Operation Sledgehammer í43 (Full Version)

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TankBushido -> Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/5/2019 7:53:01 PM)

I just started playing the game and have enjoyed reading other AARs. There doesnít seem to be a lot of activity on the forum, so I thought Iíd try writing one. I havenít played much so apologies if Iím missing some nuances of the game. Iíve played the Sicily scenario three times, enough to feel like I understood the mechanics and played eight turns into a campaign game before starting fresh on this one.

I will start with prose, but will try to find time to post pictures as well, but they may come later.

Game parameters:
Iím playing the Allies vs. the AI Germans on Normal difficulty. Eastern Front box is On.

Iím leaving the air operations to the AI; Iíll be setting objectives on the air operations screen except for taking control of air transports in certain situations to enable air drops, air transports, and air supply. I played the air portion a bit and I feel like I understand it, but itís a lot of micro-management so Iím going to try and get by with the AI running the air operations for the sake of expediency. I find the game progresses three times as fast when I just focus on the ground game.

Grand strategy:
As the title suggests, my strategy for this game is inspired by Operation Sledgehammer. Sledgehammer was a cross-Channel invasion plan that the Allies never carried out. The basics of the plan was to capture a major French seaport (either Brest of Cherbourg) in the early autumn of 1942. The beachhead was to be defended and held through the winter of 1942 and into 1943. Troops would be massed for a breakout in spring of 1943. Six or fewer divisions were allocated to the plan.

My own plan for Operation Sledgehammer í43 is similar but happens a year later and therefore more forces can be allocated to the invasion. My target will be Cherbourg both because itís closer to the English airbases (so airpower can be better projected over the beachhead) and because the bocage terrain should help me better defend any counter-attacks. Airborne divisions from the Med will be redeployed to England, but otherwise just the forces already in place in England will participate in the operation during 1943. All told, around 18 divisions will be committed to create and hold the beachhead as well as secure Cherbourg. I expect to invade in early September and take Cherbourg by mid-October. Then hold my gains in preparation for a spring breakout.

In the Mediterranean front, forces in place will try to make gains as they can. The first objective will be to take Sicily and hopefully force an Italian surrender. I want to seize Sardinia and Corsica if possible, but generally troops in the Med will be used to opportunistically take what territory I can and tie down Axis forces that might otherwise be used to oppose the main effort in France.

TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/5/2019 11:52:48 PM)

Turn 1:

Air war:
Reminder that Iím having the AI create air directives and managing the air, but I will call out priorities I set for them. Strategic air forces are instructed to target U-boat at High priority and Resources and Heavy Industry at Medium priority. Tactical air forces are instructed to focus on Air Supremacy at High, Airfield ground attacks at High, and Interdiction at Medium (in the Med only).

All air transports in the Med are rebased to England and transferred to RAF Transport command.

The first big move is to move forward with Operation Husky with some modifications. My objective is not just to take the island but to try to isolate and kill as many German units as possible. Sicily itself will be a mostly US Operation. US troops land on the three default beaches with a lone British unit landing in Siracusa because I want the port captured as soon as possible. Follow on American forces from Morocco and Algeria are staged on ships just off the beaches.

I change the other two British taskforces invasion targets to Locri and SW of Locri on the Italian boot. I want to land here try to cut off the retreat route from Sicily. The British will handle the fighting on the boot.

The airborne divisions cancel their planned landings. They are combined into divisions and hop on trains to Oran, the first leg of their re-deployment to England.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 3:24:34 AM)

Turn 2:

Well, as Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said: ďNo battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.Ē Air scouting reveals a panzer division on Locri so I postpone my invasion of the boot. Also, the Germans on Sicily pull a disappearing act and I face only weak resistance from Italian coastal divisions. I think the AI must react to the fact that I didnít land with all of my amphibious HQs. I take what they give me and move my forces inland. Three Amphib HQs head for England.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 5:17:03 AM)

Turn 3:
Iíve been capturing screenshots, but canít make them embedded on the forum until 7 days after my 10th post. So Iíll fix that later.

Pursuit of Axis forces in Sicily continues and I brush aside minimal resistance.

Amphib HQs arrive and England and start prepping for the landings on the Cotentin Peninsula.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 5:27:41 AM)

Turn 4:
Allied forces reach the outskirts of Palermo, Trapani, and Messina, facing just Italian divisions. Itís been easy going.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 5:39:10 AM)

Turn 5:
The Hermann Goering Panzer Division moved into Messina, so I didnít take it this turn. I'm instructing air forces to hit the ports to choke off supplies. The western part of the island is totally cleared as Palermo and Trapani fall and the Italian divisions surrender.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 5:53:45 AM)

Turn 6:
With naval help, the Hermann Goering Panzer Division is pushed out of Messina so Sicily is entirely in Allied control.

Recon showed a shift in Axis forces around the boot and the invasion beaches cleared out, so the British invasion around Locri is kicked off. Initial contact shows the 94th Infantry Division to the north and the 29th Panzergrenadier Division to the south.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 6:15:22 AM)

Turn 7:
The Germans counterattack, but are easily repulsed. I expand my British beachhead on the boot. Itís not pictured in the screenshot, but the Axis have units in Reggio Calabria too. I may be able to isolate some units after all.

One Amphib HQ pulls back and starts preparing another invasion between Brindisi and Bari near on the heel of Italy. I had one of Amphib HQ that has already been prepping for that location the last several turns.

Also, I have the 1st Free French Corps with itís two mountain units and the British V Corps with three divisions in North Africa in reserve in case Italian surrender presents opportunities in Sardinia or Corsica.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 6:27:34 AM)

Turn 8:
The Axis didnít bug out when they should have. I was able to close the heel. Some poor defense by the AI allowed me to surround the 29th Panzergrenadier Division. The hex NE of Reggio Calabria was left vacant so I was able to take that hex and the American 1st Armored Division stormed across the ferries. Now I have the HG Panzer, 15th PzG, and the 29th PzG trapped as well as the Schmalz Brigade. They all try to counterattack to break out, but the attack fails.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 6:33:38 AM)

Turn 9 (Med):
Axis trapped mobile forces on the boot try to break out again, but are easily turned back. My forces on the boot are split into two British corps. The X Corps heads north and encircles the 94th Infantry division, while the XXX Corps pins the trapped German troops in the south. I control the seas around Reggio Calabria so supplies should be low for the Germans.

Italy surrenders. I control some ports in Sardinia, but all Corsica ports are German controlled.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 6:40:50 AM)

Turn 9 (Europe):
I brief comment on the air campaign. The air losses for the allies have been atrocious, letting the AI run the air operations has not been satisfactory. Iíve only managed to shot down 74 fighters and have lost over 2000 bombers. The Uboat VP marker has been a -3 for most of the turns. But this was a choice I made at the beginning so Iím sticking with it. And given my success in the ground war so far, Iíll accept it as an appropriate handicap.

In other news, weather is clear in France with no storm fronts in the forecast. Invasion prep is ready to go. Invasions are launched and will hit the beaches next turn. Iíve never played the Germans and donít even know their OOB so Iím really interested to see how this goes. Operation Sledgehammer is underway.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 6:46:11 AM)

Turn 10 (Med):
Iím still trying to reduce the surrounded units on the heel. I scout further north up the heel and the Germans move strong forces to block me. Elements of 16th Panzer, 90th PzG, and 4th Fallschirmjaeger move adjacent to my units and I think Iím going to pull back next turn.

1st FF Corps is ready to land on Sardinia as soon as the ports are repaired. British V Corps will follow up after them.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 6:54:26 AM)

Turn 10 (France):
The initial invasion kicks off. I invade with three divisions on three beaches north and west of Carentan. Two airborne divisions drop as well, the 6th British SE of Carentan in blocking position and the 82nd US Airborne SE of Cherbourg. Beach defenses are minimal so there were no problems getting ashore. Despite interdiction attempts, the 6th British Airborne faces a fierce attack from 2 Panzer, 2 SS PzG, and 1 Infantry divisions. Over 70,000 men, almost 800 guns, and over 650 tanks attack, but the 6th Airborne holds the line and halts them. The Germans have another PzG division and 2 more infantry divisions in the area. A massive Allied fleet waits offshore to reinforce next turn. I also have another airborne and an airmobile division that I can bring in via air transports.

Overall, the situation looks good. Iíll be able to surround Cherbourg next turn. I like the invasion beach configuration because one Amphib HQ can cover all three beaches. But what else will the Germans bring to the battle and will my units be able to hold? Will I be able to reduce Cherbourg and take the port before the weather and enemy batters my fleet?


Sardaukar -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 8:32:43 AM)

You should use:

Post Reply with Embed pictures to post and then uploading the pic. That way it'd show within post and we'd not need to download it.

You should be able to easily edit your posts to show the pics. [8D]

TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/6/2019 7:03:27 PM)

Thanks for the comment Sardaukar. I want to embed them, but there is a 7 day waiting period for new accounts before you're allowed to embed images. So next week when I'm allowed, I will go back and fix all images so that they are embedded. Thank you for your patience in the meantime.

Sardaukar -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/7/2019 8:25:28 AM)

Ah, forgot that! [8D]

TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 1:53:44 AM)

Turn 11 (Med):
The X Corps pulls back to defensive positions at least until I can reduce the surrounded units. The Germans are entirely pulled back into Reggio Calabria.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 1:56:20 AM)

Turn 11 (France):
Follow-on forces come ashore and I drop another airborne division in as well. Cherbourg is isolated. As you can see the AI directed air force isnít very good at maintaining control of the sea lanes around the invasion beach so I have units offshore in England instead of off the beaches, hoping for clearer passage next turn. The Germans only have light counter attacks to try to relieve Cherbourg that have little chance of success.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 5:35:51 AM)

Turn 12 (Med):
The Free French are already ashore and more troops are slowly landing in Sardinia, limited by the port size. The surrounded Germany infantry division in the mountains on the boot finally surrenders. Attacks continue on Reggio Calabria and it should fall next turn as the units there are starting to look pretty weak.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 5:40:35 AM)

Turn 12 (France):
Additional forces land and the air portable division is airlifted in. I now have 17 divisions in France and have set up the perimeter. The 2nd Canadian Corps will strat trying to reduce Cherbourg starting next turn. No counterattacks by the Germans.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 5:45:12 AM)

Turn 13 (Med):
The Germans in Reggio Calabria finally surrender, so I start getting ready to push further north up the boot. The German panzer and PzG division moved back a hex so they may getting ready to disengage and run.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 5:49:05 AM)

Turn 13 (France):
Heavy rain in France. I make one attack on Cherbourg to reduced the fort, but otherwise all is quiet. No German counterattacks; they are content to sit and keep my forced contained on the peninsula.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:04:30 AM)

Turn 14 (Med):
My invasion of the heel kicks off. I land with two divisions and have five other divisions, a brigade, and a regiment in the follow up force ready to land. The air coverage over the beach hasnít been great (probably out of range of my airbases) so Iíve had lots of transports sunk on the way. Germans donít counterattack the beach (probably not enough force in range), but they deploy six divisions in opposition (3 Infantry, 1 Panzer, 1 PzG, and 1 Fallschirmjaeger).

My land forces in the boot push north and the Germans disengage except for a lone Fallschirmjaeger regiment.

In Sardinia, the Italian units disband, but all of my units in this operation are ashore and are beginning to clear out the ports. The units Iím facing are easily brushed aside so Iím not wasting time on describing this in much detail or taking screenshots. Itís just a mop up operation.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:07:26 AM)

Turn 14 (France):
Cherbourg falls and priority repairs begin on the port. I used two naval HQs to assist in the attack. I honestly thought it would take a couple more turns.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:14:20 AM)

Turn 15 (Med):
More troops come ashore to try and solidify the beachhead near Brindisi, but Iím still right on the beaches. Pushing as hard and fast as I can in Calabria to try to link up my forces as quick as possible. I bypass and surround the Fallschirmjaeger regiment.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:19:16 AM)

Turn 15 (France):
I eliminate the unit that retreated from Cherbourg last turn, but otherwise my troops are just sitting on the defensive waiting for the port to repair to improve my supply situation. Iíve been air lifting supplies in every turn. Iíve been careful not to stress my troops too much until my position is consolidated, but I may start looking for opportunities to push if the weather and German defense presents them.


Sardaukar -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:49:04 AM)

Interesting concept indeed.

TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:14:58 PM)

Turn 16 (Med):
I expand my beachhead to the west towards Brindisi and south towards Taranto.

The bypassed Fsjr regiment is eliminated and I push north into Basilicata. A linkup with my beachhead is close.

On the German turn, the UI pulls back and sets up an odd defense which will allow me encirclement opportunities next turn. Partisans (?) must be active because lots of hexes in Basilicata switch to Allied control.

On Sardinia, only one port remains to be taken.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:19:42 PM)

Turn 16 (France):
In France, I see an opportunity. The hex west of Carentan is more lightly defended and I attack twice and dislodge the defenders, then I exploit armor into the hex SW of it to cut off three German divisions still on the peninsula. A fierce German counterattack is driven back.


TankBushido -> RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 (6/8/2019 6:25:32 PM)

Turn 17 (Med):
My forces from the boot link up with my invasion force and not a moment too soon. No supplies came onto the beaches this turn so my invasion forces are severely reduced in effectiveness and starved for supplies, but German forces have mostly pulled back so itís a manageable situation. I capture Brindisi and isolate elements of three German divisions on the heel. And start an encirclement of token units near Bari.


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