes to the Naval Warfare Delay box while the last German AF goes to the Delay Box. Just in case, both the British and French troop convoy markers go to the Convoy box. The West puts the Blitz marker in Reims as it's within two spaces of both lone Axis tank single-steppers alone in hexes.

Organization is simple - the French combine the two 1-1-2 infantry in Paris, sending one back to the Force Pool and flipping the other to it's two-step side. Here's the situation after Organization:

The Axis has left a couple of tank units vulnerable, and the French want to garrison their cities to avoid Case Yellow occurring without Paris being taken. Calais has been taken, so Metz, Lyon, Brest, Toulouse and Bordeaux  need to be held. The 1-2-2 at the south end of the Maginot Line moves into Lyon, the 1-1-3 in Lyons moves to Limoges to block the route to the south-western cities. We assume Brest will be OK. To help reinforce Metz, we move the 1-2-2 on the Maginot line just south of Metz into that space.

To complete movement, we want to carefully consider how units will be forced to retreat in the next turn. The Axis will almost certainly put a Blitz marker in Paris in order to force units in that space to retreat if they get that result, but remember that retreating units *pick up* units in hexes they retreat through. No point in making this easy for the Germans. The French make the following moves to try to better consolidate their position:

  • 2-2-2 Fr HQ from Reims to Paris,
  • 3-4-2 Fr Inf from Reims to Lille (to force an extra attack),
  • 1-2-2- Br Inf from Reims to Amiens,
  • 3-3-2 Fr Inf from Paris to Amiens,
  • 2-1-3 Br Tank and 4-4-3 Fr Inf from Amiens to Reims
At this point, the French are in a good position to attack the 6-6-3 on the outskirts of Paris. They have an armor unit to help get one shift, and an HQ to get another. It was a bit of a risk to put a unit in Lille, but the hope is that it will stall the German advance for another turn, and maybe some of the good units from the Conditional Events that we'll get this turn will have low Delay Box rolls. Here's the position after Operational Movement:

The West gets a Blitz combat and will use it to get the benefit of that British tank. The initial odds are 16:6, or 2-1, but there are two shifts for the attacker bringing the total to 4-1. Note that the UK tank must be supplied, and it is because of the Supply Convoy printed in the North Sea Zone Convoy Box. The roll is a 5, a Dr1 1/1 result - not great, but it will work. The 6-6-3 retreats one hex to the SE, then loses one step to attrition. The UK tank is sent back to the force pool as it is the only armor step in the attack. The West advances the two 3-3-2 infantry units in Orleans into the vacated defender hex. This has worked out well for the Allies, as the Germans can't get to Paris easily. The Blitz marker is removed. 

The French might as well continue to cause problems for the overextended Germans, so in the regular Combat Phase they attack the 2-2-4 in Troyes at 12:2 or 6:1 with a shift for the HQ in Paris. The result is Dr2 1/1, which is not great. The Tank, however, must retreat one of two directions, and neither is great for the Germans. The unit retreats two hexes to the NE, taking the 6-6-3 in Verdun with it, and then takes the step loss. One of the two 3-3-2 units east of Orleans takes it's step loss, and the 1-1-2 advances to Verdun, figuring that the German 4-4-3 can't move and will be out of the action for the most part. The 4-4-3 goes there as well. The French eschew Reserve Movement. The final position after combat (and, for all intents and purposes, the end of the turn on the map) is shown below:

There is no one for the West to declare war on (and they can't do it during Limited War anyway), so that leaves conditional events, of which we have a few. So far this has been a single event, but it's worth mentioning that there is a specific order you work through - Permanent Events *in order*, then Option Card events. We have some of each. 

We ignore reactivating or liberating minor countries, as these conditions don't apply. However, the next two events can take place, and the West must do so: Their Finest Hour and Paris Threatened, as an Axis unit is in France or Belgium-Holland. TFH simply takes the three units in the appropriate box of the Force Pool and puts them in the Delay Box. PT does the same with it's units, but since there is no minor country for the French to influence the second step is ignored. The Option card gives France an infantry step, so the 0-1-2 Res unit goes to Paris. 

It's the end of the turn, so we have to roll on the Delay Box and Naval Warfare Delay boxes to see if any of these units will play a part. I'd noted before that the Allies got a -1 DRM, but I'd misread the table - neither side gets a DRM. The French get a Surf Fleet support marker for the next turn, the Brits get a Can 1-2-2 infantry and their Surface Fleet in two turns, and the Germans get an AF and a 4-4-3 in two turns as well. The rest all will come in after the end of the scenario, so we ignore them. There is no point in checking the Belgians; if the Allies take Antwerp the Germans aren't going to be winning this game anyway. 

Finally, the turn marker advances to June-July, so the Germans get two 4-4-3 infantry units to their force pool (which they can certainly use) and the West gets a surface fleet. There will be very little support unit play in the next turn, but the Germans are happy to see an AF coming in for the last turn, they may need it. 

Things are looking a bit tougher for the Germans, will they be able to push through to the outskirts of Paris even though their initial plans were thwarted?

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