Updated: Nov 18
ETO's Naval System Crosses the English Channel
Your Frank Chadwick's ETO development team, while quiet publicly, has been very busy. The biggest project on our plate is the updated Naval System for the series. The Land System was set from Battle for Moscow and the Frank Chadwick's Campaigns in Russia series games. The Ground System evolved and the new Air System emerged with the release of Thunder in the East. As we have been playtesting the next volume in the ETO series (vol. III: The Middle Sea) the Naval System emerged and has now evolved in response to all of the wonder player feedback.
Consequently, we have been very "heads down" making sure it is shipshape and Bristol fashioned. Among its extended examples, we are presenting the following for your enjoyment. -The Team
Site Selection Example – The Operation Sealion Dossier:
The Axis have overrun France in the Spring of 1940 and survey the map for invasion sites in the UK that summer. The Axis player makes these observations and compiles them in the following dossier for consideration by OKH (the German military high command):
The Royal Navy must be cleared out of The English Channel and the RAF must be beaten back until it is pressed into its Reserve (352.0) for its own survival. This should allow what little is left of the Kriegsmarine(1) and Luftwaffe(2) to project their strength in support of ground operations in southern England. Fuel will be critical to keeping the Luftwaffe fighting. Also, we need Mussolini to press the British hard right now in the Mediterranean and lend this operation some units to press the fight against England directly. [Historical Note: Italy sends Submarine Group 3 into the Atlantic in July 1940 and a Br-20 Bomber Air unit to the West Theater in September 1940.]
Note 1: At this point (July I, ’40), after its losses in the Norwegian campaign, the Kriegsmarine has available for duty in Operation Sealion: BB Gneisenau, BP Scheer, CR Hipper, M Schlesien, CL Squadron 2, U-Boat Flotillas 1-3, UPL 1, and three MS units.
Note 2: Also, at this point, after its losses in the France campaign, the Luftwaffe has available for duty these 10 (+1 in Training Command) Air units: 2 x Ju-88s, 2 x He-111s, 1 x Do-17, 1 x Ju-87, 1 x Bf-110C, 3 x Bf-109Es, and 1 x Ju-52 (in Training Command).
In the Axis Destroyed box are these 10 units: 3 x He-111s, 1 x Do-17 (to be upgraded to a Ju-88), 1 x Ju-87, 1 x Ju-52, 1 x Bf-110C (to be upgraded to a Ju-88), and 3 x Bf-109Es. That means fully half of the Luftwaffe is destroyed primarily due to Air Doctrine hindrances that we are now slowly evolving past (Illustrated below).
Note 3: The Axis spent all their RPs in the Spring defeating France. To start the Summer, the Axis receive from Germany (and other nations):
18 German Personnel Points (+4 Italian)
11 Equipment Points (+1 from Italy, +½ from Poland, and -1 to the USSR for the Nazi-Soviet Pact)
6 Fuel Points (+1 from neutral Romania and +3 from the USSR for the Nazi-Soviet Pact)
Next, OKW (the Germany Army high command) orders you to ready an HQ marker with Amphibious Preparation (450.4). We won’t have the luxury of waiting once we’re ashore.
We must select the Scratch Flotilla card soon and look for the right moment to play it. We will need every Rhine barge and captured transport in the West to assist if we can secure the right moment. Right now, the Allies’ greatest fear is our holding this card; it is a powerful and potentially decisive direct threat to England.
Going from west to east in search of landing sites, the Major Port of Southampton must be invaded from the Western Approaches side (as it is not in but merely adjacent to The English Channel), which means the Axis Scratch AT unit cannot even go there (per its card) as it is limited to only a single Narrow Sea Zone! Still, we could make a paradrop there (327.3), but the UK Garrison unit in that Hard City hex would have to be overcome. If it were, though, reinforcements could sail into it directly through The English Channel. Tempting, but what else is there?
The hexes between Exeter (exclusive) and Brighton (inclusive) are protected from an amphibious landing by the 2-hex range of the functioning Naval Base at Portsmouth’s local defenses (324.2). Memo to self: have the Luftwaffe bomb the UK Naval Base at Portsmouth. This will, if successful, reduce it to a Minor Port, at least temporarily. At the very least, achieving this opens a window of opportunity for us. We can seriously threaten invasion of much of this coastline and that threat alone should help stretch thin the British Island’s defenders.
Brighton is the most likely landing site as it can accommodate a direct beach landing there using the Axis Scratch AT unit if the UK’s Naval Base at Portsmouth can be neutralized by air. Add a paradrop with some Stuka support and that just might work. Yes, having a Beachhead marker (450.3) in this vicinity and fully supporting it is the logical way to most effectively dropping the biggest hammer we can muster. If we can secure the southwest corner of England as a line behind which to build up… Yes, that seems the surest, safest way to go, but the British know that too.
The Cliffs of Dover and the hex to its west prohibit a direct beach landing there using the Axis Scratch AT unit (450.1.4). However, a direct landing in the Minor Port of Dover is possible versus its Coastal Defense (451.0). This would be an audacious gambit that only the Führer could take responsibility for. It can be done but is a very high risk/high reward proposition.
Chatham appears an excellent location, except it is defended by a UK SM Infantry Division with an Improved Defense marker. Here, Churchill would be as good as his word regarding a “fight on the beaches.”
A direct assault landing in London is currently out of the question. Although the UK has only a single step there in its defense, it is in a Hard City and, worse, invading it directly is impossible at the moment as there is a Warship unit in its Major Port (421.6.1). This means that either the Warship must be attacked from the air and removed from London or the Major Port must be bombed to Disruption (reducing it temporarily to a Minor Port and creating a window of opportunity for a direct invasion by sea). It seems a fool’s errand, thus, to try to capture London from direct air and sea landings under these circumstances.
Finally, the Major Port of Great Yarmouth must be invaded from the Humber side (as it is not in but merely adjacent to The English Channel), which means the Axis Scratch AT unit cannot even go there (per its card) as it is limited to only a single Narrow Sea Zone! Still, we could make a paradrop there (327.3), but the UK Garrison unit in that City hex would have to be overcome. If it were, though, reinforcements could sail into it directly through The English Channel. German units landing there would be feeling very lonely and disconnected. Still, it has possibilities as a diversion that might turn into something if we can tie the UK forces down elsewhere.