A little retrospective and strategy talk before the details of the turn. My double envelopment to advance to and across the Rhine over the last 7 weeks has been successful. I encircled and eliminated several groups of units, crossed the Rhine in force and am in a good position for the next phase of the operation. Initially, I had planned to throw everything I had to strike out east from my current position, but Iíve made a few modifications to that plan. In my recent attacks, Iíve sensed that the Germans are weaking and they are nearing collapse, so Iíve decided to expand and broaden the next phase of my operation. My hope is that if I put pressure on multiple sectors to create several crisis points that it will stretch the German forces and hasten the German collapse by reaching that tipping point as early as possible. It will also have the added benefit of taking more territory sooner. The risk is that it will also create more losses for the Allies and I spread myself too thin and not achieve decisive results in any sector, but Iím ready to roll the dice on it at this point and accept the risk.
For the operational plan, the main effort with the majority of my armored divisions will be focused on forcing the Fulda Gap and doing a three pronged fanning out from there: north and south to encircle the main German line and also east to secure crossings across the Elbe river, threatening Berlin. Then I will have five other secondary sectors of the operation. First, I will continue operations in Italy, pushing east towards Udine and trying to stretch the German line as much as possible. Second, I will be making a concerted attack by infantry divisions to encroach and threaten the Ruhr. The aim of this effort is to force the Germans to commit and tie down strong forces in its defense, preventing them for reinforcing my other sectors of attack. Thirdly, Iím launching an invasion of Holland paired with an overland push towards Antwerp. This is a risky operation given the weather and the poor terrain. One reason for this operation is that I have reinforcements arriving in England every turn and itís taking them a long time to get to the front (three-four turns). Iím hoping I can just feed them into Holland as soon as they arrive to have a more immediate impact. The fourth and fifth sectors are aimed at accelerating the collapse of the southern portion of the German line, which I believe is the weakest part of the line. One sector spearheaded by the Free French armor divisions aims to push south of Mainz while a newly railed British Corps from Italy will attempt to breach the far southern part of the line in the Belfort Gap/Colmar area.
Hereís the current situation in Italy. The surrounded units surrendered and I took a couple of more hexes.