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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.