Armageddon War

RAF The Battle of Britain 1940 – The GrogHeads AAR, part 4 of 5

After a refractory pause, gearing up for the next load ~

Michael Eckenfels, 25 April 2018

INTERMISSION

PERSONAL DIARY ENTRY

AUGUST 13, 1940

A call from Berlin at near midnight on 12 August and suddenly I find sleep elusive. A drenching, sticky rain came in shortly after darkness fell, and my staff and I looked forward to a few miserable hours of sleep. Unfortunately, the call meant none would be had by me, except perhaps on one of the Fuhrer’s personal Ju-52 transport aircraft, which the call said would be arriving to fetch me in approximately 30 minutes, to take me to the Obersalzberg.

I’d rather be at a figher’s controls.

I hurriedly grabbed a few notes while my aide, Oberst Steinhoff, calmly packed a few items. True to form, the aircraft landed in the midst of the most drenching of rain, right when the phone said it would, and we boarded. No sooner had the ground crew topped off the tanks, and we were revving down the runway as water splotched on the fuselage like soft bullets. The interior was well appointed, the sound dampened somewhat by the extra work done inside, but it felt like a coffin. I’d rather be at a figher’s controls.

We arrived shortly before 0400 at the Obersalzberg field and were immediately met and driven to Hitler’s own home. He was well known for staying up until dawn, so I figured we’d be coming in at about the time when he was ready for bed. Hopefully, he was in a good mood.

The car screeched to a halt at the Guard House, where very serious SS soldiers examined each of our papers. I almost waved my hands and said “boogabooga I love Stalin” but decided humor was something they surgically removed from these men at Bad Tölz. A few minutes more through some twisting yet wide roads, cleanly kept with sharply-appointed shrubberies, and we were in Hitler’s own driveway.

A few of Hitler’s aides met us with the Nazi salute, which were not returned as I pretended not to notice, still very miffed at this interruption. They ignored this impasse. I was tired, didn’t bother to shave, and still had the details of tomorrow’s raids to finish (I had to remind myself it was indeed technically tomorrow by checking my watch). We were ushered inside. I’d been here a few times before but the splendid simplicity of the main receiving room was always breathtaking.

The décor didn’t impress me, though. I wanted to get down to business and feared yet another diatribe from Hitler on the merits of the Aryan race and blah blah blah. Surprisingly, we found him in a jovial mood.

Standing there in his presence, one could not help feel both mesmerized and scared to death. Walking on eggshells should be a standard for anyone in his presence as you never knew when he would go nuts.

The evening…morning, I should say…was something of a blur. I only recall bits and pieces, now.

  • Der Fuhrer spent at least a solid ten minutes staring at us, his back to that huge picture window that looks out upon the Obersalzberg, which was pitch black with cracks of bruised purple forming along the mountantops to the east.
  • When he did speak, he merely smiled, congratulated us, and awarded me with the Knights Cross with Oakleaves and Swords, as well as a promotion to Goering’s old rank, Reichsmarschall. Despite being exhausted and stunned, it was somewhat creepy to take the rank of a dead predecessor.
  • That was it. Ten minutes of staring, five minutes of ceremony, a crisp handshake and nod and encouragement to continue our “good work out West.”
  • Oberst Steinhoff speaking candidly to me as we headed, on my order, to the closest Luftwaffe liaison office, five minutes away down the valley. He said, and I do quote, “You know that promotion was more a stick than carrot.” He wasn’t wrong. I could have done without the distraction.

At the liaison office, I checked in to be sure the raids planned the night before were in line to be carried out on the morrow, and that necessary repairs were being made to our Gruppen; we’d lost too many over the last week and we needed that strength to push our successes thus far. I was assured all was in order, and the following day would be ready for further action. Only with that assurance and the ability to trust my subordinates to carry out our orders, did I allow myself to go back to the transport plane to return to our headquarters in northern France. The chauffeur, an SS Sturmbannführer, insisted the Fuhrer had claimed I should be taken to their tailor to be fitted for a new Reichsmarschall uniform. I heartily declined the honor; we had a war to run. And, additionally, wearing that rank would make me feel as if I were wearing a dead man’s clothes. Despite that dead man being a pompous pile of pig scheisse, as were most of the fawning Nazi leadership, it was me that was now in the hot seat and the one that would be held personally responsible if this ‘great crusade’ against England failed.

Der Dicke-head.

We were on the right course, but I couldn’t help but feel the weight now on my shoulders, more so than before. Not just the eyes of the world, and the expectations from both sides, but also the weight of wondering whether I was right or wrong in doing so.

 

WAR DIARY ENTRY 3

RAID DAY 3: AUGUST 14, 1940

The flight back to France allowed little in the way of contemplation of the previous raids’ successes, which could be described as “resounding” despite our losses against the RAF. Fifty aircraft lost in two days’ worth of raiding! And yet, the results spoke for themselves; the English were getting hell and were starting to scrape the barrel for replacement pilots. Our intelligence, if they could be believed, were saying Fighter Command in England was putting young men into the pilot’s seat with only a few hours’ worth of training.

We are fast approaching elimination of the RAF, though there’s plenty of chances this can turn around in their favor. But, we had to keep the pressure up. We had to hammer them into the ground, not give them once chance to breathe, to heal, nor to re-arm.

The staff assures me that the British are on the ropes, though; their damage assessments, which are increasingly accurate apparently from RAF losses on the ground and therefore unable to intercept recon and photo runs, are stunningly in our favor.

So this turn, I need to focus on hopefully continuing the overwhelming level of attacks, going all in as much as possible, to further drain the RAF and hopefully get some more great bombing results.

First, I draw my four German Strategy cards. The two Major Raid Coordination cards will allow me to do up to two raids with a full 16 Gruppen with no Rendezvous Check. The Decoy Raid card will be handy to get a couple of Squadrons out of the way, which I’ll probably play first. The last card, Low Level Raid, is not all that useful to me as the Squadrons attacking it get an altitude advantage…though the two column right bombing shift is tempting. It might be best for a Minor Raid if I use it at all this game turn.

Meanwhile, orders from Berlin for today’s raids gives us the following targets:

Five Airfields, two Ports, and three Radar Nets. Of them, all but one are legitimate targets.

MAJOR RAIDS

  • LF2: BIGGIN HILL (Airfield)
  • LF2: DOVER (Port)
  • LF2: RYE (Radar Net)
  • LF2: FORENESS (Radar Net)
  • LF3: WEYMOUTH (Port)
  • LF3: POLING (Radar Net)

MINOR RAIDS – all LF2

  • BIGGIN HILL (Airfield)
  • HORNCHURCH (Airfield)
  • NORTH WEALD (Airfield)

After debating this for a brief time, I decide I need to go all-in again on these raids; the RAF is on the ropes with a VP count of -22. We could achieve great things this turn!

Here is today’s raid breakdown:

TARGETS FOR TODAY

0600

  • MINOR RAID: HORNCHURCH (Airfield) / DECOY RAID card
  • MAJOR RAID: FORENESS (Radar Net) / MAJOR RAID COORDINATION card
  • MINOR RAID: BIGGIN HILL (Radar Net) / LOW LEVEL RAID card

0800

  • MAJOR RAID: WEYMOUTH (Port) / MAJOR RAID COORDINATION card
  • MAJOR RAID: POLING (Radar Net)
  • MAJOR RAID: RYE (Radar Net)

Unless we can do Heavy Damage to the Radar Nets, these raids won’t have much of an effect other than reducing the VP level even further into our favor. I don’t have many Airfields to focus on this game turn so I’m trying something different and hoping RAF attrition from intercepting these raids further reduces their numbers.

 

Final raid results…  next week!


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>