STRATEGIC COMMAND BETA AAR: FIRST MOVES
by Michael Kollmann
Welcome to the first Beta-AAR of Strategic Command WWII: War in Europe. This is a mini AAR, and as such, the AAR will only cover the inital shots in Gleiwitz Poland in September of 1939, to the fall of France in mid 1940. Since the game is still in Beta, there might be some changes of the material covered between now and the final release, but the game already feels complete and the development team assures me that they don’t expect much to change other than minor items to ensure any final polish and balance to the main campaign.
Players familiar with the Strategic Command series will immediately notice the much bigger map. In the north, the passage around Norway to Archangelsk is ready for sub warfare, and in the south, a large part of Africa has been modeled as well. The Canary Islands have two ports where submarines can fill up their supplies if Spain has entered the war on the Axis side. And there is a railway connection from Helsinki to Oslo via Narvik, so when the Axis player controls Leningrad, the Norwegian ports will be able to fully repair German subs to strength 10. Sweden can remain neutral.
On the Westwall, there is just the 1. Armee and 5. Armeekorps, supported by Luftflotte III. Until the surrender of Poland, the Western Allies will have the numerical superiority, so no offensive actions will take place. The only exception: I’ve decided that the XII. Armeekorps, located in the north of the Hürtgen Forest, will attack Luxembourg in Turn 3. This brings a few MPPs.
From experience, the Strategic Command AI Hubert Cater has developed, has been trained to not make the same mistakes as the French High Command did in real life. This of course only adds to the challenging aspects of the game and I expect a wall of French units from Calais via Lille to Reims. The Ardennes protect Verdun, and the River Meuse prevents Panzer sweeps. The AI has time to fortify its positions, and the BEF should be present as well. I expect the triangle Calais – Lille – Amiens to be heavily protected. Lille is protected against attacks from the East by the River Schelde, and Amiens by the River Somme. This does not seem to be the ideal place for a large scale offensive. The more I think about it, Reims really seems the place to be
The Strategic Command campaign design team, led by Bill Runacre, has created an OOB (Order of Battle) that is very close to the historic conditions. Therefore my plans will not differ much from what happened in history.
In the West, the 4. Armee is supposed to destroy the Pomorze Army and march to Torun. Supported by Guderian’s XIX. Panzergruppe, this should be relatively easy to achieve. Reaching Torun in the first turn will not work, but the destruction of both Polish units is vital to clear the path to Warsaw. Posen will be ignored.
In the East, the 3. Armee has a more difficult job: the Modlin Army, well entrenched in the Mlawa, fortification, needs to be destroyed. After this, the German units need to reach the outskirts of Warsaw as soon as possible. Attacking the city with the Prepared Attack Bonus in Turn 3 is vital for a quick conquest. The Modlin Fortress needs to be cleared up to avoid unpleasant surprises.
In the West, the 8. Armee will destroy the Lodz Army and conquer Lodz. Tschenstochau will be occupied by German troops to make sure Lodz is connected to the German railway net even if Polish Cavalry try to interfere it.
Further in the south, the Polish Krakow Army will be encircled. To ensure this, Krakow needs to be conquered in the first turn. Two German Armies (10. and 14.) are in position.
The Kriegsmarine gets a task as well. The two Battle Cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the Heavy Cruiser Admiral Scheer will receive orders to march to the Norwegian Sea, to the West of Trondheim. The new feature Naval Cruise will be used.
They will meet the Subs U-32, U-35 and U-47. Their mission is to march to Iceland and raid Allied convoys. They need to keep on moving, otherwise the AI will catch them quickly.
Out in the Atlantic, there is the Heavy Cruiser Deutschland and U-30. They will also raid convoys, but further in the south. Once their supply is low, they need to wait until the Fall of France in order to safely return to ports on the French coast and avoid the British naval gauntlet of the North Sea back to Germany.
Italy will join in mid 1940, so there will not be much to report from the Mediterranean as most of the action there heats up after Italy joins and France surrenders which will be after the end of this AAR.
AXIS TURN 1
Here we go! Poland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France are my war aims for this Mini-AAR.
All units have been reorganized for defense. The XII. Armeekorps is in position. Luftflotte III has been upgraded with Advanced Aircraft Level 1.
• Pomorze Army has been destroyed in the hex in the northwest of Bydgoszcz
• Pomorska Cavalry Brigade has been destroyed two hexes north of Bydgoszcz
Both Polish units have been destroyed, and the path to Warsaw is free.
• Modlin Army has been destroyed 2 hexes north of the Fortress Modlin
• Pursuit Brigade Fighter have been destroyed in Siedlice
• Modlin Garrison has been reduced to strength 4
This went quite well. Kampfgruppe 1 (Medium Bombers) attacked the Modlin Army. The Polish Pursuit Brigade Fighter tried to intercept the Bombers, but Luftflotte I escorted them. The Polish Fighter took two points damage, Luftflotte I just one. The Bombers were successful and inflicted one point of damage to the Modlin Army. Also, their entrenchment was reduced to zero. The Sturzkampfgruppe 2 (Tactical Bomber) attacked and inflicted another two points of damage to the Modlin Army. The 3. Armee and the XXI. Armeekorps destroyed it.
After the destruction of the Modlin Army, the 3. Armee used the new feature Dynamic Movement and moved further to the south. It had a surprise encounter with the Modlin Garrison. Both units suffered one point losses. This is very important, because in this latest version of Strategic Command, only units with a strength of five and higher have a Zone of Control. So the combination of Dynamic Movement and the altered rules for the Zone of Control made it possible to bypass the Modlin Fortress.
This is why the Armeekorps Wodrig was able reach the outskirts of Siedlice and destroy the Polish Fighters.
My troops are in perfect position for an attack on Warsaw next turn.
• Wolynska Cavalvry Brigade has been destroyed in the hex in the northwest of Tschenstochau
• Lodz Army has been destroyed two hexes in the northeast of Breslau
• Krakowska Cavalry Brigade has been destroyed in the northwest of Krakau
• 10th Mechanized has been destroyed in Krakau
• Krakow Army has been cut off from supply
• Lodz has been occupied by Panzergruppe XVI
• Krakau has been occupied by the 14. Armee
All objectives have been reached. There is just one Polish Army between my troops and Warsaw. Luftflotte IV has been upgraded with Advanced Aircraft Level 1. In the first turn, Poland has lost 40% of its ground troops, including three Armies and their only Mechanized unit.
From the north to the south: Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, Admiral Scheer, U-47, U-35, U-32
By using the new feature Naval Cruise, my fleet has reached its position near Trondheim.
But I need to be cautious: using Naval Cruise reduces the supply of a unit by one.
I do not accept this Decision Event. I prefer to have my parachutists in the West with full strength.
At the end of the turn, both France and the UK declare War on Germany.
ALLIED TURN 2
• Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade moved to Kutno
• Prusy Army moved to the southwest of Warsaw
• Wyskow Corps moved to Siedlice
• Narew Corps moved to the northeast of Warsaw
• Modlin Garrison reinforced to strength 5
The AI does its impressive best to protect Warsaw. At the end of the turn, Canada declares war on Germany.
AXIS TURN 3
It is the 15th of September and U-30 has sunk a couple of Merchant Ships. Good Start.
Luftflotte III has cleared up the French positions around Briey to prevent a suprise encounter. French Fighter tried to interdict this, but failed. They lost two strength points, while Luftflotte III remained unharmed. Advanced Aircraft Level 1 seems to help. The XII. Armeekorps occupies Luxembourg.
• Krakowska Cavalry Brigade destroyed in the hex northwest of Krakau
• Krakow Army destroyed two hexes south of Tschenstochau
• Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade destroyed in Kutno
• Prusy Army destroyed in the southwest of Warsaw
• Warsaw Garrison destroyed in Warsaw
• Warsaw occupied by the Armeekorps Wodrig
The Polish Army has lost 11 Ground Units. At the beginning, they had 17. Warsaw is under German control. All German units use their remaining action points to march West towards France and with this savings in transportation costs I decide to invest in Infantry Weapons Research. I purchase a research development chit for this category.
Of course I honor the pact. I don’t want the Red Army to build up while I am busy in the West.
Poland surrenders and I recieve 171 MPPs in plunder. Luxembourg surrenders as well, and I recieve another 6 MPPs.
ALLIED TURN 4
Amazing. The AI strengthens the defensive line between Metz and Verdun after my capture of Luxembourg. It had been my hope to exploit a potential weakness in the French Allied AI through the early capture of Luxembourg. Typically, the AI anticipates and prepares for an Axis assault through the northern portion of the Low Countries right down through to the Maginot. This is usually a balanced defense without favoritism on the part of the AI for any particular positions. In looking for an exploit of this, my plans to march on the Briery Mines and even possibly Verdun have been impressively countered, and I will have to wait until further reinforcements arrive from the campaign in Poland.
AXIS TURN 5
The French National Morale is down to 89%. This will help a lot for the upcoming Battle of France. U-30 continues to raid Allied convoys.
I decide to say “Yes”. If the Soviets also accept it, Barbarossa will start a bit further in the East, which is good. If they decline, I will annex Lithuania, which is also good.
I also purchase another Tank Group. This will also help a lot in France.
The Wehrmacht is marching to the West. Just two Armeekorps remain on the Eastern border.
All Infantry units and Tanks use Forced March which increases the movement range of my units but at the cost of a slight morale drop which ideally will return to normal levels before the invasion of France and the Low Countries. Von Rundstedt and von Bock also need to walk, while the von Kuchler HQ has already Operated to the West. Von Kuchler would not have made it in time for Fall Gelb, so I needed to Operate the HQ.
The Kriegsmarine is lurking near Iceland. The Canadian Convoy route is just a few hexes to the south.
ALLIED TURN 6
During this Allied turn I get a better picture of the French disposition along my front lines. I have come to the conclusion that a German attack closely following the historical plans of May 1940 through the Ardennes may now be a risky proposition. The area has a strong presence of French units as seen around Verdun and Nancy, and perhaps my early incursion into Luxembourg was a mistake due to this Allied AI reaction and reorganization of its forces.
On the other hand the AI may have now opened itself up further north if it has overcompensated. Without being able to see how the AI has positioned itself exactly along the northern Belgian border I’ll have to plan carefully going forward. For example, if the Allied AI sends the BEF to France it may still have enough units to cover the lines between northern France and Belgium.
My plan is to position my units for a strong initial thrust and overall punch into the French and Allied lines with a strong eventual drive directly to Paris. At the same time, I must not unnecessarily risk overexposure myself and getting caught in any sort of Allied phalanx of units. Picking the right spot is now the challenge.
A wise decision by Mr. Stalin.
AXIS TURN 7
U-30 is down to supply 7. Sooner or later I need to stop raiding.
More troops arrive from the East. When Fall Gelb starts, all Armeen and Armeekorps will have Infantry Weapons Level 1. I will also upgrade all Luftflotten to Advanced Aircraft Level 1. All Stukas and Medium Bombers will receive Ground Attack Weapons Level 1.
I also purchase another chit of Infantry Weapons Research. For the eventual attack on Russia, a technological advantage is crucial.
My second fleet starts raiding.
ALLIED TURN 8
All French units in the Maginot Line are on full strength. The French II Corps which is guarding the Briey Mines mounts an attack on the XII Armeekorps. The French loose two strength points, my boys just one. Unfortunately I cannot mount an effective counter attack myself. Bad weather keeps my bombers on the ground and the troops from Poland are too far away.
The Canadian CL Glasgow, and the Canadian DD Saguenay arrive on the scene. Three or four hexes to the south, there is a British CV.
Now comes the first surprise of this turn. The Canadian Light Cruiser Glasgow has a surprise encounter with U-30 and the British ship suffers five points of damage. U-30 remains unharmed. The next ship to appear is the Canadian destroyer Saguenay. It attacks U-30 and both units receive one point in damage.
At this moment I thought “nice result”, but somewhere in the south, there is a British Carrier. Two attacks from this British Carrier on the Deutschland, and I know it is time to steam away back towards France.
• left to the label “Rockall” there is a Brtitish CV
• the British CC is the Renown
• the right German CC is the Scharnhorst
• the left German CC is the Gneisenau
Here comes the second surprise. A British Carrier attacks the Gneisenau twice, and the ship is heavily damaged. Unfortunately, the attack of the Renown on the Scharnhost results in another damaged Battlecruiser. The Renown evaded damage, so it remains unharmed. Watching these naval encounters unfold I’ve decided that I need to bring this fleet back to friendly waters and out of harms way. Both Battlecruisers are facing the risk of getting sunk.
But there might be a positive aspect in all of this. The carrier was the first unit to attack. My fleet has been at its current position since Turn 7, so it has not yet raided the convoy as this occurs at the end of the AI turn.
If my fleet hasn’t raided the convoy, the AI does not get a signal warning of Axis convoy raiders, so it does not know my units are there. So there is a high probability that my fleet was discovered by chance through Allied naval maneuvers. Typically the Allied AI uses a combination of DDs and CLs to scout for enemy raider activity. Once an Axis raider is discovered, then any other friendly Allied AI naval units in range would sail in to join in on a potential attack.
So in this case, it would mean that the British Carrier, after my own naval units were discovered, most likely spent all of its actions points to reach its current position in order to attack my fleet.
If this is all true, the carrier is still at the position where it attacked from.... so I can counterattack it on my turn!
AXIS TURN 9
Although my surface vessels were damaged in the previous turn, my subs can still raid Allied convoys. Either way this might be the last time in 1939.
More troops arrive from the East.
• CL Glasgow has been sunk in the hex in the northeast of the German sub
U-30 sinks the already damaged Light Cruiser Glasgow. The Royal Navy has a carrier somewhere, and the destroyer Saguenay is also here. U-30 has supply 4. I decide to send this particular sub back towards France.
I send U-32 to the position where I expect the Carrier to be. And I was right! The CV Glorious is there. U-32 had a surprise encounter and lost all actions points, but there are enough German ships left to sink the carrier.
• U-47 inflicts 3 points of damage and loses 1 point.
• U-35 inflicts 2 points of damage and loses 2 points.
• Admiral Scheer inflicts 4 points of damage and loses 3.
• Scharnhorst sinks the Glorious and recieves 1 point of damage in return.
This looks like a victory, but it is more like a draw. My three surface vessels suffered 13 points of damage, and the subs got another 3. U-32 is the only unit without damage. Depending on the next turn, maybe I will leave it in the Atlantic.
My income is still very low. This will not change until I start Fall Gelb.
ALLIED TURN 10
It is now official; the BEF Army arrives in France. No way to get through this defensive line effectively during winter.
I just checked the attacker versus defender loss ratios. My Medium Bombers have 0:0, my Tactical Bombers have 0:1 and 0:0, and the XII Armeekorps as 0:0. Of course the forecasts will improve after the bombers attack, but the French II Corps is fully entrenched (Level 3).
It is already December, and sooner or later a full winter will come.
U-32 has been attacked be the Polish destroyer ORP Blyskawica.
Now all 8 units which took part in the Battle of the Atlantic are damaged. I decide to let all units of my northern fleet sail back to Germany. I need to repair them.
From a tactical point of view, this battle seems to be a draw or maybe even a minor victory for Germany. The Royal Navy lost a Carrier and a Light Cruiser, and two destroyers have been slightly damaged. The Kriegsmarine did not lose any ships, but my surface vessels lost 14 strength points and my subs another 6. All German units need to be repaired, and this will cost me a lot of MPPs.
So the Battle of the Atlantic was a strategic victory for the AI. The Kriegsmarine has been damaged and repelled. During the next months, no major raiding activities will be possible.
AXIS TURN 11
The Winter War is important for Germany. If the Western Allies help Finland, they might swing to the Allies. This would mean Finland would not enter the war on my side if I attack the Soviet Union unless I use diplomacy.
Marching through Germany takes a lot of time, but it saves me a couple of hundred MPPs. These are once again used for Research. I purchase a development chit in Anti-Tank Weapons and Heavy Tanks each.
ALLIED TURN 12
Turns out it was the right decision not to attack the French II Corps in Briey. It would have been able to inflict one or two points of damage, and the same would have happened to my Bombers.
And Bombers are more expensive to reinforce.
AXIS TURN 13
U-30 is down to supply 3. But France is not far away.
The Luftwaffe is at full strength and upgraded and all six Armeen have Infantry Weapons Level 1. I have thirteen Armeekorps in the West. Six of them will be used for defensive purposes and occupy the Westwall and Luxembourg. None of these have been upgraded to save on the costs as for now it is not necessary. However seven Armeekorps will support the attack on France and all of these are upgraded to the latest applicable research development levels.
I also purchase an Industrial Technology Research chit. Now I just wait wait for the first research breakthrough from my scientists from all my investments.
At the end of the turn I receive a very welcomed message. This was really lucky and the French will not like it!
ALLIED TURN 14
It is winter time, and there is not much happening as both sides witness the Sitzkrieg. However, the French II Corps did test the defenses of the German XII. Armeekorps in Luxembourg and lost one strength point.
So I have some time to look at the situation in France a little more closely.
Historically, the French sent their best troops to the north to help their Allies, and as a result had left the Ardennes forest exits relatively unguarded. At the time, the French High Command did not believe an armored push through the Ardennes was possible, so it was not necessarily an unreasonable strategy on the part of the French.
However, the German columns through the Ardennes caught everyone by surprise and a big part of the French Army was then cut off and destroyed. The BEF was subsequently trapped in Dunkirk along the Channel coast and it seemingly could not have gone any worse for the Allies.
But from what I can see of the current AI defensive lines, it will not make the same mistake as the French High Command once did.
The Maginot Line (Sector IV) is fully occupied. I will not get through these defenses quickly.
The Ardennes (Sector III) are also occupied by entrenched units at full strength. Sedan is protected by the river Meuse, and it will take time to get through. So this will not be the right way.
Sector I is what I call the fortified triangle. Unlike in history, French and British troops can entrench these places. The city of Lille will have Entrenchment 4, and it is protected by the River Schelde. Amiens will have Entrenchment 3, and it is protected by the river Somme.
The best way to Paris seems to be Sector II. This is where I need to punch a hole into the French defense.
Klotzen, nicht kleckern!
AXIS TURN 15
U-30 does not have many torpedos left.
I decide to build the Graf Zeppelin. A Carrier will definitely help.
My Fallschirmjäger arrive. The preparations for Fall Gelb are almost finished. The only thing I need is good weather.... blue sky and dry ground. In the meantime, I purchase another chit of Heavy Tanks Research.
The northern fleet is hiding near Trondheim as I am pretty sure the North Sea is full of British ships.
ALLIED TURN 16
All quiet along the Western Front. Just the usual attack: the II French Corps attacks the XII Armeekorps in Luxembourg. The French loose two strength points and the XII Armeekorps earns an experience bar.
AXIS TURN 17
Good and bad news from Finland. They remain on the Axis side, but needed to give a major part of their territory to the Soviets.
Yes, I want Norway.
Also Denmark. I also receive some new unit reinforcements this turn, the SG 1 Tactical Bombers unit, as well as the III Panzer Tank Group. These new units will help a lot.
Bad weather forces me to delay the start of Fall Gelb. The positive aspect is: the later the attack starts, the more units I will have on hand for the attack.
To leave my ships in Trondheim was the right decision. The North Sea is full of British ships.
I would have lost a couple of units.
U-30 and the Deutschland are trying to hide.
Not many MPPs in my account during this turn. But saying yes to those decisions was still better than sending forces to the north as I need every unit here in the West.
ALLIED TURN 18
• French Fighters are located at the street crossing in the northeast of Paris
• French Tac Bombers are located in Auxerre
French Tactical Bombers attack the XII. Armeekorps in Luxembourg. Luftlotte IV tries to intercept, but the French send escorts. Both the French Fighter and Bombers take losses, but I cannot see how many. Luftflotte IV loses one strength point. The French II Corps mounts another attack on the XII. Armeekorps and gets a bloody nose again.
It would be easy to destroy the French II Corps in the next turn, but bad weather once again does not allow it.
AXIS TURN 19
Rain and muddy grounds again. No Bombers, no Paras... and limited movement. It does not make sense to attack at this time. I will not be able to reach The Hague and Brussels in the first turn, and I would not be able to destroy many important units. As a result the AI would be able to reinforce them on its turn and I don’t win anything and my invasion could stall unnecessarily.
However there are some positive reports from this turn. Panzergruppe III is upgraded with Heavy Tanks Level 1 and Motorization Level 1 and Germany has successfully occupied Denmark and Norway. My investments in those decision events have paid off nicely and with good timing.
Sturzkampfgruppe 1 is upgraded with Ground Attack Aircraft Level 1. Luftflotte IV is reinforced to strength 10. And I get two fresh units: Panzergruppe XIV and KG 2 Medium Bombers.
And there is another positive side aspect: my next turn will start on the 6th of May 1940, so we will have an almost historical start date of Fall Gelb.
With the right weather and all my recent upgrades and fresh reinforcements, I have a feeling that a proper Blitzkrieg will be unleashed upon the Allies soon enough!
ALLIED TURN 20
Nothing notable to report other than the French II Corps is once again reinforced to full strength.
With the start of Fall Gelb likely coming up on my next turn, I make a comparison of both Armies. British Ground units in France are tallied while those in the UK are not. But air units in England are also tallied as their range allows them to take part in most of the fighting.
Italian Ground units are not taken into account below as they join the war when the Battle of France is almost over.
Fighters 2 3
Tactical Bomber 2 3
Strat. Bombers 1 0
Medium Bombers 0 2
Total Air Units 5 8
HQs 3 3
Tank Groups 1 4
Armies 9 6
Corps 15 13
Paras 0 2
Total Units 28 28
I have not counted the units in the Netherlands and in Belgium, because these will be understrengthed in most cases and they will be destroyed in the first turn or removed when their home country surrenders.
Of course it is not just the sheer numbers that decide this battle. All German units are equipped with the latest technology while the French and British troops have Infantry Weapon Level 0.
The German HQs have ratings of 6 and 7, while the French and British have 4.
The German National Morale is at 102%, the French at 93%., and the latter one will drop quickly once the invasion begins and losses begin to mount.
AXIS TURN 21
Blitzkrieg strikes! It is the 6th of May, 1940, and I declare war on the Netherlands and Belgium.
Unfortunately the Dutch Army is not located on the border where my tanks could have attacked it with a Prepared Attack Bonus and I need to now cope with this.
Every time you declare war on a neutral minor, the game engine applies some randomness when it comes to unit defender placements. Although less than ideal in this instance, generally it is a nice touch that adds some variety from game to game.
• Winkelman HQ destroyed in The Hague
• The Hague occupied by the German 8. Armee
• Jacob van Heemskerck CL sunk in the port of The Hague
• Dutch Army destroyed between The Hague and Brussels
• King Leopold III HQ destroyed in Antwerp
• Belgian 1st Fighters destroyed between Antwerp and Brussels
• Belgian 1st Army destroyed in Brussels
• Belgian 1st Garrison destroyed in Eben Emael
• Eben Emael Fortress destroyed
• Belgian I Corps destroyed in Liege
• Belgian II Corps destroyed in the Mons Mine (one hex south of Brussels)
This went better than I had hoped. The Battle of Belgium was opened by my Fighters and I cleared up the French frontlines and forced the British and French fighters to intercept. The dogfights were a clear victory for Germany: 7 points losses for the Allies, just 3 for the Luftwaffe.
After the defensive Fighter cover was gone, my Medium Bombers attacked Brussels and inflicted 4 points damage to the Belgian 1st Army. Two more attacks by my Stukas, and the 1st Army was destroyed. Panzergruppe XVI advanced to outskirts of Lille, but did not attack the city. The French I Corps in the city has Entrenchment Level 4, and the forecast was 1:0 against me.
The AI concentrated on protecting the Maginot Line, so it plays more or less historical. And I was right: the weakest point of the enemy defenses is between Lille and Sedan.
So far, so good!
My own losses are very low but I still have 28 Allied units in front of me. The sooner I am in Paris, the better, as my troops need the time to eventually march back to the East.
I decide to amend the convoy routes. This is better to detect Allied raiders.
The Royal Navy will put its attention to the fighting in Western Europe. So I felt it is the right time to bring back my fleet into friendly waters.
Belgium surrenders, and I receive 64 MPPs. The Netherlands surrender as well, and I receive another 62 MPPs.
ALLIED TURN 22
• a French Corps moves in to defend Ypres
• around Lille, a French Army, a British Corps and two French Corps appear
The AI does its best to correct its mistakes. A couple of units are operated from the northeast of France to the area around Lille. British Bombers attack Panzergruppe XIV and inflict one point of damage. In Lothringen, two French Corps attack Luxembourg, but they fail to inflict damage.
The 3rd and 4th French Armies attack the Armeekorps Wodrig (located in the Westwall) and inflict one point of damage.
AXIS TURN 23
Italy joins quicker than I had expected.
• French XLIV Corps destroyed north of Reims
• AOF West Africa Corps destroyed in Reims
• French II Corps destroyed in the Briey Mines
• Briey Mines occupied by the VIII. Armeekorps
• French IX Corps destroyed in the Loos Mines
• Reims occupied by the 14. Armee
• French Huntziger HQ destroyed in the northeast of Paris
I stick to my plan and I try to push through the gap between Lille and Sedan. My Fighters keep the Allied Fighters busy, and my Bombers concentrate on Reims. After five attacks, the remaining defenders are easy prey for the 4. Armee.
My priority is to establish a corridor to Paris. Fortunately, I have enough Armeekorps in the second line to secure the flanks.
In the next turn, I want to reach the outskirts of Paris. My left flank will secure the frontline from Verdun to Chalons, and my right flank will secure the frontlines from Lille to Amiens. It is not important to conquer these cities, I just want to avoid getting cut off. Fortunately, the BEF Army lost 60% of its strength, so it will not be able to conduct a counterattack.
My Fallschirmjäger are also prepared to drop behind the enemy lines.
The Italians march into France and capture Monaco. As a result they have opened up a new front which will fortunately keep the French busy and hopefully distracted.
All ships except the Deutschland and U-30 have arrived back in friendly waters. Once I have enough MPPs, I will repair them.
The French National Morale is down to 55%.
ALLIED TURN 24
• two French Armies have been operated out of the Maginot Line to Amiens and to the northeast of Paris
• French III Corps has moved from Ypres to the Loos Mines
• BEF Army reinforced to full strength
The AI wants to keep me away from Paris and the Maginot Line is partially abandoned. Another non historical play on the part of the French AI and a welcomed surprise as I now know the Allied AI will battle to the bitter end.
AXIS TURN 25
It is now the 19th of June, 1940, and once the campaign in France is over, I will need to divert forces to Libya for an eventual push into Egypt. While the Mini-AAR will end after the surrender of France, I will definitely continue to play!
• French Grp de Chasse 21 Fighters destroyed in the northwest of Paris
• Fallschirmjäger dropped in Rouen
• Fallschirmjäger dropped in Le Havre
• British I Corps destroyed in the south of Calais
• French 8th Army destroyed in the northeast of Paris
• French III Corps destroyed in the southwest of the Loos Mines
• French XIII Corps destroyed in Chalons
• Nancy occupied by the VIII. Armeekorps
• Verdun cut off from railway net
• Lille cut off
• Amiens cut off
I had thought for quite a long time about this turn.
I could have tried to take Paris this turn using my Panzer and Fallschirmjäger. Probably this would have worked despite the high losses I would take, but the French National Morale is still above 50%, and taking Paris so early would not have lead to an automatic surrender.
I also need to annihilate the British units, because their destruction will have the French National Morale drop big time.
So I need to achieve both: capture Paris and destroy the BEF.
This is why I decided to trap the Allied forces around Amiens. I control the ports of Calais and Le Havre, so currently there is no way for the British troops to escape. I have decided that they will pay the price for overextending themselves in the battle for France and not evacuating sooner!
My Medium Bombers start the attack on Paris to reduce the entrenchment of the defender there. Also, the 14. Armee has attacked the city, and the entrenchment of the defender is now down to a more manageable 2.
In the East, Nancy is under German control and Verdun is cut off.
The Italians cannot advance as quickly as I would wish, but the war in France looks to be over soon.
ALLIED TURN 26
• the Strategic Bomber in England attacked the 10. Armee (located in the southwest of Lille) and inflicted one point of damage
• a British Tactical Bomber attacked the 2. Fallschirmjägerdivision in Rouen and inflicted one point of damage
• Amiens Pocket opened by the French 7th Army
• Alpes Army in Paris refreshed to full strength
• French VI Corps occupies Chalons and attacked the German XVIII. Armeekorps. The French loose 2 strength points, the German 1
In my opinion, there is not much the AI can do at this point, but it is trying.
The Royal Air Force attacks with Strategic and Tactical Bombers, but my losses are small.
Also, the French 7th Army opens the Amiens Pocket, but this does not help much. At the beginning of the turn, all units in the pocket had very low supply. The BEF Army was reinforced to strength 5, and this means it had supply 2.
AXIS TURN 27
• Alpes Army destroyed in Paris
• Paris occuopied by the XIX. Panzergruppe
• BEF Army destroyed south of Lille
• French VI Corps destroyed in Chalon
• French 2nd Army destroyed in Verdun
• French I Corps destroyed in Lille
• French 9th Army destroyed in Amiens
It is July 7th, 1940 and the French Army is beaten, and the BEF is destroyed. My forces occupy Caen, Amiens, Lille, Chalons, Verdun, Epinal, Belfort and Paris in just one turn. Of course the Maginot Line is still full of French soldiers, but due to the loss of Belfort they are cut off from supply and from escape. The French DCR Tank Group was a non factor against overwhelming German forces.
I accept the DE, and the French surrender. This AAR has come to an end, but to be honest: I am looking forward to continue the game later.
We all know the feeling... “just one more turn”.
All Allied losses are listed below for this mini-AAR.
Poland - 5 Armies, 1 Mechanized, 4 Cavalry Brigades, 1 Garrison, 1 Fighters for a total 12 units.
France and BeNeLux - 3 HQs, 6 Armies, 10 Corps, 1 Garrison, 2 Fighters, 1 Light Cruiser for a total of 23 units.
UK - 1 Army, 1 Corps, 1 Carrier, 1 Light Cruiser for a total 4 units.
Altogether, 39 units lost by the Allied side.
Thanks for following! Hope you liked this AAR!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Kollmann, 43, has been playing Strategic Command since 2002 and has been a beta tester going back almost right to the beginning of the franchise.
He is married with one daughter, and has a Masters in Business. Favorite strategy games include Battle Isle, the Panzer General series and of course Strategic Command.