Allies: Barry Roy (Bid: 2.0 POC)
Axis: Tim Tow
Report by Tim Tow
In a matchup of veteran wargamers, Barry Roy has entered the tournament playing War at Sea in a competitive setting for the 1st time in 30 years against Tim Tow, who also has been a long-time player in competitive play since 2000. Barry opened the bidding at 1.0 for the Allies. Tim Tow countered with 1.5. Barry raised it to 2.0 and got the Allies.
The Allies occupy all 5 accessible sea areas with no speed rolls. This is a super aggressive move and forces the Axis to fight somewhere. If the Axis don’t
fight somewhere, they will be down by 4 POC. The Axis forgo Baltic control and attempt to hit both the Barents and South Atlantic. (See image at right.)
The Fleet Air Arm strikes Italy where the Italian battleships sit and damage the Andrea Doria for 1.
The Axis send their LBA to the Barents and In an exchange of airstrikes in the Barents, the Allies sink a pocket battleship, Admiral Scheer while the Axis disable the Hood.
Round 1 sees the Allies miss while the Axis elect to target the Ark Royal and disable it and sink the Sussex. In the ensuing pursuit, the Suffolk is sunk.
The Glorious missed with its airstrikes against the German battlecruisers.
Round 1 sees the Renown sinking the Gneisenau and being sunk in return. The Kent and Exeter are disabled.
In the pursuit, the Norfolk and Glorious are both sunk. Blucher and Scharnhorst successfully oil. The Axis go up by +2 POC.
Again, the Allies elect to fight in 5 areas and without speed rolls. The Italian cruisers are forced to fight somewhere this turn and don’t have the luxury of staying in port because they are in the Neutral port and will cost1 POC each. The oiled Blucher and Scharnhorst go to the Barents with the bulk of the German fleet. The Prinz Eugen goes to the Baltic and 4 U-boats challenge 6 ASW in the North Sea. Had the Axis not gone to the South Atlantic last turn, the Italian cruisers could have holed up in port in Italy, but this forces the Italian fleet to sortie to the Mediterranean.
A devastating ASW roll maintains the North Sea blockade sinking 2 subs and disabling 2.
Without LBA support, the Axis lose the Bismarck and the Scharnhorst to disables from the Formidable during the air phase.
Round 1 sees the Lutzow sunk by the Hood, while the Axis sink the Hood in return and disable the Cumberland and Dorsetshire.
The Devonshire and Formidable succesfully evade 2 pursuing Axis cruisers to return to England.
The Axis LBA disable the Queen Elizabeth while the Allied LBA is ineffective.
Round 1 sees the Allies disabling all 6 Italian battleships while max damaging the Littorio for 6.
The Italians sink the Malaya, disable the Ramillies and Royal Sovereign, hit and disable the Revenge for 1.
The 4 remaining Italian cruisers elect to retreat from the Resolution and Royal Oak.
Allies gain 1 POC to reduce the score to +1 Axis at the end of 2.
T2 Barents, Round 1
T2 Med, Round 1
On the first availability turn, the Russians fail to show. The Allies forgo the Barents and cover the 4 Southern Areas. The Axis elect to dodge with the Italians repairing their two damaged battleships. 3 U-boats head to the South Atlantic where 1 is disabled by ASW. The Axis subs sink the Eagle and the LBA in the Med sink the Kent and disable the Revenge. The Allies strike Italy and only manage a meaningless disable against the Gorizia.
Convoy 1A puts into England and the Allies gain 1 POC to even the score at 0 after 3 turns.
The Allies get no help from the Russians or Americans this turn and push for the 4 Southern areas again.
The Italians have to fight this turn to forestall potential defections on turn 8 and sortie into the Med. The Germans elect to patrol the Barents and Baltic with single cruisers with the rest of the fleet going to the North Sea. 5 subs go to the South Atlantic.
Allied ASW sink 1 and disable 1 sub while the subs return fire only disables the Courageous.
Allied air disables the Bismarck while Axis air misses.
In the ensuing surface combat, the Allies sink the Scharnhorst, hit for 4 damage and disable the Tirpitz.
With the Graf Zeppelin abstaining, the Axis return fire hits for 3 damage and disables the Warspite and hits the Repulse for 3 damage.
Turn 4, Med Round 1
Turn 4, Med Round 2
This poor shooting results in the Axis retreating from the North Sea to France with the Graf Zeppelin, Graf Spee, and Prinz Eugen basing there. (Situation after Airstrikes and Subs shown above right.)
Allied air disable the Cao Duilio and Vittorio Veneto while Axis air disables the Royal Oak.
Round 1 sees the Allies sinking the Guilio Cesare, the damaged Littorio, the Conte di Cavour and the Zara. Axis return fire disables the Royal S with 1 damage, Revenge, Queen Elizabeth, and Ramillies. Despite the heavy casualties to the Italian fleet, the Italians have the advantage for round 2 with 3 cruisers and the Andrea Doria facing the Ark Royal and Resolution.
The Allies retreat from the Med in one group. In the ensuing combat, the Resolution is sunk, the Fiume and Ark Royal are disabled.
At the end of turn 4, Convoy 2B heads for the Barents. With Axis control of the Med, Barents, and Baltic vs. Allied control of the North Sea and the North Atlantic, the Axis gain +3 POC to put the score at +3 POC Axis.
The Marat and 4 American can sail (2 BBs and 2 cruisers). With Convoy 2B in the Barents, the Allies will contest all 6 sea areas of the board. The Axis repair the Tirpitz and send the Italian cruisers and the Germans from France into the South Atlantic. The remainder of the surface fleet head to the Baltic and 6 U-boats contest the North Sea.
A difficult choice looms for the Axis LBA who decide they need it in the Med rather than trying to stop the convoy in the Barents. The Allied LBA goes to
Germany and misses the repaired Tirpitz.
The Marat is sunk but first sinks the Admiral Hipper.
1 sub is disabled and 1 sunk, the remaining 5 U-boats sink the damaged Warspite and disable the Repulse and break control of the North Sea.
Turn 5, Med Round 1
Turn 5, South Atlantic Round 1
The Ark Royal disables the Vittorio Venento while the Axis LBA disables the Royal Oak. Round 1 sees the Doria disabled but Queen Elizabeth getting sunk and the Royal Sovereign being disabled to Malta. In round 2 the Ramillies misses and the Cao Duilio disables the Ramillies, taking the area as the Ark Royal escapes to Malta. A surprising victory for the Italians.
The Courageous disables the Prinz Eugen prior to surface action while the Graf Zeppelin misses. During round 1, the Graf Spee is sunk in exchange for the Exeter and Prince of Wales. The Allies retreat in 1 group with the Devonshire being disabled and the Courageous getting sunk.
Convoy 2B lands in the Barents for 3 POC. Axis control of the South Atlantic, the Med and the Baltic result in +6 Axis vs. Allied control of the North Atlantic and Barents and the convoy for +5 Allied. Score goes to +4 Axis at the end of turn 5.
No Allied ships join the fray on turn 6. The Allies blanket 5 areas forcing combat. The French based Germans split with Blucher and Graf Zeppelin returning to the Baltic and the Prinz Eugen heads to the Med with the Italian cruisers. The Axis thought here was to play it conservative and hold the POC score even, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The U-boats break control and sink the Barham.
The favored Axis fleet is defeated by the hot-rolling Allies and the Allies take the Med sinking both new Italian 4-6-6’s, 1 4-3-5, 1 Italian cruiser and the Prinz Eugen (which had been sunk by Allied Air) without casualties!
POC +4 Allies for control of South Atlantic, North Atlantic, Barents, and the Med vs. Axis Control of the Baltic + 1, resulting in net +3 for the Allies to put the score at +1 Axis.
The last American battleship arrives leaving only 1 American cruiser left in port. The Russians do not show. Five sea areas see Allied patrols. German BB’s head to the South Atlantic successfully speed-rolling while U-boats go to the North Sea and the Med.
Axis U-boats survive to break control of the Med and North Sea. Devastating Allied air devastates the Axis fleet in the Med. However, Convoy 3C is also disabled in the Barents.
POC +2 Axis for control of the South Atlantic and Baltic vs. Allied control of the Barents and North Atlantic putting the score at +3 Axis.
The Allies need a clean sweep to pull this game out. The Roma and Fiume defect to the Allies while the Pola remains under Axis control. Needing to take all 6 areas and land the convoy to win, the Allies need every ship. The Okt Revolution sails and the Allies have a chance. The Allied perchance for 6’s comes back to haunt them as the Howe fails its speed roll to the North Sea.
With that speed roll failure, the Axis choice becomes more obvious. The Axis were looking at all options to deny the Allies a couple of POC. An unescorted Graf Zeppelin could have gone to the North Atlantic to take a 25% chance of turning back the convoy with an airstrike. A sortie into the Med could be considered had the Italian defection rolls favored the Axis more. To ensure taking the North Sea could mean leaving U-boats alone in the Baltic to face the Okt Revolution, or the U-boats could all have gone to the North Atlantic risking the highest ASW zone to attempt to break control and stop the convoy.
In the end, The Axis send the Graf Zeppelin and the 2 heavy battleships from the Neutral Port to the North Sea where both BB’s make their dual speed rolls again. The subs need to be split. With only 1 German surface ship in the Baltic, 2 U-boats join the Blucher there along with the LBA. 5 U-boats contest the lowest ASW area, the Barents.
In the ASW and sub phase, the Allies can only remove 2 subs from the Barents, while the Okt Revolution sinks 1 sub in the Baltic. The remaining Baltic sub sinks the Okt Revolution.
In the North Sea the Allied air strike disables the Bismarck, while the Axis air misses. In the 1st surface round, the Axis sink the Dorsetshire and secure the area.
Score is +4 to +4 leaving the score at +3 Axis and adding +2 with the bid puts the final score at +5 Axis.
The game was much closer as on the final turn with some luck, the Allies could have swung 5 POC. This was an exciting game with battles every turn and with both fleets slowly attriting away. (Final position at the end of T8 shown above.)
FINAL GAME RESULT: Axis victory - Turn 8 completed (Axis lead of 5.0 POC after the bid)