I found the secret to winning this scenario is your airborne divisions. The AI was really good at establishing defensive lines, and quite frankly any attack on such a line means running into German panzer divisions: pretty much bound to fail unless you spend a few turns amassing and preparing. So you need to bypass those defensive lines instead. And with high interdiction each time the Germans have to relocate to a new line they'll leave some stragglers to pocket. I think I ran about one airborne operation every two turns.
On turn 1 heavy aerial bombardment allowed the US divisions serious successes in their breakout at Alencon. The US 8th Airforce annihilates the Luftwaffe in a concentrated bombing campaign in the Paris region, destroying 625 airframes, half of them on the ground. This is half of all Luftwaffe planes present in the theatre. The Luftwaffe will fail to do pretty much anything but sporadic ineffective sorties for the rest of the campaign.
On turn 2 two US divisions and the Polish brigade dropped on rail hexes around Argentan and Alencon to try and pocket the German forces between them and the American armour breaking out. The Poles were surrounded and annihilated, but British armour linked up with the 2 American divisions. The Germans fell back to a line just east of Argentan and Le Mans, but left 2 infantry divisions, an infantry and a Fallschirmjager regiment, an airlanding division and most importantly the 116th Panzer and 2nd SS Panzer divisions pocketed near Avranches.
On turn 3 the Brits landed at Evreux and Rouen to secure Seine crossings. This once again forced the Germans to fall back to a line several hexes behind the Seine (the same line as on Grotius' turn 6 screenshot), leaving behind stragglers. Three German infantry divisions, a Fallschirmjager division, the 17th SS Panzergrenadiers and the 10th SS Panzer division nearly get pocketed around Alencon by the advancing troops.
On turn 4 the pocket at Alencon is sealed. The rest of the army advances on the Seine, pocketing another 3 German infantry divisions.
On turn 5 Paris is liberated, the pockets are cleared and the troops once again organize to break the German line.
On turn 6 the Brits drop at Amiens and Abbeville, while the 17th US Airborne drops at St-Quentin, securing 3 Somme crossings. German forces once again fall back, this time to a Ghent-Verdun line. The fort at Le Havre falls.
On turn 7: a wide advance over the entire front. British armour reaches Ostend. Fortifications at Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne are isolated, also containing 3 German infantry regiments. Another 5 German infantry divisions and the 15th Panzergrenadiers fail to link up with the new defensive line and are isolated in several small pockets.
On turn 8 the pockets are cleared and the advance continues. Two US airborne divisions and the British air-portable land at Antwerp and Leuven. Supply lines are getting stretched on the northern spearhead.
On turn 9: attempts to relieve the airborne landings at Antwerp and Leuven fail. This time the German line does not budge (much). Allied infantry divisions finally catch up with the new frontline. A local offensive at Chaumont does pocket the 3rd Panzergrenadier division.
On turn 10 another US and British airborne division drop at Antwerp and Leuven to reinforce the previous landings. British armour manages to link up with the airborne troops at Brussels, threatening to pocket about 10 German divisions, including 2 SS panzer divisions, at Ghent.
On turn 11 Calais and Brest finally fall. The Ghent pocket is sealed, but only 4 infantry divisions remain in it. The front is mostly static due to foul weather.
- all Allied objectives achieved, except for Metz.
- German losses: 418.000 men, 7500 guns, 1710 tanks, 1033 planes. 19 German divisions and 10 regiments destroyed (excluding airbases and support units), including 3 Panzer, 3 Panzergrenadier and 2 Fallschirmjager divisions.
- Allied losses: 103.000 men, 900 guns, 2500 tanks, 2500 planes.
- Note: the scenario starts each side with 125.000 manpower losses, these have been subtracted from above totals.
The German defense seems a lot more organized and determined than historically, leading to a vastly slower Allied advance. No Market Garden in this war, it seems. On the other hand, the much higher German losses will also mean no Battle of the Bulge, so all in all the Allies will be better prepared than historically for the advance into Germany. Unfortunately, so will the Germans, though their frontline is getting stretched thin.
< Message edited by Nemo84 -- 12/14/2014 11:06:37 AM >