We’ve crossed the halfway mark in our 2023 global WWII campaign, and there’s no sign of things slowing down with results pouring in from all corners of the world. With control of 58% of the available active hexes, the Allies achieved their strongest weekly victory so far in Operation Critical Hit. But this was by no means a sure thing – just a few days prior, it seemed that the Axis were on to continue their gradual comeback. It was only in the dying embers of the third week of campaigning that the balance of power tipped dramatically in favour of the Allies.

Welcome to the third instalment of War Stories, in which we recap the previous week’s tabletop exploits over land, sea, and air. We take a look at the statistics theatre by theatre, and feature some of the battles that took place. If you’d like your battle highlights to be featured in future instalments of War Stories, make sure to include a short write-up of your battle and include some photos of the tabletop action! You can also share your experiences directly if you prefer on the dedicated Operation Critical Hit Facebook Group.

Northwest Europe

North-West Europe continues to be the most popular theatre for results reporting, particularly with regards to Bolt Action. The margin of victory in Bolt Action was identical to the previous week, but with more victories on the English Channel via games of Victory at Sea this week. Nevertheless, Axis forces managed to once again secure a single hex, owing to the tactical distribution of results (the Allies sure poured a lot into making sure they kept a hold of the easternmost Bolt Action hex)! It will take a herculean effort from Axis forces across air, land and sea over the final two weeks to upset Allied superiority in the theatre.

Italians vs. Germans? It must be post-Armistice. Despite a close-range, and highly effective flamethrower shot, this game, reported by Werkstatt Findling, ended in a draw.
A combined Soviet and US Army force (of largely infantry) faced off against a hardened veteran German spearhead in the bombed-out ruins of a European village. The Allies overwhelmed their Axis foes, armour and all, despite the armour amongst their ranks. Reported by Rmfischer.
A combined British and US force descended upon dug-in German defenders of Carentan in this Point Defence scenario. A preparatory bombardment raised the Allies’ initial hopes of victory, but friendly air strikes and determined German artillery fire turned the tide, forcing a final result of a draw. Game reported by Nmattevi.
With a successful preparatory bombardment and significant weight of fire, this French Army successfully saw off a German army in this early war game. Reported by dczsabre.
This battle was set in Holland during October, 1944, representing the early stages of the Battle of the Scheldt. Though the battle began favourably for the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions, crack shooting from a dread Flak ’88’ and a Panzerschreck put pay to the Allied armour and halted the advance in its tracks. Victory to the German forces of Kampggruppe Chille, as reported by FarmerJohns56.
Some of you took your gaming outside! In this game, the Allies were a little too cautious in their advance, giving the 17 SS Panzergrenadier Division ample time to dig in and concentrate their firepower – forcing the Allies to withdraw. Reported by Kastrupp,
Escort duty! Both the Royal Air Force interceptors and German bombers accrued enough boom chits to force them to withdraw from combat, resulting in an Allied win. Battle reported by imre.baron.
A classic match-up, with British Spitfires against German Messerschmitt BF-109Es. The Luftwaffe forced their way through the RAF defence, refusing to be drawn into a fur-ball, though the spits leveraged their manoeuvrability to counteract this strategy. Sadly for the Allies, they were unable to land a kill shot and prevent the Axis from destroying a truck convoy and damaging a train. A victory point victory to the axis in this Targets of Opportunity scenario. Reported by BenC8194.

The Pacific

This is arguably where the Axis lost the week. Whereas North-West Europe has very much been the domain of the Allies, the Axis had their own fortress in the Pacific over the first two weeks. That was no longer to be in week three – as the dust settled on a furiously fought-over theatre a 50-50 stalemate emerged. The Allies achieved more victories in Bolt Action (although one hex avoided any fighting whatsoever – a single victory by either side there would have swung the whole result), and managed to wrest a Victory at Sea hex from Axis control, despite the Imperial Japanese Navy’s propensity for victory in previous weeks – perhaps Allied air superiority had something to do with it? The results in the Pacific theatre are perhaps the most crucial of the four as the campaign enters the endgame.

tOMGcornwell reported this Axis victory from a Tarawa-themed Imperial Japanese Army force. A Japanese tank hunter platoon had two back-to-back attempts at assaulting a US Sherman owing to the whims of the Order Dice bag, with the second attempt successful.
Japanese Zeros successfully outmanoeuvred their US Wildcat opponents to gain an aerial victory in this battle submitted by eangel17954
At the end of seven turns of naval combat, almost all remaining Japanese ships had been damaged in some way, and only USS Northampton remained for the US Navy. A victory to the Japanese by a margin of 98VP. Reported by Germatt.

The Eastern Front

Although the Eastern Front saw less overall battle than it had the previous week, Axis forces managed to capitalise on the momentum from previous weeks and eke out a slightly bigger margin of victory owing to a strong showing in games of Bolt Action, whilst Soviet aircraft continue to fly rings around the Luftwaffe in Blood Red Skies. The ocean was uncontested this week, so there’s the opportunity for either side to gain the upper hand in the weeks ahead.

Tiger tanks may inspire fear, but this Tiger I was completely unable to kill anything until the sixth turn of this game. Nevertheless, the Soviets failed to capitalise on its ineptitude and this game resulted in a draw. Reported by M1Starfortress.
Though this game was a draw, it was somewhat of a moral victory for Soviet forces. However, it took three assault attempts from the Soviets’ free Inexperienced squad to finally bring down this exposed Marder II, which had risked all for a kill shot on a T-34 tank. Reported by Wreckferret.
Joy704 flew numerous sorties on the Eastern Front this week. In this game, a German Ace Pilot met an unexpected end at the tail turret of a Pe-2, allowing the bomber to strike its truck convoy target and securing victory for the Soviets.

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean remains an interesting theatre – with both sides this week achieving an equal score when totalled up across all three game systems. However, this is a perfect representation of why hex selection matters, as the Allies secured 60% of all hexes. For Axis forces to reverse the situation in this theatre, they will need to be mindful of land, sea and air!

A preparatory bombardment and relentless Pins eventually knocked out all German vehicles and a 50mm Pak 38, resulting in an Allied win for Dandare58.
Although it was the Allies who had the bonus of a free medic for Week Three games of Bolt Action, in this game it was a German medic, rolling three sixes, that managed to keep a German squad on the objective on the final turn and secure an Axis victory. Report submitted by Csherrange.
The SAS attempted a raid on a supply train route to Tobruk, led by Lt. Cainforth. SAS losses were severe, and with Cainforth MIA, the Axis supplies were able to continue unabated. Game report submitted by PaddyMayne.

Get Involved

Things are very much in the balance halfway through week three of Operation Critical Hit. Because overall victory is determined by the control of more hexes in a theatre, over air, land and sea, the scales can very quickly tip. This really does mean that every battle matters and it’s not too late to join up and make your own mark on the campaign!

Operation Critical Hit Special Figure – Redcap, Corps of Military Police

Play at participating stores, and you’ll also have a chance to get a hold of the campaign’s special miniature, Redcap, Corps of Military Police. Alternatively, you can get this figure for free when purchasing any of our WWII-based starter sets from the Warlord Games Webstore for the duration of the campaign.

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