Rainy weather. This is a mixed blessing. It should put a damper on WA flights, whereas I hope more of mine get through due to shorter range, and the fact they've been resting until this point.
Basically all of the FBs are put on bomber duty. Hope is to lay down a carpet of interdiction at both the intended breakthrough points. This should aid the breakthrough as well as help hold the shoulders of the salients both north and south.
NFs are put on daylight duty to conduct fighter sweeps in support of these ground attacks.
Results are lot of missions over the target areas. I forgot to get screenshots of the interdiction levels, but they were very good (mostly above 5, up to 8 in some places).
I SS Panzer Corps' refit has helped, although their highest morale unit, the 9th Pzr Div, is still very weak. Morale and MP matter more than CV for the panzer corps.
In 5th Panzer Army it is 130th Panzer Lehr Div and the 15th PzG Div that will be our most important assets for linking the pincers.
At the northern pincer the Western Allies have reinforced this position by adding an infantry division in one of the gaps. The infantry of 15th Army gather to smash these defenders and reach the Albert Canal.
We cannot afford failed attacks, so much weight is brought forward from the rear to assault the initial enemy position.
The second attack on the line is also successful, and the British infantry are forced back behind the canal.
A final effort by the infantry fails to cross the canal, so the SS panzers are called forward to continue the advance. They succeed in gaining a foothold across the canal. So far the operation is on schedule.
5th Panzer Army brings its weight to bear on the strung out 4th US Inf Div.
With only scattered regiments and a Belgian motorized brigade in the vicinity the Americans cannot hold 5th Panzer Army back.
Morale is beginning to falter under the flurry of blows.
5th Panzer Army has created a 30 mile wide breach in the American lines, and have seized the road hub at Bastogne.
Additional panzer divisions race through the Ardennes, pushing back token resistance.
130th Panzer Lehr seized Namur uncontested, while their scouts report no enemy resistance to be found.
Von Manteuffel uses 130th Pzr and 15th PzG to finish the link up, and then breaks them down to regiments in order to try and cover as much ground as possible. While I could have elected to cut a single, solid, thin line, I decided instead to create this coil in order to try and gain more space, particularly the river edges. I expect I have more available assets to reinforce next week now that the greater part of the British 21st Army Group has been bagged, the key is having a little breathing space remaining to slide those reinforcements in.
Just below the southern pincer efforts are made to pinch the 5th US Arm Div. I could have cut this unit off entirely by using an available panzer brigade, but I decided to commit them to the pocket perimeter instead. Farther south of that Cossacks and some German infantry move forward to threaten the flanks of the Free French Armored division. Anything to possibly slow their ability to relieve the 21st Army Group.
Losses for this operation so far are surprisingly light:
At least on the ground: