Ulver vs. Mark

Played beginning Feb 10 between Mark "Reichmeister" Stevens and Ulver "Churchill" Nielsen

Report by Ulver Nielsen. Remember you are reading the whole truth, nothing but the truth, the Allied truth. Reichmeister Steven's e-mail comments in Italics.  Don't trust them, trust the allied truth

Mark, being something of a traditionalist, began by attacking Poland in turn two. I was slightly surprised to see that he hadn't chosen to build carriers or additional forces pre-war. I can only conclude that he intends to keep the Americans out of the war for a good long while.

Mark: The Germans tried to pin the Poles along the frontier with infantry attacks, concentrated the Luftwaffe to ensure air superiority and the maximum level of ground support, and pushed the motorized and armored troops directly towards Warsaw, avoiding contact - where possible - with the Polish reserve armies, with the aim of launching a major assault directly on the capital before the defenders could react.'

Naturally I appeared before parliament to denounce the brutal fascist aggression and request a declaration of war which was unanimously passed. I then telegraphed Warsaw promising my undying support.

On the military front the French army dug in behind the impenetrable Marginot Line while the allied airforces employed the same brilliant strategy for survival as my deep-water navy: Stay out of sight. Worked like a charm. I prefer them getting shot down/sunk trying to accomplish something useful.

The Polish fought valiantly for three turns before the inevitable. While the Germans raced west I began the obligatory sea redeployments, moving French colonial forces home and reinforcing the Middle East, Malta and Gibraltar. The reduced movement allowance of all units is really felt here. Sailing forces to Egypt and rebasing aircraft there takes an additional turn and Malta is now really critical was a way point. In this period of waiting I pay especially attention to keeping my navy bombers safe. The Swordfish with their 120 anti shipping ability are highly specialized planes that might well prove critical in destroying the Axis fleet if deployed correctly and not fretted away in useless air-superiority combat or trying to provide tactical ground support. Generally speaking any attrition in the air will likely prove disastrous for the allies as the current replacement rates allow the Germans to replace lost planes while the RAF and Armee De L'Air are not even at full strength. The woefully inadequate replacement rate of French Aircraft especially dictates that every plane should be protected.

The allies move fairly large forces to the Horn of Africa, thirsty for their first victory in anticipation of Italy's entry into the war.

The Lüftwaffe reacted by demonstrating my impotence in the air: blowing up bridges in France. Why he waste his planes disruption the French infrastructure I honesty don't know. The only effect I can see is that he makes rail re-deployment within France impossible but why that should matter remains to be seen. My forces are already correctly deployed in the North along the French-Belgian border, unless there is some sort of plan to invade France through Italy I have no intention of moving them anyway.

In mid September (turn 8) Germany invades Norway. The attacks come as a complete surprise to me. Axis forces sink the Norwegian Fleet without much trouble while an airlanding secures the capital of Oslo and surrounding airfields. For some reason the forces actually occupied Oslo consisted of HQ's and paratroopers. It is an often-used strategy of Mark's to airlift HQ's in behind my lines but this time they weren't enough. An allied counterattack, including landing of British forces succeed in retaking the city and sinking the German navy

Mark: Er...is there any chance of your believing that it's all part of a brilliant masterstroke to lure the Allies hopelessly out of position for a devastating counter-stroke? I thought not. And you'd be right. I've shot whoever planned that fiasco.

You know that I hate having any navy: I've a near-pathological urge to see it sunk, so that I can moan later that it's not fair. Never liked toy boats as a child. Stepped in a puddle once and filled my wellington boots.

16. August 1939 (Turn: 12) - The debacle in Norway.

Reinforcing a success several French corps sail to reinforce the BEF in Norway. Hard fighting ensures, as German forces actually have to fight their way to evacuation ports. The bulk of German Paratroopers are successfully evacuated by air. Norway joins the proud family of free nations fighting bravely to stem the tide of Fascism (or is that Mark-ism?)

While this rather enjoyable sideshow unfolds Germany invades the Low Countries and Belgium. With the aid of seaborn reinforcements the Dutch actually holds out for two weeks before the French leave by sea again leaving the sole surviving Dutch division to be smashed in Amsterdam on the third week of the attack. The Belgians surrender the following week. The Germans press their attack into France with the allied forces grudgingly giving ground extracting a price in the invaders blood for every hex.

16. August 1939 - two weeks into the battle for Benelux

28. October 1939 (Turn 18) – Gaining ground but at what cost?

Elsewhere in the world the Soviets brutally subjugate the Baltic States while Stalin assures Finland of his peaceful intentions. The German fleet reconstitutes in the south Atlantic and is ruthlessly hunted down and destroyed off Cadiz. (Hiding in the same hex as the Spanish fleet – like a little boy behind his mother's skirts. Well, the first lord of the admiralty doesn't hesitate a second – they both goes to the bottom of the sea.)

As the relentless Axis advance continues threatening Lille and inching ever closer to Paris I feel forced to abandon a long-standing policy and commit British forces in France. The British Engineer is kept busy repairing the smashed French infrastructure while the fighting elements of the BEF take up positions along the coast. British land forces do not reconstitute so the loos of the BEF might well mean the loss of Britain herself. Nerves are on edge in London.

The next German move once again surprises the allied high command. A German amphibious landing in – of all places – Dunkirk. Something close to pandemonium breaks out in the Allied supreme HQ. Visions of the entire front being flanked along the cost with large British forces cut of from retreat fly though the head of the PM  Is this the beginning of the end for France?

25. November 1939

No. France may be doomed in the end but not today. Half the invading force fails to get ashore and is dispatched by the Royal Navy. The BEF and French forces surround the beachhead in force and with the aid of massive fire support from the combined British-French fleet the Dunkirk pocket is promptly wiped out. The one downside is that I get another demonstration near that fleets can't operate effectively near land in the face of superior air power: Two battleships goes to the bottom of the British Channel joining the Kreigsmarine in proving the point.

With the onset of winter the guns fall silent. I must confess to being somewhat complacent about the situation as the Allied forces dig in for the inevitable spring offensive. The situation is close to optimal. Italy hasn't entered the war despite the fact that I've stripped the Italian border of anything that can move. I've gotten the French reorganization units with high proficiency and – best of all – I've bled the German Army white, extracting a very high price for lost territory in the Benelux Countries and Northern France. At this time Axis losses of Heavy Rifle squads stands at close to 20.000. More than a year worth's of replacements. Mark's reply to my taunting about losses is simply: "I'm a general – not an accountant Well, we shall see.

I'm quickly shaken out of my complacency by the opening week of "Case Gelb" The Initial Attack encircles and destroy several French corps and almost break through to the French costal city of Abbeville threatening to trap the BEF and the best elements of the French forces in a pocket around – believe it or not – Dunkirk. My one consolation is the pincer fails to close completely allowing me to rush reinforcements into Abbeville and begin emptying the pocket

Now follows a roller coaster ride. Axis forces break my front in several places, sizing Dunkirk once again, shattering the front completely in the south and – potentially most devastating –the spearhead of the German motorized forces success in taking Abbeville thereby pocketing large Allied forces with only the sea providing an escape route. The French Government make planes to leave Paris.

3. Mars 1940 (Turn 36)

24. Mars (turn 39) Axis breakthrough and Allied counterattack

Then comes an amazing turnaround. In a fit of madness I order the first counteroffensive of the war hoping for little more than saving a vestige of French honour. Stunned silence greets the news that it has succeeded. The German armoured spearhead has been cut of and now the elite of the German army finds itself pocketed. Some of the bloodiest fighting of the war follows, resulting in the forces encircled in Abbeville reopening the lines of communication only to have them cut once again.

The Allied counter attack is well timed as it concedes with exhaustion finally catching up with the Germans. Eventually the spearhead is destroyed by a combination of relentless navel bombardments from the combined Anglo-French fleets, suicidal ground attacks by the Armee De L'Air into the teeth of German 88's and allied forces ordered by their generals to "ignore losses. The initial drive on Paris is repulsed with heavy losses.

Having failed to defeat my with their rapier the Fascist fall back on their club: Bludging France to death by attrition. Italy enters the war; pushing aside the Alpine garrisons robbed of men and equipment for the vital battles in the North. The Italians begin fanning out into Southern France while the allies take their revenge by obliterating the Italian forces in East Africa.

While the Italians advance from the South the German Army throws itself against the Allies around Paris again and again. And so it goes on, week after blood soaked week.

The Axis may be heading for a victory in France but it is proving to be an expensive one. Perhaps more expensive then they can afford in the long run. The allies do, however, have one problem: Their commander in chief is a coward. After my glorious victory in Italian East Africa I don't commit my forces to stopping the Axis drive on Suez. The truth is that I'm simply too terrified of the possible consequence of losing my precious British units, as they don't reconstitute

The predictable result is that the situation in Egypt quickly becomes untenable. In a self-fulfilling prophecy the main effort in the Middle East becomes directed towards evacuating the remains of the Western Desert forces safely. I can hear the real Churchill screaming at me as I recall my cowardice. "We didn't build our empire by playing it safe. We build it by being up to our armpits in burning deserts and loving every moment of it." I console myself with the fact that the entire British army in Egypt escapes.

26. May 1940 (turn 48)

Despite truly heroic efforts the quality and numbers of the Fascist forces are simply too great. Eventually the inevitable happens: Paris falls in late June, the capital of France is recaptured in a desperate counterattack only to fall again the following week. With the city of light ablaze as her funeral pyre the fourth republic surrender on the 1. July after causing the invaders staggering losses.

On the very same week as France surrenders Italian troops take Cairo triggering Arab uprisings from Egypt to Iraq. An pro-Axis pan-Arabic confederation is declared and joins the Axis. These events trigger the early entry of the US into the war on 18. August 1940. I must confess to having a somewhat mixed reaction to the early entry of the US as it deprived me of the opportunity of choosing a number of planned US entry options. Guess the US will need those destroyers themselves now.

8. October 1940 (turn 67)

In the pause that follows as both sides rest their exhausted forces I deploy DeGualle and the nucleus of the free French forces to Morocco hoping to hold on to a toehold in North Africa. Some Italians deploy to support the Vichy forces in North Africa in response by for months the forces fail to make contact. Both sides seem content to dig themselves in with a 300-400-kilometre gap between the forces

Not that this means that my megalomaniac opponent has any intention of resting on his laurels.. Less then a month after finishing off France he invades Yugoslavia. The Greek government, wisely sensing they are next responds by asking for British aid. Romania joins in the attack on Yugoslavia but their forces are poorly deployed for a strike towards Belgrade. so t

The Yugoslavs get a few weeks to dig in around their capital.While it hold out Axis rail movement towards the Balkans is blocked. This buys the Greeks precious time to dig in at the narrowest point on the peninsula and allows  the allies to start shipping forces to bolster the line.I have every intention of holding GreecWith all this going on in Europe the Japanese lands in Madagascar. The appearance of a single Japanese marine division isn't really much of a concern since I've already lost Suez. The Japanese admiral does, however, try something that could potentially be quite devastating. The Japanese task force links up with an Italian fleet steaming thru the Suez Canal and launch an invasion of South Africa.

The South Africans defeat the Japanese division on the beaches and the Royal Navy and air force extract a terrible price on the Axis navy forces.  The pitiful remains of the armada retreat back towards Suez. The loss of South Africa would have been serious, as that would have trapped large commonwealth forces in East AfricaThe battle for Greece heats up when Axis forces conduct a major amphibious landing at Khalkis behind the Allied lines. This is accompanied by paratroopers landing further inland in a grand attempt to cut most of the Greek army out of supply.I promptly engage the Italian fleets with swarms of swordfish torpedo bombers and the US-British fleets. In a series of naval engagements both sides suffer considerable losses in both ships and planes. The German paratrooper landing is pushed back to the bridgehead. 

13. October 1949 (Turn 68)

The Axis forces in Northern Greece launches waves upon waves of attacks trying to break thru to their bridgehead but the dug in defenders have the advantage of mountainous terrain ideally suited for defence. Ignoring Axis dive-bombers the combined US/British fleet stay on station supporting the line in Greece and savaging the bridgehead with a barrage of shore bombardment.

 The critical bottleneck for the Allies at this time is shipping, as reinforcements for Greece have to come all the way from East Africa where the bulk of the Egypt garrison was evacuated to. Axis forces begin an advance against Casablanca. Allied sealift simply isn't up to reinforcing both theatres and the Morocco garrison begin a frantic scramble backwards.Like a predator smelling blood this spurs an aggressive Axis offensive towards Casablanca combined with an Axis sea-based invasion of my only remaining supply point in Africa. The American garrison is pushed aside and Casablanca falls to the Germans with the bulk of my forces remain over 300 kilometres from the port. Only a desperate counter invasion by fresh American forces combined with the entire army rushing back out of supply succeeds in retaking the precious supply harbour of Casablanca.

Winter brings relief, both in Greece and North Africa. Under cover of the Axis shock penalty I succeed in evacuating most of the forces in the Casablanca pocket.and eliminating the Axis bridgehead behind my lines in Greece.

Deciding to take advantage of a little winter offensive the Red Army is unleashed against Finland. In late December the Skies over Scandinavia is darkened by swarms of Soviet bombers and massed artillery opens up against the Finnish border troops. Several Finnish corps is encircled but holds out bravely against overwhelming superior numbers and sustained air attacks. Despite winter bonus and 10-1 superiority in numbers Soviet forces are unable to push aside the Finnish forces garrisoning bottleneck positions on the road to Helsinki. Soon Finnish partisans appear in my rear making life truly miserable and as spring looms nearer Stalin gives up on his plan to incorporate Finland into the USSR. Soviet forces, having suffered heavy losses redeploy to meet the expected German onslaught


Quite unnecessary as it turns out. The end of winter sees the destruction of remaining Allied forces in Morocco including the entire US army but, hey, better them then the British. More worrying is an all-out Axis push to evict me from Greece. As the garrison in Greece feels the increasing pressure Franco joins the Axis and launch a surprise attack on Gibraltar.

Oh yes, do mail me your comments at ulver@ulver.dk