September 1940 marked the end of the favorable weather so the Germans did what they could to consolidate their gains over the past year. With Italy having recently fallen, the Germans sent some infantry down to Rome to claim the city while a panzer army was transferred off east from the Italian front. Using the extensive rail system for Strategic Movement, the panzers arrived just west of the frontlines in northern Russia, near Latvia. The Yugoslavs fell back under the pressure of the combined German, Hungarian, and Bulgarian army. Split was captured and the Yugoslav Will slipped. The Soviets sent masses of infantry to push back the German incursions, using assault tactics rather than mobile attacks. The rolls just were not there, however, and the Soviets made no gains. That was fine. Time was on their side.
|End of Sept. 1940: Yugoslavia falls and the east falls into stalemate.|
October 1940: As predicted, severe weather in the Cold Zone ends up helping the Soviets immensely this turn. The Germans successfully take down Yugoslavia after capturing Sarajevo and the Romanians and Bulgarians rush east to help hold the German line in Russia. The Soviets group together their units into assaults and manage to win some key battles that force the Germans back. A considerable hole in the middle of the German line looks inviting for the Russians after the operations phase ends. No cities are recaptured but the Germans are now losing ground and the Russian winter is yet to begin in earnest.
|October 1940: The Russians begin to push back against the Germans.|
November 1940 is surprisingly mild and the Cold Zone has only Poor weather while the Mild Zone actually has Fair weather. The Germans declare war on Greece and attempt to consolidate their hold on southeastern Europe. On the Russian front, the Germans take a gamble in the northern sector and fare poorly. An attempt to dislodge a pesky infantry unit does not pay off and this leaves the entire German flank vulnerable. In the south, things go considerably better for the Germans. They use their panzers to push back a Soviet infantry unit near Odessa and then isolate another Soviet unit before eliminating it. During the Soviet turn, more Russian units arrive in the south to plug the gaps in the line while a couple of infantry units in the north maneuver around the Germans and threaten to cut off two or three armies from supply. The Germans will have their work cut out for them next turn, especially considering that the Russian Winter event is due to begin then.
|November 1940: Germans declare war on Greece. The Germans’ northern flank along the eastern front in peril.|
December 1940 arrives and with it the Russian Winter. The weather for the Cold Zone is designated Severe but, for the Russians, it is treated as Poor for combat purposes. This gives them a considerable advantage in their attacks. The Germans start off by using submarines for strategic warfare and they score a hit against the Russians. A German and Bulgarian army isolate a Greek unit in Salonika and take the city, pushing the Greek will down to 1. The road to Athens is open. The Germans, realizing they are in trouble on the eastern front, try to deal with the situation by being realistic. They shift forces around a bit to protect vital supply lines and conduct a couple of retreats in the south. The Soviets eliminate two German army units in the north and manage to push back the Bulgarians and Romanians in the south but the expected disastrous blow to the Germans does not come. The Germans mobilize three armies, which should help keep the Soviets at bay for just a bit longer. More significantly, the Germans score a Political Success and bring Turkey to a Pro-Axis standpoint. If Turkey can be persuaded to enter the war on the Axis side, it could transform the eastern front from stalemate back to German favor once again.
|December 1940: Soviets make some gains against Germans. Greece about to fall. Turkey goes pro-Axis.|
January 1941 and the new year begins with severe weather throughout Europe. The Germans make a play for Greece by attacking Athens but don’t get anywhere. Along the eastern front, German units are pulled back and Minsk and Odessa are given up without a fight. Finally, the defensive line has stabilized a bit more and it looks like the Russians might be kept out of eastern Europe. The Soviets take both cities for a gain of 4 national will but the follow up attacks on the German line are of no use in this weather despite the help of the Partisans event marker. With Turkey making pro-Axis rumblings, the Soviets send some units south to help forestall any possible future invasion. The Germans mobilize three more units this turn. With success so far out of reach on the eastern front, the German player starts to dream of a quick victory against France.
|January 1941: The eastern front line begins to stabilize. Belgium activates. The Germans think about the future.|
February 1941 and no surprises with the weather this time. It is severe in the cold zone and poor in the mild and warm zone. Greece falls after the Germans take Athens. Albania goes Pro-Axis. The Germans have a number of mobilized units from the end of last turn. They mostly head west towards the French border. There are no German offensives on the eastern front. The whole affair has become bogged down with massive numbers of Soviets and terrible weather. The Russians push back against the Romanians this time but there are no major gains elsewhere. The turn ends with the Germans pulling a Political Failure out of the cup and Turkey is no longer Pro-Axis. The Soviets breathe a sigh of relief. Their southern border is safe.
March 1941 should mark the beginning of spring weather but nope! There is severe weather in both the Cold and Mild zone. This turn, the Germans start to get their act together a bit on the eastern front. They recoup some of their earlier losses by taking some chances with mobile attacks. In the south, Odessa is retaken and a Soviet army is eliminated. The Germans are not laying down just yet. They also start putting a few more armies along the French border with Germany and Italy. In the Soviet operations phase, we get a few lucky breaks too. Although Odessa is still in German hands, the makings of a potential Soviet breakthrough are building up just to the north of the city. The Soviets are frustrated elsewhere and unable to make any real headway against the Germans and Latvians way up in the north.
|March 1941: The Germans strike back on the eastern front.|
April 1941 and the spring weather begins. The Germans declare war on the Western faction. The eastern offensive is pretty much a lost cause and the western powers are only growing stronger with each passing month. Using a skeleton invasion force, Germany manages to take both Holland and Belgium as well as the city of Sedan in northern France. Germany also charges into southern France through Italy, threatening Marseilles with a mobile unit by the end of the turn. In the east, the Germans manage to take Minsk, pushing the Soviets back a bit in the center a bit. The Soviets retake Odessa and attempt to push the minor nations units back but get carried away and end up with a unit out of supply (and so reduced) by the end of the turn. France settles in for a defensive campaign. The war has begun in the west.
May 1941. The weather is fair in all zones. The Germans get to work in their invasion of France, making a little headway, pushing back a couple of French units from the border and even reducing a couple of other French units. But nothing of any real value is captured except down south where Marseilles has been taken by a German mobile army. French airpower has been helpful in negating the German attacks. On the eastern front, we have a different story. The Germans are desperate and begin making daring attacks around Kiev that start to pay off. By the end of the turn, the Germans have retaken Odessa and eliminated four Soviet units. The Soviets hustle some of their rearguard to make up a new defensive line. The Soviets attempt counterattacks but don’t do much except knock Latvia out of the war. The French use an elite mobile unit to sweep a German army south towards the coastal road and then use the maneuvering room to walk into Italy and take a couple of cities that have been left undefended. The British and French also manage to take back former Italian-owned cities that were ceded to Germany after its win over the Italians. Things look grim for the Germans.
|May 1941: The French get a bit cheeky and enter Italy. Renewed fighting along the eastern front.|
June 1941. The Germans have lost the initiative on the west front. A series of successive attacks on Lille end up with German attrition. The French take no losses. The Germans do not have enough production to keep things going on both fronts. In the east, the Germans do manage to make some headway in the south but at the end of the turn, five Soviet armies mobilize, undoing most of the turn’s success for the Axis. The only good news for the Germans is that they have managed to move a panzer and infantry unit into Italy, which is enough to convince the French that having a mobile unit running around in the German rear is probably not a good idea. They move their units behind the Rhone river and hold their positions. Can this be salvaged? I feel the answer is probably “no” for the Germans. They have one month more to try and turn the situation around and then the Soviets will be mobilizing massive forces later in the year. The French seem to have weathered the shock of the initial German invasion and are dealing well defensively.
|German invasion of France gets bogged down in the poor weather.|
|June 1941: Germans make some gains in the south along the eastern front.|
July 1941: The German invasion of France stalls out but the French are unable to hit back effectively for the most part. Fighting in the Soviet Union turns into pockets of back and forth localized battles rather than the static front of only a few months ago. The Germans launch a big offensive aimed at isolating a Russian unit in Kiev and are not quite successful. Overextended in the south, the Germans watch as the Russians take back Odessa. The Germans make a play for Lille in France, which is stubbornly held by an infantry unit. Instead of attacking directly, the German panzers and infantry attempt to surround the city but the attacks run out of steam and a German panzer army finds itself out of supplies and cut off. The French take advantage and manage to destroy the enemy unit. In the south of France, the Germans have moved up their units towards the Rhone while the French pull their elite mobile units back up north to hit back at the Germans while at the same time shifting some of their infantry down south to defend in the rough terrain near the Rhone. By the end of the turn, the Soviets have made marginal gains while the French and Germans seem to be in for a long fight.
|July ’41: French defense stiffens while the Soviets make some gains.|
|July ‘ 41: A closer look at the eastern front. Kiev in trouble. Odessa retaken by the Soviets.|