Aegean Strike: Scenario 2 - Part 1

After playing around with scenario 1 in Aegean Strike, I decided to take the training wheels off and give a scenario that uses the whole map a spin.  I don't have time these days to write a really detailed AAR but I'll update occasionally as I play.  I can't stress enough that this is the first time I've played this game and I really don't know what I'm doing in terms of strategy.

In the second scenario, World War III has begun and the game focuses on Warsaw Pact operations in the southeast European theater of operations.

One of the interesting things about Aegean Strike is that war doesn't necessarily begin on the first turn of the game.  There's an indeterminate pre-war phase where players need to mobilize their forces and they can move around the map and shift units around.  A die roll at the beginning of each turn during the Global Political Stage determines whether or not war starts (a "10" begins the war) so there's a certain amount of tension here that builds up.  Reinforcements can come in and units that are not mobilized can slowly build up their strength.

I set up Turkey and Greece forces first.  Greece set up mostly around the border with Bulgaria and had five divisions and 2 brigades fully mobilized.  The rest were still busy gearing up and are placed on their reduced strength sides.  Most of my naval units were placed in Athens although I had a couple of surface units in port near Crete.  The Turks secured their border with Bulgaria with about 5 fully mobilized divisions.  7 other fully mobilized divisions sit to the east of Istanbul.

Setup of Turkey and Greece

An American carrier group set up near Naples and a British sub sat in the depths of the Turkish straits, hoping to detect Soviet surface units that tried to approach.  The Soviets set up some elite regiments up in the Black Sea ports along with surface units and bombers.  I could have set up some units in Latakia in Syria but wasn't sure really what to put there.  I put a token group of air units there to hit at any American carrier forces that tried to approach the Turkish Straits.


Strategic Map: Dunno why the FEBA marker is there.  

Setting up Bulgaria, I wasn't really sure what to do but I decided on one set of three divisions for fighting Greece and another set for hitting Turkey.  Hopefully, the Soviets would step in and get their reinforcements down south to help buff up my forces before the war starts.  One group of divisions
was fully mobilized while the other needed time to gear up.


Border of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey

After getting all of this set up and ready to play, I rolled to see what would happen on the Global Political Stage for turn 1.  I rolled a "10" and war started immediately.  So it seems that both sides have been caught with their pants down and no one really has had any time to mobilize many of their units.  The Soviets haven't arrived yet with their own ground forces so Bulgaria really stands alone right now.

The political event roll was a "7" and Romania has declared neutrality.  The Soviets need to move several divisions there by the end of the game turn in order to draw supply from the country.  Unfortunately, I don't have any Soviet divisions anywhere near the theater right now so this is impossible for me to do.  The Warsaw Pact supply lines are already in trouble.

The Soviets start off with 30 Spetsnaz missions to assign.  Playing this thing solo, it's hard to assign ambush hexes but I did put a few in some hexes that made sense.  I sunk some ambushes along the roads behind the Greek and Turkish units near Bulgaria hoping to catch any units that attempt to reinforce the front.  I have assigned three Spetsnaz missions to try and seize the airbase near the Turkish city of Balaksir, which (if successful) could be used as an airbase for the Soviets to use.  I also have three missions assigned to try and seize the Turkish Straits.  Finally, I've assigned about 8 missions to LRRP along the Greek and Turkish border, which will add 1 point to bombardment rolls. Here we go!

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Hey Aaron! Haven't heard from you in a while! Hope your summer is going well!

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  2. I don't know this scenario. Do the Pact objectives include all or most of Greece and Turkey, or only a few key cities? Can Soviets come through Caucasus to conquer Turkey from east? What can the Soviet fleet do? maybe bring divisions and supply by sea directly to Bulgaria, circumventing Romania? or maybe a limited operation to open a supply line through Romania is feasible. I assume Bulgaria has their own independent supply sources. If so, wouldn't be better a pin-Turks and press-Greeks strategy? (or reversed)

    Having lived the era in Romania, with Ceausescu's foreign policy, and depending on many circumstances and perceptions of the global politics, it could have been plausible for Romania to declare neutrality and even offer some resistance against Soviet passage.

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    1. Hi Mircea! The Pact objectives for the short scenario (7 turns) are to capture Istanbul. In the long scenario (20 turns), I think they must capture both Istanbul and Ankara. The Soviets can probably just use the Bulgarian supply lines but this limits their abilities to strike deep into Greece. If they had Romania on their side, they could use their own supply lines and strike further on their own. I had no idea you lived in Romania during that time! Thanks for mentioning that about Romanian neutrality. It seems the game was well-researched for its time. I think the pin Greeks and press Turks works best considering the objectives. However, with war starting on the very first turn, I found out that the Bulgarians simply couldn't make any difference on their own, even with lots of help from Soviet air. Their ground forces were simply too weak to get anywhere though they did a really nice job of cutting off some Greek supply lines along the northern border during the first turn. In the end, I found it fruitless to keep going and restarted the game again. I hope to write more about it soon! Thanks always for the comments.

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  3. So, this game doesn't allow Soviets to come on land from the Caucasus? (east of the map)
    Also - if Ankara is objective, can Soviets help meaningfully with a direct sea landing anywhere on the north coast of Turkey? do they have the ships to carry, specialized (or upgraded ordinary) troops, the supply ability?

    I assume Greeks and Turks are still so hostile so that one cannot retreat to and help defend the other's country. Or are they fully brotherly NATO allies in this scenario ? [So you say the Bulgarian attack cut off some Greeks - the possibility was obvious from the map dispositions you shown. So why did Greeks defend up there the indefensible? some political penalty if not doing so?]

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    1. Hi Mircea! I can't see any reference to swinging around from the Caucasus but I can see that the eastern edge of the strategic map in AS overlaps with that of GS and this is used to combine the two games in the final big WW3 scenario in the game. I suppose it's considered a different theater for the other scenarios and therefore not covered? Or maybe I am just missing something.

      The Soviets have only 1 amphibious ship in the scenario so a serious landing is probably out of the question. However, you can use a combination of airdrops and landings to sow chaos on the Turkish mainland. I'm not exactly sure how you would go about capturing Ankara or if it could even be done.

      Good question about the Greeks! The scenario setup rules place those units within 2 hexes of the Greco-Bulgarian border so initial placement dictacted that sort of defense. I also honestly didn't catch the possibility of cutting supply off up there so easily until the game started. To be honest, the Turks get some serious supply issues going on too since Istanbul is their nearest city and port. Once you get a couple of Bulgarian units west of Istanbul, the supply sources start to dry up quickly for them.

      The Greeks and Turks are considered NATO allies in the scenario so units are free to move between both countries freely in the war situation (but not in the pre-war situation). Playing my second game of this scenario, I'm finding that both countries are so busy dealing with their own issues that the Greeks and Turks rarely work together anyways.

      Thanks for asking me these questions! You brought up some stuff I hadn't thought out before. I'll update today or tomorrow with a progress report on my second play of this scenario.

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  4. If Istanbul is then the main focus, then: are the GS stacking rules relaxed specifically for Istanbul? since it's only 1 hex, the limit of (1 reinforced division if I recall right) may be a critical limitation for defenders, since Bulgarians/Soviets can use several from the adjacent hexes. I've visited Istanbul, and it's big enough to make good use of a defensive corps or even Army to make it into Stalingrad Strikes Back.
    Or just one good mech inf defending to gain both types of bonuses - inf-type defending in Big City, and mech-type present, plus artillery for another bonus. AA for dissuasion/punishing the air avenue of attrition? And another fresh division back as reserve to replace if Turkish casualties mount too much.
    Also, crossing the Straits is just basic land movement, or it does have extra special rules? I've seen the big bridge built in 1970's - now there are two. A clear chokepoint, could have been quite easily interdicted, approaches mined by artillery or air etc.
    How can the Soviets cross the Straits with troops and supply in the required mass to get to Ankara?

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    1. I think you're right - Istanbul could probably fall pretty quickly in a shorter scenario but the real trick is how to take Ankara and I just can't seem to figure that out as of yet. I think crossing the Straits with ground troops is by basic land movement so that could answer the question. The real trick for the Turks is keeping the Bulgarians away from Istanbul in the first place while fending off any little amphibious incursions or paradrops from the Soviets. I think I would need to sit down and spend a lot more time with this game to answer these questions. I'm still trying to remember rules and play things correctly. The thing about this game is that it is so complex that it's almost scary to put it away and then have to go back and relearn all those rules the next time you pull it out from the shelf.

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  5. Why should Turks defend _away_ from Istanbul? is there any penalty if Istanbul itself is closely besieged? so long the Asian Istanbul hex can still function as supply for the rest of Turkey in parallel with Ankara.

    What cumulative effect towards the victory objective can come from the many Soviet amphibious or paradrops? (apart from the Spetsnaz missions). Hmmm, are there enough paras to completely encircle Ankara?

    OK, maybe the Straits are not too hard to assault across - penalty at least like a normal river?

    And yes, AegS/GS have many moving parts interacting, but still in a quite practical, historically clear way - overall easier for me than seemingly easier games - Paths of Glory and the other card-driven big games with mountains of exceptions and special cases come to mind (That Reds game about Russian Civil War?). They get hairy quickly even if basic mechanics are reasonable.

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