Transports retreat...then what?


  • 2019 2018

    Here’s the situation: Defenders win sea battle prior to amphibious assault. Attacker retreats surviving transports. If they retreat to a sea zone adjacent to a friendly territory, can they offload their cargo?

    A similar question from 2010 was answered with a blunt, “retreating transports cannot offload their cargo,” but I can’t find anything in the 1940 2nd ed. rules to back that up. If anyone here can provide chapter and verse, I’d really appreciate it - ANZAC lives hang in the balance!


  • 2020 2019 2018

    I won’t cite chapter and verse for you, but other rules demonstrate that you cannot unload.

    1. Non-Combat Movement can only be performed under two circumstances:
      a. Air Units that need to land after having participated in combat.
      b. Any unit that did not conduct a combat move

    2. The scenario you have described implies that a Combat Move did indeed take place (whether it was the loading of your Land Units onto the Transport or the act of moving the Transport into the enemy Sea Zone).

    Therefore, as your Transport and the units on it conducted a Combat Move, they cannot offload during the Non-Combat Movement phase, as per point #1 above.

    I’m sure someone smarter than I will provide exact rulebook citations. Sorry, but your Australian/Kiwi friends are in a bit of a bind.


  • 2019 2018

    Okay, I just found the relevant quote under “Phase 4: Noncombat Move”, “Where Units Can Move” (Europe 1940 2nd ed., p.22):

    Transports can move to friendly coastal territories and load or offload cargo, unless they loaded, moved, offloaded, or were involved in combat during the Combat Move or Conduct Combat phase.

    The rule seems clear - transports which retreat from combat cannot offload their cargo. Clarity aside, I fail to see any logic or acknowledgement of reality in this application of the rule. Applying the same logic to aircraft which retreat from battle would mean they could not land…which would also make no sense.


  • '15 '14

    I can concur. Units cannot be offloaded.


  • 2018 2017

    @The-Pripet-Martian

    The logic is that you have begun a multipart contingent attack–one that requires clearing the SZ first, having already committed the transports. This is one of the most nuanced situations in the rules–that you have to make sure that you bring enough to guarantee the first battle is a success if you fail to do so–most of your protective units will be dead, and the transports exceptionally vulnerable.

    Its similar to the defender having to choose what casualties he takes before he retals. You have to make the decision to committ based only on what you know before you have all the information (how well you will roll).

    I love this rule personally, because it means that they cannot just bunt on the major invasions and have to take a big risk–one that if it does not pay off, leads to a large loss of attacker power. The attacker has so many advantages in AxA, this is just one small disadvantage to keep that part in check.

    In order to ensure victory in the SZ battle, the attacker has to bring extra aircraft that cannot also then participate in the land battle. Having to split forces this way means the risk is higher that the land battle will fail.

    The rules-reason you cant unload is that a unit cannot both Combat Move and Noncombat move. This rubric is a good one to repeat–it resolves many confusing issues under the rules


  • 2019 2018

    @taamvan said in Transports retreat...then what?:

    @The-Pripet-Martian

    The logic is that you have begun a multipart contingent attack–one that requires clearing the SZ first, having already committed the transports. This is one of the most nuanced situations in the rules–that you have to make sure that you bring enough to guarantee the first battle is a success if you fail to do so–most of your protective units will be dead, and the transports exceptionally vulnerable.

    I understand what you’re saying. Logically, however, a failure to clear the sea zone of enemy warships or aircraft would result in the now-unprotected transports turning around, heading back to port and offloading their cargo, not moving one sea zone away to await their wholesale slaughter on the next enemy turn. If that’s the case, why even allow transports to retreat? Allowing them to move one space - easy striking distance for the remaining enemy forces - only delays the inevitable.

    The rules-reason you cant unload is that a unit cannot both Combat Move and Noncombat move.

    Aircraft do it all the time. If the only reason a transport cannot offload into a friendly territory is because it arrived there after retreating from battle, well…that’s not good enough. I accept that it’s the rule; I’m just saying that it’s an arbitrary rule, not grounded in logic or reality.

    For those interested, here’s the scenario that started this topic:

    ANZAC amphibious assault on Java. SZ 42 battle involved the following:

    JPN: 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 1 Fighter
    ANZ: 1 Destroyer, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 1 Tac Bomber, 1 Strategic Bomber (plus 2 Transports, 2 Infantry, 2 Artillery)

    Round 1: ANZ = 1 hit, JPN = 3 hits
    Round 2: ANZ = 2 hits, JPN = 3 hits

    Japanese fighter remains, lands on Java. ANZAC Transports retreat to SZ 55 and, forbidden (by an arbitrary rule) from unloading into the friendly Northern Territory, await their destruction on the next Japanese turn.


  • 2018 2017

    @The-Pripet-Martian

    I respect your opinion and your reply. Units transporting troops were interdicted and destroyed all the time in the real war…that would be a rare scenario in AxA because only the Attacker is “moving” and can’t be attacked during his turn (with the exception of scrambles and interceptions)

    I see this scenario around Leningrad/Amphibs all the time. Germany comes in with 2 ships and transports, and russia scrambles–killing the attackers and flubbing the underlying ground attack.

    I suppose that any rules or logic driven explanation isn’t going to work here, and I suppose your PoV is as valid as mine, the only gap being–what if the transports by retreating 1 space cannot reach an allied territory to land in (then I think we both agree they’re stuck). I like it the way it is, you don’t, I respect that.


  • 2019 2018

    @taamvan

    I respect your opinion, as well. I also agree that, if the transport can’t retreat to a friendly territory, they’re done for. If they can reach a friendly territory, though, I think the same principle as the “one space and land” rule for aircraft from sunken carriers should apply.

    Since the current rules don’t allow for that, I really don’t see why transports are even allowed to retreat from a failed sea battle. The odds of protecting them before the next enemy turn are so slim, retreat seems a pointless exercise (as in my example above).

    As you said, you like it the way it is…and I like my new house rule for retreating transports. We both win. 😀



  • maybe you should’ve retreated after the 1st round of combat.An AB on Northern Territory would be handy.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    I would have it where each retreating transport would roll 1 d6 each and if a 3 or less is rolled then the transport can retreat 1 sz and off load it’s cargo if possible. At least this is the middle ground on this discussion plus a transport may survive if trannys are split away too.


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