From: Utlima Thule
Turn 2: 10-16 July 1943
As expected, the landings in Sicily went in without too many losses but the Germans had managed to build up quite impressive levels of interdiction.
I'll shift the Malta air group to air superiority over the sea in an attempt to maintain control.
Other bits of housekeeping. I always do air admin first (more a habit from WiTE where its best to do this before any air interaction can occur). I'm setting air groups with morale <60 or fatigue of 15+ to rest. Not surprisingly after its bruising over Bremerhaven, a sizeable chunk of the US 8th Air Force needs a break. Taking losses, both actual and as damaged aircraft, will lead to falls in air morale. Low morale feeds into very poor performance, so there is no point pushing such units, unless it is completely essential.
VP and the related charts are always worth scanning. Check out any trends or variations but for the first turn this seems fairly normal.
Checking over the other fields, I note my supply stores are down. No need to panic, this maybe simply due to all those aircraft relocations and supply catching up, but something to keep an eye on.
Air Planning: Europe
Mostly I'm going to leave the northern European part of the air orders as they were. But need to pay attention either where it went wrong (8 Air) or nothing happened (9 Air).
First good news, moving their escorts means there is now some protection. With that in mind, I shift one group to include Bremen, the other (with less planes) carries on hitting Kiel.
I also adjust the air superiority boxes. Its a really good idea to look at the combat reports to see where German interceptors are active and swap your own missions around to try and catch them.
While doing this, I double checked why 9 Airforce was not joining in.
Uhuh, told it to operate too far away from its only unit, so I adjusted that to include the region off Dover where German fighters have been active.
Air Planning: Med
One thing I find incredibly useful is to check who can't be used and why. This was reviewing the tactical air group. I'm not interested in those without a * (at least they are involved somewhere). Not much I can do now, but once airbases fall on Sicily, I'll move a number of the shorter range planes to the island.
The other change was to give some strategic bombers a mission to bomb ports and rail yards around Brundisium. The others carry on hitting Messina and around Naples.
Overall my total losses were down to 555 (972 damaged).
US 8 Air Force was hit hard again, although it did do a reasonable amount of damage. Also its escorts inflicted losses on the German fighters. The problem is not so much over the targets as German interdiction on the route in/out.
As mentioned above, I find this screen invaluable for planning.
Specifically, at the moment the point where the German fighters are doing their interception is out of the reach of most allied fighters ... so its informative, but I can't do anything about it.
Bomber Command is making steady progress, 1-2% damage per raid and inflicting some ongoing damage on the Channel Ports.
Fighter Command's air superiority missions are doing a fairly decent job at causing attrition to the Luftwaffe. I lost 40 planes and shot down 24 … think that is a trade off in my long term favour.
In the Med, generally more successful.
I'll cancel the Ground Support mission for next turn, this just seems to be a way to lock up planes that really are better used on the Ground attack mission, the exception is if you know for sure there will be heavy fighting.
Strategic Bombing Logic
I'm finding managing the strategic airwar one of the most interesting parts of WiTW. What could have been an exercise in tedium has become a real challenge (I suspect for both sides as with the Germans you have to guess where the attacks will come and how to set up your defences). So here's my logic:
Follow the VP … these are an attempt to model parts of the game that are missing such as the Battle of the Atlantic and the impact of the V1/2 on morale. As the Allies you can't afford a massive VP deficit. The focus on manpower is dictated by VP and efficiency, as well as a neat way to make you do something that has been a subject of considerable contention.
Hit the economy … This is why I put HI on the list. Its the cornerstone of all production (supply, ammo, replacement elements, specialist planes and vehicles). Also Fuel and Oil. The payback is slow but by mid-1944 you need the German reaction to be slowed.
Hit ports … here its worth bearing in mind that naval interdiction as such lasts a week, a damaged port harms German interdiction over the longer term
Hit Rail Yards … similar, interdiction is for the week, wrecking the basis for the German rail net gives long term benefits. First they have less rail capacity, that means they are forced to start operating in separate fronts rather than able to transfer units easily.
Secondly, in a huge improvement over WiTE, if you want to unload units from trains it is so much quicker to do this at a working rail yard than in a field. In this sense a lack of functioning rail yards can add 1-2 turns to a long range redeployment of an armoured/motorised formation.
So if you reduce the rail yards in Italy to rubble, the Germans will be much less able to respond as well as hitting supply flows.
Onto the land
As mentioned, I'm going to send about 6 divisions and 2 corps from the UK to the Med. That will give me enough to take Sardinia and allow early build up for the landings near to Rome.
On Sicily, the Axis are falling back. I've managed to trap one Italian division and take Catania. Have also moved a number of fighter squadrons to the airbases around Note and Siracusa.
I've taken 2 of the amphib forces back to N Africa, the other 2 will do to channel in reinforcements and I'll end up using one of them to cross over at Messina.
Nothing surprising so far.
So time for the promised image. I will start putting in pictures of Shermans et al, but first an insight into why the Red Army will win the race to Berlin. Yep, trained cats, not something you see every day (and never in my household)
but, just to keep to the proper focus, here is an image of British Tanks, queuing politely: