16. EXPLOITATION
16.1 BREAKTHROUGHS
16.2 PLACEMENT OF ARMOR ON THE BREAKTHROUGH HEX
16.3 EXPLOITATION MOVEMENT
16.4 EXPLOITATION ATTACKS
16.5 STACKING LIMITS DURING EXPLOITATION
16.6 EXPLOITATION SUPPLY

16.1 BREAKTHROUGHS:
16.11 CREATING A BREAKTHROUGH: If ground combat results in the elimination of all the defending ground units in a hex, a breakthrough is created in the attacked hex(es) if the following conditions are met:
A. The attacking forces involved in the final round of ground combat included at least one fully supplied armor unit, with its mechanized component currently intact, with a CTL of one or more.
B. Any attacking ground unit survives the final round of ground combat and advances into the defender's hex. The advancing ground unit need not be the armor unit required to meet condition 16.11A, but this requirement may not be satisfied by a partisan or an airborne unit dropped on the defender's hex.
16.12 A single attack against more than one defending hex may create two or more breakthrough hexes.
16.13 Breakthroughs are created only as a result of attacks during the regular combat phase. Breakthroughs may not be created during overruns or by exploitation attacks. Breakthroughs and exploitation may be prohibited due to certain weather effects (34.2), supply problems (30.522B), or army oil effects (33.61C).
16.14 BREAKTHROUGHS AGAINST UNDEFENDED HEXES: Break-through and exploitation may occur without a defending ground unit being eliminated from the breakthrough hex only as a result of a seaborne invasion of a hex by more than one armor unit. One armor unit is required to “attack” and occupy the undefended hex to create a breakthrough. Armor units held in reserve during the invasion may then exploit from the breakthrough hex. This procedure is permitted even if the invasion hex was under friendly control, and even if enemy units were adjacent to the hex. Breakthroughs against undefended hexes are otherwise prohibited.
16.15 SEABORNE INVASIONS: The CTL of armor units exploiting from a breakthrough created by a seaborne invasion is reduced by one during the attacker’s exploitation. This CTL reduction applies whether the seaborne invasion was conducted against an occupied or unoccupied hex.

16.2 PLACEMENT OF ARMOR ON THE BREAKTHROUGH HEX:
16.21 PLACEMENT OF ARMOR UNITS: Armor units which are eligible to exploit (16.22) and were, at the start of the first round of ground combat which created a breakthrough, adjacent to or stacked with any attacking ground unit which attacked the breakthrough hex may be placed on that breakthrough hex. Armor units are placed on breakthrough hexes after all regular ground combat has been resolved.
16.22 ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: To be eligible for exploitation, an armor unit:
A. Must have a CTL of one or more.
B. Must have been fully supplied from an unlimited supply source during initial supply determination of the current player turn.
C. Must have its mechanized component intact.
D. May not have attacked during the combat phase in which the breakthrough is created. Armor units which attacked the breakthrough hex to create the breakthrough are not eligible for exploitation and may not move or attack during exploitation.
16.23 Exploiting armor units are placed on a breakthrough hex without regard to available movement factors, enemy ZoCs or stacking limits.

16.3 EXPLOITATION MOVEMENT:
16.31 MOVEMENT OF EXPLOITING ARMOR UNITS: Exploiting armor units may remain in a breakthrough hex or move from a breakthrough hex as set out below. Exploitation movement is limited as follows:
A. Armor units with a CTL of two or more may use their full movement factor during exploitation.
B. Armor units with a CTL of one have their movement factor halved (round up) during exploitation (15.82D).
C. Armor movement during exploitation may be further reduced by winter effects (34.41).
D. In Europe, the movement factor of all armor units exploiting from breakthrough hexes containing mountain, forest or swamp is reduced by one. In the Pacific, exploitation from breakthrough hexes containing mountain, forest, jungle, mountain/jungle or swamp is prohibited (EXCEPTION: Japanese armor units may exploit from hexes containing jungle, but not mountain/jungle).
E. European Axis armor units exploiting from ICs or objectives in Russia which were defended by three or more ground factors have their movement factor reduced by three, although they may always move at least one hex (13.411).
16.32 Exploiting armor units may enter enemy controlled hexes, move backwards through friendly hexes, or both. The first exploiting armor unit may move into a hex adjacent to the breakthrough hex, then (Europe only) into one additional hex adjacent to the first hex entered. In addition to any limits on movement relating to its movement factor, the first exploiting armor unit may not enter more than two hexes (one hex in the Pacific).
16.33 A second exploiting armor unit may move one or two (Europe only) hexes from the breakthrough hex, using a different route from that used by the first exploiting armor unit; or it may exactly duplicate the entire route of the first exploiting armor unit from the same breakthrough hex and then, if it is able to do so, move one or two (Europe only) additional hexes.
16.34 A third exploiting armor unit may move one or two (Europe only) hexes from the breakthrough hex, using a different route from that used by the first two exploiting armor units; or it may exactly duplicate the entire route of the first, second, or first and second, exploiting armor units from the same breakthrough hex and then, if it is able to do so, move one or two (Europe only) additional hexes.
16.35 This process is repeated indefinitely, until all exploiting armor units that wish to move have done so. Movement from the location of other exploiting armor units is subject to the same restrictions as movement from the breakthrough hex itself. In no circumstance may an exploiting armor unit exceed its movement factor. Terrain, the presence of an enemy ZoC, and the execution of overruns restrict movement during exploitation in the same manner as during regular movement. An exploiting armor unit may always move at least one hex (13.411).
16.36 THE CHAIN OF EXPLOITING ARMOR UNITS: At the end of all exploitation movement, a chain of exploiting armor units will exist. Each exploiting armor unit will be within two hexes of (Europe) or adjacent to (Pacific) either the breakthrough hex or another exploiting armor unit from the same breakthrough hex. Armor units which moved more than two hexes (Europe) or one hex (Pacific) will have duplicated the entire path of another exploiting armor unit from the same breakthrough hex, and then moved no more than two additional hexes (Europe) or one additional hex (Pacific).
16.37 PRESERVING THE CHAIN: The chain created by the movement of exploiting armor may not be broken by advances after exploitation combat (16.47). The elimination of exploiting armor units in combat, after the completion of exploitation movement, has no adverse effect on other exploiting armor units, even if their elimination breaks the chain.
16.38 EXPLOITATION MOVEMENT NEED NOT BE IN SEQUENCE: A player is not required to move exploiting armor units in sequence, as long as a chain of exploiting armor units is formed at the end of exploitation movement. Two exploiting armor units may thus be moved together in order to execute an overrun. An exploiting armor unit may move several hexes, wait to be joined by another exploiting armor unit, then complete its movement. Two exploiting armor units may execute an overrun, wait for a third armor unit to move to the hex they occupy, then continue movement, leaving the third armor unit to form the first link in the chain. While the movement of armor units during exploitation is flexible, the chain of exploiting armor units must always be preserved, and armor units may never exceed their movement factors during the exploitation phase.
16.39 MOVEMENT INTO OTHER AREAS:
A. ACROSS FRONT BOUNDARIES: Exploitation movement across front boundaries is permitted, subject to 9.76.
B. INTO DIFFERENT WEATHER AREAS: Exploitation movement into areas subject to different weather conditions must conform to those weather conditions (34).
EXAMPLE: It is winter and Germany has achieved three winter preparation results. The Russian winter die roll is a "1", which is increased by five (winters east of the Nazi-Soviet pact line) and decreased by three (each level of winter preparation) - 34.41. Thus, level 3 winter effects apply east of the Nazi-Soviet Pact line (reducing the movement of exploiting armor by 3).
A German attack creates a breakthrough in a Turkish mountain hex on the Russo-Turkish border. All Axis armor units exploiting from that breakthrough hex have their movement allowance reduced by one (16.31D). A 4-6 German armor unit exploits from the breakthrough hex into a clear hex in the Russian winter area, leaving it with four movement points. The Russian winter effects reduce that armor unit's movement allowance to one (4 - 3 = 1), so the armor unit could move only one additional hex.


16.4 EXPLOITATION ATTACKS:
16.41 EXPLOITATION ATTACKS: The only units which may engage in exploitation attacks are exploiting armor units with their mechanized component intact, airborne units which airdrop during exploitation and air units which provide ground support for such attacks. Other units, even if they did not attack earlier in the turn, may not attack during exploitation, nor may armor units which were ineligible to exploit. Air units which provide ground support for exploitation attacks may not have flown air missions previously during the player turn (18.41), and airborne units which airdrop may not have airdropped or engaged in combat previously during the player turn.
16.42 AIRBORNE DROPS: Airborne units may conduct airdrops during exploitation even if no breakthroughs occurred. An airborne unit may thus airdrop into a hex which has been cleared by regular ground attacks.
16.43 RESTRICTIONS: Naval missions are prohibited during exploitation. Only the following air missions are permitted during exploitation: land-based ground support, defensive air support, interception of defensive air support, airdrops, interception of airdrops, and counter-interception of defending air units which intercept airdrops.
16.44 SEQUENCE: All exploitation movement must be completed before exploitation attacks are announced and resolved. After movement, the attacker announces his ground support missions. The defender then elects to commit unused air units for defensive air support, the attacker decides whether to intercept the defensive air support with unused air units, and any air combat which results is resolved. The attacker then makes his airdrops, the defender intercepts any airdrops, the attacker counter-intercepts and air combat is resolved. All exploitation ground combat is then resolved on the Combat Results Table (15.6).
16.45 ATTACKS FROM THE BREAKTHROUGH HEX: All exploiting armor units capable of exploitation movement (16.31) which remain in a breakthrough hex may attack out of the breakthrough hex into adjacent hexes. The normal limit of two ground units attacking out of a hex does not apply in this situation.
16.46 ATTACKS INTO OTHER AREAS:
A. ACROSS FRONT BOUNDARIES: Exploitation attacks across front boundaries are permitted, subject to 9.76.
B. INTO DIFFERENT WEATHER AREAS: Exploitation attacks into areas subject to different weather conditions must conform to those weather conditions (34).
16.47 ADVANCE AFTER COMBAT: Exploiting armor units which are victorious in exploitation combat may advance to occupy the defender's hex, provided the advance does not break the required chain of exploiting armor units. The breakthrough hex is considered to be the first “exploiting armor unit in the chain”.
A. ADVANCE PERMITTED: Advance after exploitation combat is permitted if the advancing exploiting armor unit:
B. ADVANCE PROHIBITED: Advance after exploitation combat is prohibited if the advance:
EXAMPLE: Germany creates a breakthrough in K37. The first exploiting armor unit moves through K38 and ends exploitation movement in J39. The second exploiting armor unit follows the path of the first, moves through J40, and ends exploitation movement in J41.
The only hex into which the first exploiting armor unit could advance after combat is K39, as that lateral advance maintains the chain from the breakthrough hex and to the second exploiting armor unit in J41. However, if the second exploiting armor unit was first eliminated in exploitation combat, the first exploiting armor unit could also advance after combat into J38, as that maintains the chain from the breakthrough hex and the chain no longer extends to J41.
The second exploiting armor unit could advance after combat laterally into either I41 or K40, provided the first exploiting armor unit either remained in J39 or previously advanced after combat into K39; in both cases, the chain would remain intact because there is only one hex between the breakthrough hex, the first exploiting armor unit and the second exploiting armor unit; and the exploiting armor units moved through the hexes during exploitation movement which now maintain the chain.
The second exploiting armor unit is prohibited from advancing after combat into I42, J42, and K41, because all of these hexes are separated from J39 by three hexes and, thus, break the chain.

16.5 STACKING LIMITS DURING EXPLOITATION:
16.51 STACKING LIMITS: Overstacking is permitted on breakthrough hexes until the end of the redeployment phase, after which the moving player must eliminate excess units of his choice. Exploiting armor units that move from a breakthrough hex become subject to normal stacking limits and may not overstack at the end of exploitation movement, even if they return to their breakthrough hex.

16.6 EXPLOITATION SUPPLY:
16.61 SUPPLY: Exploiting armor units are automatically in supply in the game turn after they exploit (30.551A). This special supply status is lost for armor units which are redeployed (30.552). Armor units relying on their exploitation supply status may create breakthroughs unless their mechanized component is negated by weather or terrain, but are not eligible to exploit. Armor units which retain their exploitation supply status are not subject to army oil effects.