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CONTINUATION OF “FRANCE 1944 D-DAY” AAR

 
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CONTINUATION OF “FRANCE 1944 D-DAY” AAR - 2/28/2008 5:26:21 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Earlier, I posted a detailed AAR of the first Allied player turn in my “France 1944 D-Day” scenario. That earlier AAR can be viewed here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1546619

Here I’ll continue the AAR for further analysis of “France 1944 D-Day”. It will start where the earlier AAR left off, with the German first player turn. From there, I’ll play both sides in hot seat (“changing hats” each player turn).

Since at least 34 turns will be discussed, this AAR can not have the detail that the first Allied turn had enjoyed. Rather, I’ll just show the situation at the end of the turn and discuss what happened and what I’ve planned for the next turn.

The earlier AAR was mostly concerned with tactical details. But note that lessons taught in it will need to be applied in the subsequent turns discussed here. This discussion will assume those lessons have already been learned, so that I can concentrate on operational issues. If you haven’t read the earlier AAR yet, I recommend doing so before continuing here.
Post #: 1
End of Turn One - 2/28/2008 5:29:06 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Attached is the screenshot of the end of the German player turn. Note that I chose not to counterattack anywhere, not even against the over stacked hexes near Caen. The force wasn’t in place in enough strength to do much damage. And such efforts would have made closing the gap and creating any sort of defense almost impossible. Instead, I’ve closed the gap (sort of) and support has been positioned for some of it. This probably means that any hope of pushing the Allies back into the sea has ended (if there ever had been after that Allied opening). Instead, the chances of giving them a very tough time breaking out have been maximized. Bridges have been blown around the front to try to slow the Allies down.

Remember that the Allies historically didn’t break out until turn 17. That’s a long time to hold them to such a small area. For a while, the Germans have a 12% total shock advantage to help in that task. But their most effective counter will be the superior quality of their armor. They will need to form a ring around the Allied position with it.




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Turn 2 - 2/28/2008 5:32:19 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, the primary Allied objective is to link the invasion beaches. Lucky for them, that’s where the Germans are weakest. Not only are there few units, they aren’t well entrenched and they have little artillery support. They should be successful, as they were historically this turn. It’s especially important because the Utah forces are still in a weakened state and need reinforcement in case of German counterattacks.

For the record, the historical benchmarks for Normandy are as follows:

Link invasion beaches: Turn 2
Cross Cotentin Peninsula: Turn 4
Capture Cherbourg: Turn 7
Capture St. Lo & Caen: Turn 13
Launch Cobra: Turn 15
Breakout: Turn 17.

The next objective is to clear space for the reinforcement arrival hexes. Turn 3 arrivals are scheduled as follows:

Utah (33,46): 8 units.
(35,47) (Currently held by the Germans): 8 units.
Omaha (37,47): 10 units – at least one will have to backlog no matter what.
(38,47) (Between Omaha and Gold/Juno): 9 units.
Gold/Juno (39,47): 9 units.
Sword (40,47): 9 units.

Thus, those hexes will need to be completely cleared of friendly units by the end of the turn, with the exceptions of at most 1 unit each in Utah and (35,47). This is a check that needs to be made at the start of each turn until Normandy is cleared. Note that the sea-road hexes can be used to “store” minor, rear-area units that won’t really be needed until after the breakout.

Finally, some progress towards crossing the Cotentin Peninsula should be made, if the schedule is to be adhered to.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that those objectives were met. The invasion beaches have been linked. The reinforcement hexes have been cleared. And a bit of progress was made toward crossing the peninsula. 10 hexes were gained, giving them a total of 30 in Normandy. Loss penalties were at 23 for the Allies and 27 for the Germans. Eight attack phases were obtained again.

Again, I chose not to launch any attacks with the Germans, but instead to secure the perimeter defenses. Some observers may say I’m being too passive with them, and they may be right. But the Germans really didn’t have the forces in position to take the offensive in the areas where the Allies were weak. And the Allies remain within range of huge naval support. Finally, attrition is the Allies friend. Offensive moves by the Germans tend to double the attrition rate.




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Turn 3 - 2/28/2008 5:34:55 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Allied players seeing the last screenshot may feel a bit daunted by it. That’s understandable. The Germans now have a lot of excellent units well positioned, dug in, and in depth. There are no longer any weak spots. Further progress will require assaulting strongpoints. And those assaults will generally have to be conducted under high density-penalties.

But consider this: There are now 59 Allied infantry and armored regiments in Normandy (out of 182 total ground units). The Germans, meanwhile, have only 36 (out of 163 total ground units). And the Allies will receive 271 additional ground reinforcements by turn 17 (the breakout turn). In that same period the Germans will receive 124 reinforcements and 70 releases. And the Allies are getting at least six times the replacements each turn too. That means that good old attrition will do the trick for the Allies. It’s just a question of how long it will take.

This turn, space for turn 4 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 9 units
35,47: 9 units
Point du Hoc: 6 units
Omaha: 8 units
38,47: 8 units
Gold/Juno: 6 units
Sword: 1 unit.

The main objective this turn is to continue to make progress towards cutting the Cotentin Peninsula, and to make the above room for turn 4 reinforcements. The opportunity should be available to finally recombine the 82nd and 101st Airborne division’ scattered paratroops.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that those goals were again met. Five hexes were gained. (Actually an additional two hexes were also gained, but the Germans took them back via counterattacks. The 82nd & 101st Airborne paratroops were recombined. Space for the reinforcements was reserved. The loss penalties are now 41 for the Allies and 39 for the Germans. Only six combat phases were secured this time – those are very tough defensive positions requiring lots of attack complexity. That tends to result in extra rounds being expended in some attacks.




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Turn 4 - 2/28/2008 5:37:24 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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To keep on schedule, the Cotentin Peninsula should be cut this turn. That should be easy. More progress should be made towards capturing Cherbourg. Finally, as always, opportunities for general attrition should be exploited. Space for the turn 5 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 8 units
Omaha: 6 units
38,47: 1 unit
Gold/Juno: 6 units

One problem will be that three ground and one bomber formations were in reorganization this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that those goals were again met. The Cotentin Peninsula was crossed, cutting off Cherbourg. The Allies remain on schedule. Eight hexes were gained, including one more Cherbourg fortified hex. Space for the reinforcements was reserved, except where reorganization prevented it. The loss penalties are now 39 for the Allies and 48 for the Germans (Superior Allied replacements are impacting those penalties). Only four combat phases were secured this time – these defensive positions keep getting tougher. In this case, the Hitlerjugend were a major part of the problem.




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Turn 5 - 2/28/2008 5:39:46 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, progress must continue towards Cherbourg, as must attrition of the main defense line. Space for the turn 6 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 12 units (at least three will have to backlog)
Omaha: 3 units
38,47: 6 units
Gold/Juno: 7 units
Sword: 9 units.

Two ground and one air formations were in reorganization this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that those goals were again met. Cherbourg was captured, and most of the Cotentin Peninsula defense cleared! The Allies are now ahead of schedule. Eight hexes were gained. Space for the reinforcements was reserved. The loss penalties are now 44 for the Allies and 55 for the Germans. Again, only four combat phases were secured this time.

Not counting the one remaining hold out in the Cotentin Peninsula, there are only eight more hexes that need to be captured to reach the Cobra start-line. Cherbourg fell two turns early. So it may seem that the Allies are far ahead of schedule – and that may yet turn out to be the case. But they should remember that the German forces will most likely not be so poorly deployed and unreactive as they were during Cobra. The Germans are being deployed in depth, so that the Allies will have to grind all the way to the breakout line.




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Turn 6 - 2/28/2008 5:42:13 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, attrition of the main defense line must continue. That will be the case for the foreseeable future. Space for the turn 7 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 11 units (at least two will have to backlog)
35,47: 6 units
Omaha: 6 units
38,47: 5 units
Gold/Juno: 6 units
Sword: 4 units.

One ground and one air formation were in reorganization this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues. Four hexes were gained. Space for the reinforcements was reserved. The loss penalties are now 54 for the Allies and 60 for the Germans. Again, only four combat phases were secured this time. St. Lo was captured. The Germans received a lot of SS reinforcements and used them to increase their defense-in-depth. That strategy gives them the best chance of holding on till the historical breakout date.




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Turn 7 - 2/28/2008 5:44:53 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 8 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 7 units
Omaha: 4 units
38,47: 3 units
Gold/Juno: 4 units.

That issue is no longer much of a concern, but I’ll continue to list it till the breakout. Three ground formations were in reorganization this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues. Four hexes were gained. Space for the reinforcements was reserved. The loss penalties are now 58 for the Allies and 72 for the Germans. Five combat phases were secured this time, but only four could be used. The Germans received more SS reinforcements and again used them to increase their defense-in-depth. The Allies will have to grind through all of it.




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Turn 8 - 2/28/2008 5:47:37 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 9 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 6 units
Omaha: 8 units
Gold/Juno: 2 units.

No formations were in reorganization this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues, slowly. Only three hexes were gained. The loss penalties are now 66 for the Allies and 73 for the Germans. Six combat phases were secured this time, but only five could be used. Note that a couple of Panzer Regiments were taken on this turn. They proved to be very tough, accounting for why so few hexes were gained. Fortunately, the Germans don’t have too many of them.




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Turn 9 - 2/28/2008 5:50:19 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 10 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 2 units
Omaha: 9 units
38,47: 1 unit
Gold/Juno: 7 units
Sword: 3 units.

Two ground and one bomber formations were in reorganization this turn. Note that next turn will be Operation “Charnwood”, so some preparation for that should be made this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues, slowly. Only three hexes were gained (the Germans recaptured a fourth one). The loss penalties are now 69 for the Allies and 78 for the Germans. Four combat phases were secured this time. Clearly, the Allies are hitting the toughest elements of the German force, and it shows in the results.




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Turn 10 - 2/28/2008 5:52:36 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 11 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 2 units
Point du Hoc: 7 units
Omaha: 5 units
Sword: 6 units.

Two ground formations were in reorganization this turn. This is the turn of Operation Charnwood. Over 20 heavy bomber groups have been loaned from the strategic bombing campaign to that end. Note that there is a new house rule that the heavy bombers (4-engine icons) can only be used for bombardment – not for ground support or interdiction, etc.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues, very slowly. Only two hexes were gained (but two others were decimated). The loss penalties are now 104 for the Allies and 92 for the Germans. Five combat phases were secured this time. Because of the new house rule, the Charnwood bombers were concentrated on German artillery concentrations. The Allies were not in position to attack Caen. I felt that that would be a dilution of offensive effort. So the attacks continued to be concentrated on the west side. While the Allies are grinding through the toughest German units, each turn, there are a few less of them.

Rail repair from Cherbourg began this turn. Note that Cherbourg is the only supply point on a rail line, so it must start there. Also note the rail paths that are available for that repair. Going through Caen gives a significant shortcut. That’s why it’s extra important for the German player to deny the Allied player that path. If not, the Allies will be in a better supply condition after they drive across France. The eastern part of the German defenses must get priority over the western part.




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Turn 11 - 2/28/2008 5:55:14 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 12 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Utah: 2 units
Point du Hoc: 3 units
Omaha: 9 units
Gold/Juno: 1 unit
Sword: 3 units.

Two ground formations were in reorganization this turn. The Operation Charnwood bombers have been withdrawn, as have both American Airborne Divisions. The grind through the German defenses must continue.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues. Four hexes were gained (and one other was decimated). The loss penalties are now 108 for the Allies and 102 for the Germans. Five combat phases were secured this time. Enough of the best German units have now been destroyed that some of the armor around Caen had to be shifted to the west. The Panzer regiments remain the most difficult targets. One technique that helps against them is to use “ignore losses” sometimes. This helps keep weakening attackers from dropping out before firing.




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Turn 12 - 2/28/2008 5:58:17 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 13 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Cherbourg: 1 unit
Utah: 1 unit
35,47: 1 unit
Omaha: 3 units
Gold/Juno: 1 unit.

Two ground formations and the Eastern Task Force were in reorganization this turn. This will be the last turn of the German shock advantage – just in time for Operation Goodwood, next turn. Note that while the Allies still face a barrier of powerful German regiments from their panzer divisions, there are starting to be gaps in that barrier covered with ordinary infantry units. That must be exploited. From the German perspective, his eastern defenses are now going to have to be weakened to cover these western gaps.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues. Four hexes were gained (and one other was decimated). The loss penalties are now 120 for the Allies and 111 for the Germans. Five combat phases were secured this time. Even more of the German eastern defenses have had to be shifted to the west.




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Turn 13 - 2/28/2008 6:00:59 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 14 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Cherbourg: 9 units
Utah: 6 units
35,47: 1 unit
Omaha: 4 units
38,47: 2 units
Gold/Juno: 1 unit
Sword: 2 units.

One ground formation was in reorganization this turn. The German shock bonus and the Allied shock penalty are now ended. This is the turn of Operation Goodwood. Over 60 heavy bomber groups have been loaned from the strategic bombing campaign to that end. (Remember the house rule – it still applies). Note that the US groups will remain until Cobra (in garrison on turn 14), while the UK groups will be withdrawn next turn. Thus, it will be best to try to use the US groups lightly this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues. Five hexes were gained. The loss penalties are now 148 for the Allies and 127 for the Germans. Four combat phases were secured this time. Like with Charnwood, the Goodwood bombers were used against German artillery concentrations to good effect. The German player now has to scramble to retain a defense in depth in the west – often at the cost of the same in the east. And the breakthrough line keeps getting closer.




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Turn 14 - 2/28/2008 6:03:43 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 15 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Cherbourg: 8 units
Utah: 4 units
Omaha: 4 units
38,47: 2 units.

One ground formation and one bomber formation was in reorganization this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues. Four hexes were gained, and, for the first time, Caen was assaulted. The loss penalties are now 173 for the Allies and 135 for the Germans. Five combat phases were secured this time. The Germans are starting to run out of all those high-quality, armor-enriched units they had, and the length of the line they have to defend is about to balloon.




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Turn 15 - 2/28/2008 6:06:33 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 16 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Cherbourg: 6 units
32,44: 5 units
Utah: 1 unit
Omaha: 2 units
Gold/Juno: 1 unit.

No formations were in reorganization this turn. This is the turn of Operation Cobra. Note that it’s equivalent to turn 1 of the “France 1944 Cobra” scenario. 43 US heavy bomber groups have been temporarily switched from strategic to operational use this turn only. There are real signs of weakness in the German positions, due to all the losses they’ve suffered. Real progress towards the breakout is expected this turn.

Also note that this is the turn that the FFI are released. Their primary task should be to muck up the rail lines south of the Loire, to prevent their use by the released western German forces after the breakout, and to otherwise hamper the escape of those units.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout is accelerating. Again, because of the new house rule, the Cobra bombers were used against German rear-area artillery concentrations. Six hexes were gained (a seventh was retaken by the Germans), including Caen. The loss penalties are now 209 for the Allies and 159 for the Germans. Four combat phases were secured this time. Even a cursory examination of the German lines will show that they are visibly weakening. There is less depth, and the strength and quality of the frontline elements has dropped everywhere.




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Turn 16 - 2/28/2008 6:09:30 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 17 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Cherbourg: 10 units
32,44: 1 units
Utah: 6 units
Omaha: 5 units
38,47: 1 unit
Gold/Juno: 5 units
Sword: 4 units.

Two ground formations were in reorganization this turn (both of them armored divisions – that hurts!). The Cobra bombers have all been withdrawn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that progress towards the breakout continues to accelerate. Ten hexes were gained. The loss penalties are now 224 for the Allies and 185 for the Germans. Four combat phases were secured this time. The German lines now have a number of very weak frontline positions and often artillery as the second line of defense. The situation is primed for the breakout.




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Turn 17 - 2/28/2008 6:12:12 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This turn, space for the turn 18 reinforcements will be required as follows:

Cherbourg: 1 unit
Utah: 4 units
33,47: 5 units
35,47: 1 unit
36,46: 7 units
Omaha: 2 units
38,47: 1 unit
Gold/Juno: 2 units.

Two bomber formations were in reorganization this turn. Note that this is the historical turn of the breakout. It should be doable. This was the first turn that the V-Weapon sites were operational and ten VPs were awarded to the Germans due to their strikes.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that, while the breakout line was crossed, an actual breakout was not quite achieved. Thirteen hexes were gained. The loss penalties are now 253 for the Allies and 187 for the Germans. Only four combat phases were secured this time, despite trying to keep the combats as simple as possible. While the German lines remain continuous, there are now artillery units in the front lines, and the far west has little depth. A true breakout next turn seems inevitable.




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Turn 18 - 2/28/2008 6:15:04 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Since the front is moving well past the beaches, I’ll no longer list the space needed on the beach hexes for reinforcements. Note that we’re now halfway through the scenario.

For the record, the historical benchmarks for the sweep across France are as follows:

Mortain Counterattack: Turn 18
Capture Argentan: Turn 20
Landings in Southern France (Dragoon): Turn 21
Capture Falaise: Turn 21
Close Falaise Pocket: Turn 22
Capture Paris: Turn 23
German Southern France forces enter map: Turn 25
Allied Southern France forces enter map: Turn 26
Patton links up with Dragoon: Turn 29
Launch Market-Garden: Turn 30
Capture Brest: Turn 31
Abandon Market-Garden: Turn 32.

There is one armored formation in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. A full breakout should occur this turn.

Note that German units west of Normandy have been released this turn. Unless they’re mobility challenged, they should attempt to escape to the east. The 1 MP units should barricade themselves in their ports, using the rail lines if necessary to get there. This is a good point to remind about the new house rule concerning bridge blowing: A bridge hex can only be blown if the road or rail feature actually graphically crosses the river or canal in the hex – exception: all urban hexes. If they only run parallel and there is no urban terrain, the hex can’t be blown.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that, again, an actual breakout was not quite achieved. While the German lines were ruptured in the west, reinforcements arrived just in time to close the gap. Again, thirteen hexes were gained. The loss penalties are now 258 for the Allies and 204 for the Germans. Once again, I only secured four combat phases – that’s what’s frustrating my breakout efforts. The German lines keep getting thinner and longer. A breakout seems even more certain this time, but, that’s what I thought last turn, too.




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Turn 19 - 2/28/2008 6:18:19 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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This is the last turn for the Allied player to exorcise the option to withdraw the UK 6th Airborne Division for Market-Garden, and I’ll exorcise it.

There are two ground formations in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. Again, I expect the full breakout to occur this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the breakout has finally been made. Twenty-one hexes were gained (a 22nd was retaken by the Germans). The Germans might have been able to cordon off the breach again. But it would have been so weak and unsupported that I decided it was time to change strategy. The German plan now is to force the Allies to sweep around their position, while trying to keep the northern part of it secure. The loss penalties are now 281 for the Allies and 224 for the Germans. Once again, I only secured four combat phases. Next turn should see real open-field running.




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Turn 20 - 2/28/2008 6:21:33 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There are three ground formations in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. The Allies must exploit the breach this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the breakout has been thoroughly exploited. In fact, note that I’ve added the microscreen in the upper left corner to show the whole situation. I’ll have to continue that practice, since the field of battle will far exceed the main screen. So many hexes were gained (136) that, from now on, I’ll no longer keep track of the count. The loss penalties are now 282 for the Allies and 235 for the Germans. Once again, I only secured four combat phases. The loss rate is finally becoming more favorable for the Allies as the best German units, terrain, and density conditions are in the past.

Now, be honest. Looking at the situation back around turn 3, you didn’t think this was ever going to happen, did you. Nevertheless, the Allies are behind schedule, and will have to try and make it up.




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Turn 21 - 2/28/2008 6:24:39 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There are two ground formations in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. And, for the first time, the Germans get 5 VPs for holding all four Brittany ports. Brittany should be cut off this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the German lines finally had to be abandoned. Also, Saint Malo was captured, along with most of Brittany. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 292 for the Allies and 253 for the Germans. I secured five combat phases, inflicting pretty heavy losses on the German defenses. It was the combination of attrition and the extension of the lines that finally forced the Germans to shift over to a retreat. Normally, that is one of the few tough decisions for the German player in this scenario, but not this time. The line was secure at the end of his last turn and hopeless at the start of his part of this one. Note that many units have to be sacrificed due to the need for a rear-guard and routed & retreated units. That’s typical of retreats. The German player’s objectives are, first, to salvage as much as possible out of Normandy, and, second, to force the Allied player to cross the Seine as far south as possible. The second objective is important to allow as much of the 15th Army to escape, since its release will be phased, instead of all at once.

The Allies can finally breathe a sigh of relief. As decimated as the Germans are, the Allies aren’t much better off. They’ve been taking roughly two-for-one losses since D-Day.




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Turn 22 - 2/28/2008 6:28:23 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There is one ground formation in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. And the Germans get 4 VPs for holding three Brittany ports. The Allies now get to exploit the fleeing Germans. The sweep across France is on.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the Germans lines have withdrawn to the Seine. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 283 for the Allies and 253 for the Germans. I secured four combat phases in clearing the German rear guard. The German strategy is to try to force the Allies to cross the Seine south of Paris, to facilitate the escape of the 15th Army. The escape of the 1st Army from Southern France has been hindered by the FFI. These two factors have created an empty space between them that the Allies might choose to exploit. The point is approaching where the Allies must make that choice between exploiting Patton’s end run or throwing their weight behind Monty’s drive up the coast. That will be just as contentious a decision in the game as it was historically.




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Turn 23 - 2/28/2008 6:31:43 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There are no formations in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. And the Germans again get 4 VPs for holding three Brittany ports. The Seine will probably be crossed somewhere this turn, and Paris probably invested, at least.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that, contrary to my estimate above, the Seine was not crossed nor Paris invested. I underestimated the difficulties of those goals. I could have crossed the Seine just above Le Harve, but chose not to do so (to avoid triggering the release of 15th Army early). Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 284 for the Allies and 262 for the Germans. I again secured four combat phases in clearing the German rear guard. The Germans have had to abandon the division in Le Harve, but remain determined to salvage the rest of 15th Army. Most of the German 1st Army has made its escape from the south, and won’t be caught. Clearly, the Seine will be crossed next turn, and Paris should be captured as well. That will put the Allies about half a turn behind schedule – they’ve caught up some in the last few turns.




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Turn 24 - 2/28/2008 6:35:02 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There are two ground & one bomber formations in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. And the Germans again get 4 VPs for holding three Brittany ports. The Seine will be crossed everywhere this turn, and Paris probably captured.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that, contrary to my estimate above, Paris was not captured. I again underestimated the difficulty of that goal. Otherwise, the Seine was crossed widely. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 283 for the Allies and 275 for the Germans. I secured five combat phases in clearing the German rear guard. The Germans remain determined to salvage as much of 15th Army as they can. They’re making a stand close to the Allied lines in order to do so. Also, some of the German 1st Army has made a stand to permit the arrival of the 19th Army next turn. The Allies remain behind schedule by about a turn or so.




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Turn 25 - 2/28/2008 6:38:46 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There is one ground formation in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. And the Germans again get 4 VPs for holding three Brittany ports. Paris will be liberated this turn. The German 15th Army will be released and their 19th Army will arrive this turn, bolstering German chances to halt the Allied sweep across Northwest Europe. The Allies must make the Germans pay for their temporary halt to their retreat. Elsewhere, Brest may fall this turn.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that Paris was finally fully liberated. Brest was also captured. Attacks on the German main lines were started too late in the turn to have much impact. The Germans, nevertheless, fell back to the Pas de Calais (leaving a sacrificial rear-guard of mostly small, sub-divided units). The first part of the 15th Army was released, and the 19th Army arrived. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 283 for the Allies and 292 for the Germans. I secured four combat phases in liberating Paris and Brest. Note that this was the turn when I switched the Allied bombers from Combat Support to Interdiction, since fighters can be now provide full protection for the bombers over the entire map.

It may seem like the Germans could have made a stand at the last position. But note that they lack much in the way of armor and the Allies have tons of artillery. They need to put more distance between themselves and the Normandy beaches. And they need to get the entire 15th Army released, along with other reinforcements before making their stand. Finally, the terrain along the French coast is not good for defense. That generally means they must continue to fall back out of France. The line I’m aiming for will anchor on the Schelde Estuary. But the game allows other players to make a different choice about that, as a risk/reward option. (The Risk of getting your army smashed and thereby ultimately allowing a deeper than historical advance by the Allies vs. the Reward of delaying the Allies enough so that more of the map ends the game in your hands).




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Turn 26 - 2/28/2008 6:42:37 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There is one ground formation in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans. This turn, the Germans only get 2 VPs for holding two Brittany ports. The Dragoon forces have started to arrive, and they have the opportunity to trap some of the German 1st Army and 19th Army elements before they can escape to Lorraine. They will link up with the Normandy forces this turn. Elsewhere, the sweep across France will continue.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the Allied advance has reached the Somme and various other parts of many WWI battlefields. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 282 for the Allies and 308 for the Germans. I secured five combat phases in clearing the German rearguard and the last defenders in the Brest area. Note that last turn’s switch to interdiction paid good dividends this turn, since the Germans suffered a lot of interdiction attacks and 246 German planes were destroyed.

Several units of the German 1st Army were trapped by the Dragoon forces (visible on the microscreen). That’s not unusual, and some similar historical forces were so trapped as well. They’re not a complete loss as they will delay and deplete the Dragoon forces eliminating them. The rest of the German 1st & 19th Armies aren’t completely out of danger yet, but many made good use of rail movement to escape.

Note that the Germans have started filling out the line they will make their stand at. It will use the entrenchment line along the Lorraine border, the West Wall along the German border, and anchor on the Schelde (in other words, about the same as historical). The choice was based upon the following considerations:

1. Minimizing the length of the line.
2. How defensible the terrain was.
3. The value of the objectives retained.
4. The relative condition of the two forces.

Obviously, it’s one of the major operational decisions the German player must make in the scenario. Other players could make many alternate line choices in their games, but in all cases, the choice needs to be made several turns in advance. Note that the choice I made abandons significant VPs in France and Belgium, which will probably mean that the best the Germans can hope for will be a draw.




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Turn 27 - 2/28/2008 6:46:35 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There is one ground formation in reorganization this turn. Again, ten V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 10 VPs for the Germans (the Allies will finally be able to start to address that this turn). Again, the Germans get 2 VPs for holding two Brittany ports. The Theater Option to form the French 19th Division from the first four Resistance units (mostly destroyed by now) has appeared, and was selected. The only consideration in the choice was whether Rennes was Allied controlled. The sweep across France must accelerate to get into position for Market-Garden by turn 30.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the Allied advance has entered the Pas de Calais. Three V-weapon sites were captured as well as Lorient and Le Harve. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 284 for the Allies and 325 for the Germans. I secured five combat phases in clearing the German rearguard and the defenders in Lorient and Le Harve.

The selected German defense line is clearly taking shape. Note that a lot of VPs are being abandoned in Southern Belgium and the Pas de Calais. Once they’re lost, the German player will only be able to secure a draw, at best. So it may seem to be the wrong choice. But it should be clear from the micromap view how much longer the German defense line would be otherwise. That would give the Allied player a chance to flank the German defenses toward the Ruhr – the most valuable prize on the map. Securing the Ruhr has to be the highest priority for the German player.




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Turn 28 - 2/28/2008 6:50:04 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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There are no formations in reorganization this turn. Only seven V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 7 VPs for the Germans. The Germans get only 1 VP for holding one Brittany port. The sweep across France still must accelerate to get into position for Market-Garden by turn 30.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the Allied advance has entered eastern Belgium. Two V-weapon sites were captured as well as St. Nazaire and Bulogne sur Mer. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 292 for the Allies and 341 for the Germans. I only secured four combat phases in clearing the German rearguard, the defenders in St. Nazaire, the residual forces in Lorient, and some of the pocketed 1st Army forces.

Frankly, the advance has been too slow to get into position for Market-Garden. Worse, all of 15th Army escaped across the Albert Canal and is now in position to further balk that operation. Market-Garden may have to be directed elsewhere. Historically, much of the 15th Army was cut off and had to cross the Schelde Estuary to escape, leaving a thinner defense in front of Market-Garden. Part of the problem has been the late start the Allies got in breaking out. Also, German rear-guards and bridge blowing operations have had some good delaying effect, too. Finally, the Allied forces paid a huge price breaking out & sweeping across France, and are not in good shape for further operations at this time – but there is no real choice except to carry on if victory is desired.

The German defense line is now well defined and well manned in most locations. They will not concede any more territory voluntarily. From that line on, the Allies will have to fight for every hex. The Germans will want to distribute some units deep into their rear, since they know an airborne offensive is very near.




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Turn 29 - 2/28/2008 6:54:04 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 7084
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There are no formations in reorganization this turn. Only five V-weapon sites were operational, resulting in another 5 VPs for the Germans. There are no more VPs for holding any Brittany ports. The Allies should clear Belgium to the German defense line along the Albert Canal. They need to get the Dragoon forces in place for offensive operations too, since Market-Garden may have to be moved there.

The attached screenshot of the end of the German player turn shows that the Allied advance has reached the German defense line at all points. The last five V-weapon sites were captured, ending any further VP awards this game. Brittany has been completely cleared out and the pocketed 1st Army forces eliminated. The Allied forces from those actions are now on the way to the main lines. Note the microscreen in the upper left corner. The loss penalties are now 291 for the Allies and 349 for the Germans. I again only secured four combat phases in clearing those areas.

Only a handful of coastal hexes remain in German hands west of their defense line, and those should be cleared in the next turn or two. Note that two units that had appeared to be trapped south of the Schelde last turn have crossed it using the German sea-cap that was added this turn. That’s the only use that can be made of that sea-cap, and it will be canceled after the Allies capture the four port hexes on the southern side.

The victory total has dropped into the “draw” level, with the Allied player needing about 111 more objective VPs to get to neutral, and about 311 more to get to a marginal victory. Getting the higher total is going to take a successful airborne offensive. To optimize their chances of that, the forces that had been in the Pas de Calais have been positioned to give threat to the maximum length of the German defense line. They’re not quite as well positioned as I would like, due to the Allies being about a turn behind schedule (as I’ve mentioned before). And their supply/readiness condition is awful due to being so far beyond their supply terminals and so long moving and fighting without rest. But Market-Garden cannot be delayed.

The Germans must fight for every hex now. Fortunately for them, they’ve gotten into position to do so, and in pretty good shape. They will make the Allied task tough. They’ve somewhat spread out their forces a bit in response to the Allies not tipping their hand as to where the airborne offensive will be directed. They’ve also positioned forces throughout their rear areas in the high-value spots, ready to respond to that offensive, no matter where, or how deep, it is directed.




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