Welcome back to a series of AARs on Unconditional Surrender! from GMT games. I’m playing through the full game solitaire trying to do as well as possible on each side. If you want to get caught up all you have to know is that Poland was quickly taken in late 1939 and the long cold winter was a time of political upheaval and a military stalemate on the Western Front. Germany’s opening gambit to try and rush west earlier than historically happened has resulted in a WWI-esque line of stalemated troops.

Fierce Fighting by the Flemish

The winter of 1939-1940 was a political whirlwind. The Italians and the Romanians came to the aid of Germany, whilst Turkey allied itself with the USSR. Bessarabia ceded to the USSR and communist influence in Finland is increasing. As the Italians entered the war, the Mediterranean was thrown into crisis as colonies of the central European powers scrambled to defend themselves and protect precious supply routes.

tobruk

The Desert war looks to be on the horizon as the Italians sent over the 10th Army to defend Tobruk, but with the real intent to try and keep the British on the back foot in Egypt. The main issue was that the Italian 2nd fleet, which was escorting the convoy, came under heavy attack from Force H stationed at Malta. The Italian second fleet took 5 sorties, almost putting it out of action and the exposed convoy took 2 sorties but losses were heavy and the 10th Army was reduced.

BEF strategic move

In mainland Europe, the Italian 11th Army came charging across the southern alps and drove back the French towards Marseille. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF), due to no pressing issues in France due to an earlier than expected German offensive, have been rushed down and have patched a hole in the French line near the Rhone. With no air power for the Western Allies in the area, the Italians are giving the better-trained French and British forces a run for their money.

In northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands, the fighting is extremely fierce by both sides. The Allies were able to fend off many of the German advances. Unfortunately, the Luftwaffe have been flying very effective sorties to keep air superiority. The French forces are dangerously close to being cut off, but luckily they are still receiving supplies from  friendly controlled Rotterdam.

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On the Eastern Front, Hitler prepares to push out for more Lebensraum. The Romanians are poised to take back the recently ceded Bessarabia and the Italians have moved up a rearguard to patch any holes that may appear in the battle line. I’m fascinated to see what will happen on the Eastern front later in 1940, because I have played the Case Blue scenario that came in C3i magazine issue #28. In playing through that, I felt the scenario was a little lackluster, but having a much more open game leads me to believe that the push east will be much more eventful and rewarding.

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And finally comes the bad news. Whilst I was at work the other day, my nephews came round to play with my boys and one of them caused the Great Turn Track Disaster of 2017. The Russian player board, which holds all the conditional events and units, was also messed up but that’ll be a little easier to put back together. One of these nights, I’ll work up the effort to try and put it back together again. But it took a long time to set it up in the first place so I know that organizing and replacing them all will take probably an hour.

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Oh well. Either way, this game has been a blast so far, and I feel like I’m only now getting things started. I’ll start to see some more decisive battles on French soil and then a massive push east later in 1940 probably. I await with baited breath the results on the Western Front because I think it’d be fascinating if the German’s collapsed and couldn’t take France.

Look for more in this series coming soon.

-Alexander