The game began with a limited Russian counterattack that easily eliminated forward German elements, and a slow transfer of units away from the Japanese frontier, purchases for Russia were typical - but strategically sound - throughout the game.
Germany managed to lose his only bomber in a glorious and honourable strategic bombing raid turn one, and then shocked the Allies by moving almost every offensive unit on the board in the direction of Moscow, immediately tipping the Allies off to the Axis intentions. However, no serious offensive action was taken until midway through the game.
The Kriegsmarine made some initial headway against the UK navy but was ultimately eliminated, as was the small fleet in the Med. Lip service was given to the Afrika Korps, and the Allies never really had any threat in Africa or the Middle East.
In the Pacific, Japan constructed a battle ship and tried to keep the Allied navies at arms length, but won a surprising victory against the whole US Pacific fleet early on. A half hearted ‘Man in the High Castle’ invasion was attempted, but driven off, and from that point, the Pacific was very quiet.
China was a steady slog for the Japanese, who, having agreed to take Moscow with Germany, grimly marched across the Chinese and skirmished with the British around Burma. By the wars conclusion, British units were liberating left, right, and Chelsea, but a Japanese factory in Manchuria gave the impression of either a long winded draw, or a very long winded Japanese victory, as they had free reign of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The US took off with gusto and focused on the Atlantic, as Germany practically gifted France to them. France, Italy, Denmark and the Low Countries exchanged hands several times as the Germans had to divert more and more away from the Russian front.
Combined UK and US operations, coupled with the total abandonment of the Pacific by the US, meant that the Western front was lost to the Germans from the outset of Allied offensive operations. A factory in France was testament to the efforts of the Allies determination to press their only real advantage in the war.
The game was - unfortunately - called due to time constraints, but not before honour could be satisfied. Germany can opened Moscow for Japan, having only taken small bites out of the main Soviet forces up to this point, and received some extremely fortunate dice rolls that made Japans follow up victory a possibility. It was decided that the turn sequence would be forgone and the Allies would launch an all out attack with everything they had to try to take Berlin.
Before the final battle, it was agreed by the participants that an Allied victory would result in a draw, and a successful Axis defence would be an Axis victory. The battle was the last action of the day and there was a great deal of cheering and not a little swearing by the perfidious Germans, but five fighters and just enough boys and old men eliminated the Allied invasion. (One successful AA defence roll being a significant contribution).
The game was called as an Axis victory, but it was conceded that there was a good chance that it would have been an eventual Allied victory, if the game had continued for a few more turns.
This was an unconventional game that ebbed and flowed with no clear outcome even to the last, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved and all who watched the conclusion. Jon and Colin (who were both new to the Battle of Britain, but definitely not to A&A) fought valiantly, and were formidable and flexible from the word go. Dale’s willingness to stick to his panicky ally and his shaky battle plan was commendable, and certainly his commitment was a major contributor to the final victory.