Eighty years on. 27th August 1940


Clouds and heavy rain over south-east England restricted the Luftwaffe to reconnaissance flights during the day.  Four German bombers on reconnaissance missions were shot down.  The RAF lost one Blenheim which crashed into the sea off Norway and one Hurricane which crashes into the sea on patrol over the English Channel.  Overnight, there was widespread bombing of industrial targets and RAF airfields.                  

An air raid stopped play at a cricket match at Lords. (Author’s note. At this point the British began to take the War seriously!)

U-28 sank the Norwegian steamer Eva 200 miles north-west of Ireland.  Later U-46 hit the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Dunvegan Castle with 3 torpedoes 75 miles north-west of Ireland and left her sinking.  300 miles west of Ireland, U-37 sank the Greek steamer Theodoros T, carrying maize from Argentina to Britain.

Off Madagascar, the German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin intercepted the British tanker British Commander and, shortly afterward, stopped the Norwegian steamer Morviken.   Pinguin sank both ships (both without cargo) and took the crews prisoner.             

Philippe Leclerc led a bloodless coup in Cameroon that toppled the Vichy presence there and switched the colony’s allegiance to the Free French.  In Vichy France laws forbidding anti-semitic reports in the press were repealed.

President Roosevelt signed a joint resolution authorizing him to call National Guard and Army Reserves into Federal service for one year.

Game day 362.  Week 52.  USSR forces and economy

The USSR also presented a problem for asset distribution.  It was relatively easy to discover the population statistics for the various Soviet republics, but industrial and military assets were not only amalgamated across the entire union, but the military data was only available for the whole USSR and at different points in the war.  The best data I could find was mid 1941 for the whole USSR.

In total the USSR has 169 million people and 305 million tons of food per week, against a need of 296 million tons. 

As regards industry, mining provides 480,000 tons of ore per week and 2,020,000 tons of coal.  480,000 tons of ore and 240,000 tons of coal makes 240,000 tons of iron, which with 240,000 tons of coal makes 240,000 tons of steel.  But the USSR can only smelt 230,000 tons per week.  This leaves a surplus of 1,560,000 tons of coal in addition to 480,000 tons of oil (and 20,000 tons of iron ore).  Occupied East Poland adds a further 250,000 tons of coal per week.

Japan is buying a substantial amount of the surplus (80,000 tons of coal and 50,000 tons of steel per week).  No doubt Germany will take more of it when the calculations are made in due course.

Armed forces:  In June 1941 there were 2,900,000 men under arms, around 8,100 aircraft of all types and a small navy (2 battleships, 2 cruisers, 47 destroyers and 75 submarines).

Using these numbers I did some rough calculations.  Assuming the navy to need 1200 men per battleship, 600 per cruiser, 150 per destroyer and 40 per submarine I came up with a total of 13,650 men. I generously allowed 15,000 for the navy. 

Using data for the RAF (for every 7 men in a Lancaster there were 48 on the ground) I meanly allowed only 300,000 air force personnel for 8,100 aircraft, which in the absence of other data I split the air assets equally between fighters and bombers, allowing 15 aircraft per squadron.  This gave an amazing 270 squadrons of each type.

This left a mere 2,585,000 personnel for the army.  For the sake of the game I deployed the troops as 80 divisions randomly around the 37 cities of the expanded Soviet Union shown on the world map in my 1938 atlas.  Whether they are infantry or armoured divisions will be determined at a later date.  I did the same with the air force, allocating the 540 squadrons around the cities.

With hindsight I think I will use a similar redistribution for other countries.  It may not be historically accurate but it will give a good renewed starting point after one year of mucking about.

As for the distribution of industry, my trusty 1938 atlas indicated where coal and iron mining, oil wells and heavy industry were, but was not forthcoming on the location of the various soviet republics, merely referring to everything east of the Ural Mountains as “Siberia”.  I made a few intelligent guesses and all of these activities were placed in Russia, Ukraine, East Poland and the Kazakh Republic.  The exact location within the Soviet Union would only become relevant if any territory were lost.  In the end I used a similar distribution as for the military.  The game was evolving into more of a city-based system, which would give more sensible military objectives, even if not strictly historically accurate.  There are around 340 cities printed on the map.  I may need to add some – for example Prague – where a country has no city printed.

The navy was deployed at the major northern ports of Leningrad, Murmansk and Archangel, the Black Sea port of Odessa and in the far east at Nikolayevsk, Okhotsk, Vladivostok and Petropalovsk. I used a die roll to determine the location of each unit.

I have no information at all about the size of the Soviet merchant fleet.  Therefore I intend to create ships as required for the first few turns, and then resort to building them if more are required.

So the map now looks less cluttered but more detail is held in the underlying spreadsheets and visible as cell comments on the map.

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General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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