The Rest of November – Stagnation Sets in

I’ve been a bit busy doing stuff, some important some less so (latter includes sorting the War of Resistance counters to see which ones are missing, if any – bought a used one from Noble Knights along with Scorched Earth, The Urals and Wavell’s War) so the blog has been neglected.

Both sides have been maneuvering to outflank the exposed parts of enemy’s supply lines, but little has happened combat-wise.

36 Nov I - LoyalistMy original plan was to attack on Valencia by the end of the year (assisted with the Italian navy) but Tim’s been reinforcing that area too well. Cartagena-Murcia-Alicante area got isolated from the rest of the Loyalist territory but as they are the three reinforcement cities in the area, they act as full general supply sources.

End of Nov II Insurgent Turn

End of Nov II Insurgent Turn

 

Annoyingly, Tim circled my Catalan screen and destroyed one step of attack supply that was sitting behind my units. Let’s see if I can extend some revenge on those units. Yes, it’s a little pesky unit, and killing it won’t make much of a difference in the big picture, but it cannot go unpunished.

End of November

End of November

 

Nov I 36 Insurgent aka. the “Santander Disaster”

This turn we did online which gave me a bit less time to plan for my actions and I went more with my gut-feeling than usual (as if I ever plan anything in advance, bah).

I wanted to see if I could overrun Lorca, but due to mud (weather roll was no change up north = mud and clear (which will mean mud for the rest of the year) in the south) the artillery couldn’t make it. As the Germans have not extended the autobahn network this far south, even the roads are difficult going for artillery, 4 MPs per hex. To accumulate this failure, I even forgot to attack Lorca in the Combat Phase!!! *bangs head on keyboard*

Up north I pretty much just started forming my lines and keep pushing the Loyalists to their main areas. I decided to have a go at the Santandero as they’re the weakest of the Gobernitos. I gathered all units I could muster. BBTF and CATF provided naval fire support and Junker Ju 52s and Brequet 19s flew ground support. The defenders kept their ground, refusing to yield in the face of air support and hugged the walls of the city (dot city +1 modifier negated the enemy air support -1 modifier and the militia check was just barely a Normal. The attack was then conducted at 2:1 odds, with a -2 modifier for mud. Attacker halved. Ouch, that hurt.

Another rule misread so far… naval units replenish at Naval Bases. I’ve been replenishing them in any ol’ port – mostly it has been in Ceuta (which is a Naval Base) when the number of MPs has counted, other times the task forces would have had enough MPs to make it to El Ferrol etc.

Northern front is reeling from the Santander Disaster. South advances slowly.

Northern front is reeling from the Santander Disaster. South advances slowly.

 

Oct II 36 – Loyalist Line Stiffens

We agreed to continue the game as a “What-if” scenario. To compensate for my unwarranted advantage we’ll use the Loyalist Tank Division optional rule, I’ll not take any of the limited replacements and will forfeit the next 5 inf RPs. Also, all clear weather for the rest of the year will be mud.

I did not feel great about this whole thing. I was so elated that I had the Loyalists somewhat in the ropes, at least surface area wise. Scoring-wise it may not be the case. Jan I 37 will start giving me some indication.

Anyhow. This turn Tim made some counter-attacks. The gutsiest one was an attack on Malaga – as Tim said, he’ll either get the units in his replacement pool (he has limited number of units to be able to be replaced and plenty of unused replacement points) or he gets Malaga, either way, it’s a win-win for him.

While I was trying to recover from my disappointment on the rules mistakes, I concentrated on improving the Vassal module. Now the map is a bit more uniform in color and I created new counters. One of the fanciest is the rail break, see if you can spot it. (The jpg is at 50% instead of its usual 33% this time.)

End of October - and a new Vassal module version (0.6 now)

End of October – and a new Vassal module version (0.6 now)

Contamination, i.e. missed rules

Now that I was skimming rules to see whether Madrid can replace troops etc. I noticed two rules sections that I (and I guess Tim as well) have missed.

Cities start producing replacement points for their owner four turns after they have been pacified. We’ve used them instantly – this has given me extra some 4-5 RPs more than for Tim, by now. This shouldn’t be a big factor. But I had also missed that not only C/M units, but cavalry as well counts double its size for transportation. And I had shipped all my cavalry units out of Africa as soon possible ever since the game started, and I just received my second NT a month or two ago.

As far as I’m concerned, if I win this game, it doesn’t count. I’ve received unfair advantage. I’d like to play it to the end, though, so that I’d learn what to do and what not to do in future play times.

Oct II 36 Insurgent – The Weather Shows Up

For the first time during this war, the weather conditions change. Atlantic is no longer calm but the waves start being rough, and the northern half of Spain has rain that turns the ground into mud. This will make it harder for me to push the Republicans out of my areas and I need to start creating “killer stacks” to compensate for the general -2 modifier. Also, railroads really start playing an important role in moving stuff around.

I spent 1 resource point to temporarily increase my rail cap. I really needed that 10 extra REs of capacity to haul attack supply to where I will use it. There are four main objectives this turn, all related to supply:

  1. Oviedo needs to have its supply lines restored. The attack burned one step of attack supply, but Oviedo had 3 steps to begin with and it will produce more. That attack was a certain win.
  2. Madrid’s supply lines need to be cut. I claimed a rail hex on both the eastern and south-eastern rail line, and pushed for a more assertive measure on the southern rail line. Attack to re-claim Albacete succeeded – that’ll hopefully keep the international troops at bay for a while.
  3. Get the “Catalan screen” back in supply. That was managed by movement alone. Now a supply chain has been made at the same time cutting off some Loyalist units from supply as an added bonus.
  4. Keep Malagan nuisance out of supply. Let the bastards starve on their mountain.

I also made a bit of progress in the south, but the anarchists saw it coming and retreated before combat.

Air missions:

Logrono (23A:2201)                                  Bre.19 stages to Jaen (23A:3617) – range 31 hexes, waypoint 23A:3005 -> GS mission in Albacete (23A:3609) – range 8 hexes

San Sebastian (33:1932)            Mixed B transfer mission -> Vigo (23A:0617) – 26 hexes -> Huelva (23A:3027) – 25 hexes -> Almeria (23A:4317) – 17 hexes

 

Spend 1 step of attack supply at Oviedo (23A:1007: 1-2-6* Inf III; Oviedo: 2-5 Inf X (Req), 1-6 Art III, 3x 1-6 Inf III)

 

Oviedo (23A:1007), 23A:1008, 23A:1109 and 23A:1208 -> 23A:1108

Initial odds:                      8.5:0.75 = 11.33:1

Militia reliability:               3: Normal; 4 +1(non clear) =5: Normal

Incremental odds:                  10 -> 11:1

Combat result:                     5 -2(wooded rough) -2(mud) = 1: DH, eliminated

1-6 Bdr III and 1-2-6* Inf III advance

 

Spend 1 step of attack supply at Tomelloso (23A:3312) (all units in 23A:3510 – 6RE)

 

23A:3510, 23A:3610 and 23A:3710 -> Albacete (23A:3609)

Initial odds:                      11.875:1.75 = 6.8:1

Militia reliability:               5 +1(air support)=6: Normal; 2 -1(air support) =1: Int and PA halved  = 13.6:1

Incremental odds:                  7 -> 13:1

Combat result:                     1: DH. 1-2-6 Inf X (Int) eliminated, 1-6 Sec III retreats to 23A:3608

3-2-6 Inf III, 2-6 Inf III (Col), 1-6 Sec III and 3-6* Inf XX advance into Albacete.

Bre.19 will land in Albacete.

 

23A:4314 -> 23A:4313

Initial odds:                      2.5:0.5 = 5:1

Militia reliability:               1 +1(non-clear) = 2: Anarchists retreat to Lorca

1-6 Inf III and 2-6 Art III advance

 

End of Oct II 36 Insurgent turn

End of Oct II 36 Insurgent turn

October I 36

I’ve been a bit too busy to update the blog, so this entry will cover both the insurgent and loyalist turn. Now if I only could remember what happened then.

Insurgent divisions started popping up. Mostly near the Basque region, in Logrono, but one was determined to keep Toledo in my grasp. Tim had isolated San Sebastian from my other troops. The port provided some supply, but the most imperative thing to do this turn would be to clear the Malaga area and to ensure San Sebastian gets its supplies. I tried shipping stuff directly in San Sebastian, but most of it got turned back. (I’m in the middle of Oct II turn right now, and this is the first time I remember these. Need to add those shipments in my current orders.) Almeria was taken during the movement phase. Finally getting ports on the south coast making it easier to bring units to the front faster than from all the way from Cadiz. The former Malaga defenders got surrounded in the mountains and I decided to eliminate them. Hey, I just had gotten some glorious units from il Duce, they’ll wipe out any opposition in no time. Engineers were moved to the rail breaks to fix them next turn. I reclaimed the rail hexes to San Sebastian and I think I managed to secure them for the time being.

Italian CR.32bis’s staged an air show above Madrid (CAP mission). The Loyalist fighters were given orders to stop them but they refused and just sat on their benches watching the show (Patrol attack failed). The new bombers I had just received in San Sebastian tried to bomb th factory in Bilbao with no effect. Brequet 19 was sent to help repel the Loyalists near Santander. They were outside the Santander borders so I could attack them without risking the garrison activation. Asturias on the other hand had already released most of its garrison, so I might as well start fighting there. Especially as I had vacated that frigging rail hex a few turns ago and now it was preventing Oviedo from getting food in.

Brequet 19 flies a GS mission in 23A:1605

 

1 step attack supply (23A:1903) provides supply to Inf XX (23A:2301 – 3RE), 1-6 Inf III (23A:2302) (4/6RE used), 2-5 Inf X and 1-6 Art III (23A:1705) (6/6 used)

 

23A:1606 and 23A:1705 -> 23A:1605

Initial odds:      4 ¼ vs. 1 = 4:1

Militia:               3+1(air support)=4: Normal   4+1(non-clear)-1(enemy air support)=4: Normal

Incr CRT:           4: 4:1

Result:               6 -1(rough) = 5: DH, 1-6 Sec III eliminated

Survivor retreats to 23A:1505

All attackers advance

 

1 step of attack supply from Oviedo to 1-6 Sec III and 1-5 Inf X (23A:1207 – 2RE) and 1-2-6* Inf III, 2-5 Inf X, 1-6 Sec III and 1-6 Art III (Oviedo – 6REs)

 

23A:1206, 23A:1207 and 23A:1007 -> 23:1107

Initial odds:      4:0.5 = 8:1

Militia:               2: Falangist halved (3.75)        6 +1(Non-clear) = 7: Normal  -> Odds: 7.5:1

Incr CRT:           7: odds = 7:1

Result:               6 -2(wooded rough) = 4: DE

All units from 23A:1206 and 23A:1207 advance

 

1step of attack supply from 23A:2503 to 1-8 Cav III and 1-5 Inf X (23A:2502 – 2RE) and 3-6 Inf XX (23A:2434 – 3RE)

 

23A:2602 and 23A:2702 -> 23A:2601

Initial odds:      2:0.5 = 4:1

Militia:               1: The Falangist retreats to 23A:2503              2+1(non-clear)=3: Normal -> Odds: 1.5:0.5 = 3:1

Result:               2 -1(rough) -2(half AECD) = -1: Attacker halved. Eliminate 1-6 Inf III and 1-6 Eng III from 23A:2702 and 1-8 Cav III from 23A:2602

Survivors retreat to 23A:2801

 

23A:2501, 33:2434, 23A:2301 and 23A:2302 -> 23A:2401

Initial odds:      7.5 vs. 3 = 2.5:1

Militia:               6+1(non-clear) = 7: Normal

Incr CRT:           7 -> 2:1

Result:               4 -1(rough) = 3: Attacker Stopped

 

23A:3411 and 23A:3513 -> 23A:3512

Initial odds:      5:3 = 1.7:1

Militia:               2: Falangist halved                     2 +1(non-clear) = 3: Normal -> odds: 4.75:3 = 1.6:1

Incr CRT:           10 -> 3:2

Result:               4 -1(wooded) = 3: Attacker Stopped

 

23A:4516 -> 23A:4515

Initial odds:      2.5:0.5 = 5:1

Militia:               5: Normal

Result:               4: DR to 4315

All attackers advance

 

Attack supply from 23A:3822 to 2-6 Inf III, 2x 1-6 Inf III, 1-8 Lt Inf II (23A:3822 -3.5RE) and 2-6 Inf III and 2-1-8 Art III (23A:3922 – 2RE)

23A:3721, 23A:3820, 23A:3822 (minus 1-6 MG II, over the stack limit for mountain) and 23A:3922 -> 23A:3821

Initial odds:      7.5:2.5 = 3:1

Militia:               5+1(non-clear) = 6: Normal

Result:               1 -2(mountain) = -1: Attacker halved. Eliminate (23A:3822:) 2-6 Inf III (Col), 1-6 Inf III (Col), 1-6 Inf III, 1-8 Lt Inf II; (23A:3721:) 1-8 Cav III (Col); (23A:3820:) 3-2-6 Inf III and 2-1-8 Cav III (Col)

Survivors retreat to: 23A:4021, 23A:3819 and 23A:3620

The mountain proved a very tough nut to crack. I decided to just let them starve to death in a long run. It’ll tie up some of my troops but will cost me less men than trying to attack again.

End of Insurgent Turn

End of Insurgent Turn

Loyalist turn was up next. The French populace started protesting against helping the Bolshevists, so the government ordered the border to be closed. Good. That’ll give another headache to the Loyalists. In the initial phase, Loyalists rebuilt the BBTF that was destroyed a while back. It’s another 2 AA factors I need to be wary of. Not good. The ships started preparing a firing salvo. That means that Bilbao will attempt to sally, time to fly in the bombers for defensive air support. Basque units overran my mountain infantry battalion, but that’s pretty much what it was there for. To stop them reaching San Sebastian or blocking the rail line to it. My “Catalan screen” was still badly surrounded.  Brequet 19s went to support them. Loyalist Dewoitines went to intercept, but their pilots were too inexperienced. They failed to affect the Brequets, but the Brequets’ pilots and gunners practically eliminated the Dewoitine unit from the game. (As far as I can tell, they cannot re-enter. Loyalist is limited to 1 ARP expenditure per turn, and bringing back an Eliminated unit requires 2 ARPs.) The only ground attack Tim made eliminated by units that were sitting on the outskirts of Madrid in Guadalajara.

D.371 intercepts Bre.19

2 vs. 1 = 1

8: No effect

0 vs. 1 = -1

3: D.371 is killed

 

2707, 2608, 2709 and 2808 -> 2708

11:3 = 3.7:1

Militia:               4: Normal

Incr.:                   8 = 3:1

Combat:            2: EX, 1-6 MG II, 1-0-8 lt Tank III and 1-6 Eng III eliminated. 1-6 Lt AA III advances into Guadalajara.

End of October I 36

End of October I 36

Fighting Wings Update

Last night J.D. contacted me via Skype. I’ve not had Skype open for ages until this game, as Skype makes it easier to coordinate the interceptions etc. and discuss attacks. Anyhow, he was asking how my extension/scenarios/whatever for Buffalo Wings is coming along. Oh crap. I had completely put that on hold for a while as Top Cover seems to concentrate on areas where I have little or no expertise. Currently Vichy France is in the works, and Spanish Civil War and Malta are good candidates for issue #3. J.D. said he’s planning to have my work published in some form or another.

I’ve had the work in two formats, now I need to figure out which one to complete first. I’ve been collating the data from the excellent series of books by Keskinen and Stenman. One form is to record the date of destruction/damage for each plane that has been killed or damaged during the Winter War and Continuation War. The other is day-by-day record of operations for Winter War. I think I’ll start continuing the latter.

The three fights I’m refereeing are steadily progressing. North African Campaign – first fight is drawing to its end. Clovis will disengage in a turn or two and Tracy has a pretty good chance to do so, as well. And this is still the morning on June 12th, a couple of days before Operation Battleaxe kicks in.

The competitive chronological scenario fighting is in its third scenario, covering the leap day fight in the Winter War. I’m flying one of the Soviet I-16s and been mainly shooting at ground targets. The Finns have been scrambling to get in the sky and then trying hard to evade being shot at. One I-16 was lost having turn stalled at low altitude, pilot didn’t have time to bail out. Fokker stalled but managed to float back into controlled flight just above the lake ice. We’re now at the end of Turn 11 of 15 and the current damaged aircraft status is:

  • Gladiator-02 (Christian) – shot down on Turn 8 – pilot never made it out.
  • Gladiator-03 (Igniter) – 4 hits, hollow space critical hit – pilot has blacked out for the rest of the fight. Now we’re awaiting for it to hit the ground of be shot down. Time will tell whether either will take place.
  • Gladiator-04 (Luis) – Shot down on Turn 5, wing spar was hit, wing tore off – pilot didn’t have time to bail out.
  • Gladiator-06 (tracy) – 1 hit.
  • I-16-01 (Jammin’) – 1 hit.
  • I-16-03 (Twoonie) – Turn stalled at low altitude. Plane hit the ground before the pilot had time to bail out, KIA.

The training fight is also practically over. The two Dutch Buffaloes danced some circles around the six Zeros and are now diving to safety with the help of their superior max speed. I may not be starting another for a while. Have enough on my plate as it is.

The two campaigns I’m participating advance steadily as well. Battle of Britain has a humongous encounter where a large German formation (Stukas and Bf 109Es) is piercing through another large British Hurricane formation to attack a naval convoy. First bombs will probably be released in a turn or two (i.e. within the next couple of months real time).

Darwin campaign fight is progressing at a bit faster pace. I’m flying the lead Zero of the three Zeros who charged into a formation of 20+ Spitfires. This is the one that has some situation photos in the BGG. So far haven’t been able to down any of them but it’s a very target rich environment so it’s just a matter of time. Almost every game turn some Spitfire turn stalls while trying to pull into the Zeros which also is like a beacon beckoning me to come let the poor pilot out of its misery. Then again, sooner or later some Spitfire is bound to be able to latch onto my tail.

End of September – The Dark Overlord of Bad Dice Rolls Shows Up

Tim has been all along been telling he’s the Dark Overlord of bad dice rolls. Last turn, my against all odds attacks succeeding were the other side of the coin. This turn the other side showed up.

Movement Phase saw the loyalists maneuver into position to annihilate the rest of the “Barcelona screen”. The stack of units that had been on the run away from them got surrounded. Also two reference cities in the east got enemy units around them. My Brequet 19s took off to defend their airbase in Logrono.

Tim made two attacks. First one against the intrinsic garrison in Logrono with air support. The result was worst possible at those odds, militia decided they didn’t want to fight, and the end result eliminated three cavalry regiments of the attackers. The second fight was against the remaining Barcelona Screen. Again, the dice were against the attacker, who retreated.

San Sebastian has been cut off from the rest of my areas, though. Both railroads leading to it have one hex in Loyalist possession. This will pose problems in continuing the fight against the Basques. Those pesky Catalans need to be pushed back to where they belong… and preferably even further, into the Mediterranean sea.

End of September 1936

End of September 1936

Sep II 36 Insurgent – Against All Odds

Movement phase saw the Insurgents gather troops for two attacks and strengthen Toledo. San Sebastian attack was supposed to be supported by BBTF-1 and CATF but I neglected to read the rules in time. I decided that they can visit El Ferrol to replenish their fuel. Only at the beginning of combat phase I read the rules related to the naval gunfire support. They need to spend 90 MPs for it. I only had some 80 left after the replenishment tour, and they really didn’t need the fuel. They are in no hurry to move elsewhere. Darn, that’s 3 factors lost.

Starting to count the odds, they don’t seem so great. I only have enough supply for half of the attackers. Barring militia reliability, there’s a 4 in 10 chance of getting odds that will have even a chance of affecting the defenders. And even that is a 1 in 6 chance. I decided to chance it anyways, as militia reliability was going to be 1 in 3 chance. All dice were rolled at once and I started reading the results. Crap. Militia is normal. Ok, got the better odds. And…. woohoo… it was a 6. Exchange. A costly attack, but that thorn has been pulled from my side.

I was also contemplating a rallying attack from Toledo, but that was way too low odds to even have a chance of succeeding. Have to wait for a better opportunity.

That only leaves Malaga. Attack supply is sufficient for most units. The two regiments attacking across mountain hexside were left without as they would halved for the mountain anyways. 4:1 with -1. Militia reliability on both sides had the militia fight with full force, and the end result was only a DR. Malaga is now ours, and its former defenders are standing in the mountains next to it.

North Africa is pretty much drained of its units. The rest will stay there to garrison in case the Loyalists want to make a landing. Although the Italian submarines may be good enough deterrent for that. Time will tell.

San Sebastian and Malaga change hands and the noose around Madrid tightens

San Sebastian and Malaga change hands and the noose around Madrid tightens

Sep I 36 Loyalist – or How the East Was Lost

Loyalist movement phase brought the horrible realization. Zaragoza was wide open. Just because I wanted to make Madrid feel threatened and moved a small group of units towards it and they got slaughtered a while back. Just because I felt Barcelona area was going to be too strong so I’ll concentrate elsewhere, so they had little problem piercing the small screen force I had left there. I did not suffer too large losses material-wise, but my fighting spirit got a big knock out of losing Zaragoza to the loyalists, and it will be a long time before I can amass enough troops to even dream about retaking it.

Madrid is feeling less and less threatened. It has multiple venues of supply available. I’m losing the war of logistics. I have munitions, but they are sitting in the ports on the west coast, and I’d need them for waging war in the east. Rail lines will be needed to haul them quickly over. Or a port in the east but where and how will I get one?

Loss of Zaragoza

Loss of Zaragoza